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Fox News Links Game Violence to Rape with Bulletstorm

by Joey Davidson | February 9, 2011February 9, 2011 2:00 pm PDT

Fox News has linked game violence in Bulletstorm with rape.

Of course they did. Gamers saw it coming. When Bulletstorm was unveiled with the over-the-top profanity and violence put forth in the trailer from E3 2010, we all, collectively, thought the same thing: “Can’t wait ’til Fox News gets a hold of this one.”

They finally have, and they did not disappoint.

In a less than exhaustive look at the premise and contents of Bulletstorm, the upcoming shooter from Epic and People Can Fly, FoxNews.com has grabbed some “expert” analysis and laid waste to the absent moral compass of the gaming industry. They drag out some choice quotes from the in-game action and have their own roster of psych contacts produce parental fear inducing catch phrases. The banner dialogue:

The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games…

That comes from psychologist and author Carole Lieberman (FoxNews.com actually spells her name wrong). I decided to do a little digging (translated: go to Google) and see which books Dr. Lieberman has published. How about one that over-sexualizes the female gender by displaying stereotypes and sexed up visuals? Yep, she’s got it. I give you Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. Hypocrisy at its finest.

FoxNews.com makes no effort to link Lieberman’s quote to any physical data. They just take the word of the “internationally renowned ‘Media Psychiatrist'” and move on.

The site does make a nod to the ESRB by posting the direct warning from the game ratings board. They’re quick to point out that children “as young as 9” are playing these games, however. And they indicate that penalties should be put in place for game retailers that sell M rated games to youths under 18. That would place video games on the same legal level as cigarettes. R rated movies, however, carry no legal ramifications when infiltrated by minors.

It’s undeniable that Bulletstorm arrives with content not suitable for the eyes and ears of minors. While there are no sex scenes in the game, a fact that FoxNews.com does not point out, it does come packed with profanity and innuendo. I’ll take the same stance we’ve all been taking for years: parents should control what their kids are buying. It’s plain and simple, most game stores card minors before buying a game.

A 9 year old kid, the age Fox indicates is at jeopardy, will have their folks with them in the store as the drool over Bulletstorm. It’s the parents job the read the affixed rating and decide whether or not the content is suitable for children. The ESRB has made it pretty darn obvious:

The dialogue contains numerous jokes and comments that reference sexual acts, venereal diseases, and having sex with one’s mother (e.g., “Guess I know where the ol’ gal got that limp.”). The names of some Skillshots are infused with sexual innuendo (e.g., Gag Reflex, Rear Entry, Drilldo, Mile High Club); one Skillshot (i.e., Fire in the Hole) allows players to shoot at enemies’ exposed buttocks.

Beyond the flagrant frustration that comes from mainstream media attacking a single point in the gaming world, do you think FoxNews.com is justified in their accusations?


Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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