Sex and drugs and rock and roll

Many years ago, when I was young, we had a pop/rock music revolution. And it belonged to us, the young generation. And all the old people, like 25 and over, didn’t understand what was going on. So they blamed our music for all the ills of society. Mick Jagger was single handedly responsible for the nationwide rise in teenage pregnancy and unmarried cohabitation. The press painted him as the devil incarnate. Yet now he is a pillar of society. If, back then, you had suggested that the Queen would give him a knighthood you would have been laughed at.

Now history is repeating itself. The Daily Mail and everything else that is bad in the media have been on an anti games crusade. The main reason for this is because they are ignorant and don’t have the faintest idea what they are talking about. I have written about this before.

So the government have set up a review to “study of the effect of violent computer games on children”. I can save them the taxpayers money and tell them in advance what the answer to this is. It keeps them entertained. The funny thing here is that when it comes to censorship the British are obsessed with violence and have historically banned a lot of films that the rest of the world were allowed to see, whilst the Americans are obsessed with censoring sex. They would have another revolution if the best selling newspaper there started putting topless girls on page 3.

Age related content in games is a lot more controlled than it is in film, music, books, TV and art. These media could learn a lot from us (if this control were a good thing). So the government are at best misguided here. If they want to know the effects of portrayed violence then they should be looking at all media, not just games. Why aren’t they? If they did it might get rid of those nasty violent cartoons on children’s television. Or not. And why is there no age rating at all on books?

I have said it before here, hundreds of millions of people in the world are going to play video games today. They don’t then go out and start mugging old women in the street. There is no causal link between video game content and the behaviour of society. We can see this with our own eyes. And lots of academic studies have proved it.

If there is anyone to blame for anything round here then it is stupid parents. Little 12 year old Johnny walks into the game shop with mummy in tow, points at GTA and says “I want”. Mummy goes to till and pays. Does the stupid woman notice the huge 18+ emblazoned over the packaging? Of course not. Because, like the Daily Mail, she is ignorant. This scene has been repeated many millions of times around the world. And it has had no harmful effect whatsoever on all the little Johnnys. Mainly because they are already far nastier than GTA.

So good luck Tanya Byron, Ed Balls and James Purnell. I know what you are doing. You are trying to create good publicity for the government out there in middle England. This is the only thing you are interested in. It is all spin. And the idea is that it will get you votes. And the taxpayer pays for your “work”. This is government at it’s very worst and I hope it backfires. I hope that thousands of people see the stupidity and the attempted manipulation and as a result refuse to vote for Labour ever again. Now that would be a sensible result.

So is this episode increasing your disgust for politicians? Or do you think we should be wrapping children in cotton wool?


  1. Hey Bruce,

    Nice writeup. I was talking to a friend last night about this exact subject (the relationship between violent games and violent behavior), and the argument that gave them pause was this:

    Some people have claimed that Video Games should have more stringent censorship because of the interactive nature of the medium. Because we aren’t simply watching the violence or sex, but in fact “causing” it via our own input, it makes the experience more impacting and therefore more serious.

    What would you say to someone who makes this argument? Is the interaction inherent in video games a sufficient cause for us to be more worried than watching a violent television program or film or reading violent material in a novel?

    I found myself struggling to find a counter argument, and so thought I might pitch the query to all of us here at Bruceongames.

  2. Thanks for this.
    It is right that games are “worse” because they are interactive.
    But films are “worse” because the violence involves real people.
    And books are “worse” because you have to construct the violence within your own head.

  3. Bruce – great post. I remember when I was younger, it was 1970 or 1971. Santana had just come out with Abraxas, it was my first concert ever – out in California. The music did belong to us. In a time of war, where I was at, music was our escape. It was all about having a good time.

    And today, I guess their videos are the equivalent to our music. Just because they’re playing video games with crimes in them, doesn’t mean they have to go out and committ them. Good grief. What the hell is wrong with these people….maybe some of our generation needs to do a better job parenting.

  4. The problem isn’t with computer games, it’s with society in general.

    There has been a massive ‘culture’ shift across the world demographic, people are no longer satisfied with ‘normal’ and want everything and now.

    Instead of the communication ideals that were promised, we have bred and continue to foster, nations of belligerent people only concerned with what affects them, how it affects them and when it affects them.

    The mindset that is portrayed in video games is that – if you haven’t got it – go beat somebody up and get it (GTA) for example.

    Now, this is all well and good to the ‘educated’ person – but to somebody with the intelligence to rival an Amoeba, the problem exists that instead of relying on ‘old world’ principles of, if you want something go work for it, they decide to adopt this attitude of – why don’t I take it from someone else.

    So in reality, I think society is actually the ‘driver’ behind video game violence – rather than video games driving violence.

    Certainly, look back to the Spectrum days – most games were non-violent, a fair reflection on a more civilized society back then.

    I hope some idiotic Daily Mail reader stumbles across this page and gives it more than a cursory glance – it’s their generation that has caused this aftermarth! 🙂

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments.
    This isn’t going to go away till the old folk who don’t understand retire and have their power taken from them.

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