extra credits 06 Nov

Beloved video game industry commentator Daniel Floyd is back with his latest intellectual diatribe into video game culture! In this episode, he dives into the press controversy surrounding the medium and how gamers should react.

From the Youtube video description: Episode Seven in my series of video “lectures,” made in association with James Portnow, game designer and founder of Divide By Zero Games. I can be reached at floydo_animation at yahoo dot com. You can reach James at jportnow at gmail dot com.

36 thoughts on “Daniel Floyd’s Video Games and Facing Controversy”

  1. Just when I thought I couldn’t despise and loathe Fox News any more….I see another clip.

    And I would like to buy Mr. Floyd a beer for these videos.

    1. Eliot, Fox will always give you more reason to loathe them. They continue to have Glen Beck on there, everyday he is still on that network, they will continue to be non-respected. Fox “News” either needs to report correctly on news, or re-title their network to Fox Commentary, cause that is all they are is commentators. CNN all the way, they give the news with the correct facts, and if they got it wrong, then they will go back and correct themselves, that proves a self respecting network.

        1. You do realize zky that Glen Beck was on CNN before he went to Fox, they got rid of someone crazy. Now to get rid of Suzy Orman, she is a bitch too.

          And BBC is the king of reliable news, for the most part.

  2. The difference is in a movie we simply watch passively as these terrible things happen. In a game we interact and make them happen. That is the difference and why controversy is soo much worse for games.

    1. I agree. It’s one thing to view or hear a story, but participating is a scary thought for people. On one hand, it could give great insight, make you question your actions, and feel like you went through it with the characters; on the other it could be treated with levity or disrespect by the player ruining the purpose of the experience. I think it’s harder to make the non-gamer understand or care about a story and the player actions in a game. The problem with news casters is that they don’t care, they just want to stir something up so people will watch.

    2. I think that’s a weak argument on their behalf. The whole point of a game is simplifying/abstracting an act that would be otherwise illegal, gruesome, tedious, difficult, etc. The idea of having it in a game is removing that thing that makes it impossible in reality. By removing it, where’s the interactivity? You don’t kill anyone, you kill something that doesn’t exist, and that strips it of whatever violence the act can have.

      The real problem isn’t “interacting” with violence, it’s this thick skull imbeciles pushing agenda wherever they want. The problem with violence is in society, not in videogames or movies. One’s the consequence of the other, not the other way around.

  3. Nice, perfectly said. WE need more people to stand up to these “family” rights organizations, and tell them what games are really about, and to say that Games deserve a place in society. Games may be different because we physically interact with the game, but movies, books, and music we also interact with, generally in out mind. Now I am going to quote Hawthorne on this, “Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other.” Now, if that quote can’t be applied to games in the future, then games don’t deserve the right to exist, and I am not joking, games need to do what Hawthorne has said in the Custom House chapter of The Scarlet Letter to be able to survive this outlandish protest over games.

    1. Unfortunately all those “family” groups also have all the research on their side as well. Gaming, like any other violent media, correlates with violence, and in most cases games because of the interactive quality also correlate higher than movies, magazines, or pictures with violence.

      1. But they aren’t meant as “family” games. They’re meant for ADULTS. Much like you wouldn’t want your kids to sit down and watch a video series on the horrors of World War II or pornographic movies. Clearly there is a difference between media meant for children and media meant for adults.

        The ESRB does a good job of self-regulating its media, but the public perception of video games–and this is a point that Floyd brings up–is that no matter what the game, it is ALWAYS seen as for children and teens since it is labeled a “video game.”

      2. Kipp, Randy is correct, people have crazy perceptions. Just like most people think that the Wii is a joke, it isn’t all, it has good things, and there are lots of great games on the Wii, the games just need to be marketed better. The general population likes to think of Games as Toys, and they are, but they are also a thing of media.
        Every form of media or art has had their equal ups and downs. Look at books, they were burned, banned, meant for certain people, and they are still around. Movies, not everyone was up for movies in the beginning, especially when the controversial titles were coming to the screen. Music, that is still in the battle, but they have HUGE support. The problem here is, only a handful of developers and producers are standing up for their products.
        So, let me ask you. Would you let a kid play Postal, just because it is a game, or would you obey the ESRB? The problem here is that parents are not obeying the ESRB and blaming the publishers, the whole blame goes to the parents at that point. Oh, you should also jump on the TV bandwagon, cause TV and movies are filled with more Sex and violence than most games. I guess it comes down to interactive vs. passive, but I have no intention of killing anyone in the way of Manhunt. Parents need to parent, not blame games for the way their kids are behaving, if the parents teach their kids right, then there are no problems, but parents are failing. Kipp, don’t take the “family” rights side, they are wrong on so many sides.

  4. I am not on any side, other than the educated side. The fact is violent video games do affect us, and although we don’t go out and kill people, we generally act more aggressively due to them. For example if an individual goes and watches a fast and the furious movie, they are not going to start jumping their cars off ramps, but they are more likely to drive their car home faster than usual. This is the same for games, except a little bit worse because of the interactive portion. So maybe you won’t kill a women after playign GTA, but you may be more sexist and derogatory than you usually would, and these micro- aggressions are what actually makes up sexism, racism, and all the other isms. Skinheads are not the ones you should be to blame for race problems, but instead the guy who watches a black guy in his store more closely than a white guy, or all the people who will stop to help a white guy, but won’t do the same for a black guy. The little acts of prejudice are what keeps discrimination alive today and video games can be a factor in this, so instead of simply standing up for this in the face of controversey we need to make better games. Games that don’t involve shooting civilians for the sake of controversey, or violence for the sake of violence. We need to make our medium smarter, and that is what will make people respect video games, not simply standing up stubbornly and saying “Naa Uhh”

    1. I agree. We need to make more games that put people of other backgrounds in positive light. It always seems that Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are usually portrayed as the bad guy or gangsters, this needs to change big time. I am getting tired of looking at the same archetype white person being the main character.

    2. Don’t people have the right to be affected though? To become violent and possibly even in the extreme kill? Isn’t that your right as a free human being to think, plan and do those things?

      Equally isn’t it our right as a society to investigate, prevent or punish someone from doing so?

      To me it’s never been about whether or not the studies point to games correlating to aggression, sexism or racism (they do). It’s always been about whether we as a society should punish those who can “handle” it (the large majority), because of the few who can’t.

        1. Voltaire once said “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” He used it as a way to illustrate his views on freedom of speech.

          But in my opinion we should all also in principle have full freedom of mind and body. And I’m sure many people would agree with this. The problem arises when you then add what that freedom could lead to, in this example…murder.

          However since everyone has the freedom of mind and body. This is easily handled, as it is for the betterment of the majority that THEY do not allow murder. And so they utilize their freedom of mind and body to prevent or punish the murderer.

          You might be able to say that this also favors your argument Kipp, and it kind of does. Except getting rid of violent, sexual and racist video games will “hurt” the many, not just the few. And when I say getting rid of; I mean outlaw, because given human nature that’s the only way it can be done realistically.

  5. I love this series. After the last video was featured on this site I went and watched all of his videos and subscribed to his channel.

  6. I would argue that because we are able to be influenced, that we do not have the freedom of mind and body that you claim. Does the right wing evangelical Christian choose to be that, or are they that because they were raised that way, and they have been reaffirmed by their local culture? Are we really free to choose what we do, or do our experiences and environment shape us. Most likely a little of both and a lack of critical thinking. But more to the point, I do not call for the violence or sexism in games to be banned, or destroyed, only that it has purpose and is demonstrated with reason and realism behind it. Floyd believes we should stand behind our hobby no matter what controversy it brings. I would simply ask us to critically look at what we are standing behind first. For example let us look at the 2nd stage in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,(the level where u kill civilians as a terrorist). Now I could do as Voltaire says and stand up for the game developers right to do this, but I don’t believe freedom of speech is what they are after, or what is at stake. I think they are after controversy and money. I personally will not stand up for anything that may hurt someone for the sake of making money. I think blind insensitivity is not free speech, especially when it lacks a purpose to justify the hurt it may cause others.

    1. You mentioned a lack of critical thinking in people, and I 100% agree with this, in fact I think that is one of the biggest problems humanity faces. Overcoming it would trickle down and solve so many of the world’s more direct problems that it’s not even funny.

      I think we’re coming from totally different perspectives here; you on the one hand are a psychologist, a profession you most likely chose because you care about people and want to help them. While I on the other hand generally care to a certain degree, and feel empathy and sympathy for people. My foremost concern is moving forward, for myself and for the species.

      Throughout history the biggest and most meaning full change has always been dramatic change, change that cares little to nothing for people’s sensitivities. While I do agree purposeless is mostly never good, I don’t think that’s the case with these games.

      There are two types of “whys” in games motivating the player, there’s the gameplay, and then there’s the narrative. In GTA it’s mostly the gameplay, you don’t shoot the old lady in the face because you want her to die, you do it because the game has made the act of doing so fun. And those that do shoot her because they genuinely want her to die…well…see my argument above.

      These things do still desensitize you towards violence and may increase aggression, but it is the smart and critically thinking “better” man that will catch himself in this, and thus learn from experience. It is in this “better” man that our future lays…the rest can learn or wither out.

      In the upcoming Modern Warfare 2, it’s obviously the narrative, they want to put you in the shoes of a terrorist, to evoke emotions you’d rather not feel, thus in their minds hopefully creating a deeper connection with the game. In principle I don’t see anything wrong with this, but it’s when you combine it with the over the top unrealistic action later in the game that the picture gets murky.

      In response to this many have chosen to boycott the game, which is completely understandable. If they feel that this would ruin their enjoyment of the game, or want to prove a political point more then play the game, then it is the only rational thing to do.

      What the company and stockholders are after really shouldn’t come into it, whether it be money, fame or respect. What should matter is what you take away from the experience. There is such a thing as accidental or unintended art, the artist’s message isn’t always as strong or meaningful as the one you create.

  7. I’m with Kipp, it’s not a human right to kill other people. Your rights end where others’ begin. And i get his point on sensitivity and i’d agree but i think it would be too weak to just apply it to this particular game. I think it’s insensitive in general for terrorists on videogames always being the enemies of the US. I think you should take actual censorship to another level and stop getting propaganda shoved on everyone’s throat. I agree with you 100% that freedom of speech doesn’t include social alienation glorified as art, which is what we have today.

    I don’t think GTA makes people hate pedestrians. I do think that if every movie and book and videogame and so on and so forth has communists, arabs, mexicans, etc. as enemies, your head starts to shape. What we should defend is our right to say something in the way we see fit but be critical of what we’re saying. Your words, Kipp.

    1. That is a very contradictory statement, you don’t think we should allow social alienation on the principle of freedom of speech, yet we basically all socially alienate those that socially alienate. In simpler terms, we socially alienate racists, sexists, and criminals.

  8. “you don’t shoot the old lady in the face because you want her to die, you do it because the game has made the act of doing so fun.” This is not true, we have been conditioned through years of desensitization and competitive gameplay to want to do this. Give the controller to a mom or a Grandma and there is no way they will shoot them.

    As far as your argument for what they want to do, that is your interpretation of what they wanted to do. I personally feel like its about making money and the guys who made the game are going to say its something else, but at the heart its to make money through controversy for me. I guess why would I want anyone to feel like it is to be a terrorist? Should we let players fly planes into the world trade center so they can better understand 9/11? That argument dosen’t make sense.” Saying playing as a terrorist lets me better connect with the story makes no sense. I shouldn’t want to connect with the terrorist. In fact what they do should be is so revolting and terrible and unrelatable to me that i should want to stop them.

    Also I am able to think outside the world of a psychologist, but your overall message is unclear. You seem to be trying to make the connection between violent video games existing/ not being banned and our species moving forward. I would also like to disagree with your arguments about “biggest and most meaning full change has always been dramatic change, change that cares little to nothing for people’s sensitivities.” by siting the civil rights movement, the womens rights movement, the end of slavery, and our very gradual transition from a group of tribal nomads, to monarchs and now to democracies.

    1. Likewise give the controller to a kid playing a game for the first time, and he absolutely will shoot them. Though I’m not endorsing doing this in any way. Point being that while I agree I think it’s more than that.

      I guess my argument for what and why they do the things they do, come from me subscribing to the theory that all knowledge and experience is good knowledge and experience.

      “In fact what they do should be is so revolting and terrible and unrelatable to me that i should want to stop them.” That would be an emotional and not informed decision, while the decision would likely always be the same, it is always better to be as informed about it as possible, this includes seeing things from the “enemies” perspective.

      I wasn’t really trying to tie the two together; I guess I kind of didn’t explain myself sufficiently. I was more putting them side by side, and applying logic from one to the other. Obviously I don’t think videogames are of that fundamental importance that they would have a big impact in the species moving forward. But I think they’re an example that can be compared, or used to illustrate a point.

      Using the word “dramatic” was less about the amount of time that passed, but rather people’s reaction to the change. All of the points you mention met very significant resistance, and instead of being sensitive to the opposition’s opinions, they slaughtered each other, verbally or literally.

  9. Unrelated:

    I just found out why comments aren’t aplenty. Because they suck. This whole comments system sucks.


    I think it’s irrelevant to compare LEGAL punishment of anecdotal crimes (rapists, etc.) with the moral responsability of pushing agendas disguised as entertainment. Social alienation is the detachment of people from society because they’re too busy looking elsewhere. We’re too distracted looking at the flashy explosions to notice the people burned to death. Actually, worse, we notice them, we just don’t care because they meet the tolerance requirements. I have my doubts wether it’d generate controversy if instead of being a terrorist killing civilians you were a marine mowing down civilian arabs.

  10. To speak to the idea of what a human has the right to do; human “rights” are a societal invention that operates under the assumption that there is some higher power that allows or forbids us to do something. Typically we experience that as other humans imposing their will on others, whether they’re “right” to do so or not. You could argue that someone has the right to do anything, unless someone can stop them. The only thing that solidifies a “right” is someone/something being able to enforce it. We aren’t born with any “rights” in the grand scheme of things. It’s just a term/philosophy we’ve developed to make ourselves feel more important. Like the universe somehow granted us special privileges. People do what they do and are what they are. The only rules are the ones we imagine.

    1. Pretty much yeah.

      But in this case you have to look at it from the perspective of sociology. These rights, rules and laws we have invented mostly exist so that we can function better as a society. Human beings are social animals, and we are completely dependent on each other for our survival.

      So in this case the higher power would be the collective will of the majority.

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