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Video Games and Violence


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#1 grey fox

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 05:31 PM

Hi

"A number of high street retailers have taken the violent computer game Manhunt off their shelves.

The move comes after the parents of a schoolboy murdered by a friend blamed the game for their son's death. "

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I have this game in my collection, and I admit that it does contain some graphic violence, but that is why it was given an 18 rating. That a 17 year old was in possession of it, and then went on to commit murder is tragic, but is just a coincidence. The news report also mentions that the primary motive of the attack was robbery.

I believe that the parents of the boy are looking for a reason as to why their son committed such a dreadful act, and decided that his mind must have been warped by seeing violence on screen, rather than the fact that their son is just a nasty piece of work. The realistic scenario is that this crime would have been committed anyway.

It is tragic that this event has occured, but I do not feel that blaming sources of entertainment is helpful in understanding the motive. One of the problems in this country is that we are very quick to find easy answers to difficult problems which only serve to conceal the real issues at hand.

I do however think that parents should take more of an interest in the games that are available. After all no parent in their right mind would allow their child to watch violent films, so why should games be any different?

Another aspect of this event is that now the game has withdrawn from some shops, it has generated publicity, which may make the game more desirable, especially for people who should not be playing it.

#2 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 03:56 AM

I have this game in my collection, and I admit that it does contain some graphic violence, but that is why it was given an 18 rating. That a 17 year old was in possession of it, and then went on to commit murder is tragic, but is just a coincidence. The news report also mentions that the primary motive of the attack was robbery.

If the kid was 17 and the game has an 18 rating it's also against the law to sell it to him. So... the question begs to be answered: How did he get hold of it?

On a personal sidenote. I don't play many games but I have my fair share of hours behind Doom, Carmageddon, Unreal, Soldier Of Fortune and others.

#3 DawsonV5

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 06:57 AM

I would also like to know how the kid was able to obtain this game if the rating was 18. I can how the parents would want to blame this video game, but I think they should have taken an interest in what their son was doing. In the article it said that the kid was obsessed with the game. If my child has take an extreme interest into something I definitely would like to know what exactly it is.

Anyways this is an unfortunate incident. It reminds me of the mother who sued Sony(EQ2) about her son committing suicide over the game. Heck I remember seeing Grand theft auto 3 being talked about on the Montell Willaims show. Things are definitely different from when we were kids, and we need to keep educating ourselves so we know what may be harmful to our children.

#4 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 07:57 AM

...and we need to keep educating ourselves so we know what may be harmful to our children.

Almost good, we need to educate the kids so they know what is harmful and wrong/right. You're not around forever and chances are he/she is longer here than you!

#5 grey fox

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 07:33 PM

If the kid was 17 and the game has an 18 rating it's also against the law to sell it to him. So... the question begs to be answered: How did he get hold of it?

A lot of kids look older than their years, plus a some of the people I see working in game shops look like they are barely old enough to buy the games they are selling.

It may not be that the kid had bad parents. It is after all a natural instinct to protect one's offspring, so it is understandable that they should want to do this, but in the UK we have a press that likes to villify anybody that it can sink it's teeth into. This story was on the front page in huge letters on one tabloid. A few years ago there was an outcry over the 'Child's Play' series of films after two school children killed another child and said they were influenced by these films. A tabloid illustrated the story with a picture depicting a kid looking at a cover of the video and grinning in an evil manner.

Also in the UK it is what is known as the silly season, because Parliament has broken for it's Summer recess, most people are on holiday, so they are desperate for stories and will leetch off anything they can get.

To put things into perspective, there is a humanitarian crisis occuring in Sudan, and most of our newspapers have decided that the sex life of the English football team's manager is far more newsworthy!

#6 DawsonV5

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 02:50 AM

I definitely agree with your point Bobbie:

Almost good, we need to educate the kids so they know what is harmful and wrong/right. You're not around forever and chances are he/she is longer here than you!


But in order to educate our kids it has to begin with us. To many parents are oblivious to want interests their kids have. I think it goes hand in hand educating both. :thumbsup:

#7 simsfan

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 06:57 AM

It's not illegal for a kid to buy a mature game. Just some stores (like Walmart) won't let kids under 18 buy it. I play mature games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and 4, it doesn't make me violent.

#8 H@ns

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 07:09 AM

It's not illegal for a kid to buy a mature game. Just some stores (like Walmart) won't let kids under 18 buy it. I play mature games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and 4, it doesn't make me violent.

I'm 15 and I played games like GTA 3 and Vice City since I was 11 or 12. Doesn't make me violent too.
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#9 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 02:38 PM

@ simsfan: I'm sorry to disappoint you but it is illegal to sell it to people under the age. If you do something because of that (tough case to prove, though) the salesperson is responsible. In America with its sue culture that can mean a lot of money...

@ H@ns: you don't have to get violent because of it. If something like this happens there was more brewing anyway... This was only what set him off (again try to prove that!)

#10 guacamel

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 05:13 PM

@ simsfan: I'm sorry to disappoint you but it is illegal to sell it to people under the age. If you do something because of that (tough case to prove, though) the salesperson is responsible. In America with its sue culture that can mean a lot of money...

@ H@ns: you don't have to get violent because of it. If something like this happens there was more brewing anyway... This was only what set him off (again try to prove that!)

I'm pretty sure the ERSB rating isn't enforced by law, and only particular retailers enforce the ratings....

#11 grey fox

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 07:20 PM

I'm pretty sure the ERSB rating isn't enforced by law, and only particular retailers enforce the ratings....


In the UK where this whole affair occurred, the game in question was classed 18 by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), which would make it illegal to supply it to someone under this age. There are also the ELSPA ratings which are voluntary ratings, perhaps like the ESRB rating.

I suppose a related question is, just because someone's is old enough in years to play or view graphic content, how would a person's mentality be judged to gage wether or not they are fit to experience such content. As an example, a responsible landlord or barman would not sell more booze to someone who looks like they have had enough, so should extreme entertainment be any different? I am not suggesting that IQ or psychometric tests are enforced upon you every time you go to buy a game, but would it be right for some individuals to have their taste in entertainment vettted in some way?

#12 simsfan

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 08:08 PM

In the United States, many stores do not care about if kids are buying mature games. It isn't illegal here. I didn't know that you were talking about the UK.

#13 grey fox

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Posted 31 July 2004 - 08:30 PM

In the United States, many stores do not care about if kids are buying mature games. It isn't illegal here. I didn't know that you were talking about the UK.


In the UK we have a long history of censorship, which only served to make some titles more desirable. In the 80's films like Driller Killer and I spit on your grave were completely banned from sale or rental, as were most zombie or cannibal films. So there was a roaring trade in pirate movies. The same went for porn.

In the UK newsagents sell "gentleman's" magazines on the top shelves, and some were raided on a regular basis by the police under the terms of the Obscene Publications Act.

We are still breaking free from this mindset, as now you can rent the 'uncut' version of I spit etc. from Blockbuster (although I don't know why anyone would want to?) and you can buy dirty mags anywhere, like in petrol stations?!?

#14 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 06:49 AM

In the UK we have a long history of censorship, which only served to make some titles more desirable. In the 80's films like Driller Killer and I spit on your grave were completely banned from sale or rental, as were most zombie or cannibal films. So there was a roaring trade in pirate movies. The same went for porn.

Which is why I'm very distrusting if I buy a video/dvd from England with a certificate of 18...
At least America has 'Unrated' which means that you can buy the whole film, if it's objectionable or not... I don't like the idea of a government censoring what I can/cannot read/see/etc. I'm old and 'wise' enough to make up my own mind.

#15 Noone

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 08:08 AM

If you go to www.bbfc.co.uk you can search titles and see if they are cut or not.

#16 grey fox

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 03:05 PM

If you go to www.bbfc.co.uk you can search titles and see if they are cut or not.


I think this only applies to cuts that have been required by the censors. I don't think that cuts made by the producers or director would be listed.

#17 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 05:04 PM

The problem is not so much the cutting. It's the notion of a government deciding what I can watch or not. I can make up my own mind. Personally I think violence is worse than sex in movies. But sex is cut and violence is not. And then people start complaining that society is hardening... Dh...

#18 simsfan

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 07:03 PM

**Update**

Seems like Manhunt doesn't have to do with it.

http://www.gamespot....ws_6104067.html

New developments may stir things up in the recent allegations that Manhunt had inspired the murder of a 14-year-old boy in the UK. Local police announced today that they had indeed found a copy of the action game, but it was found in the victim's bedroom.

The development could raise several questions concerning Mr. and Mrs. Pakeerah's claims, such as how did their son come into possession of the "M"-rated game and who bought it for him. However, such questions are probably irrelevant to the case, according to police. We havent connected the game with the murder...the motive was robbery," said local police spokesperson Narinder Pooni.

The games-cause-violence story sent the UK media into a frenzy last week. The Daily Mail lead the charge, running the headline "Murder by PlayStation" and starting a sensational campaign to ban violent games. Pooni stated that the police had already announced that the game was not involved in the murder, but that "some sections of the media chose to ignore it."



#19 jedi

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 06:14 AM

Before P.C. games etc. it was T.V, Hollywood films, Punk rock, Marilyn Manson, Elvis, Bill Hailey, Jazz, Swing, Talkies, Buster Keaton, Lord Byron, Beethoven and so on and so on, and if you go back 2000 years the poems of Ovid were blamed for corrupting Roman youth. The blame culture isn't a new phenomenon.
As far as I'm concerned some people's brains are just hardwired wrong, but you can't blame a parent for looking for external reasons why little Johnny went berzerk with a hatchet. They want to blame someone else before someone blames them. And if there is no external influence the alternative is much more uncomfortable, because if some people are just born bad then it could be anyone, it could be your husband, wife, and so on. On the notion of censorship I'm with Bobbi, let's have politicians treat us as adults, and give us the right to make up our own minds, judging from their own moral standards they have no right to put themselves forward as arbiters of public morals. But they need us to believe that we need them, to protect us from the ever-rising tide of (fill in this weeks issue).
I also live in the U.K. and I have to agree U.K. press are particularly vile, two-faced and hypocritical.
We seem to suffer here from a terrible case of moral double standards.
I blame Queen Victoria!!

(Bring back personal responsibility) :hmmm:
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#20 grey fox

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 04:08 PM

Update

From my first post...

Another aspect of this event is that now the game has withdrawn from some shops, it has generated publicity, which may make the game more desirable, especially for people who should not be playing it.


"A computer game linked to the violent murder of a teenager has sold out of stores across the UK...

...A number of major high street stores have withdrawn the game from sale. But at HMV, where it is on sale, demand has 'significantly increased'."

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I personally liked the game for it's technical merits; the story and content were secondary considerations as I do like my stealth/action games, and so I bought it on it's day of release. I do have to say though that I find it sad that people are buying the game out of a morbid curiosity, kind of like those people who go to traffic accidents to spectate. I only fear that it will give the 'gutter press' yet more fuel for their flames.

Jedi, I am also with you and Bobbi on the issue of censorship, but here in the UK the general populace have a history of being treated like children, because of the notion that the people who govern us (royalty, the lords, the church) know what is best for us, and I don't think that will change anytime soon.




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