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Tycho / on Mon, Mar 20 2006 at 12:01 am

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Have you heard about the Video Game Voters Network?  It is a thing.  We made a comic strip about it. 

Well, loosely about it.  It’s mostly about Gabe.

I understand the idea behind it - the network, I mean.  But I don’t think there’s actually a monolithic "gamer" voting block  that receives their signal from the mothership and then behaves according to some agreed upon protocol.  Even assuming there were, the people who would be most grievously affected by gaming legislation aren’t of voting age.  They cannot vote, they are not allowed to, even if you put an adorable stepstool in the booth so they can weach the bawwot.    

I actually believe the site when it says that "fifty percent of Americans play games", or that "seventy four percent of gamers vote."  That is to say, I don’t think the use of entertainment software is restricted solely to lunatics - authentic American citizens are daily being engaged by this medium.  And as compelling gaming becomes more portable, more distributed, less onerous, more people will identify themselves with the term.  That’s more people, with their own goals, and lives that incorporate the matching of gems or the desecration of tombs, but are not dominated thereby.   

You can’t get eight fucking nerds to agree on what kind of pizza will accompany Saturday’s dungeon crawl.  And I think it’s a fair bet to say that you’ll have a hard time marshalling the troops on gaming legislation when your "troops" are this disparate.  Will I have the same ideas about the tongue-in-cheek sexual content of God of War as, say, one of the squad leaders of Christian Gamers Online?  Will I arrive at the same conclusions regarding fines when a store doesn’t follow the ESRB guidelines?  Should I?  That seems to be the assertion. 

I think the threat to adult gamers is usually described as a "chilling effect" that will constrict the themes of even mature entertainment,  the self-censorship of games to secure a more desirable (i.e., marketable) rating.  The First Amendment is often hauled out in these instances, as though concessions to the marketplace amount to the tromp of the jackboot, but to the best of my knowledge the "Right To Be Sold In Wal-Mart" is not enumerated in the constitution.

(CW)TB out.


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