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The 64% Violent Pacman 435

Posted by Zonk
from the hah dept.
DreamWinkle writes "During the recent Senate hearings on video game violence, one expert claimed that the ESRB underrated violent games. They went on to say that Pacman was 64% violent. To some, this means you shouldn't play Pacman; to others, it highlights what's wrong with Senate hearings. Whether a game is violent or not depends on how you classify violence, and the ESRB has the job of doing just that. They're not regulated by the government, they let the game makers recommend their own ratings, and don't play every game they rate. Is the ESRB to be trusted?"
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The 64% Violent Pacman

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  • 42 (Score:5, Funny)

    by davevt5 (30696) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:50PM (#15793922) Homepage Journal

    Saying Packman is "64% violet" is like saying the meaning of life is "42 [techtarget.com]".

    • Re:42 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by crystalattice (179900) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:57PM (#15793995) Homepage
      I'm curious how they came to such an accurate "violence rating" of 64%? Do they have a list that they check off as they play? If it was a TV show, how would they classify it? TV13, TV7, TV7-FV(Fantasy Violence)?

      I think the whole ratings system needs an overhaul, and it needs to stay out of Congress. They can't even describe the Internet correctly or decide on a definition of "pornography"; how can they decide how violent something is?
      • by mrxak (727974) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:16PM (#15794179)

        I only play games with a violence rating of 65% or higher.

        Anyway, congress should really just let video games be, and let the ESRB and parents do their jobs.

        • by MadJo (674225) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:54PM (#15794993) Homepage Journal
          you mean, parents have responsibilities? Surely not!
          It's up to the congress to legislate our childs upbringing.
          It's only through laws that we can teach our children what they need to learn.
          • by rainman_bc (735332) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:51PM (#15795316)
            you mean, parents have responsibilities? Surely not!
            It's up to the congress to legislate our childs upbringing.


            So I am a good parent. I watch what my kid does on the internet and what my kid sees on TV. I try to teach my kid about looking at things critically and how to see through marketing BS. I teach my kids violence isn't right and they should treat people with respect and carry themselves with dignity.

            Some other parents though might negelect their children. They are too self absorbed to be watching what their kids see on TV or what video games these kids play. These kids may watch violence all the time. They feel toughness is empowering. These are the kids that go to school and bully other kids around. They steal and fight and act with impunity. I think I'd like my government to protect me and my kids from kids like that. It's not the fault of those children but the fault of their parents, but my children might pay the price of those parent's incompetance.

            I'm generallizing. I realize there are exceptions to the rules, but children who watch violence on TV tend to be more violent than those who do not.

            The problem is this. Parents have a god-given right to not teach their children a damned thing. Do we have a right to be subjected to those children who cannot tell right from wrong because the TV raised them, or can we do something about it.

            I don't agree with their rules for myself, but I think these rules can help protect me from bad parents.
            • by Damvan (824570) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:29PM (#15795530)
              Save the Children!

              You know, some parents raise their kids in a religion that I don't agree with. They let them read books I don't agree with. Or even discuss political topics I don't agree with. Do we have a right to be subjected to those children who are not raised the way I think they should be raised, or can we do something about it!

              There is really no difference between what I wrote above and what you wrote. You are essentially saying that you want the government to protect you and your family from children raised a way you don't agree with. Sorry bud, but some parents have been raising screwed up kids since day one. It is part of living in a world full of people. I am sure you can find a parent who thinks you are screwing up your kids in one way or another because of the way you are raising them. Are you more right than they are? For your kids, yes, you are right. For their kids, no, they are. Just like you don't want people telling you how to raise your kids, do you think they want people telling them how to raise theirs?

              So, you don't let your kids play Pac-man?
              • You know, some parents raise their kids in a religion that I don't agree with.

                Freedom of religion. The people's law allows this, and I believe that most of the western countries' cultures allow that.

                They let them read books I don't agree with. Or even discuss political topics I don't agree with.

                Freedom of speech. The people's law allows this, and I believe that most of the western countries' cultures allow that.

                Compare that to :

                These are the kids that go to school and bully other kids around.

                Vio

            • by blincoln (592401) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:13PM (#15795937) Homepage Journal
              I don't agree with their rules for myself, but I think these rules can help protect me from bad parents.

              Part of being an adult is having the ability to live in a world where people aren't all exactly like how you want them to be.

              Part of being a good parent is teaching your children how to deal with living in that same world.
            • I'm generallizing. I realize there are exceptions to the rules, but children who watch violence on TV tend to be more violent than those who do not.

              I call BS.

              Children whose parents neglect them, or abuse them, or bully them, or simply aren't supportive and nurturing tend to be more violent than kids whose parents aren't.

              I was allowed to watch movies that were "above" my age by my parents when I was a kid - I'm not talking about slasher flicks when I was 5 or anything silly, merely more "grown up" films that

      • Re:42 (Score:3, Funny)

        "I can't define violence, but I can tell when it has reached 64%"
        --Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

        Oh wait, that was about pornography.
    • 64% violet? (Score:5, Funny)

      by sharkey (16670) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:03PM (#15794053)
      Actually, I thought he was 100% yellow.
  • I see you (Score:5, Funny)

    by kyouteki (835576) <[kyouteki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:50PM (#15793925) Homepage
    I'll say Pac-Man's violent. Have you ever seen what he does to those poor ghosts? Eats 'em and leaves nothing but the eyes. Gruesome stuff, man.
  • Waka (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sweeman (980241) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#15793942) Homepage
    Of course it's violent. Power pellets have feelings too!
  • by nsmike (920396) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#15793950)
    "...US Government declares eating violent."
  • 64%? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#15793951) Homepage
    Where the hell did that number come from?
  • I've seen... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MorderVonAllem (931645) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#15793953)
    ...G rated movies that are more violent than pacman...what was this guy smoking? This definetly highlights what's wrong with the Senate.
  • by Doches (761288) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {sehcoD}> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:53PM (#15793955)
    If they're using int for that number, I suspect that games like GTA come in with a rather nice ranking, somewhere around -17%...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe we can overflow this int to cause a buffer overrun later on down the line ... inject some (new) arbitrary senators
  • by steveo777 (183629) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:56PM (#15793983) Homepage Journal
    What happened to the other 44%? Is that just the start and hi-score screens?
  • by Jerf (17166) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:57PM (#15793998) Journal
    Obviously, the context-free statement that Pac-Man is "64% violent" is pretty silly. I doubt you can really measure a game's violence that way. "Percent" implies certain mathematical properties, like Pac-Man is exactly twice as violent as a 32% violent game, or that each individual thing that contributes a given number of percentage points is equally violent, and perhaps most entertainingly, that it is impossible for a game to be more than slightly over 50% more violent than Pac-Man. (Bet you didn't know that Grand Theft Auto is only ~50% more violent than Pac-Man!)

    Numbers should not be assigned to fundamentally non-numeric entities, that way lies a number of cognitive and rhetorical traps.

    But I am curious, does anyone have more information on where that number may have come from precisely, however flawed it may be? Ideally, some form of "violence checklist", where you check off various attributes of the game and add up the "score".

    I'm sure it will allow us to all-the-more effectively collectively mock the number, but hey, who knows, maybe the list will have some redeeming value.
    • by Guuge (719028) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:19PM (#15794210)

      I managed to dig up a little from a site by the creators of the study [harvard.edu]. Here's the juicy bit:

      One author (Kevin Haninger) reviewed and coded all of the recorded game play, noting the starting and ending times of each incident of violence toward other characters, the type of weapons used for violence, whether the violent incident resulted in injury or death, and the number of character deaths attributable to the violent incident. The JAMA article contains a table that lists each video game we played, as well as the genre, console, release year, ESRB-assigned content descriptors, and our measures of violence.

      So it seems that the number refers to the percentage of time that the game is violent. Now, how is violence defined such that Pacman gets such a brutal rating?

      We defined violence as acts in which the aggressor causes or attempts to cause physical injury or death to another character. We did not include damage to objects, accidental actions that unintentionally harmed another character, the effects of natural disasters, or the presence of dangerous obstacles that could not be attributed to the actions of a particular character. We also did not count as violence any intentional acts of physical force that represented normal play in a sports game (e.g., tacking in football or checking in hockey), because the intention of the player is technically to stop the other player without causing injury. We did count excessive physical contact in sports games, such as punching or otherwise attacking another player (e.g., after the football play was over).

      If Pacman's ghosts were replaced by rolling boulders, it would have nearly no violence. Discuss.

      • by Jerf (17166) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:29PM (#15794313) Journal
        Ghosts are, by definition, already dead.

        Can you really commit violence against them?

        Moreover, it's not immediately obvious that Pac-Man is alive either. (Discuss. :) )
        • Maybe Pac-Man isn't really harming the ghosts. He's not eating the Ghosts, they live on. He's eating their clothing. The so called ghosts simply return home and don another sheet when Pac-Man catches them.

          Maybe Pac-Man is really just a creature that enjoys the taste of clothing worn by a dark skinned creature. Eating the clothing seems to be enjoyable to Pac-Man, but receiving a whip crack to the ass from the mystical material transports Pac-Man back to his starting position.

          How do we know the Ghosts don't enjoy chasing Pac-Man! They get to smack him on the rear if they catch him, but if he catches them they have to go home naked. It could all be in fun and jest, and us dolts of the human race have misinterpreted the entire ritual!
          • I always thought it was like a complicated game of tag.

            There are 4 people who are it and one person running away. If he can collect all the markers before he's tagged, he wins. He gets 3 chances before he loses. There's also these bonus markers which gives him invincibility and if he tags one of the 4 when he's in invincible mode, they have to return to a spot before coming after him again.
      • by Jherico (39763) <`gro.saerdnatnias' `ta' `sivadb'> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:34PM (#15794845) Homepage
        We did count excessive physical contact in sports games, such as punching or otherwise attacking another player (e.g., after the football play was over).
        This is a compelling statement. It implicitly states that violent sports aren't violence, in the eyes of the study. Tackling a football player inside a computer game isn't violent as long as its in the context of the game. Why is this? What are football, soccer, and rugby if not mock combat? Where do they get their free pass from being considered violent? If you look at the spectrum of mock combat activities, ranging from Chess to Football to PVP in World Of Warcraft, you have to admit that Football is the ONLY activity where someone is actually liable to be hurt in the normal course of the game. And yet computer games seem to be the target of all the ire.

        Next time a politician starts taking pot shots at violence in 'games', join his campaign and try to expand it to include Chess and Football. See how it goes.

    • by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:30PM (#15794825)
      If you take the binary of the original arcade pac-man and disassemble it, you will find that 64% of the assembly instructions contain the so called "violent bit".
    • Assigning random numbers is a time-honored way of lending false credability to claims. Thinks "72 virgins," "seven days to create the earth," etc..

      Those presenting this report must think congress is quite gullible.

      Actually, I would guess half of them really think the earth was created in seven days (and the rest just pretend to do so). That IS pretty gullible.
  • Uncessary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spykemail (983593) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:58PM (#15794008) Homepage
    Rating systems are completely unecessary attempts to circumvent the 1st amendment. The idea that the government (or even industry) is responsible for keeping kids away from "adult" material is laughable. Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers, be that parents at home, teacher's at school, whoever is watching over the children at any given time. The legal guardians are responsible for gradually teaching the kids what's what.

    When they are old enough not to be cared for they are old enough (and should have been taught enough) to decide what to watch and play for themselves. Movies theatres and retail stores are not needed in the process.
    • Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers...

      Nice. Well, as the "caretaker" of two children I find rating systems like the ESRB essential. Exactly how do you expect me to keep adult material from children if I can't determine which material is "adult"?

      Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?
      • Do it just like the rest of us decide which games to buy:

        Do your homework and read some reviews.

        Perhaps there's a void to be filled by creating a childrens game review site?
        • Yeah. That will work. Because Gamespot always quantifies games by whether or not they contain foul language, or nudity, or way to much blood for a 7 year old, or anything else.

          Or you could read all the reviews and note that the ESRB rated the game "T" for language.
      • Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

        Did you expect good parenting to be easy and convenient?

      • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:40PM (#15794435) Journal
        No we don't expect you to play through a game, but being remotely informed on the topic is a good idea. Is it really so difficult to slap the games name in Google and look at the reviews, trailers and screenshots? We live in an era with free research in effect, make use of it and spend five minutes checking the game out.

        While it may not cover every little cut scene and detail it will cover 90% of the content or at least give you a good idea of the context. Plus some times something which challenges YOUR view is good for your kids, it lets them see that mummy and daddy arn't always right and to think for themselvs a bit.

        While it may not be popular with the Slashdot crowd who seem to want 100% freedom for everyone but kids who need to be handcuffed to the parents constantly, you have to remember to challenge your kids and their ideas/opinions/ideals at times. It lets them develope ways to deal with it and become a real person rather than a mini version of you built to follow instead of lead.
      • by Atzanteol (99067) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:45PM (#15794480) Homepage

        Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

        Good lord no! I fully expect you to do as little as possible and yet maintain your expectation that your children will not be exposed to things you don't care for.

      • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:02PM (#15795032)
        Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

        No.

        Because if your children become mass murderers, drug addicts, or sex offenders when they grow up... Then chances are it wasn't because they played Doom or looked at a Playboy magazine.

        I'd say it will have to do something to the fact you did not take interest in their lives or didn't love them unconditionally. That and teach them a good moral framework and the ability to discern fantasy from reality (and the importance of higher education and getting a job)

        Many of us 20-30 somethings today as kids played D&D, listened to "satanic" heavy metal, looked at playboys, played violent video games (Wolf3d and Doom), read really violent comics, and even tried to smoke a cigarrette before we were 13 back in the late 80's and early 90s... Yet today 99.99% of us slashdotters are well adjusted people who are very successful in what we do who are starting to have families on their own.

        You could let your kids play GTA all they want (as long as it doesn't interfere with sleep, school, and social activities) and they won't turn into criminal or evil person.

        The reason kids do turn out bad is because video games are often used in lieu of a parent. It doesn't matter if it Pac Man, Doom3, Mortal Kombat, My Little Pony, EQ, Barney Loves Kids, or Mario Brothers.

        If you think raising kids means simply means putting your kid in front of a TV or computer and letting them sit there forever without ever being involved in their life... Then well... You are going to be suprised when they don't come home after 3 in the morning and are failing every class they have in school.

        At the same time... A kid who plays Doom and GTA can still have good grades and social skills if you moderate his playing time and have him do other activities like chores, reading books, and schoolwork.

        Even then you still can make those things fun... Give your 12 year old the Lord of the Rings trilogy book and after he reads them let him watch the movie. Your 8 year old passes his grade with flying colors... Go buy him a video game... Don't be as much concerned about the content of the game as how he reacts to it. As in... Just because he sees people behave in a certain way or say certain words that it isn't ok for them to say it or do those things.
    • by moosesocks (264553)
      Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers

      You mean, sort of like a..... big brother?
       
    • I'd say ratings boards are a necessary evil. Parents don't have the time to learn about everything their kids might be interested in; but on the other hand, they need to understand ratings are subjective and take the time to, perhaps, read the back of the box if it's an M or AO.

      And as far as circumventing the 1st amendment, it's not *restricting* speech in any way. Companies are still free to make games however they want and include whatever they want. Whether or not game stores decide whether or not to
    • Re:Uncessary (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers, be that parents at home, teacher's at school, whoever is watching over the children at any given time. The legal guardians are responsible for gradually teaching the kids what's what.

      And yet you'll find that decency standards have been enforced throughout history (including here in the 1st-amendment-protected USA). I'm not completely disagreeing with you -- it's just that communities have always enforced decency standards of some

  • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:58PM (#15794015) Homepage Journal
    Baseball -- People whack the heck out of an innocent little ball with a large wooden club.
    Football -- People kick the heck out of an innocent ball.
    American Football -- Two teams blitz, bomb, and violently tackle each other.
    Hockey -- Nuff said.
    Basketball -- People bounce an innocent ball repeatedly against a hard floor.
    Pong Pong -- People whack a very small ball back and forth.
    Golf -- People whack a very small ball, often wounding it and/or sending it into water/sand.

    They all sound unacceptable violent to me...
  • by CogDissident (951207) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @02:59PM (#15794020)
    You know hot coffee wasn't really so bad. Granted, it shouldn't have been in the game, but it was a pretty convoluted hack to get to it, and it wasn't really as big a step to take from a game about murdering hookers after you slept with them.
    But back to topic. The ESRB rates games erratically, its hard to quantify dynamic content simply based on what behaviors and actions you perform in a game. Some game companies will submit many 'versions' to the ESRB just to get one thats rated at what they want it to be. The system is screwed up, but somehow manages to self regulate well 99% of the time.
    The main reason for this is because game companies realize that certain markets want violent games, and certain ones don't. You could try to get GTA3 rated as 'early adolecent', and heck, it might work, but why would you? Theres no profit in it, theres no motivation, there is no bucket of cold hard cash at the end of that tunnel.
  • Show Me! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Malevolyn (776946)
    I really want to know the procedure used to put a number to Pacman's "violence." Mario is probably up in the 80% region.

    He jumps on creatures to kill them.
    Kicks most likely endangered turtles
    Throws fire at living creatures
    In Mario 64, he punches and kicks poor, innocent animals and bombs
    - Incites random attacks on royalty.
    - Kill moles and attempts to block their homes.
    - Chases and attacks monkies.
  • Ahh, nostalgia.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:00PM (#15794025) Journal
    When I was in grammar school, I can remember the teachers complaining about violent videogames. "Space Invaders is just about killing things," they'd say, "And in Pac-Man you are eating them up."

    I'm not kidding around here, I believe I was in 6th grade. Another thing I remember about 6th grade was live white mice being fed to the class snake for the edification of our young minds.

    So, Pac-Man eating Ghosts==Evil and Wrong

    Real Snake eating Real Mice==Edumacational.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:06PM (#15794075)
    The remaining 36% percent has been determined to consist of:
    15.08% squeely beeps
    18.00% necrophagy
    27.71% drugs
    24.02% gender ambiguity
    10.62% spin-offs
      4.08% blue period
      0.57% unknown... scratch that... tar
  • by CaseM (746707) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:12PM (#15794142)
    But I'm 90% sure that 75% of statistics are made up on the spot...mostly...
  • MPAA (Score:2, Informative)

    by furnk (935156)
    This is the exact same thing as the MPAA. I prefer industry ratings to government ratings, but the secrecy and lack of accountability of some of these organizations makes me nervous. Go watch "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" [wikipedia.org]
  • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:22PM (#15794234) Journal
    they don't play every game they rate? !??

    My understanding is that they don't play any game they rate.

    Have things changed? Their description seems a little off. I'll highlight what they seem to get wrong in the quote from the article below.

    Instead of having members of the ESRB sit down and play the games in order to decide a rating, developers must submit a written report of everything the game includes. They must also compile a video that is representative of the content a gamer will find in the game when they purchase it at the store. Additionally, the game is played by a number of people who are unaffiliated to the game industry, and who then recommend the game's rating. All three elements, as well as others, are taken into consideration when the rating is assigned.

    For the first highlight, it's a little misleading, "representative of the content a gamer will find" makes it sound like a representitive cross-section of the content. So, for a game like Animal Crossing you would expect hours of gathering fruit and catching fish. But actually the footage is of selected acts and elements (there is a list) and of those acts or elements carried out the the greatest degree present anywhere in the game. So, for Animal Crossing you would have footage of the character getting bitten by Tarantulas and Scorpions, showing the greatest degree of violence in the game.

    They make a point of saying that they don't care about the context of the event, because a parent glancing over at the screen won't care either.

    This system is why Rockstar is liable in the eyes of the ESRB for not disclosing the content on the disc - they shipped those animation paths, models,et al. They provided footage that was supposed to show the greatest degree of sexuality on the disc and it was probably just kissing and a bouncing car. It doesn't matter that it required a hack to access because the ESRB doesn't care how the shipped content is played, they just care about the content.

    For the second point, "the game is played by a number of people who are unaffiliated to the game industry" -- maybe I just don't remember the process correctly and maybe it's changed, but I don't think that you ever send the ESRB actual code. After all, a lot of games recieve their ratings before they're complete.
  • It should be pointed out that whether or not the ESRB can be trusted (which should be up to each of us to decide, and there's nothing wrong with providing facts which could help individuals decide precisely this) is unrelated to what we should do about it. In particular, showing that the ESRB is not trustworthy in the eyes of some should not lead anyone to declare that the only solution is government regulation. If you don't trust their opinion of games, find someone you do trust. If you can't find someone,
  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:24PM (#15794254) Homepage
    It's a sad day that the King of American Macho Violence, Duke Nukem, is cast from this throne to be replaced by a pill-popping, ghost-seeing Japanese pizza missing a quarter-slice. Only if Duke Nukem Forever was released would things turn around for our beloved hero.
  • by Xibby (232218) <zibby+slashdot@ringworld.org> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:27PM (#15794293) Homepage Journal
    It is impossible to create a mathematical model to quantify any creative work. What may work for one movie won't work for another. What will work for a coffee blend won't work for a painting. What will work for an abstract painting won't work for a impressionist painting.

    A rating isn't anything based in fact or science. Any rating, including those for movies, games, 4 starts, 5 stars, etc. isn't based in math and science, they are based on opinion and criteria deemed important for the medium.

    The MPAA and ESRB are just a bunch of critics who happen to use an established set of criteria to establish a somewhat consistent system of judging the content.

    As with any critic, you have to be in an educated consumer. Not everyone agrees with Ebert and Roper, but Ebert and Roper have a track record that you can depend on which allows you to make decisions based on their opinions. The same can be said for the MPAA and ESRB. Content is reviewed and critiqued based on the board's criteria for material appropriate to age group X, Y, and Z.
  • this just in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Some_Llama (763766) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:02PM (#15794618) Homepage Journal
    "65% of the population will believe any quote as long as the name that accompanies it is held in high regard." -Albert Einstein
  • by BAM0027 (82813) <blo@27.org> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:44PM (#15794920) Homepage
    Googling define:catharsis gives "The release of tension and anxiety by recounting and/or acting out past experience," from www.dphilpotlaw.com and "The emotional reenactment in thought or symbolic form of a painful experience that brings relief of the distress caused by the original experience," from www.hec.ohio-state.edu.

    I find that playing violent games does not, and has not, lead to me being a more violent person. I also find that playing games like Gauntlet, Lego Star Wars, Full Throttle, and others with my six year old daughter does not lead her to conclude that violence is the answer to her problems. In fact, the net result of playing these violent games is that we have fun and entertain ourselves.

    Looking at the #1 "Most Violent Game" per this cited study, I was wondering what would compel a person to play something like "Nuclear Strike 64". I came up with two reasons (there are probably more). 1) someone wanted to enjoy breaking things down a little via harmless video images, or 2) someone wanted to practice making nuclear strikes on someone and this was the best simulation they could come up with.

    Yes, those are facetious, but none of the games listed propose to be acts of realism and that's very obvious in the same way that Bugs Bunny was simply funny because it was a cartoon. That is in contrast to prime time television that is reality-based drama or documentary where violence is acted out and manipulated as a form of entertainment. Not only is violence displayed outright but television also provokes an emotional longing for it by leaving shows with cliff-hangers and tension.

    As an adult, I can view television with context and objectivity. Children who are still developing emotionally can be dramatically affected from viewing those sorts of images much more so than by interacting with a game or cartoon. I am much more concerned with exposing my daughter to prime time drama television than I am to cartoons and/or video games like the ones cited in the research.

    p.s. Bear in mind that I would NOT arbitrarily expose her to GTA or realistic military games either.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:59PM (#15795019)
    RNC headquarters - "our war in iraq is collapsing, we didnt find wmds, half our party is under suspicion of felony criminal acts, domestic policy is falling apart, and jobs are being shipped overseas at record rates!, what do we do".. *5 minutes later* "LOOK PUBLIC! OVER THERE! VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES!"

    DNC headquaters - "our opposition is in real political trouble but we still cant get votes because we refuse to take a firm position and are weak like wet noodles!" *5 minutes later* "LOOK PUBLIC! OVER THERE! VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES!"

  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:12PM (#15795085)
    "We noted significant differences in the amount of violence among video game genres. All of the video games played in the action (n=22), adventure (n=3), fighting (n=2), shooting (n=1), strategy (n=1), and simulation (n=1) genres contained violence, while only 2 of 12 sports games (17%) included violence not associated with normal play in a sports game."

    As we all know, violence and sports [wikipedia.org] go hand in hand. And yet these researchers are saying that playing virtual hockey is less violent than virtual pac-man? It always bugged me that people are worried that video games might make their child violent, but don't worry about football making their children violent. How many convicted felons have played for the NFL? How often is some current NFL player being charged with assault or rape? Seems to happen every week. And, somehow, these guys are seen as heroes by most of America, while 'gamers' are seen as unstable and violent.
  • by kinglink (195330) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:13PM (#15795097)
    We, the People for the Protection of Pellets have struck the first blow. Now our oppressor, who calls himself Pacman will feel the wraith of the government. No longer will our pellets be required to get help from ghosts to stop the evil yellow menace from attacking them. No longer will we have to worry about the "Power Pellet" who have betrayed us. All we ask is freedom for our white brethren!

    DEATH TO THE HUNGRY ONE!
  • by SQLz (564901) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:19PM (#15795136) Homepage Journal
    I happen to know a lot about Senate hearings. They are a series of connected tubes, and when you get 3 or 4 violent video games moving through these tubes, they get clogged up. Just last week, my staff sent me a Senate Hearing, and it took a whole day to get there.
  • by SimHacker (180785) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:45PM (#15795283) Homepage Journal

    Pac-Man's mouth is his only weapon, and it alternates between 25% open and 0% open, for an average of 12.5% open-mouthed violence.

    -Don

  • Wack-A-Mole (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigCheese (47608) <dennis.hostetler@gmail.com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:57PM (#15795353) Homepage Journal
    Hmmmmm, by their definition Wack-A-Mole [wikipedia.org] is 100% violent. That's pretty screwed up.
  • by Chysn (898420) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:32PM (#15795545)
    Pac-Man is a metaphor. The Pac-Man, see, he's a thief. He's going around a warehouse stealing things. Things worth ten points each. The ghosts, see, they're the cops. They're trying to catch Pac-Man, and if they catch him three times, he goes to the joint for life, game over, man. So what does Pac-Man do? He kills the cops. The game REWARDS you for killing cops. That's just sick, man. 64% is way off the mark.
  • by Solr_Flare (844465) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:07PM (#15795919)
    This is a prime example of how politics works when it comes to "studies" and "statistical data". If you held 100 studies and 99 of them said Pacman was a harmless game, and one kook with a phd said it was violent, which study do you think a government organization is going to pick?

    Answer: whichever one supports there agenda. There is an active political group, which includes Hillary Clinton, whose goal is to legislate video games to heck and back again. Like in all political moves, they are only going to pick out studies that back up their arguements whether they are legitimate or not. And why do these studies make news when the other ones do not? Simple, the other studies are, what we call in the non-political world, "logical" and "common sense". So why report on news that everyone knows to be true? It's like fielding a news story saying "sugar is sweet".

    So, when a political group latches on to a crazy study, it makes news because it's so outlandish. That's what politicians are hoping for because they are hoping it makes enough news that people start accepting it to be true because "everyone else is reporting this so it must be true!". This is not to say all studies held up and waved by members of the government are crazy. A lot of them are factual and make sense. But, again, this just goes to show take what you hear with a grain of salt, use a little common sense, and make your own judgements based on actual experiences.
  • by bigbigbison (104532) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @10:53PM (#15796468) Homepage
    In media reports people constantly say that ESRB ratings aren't given by the government. Well, in the USA, neither are film ratings or television ratings. ALL ratings on entertainment are voluntary. The MPAA is not a government agency any more than the RIAA is.

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