Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why Video-Game Legislation Would Be Ineffective

There is no denying that exposure to violent video games has an adverse effect on young children. Playing through Ocarina of Time's Shadow Temple at the young age of four was slightly disturbing for me. Although I am unfazed by games like Half-Life 2 and Gears of War now, I expect that young children would find the gore in such games hard to swallow. Most video-game publishers engage in self-censorship, console manufacturers place restriction on the development of AO-rated games for their systems and retailers refuse to sell M-rated games to young children. Despite this, young children can still circumvent these systems and access potentially disturbing games. Politicians have called for sharper legislature to prevent the access of such games from minors. However, legislation restricting minors from accessing disturbing games would be ineffectual, if not wholly unethical. Screenshot of MadWorld for Wii

Postal 2 was released to major ridicule from both opponents and proponents of gaming, politicians decried the game in Congress while critics dismissed it as a bad game devoid of any entertaining facets, made solely shock its players. While video game legislation would prevent the sale of sadistic games such as Postal 2 to minors in retail stores, many other methods of acquisition, including piracy, online distribution and simply having an adult purchase a game for a minor, go unaccounted for. In addition, the underground indie development scene made of individual hobbyists cannot be regulated by legislation. While some indie developers such as 2D Boy (World of Goo) and Jonathan Blow (Braid) have their games published and regulated by mainstream distributors, the great majority of hobbyist developers self-publish their works. Self-published and open-source games like SuperTuxKart are regulated by neither publishers or legislation. Thus, indie games like Super Columbine Massacre RPG lie out of anyone's realm of control.

No comments: