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Terrifying Games

Matthew Mirapaul on using games to examine social and political questions.

Marc Prensky has started a site, socialimpactgames, which links to various games with social and political messages as well as “consciousness raising goals”. This is a good idea, if only because it’s not easy to find out about these kinds of games.

On another note, last week I played a violent games on Playstation. I’m comfortable with the violence of video games, but even I was a bit shocked. Half of the characters, it seems, were teenage ninja girls with panties always showing whenever they fell down, and where you can see vanquished fighters burning up or screaming. Well, I suppose it’s not going to damage anybody, although there were two 6 year old girls watching me play! For me, the realism of the setting was part of what made the game so threatening, but on the other hand, if you grow up with these images, you become inured to them. So far we haven’t seen any sex games, but it’s just a matter of time when today’s youth will be bored by animation that will shock their parents.

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