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.

114 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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Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOnce again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilsonyou cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zenperformance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zenexisting hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
ZenSora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, How is that different from every other credit card company targeting high school and college students?07/30/2014 - 1:40pm
Sleaker@EZK - I think some people are concerned beacuse it's a predatory technique targetted toward younger people that don't understand on top of offering the worst interest rates of any retailer around.07/30/2014 - 11:33am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/30/europe-gets-long-detained-shin-megami-tensei-4-at-cut-price/ "Sorry you had to wait a year for SMT4, would a price cut make it sting less?"07/30/2014 - 10:29am
NeenekoI would hope not. Though it is not unheard of for store specific cards to be pretty good.07/30/2014 - 8:17am
E. Zachary KnightDoes anyone, or at least any intelligent person, expect a retail branded credit card to be anything close to resembling a "good deal" on interest rates?07/30/2014 - 7:13am
SleakerGamestop articles popping up everywhere about their ludicrous new Credit card offerings at a whopping pre-approval for 26.9% APR07/29/2014 - 10:19pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/podcasting-patent-troll-we-tried-to-drop-lawsuit-against-adam-carolla/ the podcasting patent troll scum is trying to turn tail and run.07/29/2014 - 9:50pm
MaskedPixelanteOf course it's improved. At launch, Origin was scanning your entire hard drive, but now it's just scanning your browsing history. If that's not an improvement, I dunno what is!07/29/2014 - 8:59pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/12029-Has-EAs-Origin-Service-Improved-Any-Over-the-Last-Two-Years07/29/2014 - 8:25pm
Sora-ChanSo it's just a matter of having better emulation software. If it can be done with a 3DS game, with all the memory and what not it takes up, it can be done with a GBA title through emulation.07/29/2014 - 7:30pm
Sora-ChanOther VC titles for the NES and Gameboy had the same setup where you couldn't access the homescreen without quitting out of the game til a later update when those games were released for the public outside of the founder program.07/29/2014 - 7:28pm
Sora-Chanthe 3DS can, and does, run GBA games, as seen by the founder gifts, which included a number of GBA titles. As for running GBA games and still having access to the home screen, I beleive it's more of the game emulation software needs to be updated.07/29/2014 - 7:27pm
Matthew Wilsonthe 3ds already swaps os's with the original ds. plus I dont think people expect miverse interaction when playing a gba game.07/29/2014 - 6:06pm
 

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