Brent Bozell of TownHall.com has apparently run out of liberals to bash, and is now focusing on the video game industry's recent nudity trend and how it's going to affect little Johnny. Like most of Bozell's vilifying writings, he has, again, missed the greater picture and is fighting the wrong fight.
In the editorial, Bozell sets up the scenario where boys this summer will opt for, "almost non-stop video game action, leaving them a pasty shade of white as they battle away the summer in the basement". And, being boys, they will not be able to fight the urge to play the yet to be rated games, "Playboy: The Mansion" or "Singles: Flirt Up Your Life", two games, which Bozell suggests are pornography for children.
Bozell addresses the ratings issue of these games only when mentioning the manufacturers' desires to evade the "AO - Adult's Only" rating by the ESRB. The "AO" rating is the strictest rating and games with it are not sold in many large retail stores, such as Wal-Mart or Target. Bozell seems to believe that if these games don't get the "AO" rating, they'll be stamped with an "E" for "Everyone". This is, obviously, not the case. If the games miss the "AO" mark, they will still be "M" for "Mature", meaning kids under the age of seventeen can't purchase them.
Bozell goes on to discuss the sleaziness of Eidos, who may be offering "Singles: Flirt Up Your Life" (a sexed up "Sims") via a $30 computer download. Bozell seems to believe this $30 download will be too tempting to boys, and will cause them to lie and cheat their way to their parents' credit cards so they can return to that dark basement and fill their time with dirty video games. It doesn't even occur to Bozell that these same boys in these same dark basements have access to free porn everyday on the internet. Nor does it occur to him that, video gamers actually like games.
While I'm certain "Playboy: The Mansion" will peak some pubescent interest, the goal of photographing naked models does not a good video game make. "Playboy: The Mansion" is an interactive magazine, not a video game. And, last year's "BMX XXX", a BMX biking game where players were rewarded with topless women bikers who would strip for you, proved that boobs don't sell video games. People played it once and they had seen everything. Since the game behind it wasn't impressive, it didn't sell. Now, I'm willing to bet "Singles: Flirt Up Your Life" does better than "Playboy: The Mansion", but not among young boys. I think we'll all be surprised by the number of adult women who will pick that one up. And, it's their right to do so, as they are adults.
Bozell lives in a world where children have all of the power, and parents have none. He still believes video games are made for children, despite the fact that the average gamer is now 29. And, because of these skewed beliefs, he has taken it upon himself to write uninformed articles which challenge video game makers' rights to their freedom of speech, art and expression.
I'm not thrilled with the concept of adult video games, either, which is why I'm not going to play them...just like I opt not to buy dirty magazines nor visit porn sites. Yes, I am an adult, and I do see the harm that can ensue if young boys do get their hands on these products. But, again, dirty magazines have been around for decades and porn sites have been around for years. Vilifying those who create these games is not only self-righteous, but it's ignorant. Bozell is only further damaging the parental education process that needs to happen if we are to keep these products out of the hands of children. As long as parents think it's not their fault and they are powerless against these big, bad companies, they aren't going to do anything to prevent these games from getting in the hands of their young boys. After all, the parents are the ones who are allowing their kids to play "almost non-stop video game action, leaving them a pasty shade of white as they battle away the summer in the basement".