Fox News seem well impressed with the latest video game and have written a glowing piece of hype:
Parents had better beware: There's a Bulletstorm on the horizon.
In the new video game Bulletstorm due February 22, players are rewarded for shooting enemies in the private parts (such as the buttocks). There's an excess of profanity, of course, including frequent use of F-words. And
Bulletstorm is particularly gruesome, with body parts that explode all over the screen.
But that's not the worst part.
The in-game awards system, called Skill Shots, ties the ugly, graphic violence into explicit sex acts: topless means cutting a player in half, while a gang bang means killing multiple enemies.
And with kids as young as 9 playing such games, the experts FoxNews.com spoke with were nearly universally worried that video game violence may be reaching a fever pitch.
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
Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems, Weichman said.
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.
The game was rated M (mature 17+) by the ESRB, the US game ratings organisation.
In the UK. the BBFC rated the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains frequent strong bloody violence and strong language
Offsite: Caught with her hand in the porky pie jar
12th February 2011.
Somehow gamers don't seem to putting up with the same bullshit that anti-porn and anti prostitution campaigners get away with. Games aren't quite so immediately morally reprehensible, and so lies are allowed to be challenged by media editors and
So when Carol Lieberman made the above claims about games being connected to real-world sexual violence on Fox News, writers were up for the challenge. After all there is very little sexual content in Popular gaming to base such conclusions on.
Pundits and legislators have been attacking the gaming industry for decades now, pinning the blame for tragic events like the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech on violent videogames. This week, self-described media psychiatrist
Carole Lieberman took that war of words one step further, claiming explicit games trigger rapes.
Despite the seriousness of Lieberman's allegations, when Wired.com asked her multiple times to clarify her comments, she failed to cite a single study, statistic or piece of evidence that proved her point.
Perhaps it's because such studies simply don't exist.
Later Carole Lieberman
sent out a mass email to journalists providing links to her sources on violence, rape and video games, it turned out to be a selection of eight studies, none of which tied sexual content in games with real-life sexual
violence. John Walker at PC gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun
carried out a painstaking analysis of the studies and his article is worth reading, if only for the fact that it highlights just how inconclusive the links are between simulated and real-life violence.
And to most of us, it should be obvious by now, that such isolated attacks are not worth worrying about. Video games are part of the mainstream, they have powerful advocates, they make billions of dollars -- there is no
threat. EA barely bothered to muster an official response; the developers themselves tweeted about it quickly and dismissively. There is serious work to be done on the psychology of interactive entertainment, but it won't be carried out by Fox or
In this country, Labour MP Keith Vaz who has made regular confused attacks on violent games, has allegedly found his point of view increasingly isolated within parliament. Last month, culture minister Ed Vaizey told
I'm constantly teasing Keith and I think he is aware of the sea-change in videogames and that, particularly with the new generation coming into parliament, there are now many more MPs who grew up with games as a normal part
of their life.
After psychiatrist Carole Lieberman told FoxNews.com of a connection between violent games and rape, the site Destructoid ran the headline, Games cause rape psychologist's book gets raped. The article described how Lieberman was Amazonbombed
-- meaning gamers posted dozens of scathing and profane reviews of her books to the online retail site. (See example at
US Amazon )
One commenter, timetheterrible, at Destructoid wrote:
Since this woman's outright untruths will never be recognized or discussed on a platform as large as Fox News, people vent their frustration at the situation by publicly questioning her credibility.
Easily bullied game makers EA have pandered to the easily offended and will censor some of Bulletstorm's sexual innuendoes.
Skill titles will be renamed in a patch to be issued next week.
EA's Steve Wordsmith, issued the following statement:
After getting countless complaints about the sexual nature in Bulletstorm, we finally had to do something about it. I personally had no idea how dirty people's minds really were. It's quite sad to see your work get changed
like this, but after all the negative attention about this game, EA pretty much forced us to make the words more kid friendly. I'm baffled. I spent some quality time coming up with words that fit the action on screen. How can people associate
words like topless, rear entry, or gag reflex as something dirty? These words have very clear intent on the happenings on the screen.
Topless for example, happens when you successfully cut an enemy in half. What else was I supposed to put there that would be precise to the player? If you look at the bottom half of the dead enemy, you can clearly see he's
missing his top half, ergo the term topless. Rear entry is talking about shooting a guy in the back. The terminology seemed to be basic knowledge to me. People have both a front side, and a back side, which can also be called the rear.
The one that annoys me the most is gag reflex. You must have a really sick mind to think gag reflex is sexual. Ever take a bite of food to big and start choking? Ever throw up before? You can thank your gag reflex for that.
Honestly, to even think that any of these things have a sexual nature, you got to have a really dirty mind to begin with. Sadly it looks like people who won't even play this game have the dirtiest minds, and EA has forced us to change the names
into something more kid friendly.
Changes include: Topless which will be changed to Pull Yourself Together , Gag Reflex will become Choke on That! and Double Penetration will be turned into Two Guns, One Dead Body .
Epic Games' president Mike Capps was asked whether the Fox news nonsense (ie games cause rape) helped or hindered early sales of Bulletstorm ?
There are two ways to answer the question. The first is what it does for Bulletstorm and the second is what it does for the industry. For what it did for Bulletstorm... yes, there were people who were very excited about any
attention at all. For a game that's over-the-top, they probably helped sell more units than they convinced people to pick at us, he said. What was most exciting about it for me [was the reaction from the media in the industry defending us]. Every
journalist said this Fox report is junk... It's wonderful to see a media that's defending free speech.
As for what it does for the industry as a whole I think it's terrible, he noted. There are people who really respect Fox News' opinions and look at that and are convinced that video games are bad.