Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Entertainment Games

A Plea To Game Makers To Act Responsibly? 136

Posted by simoniker
from the eat-your-greens dept.
Thanks to AVault for its editorial discussing the responsibility videogame makers have to use their powers for 'good'. The author expresses concern about games' influence on the young: "My love of digital maiming is tempered by the fact that, at this stage of my life, I can tell right from wrong. I have a fully developed set of ethics. I wouldn't say my nine-year-old nephew has quite had the time to develop these tools." The article ends with the exhortation: "Developers and publishers, hear my plea: start injecting a strong sense of right and wrong into your stories. I don't want you to pull back on the gibs, I don't want anything more than a stronger sense of ethics and perhaps a small dose of moral fiber. Take into account the fact that kids are playing, no matter that they shouldn't be."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Plea To Game Makers To Act Responsibly?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sorry, but unless the kid is retarded or something, he knows the difference between right and wrong, at least when it comes to blowing people up and stuff.

    • sure they know, but do they really care?

      nothing's cooler to a kid than doing the wrong thing.

    • I'm sorry, but unless the kid is retarded or something, he knows the difference between right and wrong, at least when it comes to blowing people up and stuff.

      True, at least partially. It may seem that smaller issues (things other than blowing people up) may have the appearance of being endorsed by the parent to the child if things are viewed without making a big deal about them or not letting them see it at all.

      Example: I bought viewtiful Joe, it has a "kids" setting. Great! I can play it with my kid
  • I Have A Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigDork1001 (683341) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:32AM (#9247472) Homepage
    "I have a fully developed set of ethics. I wouldn't say my nine-year-old nephew has quite had the time to develop these tools."

    Gee, maybe your 9 year old shouldn't be playing Grand Theft Auto. It's more the parent/guardian's responsiblity to ensure that their kids aren't playing violent games than it is the game makers.

    • > Take into account the fact that kids are playing, no matter that they shouldn't be."

      > It's more the parent/guardian's responsiblity to ensure that their kids aren't playing violent games than it is the game makers.

      Yes but your kid has a friend who has an older friend with this REALLY EXCITING game...

      Parents, no matter how diligent, can not watch over their children every second of the day.

      That said, I'd like to see a parental block code of some sort on games like Grand Theft Auto. Don't st
      • And how would said parental block affect "your kid has a friend who has an older friend with this REALLY EXCITING game..."

        This older kid will either have the "code" or go onto the internet and find a keygen of some sort.

        My biggest problem with the whole "morals" thing is, your morals or mine?

        • Not if it's done right. If Dad Gamer could intall it and set the code like parental lock on cable that would sure help. Initial code is in the box and unique like a WinXP registration so only the buyer can install. Then Gamer Dad changes the code to the name of the girl he lost his virginity to. Now the box is only useful for a full uninstall and reinstall. The kid would have to google a correct install code or find the box, then reinstall the game.

          That's enough of a deterrent I think.
          • Initial code is in the box and unique like a WinXP registration so only the buyer can install.

            That system is already in place, except that it is for DRM rather than parental control. Also, there isn't really a way to successfullt change an install code - usually, those things use a hard-coded algorithm and written on a piece of paper.

            The best way to prevent children from installing and launching games without your knowledge or concent is to lock down your computer so that there is not enough quota spa

      • They could ask those weird questions like Leisure Suit Larry did to see if you are old enough. Thay was funny. IIRC, Spiro Agnew was a wrong choice for a question about a cough-causing germ.

        I already know they can search for the answers on the internet. Maybe we could make 'em do an integral to log on! That would set an age+IQ requirement.

        Of course, having been out of college long enough to forget all the math that I never use, I guess I could ask my son for help....
      • by fireduck (197000) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#9248465)
        Parents, no matter how diligent, can not watch over their children every second of the day.

        No, but when the kid comes home from playing GTA at the friend's house and says "Parent, I really want to get this game": Parent says "No."

        The author of the article presents this situation, with his nephew now wanting to get this game that he played at a friends house. However, rather than take it the final step (i.e., parent saying no), the author goes into "hey game makers, change your games" land. Obviously parents can't be there 100% of the time, but when they are there they have to be a parent. And being a parent means saying no, quite frequently. Why the author doesn't see this, I don't know.

        Kids are exposed to all sorts of "bad" things and parents do their best to mitigate any real or supposed damage by setting barriers, guidelines, rules and having discussions with their children.

        It this author wants a better target to go after, why not start with soda / junk food vending machines at our schools. Kids spend more time in school than they do anywhere else (including playing video games). And childhood obesity is, without any doubt, a bigger problem than violent video games.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          But the smart kid will keep his mouth shut and just continue to play at his friends.
      • by dewke (44893)
        Yes but your kid has a friend who has an older friend with this REALLY EXCITING game...

        Parents, no matter how diligent, can not watch over their children every second of the day.


        This is called being a responsible parent, or at least it was when I was growing up. My parents wanted to know where I was going, with who etc... Usually my parents had met my friends parents as well.

        All that aside, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a lockout code as well. Not on the side of the box though. Give kids credit
      • by msuzio (3104) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:49PM (#9250169) Homepage
        Thinking that monitoring your child every second is the solution to anything is ridiculous in any case. I don't care if we're talking drugs, alcohol, violent video games, or Scientology. You can't always be there, and you shouldn't expect to be. You have to develop a parenting strategy that does not rely on monitoring for compliance and safety.

        When I was growing up, my parents never even knew where I was most of the time. I went out to play on a typical summer day, and wandered around the neighborhood hanging out with friends. I wasn't expected back until dinner time.

        Somehow, I managed to come out of it OK. Sure, I saw the porno mags Timmy Smith had stolen from his dad's stash. I smoked a couple cigarettes when I was 12. I saw my friend's brother smoke dope (never tried it myself until I was well past the age of majority). But my parents had done their job in educating me pretty well in their sense of what was right and wrong. Even when I did things I knew they wouldn't approve of, I was able to consider those things in the moral structure they thought I should be educated in. I could ask myself "Why is what I'm doing wrong? Should I not be doing this?". I developed the ability to make my own decisions, and I had enough common sense to not get in over my head.

        This is, to me, the only way to go. Don't try to control your kids. Don't make other people responsible for that task either. Do the best you can, take advantage of all the times your kids are with you to point out the moral issues of life and provide your perspective. Accept that they will make mistakes; if you think it's appropriate, administer discipline when they go against "the rules", but understand that this is all part of the learning process too.

        Please, people. Produce thinkers, not mindless drones who have to be saved from themselves constantly. Insist on personal moral responsibility and accountability. Anything else is a cop-out. Even a very young child is capable of understanding "right" vs. "wrong" and knowing when they are breaking "the rules".
        • > Anything else is a cop-out. Even a very young child is capable of understanding "right" vs. "wrong" and knowing when they are breaking "the rules".

          I'm going to need to know this in a few years: How do you explain to your child that it is "Right" for you to own a game that he sometimes sees you playing, but that it is "Wrong" for him to play it?

          I agree with 99.9% of what you said. But aren't some areas gray? You don't leave the door wide open when you and your wife have sex and just tell him its w
          • by n0wak (631202)
            I'm going to need to know this in a few years: How do you explain to your child that it is "Right" for you to own a game that he sometimes sees you playing, but that it is "Wrong" for him to play it?

            The same way it's been done for centuries: when you're old enough to make the decisions yourself, you can make that decision. *I* am mature enough, *I* can play this immature game. *You* have to earn that right.

            It's worked for centuries, why should it stop now? I mean, this is the same as the stereotypical
    • Re:I Have A Solution (Score:2, Informative)

      by Grave (8234)
      A parent came in to my store (GameStop) the other day to buy a PS2 and a couple of games, and mentioned wanting to buy GTA: Vice City for his 4 year old son when he had some more money. I told him that was a Mature rated game and not something I'd recommend for a kid of that age. Quite frankly, I don't think I could sell it to someone who had just told me they were going to let their 4-year-old play it. That's just plain wrong, and at that age, there can still be very permanent damage done to the child's
    • by E_elven (600520)
      Mothers and fathers, hear my plea: start injecting a strong sense of right and wrong into your children, based on the current laws, not necessarily your own morals. I don?t want you to pull back on the fun, I don't want anything more than a stronger sense of ethics and perhaps a small dose of moral fiber. Take into account the fact that kids are playing all sorts of games, no matter that they shouldn't be.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#9247508)
    "Take into account the fact that kids are playing, no matter that they shouldn't be."

    So, should Quentin Tarantino take into account that kids are watching "Kill Bill", and Playboy similarly tailor itself to be kid-friendly? I don't think so.

    • Personally, I'm with you:

      I emphatically disagree with the editorial in question. I don't think content creators should care about 'acting responsibly'. I think they should tell their story, paint their picture, try to entertain. If they're so irresponsibly bad, the market will tell them so, and show them the door. Social responsibility for content is not something any creator in any media should be concerned with as a matter of course.

      However, social responsibility for industry business practices is
      • by fireduck (197000) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#9248671)
        regarding ESRB and putting specifics on the box:

        I think they already do. Or at least some game makers take the additional step to do so. Checking out the ESRB rating for Warcraft III [blizzard.com] (bottom of page), you'll note it got a T for blood and violence. Checking out the ESRB for Metroid Prime [nintendo.com], and it's a T but no mention of specifics. So there are some thorough developers/publishers and some not so thorough developers/publishers. (To Nintendo's credit, when you try to access any game with T or higher rating on their website, a warning will pop letting you know the rating and asking if you want to continue.)

        What will happen is Lieberman and other congress-types will hold more hearings and eventually the ESRB will cave and be forced to enforce their ratings both at the publisher side (i.e., more acting like Blizzard) and at the retail side (i.e., don't sell the M games to children). Hopefully, it won't make it fully into the realm of regulation. (both the music and movie industries averted that, no? I know the MPAA rating system is voluntary, and I presume the parental warning stickers on albums were a self-regulated thing, rather than a governmental mandate)
      • Parents have no idea wtf an 'M' rating means, and the ESRB either can, or chooses to, do nothing against retailers who don't restrict the sales of 'M' titles to minors. Hell, the ESRB doesn't even require retailers to post an education poster that breaks down game ratings for consumers the way the MPAA still does.

        I don't know why people still don't understand what "Mature" means. Game stores have posters, pamphlets, and employees who know exactly how the rating system works. The ESRB doesn't do anything
  • by Leffe (686621) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#9247510)
    The author expresses concern about games' influence on the young

    What the hell are the parents doing?!
    • What the hell are the parents doing?!

      He's talking about his 9 year old nephew. You don't seriously suggest that he try to criticize the way his brother/sister is raising the kid, do you? After all, family is always right; it's the people you don't know who are always wrong.
  • by tprime (673835) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#9247520)
    Don't we get at least 2 of this type of article on this site per week? It seems like I am always reading the:

    "It is the parents' job to teach their kids wrong and right, not the video games."

    All these articles are good for is getting gamers upset. Call it Flamebait or a Troll or whatever, but these articles are getting Redundant.
    • Society has an impact on the raising of children. You can stick your head in the sand and pretend that parents can raise children in a vacuum but that isn't the case.

      Yes parents are the primary interpreters of the world for their children but its pretty hard to justify why Joe Bob likes to run random people over in a stolen car.

      • " but its pretty hard to justify why Joe Bob likes to run random people over in a stolen car."

        And there's an epidemic of this happening?
      • Society has an impact on the raising of children.

        Of course society impacts children, children are a part of society, and society affects us all. However, we as individuals should not be forced to act a certain way just so you can feel good about how you raised your children. If you don't want society to impact your children, then leave society, instead of trying to shape all man kind into your idea of a perfect child-bearing environment.
        • However, we as individuals should not be forced to act a certain way just so you can feel good about how you raised your children.

          So to illustrate your extreme viewpoint, we should just acknowledge that laws against murder go against the way a person should behave, therefore we should just throw those laws away. Of course this is not what you meant... however what I would suggest is that we do need to create societal rules to govern our behaviours. Video games are a medium... we have allowed violenc

    • Although you are making a good point about the fact that we keep getting these articles every other day, the fact remains that this editorial position really speaks about something important. As an avid gamer and new parent, I believe it's important for parents to be involved with their children's educational/recreational activities. I do see a glimmer of a new line of thinking that I don't believe has been explored yet: Video games are now a medium unto themselves, and as a medium, there is room to grow
      • Introducing storylines suitable for children where acceptable society values and virtues are explored is a good thing for kids

        They already have those, they're called Nintendo games. I'm sorry, but I just don't care about your, or anyone elses kids. I treat people bitching about violent videogames like people that bring children into bars... I don't drink at the playground, please don't bring your kids into a bar. Likewise, don't let your kids play GTA and I won't try to dictate the content of the nex

        • by CokoBWare (584686) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:20AM (#9248185)
          It's amazing how people think that just because someone has a position that is "encourage people to consider additional ways to tell stories that are good for kids" that it means that people are advocating changing exisitng games to make them less violent. Come on, let's actually read what people write here, and not just jump to conclusions. I'm not advocating us changing what the industry produces now, I'm advocating looking underneath that penny and realizing there's another market. Let's keep the GTAs, the Dooms and the Postals... at the same time, game publishers may consider new opportunities for parents and children to enjoy in videogame storytelling. Everyone wins! Kapish?
      • by Pxtl (151020) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:25AM (#9248252) Homepage
        My problem is more the shortage of educational puzzle games. Remember Lemmings? The Incredible Machine? Humans? That one with the bouncing lasers? Those games are gone now. Now puzzle games are twitch games like Tetris and Chu Chu rocket, which, while teaching the kids new tricks, teach them subconsiously and don't actually teach true problem-solving.

        When I was a kid, educational puzzle games were mainstream products. Everybody played Lemmings. Now they're kids games, and rare ones at that.

        Instead, many kids games have become evercrack-style treadmill masturbation games like Pokemon. Nintendo's kids games are fun and exciting party games and I love them to death, but they have damn little educational value to a kid.

        Bring back _real_ educational games. I want my Sim Earth back.
        • That one with the bouncing lasers?

          My first reaction was, "Laser Chess?" But you may have been thinking of something else. But that reminds me of another game I used to love on the C64. It was kind of like chess, but when 2 pieces landed on the same spot, there was an arcade-style battle. Every piece had its own strengths and weaknesses. They were elementals and wizards and such. Can anyone give me a name and preferably a place to get a copy?
          • Archon. Either you're too young or too old to remember, so which is it? =P
            • Archon. Man that was a great game. I'll search for it later. If nothing else, I'm sure that I can find a ROM for my C64 emulator. Any sequals?

              I am a little on the young side for a C64 user. My older brother was probably right in the middle. It was his, but he "sold" it to my dad sometime during/after college. Basically, he wanted to get rid of it and my dad needed an excuse to give him some money ($300 for an old C64???) - yeah, he's cheap and we're independent.
              • Any sequals?
                One, Archon II: Adept [mobygames.com]
                • One, Archon II: Adept

                  FYI, there is something called "Archon III: Exeter" (sp) floaing around the internet. Even though it is an official sequel, it is really a lobotomized version of the first two games.

                  If you're still interested in how the game works, it's a simple circular board where you can move your only active piece to the opponent to engage in combat. Combat is simply moving your unit around to perform a melee attack (and by the design of the game, always favours one player over the other.)

        • The problems with games like Lemmings and The Incredible Machine (both of which I played and loved) is that they're redundant. Not redundant in the sense that "been there, done that" but redundant in a computer's ability to randomly generate these puzzles on the fly. Think about it this way...

          Ten years ago : The internet is run by government associations, colleges, and geeks with enough time write a program that could crash every computer in the world... assuming they have the hard drive space. You got a co

        • Another great game in that style was 'Marble Drop [mobygames.com]' . It might not appeal to your typical video gamer (Gamespot [gamespot.com] gave it a mediocre score), but I loved it...

          I'm guessing it could have a comeback, if Maxis would release it with a level-maker, and a way to share levels online.

          These days, software seems to be 'games' or 'educational', without that middle ground that we used to have. (When's the last time you saw a Broderbund [broderbund.com] product on the shelf that wasn't something like 'math for 4th graders' or similar.)
      • The ESRB can't enforce anything. They are not a government agency. They are a not-for-profit organization. That's it. Putting a rating on your box is completely voluntary. Some stores, like Walmart, won't buy your game if it does not have a rating, so in essence, it is required to get into stores.

        The MPAA rating is also voluntary, the one difference is that the Unions make it a "defacto" requirement. The projectionist Union will not allow their members to show movies that are not rated. While there
        • While there might be some local laws (I don't know of any off hand) about movie ratings, it is not a law.

          I don't have time to find and cite the relavent law, but I believe that Utah (or maybe just Salt Lake City) has a law that says it's a crime to admit a sub-17-year-old into an R (or worse) movie. I remember some stink about it in the local press when either South Park or Showgirls was in theaters.

        • I worked as a projectionist for one of the major chains, in Florida for over a year. I was never a member of any union.
    • Don't we get at least 2 of this type of article on this site per week? It seems like I am always reading the:

      "It is the parents' job to teach their kids wrong and right, not the video games."

      All these articles are good for is getting gamers upset. Call it Flamebait or a Troll or whatever, but these articles are getting Redundant.


      Once they reach critical mass we'll get watered down games. Doesn't matter if they're rated for mature audiences or not...
  • Right and Wrong are abstract concepts.. leave the video game developers alone and plea with parents to control thier damn kids...

    You don't let your 9 year old nephew watch porn.. and you shouldn't let him play Manhunt or GTA: Vice City..

    EOF
  • by IshanCaspian (625325) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:43AM (#9247650) Homepage
    There's always going to be violent video games. The problem is not that there aren't video games that have morality...look at the Ultima games...or the Star Wars ones. The problem is that kids are naturally curious about the games that are BAD. It doesn't matter how many good video games there are out there....kids are always going to find the one game that's evil. Really, there are only three solutions:

    1) Forbid all video games that do not impose "correct" morality
    2) Raise your children in an isolated bubble, never exposing them to anything that espouses "bad" morality
    3) Let your children experience what they want, within limits, so long as you teach them what is right and wrong

    You can let a kid play all the violent video games he wants; so long as he has a caring mother and father, he'll turn out OK....and if he doesn't have caring parents, if it's not GTA teaching him how to be a criminal, it'll just be something else. In short, bad parenting creates bad kids who have independent, unrelated desires to play "bad" video games and do "bad" things. Good parenting creates "good" kids who have the same desire to play "bad" video games but less chance of a desire to do "bad" things.

    To all of the parents who are always whining "the video games are controlling my childen" I say: you have a thousand times more influence than any video game ever will...if your kids are turning out poorly it's because you're a shitty parent....stop trying to blame everyone else.

    I don't understand why the author's article is so upset at this kid playing GTA. If his mom is raising him correctly, he should be able to cap grandmas all day long and still be a well-adjusted kid. If she's not, well, then he's got bigger things to worry about than a video game. Everyone just wants to bitch about the video game to show that they are MORALLY OFFENDED! You know what offends my morals? Watching a mother just dump her kid off in day care for the first 6 years of his life so she can drive a nicer car. I'd rather raise my kid on GTA than put him through that.
    • After living in two different cultures, I've noticed that shielding children by keeping them isolated from anything that could be harmful definitely has its downsides.

      When I lived in Germany, I noticed that children had pretty much free access to alcohol, and underage drinking wasn't even a concern. Teenagers usually went on little drinking binges at about 14-16, still under the supervision of their parents. By the time they were out of school, going on to higher education, and ready to live on their own
    • The problem is that kids are naturally curious about the games that are BAD. It doesn't matter how many good video games there are out there....kids are always going to find the one game that's evil.

      And as a parent, it's your job to prevent your children from getting it, if you don't want them to have it. Just like there are plenty of good and bad magazines out there, if you don't want your child reading Stuff, or Maxim then you will actually have to be a parent and watch what your kids are doing. I
  • Arrgh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:46AM (#9247685) Homepage
    All right. I make games for all ages. I dislike violence, and I take pains to make my games no worse than a Road Runner cartoon. Violence in video games doesn't really do anything for me--there are a number of violent games I enjoy, but I enjoy them for gameplay reasons, not because you can disintegrate opponents with a mortar round.

    That said, I really don't have a problem with developers and publishers making violent games. Similarly, I don't have a problem with publishers who distribute violent books. I don't shun museums for displaying various garish incarnations of St. Sebastian on their walls. I am one of the vast majority of people--young and old alike--who can distinguish fantasy from reality, and are able to appreciate that the character being crushed by a tank on the game screen is not a real person.

    You'll find no lack of people here on Slashdot who played games like Smash TV, N.A.R.C., and Doom as a kid. Staggeringly enough, the vast majority of us are perfectly well aware of the fact that in the Real World, one does not drive a Ferrari at 100 mph on a bridge whilst mowing down junkies, firing rocket launchers, and gathering cash and drugs.

    I'm tiring of those who advocate solving the problems of the few by restricting the options of the whole. Let us use our own judgement, for Pete's sake.

    • Ok, I couldn't resist:

      I did a search:
      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF -8&q=+dri ve+a+Ferrari+at+100+mph+on+a+bridge+whilst+mowing+ down+junkies%2C+firing+rocket+launchers%2C+and+gat hering+cash+and+drugs&btnG=Google+Search

      And,the google ad that popped up was for a Ferrari rental place. Hmmm...

    • Already expressed my opinons about your game the other day (more thumbs up), but just curious about your first paragraph, old or new cartoons? They've really toned down cartoons as of late, watching old roadrunner or tom and jerry or sylvester and tweety cartoons i'm shocked at what they got away with, no wonder people used to have issue with cartoon violence. Not that i'm offended myself, but growing up in the 80s with cartoons like that, its amazing to see the old cartoons where tweety pumps sylvesters he
      • I was thinking old-school Road Runner--anvils, rockets, explosions, and such. No blood, no severed limbs, no agony, superficial representations of suffering, that kind of thing. It is violent in one regard, but it is a violence that is quite easy to distinguish from reality.

        (Consider in Jardinains that you can blast gnomes into the stratosphere, set them alight, and bounce them at 'fatal' speeds...)

  • by MrIrwin (761231) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:51AM (#9247750) Journal
    ......first the politicians should show a capability to use thier powers responsibily.

    Then the international corporations.

    Then we might start childing games manufacturers.

  • I don't really see what his problem is. Diablo II has a whole character who is basically a crusader, you kill demons in Quake, and Call to Power lets you build churces all over the place. What else could the Moral Majority want?

    Maybe it's me, but every time somebody comes out and wants the entertainment industry to use their powers to do something "good", I get this cold, cold feeling. These people would have wanted to keep Doom off of our computers (violence, blood, gore) and "Buffy" off of our screens (

    • by Cyno01 (573917)
      The whole "Beer bad" thing is hilarious, i pointed out durring DARE in 4th grade how riduculous some situation was. We were watching an episode of family matters and there was some rooftop party where this huge punch bowl got spiked with like a fifth of something, and after having two sips or so urkle was dancing precariously around the ledge of the building etc... You undermine your whole message when kids realize the real world isn't so cut and dried, especially when they see their friends, who aren't cra
      • In the book Seven Seasons of Buffy, theyiscuss te infamous "beer Bad" episode. It is described as what happens when a bunch of independant minded writers were forced to write anti drug/alchol propiganda by the Goverment.
        and yes they were forced, by the network , who was coereced by ONDCP to have a certain number of these shows in exchange for prime time ad spots that the FCC forces TV stations togive the goverment.
  • games - stories (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#9247819) Homepage Journal
    Games are where the traditional fairytale style very straightforward plots have excelled in for years(actually, that's an insult against most classic fairytales, most of them have more depth than your basic game plot about a guy in a combat suit rescuing his girl).

    games aimed at adults.. well, most of them have very basic plot settings aboug good versus evil as well. sometimes it's just the evil that triumphs over the 'good', but that's just reversed roles of stereotypes(basically what it is most of the time is that it's just a matter of skinning, wether the guys trying to slow the player down are cops or mafia).

    personally, I'd hope there to be more character in the characters in games and not always be so black and white, THE WORLD ISN'T JUST GOOD VS. BAD. most of the time the 'BAD' guys have solid motives for their actions as well as the good guys can and have 'bad' motives (imho best, or worst depending on if it's real life or not, tragedies stir from a setting like this. everyone is doing the 'right'/'necessary' thing from their viewpoint but the events lead to catastrophe anyways).

    Ever read old fairytales in their original forms? the "bad" getting what's coming to it is usually chopping the head off or something similar(and heck, the 'good guys' play very, very dirty sometimes). public executions and all that jizz.

    • Asimov on "villans" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Samrobb (12731) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#9248471) Homepage Journal
      personally, I'd hope there to be more character in the characters in games and not always be so black and white, THE WORLD ISN'T JUST GOOD VS. BAD. most of the time the 'BAD' guys have solid motives for their actions as well as the good guys can and have 'bad' motives

      I was rereading the Hugo Winners Vol II last night, and in the introduction to "Gonna Roll Dem Bones", Isaac Asimov related a coversation he had with Fritz Lieber... in short, Lieber pointed out to Asimov that his stories had people who opposed the hero, but that he never had any villans. Asimov reasoned that it was because he tended to write a more cerebral sort of stoy, more about the conflict of ideas than anything else; and in that case, the a good story demanded reasonable, intelligent villans who did not see themselves as bad/evil, and were capable of explaining themselves and their motives clearly. While they opposed the heros of the story, they had (at least, by their own thoughts) good reasons for doing so.

      This reminded me a lot of the role that Magneto eventually grew into in the X-Men comic books - an intelligent opponent who had what he thought were very good reasons for his actions. IMHO, this leads to a much deeper, more satisfying type of story than things like Star Wars, where the villans are villans because... well, just because, you know, they're evil. You never get any background on why they're acting the way they are.

      If Asimov had written the Star Wars scripts, he'd probably have set up a situation where Palpatine saw the existance of the Jedi leading to the eventual development of a hereditary ruling class, the destruction of the Trade Federation, and an interminable galaxy-wide dark age of stagnation. A few scenes, a little bit of exposition, and voila! - Palpatine goes from being evil to being a tragic figure, someone who initially desires good, but who finds himself seduced into thinking that the only way to save the Trade Federation from the Jedi is to forge an Empire strong enough to resist them if they were ever to rise again...

  • I'd be pissed if they started trying to encourage me to be ethical in my entertainment. Take Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) for example. It lets you be a totally evil jackwad, at first you get people saying oh you are naughty blah blah blah, but as the game goes on you can get evil partners who incourage you to be naughty. In fact if you keep the good guys around long enough they start turning evil with you. KOTOR would totally suck if they didn't let you enjoy being evil. How much fun would GTA be if
    • hmmmm Grand Theft Auto: Vatican City... ;)
    • Lets examine KOTOR. If you were really evil you would become a Darth Vader right? But who would come to Vader for help? So no more missions. Who would trade with Vader or for that matter why would Vader pay? No more saving up for that cool weapon (already a problem in kotor since the best weapon is a saber wich you get for free). You would also constantly have to worry about all those below you since the Sith have a rather promotional system. This could be fun but very hard to code. AI has a difficult enoug
      • Actually in the trial on manaan you can get dark side points for discovering that he is guilty and agreeing to try and get him off anyways, also for force pursuading the hotel manager to make a false statement. Also in KOTOR for the most part people think you are a good guy until you start talking to them, because well you are a jedi and you travel with a pack of good guys. That is why people still come to you with problems.

        As far as my comment on GTA I don't think you got what I was trying to say. I'm not

  • I really think Adrenaline Vault should change its name to Viagra Vault. It seems like all the staff lately have had children or some kind of mid life crisis, and seen the 'error of their ways' I'm way over 30, and have kids, but it hasn't turned me into the moral saviour of the planet. My kids know that if they misbehave I will take time off work to follow them around and publicly embarrass them in front of their friends - that has a greater influence than any game, and any law the government can pass.
    • My kids know that if they misbehave I will take time off work to follow them around and publicly embarrass them in front of their friends

      Hahaha... at first I thought you were going to say belt them, but God, that is great. I'm adding that to my list of things to do as a parent. It goes under: "When a child is whining, pretend like he is speaking a foreign language and that the only way to understand him is when he stops whining."

  • This crap again? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by potus98 (741836)

    "Take into account the fact that kids are playing, no matter that they shouldn't be."

    Take into account the fact that kids are playing, since their parents are not interested in parenting.

    • Basically what the article is saying that Oh every game can be played by kids so every game should be suitable for kids. Scary stuff. Imagine they made the news that way (turns on dutch tv, oh never mind they already did)

      Anyway. GTA has an age restriction. Anyone under that age playing it is a criminal. No need to worry if the game will influence them the mere fact of them playing it makes them criminals. Lock them up and throw away the key.

      Really what more can be done apart from age restrictions. Parenti

  • here's my plea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:19AM (#9248174) Journal
    Here's my plea. It goes out to all the parents, older siblings, guardians of any kind in America, and et cetera. Here it is:

    If you are responsible for raising a child, please teach them that they will one day be entirely responsible for their actions and no one will be there to help them when they screw up. Also, let them know that, currently, you are responsible for their actions, and if their actions should cause you harm, they will be punished, punished so that they will wish they hadn't engaged in said actions. Ie. if they do something really stupid like kill or maim someone, they will regret it for the rest of their life.

    Here's a couple more items to instill in their young minds:

    • Gangs aren't cool. People in gangs wind up dead or in jail.
    • Being intelligent is something to be proud of, not looked down upon.
    • Just because the other kids are doing it doesn't mean it's good. On the contrary, most people are absolutely fucking idiotic, be different, be yourself, and you will undoubtably be better for it.
    • TV isn't representative of reality, and neither are video-games, porn, comic books, et cetera.
    • If you are kind, sharing, helpful, people will love you. If you are considered "cool," you will one day find that you have no real friends to depend on when you need them.
    • Carrying a firearm around tucked in your pants doesn't make you tough or cool, on the contrary, you may shoot off your genitals.
    • Threatening younger / smaller people doesn't make you tough, standing up for younger / smaller people does.

    That's a start. American youth have many more common mental/social deficiencies that need correcting, but those are some of the major ones off the top of my head.

    • Re:here's my plea (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Baron_Yam (643147)
      Amen brudder.

      However, there is something more relevant to this thread - SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS. KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING. GET INVOLVED.

      Raising kids with TV and video games instead of parenting is just wrong... and I don't care how busy you are as a family with both parents having full time jobs. Kids are a responsibility greater than trying to afford a new SUV (or for the low-income bracket, a DVD player or whatever).
    • Carrying a firearm around tucked in your pants doesn't make you tough or cool, on the contrary, you may shoot off your genitals.

      I would actually support carrying weapons if we had 100% assurance it would happen. As my dad calls it: "self-limiting activity"

      Plus, no offspring!

  • There's one sure-fire way to make game developers instill morals in video games: pay for games with morals. Demand games with morals.

    Don't try to control developers. Make a market for us, and we'll be more than happy to fill it. Beg the Veggie Tales folks for a game if that floats your boat, or get a huge petition going for a game based on a movie, book, or whatever that you feel strongly parallels the values you'd like to teach.

    Game companies exist in a fiercely competitive space. To keep people employed

  • "Parents, my plea to you...get involved with your kids. Watch what they're playing, regulate what comes in and out of your household. Get to know your childrens' friends, see how they interact, notice if they will be good or bad influences on them. Don't buy MA games and then be amazed when it disgusts you.

    Game retailers, my plea to you...don't sell MA games to minors, id them first. Most kids have licenses by 16 and can't buy those games until they're 18 anyways. If in doubt, don't sell it to them...
  • When you play GTA, and you kill people, the police mercilessly chase you down. When you play Crazy Taxi, pedestrians magically jump right out of the way of your car so you cannot ever hit them. At the end of the day, GTA teaches you to avoid hitting pedestrians, and Crazy Taxi teaches you to drive in a straight line anywhere you go. GTA isn't teaching you right and wrong?
    • I would agree IF there was some reaction to you running over pedestrians. Normally I've found that you can hit 10 and nothing will happen. I've even run over numerous in front of the police station and nothing happens. If you run over a cop, yes, you'll be hunted down. But running over a bunch of guys near the docks? Nothing. Running over a hooker? Nothing.
      • " Normally I've found that you can hit 10 and nothing will happen. I've even run over numerous in front of the police station and nothing happens."

        That's funny because I've had to restart missions before because I accidently hit a pedestrian and it snowballed into a demolition derby.
  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:43AM (#9248496)
    Being in a gang, crew, or mafia can get you killed WAY too easily.

    If you break the law, and the cops don't get you, and the FBI doesn't get you, the military will bring in tanks and run over you.

    Never play with grenades in an enclosed space.

    Molotov cocktails may be fun, but if you're not careful you can catch on fire.

    Hookers take your money.

    Doing a double backflip with a barrel roll off a cliff is cool... until the end.

    25 rounds of ammunition seems like alot of ammo until you have 26 opponents.

    Don't try to snipe people while standing on the sidewalk. You'll never see the billy club coming.

    Busses are too slow to out run cop cars. Sports cars aren't heavy enough to run through cop cars.

    You can't fly a plane without wings. At least not for very long.
    • Being in a gang, crew, or mafia can get you killed WAY too easily.

      But then you are magically resurrected a few seconds later.

      If you break the law, and the cops don't get you, and the FBI doesn't get you, the military will bring in tanks and run over you.

      And you'll wake up just fine outside of the hospital. Sure, you'll be missing some money, but you'll be there.

      Never play with grenades in an enclosed space.

      See above.

      Molotov cocktails may be fun, but if you're not careful you can catch on fire.
  • by elp (45629) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:43AM (#9248498)
    Things I remember from growing up:

    Superman comics were going to make children tie bed sheets around our necks and jump off the garage roof. The A-Team was going to make children turn violent. Rock music was going to turn us into Satanists. Sweet alcoholic drinks were going to turn the young into alcoholics. The ice-cream man was really a slipping LSD into their ice-cream to turn them into addicts, but only if the punch given to them at Halloween didn't do it instead, and don't forget about all the pedophiles that were just waiting for children in every chat room.

    In other words everything that is even remotely popular is somehow going to absolutely destroy the lives of children everywhere.

    Articles like this are good for quiet news weeks. In a year or 2 they will be about something new that is also going to end life as we know it. (The evils of golf or something)

    I would also hazard a guess that people who came from homes way too poor for them to have ever been exposed to DOOM, GTA etc, commit most of the violent crime.
  • by the_skywise (189793) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @11:55AM (#9248692)
    Have you looked around at the game market recently? The problem isn't just as simple as "Well, don't let your kid play violent video games". The problem is that there's little ALTERNATIVE CHOICE. There are lots more violent games than non-violent ones and if you want your child to play video games you're limited to girl games (Barbie gets dressed up) or educational ones (Putt-putt goes to the moon).

    So it sorta makes it hard to find something for your kid to play.

    Alternatively, he could just read a book or go outside and play. But do we really want to push this poor kid into sports? :)
    • Whaaaa? I can't say I agree. There's plenty of games that are kid-friendly.

      Just look at the Gamecube. Off the top of my head, I can think of plenty of games that a child could play: Mario Sunshine, Animal Crossing, Pikmin, Mario Party (insert number here), Mario Golf, Super Monkey Ball, Mario Kart Double Dash, Harvest Moon. There's plenty more, but I thjnk I've made my point. Some of these have no violence at all or only stuff milder than most cartoons. Best of all, these are all pretty good games, a
      • Is known for its "family friendly" system...

        Now name the PS/2 kid games.
        The XBox kid games.

        There's alot less there.
  • Please clean up your porn films, and use your porn powers for 'good'!

    Take into account the fact that children are watching your porn films, no matter that they shouldn't be!

    Won't you please think of the children!
  • We have been down this road before. And, once again, I have to say the author is wrong in calling for the publishers to curb their work.

    There is one specific place this has to happen, and that is with the parents. However, there is something the parents need, and that is EDUCATION. And I place that squarely on the shoulders of not just the publishers but also those of the retailers.

    Let's pick on Best Buy: Why is Eternal Darkness right next to F-Zero? Both are clearly rated... why are they together?

  • Dear Mr President, hear my plea: start injecting a strong sense of right and wrong into your government.
    I don't want anything less than the strongest sense of ethics and a massive dose of moral fiber.

    Take into account the fact that kids are living here, no matter that they aren't making campaign contributions.
    • The injection of "a massive dose of moral fiber" is precisely what's dumped our country into the proverbial shitter, to make a pun. I may only have been around since 1980, but my mom never told me about any abortion-clinic bombings, religious persecution in America, or violent intolerance of non-mainstream people in her day. Maybe she sheltered me, but let's be totally honest here-- since the mid-80s, more work has been put into legislating morality than has been put into solving the root cause of the pro
  • I'm making this plea to the porn industry to use their powers for good. Children are observing your product regardless if they should or not. You should include more examples of good and bad, right and wrong into your products. I would like to see a display of morals and use your products to teach our children. Does this example make it obvious enough how ignorant some of this stuff is getting? Some games are made for adults. Just because some get gets a hold of it, doesn't mean the creators should b
  • I thought games were mostly clear on morality. Aliens invading earth are bad. Zombies eating my flesh is bad. Portals to hell are bad. Nazis are bad. Hitler is especially bad. Orc invasions are bad. Evil King Liches are evil and bad.

    Almost all video games with a storyline are basic good vs. evil stories. A very small minority fit into the "being bad is good" catagory and those games are rated M by the ESRB and targeted for adults only. Why is a nine year-old being allowed to play such a game is th

  • Although many people are (quite rightly) pointing out that kids shouldn't be playing GTA3 and other mature-rated games, that doesn't mean that there isn't a problem.

    It seems quite evident to me that many parents are still not aware of the age ratings in games, and that there is still a general perception that Games Are For Kids.

    So taking that into account, I do think it's worth the industry as a whole doing a little more to ensure parents are better educated. Sure, it's not Rockstar/Take 2's fault that th
  • Kids know? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by flibbidyfloo (451053)
    A number of studies show that children understand the difference between fantasy and reality at a much younger age than most people seem to think. Sorry I don't have any handy, but they aren't that old. You can find it if you can wade through all the other ones that decry video game violence :)

    But of course, it's the parent's job to teach the kid a sense of moral responsibility before they give them access to violent video games. I don't have kids but my brother has 4, and I know that before they get to th
  • by bobej1977 (580278) * <.moc.oohay. .ta. .nosimajer.> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:56PM (#9250224) Homepage Journal
    Mainly, I stand on the side of freedom of expression. I prefer to live in a world where ideas aren't hampered by what someone else determines is vulgar or devisive. But this is a compromise, not an end in-and-of itself. I'm compromising having to look at things that offend me with ensuring that I myself will never be censored.

    That said, I defintely feel there is something wrong with the amount and vugarity of violence in games, especially when considering that this is an ongoing trend. Are we kidding ourselved that the same human instinct that drove the Romans to kill people for sport in an arena is not the same one which keeps me glued to the screen playing Far Cry?

    Perhaps as a species we are cursed that whenever a society reaches a level where we no longer have to struggle, people turn to ugly and vicious pursuits.

  • Often, people can tell right from wrong and just don't care. I don't think it's computer games' responsibility to address the secondary issue of people who do wrong knowing it's wrong. These same people have no problem doing something wrong as long as they are not punished. Games often attempt to convey the sense that an action was wrong, but in those cases, it's usually just the wrong way to go about something because it doesn't help you achieve the game goal, or else you "die." If you do something mor

  • by Hassman (320786)
    First off let me say that in no way is it up to game developers to put this kind of content in their product if it doesn't call for it. The gaming industry isn't here to raise your child...that is the parents job.

    Now then, I don't necessarily agree with the author, but his article has sparked my interest. Not so much in the way of what content should be acceptable in games or that games need to have a clear set of what is right and what is wrong and focus on the 'right'. But in the way that the majority
  • A normal kid does not derive ethical codes from conduct he sees in a video game. Period. If your kid is an exception, the solution lies in fixing your parenting, not in instigating sweeping reform in the video games industry.

    Talk about a scapegoat... why was this editorial even posted?
  • I remember reading about Richard Garriott when he had just finished Ultima III. With a kind of shock he realised that people of all ages spent 100-200 hours each on the game. During that time the game designer has a definite influence on the gamer. He didn't mind most designers filling that time with mindless violence, but he wanted to do something more constructive with it. So he designed the set of ethics that became the foundation of Ultima IV. This made Ultima IV one of the most beloved games of all tim

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

Working...