Once again, the political system is attempting to overrule reasonable thought when it comes to video games. Since the tragedy in Connecticut, an enthusiastic collection of NRA members, politicians, journalists, and suburban mothers have been attempting to lay the blame on violent video games. And, even though it has provided me with an endless supply of rant-writing material, it's starting to get a little old.
If the situation were even mildly humorous, it would be different. I could spend my entire career making fun of NRA members for being uneducated hillbillies, but considering that this all traces back to an elementary school shooting, hillbilly jokes seem less funny.
So, the clear-thinking journalists among us are forced to recite the news without covering it in histrionics. Plus, it has become our job to ferret out stupidity and put it under a microscope. And, unfortunately, it's that second responsibly that I'm writing about today.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has decided to yank nine arcade titles from rest stops on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
“Bottom line is I think there isn’t a person who doesn’t believe that there isn’t too much violence in our society, and games can glorify that,” said Richard Davey, Massachusetts's Secretary of Transportation. “A video game in a public space could be used by anybody of any age. At the end of the day, those games are there to entertain kids, probably for a few minutes, while their parents are resting from a long trip."
Most of the games haven't been specifically named, but we do know that Time Crisis and Beach Head 2000 are among the newly forbidden titles. Both games were rated <i>Teen</i> by the ESRB when they were released in 1995 and 2000 respectively. And neither is any more violent than most of what's available on network television.
And this is the problem. Video games are graded on a different scale than television and movies because the people doing the grading don't play video games. However, some of us have been dedicating all of our free time to gaming since the R.O.B. The Robot was a thing, and we know that the scales aren’t exactly equal. But we don't dictate public policy, so our opinions don’t exactly count.
If you're a parent who might have a problem with your kid shoveling a few quarters into a Time Crisis machine, maybe you should keep an eye on him instead of trying to take a few minutes of entertainment away from a long-haul trucker.
Also, you shouldn't let him watch any television, go to a movie, or surf the Internet. In fact, you may want to consider blindfolding your child and locking them in a closet for 18(ish) years.
Source: The Boston Globe
Date: January 14, 2013