Friday, July 15, 2005

Another Short Post

There are many factors contributing to juvenile delinquency. Poverty. Lack of education. Uninvolved parents. But someone should tell Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman that a video game played by rich suburban people isn't one of them. Guess it's easier to attack video games than fix a broken education system, eh?


Andy said...

Throw more money at the video game, that always works.


Anonymous said...

It's funny, Slashdot has been covering this issue ad nauseum since it appeared, and every time there's an update at least seven people get "(Score:5, Insightful)" ratings by pointing out the obvious:

1. Stabbing a hooker in the neck and taking her money is probably a worse thing for kids to be exposed to than depictions of consentual sex.

2. The difference between people who are authorized to purchase the game with its current "M" rating, and people who would be authorized if the rating were changed to "AO", is one year.

3. The youngest people who are authorized to purchase the game in its current form are 17.

4. The "Hot Coffee" minigame is, at most, an artifact of the development process which is not accessible from the released code. The product must be modified in order to play it, placing a significant part of the "blame" on the person modifying the game.

- pierce

Anonymous said...

Anyway, as a hypothetical example, let's say you made a Sims-style adaptation of the classic TGIF show Full House. Let's say you wanted my game to have the most realistic video game graphics evar, so you'd really feel like you were personally experiencing the contrived dilemmas and sappy moralizing.

To that end, you create a realistic clothing physics engine, and create computer models of each character's body down to the smallest details, then simulate the fabric of the clothing laying on those models.

You release the game, rated "E" for everyone, and it's a rousing success. Then some jackanape goes in and modifies the game engine to make the simulated fabric transparent, and all of a sudden you get to see all of Dave Coulier's bits and pieces (I did say "smallest" details, didn't I?).

Now Concerned Parents everywhere are up in arms because they didn't want their little ones to see Uncle Joey's gladstones (and who would?). But who is to blame? Nobody in the process who can be held legally accountable is to blame.

Here's the paradox. The developers of Sim Full House may have created pornographic material, but they definintely did not distribute it with intent to "corrupt a minor" (whatever that means), since it was not accessible in the released product. The creators of the mod did not create or distribute pornographic material, but simply made it possible for anyone (including minors) to access material they already had.

It's like a bombardier beetle's attack; neither compound is harmful on its own, but when you combine them there's a harmful effect. Which would seem to (IMO, correctly) imply that the fault lies with the person who executes the mod, probably the child itself.

And that's the woefully underused argument here: sometimes kids are to blame for their own actions. You can't protect them from everything, and it's not always your fault that you didn't. And furthermore, to the hyperventilating politicians out there: you're not going to be able to change that fact without destroying the concept of a free society.

- pierce

Mike said...

I want to post something insightful, but I think Pierce beat me to the punch. That line about Uncle Joey's gladstones is priceless.

Mike said...

I meant to post this link awhile back, but forgot, and rediscovered it when I visited Maddox's page to see if there was anything new. It pretty much sums up how stupid this issue is. Sample quote: "I want to shoot people in the face, bang prostitutes, traffic drugs, steal cars, and terrorize police officers without this filthy smut in my game."