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Moral Kombat -- I'm angry!

Filed under: Video Game Politics
Posted by Jeremy on February 5, 2007 10:16 AM
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I'm angry. Allison just showed me the trailer for 'Moral Kombat', a documentary about the video game industry, specifically how violent video games are impacting our society. Simply watching the trailer has my blood boiling.

It consists of a stream of all-stars and choice quotes from the likes of Jack Thompson and Joe Lieberman, people who have no clue and don't make any sense when it comes to this debate, and, in fact, do more harm than good everytime they speak on the subject.

Moral Kombat

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Although the filmmaker, Spencer Halpin, claims to have been very careful in representing the entire spectrum, I have to wonder why it is that he only chose to portray one side in the trailer, and, most enraging, why he had to show 9/11.

Let's take a look at a few of the quotes:

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

I'm not sure who said this quote as there is only game footage showing when it is said. However, the concept that we are what we pretend to be is enraging. I play lots of video games and over the years have "prentended" to be a spy, a hitman, a bloodthirsty assassin, countless soldiers in almost every war imaginable, a plumber, a space pilot, etc. As far as I know, I have never actually been one of these things and I've never had any problem knowing the difference between my "pretend" character in a game and me. It's absolutely ridiculous. This line of thinking, this premise for debate, is absurd and should be dismissed outright.

After that choice quote we see footage of the Twin Towers collapsing. This emotional trick is cheap and disgusting. Every politician, newsperson, and filmmaker who wants a quick attention-getter uses 9/11 and I'm getting sick and tired of it. And what does 9/11 have to do with video games? Well, as the footage of the towers collapsing fades, footage of a flight simulator is shown while this is said:

Take a step back and realize that people sat down in front of an equivalent of this, a flight simulator, and learned enough from the flight simulator to fly jets that they'd never touched before into the World Trade Centers. What do you think happens when a 9 year old boy sits down and plays a first person shooter...that rewards him for killings cops.

Apparently, the person who said this thinks that the 9/11 terrorists perpetrated such horrors because they played a flight simulator, and therefore, could you imagine what a first person shooter would do to a 9 year old?

Wow. First, the facts. The terrorists who flew the planes into the WTC did actually "touch" a plane. Remember the whole flight training thing? The FBI memo from Arizona? The flight schools in Florida? Second, the terrorists probably did use flight simulators in addition to their real flight training. Was that what made them hate America? I'm sure it's not. Third, 9 year olds shouldn't be playing first person shooters. Nobody disagrees with that and anybody that thinks that a child can walk into a game store with $50 in his hand and buy such a game is sorely mistaken. In fact, if a child is playing an M rated game, guess who bought it for him/her? A parent or sibling.

Soon after that, there is a quote from Jack Thompson regarding a Columbine-like incident that will be 10 times worse and that will really get the politicians angry. I'm going to leave this one alone because to claim that the real Columbine happened because of video games is like saying that terrorists flew planes into the WTC because they played a flight simulator. That, and anything that Jack Thompson says can pretty much be disregarded.

Finally, I'd like to take on a quote near the end of the clip.

You literally enter into a world that is so realistic that we forget it's a make-believe world.

Literally? Literally? I've never literally been pulled into a TV while playing a video game, have you? And, I'd also like to know if you, the gamer, have ever forgotten that the world of Zelda, KOTOR, Splinter Cell, etc. is make-believe. As if you simply couldn't leave that world and re-enter reality.

The whole debate just makes me so angry. Nobody wants violent games in the hands of kids. Parents should be the one's policing their kids. Government should help the ESRB in public service ads to better educate parents. Game stores and Wal-Marts (et al) should have policies for IDing every purchaser.

What we can't have happen is for Government to regulate taste and free speech. It's too dangerous a slope.

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