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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Arnold says "Violence in Movies-Good, Violence in Video Games-Bad"


When the Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was first released in 1984 one of the huge complaints about the film was the extreme level of violence. In the opening scene, he beats up some thugs. And one of the most violent scenes was when Arnold, as the Terminator, drives into a police station and kills approximately 26 police officers (the second film says 17--apparently a few lived).

Critics, lawmakers, parent groups and others were extremely upset because of the graphic violence and total disregard for human life displayed in the films.

Here is a summary of some of the violence in the 3 Terminator movies (all starring Schwarzenegger)

First Movie:
Shots Fired: Roughly 467
People Killed: Total Of 26(Actual Count Of Police Deaths Revealed In T2 to be 17)

Second Movie:
Shots Fired: Roughly 5966
People Killed: 8
# of Times The T-1000 is Shot: 88
People Stabbed By The T-1000: 6

Third Movie:
Shots Fired**: Roughly 25,996
People Killed: 34 Plus(+) 3 Billion deaths when the war starts= 3,000,000,034 Deaths
Source

Now, fast forward 20+ years and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former movie star seems to have a different perspective.

In the case, Arnold Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association, California is asking the Supreme Court to allow the state to uphold its ban the sale of violent video games to minors. A ban signed into law by Schwarzenegger in October 2005.

Now, the video game industry will lay out its arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on why California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors violates the developers' free speech rights. The video game industry seeks to overturn the state statute as it also takes on family advocates who argue that parents should be able to determine whether their children get exposed to violent media.

Now, I think some video games are just too violent and NOT appropriate for children (or anyone in some cases). So, I can't say that a little pressure on the industry to clean up its act is not a bad thing. And some studies actually show that violence and gore in video games takes away from the fun in video games.

But the cynical side of me can't help but think that Schwarzenegger, a darling of the movie industry, and a person who never ran from a violent movie may have a slightly different agenda.

It was just announced that Halo: Reach out stripped Hollywood as the biggest media launch of the year. And James Cameron who's movie Avatar was big but not as big as Halo: Reach did direct the violent Terminator movies. It just seems like Arnold is having a difficult time with violence that is not revenue generating for him or his buddies...maybe he's become calmer and gentler but...I don't know.

Are video games any less art than movies, should they not be protected by our freedom of speech?

What do you think...

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3 comments:

Hiro Pendragon said...

Last time I checked, there's an age limit on buying R-rated movies, too. While I 100% agree that there's a double-standard, I don't think harping on one of the most moderate Republicans for endorsing the same rules for video games as for movies is the best way of achieving this argument.

Karl Kapp said...

The video game industry has had a rating system in place for some time, so this isn't an issue of implementing a rating system, the issue is why are violent video games not art but violent moving pictures are considered art?

I guess the supreme court will let us know.

Mark Viquesney said...

This has been going on for years. There are some video games that have more art to them than some movies. There are some beautiful looking worlds out there that people have created, and just because it is in a game, doesn't mean it is not art. Heck, Avatar, the world was all CG - same as you would find on a game (I don't remember, but wasn't it nominated for an acadmy for art?). The story that some of these games have, again, better character and plot development than many movies.

But, I agree, violence for the sake of violence is not needed in movies nor games. It is the parents responsibility to know what games their kids are playing. If the kid buys a violent video game, then the parent better find it and take it away if they don't want them playing it. Did the parents infringe on the child's rights? California is trying to make the game stores do the parent's job. Though, I would not complain about having that help. But, First Admendment? They (gaming companies) have the right to make as violent of a game as they want - that is their first admendment rights. But is it the right of a minor to be able to buy said game? As Karl said, the Supreme Court will let us know.