The Alan Titchmarsh Show and the Idiot Brigade

Julie Peasgood saying something that is probably untrue.

If you haven’t already seen this absolutely appalling piece of television that was broadcast, here’s the link to youtube so you have a better understanding of the context (if only the host and panelists had also done the same with regards to videogames we may have had an actual debate).

Angry? I suspect so. If you aren’t, then you’re probably one of the thick-headed people who made up the audience or you may even be Julie Peasgood. In this clip from the Alan Titchmarsh show, they discuss the absolute horror and effect that videogame violence can have on children and how the games industry needs to tackle their absolute disregard for children. Now, if you’re like me, you may understand that all three of the main consoles (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) have various parental controls to control what their child can or can’t play. These parental controls are nothing new and even existed for Duke Nukem 3D (1996) and Carmageddon (1997) among many other titles.

What annoys me most about this ‘debate’ is that they only have one person who is educated enough to talk on the subject, and he is treated like a villain. They also agree that classification for films works and is an established organisation within our society but don’t seem to accept that the same classification system can’t possibly work for games incase they get “into the hands of children”. Alan Titchmarsh even makes a tit of himself (see what I did there?) by saying that because films are in cinemas, they are more difficult for children to access and watch. I firmly disagree with you there Alan. Video games and films are both subjected to highly scrutinising (even more so for games) ratings boards who agree on a classification and then release it to the general public. Now, films are indeed released in the cinema and it is difficult for a child to get into the screen. However, the same can be said for games. I would find it incredibly twisted if a 10 year old child were allowed to go into HMV and pick up a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Alan, take note on the actual title of the game here) for it is rated an 18.

It would also be interesting to point out that films are also far easier to download from the web than it is for young gamers to download a game (although possible, it is far harder than downloading a film due to technical limitations). The panelists seem to also assume that if there’s an 18 rated game in a house, a child will just pick it up, play it and then go and shoot up a school because Crash Bandicoot told him to. The same is applicable to 18-rated films, if not more so. As previously noted, there are parental locks on most consoles that can be put in place to stop a child from playing an 18-rated game, the same can not be said for DVD players.

Julie Peasgood also makes a good point in that video games are interactive and thus grab the child’s mind by both hands and ram it filled with hatred. Yes, games are interactive, but unlike films, games can not be rewound to enjoy an explicit piece of material over and over. Sure you can replay the game and play the same part again, but this takes far too much time than it does to hit the rewind button and watch your favourite gruesome piece of cinema again and again. Also, Julie is somewhat of a hypocrite on this topic for she actually provided some voice work for the survival horror game Martian Gothic: Unification in 2000. Hmmm. Aside from this, she also quickly points out that one of the James Bulger killers played at least one video game in his life and this must have been the reason why he did (much in the same way that Child’s Play was being blamed for the death of Bulger at the time). By this logic, you could easily say that Rose West was driven to killing by being subjected to TV appearances by Julie Peasgood. Peasgood, you fiend!

They also take moments from games completely out of context, and in particular, the infamous airport scene in MW2 (Alan, have you learnt the title yet?) where you are placed in an airport with a group of terrorists who then shoot up a bunch of innocent civilians and spray into them like a male pornstar does in a bukkake video. Now, weird similes aside, you don’t even have to take part in the shootings and can even skip the level altogether.

As Charlie Brooker said:

“Which is less civilised? Some gunplay in pixel-land, or an unfair one-sided censorship debate before a mooing audience in reality?”

Make your own mind up, but please, use logic and reason to come up with your conclusion.

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~ by robertftaylor on March 24, 2010.

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