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The most dangerous video game

It's Christmas. Time for the busybodies to issue press releases on things they oppose. One group, called the Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility, has issued a strong warning (Word format) on video games. It's the same old thing:

Years of research have shown that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children. Research on violent interactive media indicates that it has a strong and more lasting effect on violent behavior.
Okay, whatever. But it gets interesting when they list 'several games whose scenes of violence, gender and/or racial stereotyping are such that we would urge parents to avoid purchasing them'. Their number one pick? America's Army.

America's Army is not a standard 'video game' in the sense that you buy it at Wal-Mart, play it until you beat the final 'boss', then wait for the sequel to come out. Instead, it's a open-ended simulation of a career in the US Army and is available as a free download. Here's how the game is described:

America’s Army is one of the five most popular PC action games played online. It provides players with the most authentic military experience available, from exploring the development of Soldiers in individual and collective training to their deployment in simulated missions in the War on Terror.

Players are bound by the laws of land warfare, Army values (honor, duty and integrity) and realistic rules of engagement as they navigate challenges in teamwork-based multiplayer force vs. force operations. Mission accomplishment standings are evaluated based on team effort and adherence to a set of values and norms of conduct.

It sounds like there may be some violence in the game, but is it enough to make it the number one game they want to warn parents about? I played one of the Grand Theft Auto games once (GTA: San Andreas: out just in time for Christmas!), and one of the first things I was required to do was to beat someone to death with a baseball bat. The game was a nihilistic celebration of criminal culture and I really wouldn't want any teenager of mine to play it (though I wouldn't want it banned either). And America's Army, requiring 'honor, duty and integrity' from the player is worse than this?

In the minds of the Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility, yes. But they don't say why. I'm guessing because the game is a recruiting tool for the US Army and these people have anti-war beliefs. Labeling something you disagree with politically as dangerously loaded with 'violence, gender and/or racial stereotyping' is pretty low. But don't be surprised to see their list turning up in newspaper stories -- rewriting press releases is what they do best.

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Comments

The funniest part about these groups who are trying to warn parents about certain violent video games is that they keep choosing games that we've never heard of, or better yet, that arent even out.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/news.php3?date=2004-12-01

GTA: San Andreas is medicinal stress relief, why cant anyone see this? :)

Which game isn't out? The link didn't work.

GTA: San Andreas looks like great fun, too bad I don't have a PS2 and the hours and hours of free time I'd need to play it.

i think that all video games are bad!!!!! i hate em! they make your mind go wacko!

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