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Politics Government Entertainment Games

Hillary, GTA, and High School Football 1169

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the worth-your-time dept.
The LA Times is running a really worthwhile story discussing the recent attack on video games in congress. It talks about GTA, the decline in youth violence, and mentions that football actually encourages real aggression, causes real injuries, and is treated totally differently. It's worth a read. Unfortunately I'm fairly certain that very few U.S. Senators are listening over the sound of hype.
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Hillary, GTA, and High School Football

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  • Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HyperChicken (794660) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:01PM (#13177309)
    Hillary is doing what do-gooders always do. She's saying: "I'm smart enough to handle this and you're not." (Paraphrase of Penn Jillette)
    • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nasarius (593729) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:07PM (#13177378)
      I see it as more "think of the children!" hysteria. Politicians pander to the socially conservative, pretend to have "family values". What else is new?
    • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SharkJumper (651652) <sharkjumper@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:09PM (#13177400)
      Hillary is doing what Presidential candidate hopefuls always do. She's getting some media time.
    • Re:Do-gooder (Score:4, Informative)

      by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:25PM (#13177582) Homepage Journal
      Speaking of "do-gooders", at least that moron Jack Thompson isn't mentioned in the article. That guy is so full of shit that he doesn't even care if anyone really takes him seriously as long as the morons in the media pay attention to him.

      Interestingly enough, the most recent VG Cats [vgcats.com] deals with this topic, as does a recent Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com]. It's nice to see a funny spin on this continuing GTA and "videogames kill!" bullshit.
    • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:27PM (#13177604)
      > Hillary is doing what do-gooders always do. She's saying: "I'm smart enough to handle this and you're not." (Paraphrase of Penn Jillette)

      Do-Gooder psych is more pathological than that, and it's not limited to Sen. Clinton. Nor is it limited to her party. But it usually starts off with something "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good" and metastasizes from there.

      Spend enough time behind the counter at the welfare office "helping the less fortunate", or enough time behind the security barricades of TSA "keeping the Homeland secure" and eventually...

      It's doing something horrible to me. I'm beginning to hate people, Uncle Ellsworth. I'm beginning to be cruel and mean and petty in a way I've never been before. I expect people to be grateful to me. I...I demand gratitude. I find myself pleased when slum people bow and scrape and fawn over me. I find myself liking only those who are servile. Once...once I told a woman that she didnt appreciate what people like us did for trash like her. I cried for hours afterward, I was so ashamed. I begin to resent it when people argue with me. I feel that they have no right to minds of their own, that I know best, that I'm the final authority for them. There was a girl we were worried about, because she was running around with a very handsome boy who had a bad reputation, I tortured her for weeks about it, telling her how he'd get her in trouble and that she should drop him. Well, they got married and they're the happiest couple in the district. Do you think I'm glad? No, I'm furious and I'm barely civil to the girl when I meet her. Then there was a girl who needed a job desperately--it was really a ghastly situation in her home, and I promised that I'd get her one. Before I could find it, she got a good job all by herself. I wasn't pleased. I was sore as hell that somebody got out of a bad hole without my help. Yesterday, I was speaking to a boy who wanted to go to college and I was discouraging him, telling him to get a good job, instead. I was quite angry, too. And suddenly I realized that it was because I had wanted so much to go to college--you remember, you wouldn't let me--and so I wasn't going to let that kid do it either....Uncle Ellsworth, don't you see? I'm becoming selfish. I'm becoming selfish in a way thats much more horrible than if I were some petty chiseler pinching pennies off these peoples wages in a sweatshop!"

      [ ... ]

      "Dont you see how selfish you have been? You chose a noble career, not for the good you could accomplish, but for the personal happiness you expected to find in it."

      "But I really wanted to help people."

      "Because you thought you'd be good and virtuous doing it."

      "Why--yes. Because I thought it was right. Is it vicious to want to do right?"

      "Yes, if it's your chief concern. Dont you see how egotistical it is? To hell with everybody so long as I'm virtuous."

      - Dialogue: Katie Halsey, distraught and unhappy social worker, with her uncle.
      Excerpted from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

      Rand's a bit of a nut, and her epistemology may be from somewhere out past Zeta Reticuli, but I think she nailed the psychology of the compulsive do-gooder dead on. To hell with everybody, as long as you're feeling virtuous about it.

      • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:01PM (#13178038)
        I think Rand came nowhere near it. Rand seems to have a complete inability to understand altruism, or the idea of helping others at all. Its throughout her writings that she has no respect for the idea. Her "enlightened self-interest" basicly means "fuck everyone else, I got mine". Itt would eb very interesting to see Rand get a psychological evaluation (ok, she's dead, a bit hard)- I wouldn't be surprised at all to find she was a sociopath.

        Now there may well be a minority of people whom she does describe. But by and large, she's off the mark by a mile. The typical do-gooder isn't doing somethign because it makes him feel good- he's doing it because he thinks he's doing the right thing. He beleives it 100%. Its like religious zealots who try to convert everyone- they believe they are saving your soul. Assuming that they aren't what they claim to be wil cause you to entirely mispredict them.

        Now there's the question of if Hillary is really that type of person. The answer is probably not- she's jumping on the bandwagon to get "What about the children?" votes for 2008.
        • Re:Do-gooder (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jackmn (895532)
          Altruism is nothing more than emotional hedonism. People are kind to others because they derive pleasure from kindness.

          Rand seems to understand this just fine.
          • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:45PM (#13178522)
            SO for example, when I spent an hour prepping my friend for a test, I did it because it made me feel good? Nope, I was bored out of my mind and I had other more important things I really needed to do. It didn't make me feel good, it made me feel stressed because I wasn't doing those other things that I had a deadline on.

            Did I do it anyway? Sure. Because it was the right thing to do, a friend needed my help. Did I enjoy doing it? No.

            If you really think helpign people is emotional hedonism, you have some severe psychological issues.
            • Re:Do-gooder (Score:3, Insightful)

              by null etc. (524767)
              Your example wasn't altruism. Altruism requires exceeding the general expectations of self-sacrifice. Since it was your friend, I assume that you met the general expectations of self-sacrifice, not exceeded them. However, if it was a stranger and you had nothing to gain from it, I would be much more convinced by your argument.
          • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jeremi (14640) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @04:01PM (#13179293) Homepage
            Altruism is nothing more than emotional hedonism. People are kind to others because they derive pleasure from kindness.


            If we are going to deconstruct things, why not also deconstruct the psychology behind people who refuse ever to take anyone's virtue at face value?


            I suspect that people who refuse to admit the possibility of virtue do so because they do not have (or do not care to have) any virtue of their own, and they need to find a way to justify their lack of virtue without feeling inferior or immoral. If they can "prove" the non-existence of virtue in anyone else, then they are no worse than anyone else, despite being selfish uncaring bastards. :^)

        • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Informative)

          by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @04:05PM (#13179340) Homepage
          I think Rand came nowhere near it. Rand seems to have a complete inability to understand altruism, or the idea of helping others at all. Its throughout her writings that she has no respect for the idea. Her "enlightened self-interest" basicly means "fuck everyone else, I got mine". Itt would eb very interesting to see Rand get a psychological evaluation (ok, she's dead, a bit hard)- I wouldn't be surprised at all to find she was a sociopath.

          Have you actually read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged? "Fuck everyone else, I got mine" doesn't really come anywhere near her philosophy. It was more like, "Everyone being self-serving ultimately leads to the greatest good, because we only get what we want by producing for others." Unless you're self-sufficient, and that's basically no one now, you get what you want through trade. The surest way to get what you want and need is to aggressively pursue your self-interest. Since people spending time working hard are far more productive than people who spend their time niggling over what society "owes" them, the net sum of productivity is drastically higher and society as a whole benefits. Her protagonists are generous. Howard Roark uses his talents to build incredibly cheap, effective, quality low-income housing; Hank Reardon is generous with his relatives. But in the former case, Roark's work is perverted by meddlers crusading for "more, more", refusing to accept his work as it is, wrecking the project and taking things back to where they were: a project they can't afford, a project of lesser utility, and ultimately a failure. And Reardon's relatives hound him relentlessly, yammering about his social duties. He's creating a bold new railway system enabling massive increases in transportation efficiency and leading to the employ of thousands, but they ride him about his greed and his uncaring until he finally throws them out. But both of them start working for the greater good. Rand's lesson isn't that generosity or charity is bad; it's that when honest generosity and charity cross with greed and corruption, such virtues are likely to be perverted. Roark's housing project and Reardon's family are just two examples of people doing good who had their good deeds demolished by unproductive self-righteous busybodies.

          Rand's characters and stories are meant to be larger than life and iconoclastic. They have heroic characters with heroic talents. But they illustrate the nature of man astutely quite often.


          Now there may well be a minority of people whom she does describe. But by and large, she's off the mark by a mile. The typical do-gooder isn't doing somethign because it makes him feel good- he's doing it because he thinks he's doing the right thing. He beleives it 100%. Its like religious zealots who try to convert everyone- they believe they are saving your soul. Assuming that they aren't what they claim to be wil cause you to entirely mispredict them.


          That depends on the type of do-gooding. For people who are following Hillary's "for the children" crusade against violence and sex in video games, it falls into a combination of:

          (1) People too lazy to take care of their own children and think the government should protect them from everything
          (2) People who are so horrified by sexual content of any kind that they will try to ban anything, anywhere, any time. They've been fighting for laws to keep alcohol out of stores, pasties on nipples at tittie bars, and making it illegal to show porn without getting a credit card first. In other words, they're people with a strong feeling of moral superiority; or a terrible fear of certain vices which manifests as moral superiority.
          (3) Demoagogues like Hillary, or GWB & Karl Rove. They're there to capitalize on this mass of uncritical thought and feeling, to channel it into action. "Sexual content in video games! To arms!"; let's not stop and actually think about what we're crusading for or against. It's a bit like GWB and his "Wherever people stand for liberty, we stand with you
      • by spun (1352) * <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:26PM (#13178295) Journal
        People who use the crazy straw man arguments of Ayn Rand tend to be the type of people who want an excuse to feel good about doing nothing. Her philiosophy is the ultimate sop for the supremely egotistical. It's a short sighted kind of selfishness, though, the same kind of selfishness that leads to things like procrastination. "If it feels good now, do it! " is not a great philosophy.

        Sure, in the end everything we do, we do for selfish reasons, but I like helping people. Not because I like them to bow or scrape, not because I feel better than them, but because I feel like I am building a world where people help each other, a world where, if the situation were reversed I would be helped. I also feel good about not having desperate miserable people around me.

        The irony is that Ayn Rand's philosophy is, " To hell with everybody, as long as you're feeling virtuous about it. And I'll tell you how to feel virtuous about ANY damn thing you want to feel virtuous about, as long as it isn't helping someone else! Remember: Helping is Hurting, Charity is Theft, a Hand Up is a Slap in the Face, Sharing is Selfish, Only Egotism is True Loving Compassion."

        Ayn Rand and people like her who consider any kind of charity or compassion as selfish egotism are the laziest type of self involved, egotistical, idiots. I will defend their right to spout their crazy nonsense, but that doesn't mean I have to like it or that I have to say it isn't B.S.

        You don't want to help others? Fine. Don't, see if I care, but if you are going to mock me for caring and for acting out of compassion and assign to me the basest of motives, I am for sure going to point out how selfish, egotistical, and short sighted you are. There are plenty of good reasons for wanting to help others that don't revolve around being a self important prick.
        • I personally find the sex scenes in Ayn Rand novels to be absolute comedy. Apparently her idea of love was to have a man come up to her, shove her to the ground, rip her clothes off, rape her and then get up and go back to creating the greatest quality products mankind could make. Well, perhaps after smoking one of those truly fantastic cigerettes they made in magical-no-socialists-allowed-objectivist-shangra- la-land.
    • Re:Do-gooder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by intnsred (199771) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:28PM (#13177616) Homepage
      Hillary is doing what do-gooders always do.

      Hillary? Do-gooder? Gimme a break.

      She's doing what all slimey politicans do -- she's jumping on an issue which will offend the fewest possible people (young people don't vote very much anyway) in order score points and look like a hard-fighting politician struggling for truth, justice, and the American way.

      I mean, just look at this completely worthless Congress: they ignore the US military's widespread and continuing torture, they ignore Bush's wholesale and blatant lies to start the war in Iraq, they ignore Karl Rove's lying and outing of a CIA spook just to score points in a game of political revenge, and they whitewash everything from the 9/11 investigation to Halliburton robbing taxpayers blind.

      Yet they find time to rant about baseball players on steroids, Janice Jackson's nipple during the Superbowl, and Hillary's whining about cyber-sex in GTA.

      The founding fathers aren't just rolling in their graves -- they're vomiting with disgust and the coffins are getting full! :-(
    • This is stupid. Why are all you idiots pinning the blame on Clinton, when plenty of other government representatives are involved, including Republicans.

      Congressman Upton, a Republican from Michigan, introduced [house.gov] the bill [loc.gov] to congress. It passed 355 for, 21 against, 56 abstain [house.gov].

      Yet nobody here is saying "Oh fuck those Congressional Republicans for introducing the supid bill", or fuck those Democrats and Republicans for passing the bill. You're saying "Fuck that Senator Clinton".

      It's true, Senator Clinton a
      • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:39PM (#13178439) Homepage Journal
        A male congressmember can be an asshole and nobody complains, but as soon as Senator Clinton gets uppity, you all call her a bitch. Where the even-handedness here?

        Did you just ask, with a straight face, why Slashdot posters aren't even-handed with their dealings of members of both political parties, and both genders?

        Well, I'll assume you're in earnest and answer.

        1. Democrats are better than Republicans by the slimmest of margins. Actually, most of us really adore Democrats but since we know they're just as slimey and two-faced as Republicans, we pretend not to. But we vote for them anyway, despite all of our talk of voting for Libertarians, who more closely resemble Republicans than Democrats. When you boil it all down, we didn't get up on time on election day to make it to the polls.

        2. Women are weird creatures who don't think we're funny and who can't appreciate the subtle humor necessary to doggedly recite tired lines from British pop-culture trash from the 1970's. Since they shun us at social gatherings (like family reunions and GenCon), we harbor unspoken misogynistic tendancies that manifest at odd times. For as much as we hate George W. Bush, at least nobody of his gender has ever rolled their eyes when we quoted Jabberwocky!

        • both political parties, and both genders?

          I understand the bias in regards to the political parties-- but the bias against gender is a sign of immaturity. I expected better.

          For as much as we hate George W. Bush, at least nobody of his gender has ever rolled their eyes when we quoted Jabberwocky!

          Funny you should say that. My Sunday School teacher, his wife, and my male HS Civics teacher/Mayor of my town have accused me of Satanism for reciting that poem.

          And for the record, I know plenty of woman who know the
      • This is stupid. Why are all you idiots pinning the blame on Clinton, when plenty of other government representatives are involved, including Republicans.

        Clinton is a pretty good candidate for a lightning rod on this one. The 'morality' of video games has traditionally been an issue for social conservatives who reel in the face of social change (they tend to call it something like a decline in traditional moral values). I wouldn't expect this kind of rhetoric from someone like Hillary Clonton, who is

    • by binarybum (468664)
      c'mon now, she just knows it will take an act of law to help delay or prevent development of more of these "smut games that Bill is so fond of."
  • Very Nice Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coop0030 (263345) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:02PM (#13177313) Homepage
    Many juvenile crimes -- such as the carjacking that is so central to "Grand Theft Auto" -- are conventionally described as "thrill-seeking" crimes. Isn't it possible that kids no longer need real-world environments to get those thrills, now that the games simulate them so vividly? The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially since "Grand Theft Auto" came out. Isn't it conceivable that the would-be carjackers are now getting their thrills on the screen instead of the street?


    I was wondering this same thing. Could this be a conceivable conclusion? Could it be possible that kids these days are actually getting their adrenaline fix from these games instead of causing real-life crimes (or vandalism)?

    When I was a kid the games were much mellower, and less realistic, and I was a hoodlum. I could speculate that if I had these games I would have caused much less trouble when I was a kid.
    • by Ingolfke (515826) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:06PM (#13177364) Journal
      I know for a fact that when I was younger playing Doom I, II and Heretic that it kept me from actually living out my desire to kill demons on Mars and fight the undead. I know for a fact that Mars Demons and the Accursed are living better lives today because of those games.

      Foo you on Senator Clinton.
    • by wolfemi1 (765089) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:13PM (#13177442)
      When I was a kid the games were much mellower, and less realistic, and I was a hoodlum. I could speculate that if I had these games I would have caused much less trouble when I was a kid.

      Could be. However, look at it this way: Video game consoles are cheap and abundant these days (when adjusted for inflation, they might be the cheapest they've ever been). If more and more kids are staying inside to play, instead of roaming the streets, wouldn't that lead to less juvenile crime?

      I know that, when I behaved like a hoodlum (rarely), it was more due to boredom than any other factor.

      • by On Lawn (1073)
        Reminds me of Pet Shop Boys:

        Break the window by the town hall
        Listen, the siren screams
        There in the distance, like a roll call
        Of all the suburban dreams

        Let's take a ride, and run with the dogs tonight
        In Suburbia
        You can't hide, run with the dogs tonight
        In Suburbia

        I only wanted something else to do but hang around
        I only wanted something else to do but hang around
        I only wanted something else to do but hang around
        I only wanted something else to do but hang around

        It's on the front page of the papers
        This is their
    • Re:Very Nice Article (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SysKoll (48967)
      You're right, "games as a safety valve for thrill-crime" is very possibly a factor,at least for this category of petty "for fun" crime. But other factors have been mentioned for the crime rate dip. One is harsher prosecution. Another is the sad fact that a lot of violent criminals were crack addicts who just died off.

      It remains to be seen how the current wave of methadone addiction sweeping the Midwest will affect future crime rate. Especially considering all the "meth orphans", kids effectively abandoned

    • Re:Very Nice Article (Score:3, Informative)

      by cshark (673578)
      I wonder if it would make sense to have a social experiment where a video game company actually tries to create extremely vivid games with the aim of bringing down the crime rate.

      I bet it would work. The problem is that our society is generally repressive by nature. As a culture, we don't like to admit these things exist. As a result, we end up making them worse by repressing them.

      I generally agree with Hillary on the important issues. I think Bill Clinton was the best president since Kennedy. But freedom o
      • Re:Very Nice Article (Score:3, Informative)

        by Surt (22457)
        It was rated mature, not adult. The difference is 17 vs 18 years old, and being stocked in thousands of stores (walmart won't stock adult rated titles). If it had been rated adult, the sales would probably have been lower by half or worse, which is why everyone works so hard to go no higher than mature.
    • ...are conventionally described as "thrill-seeking" crimes. Isn't it possible that kids no longer need real-world environments to get those thrills, now that the games simulate them so vividly? The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially since "Grand Theft Auto" came out.

      so 'sex-seekers' will now get their thrills via gta. teen prenancy will drop substantially!

    • Re:Very Nice Article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:21PM (#13178256) Homepage Journal
      "I was wondering this same thing. Could this be a conceivable conclusion? Could it be possible that kids these days are actually getting their adrenaline fix from these games instead of causing real-life crimes (or vandalism)?"

      Possible. Something else to consider, though: GTA doesn't just allow you to commit vandalism, it also deals you consequences for your actions. Run over pedestrians, police chase you. I'll tell you something, once you've gained three stars in that game, the Police turn into real bastards. They keep coming, they never give up, and your chances of survival have more to do with luck than skill. I can imagine kids saying "Well, that was fun, but man I never wanna piss off the cops."

      It's hard to say, really. My basis for this suggestion is that in playing GTA I've become quite allergic to attacking 'innocents' in the game. It's a lot easier to play when you don't have cops trying to drive up your butt. Compare this to Crazy Taxi. I never made any effort to avoid pedestrians in that game because they'd instantly jump out of the way. If you ask me, that's far worse than GTA. You'd think that people would understand that "Don't do that." doesn't have near the effect that "Don't do that BECAUSE..." does. GTA's not bad at illustrating the consequences.
    • Re:Very Nice Article (Score:4, Informative)

      by yali (209015) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:47PM (#13178531)
      Isn't it possible that kids no longer need real-world environments to get those thrills, now that the games simulate them so vividly?

      This is a very outdated idea from psychoanalysis [skepdic.com] that has leaked into the popular consciousness, but actual scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Freud observed that biological drives like hunger and thirst are temporarily diminished when they are satisfied, and he incorrectly assumed that all motivated behavior (including sex and aggression) worked the same way.

      Think of it this way: If this were true, armies would be complete pussycats (because they would've gotten it all out of their systems in training), and pacifists would regularly go on murderous rampages.

  • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:02PM (#13177320)
    If the allegations of football and videogames as stated above are true, that would explain a lot about my high school football team. The spoiled brats had all of the video game systems that their parents could buy them, and a 0-10 record on the field...
  • football (Score:5, Funny)

    by jasonmicron (807603) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:03PM (#13177327)
    football actually encourages real aggression

    well, duh
    • Re:football (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FriedTurkey (761642) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:28PM (#13177614)
      Football doesn't cause aggression anymore than video games causes violence. It's all crap. You might want to think football is the problem because you don't play football but you do play videogames. You are committing the same crime as the members of Congress. You are scapegoating an activity that you dislike.
      • Re:football (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jimbolaya (526861) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @06:10PM (#13180638) Homepage
        I agree. Besides, whether video games or football causes more violence is irrelevant. The uproar isn't so much about the violent content of the game, but the sexual content.

        Though come to think of it, playing football can cause you to get laid, while playing videos most certainly will not.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:03PM (#13177329) Homepage
    Of course, I admit that there's one charge against video games that is a slam dunk. Kids don't get physical exercise when they play a video game, and indeed the rise in obesity among younger people is a serious issue. But, of course, you don't get exercise from doing homework either.

    heh, sure, those kids are really spending all that time doing homework and not nearly as much as becoming more aggressive playing after-school sports or killing, fucking, and carjacking!

    Down with homework and more carjacking! Oh wait.

    The most amazing thing about this is that Hillary can get so many people up-in-arms and pissed off about a stupid fucking video game and no one else can mobilize parents to "protect their children" from real harms that go virtually unnoticed in the political arena.

    Someone really needs to link serious environmental issues to religion-based morality. Maybe then people will get mobilized. Afterall, it seems to be quite the rage recently...
    • by canfirman (697952) <pdavi25 AT yahoo DOT ca> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:08PM (#13177383)
      The most amazing thing about this is that Hillary can get so many people up-in-arms and pissed off about a stupid fucking video game and no one else can mobilize parents to "protect their children" from real harms that go virtually unnoticed in the political arena.

      Not to mention that most of the people who will support such action from the government is the same parents who want the government to raise their kids. I guess the fact that "GTA:SA" comes with an "M" rating on it (well, now "AO") didn't deter mommy and daddy from buying the game. Then they're "shocked, SHOCKED!" (to quote "Casablanca") that there's sex and violence in video games. Too bad responsible parenting has gone out the window.

    • by gosand (234100) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:16PM (#13177472)
      heh, sure, those kids are really spending all that time doing homework and not nearly as much as becoming more aggressive playing after-school sports or killing, fucking, and carjacking!

      To be fair, there was a backlash for the violence in the game. And honestly, I don't think kids should be playing it. I am by no means conservative, but I think the game is just in bad taste for impressionable youth. But whatever. The game was given a rating, I don't think it should be outlawed.

      What pisses me off is that all the recent uproar is because there was sex in there. You can beat a cop to death, but for Jebus' sake don't show animated boobs! Oh the humanity! Violence is OK, but sex, something natural and essential to our very existence of the human race, is taboo. Superbowl? OK. Boob at the Superbowl? Congressional hearings. Unjustified War? Hmm, OK. The F word is uttered in public? the decline of our moral civilization.

  • Action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by creeront (890604) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {rcyrrek}> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:03PM (#13177332)
    I've read so many stories on the (unjustified) outcry over GTA:SA. What I haven't read are any stories asking the readers to Write their public officials in an effort to stop this political witch-hunt.
  • by Ohmster (843198) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:04PM (#13177338) Homepage Journal
    The GTA brouhaha to me is about video games coming of age. They're no longer just about kids and teenagers, but for adults of all ages...it's a $25 billion business, and bigger than the movie industry...and it's just beginning. Sure, more grown-up ratings might shrink the market a bit, but the industry needs to be more creative about expanding the market. Besides figuring how to handle Easter Eggs, and adult content within games, the industry also needs to figure out how to meet the time constraints that adults have in playing games. Yet, most games are in a time warp, with limited ability to save, locked levels (you gotta earn it mentality!). It takes 2-3 hours to see a movie on a DVD and at least 20 hours to play a game. As a decades long gamer, I know it's there's fundamental difference between the two forms, and a totally different experience, but... If I'm springing close to $50 for a game (vs. say $20-25 for a movie DVD), and I don't feel like investing the 50 plus hours to play/replay segments to earn the right to see all the levels, and understand the story, I should be able to have an "auto-play" or "fast-forward to the next level" feature. This could significantly expand the market for games of all types, as more grown-ups can fit a game into their lives in terms of time. More here: http://mp.blogs.com/mp/2005/05/on_playing_pcco.htm l [blogs.com]
  • by CFTM (513264) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:04PM (#13177342)
    Mrs. Clinton is attempting to put herself in a position to be the democratic candidate for the 2008 Presidential election. This has nothing to do with GTA and everything to do with her attempting to strengthen how she is percieved with respect to traditional family values. I am not a fan of Bush and consider much of what he does to be fascist, but Hilary makes Bush look like a libertarian.

    Ahhh fun times!
  • And another thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:05PM (#13177344) Homepage Journal
    Here's a nice article, [sfgate.com] neatly summarised by its headline -- "There's Sex In My Violence!
    What's this lame soft-core porn doing in my ultraviolent "Grand Theft Auto"?".

    This reminds me of one of my first experience of US TV. I was watching "The Godfather" on TBS, in the middle of the day. When Santino beat the living Bejeesus out of his sister's husband on the street, they showed every frame of the violence. 5 minutes later, they pixelated the 3.5 seconds of nude breast (the only nudity in the entire film) in Michael's wedding night scene.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.
  • by djh101010 (656795) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:06PM (#13177361) Homepage Journal
    The more she does stupid things like this, the easier it will be to defeat her when she runs for President. It's funny how the most leftist of politicians do exactly the sorts of things that they accuse the right of.

    Hillary specifically, and Democrats in general, have a long history of blaiming _things_ for the actions of people. I think it's a case of them not wanting to offend someone who might vote for them someday. "Oh, we can't blame the criminal for doing that, we should blame society/the gun/the judicial system/anybody but the bad guy". Just like this case - let's blame the game manufacturer/reviewing organization, instead of the kid who goes out, downloads a program that adds this functionality to an existing product, and chooses to install it. The kid is making this happen, but she's blaming anyone but the kid.

    Yes, I'm sure I'll be modded into oblivion for this, but this is politics.slashdot.org. Before you mod this down as "flamebait" or something, consider that disagreeing with someone doesn't mean they're posting flamebait, or off topic, or whatever.
    • by Aix (218662) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:16PM (#13177478) Homepage
      To tell you the truth, I really see this as moving to the right, in order to set herself up better for the presidential run. The Democrat/Republican divide these days has less to do with legislative intervention and more to do with "family values," whatever that means.

      If you're Karl Rove, planning the 2008 election, you want to go after Hillary on her ethics and her family values. You want to neutralize her female base by making her appear to not care about family and good parenting. This is a calculated move by Hillary to move to the *right* on this issue, not the left. It doesn't matter who she blames, it matters that she's in the papers sticking up for some kind of "family value."

      (I blogged about this here [nonperiodic.net].)

      • Actually I think you're both incorrect. "Left" and "Right" are just meaningless terms used by Democrats and Republicans to get people who don't really think to vote for them. They in no way capture the subtle nuance of a person's position.

        It's just us against the fascists...it doesn't matter if the fascism comes from the "left" or the "right". It's still authoritarianism that clamps down on our freedom. I really could care less if someone is "liberal" or "conservative" if voting for them results in a loss

    • by orthogonal (588627) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:25PM (#13177589) Journal
      "It's funny how the most leftist of politicians do exactly the sorts of things that they accuse the right of."

      Of course, Hillary Clinton isn't left-wing. She's a politicians who does whatever it takes to win elections.

      She and Bill have long stood with the Democratic Leadership council, a group that for over a decade has told Democrats to support Corporate America, and to act just like Republicans. (And then the DLC wonders why people just vote for real Republicans rather than Democrats-In-Name-Only.)

      This is just Hillary pandering to the "soccer mom" vote, another attempt at "triangulation" in preparation for running for President in 2008.

      I don't agree with you, by the way, that the kid who downloads the mod should be blamed. We should blame the parents who have abdicated their parenting duties. We should blame the parents who have so failed to educate their children that a few minutes of simulated sex in a video game would somehow "damage" their children.

      But the real tragedy is that their are far more pressing problems in America: declining educational standards, health care inequity, an ever-more stratified economy where CEOs make thousands of times what workers make, and a costly and apparently never-ending occupation of a desert country where everyone hates us.

      I'd have a lot more respect for Hillary if ferreting out secret sex mods in GTA wasn't her top priority. But of course, I'm being unfair: GTA isn't her priority at all -- getting elected in 2008 is her top priority.
      • She's a politicians who does whatever it takes to win elections.

        I couldn't agree with your more. Interestingly enough, she was President of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College.

        The problem she has, and she apparently doesn't realize it, is that most of us in the middle can't stand her no matter what her current focus is. The simple fact that she gets any media exposure is nauseating.
    • It's funny how the most leftist of politicians do exactly the sorts of things that they accuse the right of.

      And you think Bill Frist, Tom Delay, and Rick Santorum disagree with her? Hillary isn't truly on the left, she's center right if anything. The fact of the matter is that most politicians will do stupid things to pander to stupid voters. If it stopped working, they wouldn't do it. Unfortunately there is a large, vocal, voting block that wants exactly what she's doing. And if you stand up agains
  • true, sort of (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I8TheWorm (645702) * on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:09PM (#13177397) Journal
    and mentions that football actually encourages real aggression, causes real injuries, and is treated totally differently

    I think Taco failed to read into the author's sarcasm regarding football, but that's ok.

    The author of the article seems to have taken some of their ideas from the recent Discover Magazine article titled Your Brain on Video Games [discover.com]. A very interesting read, a lot of which I agree with.

    I'm a parent, a geek, and a former athelete (yes, it's possible). Our children (ages 8-15 now) have their homework time and we (they?) split their entertainment up between going outside to play, video games, nonsensical tv, and educational tv (of course, with a few random things thrown in to boot). On top of that, we ask that they play one sport of their choosing, and one instrument of their choosing. The mention of football in the description is a bit misleading. Some of the good things football teaches are
    1. How to work with other people
    2. How to get along with people you may not like
    3. Discipline and focus, with regard to achieving a goal
    4. Planning and stragety
    5. Competitiveness, which certainly can help later in life if applied correctly
    Other things are learned by playing instruments such as math (in different bases), appreciation for different cultures, etc... but that's a bit off topic here.

    Video games can actually teach children as well. However, when they start to focus all of their freetime on video games, rather than other forms of entertainment, I think they're mission out on quite a bit. Everything in moderation.
    • Re:true, sort of (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shky (703024) <shkyoleary@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:19PM (#13177518) Homepage Journal
      The author of the article seems to have taken some of their ideas from the recent Discover Magazine article titled Your Brain on Video Games [discover.com]. A very interesting read, a lot of which I agree with.

      Steve Johnson wrote both of those, and the book Everything Bad is Good for You. He's been in the news quite a bit lately.
    • by Valiss (463641)
      [sarcasm]

      1. How to work with other people
      Ok, you boys go together and slam into that guy with the ball.

      2. How to get along with people you may not like
      Slam into that guy with the ball.

      3. Discipline and focus, with regard to achieving a goal
      Ok, you slam into him, and you slam into that guy, and you make the touchdown.

      4. Planning and stragety
      If it moves, slam into it.

      5. Competitiveness, which certainly can help later in life if applied correctly
      Now boys, it's just a game. But you better slam into them h
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:09PM (#13177398) Homepage
    Unfortunately I'm fairly certain that very few US Senators are listening over the sound of hype.


    The bigger problem is, I believe, that they don't hear anything but the hype. Most politicians don't troll Slashdot or gaming sites. They have enough to do with meetings, looking at bills, more meetings, campaigning, photo ops, and the rest.

    I wrote a small piece on this not too long ago [advancedmn.com] that talked about this issue. It's not just that Senator Clinton is believing the hype - that's all she's probably hearing! Who in the gaming community is really going to her and the other politicians who discuss the issue?

    Where's the Hollywood style lobbyists from the gaming industry? Isn't this what the ESRB and other gaming organizations should be doing - going to politicians and explaining how an R rating is the same as an M rating, how they're working with stores to keep M rated games out of the hands of minors (and if they aren't, then they damn well better be before Washington does it for them), why the "Hot Coffee" mod was never meant to be played and discovered by people voluntarily choosing to play the nude scene (and if they are minors, do you really think they can't get nude people easier than installing a mod in a $50 PC game?).

    Yeah, I'm pissed at Ms. Clinton and Thomson and all of the ilk who "don't get it" - but I don't entirely blame them, because odds are there are few people who have really taken the time to explain it to all of them. (Well, except for Thomson - in my opinion, he's just a money grubbing lawyer now using nudity-in-games claims to line his pocket). [theapprenticepaladin.com]

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • Physical activity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mendaliv (898932) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:10PM (#13177417)
    Of course, I admit that there's one charge against video games that is a slam dunk. Kids don't get physical exercise when they play a video game

    What of Dance Dance Revolution and its various clones?

    Speaking as an obese man, if that isn't physical exercise, I don't know what is.
  • by DingerX (847589) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:14PM (#13177453) Journal
    from TFA:
    The great secret of today's video games that has been lost in the moral panic over "Grand Theft Auto" is how difficult the games have become. That difficulty is not merely a question of hand-eye coordination; most of today's games force kids to learn complex rule systems, master challenging new interfaces, follow dozens of shifting variables in real time and prioritize between multiple objectives.
    I haven't seen SA, but from what I've encountered in GTA (a noble series that it may be), there are no "complex rule systems": just a big sandbox and some simple rules. "New interfaces" are nothing that a bog-standard game controller can do and has done for the last fifteen years, and "multiple objectives" are pretty much ruled out by the straightforward mission structure.

    Worse if the game actually were as characterized, it wouldn't sell as many copies: way too difficult, not entertaining enough.

    But the description sounds really good. "Training the wage slaves of the information age"
    • There is the weasle phrase "most of" in there, but of course GTA isn't what is being refered to. GTA is mentioned as what the moral panic is over, the example games just mentioned (and hence probably being refered to) are World of Warcraft, Halo 2 and Madden 2005.

      I haven't played any of those games, but World of Warcraft is a MMORPG of some form and hence probably has bizarro 'to-hit' calculations that players try and extract in order to work out which item of equipment is best...
  • by cyclist1200 (513080) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:17PM (#13177486) Homepage
    Before people start flaming over whether video games cause or reduce violence, I'd like to remind everyone cum hoc ergo propter hoc is a logical fallacy.
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enonu (129798) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:18PM (#13177496)
    Football is a very personal sport. There are consequences for your actions. If you hurt or get hurt by somebody on the playing field, you have to deal with it. At the same time, sportsmanship is encouraged. You tackle the person, but at the same time you don't try to maim the other player.

    On the other hand, you have GTA which shows characters do everything we've already heard about blah blah blah, no consequences just restart, blah blah blah, and minors might get the impression that blah blah blah, etc.

    I'm not trying to justify either side of the argument, but just saying that comparing football to GTA is fundamentally flawed. Oranges and apples.
  • by chia_monkey (593501) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:18PM (#13177506) Journal
    Whatever happened to parents taking an active role in raising their kids? How about the parents take responsibility of their kids being little terrors. The behavior starts at a young age people. Instead of blaming your kid's bad behavior on video games, football, TV, etc...take a good look in the mirror and go "did I raise Junior in a way to respect other people?" Is this THAT hard of a concept to grasp? Have we become THAT lazy as a society?
  • by Dhrakar (32366) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:20PM (#13177527)
    As long as the big 'headline' sports like football, basketball (and hockey here in Alaska) continue to bring in the money they will always be coddled by politicians. I mean, it may be obvious, but I think that many folks are interested in watching these sports specifically _for_ the violence in them. For example, how many times have you heard "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out"?
    Isn't this also a big reason why so many (way spoiled and overpaid) pro atheletes behave so badly off the field?
    I'm no fan of GTA, but I see it as just a small part of the overall hyper-violent diet that we are fed here in the US.
  • No sexy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tachikoma (878191) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:21PM (#13177544)
    Violence? Aggression?
    PEOPLE!
    This is about naughty SEX!

    You crush heads and break bones, even allow fights on the field or have the loosing team executed after the game. SO LONG AS they don't have sex or are encouraged to engage in sex.

    If we keep sexuality out of games and media, our precious, perfectly innocent children wont learn of it until they are a proper age, like 30.

    Its important to remember that raising your children should in no way take time away from YOUR all important life, and anything that goes wrong is the sole responsibility of something else that is sue-able.

    REMEMBER! Children are perfect, until they are corrupted by someone else and its their fault. You are not responsible for your children, and should not have to educate, protect, or raise them yourself. That is the job of the Government. Now go back to paying attention to yourself.
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:25PM (#13177588) Homepage
    I'm fairly certain that very few US Senators are listening over the sound of hype.

    You have a niave view of Senators. They understand the silliness and meaningless of what they are saying, probably better than most people around here. What you fail to understand is that media events like this are all about getting face time on TV. Free face time on TV is more highly prized than nearly anything else. The explicit lyrics crusade of the 80s, the assault weapons crusade of the 90s, the current video game violence crusade, all were merely PR stunts that accomplished very little.
  • Opinion != 'Story' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feelyoda (622366) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:34PM (#13177697) Homepage
    This is an opinion piece. I happen to agree with it, but calling it a 'story' has different implications about the intended objectivity of the writer.
  • by defile (1059) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:47PM (#13177848) Homepage Journal

    ...ever since I took up a martial art.

    There are plenty of physical and mental health benefits involved in studying a martial art, but there is the undeniable fact that I am much more prone to violence now.

    I'll walk into so many situations with a belief that I can overpower a problem with brute strength or with a precision strike to a body part, whether it makes sense or not. I have the hammer so everything looks like a nail.

    I don't think I act on these urges, but I'm sure others might disagree.

    Video games never encouraged this kind of behavior in me since video game problem solving is entirely confined within your head.

  • by Kope (11702) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @01:49PM (#13177869)
    In football "real aggression" is taught. It's also taught that for aggression to be usefull, it needs to be controlled and directed and timely.

    Hitting after the whistle incurs a penalty. Hitting the wrong way incurs a penalty. Hitting the wrong guy let's someone gain yards or score. Going outside the boundaries hurts not only you, but your team.

    Yes, football is a very aggressive game. But at the end of the game, you're going to go party, and often with members of the other team (unless they're your arch-rivals but even at the end of the season you'll be laughing with those guys over the last game).

    All of which are valuable real life lessons. There's a place and a time in real life for aggressive action (not necessarily physical, but sometimes), but if it's not controlled, you'll quickly find yourself on the wrong end of the moral (and often legal) line.

    Mostly what football teaches, though, is that you can push past whatever limitations you percieve given the dedication and time.

    I'm not sure that GTA has similarly positive lessons to be learned from it. GTA has the advantage that the aggression is pretend, but has, from what I've seen, no corresponding lessons about control and responsibility to teach.
    • I'm not sure that GTA has similarly positive lessons to be learned from it. GTA has the advantage that the aggression is pretend, but has, from what I've seen, no corresponding lessons about control and responsibility to teach.

      I take it you've never accidentally racked up five stars of police presence while driving home, then? There is definitely a time and place for aggression in GTA, and it is not when trying to get back to your garage after a mission.

    • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv @ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @02:08PM (#13178111) Homepage
      On the minus side, Football, like a lot of sports, can teach you to push the limits and try to cheat, or bend the rules unfairly, or hide your fouls from refs. It can also make you feel "better" than other people because you are the center of attention and can do things other people can't. This can make you feel arrogant and want to flaunt the rules.

      But then again, it's all how you teach the game. I.E. it's the parents, coaches, teachers, and mentors you deal with that teach you to be an ass, not games.
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @03:14PM (#13178802)
    99% of the people here on Slashdot voted for a candidate who is pro-censorship abd anti-gaming. In the US, everyone is too cought up in the football-style rivalry between two almost identical political parties to actually vote against politicians who threaten to ban video games, or rap music, or any other thing enjoyed by a minority of the people.

    Hillary Clinton has nothing to fear. She could propose that anyone who even thinks video games should be legal should be rounded up and shot without trial, and the Democrats will justify it as "Oh, I don't like it, but we must beat Bush, he is worse". And G. W. Bush could declare a "War on Filth" and bomb Rockstar Games headquarters, and Republicans will justify it with some equally convoluted theory.

    You might bitch or moan about censorship and attacks on gaming now, but when it comes time to hit the voting booth, you will be tripping over yourself to vote for some rabidly pro-censorship politician.
  • Not the point. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate@NOspAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 27, 2005 @04:58PM (#13179981) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, the whole violence/sex thing is important. But what I really wish the ESRB would focus on is the character of the people in the video games.

    Come on, despite being a cold blooded killer, CJ is pretty much a pussy. He does whatever anyone tells him to. Heck, he killed and maimed just to help some poseur gangster rapper called Og Loc working at the burger shack. He listens to his idiot brother who would rather live in some crime infested filth hole then any one of CJ's luxury homes.

    CJ has killed hundreds of cops, yet he does whatever Samuel Jackson tells him to because of a trumped up vague threat of going to prison on a cop killer charge. (If CJ was a man of real character, he would have iced Officer Tenpenny in the first five minutes of the game.)

    Do you think Tommy Verceti would put up with this crap? No way.

    I for one wish the ESRB would alert parents like me to the questionable character presented in the game, not this whole 'sex' things.

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