Sunday, October 19, 2008

Smart Games, Dumb/Smart Gamers, Dumb Politics

Smart Games:

Real world definition of "mature": Showing the mental, emotional, or physical characteristics associated with a fully developed person; involving serious thought.

Videogame definition of "mature":
Shits, tits and gibs.

What is adult? According to ratings boards and hand-wringing politicians, the only qualifications necessary are a bucket of blood, a stream of foul profanity and a parade of naughty lady parts. Ironically, the very things that are included to win over immature teenage boys.

The following games, however, define adult in a different way. They tackle challenging themes, explore intellectual ideas and deal with complex characters in complicated relationships. They add shades of grey to an otherwise black-and-white form of entertainment.


Smart Game, Smart/Dumb Gamers

Yesterday we received an email in tips from Nsider on behalf of that was sent to Media Molecule and Sony regarding the Qu'ran passages in LittleBigPlanet's music that resulted in the worldwide recall of the title just a week before release. the email explains the passages and goes on to request that they be removed from the title.

In case you don't pick up on it, the gamers writing comments to the effect that this is not censorship are the smart ones.


Dumb Politics

I try to not weigh in on politics on this blog. I have various reasons, not least of which is my position as an instructor. For better or worse, I help my students to define/redefine/develop their own political position, even when I stringently disagree with those positions. I get a certain amount of enjoyment from reaching the end of a semester and getting student feedback that says my politics were evident, then seeing very different politics named by different people.

This particular moment is getting to me, however. It's the William Ayers issue, specifically the Right's attempt to connect Obama to Ayers. Now, my problem isn't even the mudslinging aspect of this game. I've read editorials and political pamphlets going back to the founding of the country, and if you think this kind of shit hasn't been around since Washington's reelection, you're kidding yourself. Actually, they were even meaner back then.

No, my problem is the ideological and military implications of casting Ayers as a terrorist. If that's the case, it means that even though he's now a professor, hasn't bombed anything in years, and lives a fairly quiet (if still politically active) life, he's still a terrorist. Which in turn means that terrorists can't change. Once a terrorist, always a terrorist. Which means the only thing we can do is kill them. We can't reeducate them, can't win their hearts and minds, can't convince them they were wrong or even misguided. At best we can turn their attention to someone they hate more than us. But more likely, we'll just have to fight until one or the other is dead.

That position is neither Right nor Left. It's just scary.

No comments: