Over at ScottishGames.biz, Brian Baglow has some prime examples of media and political distortion around games, crime and violence. First, a member of parliament who continues to assert that Manhunt had a role to play in a murder, even though the police claim there was no link (and the game was owned by the victim, not the killer). And not one, but two stories about how the media works to get the evidence it wants to write sensationalist stories round games and violence.
All these stories point to challenges in establishing serious and informed debate over the benefits and risks of new media, with the sensationalist undeniably winning in mainstream media column inches.
Games are, as we know, often picked on as being the cause of all that is wrong in modern society. When a McDonald’s chief blames games for obesity, we know that games come pretty low in the acceptability pecking order. And now the BBC has posted a piece about the new-edition of Bully being released (formerly released in the UK as Canis Canim Edit).
And it’s shocking stuff:
It features a teenager who adjusts to life at a new boarding school by harassing others, including teachers.
The abuse includes dunking pupils’ heads in toilets, photographing them naked and physically assaulting them.
Shocking indeed. In fact, given that the game has been playable since last year, I’m very disappointed that the BBC are happy to present the game as though the point of it is to become a bully and harass others – when as would be known to anyone who’s gone as far as actually reading a review of the game (a step the reporter ought to have taken), or possibly even play it, it’s pretty much the exact opposite…