By: Barry Wireless
Video game censorship is a hot topic amongst gamers, those who purchase games, and those who wish to curtail the rise in violent video games. A recent wave of legislation has placed this topic front and center in the video gaming industry. Many states are banning offensive games; some countries are even preventing the sale of x-rated video games. Although legislators have good intentions when it comes to controlling the substance kids see on the game screen, it's still hotly contested whether censorship is necessary and/or will work to prevent violent games from a) falling into the hands of the young impressionable minds, and b) preventing the distribution and creation of violent video games.
On one hand you have video game censorship, defined as: the use of state or group power to control the playing, distribution, purchase, or sale of video games (this includes any system and console.) One would be hard pressed to argue against some of their intentions of preventing kids from playing and purchasing games that include objectionable content like the recent GTA 4: San Andreas that included a hidden sex game for your enjoyment. However, does censorship actually prevent kids from playing games? Certainly censorship in itself doesn't prevent individuals from playing games, but it does make it harder for someone to purchase. This could influence some video game designers to halt the production of questionable games, i.e. rampant murder of law enforcement officials, sexual innuendo and/or sexually explicit material, etc., but ultimately the idea of full blown video game censorship will never work. To curtail the huge industry of video gaming that has reigned with free-reign since inception is next to impossible. In reality, developers will respond to one thing and one thing only: the market.
Kick and scream all you want for what are probably valiant causes, however, it is the buying market, the consumers, you, who will ultimately dictate which games are produced. If Grand Theft Auto and the similar violent games continue to sell well, then don't expect that type of content to leave any time soon. People are playing and enjoying these games, and if underage gamers end up playing would this not raise questions about adult supervision-parenting-more than censorship? Certainly so, therefore maybe a lesser form of censorship, one that is already prevalent in the movie industry, could be introduced with greater success. To combat underage players from gaming on games rated 'M' for mature or higher, institute a 'no sale' policy. Kids can't go in and see 'R' rated movies, why should they be able to purchase 'R' rated games? The questions continue to fly back and forth from both parties, as for and against censorship advocates pit their arguments against one another. Ultimately this writer will argue that the only thing that will shift gaming content in this capitalist society where game developers have enjoyed free reign is you, the gamer, the parent who buys, the consumer.
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