Fox News Blogger Continues Bulletstorm Attack

Logan Westbrook

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Feb 21, 2008
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Fox News Blogger Continues Bulletstorm Attack

A new Fox News article is issuing fresh warnings about the damaging effects of violent videogames and questioning how much retailers are really doing to prevent kids from playing them.

John Brandon, the Fox News tech blogger who wrote the now-infamous [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/107628-Fox-News-Says-Bulletstorm-Could-Make-You-a-Rapist] article about Bulletstorm [http://www.amazon.com/Bulletstorm-Epic-Xbox-360/dp/B003H0CC2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298305890&sr=8-1] that, amongst other things, suggested that videogames have contributed to an increase in rape attacks, has written a new piece [http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/20/bulletstorm-censored-germany-videogame-esrb/?test=faces] about the game, which again questions the possible negative effects that it might have.

In his new article, Brandon used the fact that the German version of Bulletstorm will have some of its more graphic elements removed [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/107658-German-Gamers-Get-Heavily-Censored-Bulletstorm] by order of the USK - the German equivalent of the ESRB - as a springboard, asking why a game considered too violent for Germany is being released uncensored in the US. Brandon warned that kids of any age can view Bulletstorm's content online, and quoted a number of expert psychologists, who said that exposing children to that kind of material can do significant damage.

As well as psychologists, Brandon spoke to EA's Jeff Brown, who said that he disagreed with the USK's decision - the USK is notable among videogames rating boards as being one of the toughest, and most squeamish, in the world - and added that he thought that videogames should be treated the same as books and movies. Brandon also spoke to the ECA's Hal Halpin, who said that, unlike in Germany, videogames were protected in the US by the First Amendment, and so couldn't be censored in the same way. Presumably, the question that Brandon asked Halpin compared the effects of videogames to alcohol and tobacco, as Halpin's comment makes reference to both substances, but without seeing the question itself, it's impossible to know for sure.

Brandon also touched on the response to his original article from the gaming press. He mentioned Rock Paper Shotgun's efforts to get "the full story" (the quote marks were added by Brandon) and Destructoid's article about the Amazonbombing of Carole Lieberman's book - the expert who made the link between games and rape - which bore the headline "'Games cause rape' psychologist's book gets raped. [http://www.destructoid.com/-games-cause-rape-psychologist-s-book-gets-raped-193705.phtml]" Brandon also touched on the split in opinion that the Amazonbombing caused, quoting one comment that lamented how the act made gamers look, and another that said that it was the only way that gamers could voice their frustration at Lieberman's "outright untruths."

Towards the end of his article, Brandon also questioned how effective the safeguards implemented by the videogame industry and retailers were at actually preventing children from getting their hands on games like Bulletstorm. He said that many experts thought that retailers weren't enforcing ESRB ratings, although he didn't reveal who those experts were. He also pointed out that there were fewer safeguards when buying online, although he did acknowledge that most games are sold in brick and mortar stores.

Much like his first article about Bulletstorm, Brandon's latest piece contains a fairly significant factual inaccuracy. In this instance, it's the assertion that retailers aren't enforcing ESRB ratings, when in fact, FTC studies [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103555-Retailers-Turn-Away-80-of-Kids-Trying-to-Buy-M-Rated-Games ] show that they are some of the most rigorously enforced ratings in the US. While this error is rather significant, and colors the entire final third of the article, it's arguably not as bad as the implication that it's game makers and retailers that should be preventing children from viewing inappropriate content, rather than parents.

At the same time as excoriating Bulletstorm for having damaging content, Brandon seems to want to absolve parents of any responsibility for protecting their children from that content, suggesting that the developers and publishers that are at fault for making the game in the first place. Brandon's experts may be correct about the damage that violent games cause - although that's the source of much debate [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/106512-Activision-Exec-Blasts-California-Game-Law-in-Newspaper-Editorial] - and no reasonable person is going to suggest that preventing kids from viewing inappropriate content is a bad thing. That said, preventing children from coming to harm isn't just the job of the videogame industry, and parents have to take an active role in what their children are doing.

Bulletstorm comes out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 22nd. Don't buy it for your kids.

Source: via Game Informer [http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/02/20/fox-news-blogger-continues-to-beat-the-bulletstorm-drum.aspx]


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Scytail

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Jan 26, 2010
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Anyone who has worked in a video game store should know that if a parent want to by a game for their kid that there is nothing you can do about it.

Edit: What ever happened to showing your citations? How can they claim to have "experts" without telling anyone who they are?
 

JRCB

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Bleugh, do these people have anything better to do? Why aren't they blaming the parents for not monitoring the games their kids play? Occasionally my dad will come up and ask me what I'm playing, and when I want a new game I have to describe what it's about and why it received it's rating. It's not that difficult, folks.
 

cerebus23

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Where did they dig these asshats up? Seriously newsflash people every console these days has a lockout feature on it, you can program your console to not play movies, games etc that you do not want your child playing without entering the password.

Do fox and other even have editors anymore? I realize this is a blogger, but how about someone counter blogging and checking his "facts"

News flash 1950 elvis is going to turn your kids into degenerate rapists, 1980 ozzy osbourne, 1990 marylin mansion, 2010 video games.
 

Assassin Xaero

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"and added that he thought that videogames should be treated the same as books and movies"

Aren't videogames rated a hell of a lot more strict than books and movies, already?
 

Frank_Sinatra_

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Dec 30, 2008
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John Brandon said:
...and questioning how much retailers are really doing to prevent kids from playing them.
Jesus Christ...
How many times must this be said? It's the parents fucking responsibility to dictate what their kids can, and cannot have. Do some friggin parenting people.
You had sex and a kid came out, so why not take responsibility for what just happened h-uh?

It's not the game makers fault for making the game. Apparently "Freedom of Speech" means nothing.
Again, it's not their responsibility to parent your fucking kid.
 

Scytail

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JRCB said:
Bleugh, do these people have anything better to do? Why aren't they blaming the parents for not monitoring the games their kids play? Occasionally my dad will come up and ask me what I'm playing, and when I want a new game I have to describe what it's about and why it received it's rating. It's not that difficult, folks.
Its Fox news. If they arent bashing democrats/obama they have to carry on about the next nonconservative thing they can, i.e. freedom of speech, freedom of expression, restrictive gun laws.
 

JUMBO PALACE

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Alright, look, let's not let this become another tidal wave. Just ignore this guy everyone. He's just trying to coast off of the controversy of his last article. Let it go.
 

thethingthatlurks

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He's basing part of his argument on the USK rating? You know, in Germany violence is a big no-no in video games, and somebody is constantly banging on about banning so called "killer-games." But hey, whatever he wants. I can just sit here and call him a retard all day long, but ultimately nobody gains anything from that. If he wants a real discussion about violence in the media (a topic well worth discussing), great! If not, well, he works for Fox, the network of inbred, toothless, illiterate, xenophobic, obese idiots, who in all probability have never even heard the words "bath" or "shower" before. What am I basing that on? Well, that's essentially what Europeans think of Fox and their audience...
 

Giantpanda602

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The ESRB isn't enforced? Since I'm underage my mom goes with me to buy M rated games and they actually make HER give them her I'D. Methinks she's a little above 18.
 

Kegsen

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Feb 20, 2011
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*sigh*
Again, parents yelling via ignorant "protective" crusaders about violent games. As the above article rightfully points out "parents have to take an active role in what their children are doing."
Which is sadly far from commonplace. A fair few are probably aware of what kinds of games are intended for teen audiences, but I`ve seen fathers actually verbally abusing retail-employees for not selling a mature-game to their kids. Especially last christmas (no, not the Wham-song which causes incredible amounts of psychological trauma in itself) I witnessed a bunch of parents buying CoD and BFBC2 for their kids. Maybe not the worst of the bunch I`ll admit, but when the clerks actually enforce the rules set, they should be thanked - not harassed.

But of course....guns don`t kill people...videogames apparantly do. And they be rapin` eeeverybody out there!

Edit: Just noticed the logo of Fox News...followed by "fair and balanced". Right-O!
 

TheGuiggleMonster

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Don't worry I don't think John Brandon is going to have any impact whatsoever on anyone or anything related to the gaming industry. The simple truth is that there are more people on our side.
 

Ranchcroutons

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Im starting to see a theme with Fox news failing to list sources. I'm not saying that all of what they say is made up but maybe they realize most of their sources aren't credible. Faux news seems to be trying to get across their side of the story while simultaneously lacking objectivity necessary for good journalism. I just wish that these people would expose themselves to this content before critiquing it.
 
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Scytail said:
Anyone who has worked in a video game store should know that if a parent want to by a game for their kid that there is nothing you can do about it.

Edit: What ever happened to showing your citations? How can they claim to have "experts" without telling anyone who they are?
This is FOX News. They're too good for "sources" and "citations" and all that fancy-pants "fact" stuff.
 

LtWiesel

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Assassin Xaero said:
"and added that he thought that videogames should be treated the same as books and movies"

Aren't videogames rated a hell of a lot more strict than books and movies, already?
Yes they are....so let's all support this statement and we might get uncensored games one day ^^
 

Jonci

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At the same time as excoriating Bulletstorm for having damaging content, Brandon seems to want to absolve parents of any responsibility for protecting their children from that content, suggesting that the developers and publishers that are at fault for making the game in the first place.
So, if someone buys an industrial laser out of a magazine and puts a hole in his body using it incorrectly, is it the manufacterer's fault for producing it? No! There's a purpose for the product, an intended use, and intended users.

Game developers follow that same rule. Games are for entertainment and they have a set age group for which it is meant to entertain. A parent would be responsible for keeping a deadly item out their kids hands, so why shouldn't they be responsible for a "harmful" game meant for adults?
 

carnege4

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Feb 11, 2011
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Meh.

I see books out there much worse.
I read the Ken Follet saga books about the medieval age when i was 13.
My brother have 11 and is reading them.
Never tough about raping some1

Wheres your god now psychologists?