Henry Jenkins views and video game violence

With part 2 of our interview with Dr. Henry Jenkins available, I thought I'd open the forums to the question of video game violence, media responsibility, who should be held accountable for youth violence, and the future of mainstream gaming.

Does the media unfairly portray our shared past time? Should developers be held accountable, or are games an art form that deserve to be protected under freedom of speech? Do you think this persecution is a passing phase, or will games be always considered as culturally worthless?

- Elysium

I think people''s ignorance towards the games industry is partly because the industry is so young still. Unfortunately, we still have to battle through the critical public and their ignorance towards the industry.

Even though we have the ESRB ratings on our games, people tend to ignore them. And because games are interactive, it will be a tougher battle then the movie/tv industry has had to fight, because people will just keep coming back to the whole ""that game teaches/promotes violence"".

We''re just starting to hear of different retail outlets actually enforcing the ESRB''s rating system (and they should be, just like with movies). But there''s a catch here, parent''s tend to be the one actually renting the title, and handing it off to their kids. If parent''s took a better look at what they were giving children to play with, a lot of this sex/violence argument would dissapear.

I think people like to have scapegoats nearby so that when they fail as a person/parent they can blame entertainment mediums instead of taking a look at what they may have done wrong. And unfortunately, the games industry has been the target of this way too often.

Does the media unfairly portray our past time? No. People do. And as such, the media reports on ""Moms against Games"" latest rally. I can''t remember watching the news or reading a paper and seeing an article actually blame gaming for the cause of all this.

I do beleive (hope) that the majority of this ""blame the games industry"" will go away, but like any other medium, there will always be a group of people that are completely against it.

Growing Pains...

I for one am sick of parents blaming everyone but themselves when it comes to problems with their kids!

I have endless debates with PARENTS of all people about how there are a lot of people with kids out there who don''t know what the hell their kids are doing.

I think the governments should abolish the usless ratings systems they have made mandatory. Force parents to actually pay attention to what there kids are watching, playing etc. Most parents these days use those ratings as the only measure and wonder why they end up with problems.

My mom constantly paid attention to what myself and my siblings were doing and watching and tried her best to know what was going on in our lives. She also had a job as well but she seemed to find the time, so I don''t buy into this whole 2 job family sh*t that most people spout when they talk about how much time they don''t have to always be there. I say grow up and act responsible. Don''t have kids if you can''t raise them properly YOURSELF!

I thought the ratings were voluntary on the part of the game industry, put in place to avoid the feds stepping in and forcing them to do something even more drastic.

I agree that parents should be involved in what their kids are doing and should know what their kids are playing. I mean, if some kid''s playing GTA3 for 4 hours a day, how can the parents NOT know what the game is about?
On the other hand, I do believe certain games exist only to make cheap sales based on sex appeal. I hardly think nudity was central to the gameplay in BMX XXX for instance. It just allowed the developer to create a false appeal for what is otherwise a pretty craptastic game. The good part is, most gamers saw it wasn''t a very good game, and didn''t buy it. DOA xtreme beach volleyball is another example. From the reviews I''ve seen, it''s got fairly weak gameplay wrapped in T&A.

GTA3 does take an unwarranted amount of heat I think. Yes, it''s very violent, but no more so then say Quake or Half-Life. The issue most people have is that the violence is aimed toward innocent people, as opposed to other people with guns, or monsters, or whatnot. I don''t play it because I personally think it''s a weak concept, but I don''t think it should be banned because of what it is.

Technically, the rating system was created voluntarily, but what really happened is the government said, ""if you don''t start voluntarily rating your games, we will make you.""