Anti-Gaming Propaganda

  By Shamus   Mar 11, 2009   54 comments

Andy Chalk at The Escapist points us to a report at CBC (the state-sponsored media company in Canada – although I’ve never had a clear picture of just what that sponsorship involves or how big of a deal it is to the average Canadian) which has an article on “the obsessive world of gaming and its young stars”. It represents about the most willfully ignorant news item I’ve ever seen about videogames.

During the whole pornogate scandal that surrounded Mass Effect we saw more than a few whoppers told by hilariously knowledge-impoverished idiots. But that story was initiated by pundits, not reporters. This one is done under the pretense of investigative journalism, although it reads like melodramatic Matrix fanfiction written by a lonely twelve year old. No investigation took place during the writing of this report. Even a few minutes with Google would have cured this case of delusional yellow-hued journalism.

Andy Chalk outlines the various crimes perpetrated by the story, but the gist is that a kid played too much Call of Duty online, his parents took away his Xbox, he got upset and climbed a tree, fell out, tragically died, and then a reporter came along and blamed the whole thing on videogames by building a house of sophistry atop the corpse of the dead child. (It actually sounds like his parents were teaching him restraint, and he had an unrelated accident. Good for them. I’m very sorry for their loss.)

Also noteworthy is this story on the same site, which explains to us, “What happens when someone’s virtual fantasy overtakes their real life.” The two articles next to each other look less like the work of hacks, and more like the work of hacks with a bumbling agenda.

Man, it’s been rant-y around here lately, hasn’t it?

Dear jerks of the world: Knock it off already, wouldja? We’re trying to enjoy ourselves here. Thanks.

20201454 comments. It's getting crowded in here.


  1. Guus says:

    I read the article, and I have to say that it is the most pompous peace of work I’ve seen so far. I don’t think that we will ever convince these people that gaming isn’t the invention of the devil/bin laden by the way, it seems like they will keep dwelling in ignorance for as long as it suits them.

  2. Bogan the Mighty says:

    Alright so what I see here is that had this kid grew just a little larger he would have been instead an obsessive star hockey player that his parents would have fully supported and probably allowed him to spend every waking minute practicing and what not like they allowed with a video game. It’s possible they eventually could have put a stop to it and told him he had to quit playing hockey making him runaway. There never would have been an article about the dangers of playing the real violence that occurs in that sport.

    From the looks of things the kid was great at hockey and as he physically could no longer compete his dad pulled him from what he loved. He found another thing to fill the gap which was eventually taken from him again. I don’t see video games causing any problem here because you could have filled that spot with anything else he was good at and chances are the result would have been the same.

    Oh and by the way, if anyone knows where I can make millions of dollars playing video games like in most professional sports please let me know. I would like to know where to start my knew career.

  3. DKellis says:

    Recently here in Singapore, there were a couple of news items: a university student stabbed his professor (non-fatally) and then committed suicide, and an army medical officer AWOL since late last year turned up dead in Australia.

    In both cases, attention was inexplicably paid to the fact that they were avid World of Warcraft players.

    At this point I’ve run out of original things to say in reasonable, logical debates about the effects of gaming. I’ve taken to snidely remarking that of all the possible games to allegedly engender violent behaviour towards others by getting the adrenaline pumping, World of Warcraft would rank somewhat lower than Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

    (This is unfair to WoW, I admit. But I couldn’t stand playing the game; attack speed and movement speeds were just so slow.)

  4. Daimbert says:

    A quick note on the CBC from a Canadian: we pay for a very large chunk of its operating budget. We don’t have any control over what it shows — and neither, really, does the actual government at the time — but we pay for it.

    And this quote of yours:

    “Also noteworthy is this story on the same site, which explains to us, “What happens when someone’s virtual fantasy overtakes their real life.” The two articles next to each other look less like the work of hacks, and more like the work of hacks with a bumbling agenda.”

    Pretty much describes what most Canadians think of the CBC in general [grin].

    That being said, they’re the channel that sometimes shows Doctor Who …

  5. Tonko says:

    For this Canadian, CBC is not that big a deal. I usually watch CTV anyway for news. Though I did see that Strangers in Paradise thing when it aired on TV some time ago. It did make me roll my eyes somewhat but on the whole I thought it did a decent job of talking about what it was talking about (people who get carried away by Second Life and dump their families to live with their online lovers). The problem, aside from a few sensational lines here and there, as ever, was that it failed to mention the MAJORITY OF PEOPLE who don’t. Groan.

    (Also I had never realized that Second Life looks–IMHO–really crappy. Yikes)

    That article sounds stupid… maybe the broadcast will be less so. But that’s no excuse, really.

    You know, I vaguely remember seeing this news story, and going “wtf” at the inclusion of the Xbox detail as extremely relevant. The kid was lost, and they found him dead. Oh, and he played video games, people! Video games!! Root of all evil! The power of Christ compels you!!

    Arrrrgh. This stuff always makes me feel so frustrated. Apologies from me that my federally-funded TV station is loaded with crap.

  6. Hotsauce says:

    Looking at the other articles on the site, I don’t suspect that if the words “journalistic integrity” ever crossed the lips of someone at The Fifth Estate, they’d immediately burst into flames.

  7. Daimbert says:

    I’ve basically just read the synposes, but:

    The kid’s death WAS, in fact, related to the X-Box thing, because they took it away and that’s why he ran away. That being said, that was probably more an issue with his family in general than that specifically.

    That being said, while the stories seem sensationalist I do think it’s an important issue to note that extreme addictions can occur with anything that anyone finds pleasant and that these addictions can cause real problems for the people so afflicted. It does a great disservice to the entire issue to dismiss those instances by saying that “most don’t”; yes, most don’t, but that does mean that like gambling addictions and the like we should all be on the look out for these sorts of problems in ourselves and our friends and family, and take them seriously when someone has them.

    (Sorry for the sanctimony; I’ve just started talking about Abnormal Psychology in my psychology class, and the prof spent quite a while insisting on that precise thing; won’t happen again [grin]).

    As an unrelated and slightly humourous note, I have a penchant for taking university courses, and have now finally acknowledged it as one of my main hobbies. I ran into a old professor who said this about it: “And even if it can be addictive — as it seems to be in your case — at least it’s a benign one.” [grin].

  8. gyfrmabrd says:

    This is sad, tragic even, on so many levels. It’s so bad that I cannot bring myself to finish reading any of the linked articles because I fear all the subsequent facepalming and headdesking can’t be good for my health.
    And just think what awful headlines that would make.
    “Internet Cult Leader Hyperlinks Innocent European to DEATH!”

  9. Cineris says:

    It’d be nice if there were some kind of journalistic ethics committee that would look into articles like this and give a warning of some sort to reporters that write them. I mean, ostensibly the purpose of these guys is to report the news and not to drum up largely-imaginary scares for parents, yet pretty much every single news item concerning videogames is of the “scares” genre.

    So is it really possible for the entire journalism profession to be so completely ignorant of this more-profitable-than-movies game industry? I lean towards no. But what that means is that journalists as a whole don’t object to their fellows creating such drivel. Doesn’t exactly reflect well on journalists — And if they’re willing to be so utterly ignorant and proud of it when it comes to something as innocuous as videogames, how can we trust them on anything else?

  10. Uncle Festy says:

    *twitch* *twitch*
    Ok, it’s official. People are morons.
    *sighs*

  11. Ed says:

    I would like to direct everyone’s attention to this relevant article from The Onion. Substitute Video Game distributors as the subject and it’s perfect.

    FBI To Require Background Checks For Child-Care Providers,
    Child-Havers Unaffected

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28616

  12. SiliconScout says:

    As a Canadian I appologise for the CBC, They are an embarassment to us at home and abroad.

    Think of them as the Far Left propaganda channel, we do in Canada. And honestly this is journalism compared to the Michael Moore “documentries” they usually run. Yes it’s that bad.

    It used to be that they had news (real news) and probably the most objective and thourough sports coverage anywhere. But now if it didn’t come of Associated Press
    it’s far left Liberal propaganda. Every year they get a litte farther left and so does their audience. It’s hard to say which is the chicken and which the egg in the senario but then again it hardly matters as the result is the same.

    Please ignore anything that comes from that channel and assume it’s either morally bankrupt “agenda” news or complete and utter fabrication. The vast majority of Canadians do.

    What is really sad is that they are playing such old cards. I mean in the early 80’s it was all about DnD being the great corrupter of children. Hell I am pretty sure that story is 80% recycled from any number of stories from 25 years ago.

    Then again the 65+ crowd will eat that stuff up and the wingnuts who want big brother to own the land will be on board with it and honestly that is the vast majority of their audience so…..

    If you want a better representation of Canada watch CTV (slightly left leaning) or Global (slightly right leaning) as they are NOT state sponsored and actually have to earn money (thus be relevant) to stay afloat.

    One day Canada will have a referendum on the federal funding of CBC and on that day the CBC will die. Thankfully.

  13. Zel says:

    This reminds me of a recent case we had in France.

    It all started by the media reporting that a 5 years old kid stabbed his elder (10yo) sister in the chest for no apparent reason. Don’t worry, the girl survived. The boy admitted to the crime, saying he did it because his sister didn’t want to lend him the game console. You can imagine the comments that followed – video games are making people violent, are bad for children, turns everyone into a psychopath – with of course the load of “experts” coming to speak on television.

    Few days later, the mother admitted she made the whole story up and that she was the one who stabbed her own daughter, because they were fighting for the game (it could have been anything) and woke her up. The kid’s innocence was actually never in doubt, as the medical analysis immediately showed that he would have never been able to inflict the wound given his age and strength. But of course, this information was not along the line of the general media so it was dismissed at the time.

    When it was all about the game, the story was on prime time in all news shows, but the follow up (the truth actually) was barely even mentioned in 1min reports. I’m pretty sure there’s still a lot of people who still believe the boy did it for the game…

  14. Neil D says:

    For those of us not inclined to see politics everywhere, CBC’s main crime is that it is relentlessly mild and boring. In other words, pretty much what most people think of when they think of Canada.

    The news item in question happened not far from where I live, so it was pretty heavily in the news at the time. My feeling was pretty much the same as yours, Shamus. Yes, the fact that they took away his video games was the reason he ran away from home, but that didn’t cause the accident. Which is what it was, an accident. He wasn’t slain by a killer who picked him up while he was hitchhiking to Alberta; he fell out of a tree 5km from home. It could just as easily have happened if he were outside playing on his own (which is, I gather, what his parents would have preferred he was doing in the first place).

    Post hoc does not always ergo propter hoc. If he had been hit by a bus while going to the store for milk, there wouldn’t be a sudden fixation on the scary underside of running out of dairy products.

  15. Tom Armitage says:

    Just to stave off a tiny bit of the CBC-hating – I did an interview for a tech radio show of theirs, spun out of a talk I did at a few events about the soft skills that games teach people about the real world, and they were nothing if not well-informed, thoughtful, open-minded and pleasant. Of course, it’s a different show, and a different medium, and a different team, but it’s not all bad news. The uncut interview is available from their podcast site, anyhow, which is also a nice touch.

    The Fifth Estate show sounds like a load of old bollocks, though.

  16. SolkaTruesilver says:

    And then again, it’s not “the Canadians” who (sometimes) watch CBC. It’s the English-Canadiens. the French-Canadians have Radio-Canada, which is the equivalent, but is an actual hit and very popular in Quebec. And they have much more credibility that CBC ever managed to scrape in the past 5 years.

    This story is just the last example of how CBC screwed up. I heard a lot of those, just about other topics (French-Canadians being one of them)

  17. Lazlo says:

    And you know, if they wanted to be sensational, they could have just as easily gone the other direction, saying that the big blue room is a wild and dangerous place full of pedophiles, drug pushers, and now, apparently, deadly murderous trees.

    Now, combine that with some reporting that computer skills are the only ones that will keep your kids out of a career in the fast food service industry, and that fast twitch console jocks will be remotely piloting the UAV’s that win tomorrow’s wars, and you’ve got a fairly good article on why you should never let your kids out the front door. I mean, these parents let their kid stop playing for just a few weeks, and look what happened. So remember parents: If your kids try and stop playing xbox and go out into the (carcinogenic) sunshine, hand them a twinkie and tell them to get their butts back to the couch!

  18. Mari says:

    I’d really like to be shocked and outraged about those stories. I tried to work up a good load of it, in fact. But every time I started getting anywhere niggling voices in the back of my head reminded me of how many times I’ve seen egregious violation of journalistic integrity and exactly how “old hat” it’s become to me.

    Sad but true facts: the only newspaper I’ll read anymore is the local twice-a-week one that doesn’t carry any wire service articles or any news from outside a 40-mile radius of the town. Lacking the desire to pay outrageous sums of money to watch television and thus having none (you can’t even get “free” stations via arial because this town’s in a grade-C curve) I’ve also eliminated television news programs from my diet. So basically my news comes from the internet. I’ve actually become a lot more news savvy, a great deal more up-to-date on current events, and I love the ability to hit the back button when undisguised editorial bias like what I read on CBC appears.

    For the record, that article did remind me tremendously of my high school and college days of watching Geraldo in hopes of seeing him get punched again and flipping to Jerry Springer to gaze longingly at his security guys. It was almost that caliber of journalism. I’m sure if CBC tries just a little harder they’ll make it.

  19. July says:

    Taking people like that seriously is bad for your health.

  20. Nixorbo says:

    I’m going to have to quote Brian Crecente of Kotaku on this one:

    From the show’s site:

    Gillian Findlay investigates how a video gaming obsession can turn to addiction and a pro gaming circuit with thousands of dollars in potential winnings, experts say, can fuel the need to play.

    I hope the Fifth Estate doesn’t stumble upon this thing called professional sports, they could really blow the lid off that scandal.

  21. July says:

    “A progaming circuit with thousands of dollars in potential winnings, experts say, can fuel the need to play.”

    Isn’t that a bit obvious? I should hope that people would want to play video games to potentially win “thousands of dollars”.

  22. Yar Kramer says:

    I was going to suggest that we contact this show’s sponsors — c.f. Gabe’s Kind Of Sad header; unfortunately, since it’s federally funded, we have pretty much the opposite problem that PA had with Kevin McCullough …

  23. Grant says:

    Just a bit of context that I haven’t seen mentioned yet…

    The last I heard about this story was in late October as I was visiting relatives in Ontario. At the time, the body had not been found and it was still a missing child case. One of the ideas being investigated at the time was that the boy had been lured away by someone he had met while playing the game, so the whole story had a bit more of an “online predator” twist to it. They were going into the legal and technical issues of letting the police see his in-game chat records.

    At the time, that seemed like a legitimate idea to be investigating, and of course the media was all over it. I think that the media and public opinion just built up a lot of momentum in that direction for the whole story, so when they found the body and discovered that it was not actually an online predator, they had all this public outrage built up and no outlet. This program was probably researched and thought up while that theory was still relevant, and they just tweaked it to be about “obsession” rather than online predators. I’m not excusing the program, of course, but it is probably more laziness than anything else.

    I agree with most of the comments here that obsessive gaming isn’t really a problem. I think obsessive tv-watching is probably a bigger problem, personally, but that is more common and therefore easier to ignore.

    On the other hand, I think a lot of parents are aware of the dangers of online predators on the Internet and chat rooms (do chat rooms still exist, even?). I think those parents may not be aware of the possibilities of online predators using the in-game chat in video games instead, and may neglect to monitor this. This is a relevant issue, and I’m glad that it got some major attention. However, playing the story out afterwards as a “games are bad” scare-fest is just silly and irresponsible.

  24. Oleyo says:

    “And as gamers are drawn into an alternate world their need to play is fuelled by dreams of international glory and the chance to win thousands of dollars on a professional gaming circuit.”

    *pause*

    Whaaaat?!

    I got a paper route so I could buy an SNES when I was a boy. My neurons never even aligned themselves into a pattern whereby it was possible for this thought to even occur, without distorting space-time, let alone actually thinking it, or grotesquely, being FUELED by such a desire.

    *ahem*

    LAWL @ THEM

  25. Lupis42 says:

    @22

    We could always contact the Canadian people… Draw up a list of major stories that might interest them, and compare screen time with that given to this.

    I’ve also always wanted to see someone do something with one of these like setup a split screen, one window playing the interview, the other window showing a web-browser, Googling around and falsifying or confirming every statement made in real time.

  26. Apathy Curve says:

    General Studies kickin’ your ass? Switch your major to journalism; we won’t make you study. Or learn. Or think.

  27. facus says:

    To quote the movie xXx, vin diesel

    “He’s also the guy who wants to pull every video game off every shop in the country, because he feels that the video games diminishing intelligence of our youth. Come on, Dick… It’s only education we got.”

  28. Shamus: two rants doth not a trend make.

  29. R4byde says:

    Did all the chaps from the Daily World News go to the CBC by any chance? :)

    Damn it! I’ve always liked Canadians for being more sensible than us Americans, but I’m beginning to think that the world is populated by idiots everywhere. Wait, the Antarctic is still sensible, right? Are there any intelligent people who’d be interested in colonizing it? We could build a massive igloo and roast penguins!

  30. WoodenTable says:

    Both those are by the Fifth Estate, interestingly enough. Seems like nearly every channel has a terrible “investigative journalism” hour-long show these days. CTV has W-Five, for example, which is so horrible I cringe every time I read the name. Eugh.

    The problem with these shows is that they seem so inoffensive, even informative, when they cover topics we don’t know much about. Then they do one on videogames, or unions, or organized sports or whatever topic you hold near and dear – and suddenly they seem to get nearly everything wrong. How much did they get wrong before then, which simply went undisputed because we didn’t know better? I try not to watch shows like that anymore unless their bias is clearly stated (IE, “The Nature of Things” is so obviously environmentalist / leftist). It makes it impossible to know where the truth starts and stops if it’s presented as factual with no indication that it may actually be an opinion (meaning, a different interpretation of the facts).

  31. Graham says:

    Oh, come now.

    You can’t assume the CBC is all like that, based on the headlines for one (crappy) show.

    It’d be like assuming NBC news was all Dateline and To Catch a Predator stories.

    The Fifth Estate is really just CBC’s Dateline. It’s sensationalist, because that’s what those types of programs do.

    I can’t stand any of those types of shows.

  32. Sam says:

    I haven’t read the articles, nor have I read everyone else’s comments, but I can tell you why these types of articles are continually published. It’s because regular people want their 15 minutes of fame, and one of the few ways to do it in this day and age is to have a ridiculously uninformed opinion on a particular subject and just look for outlets to pick up your opinions until someone does. Then you can spew your propaganda and idiocy to potentially everyone reading your article/watching your hourlong rants on Fox News/listening to your far right wing radio show. Notice how it’s almost always the people with the biggest mouths and the most conservative viewpoints who get their opinions heard.

    I wasn’t meaning for this to turn into a political rant, but hey, it’s sadly the truth.

  33. RustyBadger says:

    ECHO: the sentiments of my fellow Canucks re the CBC. To be honest, I view the BBC’s coverage of world events as much more sane and thorough. And yes, most of us do view it as a massive waste of our tax money. Although I don’t have a TV in the house, or a radio, I do get some CBC programming via bittorrent and iTunes- that stuff that I think is worth my time, but not my money (besides, I already paid for it once!). Like others have said, CBC is quite left-leaning, so any stories they broadcast have to be screened for that bias- keep in mind I consider myself well left-of-centre politically, so CBC is pretty bad. They do turn out the odd show that’s fun to watch (Little Mosque on the Prairie, for example), but their ‘news coverage’ is ludicrously biased and incomplete, and like FOX, they push their agenda hard.

    @Neil D: “relentlessly mild and boring”? Canada? Maybe if you’re thinking of Toronto- but try visiting MY part of the country some time. Nothing mild or boring about it- unless you think seeing more bears than vehicles during your commute is mild and boring…*grin*

  34. NeilD says:

    What I said was, what most people think of Canada as. Don’t kid yourself about how we’re viewed by the world at large.

    And yes, for heart-pounding excitement I’ll put my daily 120 kph, boxed-in-by-eighteen-wheelers, weaving-cell-phone-talkers, road-rage-brake-slammers Grand Prix up against your bucolic sight-seeing nature safari any day. :)

  35. The Unknown says:

    @RustyBadger (Comment 33)

    Why does everyone always hate Toronto? =(

  36. Bret says:

    Canada?
    Boring?
    I thought it was nonstop witty exchanges interrupted by rock concerts and insane fights to the death.
    Are you saying Scott Pilgrim lied to me?

  37. Sandrinnad says:

    just think of it as proof that there are boneheads in every country in which people exist :)

    CBC non-hater here – I certainly have less problem funding it than several other things (after all, they have Rick Mercer!) but they have made some really _stupid_ moves in the last year or so. This sounds like another.

  38. Ell Jay says:

    Note from the Land that is Glorious and Free: I just want to remind everyone that the CBC takes $7 billion of taxpayer money and is still projecting a loss of over $60 million this year. State-sponsored, poorly run businesses seem to be the uniquely Canadian model (also see Air Canada).

  39. Hakunin says:

    …wait, the kid fell out of a tree and they’re blaming games? If he’d just stayed inside at a game console like I do, he’d still be fine.

  40. Sphore says:

    Well, I’ve read this blog since 2007 (learned about it when Darths & Droids began), and I felt that I’d finally comment at some point.

    I agree with WoodenTable- this is quite odd, I’d not noticed anything really wrong with The Fifth Estate before seeing this. I would say that they should stick more to their areas of expertise- things like this seem to happen all too often when dealing with any sort of ‘new media’.

    I would note two CBC articles where gaming is portrayed neutrally and positively- it’s not like it’s a monolithic organization with only one viewpoint.

    http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2004/10/06/cybergames041006.html

    http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/gamerrevolution.html

    Oh, and Graham- I love that song, but I should note that it’s commonly misattributed to the Arrogant Worms- it’s actually by the Albertan group Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention Shamus!

  41. RL says:

    I’m sure other Canucks have already tuned in, but my perspective? We fund the CBC to the tune of $1.3 Billion per year (adjusting for the size of your economy, $8.5 Billion USD), but hardly anyone watches it – not a single production besides Hockey Night in Canada ever ranks in the top 20 in ratings. Ironically, the CBC’s highest rated shows are American game shows and syndications it picked up to bring in ad revenue. While CBC Radio 1 is a little more popular, for the most part the CBC is a relic of a bygone era when Canadians were comparing the merits of phones over telegraph wires. “Willfully ignorant”? “delusional yellow-hued journalism”? “house of sophistry atop the corpse of the dead child”? All par for the course and sadly accurate. And treading on dangerous political ground, to call them the statist equivalent of Fox News is unfair to Fox News – nuff said.

  42. inafish says:

    You may or may not have heard of the Winnenden tragedy that happened yesterday in Germany – I have no idea how much of a news item a German teenager killing 15 people and himself would be in America.
    Me, I’m deeply touched by this tragedy, because the town of Winnenden is close to my home town – this is literally very close to home for me.
    That said, I was kind of curious when the first person would mention gaming in this context. My curiosity was satisfied this morning – they interviewed a former classmate of the killer and he said something about the boy being into what politicians and the media in Germany like to call “Killerspiele” (killing games) – which can be anything from WOW to – well I don’t really know, some really violent game I’d imagine. Anyway, they need to be banned *right now*, okay? It’s *so* much easier than trying to figure out the real motives – or maybe question if the boy’s parents belonging to a rifle club (and thus legally having about 15 guns in their home, which is very unusual for Germany) could have contributed to the tragedy.

    I have to stop now, otherwise I’d go into rant mode myself…

  43. Avilan the Grey says:

    I remember a (quite recent) case where a teenager died after playing WoW for 48 or 72 hours straight (don’t remember which).

    The papers and “debate” shows tried to make this about WoW and games in general, but it died quickly when the public realized who’s fault it was despite the newspapers attempt: The parents. Apparently they had not even been aware that he had not eaten nor slept for at least 48 hours (he peed in a bottle, apparently) despite at least one parent being in the home for the whole time…

    This is very much akin to the table top RPG debate (Blackleaf, anyone?). Now and then it wakes up again.

    …Added note: I also saw the part of the urge to ban all “killing games” in Germany. Personally I find it a very scary development since it puts focus on everything but the real issue.

  44. ehlijen says:

    In high school back in germany our IT project course ran into serious trouble once. We had chosen to use half life’s free level designer (as the only decent free 3d design tool available) to reconstruct the school building (the only building we could get full access to during school hours) as a 3d model. Halfway through the year, some idiot goes on a killing spree in his school, the media finds out that he apparently played half life and build a level of his school ‘to practice’ beforehand. To this day I have not been able to find out if any of that was true, but our project course was suddenly very unpopular…

    And germany already has some of the strictest rulings on violence in computer games (or did when I left in the early 2000’s). In fact, I’m talking about the german version of half life which has all human death (except player death of course) removed. I’m not kidding.

  45. Avilan the Grey says:

    @ehlijen

    I know you are not kidding. I know a lot of games in Europe are sold in at least 3 versions:
    UK version, which is also sold in Scandinavia (unless the game (very uncommon) is translated into any of our languages), and a lot of other countries in Europe, a French version (because it has to be in French, of course), and a German version (with all blood splatter removed, and probably more than that).

    Other country with similar law: Australia, AFAIK. FO3 is banned there, (again,AFAIK).

  46. Simulated Knave says:

    To call CBC left-leaning is to overlook the rather impressive way they had their noses stuck up the current Prime Minister’s backside for several years. They’re not biased so much as they’re completely without guts and balls (and, lately, talent). Harper tries crap that other politicians would be crucified for (refusing to let MPs speak? Insisting he see all interview questions before an interview AND be allowed to vet them? Flat-out lying on a routine and very public basis? Refusing to be accoutnable to his own accountability measures? Cutting arts funding to groups because they are “too left-wing” (cutting arts funding is fine, doing it because they disagree with you…)? They covered the Gommery Inquiry (an inquiry into the previous Liberal Party government’s funding shenanigans regarding the referendum in Quebec) with relish, but none of the above bothers them. Oh, and they missed the bit in the Gommery Inquiry where the presiding judge hired his daughter’s law firm to prosecute. And she made partner shortly thereafter. A lack of irony is not a prerequisite for the judiciary in Canada, but it helps).

    So don’t tell me CBC is biased. Tell me CBC is incompetent, staffed by whinging morons who wouldn’t know journalism if it hit them across the head, who choose an interpretation of the world and remain comfortable with it when all obvious evidence is opposed to it, who managed to make Paul Martin look less charismatic than Stephen Harper (not that Paul Martin had much charisma, but Harper’s can’t be measured without a micrometer and a magnifying glass) through what can best be described as flagrant misrepresentation of what he said (if Martin gave a speech, the most stumbling bit would be played, without fail. They used to do the same thing to Turner, apparently). But don’t tell me it’s biased. They’re not intelligent and capable enough for bias.

    Basically, the CBC likes to pick a side of an issue and then continue with that side, despite evidence to the contrary. Sometimes this is liberal, sometimes it’s conservative. Whatever side they choose, they will carefully avoid actually determining its merits, and will carefully avoid a fair look at the merits of the other side. The real problem is not their politics, but their continued hiring of idiots who want to play journalist.

    So this doesn’t surprise me, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone else. CBC Radio is in a dumb phase, and CBC TV is always dumber than the radio. C’est la vie. If you don’t want stupid, don’t watch CBC TV (or CTV, come to that. Mr. Duffy, their famous political commentator of previous years, is demonstrating remarkable incompetence and ignorance as a senator. For starters, not being sure where he represents). The money poured into CBC TV is generally wasted, almost always has been, and will eventually be realized to have been a poor investment (Wayne and Schuster and Hockey Night in Canada being the only exceptions I can think of). So it goes.

  47. Kevonovitch says:

    video games and technology are just like every other (yes MASSIVE quotes here) “not instantly addicting substances, ie drinking and smoking.” i say massive quotes, due to the fact, people generally get addicted w/o even knowing they are. i did. but i quit once i finally realised i was addicted.

    but, the problem is, if you dont know anything/dont understand, the best thing to do, is ask someone who DOES, ie a friend, or try a little with your friends to see if it is something you’d enjoy or not.

    if no, then stop, thank them for your time, and go off knowing youve gotten educated about something, first hand! give yourself a hero cookie :)

    but whatever your do, DONT become involved in the news industry, cuz then we will have to euthanise, you and all, and i mean ALL your family, for your too stupid to even get a darwin award.

  48. albval says:

    Which saddens me the most is that even people making laws are so uninformed. Due to games being oh-so violent and kids playing them too young so that they decide to become serial killers by profession the European Parliament is going to insist on a “red button” to be fitted on gaming devices, allowing parents to control and stop a child’s gaming.

    Last time I checked all my gaming thingies, they already had parental controls… But if parents are as unknowing about them as the legislators, no wonder nobody uses them.

  49. Cybermancer says:

    CBC is generally too boring for words and the Fifth Estate… how that bit of rubbish wasn’t banned decades ago is beyond me. Unfortunately both have become instituitions which in Canada means, they’ll never change.

    Don’t take anything said in that article to heart. No one else (for the most part) who watched it will have and by generating outrage over it, you provide more focus and attention to a media outlet than it deserves. How many hits has that article gotten from your site?

    I’m a Canadian and I generally try to stay up on current events and news within my own country. I would never have heard of that article if it wasn’t for this post. Seeing that it came from the CBC and more especially the Fifth Estate was enough incentive for me to not pursue the link myself.

  50. Visi says:

    @#3 DKellis : Professor Layton and the Curious Village – You have NO idea how pissed off that game made me. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

  51. joey says:

    Gamers and computer games are viewed with fear and mistrust and scorn.
    Fact of life.
    It was the same with D&D in the 80’s, Heavy Metal ect.
    For the most part there quite impenetrable pursuits, modern video games are unplayable if you don’t have years of experience.
    What people don’t understand they fear.

    That mindset is changing in regards to games (thank you Wii even the gamer illiterate can play that) , but sure people will find something else to worry about soon enough, I hear internet addiction is all the rage in china…

  52. Darkstarr says:

    If it makes everyone here feel any better, tabletop RPGs have been getting the same treatment since D&D 1st Edition came out. Anyone here remember Rod Ferrell and his “Vampire Clan”, or the cheesy movie (or equally cheesy book) Mazes & Monsters, allegedly “based on a true story”?

    I can’t remember who first said it, but I agree wholeheartedly with the person who demanded to know why someone caught in a major corporate scandal isn’t exposed as having played Monopoly a lot as a kid, or why it is that major sports figures can get away with anything short of murder and few, if any, people bat an eye at their misbehavior, yet let some whack-job go off on a rampage after being abused horribly for a decade and all the news outlets latch onto how “he played D&D/Quake/whatever” as though the game, and not the years of abuse, were the cause.

    How about instead of trying to outlaw video games and RPGs, we try to outlaw stupidity instead? Oh, wait, never mind… We’d need a prison the size of the Death Star to lock up all the stupid people in the world…

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