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Tycho / on Fri, Mar 4 2005 at 4:30 am

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Devil May Make You Really Mad

I’ve been playing games with Gabriel for, oh, I’m going to say eleven years now - and not until

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Devil May Cry 3 have I seen him raise the controller back and hurl it across the room.  It is because of this that I offer an olive branch to our ideological opponents who claim that videogames are instruments of unalloyed evil.  I am willing to allow that gamers are more prone to violence so long as we agree that this violence is largely directed against peripherals.

Speaking of which, it looks like the memo went out and now we’re in for more of that down-home violent videogames coverage.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention initially when I heard that young geniuses in Latvia, which I guess is a country(?), employed a deadly “scissor technique” supposedly culled from Mortal Kombat to kill their friend, who they then dumped in the river.  I could think of no symmetry between the river dumping and Mortal Kombat, but then Gabriel reminded me that is actually one of Liu Kang’s fatalities in 3.  So, when I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  I guess they were drinking a lot or whatever, but it was totally games that did it.  Especially since, you know, the alternative is to take full responsibility for your actions toward other people, and that doesn’t really sound like good times. 

On my daily swing ‘round online comics, I see that Scott VGCats is providing a rebuttal to an article on CBSNews, and I’d love to see what he’s trying to dismantle so I head over there.  It’s pretty amazing, but it’s not anything we don’t know about already - it’s this Jack Thompson guy again.  He is essentially the Bob Greasy of this story, and this is not the first time he’s iterated this schtick.  RegularX from the EvilAvatar forums has what political blogs refer to as a “Fisking” of Thompson’s diatribe here.  The “hook” of the Thompson interview is that two voices from the gaming community will respond, and Scott is one, but Tim Buckley from CAD already has his response posted.  I’m relieved that they did not ask me, because the comic that we do is not evidence of a mind untainted by violent media.     

I have to be frank with you and say that I’m not capable of responding to that thing point by point.  Physically capable, probably.  I could go through it and I’m not unfamiliar with language so I could do my fancy thing.  However, the man is essentially building his legacy on the broken bodies of desperate teenagers.  Countering the man rationally will serve no purpose, the imagery is too potent.  I’m powerless to dissect a sermon like that, simply because the task is so vast.  There are a hundred ways his piece dissembles, exaggerates, omits key points, or relies on flourish and appeals, but his motif is perfectly packaged for media.  The man spins at ten thousand RPM. 

Henry Jenkins needs to go on tour.

Of course, in the face of such a perilous medium, desperate actions must be taken and my state of Washington is leading the charge.  The bill in question holds the “makers and sellers” of violent games culpable for any acts minors commit which are based on their content, even in part.  So that is essentially the most vague assertion in existence.  Even in part?  It would be one thing if they were calling out all forms of media, and if the spectre of that violence is as vast and grim as they claim it’s the only responsible thing to do.  If it were about protecting “the young,” that would be the response.   

I can’t prove it, but I have a hunch that it isn’t even the “incidents” that have inspired this “movement.”  I’m fairly certain that these people are simply the new PMRC.  It is my uneducated supposition, as I have made clear, but I have a sense that the violent incidents are incidental to their purpose, and that it is the content of this media - like it was the content of comic books, or role playing games, or devil rock music - that makes it so despicable. 

(For purely Trivia purposes, i.e. if you are on a quiz show and the topic for that day concerns my computer, I am overjoyed to inform you that my issues have been resolved in their entirety.  I appreciate very much the four-hundred and three helpful tips, which could easily be collated into an authoritative day calendar.  I am, however, sorry to say that the solution did not even require the distributed wisdom of the readership, and I hope I have not squandered my access to it - using one of my three wishes to ascertain the time.  No, I just needed another Goddamn card.  I was a little disappointed that my foe was not more elusive.  As it stands, this was like finding some mythical, supposedly vicious quarry curled up adorably on the porch.  One can certainly claim victory but one cannot feel victorious, if you get my meaning.   

(CW)TB out.

i’ve got the honky-tonk hiccups


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