Daily Archives: April 26, 2008

Ban These Evil (Video) Games (Ads)?

The UK’s Daily Mail once ran the front page headline, “Ban These Evil Games” but apparently the world of videogame culture is so vile and evil that we need to go beyond baning the games and taking up some sort of tobacco and alcohol style regulation of advertising and not even advertise games on public transportation. Or at least that is what some would have happen apparently.

With the imminent release of Grand Theft Auto 4, the advertising is in full swing including advertising on buses and bus stops. Now anyone on the inside of videogames and gaming culture would not be surprised that good old Jack Thompson doesn’t like the GTA4 ads but he isn’t alone. At least one local television station has complained about the ads and gotten them removed.

Of course the main rallying cry is “Think of the children!” and it isn’t just some reactionary “Vidja games am the eval!” moral panic, right? Because they would be upset no matter what violent (or uberviolent or ultraviolent or megaviolent or whatever word you want ot make up) and designed for adults form of entertainment was advertised on busses and other public places where children could see them, right? Right…

It is funny how all of these moral crusaders seemed to be looking the other way when The Sopranos was advertised on the side of a bus with a hand holding a handgun in place of the “r” in March. Or when The Sopranos was advertised by having a fake arm dangle out of the trunk of taxis implying that there was someone locked in the trunk. Or when The Sopranos rented out space in shoe store windows and placed “cement shoes” in the display window. Or when The Sopranos put stickers on taxis in Scotland that looked like bullet holes and blood.

But I’m sure that such oversites are just isolated incidents and these people really have the best interests of children in mind and not simply some moral panic, crusade, or ignorance of videogame culture or anything like that…