Games=Death

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Nick Bischoff, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Nick Bischoff

    Indie Author

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    I found an interesting read here:

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=vn20040730024122956C104334

    It describes the game 'man hunt' an how a kid emulated the game and killed his friend.

    What parent is going to let their 17 year old kid obsess about a game that involves killing people? Id hold the parents responsible, not the game creater/dist.

    I think its pretty scary that they could go after the game creators in the first place. Opinions?
     
  2. Rod Hyde

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    On the face of it, holding the parents responsible for their children's actions is a good idea. Indeed, if you were to ask me, "should parents be responsible?" then my answer would be an unqualified "yes". If you then change the question to, "should parents be held responsible for their children's actions?", then I would have to qualify my answer, as the question is far more complicated.

    It is a slippery slope to start down. Just how far do you take it? There are many parents whose attitude to raising their children is, in my view, irresponsible. Conversely, I know of some excellent, very responsible parents who, despite their best efforts, have unruly and difficult children. If you're a parent yourself, or if you've looked after children for any length of time, then you'll know that children certainly have minds of their own. Cast your mind back to when you were 17. Did your parents know what you were thinking? Did they always know where you were? Did they think they knew where you were?

    For all we know, the parents in this case might well have known that their child was obsessed and tried to do something about it? How much can we hold them responsible if this was the case? We're talking about a 17 year old - old enough (in the UK) to not have to attend school, to have a job, to drive a car, to smoke, even to get married with their parents' permission. One year away from being allowed to vote and drink alcohol.

    There will always be unbalanced individuals who turn into murderers, stalkers, psychopaths, etc. When those unbalanced individuals do something wrong, it is natural to pin the blame on one thing. In this case, the press-generated hysteria has pinned the blame on a video game. Sometimes it is guns, or knives, or cults, or - as was the trend 20 years ago - on so-called "video nasties". Other times it is bullying, or societal pressures.

    The bottom line. I think it is simplistic to conclude, as the press seems to have done, that it is automatically the game creator's fault. Equally, I think it is simplistic to conclude that it is the parents' fault, as both "good" and "bad" parents can have psychopathic children.

    --- Rod
     
  3. Addictive 247

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    This is a real tough one on who to blame. Personally I think that the 17 year old kid must have had problems in the first place. If playing a game makes you want to go out and kill someone then there's definately something not right going on upstairs.

    We've all seen violent movies, games etc but how many people thought after seeing the images that it would be cool or fun to do it. Nobody in their right mind would.

    I don't think you can blame the creators of the game. I think that this would have happened regardless of what he was playing. Maybe if he was playing Dweep instead he'd decide to fry someone with a laser cannon.
     
  4. Gilzu

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    Can you really go and sue 007 movies & games if someone wants to go and kill everyone he wishes?

    Just because Computers and Internet is a new medium, people who don't know it and hear about whats in it grows fear (->anger->hate->suffering (thanks to yoda) ). I can give you dozens of examples from Terminator to X men -> Intentionally I chose multi-medium (Games & movies) stories just to show how people goes after computer games and not movies&comics which has much more violence.

    Anyway, I'm going to get ready for any lawsuit against me & my game claiming I made someone's child blow up geese

    -Gil
    http://www.gilzu.com/
     
  5. Nutter2000

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    From it's pretext Manhunt is certainly extremely sick game and you've got to wonder what sort of market Rockstar North were making it for.

    On the other hand, it was rated 18 so the question is really what legel controls should there be to stop retailers selling to underage kids, they get fined over alcohol, videos and other 18+ products, so why are games ignored?

    The problem is going to be what sort of moronic knee-jerk reaction are we going to get from the sensationalism obsesed "journalists" (I use the term journalist loosely there), publicity seeking politicians and the rest of this "must be someone elses' fault" society we live in.

    It's already started with the game being taken off the shelves by various UK stores
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3936597.stm

    And as usual the media seems to have glossed over the most important point: That the guy lured the kid to the park to get money off him to pay for a "drug-related debt".
    So basically this guy was on illegal drugs, not exactly the most upstanding or stable citizen.

    [/Rant Over]

    sorry but there are definately times when I think Wonko the Sane had it right ;)
     
  6. Jason Colman

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    Seems to me the reaction of the media is giving this game loads of super free publicity. I'd never heard of it before. Historically in the UK the best way to get something to number one is to ban it.
     
  7. [S3K]Dekker

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    Manhunter off Dixons !! publicity stunt ?

    Some interesting points.

    I must admit, Manhunter looks like a very gritty game, not my type of game but Vice City is! We've had sick games from the start, Cobra, Deathwish on the spectrum....blasting grannies with an uzi right across the screen until the next one spawned.

    Seems to me that the kid had some problems from the start. I wonder if he watched the war in Iraq 24/7 he might dress up as a marine, steal a rocket launcher and go round destroying stuff.

    Apparently his parents didn't realise he was "obsessed" about the game until it was too late.

    <..bah i was going to put a manhunter demo link here so we could all have a quick multiplayer game>

    :eek:
     
  8. papillon

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    Uh, at least in all the articles I've read about the case... has there been *any* evidence yet that the boy actually *was* obsessed by Manhunt?

    So far, in each article, all that's said is that the mother of the VICTIM, *not* the mother of the attacker, claims that the attacker was inspired by Manhunt. (checks) Well, at least the IOL article says that he owned a copy of the game - which is more than any previous article said, iirc!

    Mostly the coverage so far reads that the understandably distraught victim's mother is just floundering around trying to explain how this could have happened.
     
  9. Nutter2000

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    Yes it's pure conjecture that the killer was obsesed with the game. Apparently the mother of the victim had "heard some of Warren's friends say that he was obsessed by this game."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/3934277.stm

    Unfortunately, facts have never been things to stand in the way of a good hysterical knee-jerk in this country.

    I totally agree with you Papillon, the poor mother must be going through all kinds of hell trying to understand why this happened.

    but I blame/despise the media and similar reactionists for trying to hijack this case for their own motives.
     
  10. Nemesis

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    The debate on whether violent games turn innocent little kids into serial murderers has been raging on since the dawn of computer games. My take is that no violent game, movie or whatever media is ever going to turn anyone into a murderer unless said person isn't disturbed in the first place. If anything, it might inspire him / her on the means to commit such acts.

    For all I know, Teletubbies and Barney The Dinosaur could make murderers of children.. well.. Barney certainly gave me the urge to strangle that purple monstrosity! :)
     
  11. alfie

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    Before you know it games like Pac-Man will be cited as the inspiration for cannibals like Hannibal Lecter :)

    Alfie
     
  12. Nemesis

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    Pac-Man ---> big Acid-style smiley face popping pills and seeing ghosts at the sound of Rave music? Sounds like an incitation to take drugs to me!! ;)
     
  13. Bluecat

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    I'm going to take a different viewpoint here (for the sake of discussion) and say that the stores who are removing the game from their shelves are not necessarily doing the wrong thing. But first, some clarification of where I stand.

    * Parents do need to take responsibility for what their children watch and play. It is not the governments role to take over parenting.

    * I am against censorship of media that is not already banned. Child porn for instance is illegal because it illegally involves a child in its production.

    * I don't believe that violent media makes a violent person, but I do think that it can negatively influence someone who is prone to that behaviour.

    * I think that often there are other factors that cause someone to go on a rampage, but the media picks up on games because they are an easy target. Columbine (IMO) was caused by the merciless bullying and dehumanisation of the killers by their peers. The media picked up on Doom because it was an easier target to blame than society.

    Having said all that, I don't think these stores in the UK are necessarily wrong to remove the game from their shelves. After all it is their right to sell or not sell any particular game. The upper management probably didn't even know that Manhunt was on their shelves and may not have approved it for sale in the first place if they had known. I remember hearing a few years ago that Blockbuster Video didn't stock adult movies because of the owners beliefs. I very much doubt there was any controversy over that.

    Really, if a developer/publisher wants to get a game on a certain stores shelves the game will have to comply with store policy. If a store has a policy, or changes it due to public controversy, then that is just bad luck for the developer who makes a game that falls outside the guidelines. I believe that Walmart has very strict policies for what it will and will not sell.

    I'm having a little difficulty expressing what I want to say here because I don't want to come out on the side of censorship and removing artistic freedoms. But I think Rockstar, and the developers producing ultra-violent content are doing the game industry a great disservice. It seems like they are thumbing their noses at the government, daring them to introduce restrictive laws censoring game content. I'm sure there are a few conservative senators waiting for the right time. It's the old give em enough rope move. At some point, someone will make a game, so violent, so disturbing, that will get into the hands of children. The government will take that opportunity to put computer games under the purview of the censors, and because of the public perception of game violence, the public will welcome it. Just look at the current climate of censorship in the US mainstream media, just because of a little booby flash.

    I don't want that to happen.
     
  14. Anthony Flack

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    I don't like this scapegoating. It's complete nonsense.

    But I remember some controversy when Manhunt was originally banned in New Zealand, and I for one was quite happy to see it banned at the time, based on what I'd seen and read of the game.

    It seemed like a game without anywhere near enough artistic merit to make a case for accepting its prolonged, sadistic scenes of violence. Cons outweigh pros. In these censorship cases, the question of artistic merit is very important. Make something extremely nasty, and it had better be extremely good in order to convince the censors that it's worth letting through. Generally speaking, games that are banned usually are simply using obscenity as a prop to make up for deficiencies in other areas (if you can't make the best game, make the sickest).

    Banning it sends a message that society is not okay with videogames whose whole raison detere is to wallow in an orgy of wanton cruelty. So think again, Rockstar.
     
  15. Air

    Air
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    There is a common theme here that people re-iterate and I'd like to take a different spin on it. I'll quote Bluecat's mention of it since he worded it so nicely:

    * I think that parents should take responsibility for teaching their kids how to make sound choices, how to know right from wrong, and how to think independently of the video games and movies they're constantly being subject to.

    I haven't seen much indication that taking "responsibility" for what your kids watch and play emphasizes any of the above skills. Instead you just make their choice for them and, almost inevitably, it fosters a child who seems directionless, unsure, and artificially sheltered. Instead of learning from all the stuff you as a parent choose not to show them, they will instead learn from the stuff their friends and school show them. I'm sorry but it's just impossible to think you can protect your kid from everything bad until they're "old enough" to deal with it. That's like the greatest myth of them all.

    And teaching isn't just the act of telling children what not to do.

    Just teaching kids what not to do is not good teaching. Think of it this way: if you had a big black book of all the things you're not supposed to do, and you had like this little tiny white book of things you could/should do, how would you feel? Which book would you spend the most time reading? How would reading that book make you feel? Would constantly having to check all your actions across the extensive list of no-nos harbor quite a bit of anxiety and uncertainty? Would lacking any decent experience of what you could do instead make you feel awefully limited, perhaps even sorely depressed? Would you end up grasping out at every little dangling string (movies&games) just hoping for some sort of sense of direction; some sort of hope in the future?

    The problem isn't that kids are being influened by these gruesome, grotesque, disgusting games. It's that they enjoy the games and want to play them in the first place. That is not 'just juvenile' behavior. It's not something they will just 'grow out of.' It's a clear indication that they have serious issues with the reality that they live in. Clearly this kid thinks hacking people with a hammer is a more appealing reality than what his parents and his society has offered him.

    And in the very remote chance he did just 'act out' the game (extremely doubtful for a 17 yr old I think), then apparently his head was so blank and ripe for brainwashing that a mere videogame was able to program him into seeing and believing an entirely warped version of reality. If it weren't the game this week, maybe it would have been a religious zealot next week, or God himself next year! That's kinda sad, don't you think?

    Welp, I really hope someone here took the time to read this and think about it. :)

    - Air
     

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