Monday, 23 November 2009

Computer games in "letting you do stuff you can't normally" shock

I should see about getting some funding for a study. It seems that you can do one on any old crap and someone will pay you for it.

Recently, two Swiss human rights organisations (Trial and Pro Juventute, if you're interested - and yes, they're both charities) have commissioned a study in which they played a load of war games on various consoles. Sounds like piss-easy work to me, but what was truly groundbreaking was their conclusion after this difficult research:
"Certain scenes and acts committed by players would constitute violations of international law if they were real, rather than virtual."
Games let you do stuff that you can't in real life - because it's illegal? Really?! Well bugger me, I had no idea. I was labouring under the impression that not only was it possible to go into outer space and rescue Princess Leia from an asthmatic bloke in a black mask, it was also possible to do so by becoming entirely made of Lego.

Apparently, that's "not possible in real life". I'm truly shocked - and heaven knows how my poor friend Sackboy will take it. He's probably about to find out he's not real either.

Seriously, isn't this the point of computer games? I mean, let's take a look at the child-friendly things you can do in the Grand Theft Auto series:
  • hire a prostitute, take her somewhere secluded in your car, engage in a sex act, then blow her brains out with a shotgun and get your money back
  • steal a fully-laden school bus and drive it full pelt into the front of a police station
  • climb to the top of a high building and take pot shots at passers-by with a sniper rifle
  • steal a bike by kneecapping its owner as he rides past you, then use it to chase an ambulance whilst seeing how many paramedics you can shoot without dismounting
  • buy a nice outfit from one of the upmarket boutiques
Now, we're all well aware that none of the above (well, most of it) is far from legal. But in a computer game, that fair enough. It's escapism - and as far as GTA is concerned, there's a cartoon-y feel to it that somehow removes most of the horror of what you're being asked to do. Think of it as an interactive movie and it makes more sense. I mean, there was some damn gruesome stuff in "Seven", but that still got released.

However, our friends in Switzerland think that games should only allow you to do stuff that you can do in real life. So, get ready for their first fully-approved releases, coming to XBox360, PS3 and Amstrad CPC664 this Christmas:
  • SimDusting
  • Pro Evolution Tax Return
  • Call Of Nature
  • Tom Clancy's Doorbell Needs Cell AA
  • Extreme Bed Maker
It's almost as if they think we can't tell what's real and what's a game any more. And I know that PacMan would agree with me.

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