Education Expert Slams Video Games as Gifts for Boys

December 14, 2008 -

Fat, angry and stupid is no way to go through life, son...

At least, that's what an education consultant seems to be saying as he cautions parents against buying video games as holiday gifts for their teenage sons.

In a guest column for EdNews, Bill Costello writes:

Boys are spending more than thirteen hours a week playing video games. As a result, they're spending less time outdoors playing and exercising. Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be obese than they were thirty years ago.

Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse.

Many recent studies suggest that playing video games saps the motivation of boys and disconnects them from the real world... Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make your son more aggressive.

So if you're thinking of buying video games for your son this holiday season, you might want to reconsider.

62 comments

Conservative Author Blames Video Games for Wildlife "Thrill Kills"

December 11, 2008 -

Critics have blamed violent video games for a number of egregious behaviors over the years, from school shootings to attacks on homeless people to garden variety aggressiveness.

But an article on the American Spectator posits a new - and baffling - theory of game blame. Writing for the conservative website, author Bill Croke blames violent game fans for the illegal slaughtering of animals.

By way of makinghis case, Croke mentions a couple of research studies linking violent games to negative behavior and, in an impressive leap of faith, draws a link between games and the wanton killing of wildlife:

It's a sickeningly familiar story. Two moose shot and left to rot... Two yearling grizzly bears killed... An increasing wasted antelope body count... Senselessly murdered mule deer left on the ground... All this has nothing to do with the legal autumn hunting seasons... it's "thrill killing," as wildlife managers call it... It's actually a national problem.

According to studies extant, these wildlife atrocities are committed mostly by young men aged 15 to 22, the video game generation. Much has been written about the nihilistic violence that kids are exposed to when they play some of these games...

I think it might be an easy jump to get up from a computer game, go out and pull the trigger on an elk or a deer, and then walk away with a laugh. After all, it's only a game... Yet, I think our four-legged friends will get a break soon, as the video game-thrill killing trend graduates to a higher plane: human beings.

Video games are mindless, as are the parents who let their kids play them.

UPDATE: Following up on GP's coverage, What They Play made a call to the Salmon, Idaho Public Library (Croke mentions watching teens play shoot-em-up games there in a portion of his column not cited by GP):

Interestingly, a call to the Salmon, Idaho Public Library revealed that they do not, in fact, carry video games which obviously casts some doubt over how thorough Croke has really been in his "research" for this piece. "We do not carry games, just books, DVDs, CDs, and books on tape," said the nice lady who answered the phone.

113 comments

Panel of UK Teens Blames Knife Violence on Games, Music

November 25, 2008 -

In the United States, we generally relate our violence issues to easy access of firearms. In the UK, where guns are harder to come by, knives are the main source of concern.

Perhaps surprisingly, a panel of Merseyside teenagers blamed a wave of British stabbings on violent media, including video games. As reported by the Liverpool Daily Post, the teens suggested that age limits on some games be raised:

Ex-offender Bob Croxton, who’s now an outreach worker with Liverpool’s Criminal Information Bureaux, said his nephew had been stabbed to death at the age of 17.

He asked the panel the best way to tackle knife crime and was told raising the age on films and computer games would stop young people committing crime. It said parents should take care of their children and stop them hanging around the streets all day and night.

The panel responded to questions from officers from Merseyside Police, city councils and other youth and crime agencies. Action for Children, which supports and speaks on behalf of the vulnerable, organised the event as part of a government consultation.

113 comments

Game Censorship Fuels Game Piracy in Saudi Arabia

October 31, 2008 -

Is piracy ruining the video game market in Saudi Arabia?

That's the spin coming from the Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance at this week's Dubai World Game Expo. But, as GP sister-site GameCulture explains, it is actually game censorship by the Saudi government which pushes gamers into pirating the titles they want.

AAA official Scott Butler claims that Saudi officials aren't doing enough to combat piracy:

In the UAE they are sending pirates to prison a lot, whereas in Saudi Arabia there has never been a judgment like that for any kind of pirate. When they mete out the judgement of imprisonment, that's when the market will finally crack.

But, as GC editor Aaron Ruby points out:

That might be the first time the Saudi legal system was chastised for being too lenient. And therein lies the absurdity of Butler's proposal... Censorship in that country has effectively driven the videogame industry underground. The kingdom's fear of media that challenges its cultural values has created a thriving entertainment black market, of which games are a key segment...

 

Iran, whose entertainment is also heavily regulated by the state, is also a hotbed of piracy. According to Mehrdad Agah, chariman of Puya Arts Software, 99% of all games sold in Iran are pirated...

 

It's no coincidence that the countries with the highest piracy rates (Saudi, Iran, China) have some of the most draconian censorship policies on the planet. The true counter to piracy is more freedom, not less.

Bonus: In this fascinating article, a Saudi gamer pens a history of game piracy in the kingdom.

8 comments

Jack Thompson Whines About GamePolitics, ECA, Kotaku & Kitchen Sink in Court Filing

October 21, 2008 -

It must be awfully difficult to be a disbarred attorney. I mean, what do you do with all of that free time?

If you're Jack Thompson you file court motions. And Thompson filed one of his more bizarre ones today. It's another of those picture books filings that the disgraced attorney has taken to submitting in recent months. Apparently capitalizing upon his free time, Thompson has taken the trouble to paste in snaps of:

  • GP volunteer comment mod E. Zachary Knight
  • GP editor (me)
  • Hal Halpin, head of consumer group the ECA
  • Brian Crecente, editor of Kotaku
  • Strauss Zelnick, chairman of Take-Two
  • Doug Lowenstein, former ESA boss

His purpose seems to be an attempt to make the case - yet again - that the video game industry is responsible for his disbarment. That's an odd approach as most of the people he names in today's filing aren't part of the video game industry.

Thompson seems particularly upset over the amusing Disbarment Countdown Timer created by EZK. On that score Thompson writes:

If there were any doubt as to the core purpose of this disbarment, instigated by the video game industry, note... The Jack Thompson Disbarment Countdown Clock is at the center of a commerce-driven lynch mob... This court should grant the emergency stay to at least freeze the Countdown Clock pending an evidentiary hearing on this nonsense.

It's so clear now! The multi-billion dollar video game industry reached down from its perch on Wall Street and demanded the creation of a free Disbarment Timer add-on for Firefox. Makes perfect sense...

As to my involvement, he writes:

GamePolitics.com’s operator is Dennis McCauley, who filed his own Florida Bar complaint against Thompson for being mean to videogamers. GamePolitcs ran a multi-part series about Thompson’s Bar trial, court transcripts and all. Mr. McCauley, pictured below, worked with Referee Dava Tunis to place court documents at his site before Thompson got them...

It's true that I filed a Bar complaint about him in 2006. I've written about that in the past. The Bar complaint certainly wasn't about "being mean to videogamers."

GP did indeed run a multi-part series on Thompson's Bar trial, complete with transcripts. I'm very proud of that series. The assertion about working with Judge Dava Tunis is simply a lie.

UPDATE: Thompson also mentioned that GamesLaw.net has been tracking his court filings. All part of the conspiracy, eh, Miami Jack?

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

Read the court filing here.

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prh99https://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2010/04/19/hear-that-knocking-sound-its-pc-gaming it isn't surprising "Gamers are over" didn't go over very well.10/02/2014 - 1:34am
Papa MidnightCan you parlay that to #WriteAGawkerArticle? The cesspool of horrid crap over there extends far beyond Kotaku.10/02/2014 - 12:34am
Andrew EisenWow! Intel dropped Gamasutra due to GameJournoPros? Over Matt Matthews? The only Gamasutra guy in the group? Who hasn't written a single thing about #GamerGate at the site? Where did you read that?10/02/2014 - 12:32am
Neo_DrKefka#WriteAKotakuArticle "#GamerGate is responsible for breaking millions of Intel powered macbooks after angry SWJ hipsters slam them shut" or "How Toxic Processors from Intel causes sexism. "10/02/2014 - 12:15am
Neo_DrKefkaSo Intel has dropped Gamesutra due to there support of your Gaming News Cabal Fudge. Anti GamerGate article soon? Or like your e-mails are you hoping this narrative dies down soon?10/02/2014 - 12:14am
Andrew EisenWell, time to eat some dinner and work on the Hyrule Warriors guide until bedtime!10/02/2014 - 12:11am
Andrew EisenJust finished my stream. That... could have gone better. Technical issues prevented me from playing a console game so I instead played and bitched about The Walking Dead for two hours. Oh well, the folks watching still seemed to enjoy it.10/02/2014 - 12:09am
Matthew Wilsonwe all know valve can not cout to 3.10/02/2014 - 12:08am
MechaTama31Who cares? Gimme Portal 3!10/01/2014 - 9:38pm
quiknkoldAndrew : Mostly I decided there were better people who could explain what was going on, or fight any battles that may come up. so I decided not to talk about it anymore.10/01/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI don't recall you promising that. GamerGate is not a taboo discussion here. Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting.10/01/2014 - 8:47pm
quiknkoldI know I promised to not talk about Gamergate again, but Intel just pulled sponsership from Gamasutra over it http://techraptor.net/2014/10/01/gamasutra-intel/10/01/2014 - 8:40pm
quiknkoldP.T. is a game I just cannot play alone. I puss out hard on it. need somebody with me when I play that. Kojima was right. it is Pants Shittingly Scary10/01/2014 - 6:17pm
quiknkold@james_fudge not playin all the way through. P.T, Silent Hill(Not sure which), Resident Evil Gamecube Remake, Alien Isolation, Ghostbusters, Outlast, Super Castlevania 410/01/2014 - 6:04pm
james_fudgeI wish I could like that last shout.10/01/2014 - 5:48pm
MechaTama31Tried out Sims 4 on my brother in law's pc. Promptly got my sim exhausted, to soil himself, then sent him without cleaning up to mock people at the museum. Good times...10/01/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary KnightSo they figured out how to share CPU cycles between pools and their advanced emotions engine? Sweet.10/01/2014 - 2:53pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/10/01/ghosts-pools-darth-vader-coming-to-the-sims-4/ Pools no longer impossible.10/01/2014 - 2:06pm
james_fudgeDon't eat angry.10/01/2014 - 1:49pm
E. Zachary KnightI am pretty hungry. I feel like I could smash some supper. Not sure if I am up for making a collage though.10/01/2014 - 1:00pm
 

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