Fox News has a habit of writing news stories that border on the sensational, particularly where violent video games are concerned. Bulletstorm, the upcoming shooter from People Can Fly and Epic Games, is the latest target of the news giant’s derision. Though it ought to seem clear that the game is being marketed as a parody of the shooter genre, there are some who will inevitably get the wrong message.
Let’s take a look at some quotes from the article:
“’If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant,’ Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California, told FoxNews.com.”
Now, Bulletstorm isn’t exactly the most mature game, but it does have an M rating, and that makes the fact that children shouldn’t be playing it a foregone conclusion. No one at Epic, People Can Fly, or EA is championing this as a new tool for preschoolers to learn all about the wonders of violent impalement.
“Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence.
‘The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,’ she said.”
That seems like a bit of a stretch, to put it very mildly. Bulletstorm may be a game that revels in over-the-top violence and gore, sexual innuendo and cursing, but you certainly don’t rape anybody. Chances are, the game would have received a much harsher rating from the ESRB than a mere M if it actually encouraged rape or let you act out in that way.
The author goes on to pull a couple quotes about how the ESRB system is worthless and 9 year olds everywhere are playing violent games. The fact stands, though, there is a system in place to prevent children from playing games like Bulletstorm. The blame should not lie with the developers or even the ESRB if retailers and parents don’t adhere to this system. It’s a shame that the mass media still tends to view video games as things to be feared rather than celebrated.