One has to pity the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and the task that they’ve taken on. Anybody young enough to remember what is was like being a child or has had children of their own knows that banning items or trying to dissuade children from looking at materials is just going to pique their curiosity (think pornography, smoking in the school yard, experimentation with drink and drugs).
Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility PC gaming list
With this in mind the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility came up with some suggestions of games that kids will want to avoid playing this Christmas:
- Doom 3
- Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
- Gunslinger Girls
- Halflife 2
- Halo 2
- Hitman: blood money
- Mortal Combat Deception
- Postal 2
- Shadow Heart
Special mention was given to America’s Army; a freely downloadable game from the US Army – children of all ages with access to the ‘net can download America’s Army with no restrictions.
The video nasty effect.
The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility I am sure had the best of intentions with this list. But I am not convinced that it will work, instead it will be like a badge of honour for these games.
Unfortunately couldn’t have done any better if Rockstar Games, Bungie and Eidos had done this as a joint spoof viral marketing campaign for the holiday season to promote their respective titles. Their press release can be found here and a streaming video of ‘objectionable’ violent clips was published.
The why its unlikely to work can be seen by looking back into media history. Video tape distribution of films had become popular through the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the UK and Ireland there was moral panic about the corrupting influence of having some films accessible in the home. This led to banned lists of ‘video nasties’. This meant that films like Friday the 13th couldn’t be seen in its cinema cut. Phantasm couldn’t be seen in its cinema cut until 1989. The bulk of the films banned were Italian Giallo and cannibal genre of films, alongside independent American horror productions.
What actually happened was that mediocre films that would have been lost on the aisles of video rental shops were given cult status. People like me acquired copies of movies like Cannibal Ferox and watched with our friends on non-school nights. The Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility risks encouraging the same behaviour with its list of PC games. More ethics related content here.