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THE SCREAMS OF THE DEAD ARE, IN FACT, MY BACKGROUND MUSIC

Hey kids, guess what! It’s time to beat up on the videogame industry!

"Soldiers heading to Iraq use simulations like today’s video games in order to prepare for war," (Illinois Governor Rod) Blagojevich said in a statement. "That may all be OK if you’re a mature adult or a soldier training to fight, but is that really necessary for a 10-year-old child?"

He goes on to say that videogames should be forced to adopt a ratings system. Note: videogames already HAVE a ratings system. I assume this new ratings system would be, I don’t know, gooder. More tuned to the needs of peaceful, pacific Illinois. To be honest, I don’t what they mean. Except they don’t like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Now, bear in mind. GTA: San Andreas is not a game that is appropriate for children. It is full of profanity, random acts of violence, terror, drug usage, and Samuel L. Jackson. None of these are appropriate for children. I would also note that the movie "Pulp Fiction" is also not appropriate for children, and is full of profanity, random acts of violence, terror, drug usage, and Samuel L. Jackson. However we do not see state governors working on attacking Quentin Tarantino as part of their re-election campaigns. This confuses me. Is Tarantino purer than Rockstar? Maybe it’s because it’s easier for kids to get a DVD of Pulp Fiction than a PS2 DVD of San Andreas. No, that wouldn’t make any sense. But if this made any sense, why would I be talking about Chewbacca? IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

Blagojevich pointed to the violence in "Doom 3," which pits Marines against a host of zombies and monsters on Mars; and "Manhunt," in which the player uses machetes, axes and meat cleavers to disembowel enemies. He also highlighted the sexual nature of "Rumble Rose," which features a cast of characters that includes a disciplinarian schoolteacher, a naughty schoolgirl and a sadomasochistic slave.

So right now the people who made Rumble Roses would be dancing in the streets, assuming the Governor’s office could spell it correctly, since I never actually heard of the game until I read this paragraph. And I read Penny Arcade. I should know EVERY mind-rotting violent sexual game that comes down the pike. Clearly, I need government to protect me and point out the violent and sexual games that I am missing. Oh wait, I’m missing the point again, aren’t I?

The best part of this, of course, are the games that this article breathlessly notes are destroying the youth of America RIGHT NOW THIS MINUTE WHILE YOU WERE NOT LOOKING.

Half-Life 2
Scientist battles against an alien invasion
– Violent, gory and blood-filled
– Player watches other humans being devoured
– Player kills aliens and federal agents

I missed the part in HL2 where I killed federal agents. Can someone send me a walkthrough? (And if killing aliens in a video game is bad, um, we’re in deep trouble here.)

‘Halo 2’
Warrior fighting an insurrection
– Intense violence
– Primarily consists of shooting and killing aliens
– Graphic descriptions of player’s death

You hear that? The violence is INTENSE, dude! It’s not like in Half Life 2, where it’s merely gory and blood-filled. It’s INTENSE violence. Hell, if I didn’t already own Halo 2 I’d go out and buy it.

Because, you know, I’m an adult. And stuff.

I have no problem with games being labelled based on content. Like, you know, THEY ALREADY ARE. I have no problem with retailers carding kids and not selling San Andreas to them. Like, you know, THEY ALREADY DO. I have no problem with people who want to discuss rationally the violence soaked nature of our entertainment industry, and how sex pervades our society. Probably the thing that almost offended me the most about this article, in fact, was the way the childish and perverse "Spike TV Video Game Awards" travesty was actually implied to be "the industry’s award show" as an offhand background comment, when it was nothing more than an attempt by a third-rate cable network to pander to the worst stereotypes of gaming adolescents. Thankfully, the last company that tried that is no longer with us.

I said almost. The thing that offended me the most was that our political system continues to actually ignore the underlying cultural issues implied by the pervasiveness of infantile sexuality and gratuitous blood and gore in our entertainment, and instead uses it as a thoughtless backdrop for a simulation of intellectual bravery, where idiotic politicians looking for cheap thrills use the gaming industry as a free punching bag. It’s certainly easier. Who wants to come out FOR the right to play GTA? I mean, it’s horrible! It lets you kill hookers! Killing hookers is bad!

But actually coming up with solutions for a world where we kill hookers for sport is HARD.