Bulletstorm Just "One of Many" Adult-Oriented Games, Says Steinberg

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Bulletstorm Just "One of Many" Adult-Oriented Games, Says Steinberg

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Refuting the scaremongering from Fox News suggesting Epic Games' and People Can Fly's latest title Bulletstorm may "make you a rapist" and could be particularly damaging to the fragile psyches of children, industry consultant and journalist Scott Steinberg says that maybe everybody (and by "everybody," we mean the yellow journalists at Fox) should take a chill pill.

"[Bulletstorm is] an unapologetically and straightforwardly satirical game," says Steinberg, "meant for discerning adults that's written in the vernacular of the times and speaks in a cultural context that's the same as that its target audience has long been indoctrinated in by mainstream media and pop culture."

Citing examples of modern pop culture such as South Park and the Saw films, Steinberg suggests the current scare over Bulletstorm's vulgar content and over-the-top sexually-tinged violence ignores the fact that this kind exploitative fare has been a part of entertainment culture for decades.

"This isn't the first blockbuster (or big-budget game, for that matter) to aim below the belt or slather on the salty language," he says. "Yes, it's shameless, but also knowingly so, because it actively aims to parody much of both the gaming field and larger cultural zeitgeist's more asinine elements. The designers make no secret of their intentions, or to whom the title caters - The Oregon Trail, this isn't. The giant M for Mature rating on the front of the box says it all: Only discerning adults need apply."

As Steinberg notes, videogames are the current cultural whipping boy for so-called "concerned citizens" who would seek to eradicate media they find personally objectionable. Historically, any new media embraced by a younger generation has turned the heads of those youngsters' cultural forebears, but what we're seeing now is an altogether different issue. In spite of popular perception, videogames aren't just for kids.

"The average player is actually a mature, discerning adult in their mid-30s," says Steinberg. "The reality is that the vast majority of all games produced are perfectly suitable for children and adolescents. Bulletstorm just happens to be one of many that fall into the category of games for mature audiences, but it's hardly among the more head-turning ones, as those who've played previous outings such as human prey simulator Manhunt 2 can attest."

Stenberg suggest that the best way to handle adult-themed content is to keep it in the hands of the adults for whom it is intended, and that the key to alleviating the "threat" presented by this kind of content lies not in eradicating it, as many talking heads would suggest, but in proper parenting.

"The answer, as ever, lies in education," he says. "Being acutely aware of what and how your children play, and the manner in which they do so, which requires maintaining an open-minded perspective and taking the time to spend time with your kids, their games and the systems which play these titles."

Steinberg is but one of many videogame advocates and detractors sounding off on this issue. Between Bulletstorm and the upcoming Duke Nukem Forever, 2011 looks to be a very interesting year for the battle between concerned citizens and those who would make mature-themed videogames. This is undoubtedly only partly a result of the fact that we're leading up to a major election year, and perhaps partly owing to the approaching due date for The US Supreme Court's ruling on whether videogames are protected speech, under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Anyone with even half a horse in this race (which is everyone) should probably buckle up.

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Thank you!

You'd think that after seeing parodies in other media [American Psycho anyone?] that we would likely understand that this isn't a new thing they're doing here.

Oh please! As if anyone actually played Manhunt 2.

I was waiting for these guys to smack some sense into Fox, and here it is; a very well thought out, concise, and detailed explanation of their game and why it is not even aimed at younger audiences that Fox thinks is getting "corrupted." Like the developers said, it all comes down to education and good parenting. It really shouldn't take a video game company to tell people these things nowadays.

But in hindsight, it's not as if anyone listens to a word Fox News says anyway.

Also, I think I should post this.

It describes Fox's uncanny ability of "selective quoting" with this particular story. Granted its exactly what you'd expect from them, but I feel it still needs pointing out.

As for this particular article, I wish more parents took the time to learn what their kids were doing/playing. If all these game bashers put just half the time into educating parents about games, everyone would be a lot better off. Or maybe not, since they'd probably just teach parents how much of a raping murderer these games will make kids.

EDIT: Also this story.

He brought up Manhunt 2?

FFS! There should be a Godwin's Law type rule when someone mentions Manhunt 2 in a violent video game discussion...

See Fox News? It won't turn kids into rapists
It's rated M
It'll turn "mature, discerning adult(s) in their mid-30s," into rapists. Get your facts straight!

Why are you guys so down on Bulletstorm anyway? It's shameless satire, just like you!

I don't see who Fox is trying to fool. The game is called bulletstorm.....

Sigh...

Bulletstorm is already Rated M for Manly, And if this goes down anything like the Mass Effect controversy, its also going to be Rated M for Money too.

Slightly more OT: Yes there are far, far worse games for Fox to have a go at. Dead Space 2 is probably this going to be years most Gorn-ish game and Fox didnt even mention it or that awesome advert Visceral did.

Finaly someone sane. Now if only we could some how force feed sanity to FOX.

Russ Pitts:
Snip

Isn't the supreme court going to share it's ruling this month?

Sure, because we all know how mature adults love playing games in which the phrase "dicktits" is used and you get bonus points for shooting people in the balls.

I haven't played it, but I was thinking it was more camp than satire.

"NO IT'S A VIDEO GAME THAT MEANS IT'S AUTOMATICALLY TARGETED AT AND FOR CHILDREN. WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN. BLAH BLAH BLAH MURDER RAPE SIMULATOR BLAH BLAH!!!!!"

You can use whatever logic and facts and sensible thinking you want, but that will forever be the opinion of the fear mongering moral guardians.
Still, it's nice to see people trying to get the truth out there.

Irridium:
Also, I think I should post this.

It describes Fox's uncanny ability of "selective quoting" with this particular story. Granted its exactly what you'd expect from them, but I feel it still needs pointing out.

As for this particular article, I wish more parents took the time to learn what their kids were doing/playing. If all these game bashers put just half the time into educating parents about games, everyone would be a lot better off. Or maybe not, since they'd probably just teach parents how much of a raping murderer these games will make kids.

EDIT: Also this story.

Thank you for posting those articles! I have had a similar discussion with my mother, who takes an issue with the content of the music my sister listens to (mostly being hip hop and dance music) and actually took away her iPod. My sister is almost 17 and my mom is worried about these things "corrupting" her and "lowering her potential". While I can agree that these things aren't associated with higher culture, they are not intrinsically bad. They are a part of our culture and represent a group of people, their interests and their work. Compared to my sister's classmates, she is an outstanding human being: she doesn't do drugs, have unprotected sex and volunteers. My mom raised her right and is over-reacting.

Thanks again for posting that article. I wish parents would take more responsibility for how their child turns out and stop blaming everyone but themselves (although there are certain situations that are out of their control). Show them what's right and wrong from an early age and there will be nothing to worry about! Then society can stop targeting mediums, like video games, for their failings.

I'm glad at least that these kind of gory, silly, insulting, over-the-top games this year are also going to be just genuinely good games, but it does kind of bother me that other series designed for adults, like Silent Hill pre-Homecoming, Half-life, not to mention games like:
-Amnesia: The Dark Descent
-Shadow of the Colossus
-Assassin's Creed
-Mass Effect
-Fatal Frame
-Bioshock
-etc. etc.
are barely mentioned in these kinds of discussions. Children wouldn't understand or, often, be able to play through these games without the maturity of an adult.

It's no coincidence that all of these are among my favourite games, because I don't feel like a trigger-happy lab chimp pumped full of electrodes when I have to use my brain as much as my trigger finger.

Russ Pitts:
"The answer, as ever, lies in education," he says. "Being acutely aware of what and how your children play, and the manner in which they do so, which requires maintaining an open-minded perspective and taking the time to spend time with your kids, their games and the systems which play these titles."

This advice also works to make sure your kids don't spend $1,700 on Xbox Live or $1,400 on smurfberries.

PrototypeC:
I'm glad at least that these kind of gory, silly, insulting, over-the-top games this year are also going to be just genuinely good games, but it does kind of bother me that other series designed for adults, like Silent Hill pre-Homecoming, Half-life, not to mention games like:
-Amnesia: The Dark Descent
-Shadow of the Colossus
-Assassin's Creed
-Mass Effect
-Fatal Frame
-Bioshock
-etc. etc.
are barely mentioned in these kinds of discussions. Children wouldn't understand or, often, be able to play through these games without the maturity of an adult.

It's no coincidence that all of these are among my favourite games, because I don't feel like a trigger-happy lab chimp pumped full of electrodes when I have to use my brain as much as my trigger finger.

You do know that Mass Effect already had its time on the whipping table, right?

This man said pretty much everything that had to be said about this. *sigh* I wish someone would sue Fox News every time they come out with one of these blatant lies and fearmongering news stories.

mjc0961:
You do know that Mass Effect already had its time on the whipping table, right?

That's what I'm saying, that games never get examined publicly for their merit as medium for adults... Mass Effect got in hot water only because of the fear that Only Children Play Games, and therefore children might see PG-13 sex scenes. It was "too adult" but somehow not designed for adults, but to corrupt our innocent children.

You know what really makes me laugh about the whole Fox thing.

This institution supposedly the great voice of American patriotism and ideals and morals,the protector of American jobs and American business. The majority stake holder of this institution is a British citizen born in Australia (Mr Rupert Murdoch).

So is it any wonder they know how to filter out the inconvient truth and deflect inquiries with a screen of bullshit.

Very well said; the man certainly seems to know what he's talking about. Unlike many people. *coughFoxcough*

Steinberg? He's outha be Jewish, which means he is rich. Which means he is intellegent.

Nah jk, but he's is on the something.

It's funny how the guy defending the cultural merits of blowing open an NPCs a-hole has a more reasonable writing style and choice of arguments than the hate mongering "concerned citizens."

Irridium:
Also, I think I should post this.

It describes Fox's uncanny ability of "selective quoting" with this particular story. Granted its exactly what you'd expect from them, but I feel it still needs pointing out.

As for this particular article, I wish more parents took the time to learn what their kids were doing/playing. If all these game bashers put just half the time into educating parents about games, everyone would be a lot better off. Or maybe not, since they'd probably just teach parents how much of a raping murderer these games will make kids.

EDIT: Also this story.

Wow Fox News. 1984 Much?

Thank you for the link. It was greatly appreciated.

I think its funny how Fox News is out to "protect the children" but then encourages people to listen to their baseless drivel. They want the government off our backs but also want to legislate their morality (meaning fundy bible thumping).

The hypocrisy is large with the right wing these days and I feel sorry for any right centrists out there that have to see what their championed party has become.

Russ Pitts:
Bulletstorm Just "One of Many" Adult-Oriented Games, Says Steinberg

The giant M for Mature rating on the front of the box says it all: Only discerning adults need apply."

As Steinberg notes, videogames are the current cultural whipping boy for so-called "concerned citizens" who would seek to eradicate media they find personally objectionable. Historically, any new media embraced by a younger generation has turned the heads of those youngsters' cultural forebears, but what we're seeing now is an altogether different issue. In spite of popular perception, videogames aren't just for kids.

Stenberg suggest that the best way to handle adult-themed content is to keep it in the hands of the adults for whom it is intended, and that the key to alleviating the "threat" presented by this kind of content lies not in eradicating it, as many talking heads would suggest, but in proper parenting.

"The answer, as ever, lies in education," he says. "Being acutely aware of what and how your children play, and the manner in which they do so, which requires maintaining an open-minded perspective and taking the time to spend time with your kids, their games and the systems which play these titles."

To me, these are the most important sections of his statement. This outcry against games from people who don't understand it is disgusting and ignorant. Maybe if parents took the time to parent their children instead of looking to games as baby sitters, they would notice the BIG FUCKING M right on the box for gore, language, sexual content, etc.

Irridium:

EDIT: Also this story.

Thanks for posting this. A good read, and it's disgusting to see how Fox spun his comments so much.

This thread makes me sad.

Why? Because Fox News is too fucking crazy to appreciate how they were just expertly bitch slapped by logic.

Logic bombed if you will

manythings:
Oh please! As if anyone actually played Manhunt 2.

I played the first Manhunt, if that counts, and enjoyed the game.

As for this guy, this is exactly the reason why Fox News would never invite him to try and defend games. He knows what he's talking about, and Fox doesn't like having intelligent people defending what they want people to hate.

risenbone:
You know what really makes me laugh about the whole Fox thing.

This institution supposedly the great voice of American patriotism and ideals and morals,the protector of American jobs and American business. The majority stake holder of this institution is a British citizen born in Australia (Mr Rupert Murdoch).

So is it any wonder they know how to filter out the inconvient truth and deflect inquiries with a screen of bullshit.

You know who the 2nd highest shareholder is? Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia
. Remember him? http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b7e_1283372710

yeah.... that guy...

ah if only everyone thought like mr. Steinberg here.

Seriously, I've played the demo, as have many other people, and if you CANT see that its a parody your either

1. blind
2. stupid
3. both

"Stenberg suggest that the best way to handle adult-themed content is to keep it in the hands of the adults for whom it is intended, and that the key to alleviating the "threat" presented by this kind of content lies not in eradicating it, as many talking heads would suggest, but in proper parenting."
You know what another way of preventing it from falling into <18 year olds hands'? Stop talking about how inappropriate it is on prime time news!!!

This was an impressively mature and well thought out response. Unfortunately, the rape power of this game has already over taken me. As I sit here writing this message I feel my body transforming, changing, like a terrible rape-butterfly emerging from its rape cocoon. It is already too late for me...and perhaps for the world as well.

God help us all.

Give it ten to twenty years, and most of the older generation who don't understand games and see them as a threat will have died out, and we'll actually end up with some people in power who understand the profit in gaming, and suddenly it'll be a force for good and your duty as an american to have an Xbox 1080 under your 3D tv, just like drinking, fast food, handguns and religion.

All we need is to wait until those in power are the ones who've grown up with Nintendos and Segas in the home.

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