GDC Day 0 & BulletStorm

I’ve spent a good portion of today doing two interesting things – Burning through Bulletstorm and I picked up Dan Miede from the Airport and prepped for tomorrow’s insanity. While I will tend to be the first to offend in mixed company, the controversy around BulletStorm, Violence and Fox News is just plain ridiculous. Although typically fair and balanced, they stray way out of the loony bin with this one, fishing about for “Experts” with opinions that agree with their views and sharing beneficial and important quotes with us of this caliber:

Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?

Video game publishers traditionally stay glib about the issue of violence. Microsoft, maker of the Xbox 360 console, declined to comment. Epic Games did not respond to requests, and the developer did not respond. Remi Sklar, the vice president of Public Relations at Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, which makes numerous video games (though is unconnected to Bulletstorm), offered the following statement: “We don’t have a comment for that story.”

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Of all things in the world to cherry pick, the author, John Brandon, ignores all of the debate and historically one sided arguments about violence in video games leading to violence in the world, comparing the game to Postal and BMX XXX – only to back it up with a sly quote alluding to game developers having nothing to do with their time, other than shoving more gore and bile into their games to gain attention – EXCLUSIVELY!

“Games without sufficient quality of gameplay — games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content — often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention. This tactic typically fails, as can be seen in the poor sales performance of titles such as BMX XXX and Postal,” said Billy Pidgeon, a video game analyst with M2 Research.

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In spite of clearly choosing authorities that support their view, the best they could actually come up with is a woman, who has found a link between the act of rape and violence in video games.

Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and book author, told that sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence.

“The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” she said.

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This is in spite of the fact that it is yet to be determined that there is a clear link between video game violence and any form of violence in the non digital world. >>

Suffice to say, this is a horribly complicated issue and just because someone feels strongly about something does not make it true, nor does it make it clear as to the course of action we should take. This article makes it sound like developers are responsible for any child who starts the game up, and that is just not the case. Children will play these games, primarily because of the taboo around them. Even if the ESRB puts a new label on games of this caliber – without responsible parenting it’s useless. Ultimately, even if you fine clerks for selling the games to children, they will still get the games – primarily because the clerks aren’t paid enough to give a fuck, and secondarily because the kids with crappy parents will just ask their mom to buy it for them.

Problem solved?

If nothing else, Mr. Brandon’s title says it all.

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