Talking a Bad Game – Politics & The World of Gaming

In the last couple of days the world of politics and games have come together. Not for the first time, it has to be said.

What’s been said? What’s the implications?

Click on.

Recently, in Germany, a somewhat prestigious award ceremony (Deutscher Computerspielpreis) took place. Crysis 2 managed to take the top prize. Hooray!

Well, not everyone was happy. Bernd Neumann (Germany’s Culture Minister) said;

“In the light of one decision of the jury, it makes sense to think about if games should be honoured which are only suitable for grown-ups, because a game not suitable for teenagers because of the violence cannot be of cultural or educational value.”

This is quite a ridiculous statement. I mean, seriously, something that is ‘only suitable for grown-ups’ can’t be of cultural or educational value?

The problem is that the Deutscher Computerspielpreis awards are decided by a jury that’s half games industry (B.I.U., G.A.M.E., press, etc) and half chosen by the government. This is the case because the award ceremony is a government backed initiative and with this being the case the games that win the awards (more specifically, the top prize) are to be ‘culturally and educationally valuable‘.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the sentiment that Crysis 2 isn’t of much cultural or educational value. Imagine that the Oscars gave ‘Best Picture’ to ‘The Expendables’. That’d be downright embarrassing, but the film industry wouldn’t need the government to point that out. The Oscars also wouldn’t have a jury half decided by the government either. This interference does nothing to get people behind the idea of changing games and improving their cultural worth. It creates nothing but an ‘Us Vs Them’ attitude.

Of course, sometimes this ‘Us Vs Them’ attitude is to be expected when some politicians still insist on using games as nothing more than something to stomp on to look important. The latest in the long line of crusaders looking out for our best interests is Keith Vaz. He’s done nothing more than tell us that we need to stop the menace of ‘ultra-violent’ games. This is probably to help us forget the other issues that surround Mr Vaz, you know, like his alleged corruption.

It’d be foolish of me to claim that governments of this world should just ‘leave us alone’. What they should be doing is promoting positive examples of gaming, help companies remain competitive and help ensure skills that are crucial to the industry are being taught.

Games shouldn’t be used as a political tool for point scoring. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like a political tool.

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4 thoughts on “Talking a Bad Game – Politics & The World of Gaming

  1. Oh what’s that favourite old Mark Twain quote again? “Censorship is telling a grown man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”

  2. It just bugs me to be told ‘I can’t’ by a politician.
    ‘You shouldn’t’, ‘it’s a bad idea’, I don’t mind those.
    But ‘You can’t…’? I hate that.

  3. My feelings exactly! I can understand why you have things such as ratings and PEGI and all that, and I agree many 12 year olds have no place playing the majority of shooters out there, for example. But when it comes to myself, a adult by the laws of my country, they have no place telling me what I can and can’t expose myself to.

  4. Gaming’s such a new medium as well. There’s still a lot of confusion and misconception as to what a ‘game’ is or can be. Some people think of them as Mario, a bit of harmless fun. This is dangerous, as you’ve mentioned, because some games just SHOULDN’T be seen or played by those under 18.

    Some people think that ‘games’ are Manhunt. Brutal and senseless and therefore banned for everyone.

    There’s still a lot of ignorance coming from people who, for the sake of their job, should know better. You don’t see me blogging about the financial crisis in Greece because I don’t know about it. You’ll see MP and other politicians talking about games without knowing about them though. The ignorance spreads and misinformation is accepted.

    This isn’t an issue for just games though. You may remember (if you’re from the UK, the whole ‘cannabis being downgraded thing’) that even when experts are consulted, they’re ignored if they’re message doesn’t fit the government’s ideals. Still, I’ve banged on enough. Thanks for the comments 🙂

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