The Expendables 2 is opening in a few months, which means there will also be a video game. As luck would have it, the trailer is out now and it delivers a much-needed dose of testosterone.
It’s been a disturbing couple of months, as I see a steady trickle of search engine results bring men to douglasernstblog.com in their quest for “brosiery and mantyhose”— but what is more disturbing has been the occasional Republican buying into the claptrap that video games make kids violent. Wrong.
What makes kids inappropriately violent are bad parents. What makes kids inappropriately violent are cultures that place little value on human life. What makes kids inappropriately violent are neighborhoods and communities that tolerate it. The easiest thing to do is to blame video games and video game makers for deep-seated problems that metastasized long before computer graphics perfected the blood splatter or bone crunch.
With that said, it should also be noted that violence isn’t always a bad thing. Teaching kids to be violent — when necessary — is healthy. Does good and evil exist? If so, let’s have it displayed in a video game. And if good and evil exist, who symbolizes good and who symbolizes evil? While I haven’t had a chance to play the Expendables 2 video game, a good guess might be that Communist-thug regimes and the goons of South American dictators are the bad guys. And if that’s the case, then I say: “Put that controller into your kids’ hands and let them have at it!”
Wouldn’t it be nice to see an avatar of Sylvester Stallone blowing away North Korean soldiers, perhaps the kind who perform in Kazoo Armies by day and rape women by night? There are free nations and there are fear nations, and there is nothing wrong with portraying them in video games. The problem with many video games is that today’s characters are often anti-heroes, or the line between good and evil is so blurred that the user doesn’t know what to believe. Stallone’s movies (and I’m assuming his video games) generally don’t have that problem, which is probably a reason why I’ve been watching and loving them for ages.
Still not convinced? Watch this workout video with Terry Crews. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and a stand-up citizen. There’s nothing cooler than a man who is physically fit, mentally strong, compassionate and in possession of a moral compass. If I had kids, I’d let them hang out with Crews any day of the week, and I’d definitely let them play the Expendables 2 video game.
Fresh off his announcement to ban sodas, sweetened ice tea and energy drinks above 16 ounces, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has found a new target — the video game industry. Taking a cue from Reps. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Frank Wolf’s (R-VA), Violence in Video Games Labeling Act (which seeks to put violence warning labels on all video games, regardless of content), Bloomberg has taken it a step further: Starting next March, all video games sold in New York City will have built-in endings that will bring the storyline to a halt after 16 hours of game play.
A press release from Bloomberg’s office went out late Sunday night. Reuters reports:
It has long been established that there is a correlation between violence and video games. There is also a strong correlation between soda consumption and gamers. Both of these vices have long-term costs to the nation’s health, in terms of obesity and crime rates. While the nation waits, I will act. New Yorkers want me to “do something,” and so I will. Starting next March, I will find a way to force Big Apple gamers to understand that sitting for hours while playing video games — particularly RPGs — is unhealthy and will no longer be tolerated. I am working with the video game industry to ensure that at 16 hours ALL video games sold in New York will cut to an ending that will force gamers to either put down the controller or to keep playing a game that has, for all intents and purposes, been completed.
Conservative and libertarian groups have already voiced opposition to the power grab, calling it more evidence of the liberal urge to control every aspect of an individual’s life, now down to their PS3 and XBox controllers. Bloomberg’s liberal advocates say that the mayor is not taking away a gamer’s right to play video games per se, but merely forcing them make the conscious decision to continue playing after a “healthy portion” of entertainment has been reached.
As the news cycle begins, it will be interesting to see if gamers — generally a liberal bunch — see how the soft tyranny of Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban could be applied to many aspects of everyday life, including the games they love.