Thursday, April 06, 2006

first person shooter

"KILL, KILL ... it's fun to kill"

What do you do if your son becomes addicted to a violent video game?

Robin Benger used the opportunity to make a video. And it's great. This guy is a dazzling writer, who comes out with a wonderful phrase more than once.

His son, Griffin, became addicted to CounterStrike. This is the story of the conflict within the family.

But because Dad, at one stage, decided to feed the addiction it is also a story about a CounterStrike tournament, his son's the Clan - Down Town Games, interviews with unconvincing games industry spokesperson (Doug Lowenestein), equally unconvincing moral crusaders and various reflections about Rating Systems, a 2000 yo debate, the generation gap and more.

Tracking down his son in the middle of the night to a games parlour, " ... an electronic hook soothed by the balm of bloodless killing ... I'm near him now, he doesn't even know I'm here" .. cut to beautiful and tragic music from an opera

"War is a game ... happiness is a digital bomb"

This debate is 2000 years old. Aristotle and Plato debated whether to ban Homer.
Aristotle: violence purges the emotions, produced catharsis.
Plato: Violent images provoke violent behaviour.

Lt. Col David Grossman, who blames computer games for one of those horrible school yard massacres, that occurred in his hometown. He tours America giving lectures about this.
Rhetorical question: "Why are video games violent"
Answer: "Because violence is the addictive substance".

However, it turns out that Grossman could not name the video game that the young killer was playing. Benger then went to the trouble of finding a psychiatrist who had interviewed the killer who contradicted Grossman's interpretation.

The inventor of CounterStrike, 23 yo Minh Lee, fled the Vietnam war zone in a boat when 2 yo to end up in America making a game about violence and mayhem. He has a picture of a baby harp seal on his wall. Nice twist. In response to a question he says: "If people can't control themselves, then it's really not my responsibility"

Interviews with various parents who's sons are "hooked":

Interview one:
I turned off his computer. He grabbed my arm. Gave me a look as though he wished me dead. Threw the coffee table across the room. (nearly in tears)

Interview two:
Woman with 2 dogs on the couch. One of their sons had a seizure when playing a war game.

Interview three (Benger's wife):
Whenever Griffin was faced with anything difficult he would turn to the video game as an escape from the difficulty.

Interview four:
Video games are keeping him away from truly dangerous stuff like drugs and alcohol.

Back to Bengers' voice over:

"... the nagging overscheduled world of the urban child"

"my youth has no relevance to his ..."

"I lost the battle to keep the dark side of the information age out of my home"

"Not one of us knows what effect these games are having on the minds that shape the 21st Century"

Some melodrama here, yes, but gripping viewing too. I highly recommend this video and use it in my games course.


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