Thursday, December 20, 2007

Research, puh-lease

GamePolitics revealed yesterday that a New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) presentation on video game issues listed a well-known hoax site as a parental resource. Thankfully, those responsible have done something about it. The Staten Island Advance today reports that officials have removed the infamous hoax site Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence from a listing of parental resources which appears at the end of the presentation.

Wonderful though this is, this does beg the question of how it made it in there in the first place. The fact that MAVAV is a hoax site is fairly easy to learn, and you'd think that those charged with putting together a presentation of this importance would be asked to actually do some research beyond just Googling "video games" + "violence." This isn't the only example seen lately, either. Last month Detroit Police Department and Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy compiled a list of video games that she believed should not be given to children this holiday season, which included Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, Scarface, 50 Cent Bulletproof, Killer-7, and Hitman: Blood Money. Again, a little research performed by those charged with working on the list before it was published would have revealed that all of the games on the list were M-rated, and several of them were either ambiguous as which entry in the franchise was cited (Manhunt? Really? Not Manhunt 2?) or were just plan old, and unlikely to be on kids' wishlists anyway (50 Cent?) This was an opportunity for Worthy to promote sensible parenting and educate the public on an established ratings system. She could have positioned herself as someone genuinely concerned, and prepared to help parents make smart choices. Instead, she chose to simply showboat a woefully misguided opinion on what she, or her advisors, feel is a hot-button issue.

That these people in positions of power and influence are unable to generate well-researched information is cause for great concern. If the people in their charge can't do a little research about a topic such as video games - where does that leave us on the really important stuff? If they can't spot a hoax gaming site, should we trust them with things that are actually... y'know... important? I think not.

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