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Why Moral Panics About Video Games Are Bad Politics

Despite what the media and politicians have said, there is no evidence that shows that playing video games turn young people into killers. What do presidents Reagan, Clinton, Obama and Trump have in common? They all presided over moral panics involving games. The ongoing “debate” about video and tabletop games has twisted and turned since the 1980s. Video games have been blamed for racism, sexism, violence, delinquency and even demonic possession. Despite a complete lack of evidence to support these claims, the war on video games persists.

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SuperSonic91128d ago (Edited 128d ago )

Nintendo started all of this bad politics!

I remember when Nintendo of America was quickly losing market share to the Sega Genesis' rising popularity, Howard Lincold lobbied politicians to put Sega in the bad spot light as the promoter of violence in video games.

"Nintendo threw the entire industry under the bus to sabotage their rival. If some of you younger folks are wondering why so many of the pros seem down on Nintendo even to this day, it's because they used to play this kind of hardball all the time when they had their foot on the neck of the industry."

"The Genesis was the only thing that ever posed a serious threat to them up to that point. Nintendo were merciless at this hearing. Prior to Sega wedging in a little space for themselves with Altered Beast, Sonic, and less rapacious licensing fees, Nintendo did have an effective monopoly over the industry. They had lawsuits for price fixing and basically blacklisted retailers and publishers who didn't agree to their terms. They were not fair players when they were big enough to ignore the rules. Hiding behind their squeaky clean Mario image here and then letting Acclaim release a fully uncensored Mortal Kombat II not nine months later was pretty damn hypocritical."

wonderfulmonkeyman128d ago

"Nintendo started all of this bad politics! "
AAAAND CUT! Toss the script, fire the writer.
Seroiusly, we all get it. You hate Nintendo and everything bad in gaming is their fault in your eyes.

Exit stage right already. Don't make someone use the cane.

SuperSonic91128d ago

One key event in 1993 bears on the first "great console war": The "violence in video games" debate and the political quagmire it became. Examining the true cause of the affair, it comes as no surprise that Nintendo was behind it. The video game sensation known as Mortal Kombat was first released to U.S. arcades in 1992. A Midway/Williams product, it was an instant hit. A fighting game spurred on by the success of Street Fighter 2, it distinguished itself with its own character mythos and impressive array of secret and finishing moves, the latter of which caused the biggest stir. “Both Sega and Nintendo wanted the game – badly – and both paid well to get it.” “There was just one, minor difference between the two ports, but it would prove to be the distinguishing selling point between them. The Genesis version was faithful to the arcade original, right down to the bloody finishing moves. Nintendo's was not.” “Both editions were released in September of 1993, and the Genesis port promptly outsold the SNES version by a ratio of 4-to-1. "Street Fighter 2?" Genesis fans sneered. "Who needs it?! We've got Mortal Kombat – and uncensored, to boot." SNES owners were furious at the decision to gimp their port, and they let Nintendo know it.” “Nintendo’s solution was simple: fight dirty. If Sega was going to use violent video games as a positive selling point, Nintendo would have to pull the rug out from under them. Nintendo began lobbying the U.S. Congress about the rise of violence in video games, willingly providing carefully edited videotapes containing footage from the Genesis port of Mortal Kombat and the Sega CD game Night Trap to anyone who would listen. One of these was U.S. Senator Joseph P. Lieberman (D) of Connecticut. “The one thing that Nintendo got out of the U.S. congressional hearings of 1993-1994 into video game violence was the smearing of Sega's reputation in the minds of America's parents. They began second-guessing their children's judgment, seeking to protect them from this perceived threat. By openly promoting such violent fare, Sega was guilty of poisoning the minds of America's youth. Whether or not that was true was beside the point. Nintendo had shifted public opinion against Sega, and it was all that they needed.” “Lieberman and his supporters have continued on their anti-violent video game crusade, keeping the issue in the public eye in their never-ending quest to outlaw violent video games for good. Ironically, not long after the Lieberman hearings – and in response to demand from their customer base – Nintendo began incorporating violent content into video games for its own systems. The first such title? The SNES port of Mortal Kombat 2.” “One can understand, if not approve, of Nintendo's taking the opportunity of the Congressional hearings to trash the system and its vendor, further weakening Sega’s support on all fronts.” Excerpt From: Sam Pettus. “Service Games: The Rise and Fall of SEGA: Enhanced Edition.” iBooks.