Posted on February 9, 2008,

Superman Causes Everything From Murder To Cannibalism

code.jpg

At least that’s what the United States Senate claimed in 1956……

My point is that we simply cannot allow the government and media to do to video games what they pulled off with comic books. The U.S. Government and media convinced the public that comic books were a danger to children in the 1940s and 1950s and as a result, the quality of comics diminished for many years. Many comic book collectors like myself believe that the “Comic Code” enforced by the government caused the death of the detective and horror genres for years.

Some people don’t believe that the video game debate is not a very important issue for the next election, but it’s really a fundamental one. It will go from games to other areas. The first sign of a corrupt government is the censorship of ideas. If we allow them to censor video games, they will also be censoring culture as a whole. Perhaps we haven’t learned anything from the 1950s, but it’s certainly time to wake up.

If you are interested in this topic, I found a great article titled ‘The End of Seduction, Epilogue’ that discusses some of the history behind the Comic Code. Check it out at the via link below. The video game debates of late are eerily similar to what our government did to the comic book industry.

Via Sequart Research & Literacy Organization

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10 Comments on Superman Causes Everything From Murder To Cannibalism

SpiralGray

On February 9, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Interesting article, except the government had nothing to do with the CCA in terms of enforcement. Yes, the CCA was a response to the hearings being held as a result of Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent, but in fact it was the industry deciding to enforce itself to stave off government meddling that caused the creation of the CCA. The Comics Code Authority was drafted by a collection of publishers. Despite the CCA, a number of very high quality books were produced during its tenure, including the classic Neal Adams/Denny O’Neil run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow that dealt with drug addiction, bigotry, pollution, and other relevant issues. In fact, issue #85 of that run showed Speedy (Green Arrow’s partner) after shooting heroin, and issue #86 has a large needle on the cover (http://www.nealadams.com/greenlantern.html), and both bear the CCA seal of approval.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the CCA was a kneejerk reaction to something that wasn’t a problem in the first place, but the government did not create nor enforce it.

There was an article recently that a game based on the Saw movies was going to come out. My point there was that the video game industry (like the comic and music industries before it) needs to take some responsibility for its actions. When everything you do is under a microscope, maybe putting out a game like that isn’t in the best interests of the industry overall.

William

On February 9, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I’m not really sure what is wrong with a Saw video game. If the industry rates it “M”, it’s a non-issue in my opinion. I truly believe that we should be free to enjoy whatever form of entertainment we enjoy. If that happens to be porn, violent games or whatever, it really doesn’t matter. I guess I just value freedom and am always against censorship of ideas.

If we start censoring games because of these people, are we going to start burning books and banning art next?

weclock

On February 9, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I think every one has a right to be wrong.

You could make a game, rated M, where you do nothing but kill babies. I wouldn’t play it, but I still think people have a right to be wrong. Where the extra control needs to be placed, is on the people who allow these things to become dangerous.

Games don’t kill people, people kill people.

William

On February 9, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I agree that individuals who turn these into dangerous things should be punished. It’s just like alcohol or anything else. Just because a minority of people abuse alcohol, they shouldn’t punish those who drink responsibly.

And people do have the right to be wrong as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. I really don’t understand these angry parents against games. If they don’t like games, don’t buy them. It’s that simple.

xx-Thor-xx

On February 10, 2008 at 6:44 am

I’ve been saying this for a few years now.. It is almost always the parents fault when bad stuff happens and the kid still lives at home. Lack of parental supervision and the fact that they want to pin the blame on an easy scapegoat for their own inadequacies. As easy as it is for a kid to walk in a store and buy an M rated game its just as easy for a parent to simply take the game away, but that doesn’t happen a lot these days because parents have stepped back out of their children’s lives and let electronics and strangers with candy in their van’s raise their kids. So yea… irresponsible parents are to blame.

Handshakes

On February 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I don’t think it would be a bad idea to overhaul the ESRB codes and make them more strict. Start dishing out some more AO ratings. Methinks the only reason that a lot of incredibly violent or sexually explicit games don’t get an AO rating is because some retailers like Wal-Mart won’t carry them (which is totally fine and the reason we have stores that only sell games), and if you bump a game from AO to M just based on that then you really have defeated the purpose of a ratings system.

When it comes to the movies, if you make a movie and shoot for an R rating that means you are making the decision to limit your audience. Games should be no different, but right now shooting for an M rating is no different than shooting for a T in terms of who is going to get their hands on the game.

William

On February 10, 2008 at 12:59 pm

@Handshakes: I’m not sure if we really need stricter codes. They are already far stricter than movie ratings for example. A game like Mass Effect would have been PG-13 or even PG as a movie, yet it was MA as a game.

There are also very few games at the M level for this to even be a real concern.

somewhat

On February 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm

”I think the CCA was a kneejerk reaction to something that wasn’t a problem in the first place, but the government did not create nor enforce it.”

But the hearings prompted the industry to react, so in a way, they did create it. Just like the Joker created Batman (albeit indirectly). :wink:

William

On February 10, 2008 at 6:38 pm

yeah the CCA was certainly government enforced, but I suppose in a direct indirect way :) But if this video game stuff keeps up, we’re going to see history repeat itself and we’ll see creativity dropoff.

Lawrence

On February 14, 2008 at 1:07 am

If you go to the Parents Television Council website (www.parentstv.org), you will see some of their condemnations against the video game industry in general. They’re particularly incensed that the video game industry is establishing a Political Action Committee that fights for the rights of video game makers and defends them from the kind of attacks parents groups and social conservative groups mount against them. Gentlemen, we are back in the 50′s all over again.