Paul NyhartcloseAuthor: Paul Nyhart
Name: Paul Nyhart
About: Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.comSee Authors Posts (394)
I can’t help but recall the days when I played Duck Hunt on my NES. Pointing an orange, plastic gun at every mallard duck that clumsily flew across my fifteen-inch screen, I was probably no older than eight and here I was simulating the act of hunting (oh heavens!). Some would call that a fun and an enjoyable means for a young child to explore their imagination. Others, would try and call it dangerous. Ever since video game players could pretend to be Kano and rip the beating heart out of their “finished opponent” critics have speculated that video games may be causing severe damage to children. It’s been a subject that’s gone back and forth for years, but has gained some serious steam recently, with legislation intended to put the kibosh to ultra-violent video games.
Driving the vehicle (more on this in a bit) is California State Senator Leland Yee, P.H.D. Senator Lee has become one of the main faces quarterbacking the campaign to censor ultra violent video games, based on their inherent, interactive nature.
“The fact that you can push a button and make certain horrific things happen. If you demonstrate to a child that you can do these things, it becomes part of their repertoire for dealing with anger,” says the California State Senator.
But what are we really talking about here? The fact that you manipulate the actions of characters in video games, be it shooting ducks or whacking crooks in San Andreas, means these actions will carry over into real life?
“I have seen individuals using a baseball bat and bludgeoning a hooker to death, or taking a gun and shooting a cop. Those are the direct result of someone pushing a button and making a conscious decision. I can see that that kind of connection between your action and the consequent behavior is dangerous.”
But using the word “dangerous” is just a means of predicting a possible scenario–what playing violent video games MIGHT result in. Basically, what’s being said here is that children are stupid (“undeveloped” is usually the hip term) and can’t think for themselves, so the government is going to step in and play thought police. Certainly, there are games that aren’t targeted for children, and thus have a rating which reflects that (just like movies). But rarely does the conversation revolve around the enforcement of ratings, rather it’s more or less to thrown the baby out with the bath water and censor “violent” video games as a whole.
But let’s look at a simple FACT ABOUT VIDEO GAMES: it’s a huge business which employs tens of thousands of people (The Bureau of Labor predicts careers in software development will increase 29% and artists/multimedia specialists 14% by 2018). If the Government continues to play thought police and go ahead with the legislation, it would have a devastating impact on the video game industry. As Ted Price (Insomniac Games) explains in episode 6, season 4 of The Jace Hall Show (the video to the right) the issue is one of the most influential decisions to ever affect the game industry and First Amendment rights. It’s no secret that video game makers are heavily against it. Do we want to destroy an increase of thousands of jobs and tear down a huge industry, in a down economy no less, just because some BELIEVE video games are dangerous? That’s exactly what game censorship would be doing.
But the plot thickens…there’s another story in play here, involving a car that mysteriously keeps managing to crash. A Toyota Highlander driven by the wife of State Senator Yee, and was previously helmed by former California State Senator Carole Migden, has cost state taxpayers over $400,000 in less than four years. You could play Gran Turismo for a decade
and not spend that much on your ride. How the heck does this keep happening? Either these ladies have apparently been playing too much Grand Theft Auto, or they’re just having trouble finding the right radio station. Regardless, the car they miraculously keep managing to crash, but thankfully not getting hurt in, is running up a bill that no one seems to care about. Yet, violence in video games still holds the spotlight. What is more dangerous–a video game that allows people to interact in a pretend environment or a car that people can’t seem to properly drive? Should we be cracking down on video games or drivers licenses, here?
If step one is to take down the video game industry, and step two is to crash a car enough times to send the world into chaos, perhaps creating enough lawsuits that taxpayers money runs dry and they can’t even afford to buy video games (I smell conspiracy…) than step three must be to re-name San Fransisco, San Fierro, every time a car gets jacked. Well, we here at The Jace Hall Show aren’t buying any of these scare tactics, especially the claims that video games should be censored. It would be one thing if people were turning off their PS3, Xbox’s, and PC’s, immediately running out onto the streets and going gangbusters on the first person they see–all the result of playing a violent video game. Heck, I live in Hollywood, and I’ve never even seen that kind of thing happen (unless they were in costume and it was part of a sketch…but that’s a different kind of “dangerous”).
There’s always going to be a case here or there where people take a game too far, but if we want to get psychological (dare I say philosophical) let’s pose the question as to whether that’s a by-product of the game or the actual environment the person lives in. Senator Yee holds a P.H.D. in Psychology so he knows more about this stuff than I do, but the point is that the overwhelming majority of people love video games, know that they are not real, and realize that just because you can trigger something in a video game doesn’t allow you to do so in real life (duh). Until kids are running around the street like they’re playing Gears of War, or until Need For Speed style police chases are common on every freeway (Mrs. Yee and her husband’s predecessor certainly seem to be doing their part) game censorship only serves to hurt one of America’s few booming industries, and limit First Amendment rights.
Post By Paul Nyhart (394 Posts)
Paul Nyhart has been the Head Editor and Writer of JaceHallShow.com since Season 3. He began his career as a sports announcer, segueing into the world of voice-over and film production. Send all tips to Paul@HDfilms.com
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