Thursday, September 02, 2010

Everybody watch this now


http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/1961-Free-Speech

22 comments:

Crafty_Shadow said...

We already did.

Ramzeltron said...

Wow, this week's episode of Extra Credits was extra poignant.

This message really needs to be spread.

rob said...

Yeah, like Crafty said.

Uhm, about banning games because they're violent, sexist etc. etc.
Has nothing been learned from Catcher In The Rye?

Alexander said...

I don't understand the fuss. I mean I understand the economic reasons against censorship. But kids aren't adults, they don't have the same rights as us and almost none of the responsibilities either. I think access to material intended for adults should be restricted by default. If parents want to buy this stuff for young kids then its fine. Any deep artistic notes that a game, movie, or whatever, wants to hit will almost certainly fly over the heads of anyone under 16. I mean how many people appreciated any art they were exposed to pre-high school, on anything more than a completely superficial level?

Rarer Monsters said...

Censorship is never about protecting the community or maintaining community ideals, because if people actually agreed with the messages at play, they wouldn't need censorship. This is about an opportunistic minority pushing through laws to bully others. If, god forbid, this decision goes awry, I think I'll start distrubiting copies of Rapelay just to compensate.

untra said...

The episode is also being broad casted on gamepolitics.com . Its message is going to get widespread-and fast.

jameshayes said...

Perhaps censorship isn't always a bad thing - but painting an artistic medium under a very broad brush is. Saying that all games may or may not have artistic value is the same as saying all books do, or all films do..but, as we all know, there are genres within those media that do not have any valuable artistic quality to them (see: porn). I think the public needs to look at games a bit differently now: they've grown to such a level that we have to recognize some as artistic methods of storytelling and immersion, and others as just entertainment of whatever sort.

Timothy said...

Stupid question incoming.

In the USA (I'm from New Zealand, for clarification) are there age restrictions on games? That is to say can anybody buy any game provided they have the money? For instance, could a child walk up to the counter of Walmart and purchase Grand Theft Auto willy-nilly?

Q said...

@Timothy
No.

@Everyone who thinks this isn't a big deal.

You're all basically forgetting the fact that, in the US, the mainstream perceive that video games (yes, all video games) are for children. So, when they say they want to censor video games for children what their basically saying is that they want to censor all games in general.

*Yes, even though the majority of people who play video games are over 17. They view everyone who still plays and is over college age is a man-child who can't grow up and not as the target demographic. 'I mean after all what can an adult get out of a media that isn't an art form, right?'

Cyrus said...

I've loved Daniel Floyd's lectures ever since he started back on Screwattack.com. He makes some magnificent arguments although I still prefer you're TGO episodes.

Hey Bob, I was wondering what you thought of the re-release of Super Mario All Stars on the Wii? Turns out you were right back in you're wish list episode (excluding the level editor that is)
I was wondering if you were excited about that, even though it only has a Japanese release date so far.

Axle said...

So I understand how potentially bad the situation can end up. It would be pretty terrible. However, could someone explain how preventing minors from buying mature games (by themselves anyway) is different then preventing minors from going to see an R rated movie? If that was all this was about, would it be that different?

Smashmatt202 said...

I already did. And I posted a link to it on every forum I go to, plus I shared it on FaceBook. And I'm not going to stop there!

Tom Shapira said...

"could someone explain how preventing minors from buying mature games (by themselves anyway) is different then preventing minors from going to see an R rated movie? If that was all this was about, would it be that different?"

I answer here as a non-gamer, so if I'm missing something out from that perspective please let me know:
1. The current movie rating is bad: it puts a whole load of power in the hands of the MPAA, they can basically dictate to the creators what they put on the screen: since no studio would release an NC 17 movie (a financial disaster), and most would rather avoid R for major releases – so you get bloodless, sexless (gutless) action and horror movies. This is fine as long as that what the creator wanted – but chances are he (they) was forced to tune it down.
P.S – watch "This Film is not Yet Rated" for an explanation why this system sucks
2. The results of such a decision could mean an end to all "mature" games by any non indie studio: your major developers wouldn't create anything more "dangerous" than Mario Bros. if they would know most of their target audience would be forbidden from buying it. If this development existed in the 80's we might have not gotten DOOM, because it's not financially sound to market only to over 18's – it's not that Fallout would fail, it that's it would not exist!
3. This court decision seems to put the power of "game rating" in the hand of state: a parent could not decision because it has been made for him. even if we're talking about a game equivalent of the MPAA it is still a bad idea – a parent should be responsible for their child, they should not have this responsibility taken from them and given to an outside force, this is because kids are unique – my parents allowed me to read American Psycho before 18 because they knew I could "deal with it" (also – I'm a wimp), likewise all parents must know what is suitable for their children.

The Grey Man said...

Aside from the "same could be said x10 about video games" comment at the end, I agree.

Clayton said...

Bob once talked about something like this in his finals appearance for the My Vids Don't Suck contest. We need to band together and get the word out that gaming ISN'T just for kids and it does have artistic merit. If we don't and this b.s. is passed then we could very well see some serious damage done to the industry and the medium. Film had to go through it until 1952 and the comics industry borderline collapsed when something like this happened. To arms, brothers!

Adam said...

I'm in general not a big 'free market' thinker. Don't read into that any more than what I'm saying because large political beliefs are a different subject all together.

That being said, I'm more than a bit ashamed to come from California recently. I can't stand that there are people there that literally wouldn't know their 1st amendment history if it bit them on the tucus.

I refer people to Seduction of the Innocent. A alarm raising bit of tripe that established as legal precedent the Comics Code of Authority. They claimed all of the exact same things of the Comic book industry in 1954. The effects of which are well known. The laws that came about because of this fear mongering, prohibition style hysteria cut down a great number of comic book companies. A once vibrant and diverse media became obsessed with what crazy super power Jimmy Olson would get, not because anyone wanted it, but because they couldn't stand to see their favorite media die off.

Of course nobody looking at comments on Moviebobs web page should need to be told this. The fact that this case has been chosen by the US supreme court either speaks very well of the situation or very badly of the situation. For a court that hears these cases on their own discretion, and choosing to hear this case more or less means they already have opinions on the matter that they are going to share.

If you want proof that video game regulation is 'bullshit' please watch Penn and Teller's episode regarding the subject. A they get a child who likes to play 'murder simulators' like GTA/Halo/CoD4 to fire at a cutout target. If this media was harmful, or even 'desensitized' children, there's no way that kid would have the reaction he had at the end of the episode.

Ankhwatcher said...

Are they arguing against the enforcement of age ratings? I'm having trouble nailing down the subject here.

Nick said...

Already did. Watched it yesterday. I signed all the petitions as well.

Unfortunately, all the petition-signing and donating and letter-writing in the world won't do a thing to affect the outcome. The supremes have already made up their minds before they even go into the courtroom. Like all legislative bodies, it is staffed with old people who don't know and don't WANT to know anything whatsoever about video games. And they're not elected officials, and the politicians who voted for this law are in no danger of losing their positions, since they know the American public are so gullible they'll believe anything they're told by advertising, and even the ones that don't believe it have such a short attention span that they'll have forgotten all about it in two weeks.

So, they're going to pass these laws, M-rated games are going to be pretty much banned (since Wal-Mart will no longer be carrying them, and no game publisher will greenlight any game that Wal-Mart says it won't carry), and the American game industry will be relegated to kiddie-game status.

And it won't matter if the good developers set up European branches, since the obstacle isn't MAKING the games, it's selling them, and we'll stop importing M-rated games as well. And since the USA has unbelievable purchasing power over the games industry, this will cripple the European games industry as well.

So, wonderful franchises like BioShock will be no more, and piracy of Japanese franchises will shoot up fifty gazillion percent.

Rarer Monsters said...

@Nick: You're right that letter writing and donating won't help (since this is now in the hands of the larger legal entities handling the case), but you're totally wrong about this: "The supremes have already made up their minds before they even go into the courtroom."

It's easy to look at the supreme court as a bunch of old guys, but they are a million times smarter and more educated than any politician and even if they tend to form conceptions from observing the case and getting extensive briefs before it reaches, they are definitely discussing this law with each other. And the fact that they aren't elected officials is GOOD, since the entire reason these laws are in place is because elected officials are trying to APPEASE voters.

And the idea that the old can't discuss this because they don't like video games is completely wrong, since you don't NEED to understand video games to make this decision, since you only need to understand free speech, and given the make-up of the court and their recent decisions it's very possible that they will make the right decision.


As a side note, on reflection I don't really get the point of this video. Yes, they're right, video games are free speech and need protection, but nobody who watches it doeesn't already agree, and getting popular support is meaningless at the point because we've reached the Supreme Court stage.

Axle said...

@Tom Shapira

I guess I just don't pay much attention to how the much effect the movie ratings have. Gracias. And yeah, parents should be responsible, I guess I just kinda grew up with that mentality, so I didn't even think how untrue it is at the moment.

Duffy said...

The primary concern is not the specific law in question. It's that ruling in favor of it means Video Games are excluded from the 1st Amendment's protection. That means any future law can do anything it wants to video games because of the SCOTUS precedent. Or at least until SCOTUS visits it again and overrules the previous precedent, which from my understanding is rare and hard to do.

We all probably agree that kids shouldn't be able to buy any content they want, but limiting it through a legal mandate violates (as of right now) the 1st Amendment. Therefore the job of protecting the children falls on parents and the industry's ability to inform the parents; systems that are already in place.

Alcibiades said...

I find it very unlikely that the video game industry will lose this case. As the video mentioned, the current supreme court is as extreme on the first amendment as one can find in the history of the institution. If the dollar donations of McDonalds and Halliburton are speech, I can't see this court claiming that video games aren't. They chose this case because they wanted to finally establish in the highest forum that yes, video games are protected speech under the first amendment.