1.02 - Ethics in Gaming. The Rating System. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was a result of hearing held by two US Senators in 1993. These hearings were a result of many consumers’ concerns over violence in computer games.
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Many other games have been created with negative reactions from the public.
Doom was linked to the Columbine High School shooting in Denver Colorado.
The court ruled in favor of the game company.
Many other lawsuits followed including reactions to Grand Theft Auto: ViceCity from Haitian Americans.
All cases were dropped.
Finally the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis stated, “Weather we believe the advent of violent video games adds anything of value to society is irrelevant; guided by the first amendment, we are obliged to recognize that “they are as much entitled to the protection of free speech as the best of literature”” [USDCOAO3]
As games reached the global market, culturally game material may take on a different meaning in different countries.
In Germany, a country sensitive to its past, has established a banned list. Games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, tried to avoid the list by placing a generic flag in place of a Nazi flag and playing classic music instead of a Nazi song.
Games placed on this list find it extremely difficult to market and sell their products.
Some efforts have been made to develop more socially conscious games, but the market does not support the themes.
As yet. Games such as Grand Theft Auto draw on racial, ethnic and gender stereotypes.
But are extremely popular with the stereotyped “minority” populations that it portrays.
Clearly, teaching materials related to such issues in video games must reflect the complexity of the subject, and class projects focused on these issues must give students an opportunity to explore them in all their depth and complexity.