The decades-old claim that video games had to be banned because they cause violence is back, although the evidence overwhelmingly shows that no video games at the same time not cause violence (or misogyny or racism or whatever else they are blamed for).
The latest example involves a censorship attempt on the game “Six Days in Fallujah”, a game that was canceled in 2009 due to fears that it was released prematurely after the second real-life battle of Fallujah in 2004, after which the game is based. It’s been 12 years since the cancellation, and now that the game looks like it could finally be released, activists like game journalists are trying to get it canceled again, this time based on moral panic.
None of the people who complain or defend the game have played it, since it is not available yet, but that has not stopped the comment. Forbes senior contributor Erik Kain, who covers video games, described the game in his Susbstack column and defended it as a game that, from what he could tell, “is just trying to recreate the chaos and terror of American, British and Iraqi troops (and civilians). faced entering a deadly, hostile urban setting overrun by rebels. ”
“This is not Duty calls. It̵
Cain later wrote that game developer Highwire Games said “Six Days in Fallujah” was an attempt to recreate the game in 2004, combining first-person shooters with “documentary interviews that seek to portray the sense of urban struggle and fear experienced by those present.” ”
The usual suspects have come out of the woodwork to condemn the game as a “war crime game” and reject it as excuse propaganda for US foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. People talk about how it hurts people in color, enables white nationalism and all the same tired nonsense that is pulled out time and time again regardless of context or fact. “Some have even said that commenting on the game could lead to their US visas being revoked, as if the US government is eagerly watching Twitter to see if anyone says anything bad about the game,” Kain wrote.
Christopher Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson University, addressed the “moral panic” behind the game on Psychology Today and wrote that evidence does not support claims that games make people violent.
“The good news, and one reason to be cautious about pronouncing such effects, is that evidence of other video game effects outside the violence has generally shown very little. It is true whether we look at body image problems, sexist attitudes or pro-militaristic attitudes. In general, the belief that fictional media can influence behaviors or attitudes is largely exaggerated. Although the game would portray a one-sided version of the second battle of Fallujah (something we do not know since the game has not been released), there is no clear reason to believe that it would have particularly noticeable effects on players. attitudes towards Iraqi citizens, ”Ferguson wrote.
Still, a petition on Change.org insists without proof that the game will “breed a new generation of mass shooters in America and brainwashers to think RACISM IS OK.” At the time of writing, it seems that the assumption of “mass shooters” has been removed.
“The idea that this, or any game, should create” a new generation of shooters “is completely anti-scientific. At this point, the belief that video games and mass murder have anything to do with anything has been thoroughly discredited. This is it the kind of line used by anti-game crusaders 20 years ago, and it’s almost surreal to see it re-emerge here and signed by some game developers and journalists.It’s a language like this that suggests we’re in a moral panic, not a careful assessment of the game, ”Ferguson claimed.
It should be noted that the same kinds of moral panics are not paired with war movies or books about war.
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