So there are some interesting issues going on with gaming. A judge in St. Louis decided that videogames don’t contain ideas and so aren’t provided free speech protection. According to one article Judge Limbaugh (yes he is related to Rush Limbaugh although I don’t think we should be punished for who we are related to) didn’t even play the games he just watched films of them. In his ruling he said that videogames showed, “no conveyance of ideas, expression or anything else that could possibly amount to free speech. … Video games have more in common with board games and sports than they do with motion pictures.”
Now anyone who knows my research should know that I totally agree with his observation that they don’t have much in common with films. However, the notion that videogames don’t contain ideas is silly. Similarly that board games don’t contain ideas and expressions is probably news to the makers of the Life As a Black Man Game. There are some interesting takes on this available at joystick101.org [edit added in Feb of 2009 — unfortunately it looks like that link is lost to the sands of time http://www.joystick101.org/?op=displaystory;sid=2002/4/26/11129/1665 ) and penny arcade’s Lawyer of Doom.
The second issue is the guy who killed 18 people in a school shooting. Notice I said guy, not kid. People are blaming counterstrike and saying that he was a kid. He wasn’t he was 19. He was a member of 2 gun clubs and his parents didn’t even know that he was kicked out of school. But its those damn videogames fault. WHo’s fault is it that people are calling him a kid? It looks like German media is palying the moral panic card and is placing the blame for the violence squarely on the shoulders of those awful videogames, allegedly calling counterstrike, “Software for a massacre.” So once again its those damn videogames to blame. They make people so violent. That’s why LAN parties always break out into violence and sporting events don’t, right? Oh wait… I don’t remember any fights at LAN parties. But I seem to remember Lots of fights at sporting evens. Can it be that the media is scaring us about the wrong thing????