Gamer Discrimination by Media

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Yeah!
We had someone at one of our demonstrations who had a shirt that read
"100% aller Schulamokläufer aßen Brot, VERBIETET BROT!"
which means
"100% of all school shooters ate bread, BAN BREAD!"

It's completely ridiculous.
EDIT: (of course that was an ironic shirt, and ridiculous is what the so called video game critics do)
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
Thank for those. (I know Stigma-Videospiele btw. I've seen a few videos which have links to this site.)
Fortunately, as far as I know, there's no discrimination against gamers and no discussions to ban games here in Austria.
 

B Alex

Spaceman
I know it seems like it's the journalists' fault for saying a CS/CoD player went on a murder rampage in Norway but this time they're justified in this declaration for one very simple reason: He wrote about his obsession with computer gaming, advised others on using video games as an excuse to avoid personal contact without drawing suspicion, and as a method for training.

Now any of us know that trying to use Wing Commander as a training tool to fly a jet in real life, or playing Counterstrike as a way to get better with real firearms, is completely stupid. However, believe it or not the average citizen of the world does not know this. Especially when advertising around the globe for these multinational releases are stressing the realism aspect more and more. When we factor in that two of his three major declarations are actually true and you can see why journalists jumped all over this one as a video game player killing people, not just some mental nutjob. This was the worst loss of life in Norway since WWII so it really shook up the general population in that country from all reports I read.

Believe it or not most journalist outlets don't leap for "VIDYA GAMES DID IT!!!" as the tag line, but when the perpetrator goes out of his way to say it was video games then it's only natural to follow that headline. They did the exact same thing when Jeffrey Dahmer claimed it was pornography that made him a serial killer. Is it always right? No, but anytime anyone goes out and starts shooting and killing people automatically know it's because the person has a screw loose. What people are looking for from that moment on is WHY does this person have a screw loose.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
At the same time, I think gamers are making a mistake in pretending (deluding themselves?) that playing games like Modern Warfare, Counterstrike, etc. does not have an impact on someone's ability and willingness to handle a gun. The fact is, when you spend much of your time shooting a virtual gun, you will leap at the opportunity to fire a real one, if only to see how it compares. And while you won't know some of the basics (e.g., what's a safety switch? Never use those in games :p ), you will know some of the other important aspects - you will actually know how to hold the gun, how to aim, and so on. Similarly, I bet that if you did a study of the likelihood of an average teenager joining the Air Force, and then checked the same likelihood on a sample of Wing Commander / flight sim fans, you would find a higher probability in that second group.

So yes, there is a connection between games and such actions. It's not a cause-and-effect connection, playing games does not make you go crazy and anti-social (though in many cases, playing games is a symptom of someone being anti-social), it certainly does not drive anyone on a killing spree (though even here, I would argue it may well encourage someone who is already off-the-handle - such a person might be eager not only to try a real gun, but also to try shooting at real people, just to see what it's like), but there is a connection.

Gamers who are bothered by the media portrayals need to be aware of this - you can't win arguments if you leave yourself exposed to the most basic counter-arguments.
 
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Aginor

Vice Admiral
That's right, that Norwegian guy was an exception in many ways.
He was much older and his goals were less personal but political, just to name two.

The strange thing is: He wrote some 600 pages or so containing mostly ethnical and political bullshit, buta lot of the media (at least here in Germany) jumped on those two cases in the whole "book" where he mentions video games. Why?
At least Germans are very sensible when it comes to right-wing people (which can be quite annoying but is useful in this case) so they left the video games alone after a while and focused on the real problem which was just that guy's strange world view.

EDIT: @Quarto: I'm not sure games really teach you how to aim. Normally your video game character doesn't hold the weapon in a way that may that harms aiming, for example. Also in most games you have a crosshair instead of the real aiming thingy.

EDIT2:
And yeah, you are right Quarto, my opinion exactly. The problem is that for some people that leads to the conclusion that if you just ban video games all the nutjobs won't start killing people. And of course that's wrong. In my home town there was a guy who went to work one day with a Katana and killed 3 people. He later tried to explain it by saying he was watching some ninja movie.
And if it weren't the movies it would be comic books, heavy metal, the Beatles, The Sorrows of Young Werther (a book by Goethe which was blamed to cause suicides) or something like that.
So while I agree that video games might change the way it happens there is no real evidence yet that video games can cause anything like that.
 

Prometheus

Spaceman
He wrote some 600 pages or so containing mostly ethnical and political bullshit
I think it was 6000 pages... or at least something well into the 4-digit-range...

EDIT: Okay, I looked it up. It was "only" 1560 pages.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
EDIT: @Quarto: I'm not sure games really teach you how to aim. Normally your video game character doesn't hold the weapon in a way that may that harms aiming, for example. Also in most games you have a crosshair instead of the real aiming thingy.
They certainly don't teach you how exactly you should hold your gun and the like - but they do get the point across that if you want to be accurate, you bring the weapon up to your cheek. Of course, you can just as easily get a much better lesson in aiming from watching a movie, but people learn better through repetition. You also learn that there's more to aiming at a person than merely aiming at a person - that you want to hit the most sensitive body parts, especially the head and the chest. Games reward players for shooting these areas. Finally, games teach players about shooting economy - that you don't need to keep pressing the trigger until your gun is out of ammo, that generally one shot is enough. When people use an automatic or semi-automatic weapon for the first time, they tend to spray bullets. A soldier will learn during training that you don't actually need to do that, because one shot can kill. Civilians can learn the same lesson through games, and it has actually been noted in some of these high school and university killings, the perpetrators were unusually economical with bullets.

As for those other influences, down to the Beatles (I can certainly understand getting the urge to kill from listening to some music, though I don't know if the Beatles in particular were that bad :) )... there is a tendency for gamers now to point out the previous moral panics. Yes, it's true - in the 19th century, people worried about pulp novels, before that they worried about other things. But you know... that doesn't mean they weren't right. Yes, games influence people. Yes, movies influence people. Music influences people, books influence people, chewing gum influences people. Heck, some historians argue that eating wheat determined the very shape of European society (i.e., rice-eating societies tend to be authoritarian, supposedly because growing rice requires a combined effort of a large group of people...). Responding by banning games or any other such item is of course stupid - but pretending that all of these things leave us entirely unaffected is equally stupid. Gamers need to be aware of this - they need to be aware of the fact that calls for limited and reasonable censorship are actually entirely justified, that society has the right to say that some things should not be available to its members. The tricky part is working out where the limit is - but if your stance is that censorship is always entirely wrong, then you're willingly locking yourself away in a minority view that rejects any negotiations... so nobody will listen to you.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Generally I agree with you. I think the point you just mentioned last is the one where I stop agreeing with you:
In my opinion censorship does more harm than having disgusting and discriminating movies and games and books.
I think that is true based on a broad spectrum of effects, one of the most important ones being that censored material becomes more interesting because it is censored. Freedom of speech is one of the most important things in a democracy.

Ok, I am European (and so are you, Quarto, if you want to call yourself like that, I know many Polish people don't so no offense) and most Europeans seem to have a different view on censorship than others (for example Americans or Japanese), and there are various reasons for that.
I agree with some (for example banning swastikas in order to show respect to the victims of the nazis, which are still alive) and I disagree with others. But in general I think that a healthy democracy can and must resist those influences without using censorship. Censorship is a slippery slope and I understand the American point of view that says censorship is wrong, regardless of the reasons.
The German constitution is exactly backwards compared to the US constitution: It says "Freedom of speech is granted, there is no censorship BUT of course freedom of speech is limited in some cases when there is a law." In the USA it says that there can't even be a law for that.
Actually I don't know the situation in Poland, but I assume it is similar to the one in Germany.

So yes, of course media influence people, everything does. I just don't think that censorship can be the right way to have control over that. So everybody who aims at video games in Germany should provide a way of influencing people in a positive way instead of having the reflex argument "ban it and everything will be ok". I think it doesn't work that way. It never did.

btw: we're getting off topic. I hope that is ok, otherwise I will open a new thread to talk about this (oh wait, politics isn't allowed, is it? I promise I would keep it civil). Mostly I only talk to German-speaking people about this so it is very interesting for me to see opinions on international forums like this one.

EDIT: I just realized that half of my post boils down to the question:
When does censorship stop being reasonable and becomes oppression?
 

B Alex

Spaceman
I can tell you that while the actual shooting part of video games will do nothing to prepare you for weapon usage, they can actually simulate important things people don't think about; such as proper sight/target alignment, bullet drop, ammunition counting in your head, and ammo conservation. While these things generally aren't something you're going to bother with at a casual day at the shooting range (short of the first) they are definitely things that are important to have a grasp on when you're using a weapon in a hostile situation. Will a game teach you how to be a better shooter? No, I don't really think so. However I do think it does sharpen some awareness of your weapon situation and yes I'm one of those people who do believe that certain things desensitize us from their real-world realities.

The farther removed you are from a situation the less you have invested in the consequences which is an interesting bit of knowledge considering the US is putting more and more unmanned, but human piloted, attack drones in the air. The people flying these remote vehicles are safe and far removed from actual combat even though the item they're controlling has lethal ordinance or is used to provide real-time combat data to coordinate the execution of orders which result in human deaths. Beyond training and a paycheck, how much different is this from a video game like Wing Commander and Ace Combat? You don't see the faces of the people you've hurt or helped, you use video game controls, and you're sitting in an air-conditioned room with other similar joystick jockeys. If anything the only real difference is that it's a situation where someone flew you to Iraq to play extra long and boring Wing Commander escort missions and then you can go home in six months.

Regarding censorship: Censorship is a dirty word because when people think of it they only think of things like the Soviet Union or China where an oppressive government rules everything about all daily life. Censorship when used properly is a perfectly viable form communication regulation and despite people being against it I do honestly believe it is needed in a modern society.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Generally I agree with you. I think the point you just mentioned last is the one where I stop agreeing with you:
In my opinion censorship does more harm than having disgusting and discriminating movies and games and books.
To understand my view, you must begin by thinking about your home. Not your country, but the house you live in, and the family you live with (if you don't yet have your own family, think back to your childhood). Your home is not a free-for-all. There are strict censorship rules in place. Your parents undoubtedly told you things along the lines of "there is to be no swearing in this house", and you will probably tell your kids the same, if you aren't doing so already. Similarly, your parents would have probably punished you severely if they caught you with a porn magazine - and if you have any sense, you'll do the same with your own kids. It would never, even for a second, occur to us that this may be harmful - it's plain and simple common sense, you want to raise your children to be good people, and that involves exerting influence over them. What's more, it would never occur to you as a kid, or to your kids, to protest against this. Hands up if you've ever heard a kid tell his parents "it's my constitutional right to swear!". No - kids may disobey, they may in secret read and watch the things they're not supposed to, they may sometimes swear at their parents just to show how rebellious they are, but they do not ever claim they have the right to these things. They understand, in fact, that what they're doing is wrong.

Society, meanwhile, is a group of families working together. In the same way that a father can decide to deny his kids access to porn, so a group of fathers can get together and determine to do the same thing more effectively, as a group, by outlawing porn entirely in their society. This is not wrong, nor is it harmful. It's perfectly reasonable. To understand this, you must consider the fact that you yourself support censorship happily on many counts - for example, while you might say that violent games are all right, you'll most definitely object to somebody plastering a giant piece of child pornography on a billboard outside your window. And you're not in the wrong, you're perfectly right. But if you're perfectly right, then you must acknowledge the fact that it would in fact also be perfectly right and acceptable to ban violent games - or online games, or games featuring purple elephants, or anything else that enough people consider offensive (especially purple elephants...). A society has the right to take such a decision, and while you can object to the merits of such a decision, you have no right to object to them having the power to make the decision in the first place - unless you are indeed so liberal (or rather, so demoralised) that you are willing to take your logic to its ultimate conclusion, and admit that you have no right to stop someone from setting up that child porn billboard outside your window. And remember, that's not really the limit - beyond child porn, there's a variety of more disgusting things. It is indeed a slippery slope...

So, I think that before we can really talk about censorship, you must actually figure out what your view truly is. I suspect that in reality, you are entirely in agreement with me - your claim that censorship is harmful is nothing more than empty words, a facade to give your complaints a moral background that they most definitely do not have.

In general, "freedom of speech" is a funny thing. Many people claim to be in favour of it, but in practice we all agree that it must have strict limits. In truth, there has never been a society where freedom of speech exists - and we are all very grateful for it. This, by the way, also applies to America (where you can go to jail for claiming that you will kill the president, for example), although they are indeed on a slippery slope... towards total freedom. Recently, the US Supreme Court overturned a California law banning the sale of violent games to children under the age of 18, because this law supposedly violated constitutional freedom of speech - how does that make sense? And why did the games industry celebrate this as a great victory?

You ask, where the limits of censorship lie, at which point does it become oppression? The answer is simple - it becomes oppression when it's not the will of the society as a whole, but of individuals who impose their will on society. And this can go both ways. In the same way that you can oppress a child by forcing him to watch some disturbing TV show that gives him nightmares, so you can oppress society by forcing it to accept "speech" that society deems unacceptable. Porn is a great example of this - if you were to conduct nation-wide referendums about banning porn, the result in most countries would be in favour of a total ban. And yet... in most countries, the supreme/constitutional court would then overturn this ban, claiming that it violates constitutional freedom of speech. That is, in fact, oppression.

It is similar in the other direction, the one that you were asking about - it's oppressive to ban something that society considers acceptable. For example, it most definitely would be oppressive to ban criticism of the government (though most societies impose a limit on this - you can criticise the government, but you generally are not allowed to insult its members; you can say what they're doing is wrong, but you can't say "so-and-so is an idiot"). It would also be oppressive to ban all games, or all movies of a certain kind, or music, or whatever.

To bring this all back to games - as you might have worked out from that reference to the games industry celebrating the overturning of that California law (not merely celebrating - it was a games industry body that went to court to get the law overturned), I don't much approve of the general stance of the games industry, which can be loosely translated to "we should be allowed to do anything we like". And it's not merely a case of the immorality and hypocrisy (game developers are parents too...) of this view - it's a matter of basic stupidity. If game developers continue to undermine the right to impose censorship, sooner or later society will find itself defenceless. That same Supreme Court ruling that told California it cannot ban the sale of violent games to minors in fact opened the door to a court ruling that would tell other states they cannot ban the sales of pornography to minors - same logic applies. But when that happens, society is not going to meekly accept the fact that they must give their kids access to harmful materials. Quite the opposite - society will move to change the constitution and restrict freedom of speech, but then government will probably get excessive power to impose censorship where society does not want it. I don't think that's in anyone's interest...

In short - gamers and game developers need to get with the program. They need to accept... well, not so much censorship, as the fact that they already accept and approve censorship and therefore have no right to claim they oppose it. Only then will gamers be able to get out of their current defensive stance, and get into a proper discussion about what should actually be acceptable, and what should not be.

Whew... it's been a while since I've written a reply this long :).

Ok, I am European (and so are you, Quarto, if you want to call yourself like that, I know many Polish people don't so no offense) and most Europeans seem to have a different view on censorship than others (for example Americans or Japanese), and there are various reasons for that.
Hehe, I don't think I've heard of any Polish people taking offense at being called European. Some Russians will - Russia has never been able to quite decide if they prefer being a part of Europe or a part of Asia. Poland, though, firmly considers itself to be Europe - the only bone of contention is whether we are western or eastern Europe :).
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Well, Quarto has valid points there,

But I would like to adress the issues in censoring stuff and the consequences it will have;

Games:
Wolfenstein3D(the 1991 version), banned from germany because of the extensive use of swastika's along the way(They should ban DOOM too if you ever took the idea of using the map view). I think every german kid at the time had the game(the SNES version was completely rewritten)
Carmageddon(first three games); Modified versions exist, I believe the pedestrians were zombies with green blood in germany and robots(oil) in the UK.
Postal(1); I believe it was banned in france, UK and germany....

But most of you from the banned countries probably ALL played pirate copies of these games, or bought them through import.


Music ; I'm more from the screaming guitars myself, and most of us are really responsible adults, When I took the lyrics seriously as a teen, I would not be able to do all the stuff they show off in some video's anyway, so why bother to even try? There are extremists, but you'll find those anywhere in all subcultures.

Drugs:
In my country softdrugs are legal(THC/Grass/Weed/Pot). In several cities it was banned, as a result illegal distribution rose up again(If you make it legal you can control it, and keep the dangerous stuff out. Yesterday something called "Croc" turned up in the local news, and basically it turns you into a rotting corpse... If someone needs to buy stuff like Pot from an ally, maybe he'll end up using that shite too.

Porn:
If you can't get a porn magazine, you look it up on the interwebs... Thing from yesteryears. And every kid has an internet capable machine these days.

Bottom line; If you are not allowed to do something by your parents, you want to know exactly what it is that you are not allowed to do... now, to get back to Quarto's story about parenting.. If you are a good parent, you should not just say that you forbid certain behaviour, but try to explain him why later on as to what he did wrong. If your kid aged under 10 comes home, and makes a full "Heil Hitler" to his friends, get mad, but also take the time to explain why, the historical facts, your moral issues, etc. Then he might understand that he is doing something very morally wrong. Otherwise your kid could end up like south park's Eric Cartman.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Recently, the US Supreme Court overturned a California law banning the sale of violent games to children under the age of 18, because this law supposedly violated constitutional freedom of speech - how does that make sense? And why did the games industry celebrate this as a great victory?

The games industry celebrated (and fought for) this decision because the practical effect of such a ban would be that they couldn't make those games anymore. Yes, it feels like a small thing to have dedicated game stores like Gamestops start carding people when they buy an M-rated video game (which they do already)... but a massive slice of retail is hypermarkets. Places like Walmart and Target don't retrain their enormous, generalized work forces to deal with specific types of one of their hundred thousand products... they respond by not buying the thing that's impacted. And if publishers can't reach those channels then they can't afford to develop those games.

That same Supreme Court ruling that told California it cannot ban the sale of violent games to minors in fact opened the door to a court ruling that would tell other states they cannot ban the sales of pornography to minors - same logic applies.

No, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. This is a complete misunderstanding of how the Supreme Court works and what this decision regarding the California law actually was. This case was important because there had never been a ruling on video games before, there was no precedent on which to build future laws. It was a decision between whether or not games are protected speech like books and films... or whether they could be unprotected speech. The court already has a mountain of precedents about pornography, which put it into the latter category (obscene speech.) No one in the world could ever look at this law, which entirely says that games as a group are books and not pornography, and argue that it means you can now sell pornography to minors.

Quite the opposite - society will move to change the constitution and restrict freedom of speech, but then government will probably get excessive power to impose censorship where society does not want it.

The entirely negative experience of the 18th amendment in the 1920s casts a long shadow over changing the constitution to ban something. It just won't ever happen again. I personally doubt the constitution could ever be amended again for /any/ reason... but certainly not for anything as insignificant as whether or not kids can buy video games.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Quarto, thanks for that long and quite interesting reply, and indeed you have found the points that matter most.
Also thanks to you other two, I want to come back to some of your points soon.

Of course something being legal or illegal depends on the society. And of course the majority can decide whether something is allowed or not in a democracy, that's just the way it works. But of course there is also the part in democracy that says that minorities have to be protected. So it isn't just what the majority wants, but it is something like: "what the majority wants and doesn't harm minorities either." But that is just a minor point. I mention it only to clarify that there are other important things than just the majority's opinion.

But I think we have to look a little bit further into what is banned and why.
ALERT: Please read the whole next paragraph before killing me. It's not what you think
- In my opinion the reason for banning child pornography is not that it is bad taste or because of its effect on persons - I think no one becomes pedophile by looking at that. Most people (including me) are disgusted by the mere thought of that. No, I think it should be banned because real children are abused to produce that stuff.

- Of course freedom of speech does not allow everything, especially not insulting people. There is the problem however that it is virtually impossible to do anything without insulting anybody. There are people that are insulted by other people walking down the street or something like that. So you are right: There is some sort of social consensus defining what is the limit of free speech (or personal freedom).
In fact you should be able to do what you like to do as long as you don't harm anybody. So why are there things being illegal that harm no one ***?

- People are not kids. I'm not sure if I understood you correctly Quarto, so please ignore this if you didn't compare people to children.
I am not against the protection of children, I actually agree fully with you in that point where you said that it is important that there are rules protecting children. Rules made by their parents (and of course the law so you can protect children where the parents aren't willing or able to) No objections here.
But concerning a personal thing like books or video games I have come to the conclusion that an adult should be able to watch or play such things without restrictions.
I would never allow my kids to play "Postal" or watch "Saw", and of course I have the right to be disgusted by that products and not to watch or play them. And I have the right to ban that movies or games in my house. I just don't see the point why my government wants to take the right to make that decisions away from me.
And that is a problem in Germany: The laws to protect the youth affect mostly the adults. I have to break two laws to get a video game that is legal in most of the countries that surround Germany. Even if I want play it alone, lock it in a safe or whatever. It is not possible to get this game legally. It is, however, very easy to obtain that game illegally in the Internet.

The censorship system in Germany works roughly as follows:
- First there are a few categories for age from the "USK". Shops have to follow those when selling video games:
- no restrictions.
- 6
- 12
- 16
- 18
--> So basically something with an 18 on it means that you have to be an adult to buy it.
Until this point I agree with the system fully. But then it goes on:
- If the USK says "not allowed for youths" (which one would assume is the same thing as "18", which it isn't) then there is the possibility that the game is tested by another institution called "BPJM"
- The BPJM tests the game and they somehow decide to set it on a list called "Index". Games on the index are just like games with the 18, except that it isn't allowed to show advertisements for them or sell them in shelves. It isn't allowed anymore to sell them online either IIRC.
---> I'm not the biggest fan of the index but I would accept it, I just don't like it because the index is a shopping list for youths of course. And because many shops don't sell those games at all, because they sell badly since you can't advertise for them.
- Then there is one more step: The game can be banned. That means it is not only indexed but it is also illegal to import, export, buy, sell and show it or keep it in store. So it isn't really illegal to have them or to play them (yet, that may still come) but in fact it prevents adults from playing it. This law only affects adults because it would be already illegal to let children play those games after the USK says "not allowed for youths".
In my opinion that goes too far, because a game is banned because of a level of violence that is in every movie that has a "16" or an "18" on it. So the law isn't consistent either.
Mortal Kombat is one of those games btw, and I'm not even sure if I break a German law by mentioning it here.....
Btw: The list of banned games, books or movies is secret btw, so if they set my new politically critical book on the list I am not even allowed to ask why. I am really worried about that.
There are extremists with opinions similar to that Breivik guy in Norway which advertise on the whole world that they must be right, because their books are banned in Germany. You can't even argue with them because you are not allowed to read that book I'm not sure if I like that.

Also: Even if that games really were that bad, they can't be as bad as cigarettes and alcohol, which I am allowed to do with what I like. It is even legal to let my son nip on my wine (while it is illegal for shops to sell it) or buy cigarettes and smoke them while he watches, although there are 90,000 people per year in Germany that die because of effects caused by smoking or drinking. So I think the scale is wrong.

*** I have kind of a scientific background, so based on the facts I know I cannot support the theory that violent media have such an impact on adults (yes adults) that they have to be banned.

I don't have time to finish this reply now, it is still missing a few points. I will return later.

EDIT: The problem in California is not that they don't want to protect youths but that SCOTUS' opinion is that you can't take the right to decide away from the parents if I understood that correctly.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
EDIT: The problem in California is not that they don't want to protect youths but that SCOTUS' opinion is that you can't take the right to decide away from the parents if I understood that correctly.

That is mentioned in the decision, as is the fact that they don't believe there's compelling evidence that video games incite violence in the first place. Here's the decision itself: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf

Basically, the court's argument is the opposite of what Quarto is thinking. California claimed they could ban video games as a group because they are the same as pornography--they fall into the same type of unprotected speech, called "obscene speech."

The Supreme Court said no, the obscenity clause explicitly covers ONLY material of a sexual nature... so /not/ violent video games (violent speech already being protected in precedents set by movies and books.) As such, the law would actually mean the state was deciding fot itself an entirely new category of unprotected speech (video games in general) and that that was outside its rights entirely. In the process, they confirmed that video games are protected speech in the same was as books and movies and that will likely stand forever. If California wanted, they could come back and ban sexually explicit video games from sale to minors and it wouldn't be a problem, because the precedent already exists that pornography is obscene speech... but video games in general was far too broad.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Now I'm home so let's see what I forgot to mention earlier...

Well as it is the case quite often I think my opinion boils down to almost a single sentence:
If something doesn't do harm to adults and if there are already laws to protect children (who might be harmed by the product by using or producing it) there is no reason why a country should ban a product.

Mark Twain said
"Censorship tells a man he can't have a steak because a baby can't chew it".

but IMO the worst thing about censorship is (CENSORED)

And of course that doesn't only apply to video games. I am happy that in Germany it isn't as bad as it could be, we have one of the strictest censorship laws of the western world in order to protect children and as I wrote I accept most of them, mainly because of the reasons Quarto already explained quite well. No objections here. But there are still people here who react to almost everything new by proposing a "total ban" which would include banning the posession. This is not limited to video games (actually I have only played one game that is banned in Germany and only a few indexed ones so I'm not really bothered by it yet) but applies to everything, including movies, books, theater plays, public speech, the internet and even certain phrases in personal communication!
You can't download the "Battlefield 3" demo in Germany except between 22:00h and 06:00h CET which is just silly.

And there are high ranking politicians in Germany who wanted to establish a system to block internet pages. They said it would be to block child pornography but in the same sentence they compared violent video games with child pornography and publicly thought about including "other crimes" (such as copyright violations) as well.
I am really happy that the law was stopped in the last minute by the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" (which is our equivalent to the SCOTUS), not because of the child pornography but because it would have established something similar to the "great firewall of china" in Germany: a secret list of censored content and even punishments for those who want to access blocked sites. With a very small number of people deciding what is to be blocked and why.
It wouldn't have worked of course because of technical reasons, but when somebody confronted one of our ministers with the fact that the wall was easy to avoid she said "Well, the people who can avoid that wall are mostly pedophiles anyway". I was shocked. Those people decide what is censored and what isn't? People that have no clue at all? Or people who lie to me? You can choose which one.
There were youtube videos showing how to avoid the wall, and they weren't even 30 seconds long.
I cannot trust such people to "protect me" from anything in the Internet. The only thing they could do was insult a lot of people and not a single child would have been saved by that stupid law.

In the end everybody has to look after his own children as good as possible. I can't trust the government to do that and I don't want to.
I know it is hard but I think banning all kinds of media won't help either. Especially if it doesn't work anyway.

ARGH I have to leave again, my fiancee just had a car accident.....
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Just a quick note - sorry to keep this thread dangling, I do plan to respond to your points when I get the chance. Right now, I'm in the middle of moving to a new apartment, so no time at home, and usually I'm too busy at work as well, so it'll have to wait. Kinda nice to have the extra time to think my replies through, though, instead of just rushing in as usual ;).
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
No problem, I'm a bit busy anyway at the moment so I don't have the time to read the forums as often as I did last week.
 
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