Wednesday, January 26, 2005

In defense of gaming

I decided today that because work is consuming an ever increasing part of my life, that I would write update at work at lunch. However, I usually use my lunch hour to read CNN and keep up with World events. I read an article and never got to the update, however, I present my alternative to the update, my e-mail to the Governor of Missouri. No, I don't live in Missouri, but he needed a good talking to anyway. :)

Dear Sir,

The attached article at:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/01/25/videogames.prisons.ap/index.html

states that "Blunt said state tax dollars -- as well as employees' time -- should not be spent determining which video games are violent." If this is true you have done a grave disservice to your constituents by not using it as a chance to address a larger issue. Violent games can easily be identified by looking at their ESRB rating which are now on all games, requiring minimal investment of anyone's time. For definitions of the rankings see: http://www.esrb.org/esrbratings_guide.asp
The fact is that there is a larger overall issue here, the issue of violent games played by inappropriate groups, which includes convicts, but more importantly includes children. There are an extremely large amount of parents which buy games that are not appropriate for the age of their children. By changing the discussion from one of banning video games to a discussion of making sure the right games are given to the right groups, your office could have made a real difference in ensuring that people, and more importantly parents, understood the importance that video games can be a normal part of anyones life and constructive to boot.
Games like Animal Crossing (Rated E) teach about making friends, money management and other social skills. The Dance, Dance Revolution series (All rated E) is an excellent series that when played on a dancepad not only allows for friendly competition but is good exercise also when the weather outside is terrible.
Instead from reading this article, I got the idea that the World now perceives that Missouri is a state that when an embarrassing problem occurs, a knee-jerk reaction that does nothing to improve the public good is the order of the day. How disappointing.

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