Fox News Launches A “Bulletstorm”

Oh, dear. If Fox News didn’t want people playing the new game Bulletstorm, due in stores February 22, then the outlet should have kept its mouth shut. Maybe the folks at Fox aren’t aware of this, but calling something “The worst video game in the world” is a fantastic way of making a lot of people want to play it, particularly rebellious teens. (One wonders whether the game company might’ve paid Fox for the privilege. They wouldn’t, would they?)

Bulletstorm is a gory new first-person shooter in which many of the high-skill moves are given sexually suggestive (and sometimes violent) names: topless, gang bang, rear entry, etc. The game is rated “M” by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, whose page on the game includes plenty of detail about its content for anyone who wants to check it out before they spend any money.

To make matters worse, author/psychologist Carol Lieberman told Fox News that “sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence. ‘The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,’ she said.” Not only are her claims totally bogus, since there’s no evidence that gameplay leads to violent behavior, but they aren’t even statistically accurate — at least not in the United States, where reports of sexual assaults have decreased steadily since 2006, according to data collected by the United Nations (.xls spreadsheet). Yes, it’s possible that incidences have gone up while reports have gone down, but if that were the case, Lieberman better have some pretty good evidence to back herself up.

(Lieberman, it’s worth noting, is the author of “Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets” (2010) and “Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live With Them, And When To Leave Them” (1998). One wonders how Fox News selected her to comment on the video game in the first place.)

Oh, and? The the lead producer of Bulletstorm is a woman, Tanya Jessen, who said she was heavily involved with every aspect of the production and even pushed for it to be more hardcore than her male co-creators wanted. She also fought for one of the lead characters, Trischka, to be “a strong female character that wasn’t stereotypically hot.”

Lastly, one of the experts interviewed for the Fox News piece, Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research, says his quotes were taken grossly out of context. It looks like Fox was picking and choosing what it wanted to boost the sensationalistic quality of the piece (shocking, I know). Check out the link to see what kinds of questions they asked their subjects, as well as the full answers he gave.

Since Bulletstorm isn’t out yet, it’s hard to tell how popular it will actually be. It’s worth noting — and some writers already have — that ultraviolent games aren’t traditionally all that popular. Many gamers were put off by games like Postal and Manhunt, either because they were too violent, they weren’t much fun to play, or both.

What’s the most violent game you’ve ever played? Did you keep playing — why or why not? What’s the most violent game you’ve played regularly? Did it influence your mood, thoughts, or behavior? If so, how?

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4 responses to “Fox News Launches A “Bulletstorm”

  1. I’d say global thermonuclear war (Balance of Power) or Robotron. Or Spaceward Ho! I had a friend really get into Redneck Rampage. As w/ any engrossing activity, including TV, there’s a warm down period of about half an hour; probably latent psychological effects, in the order of reading a book or watching an advertisement.

  2. I think I have a skewed perspective of violence in games. If we go with M rated games, then nearly ALL of the games I play are violent. Personally, I don’t think Halo or Left 4 Dead are all that violent, I know plenty of teenagers play those games (because of their annoying high pitched voices in multiplayer matches.) I don’t think violent games / first person shooters make people violent in the real world, in fact, I think they have the opposite effect on your mood. Sometimes you just want to shoot some zombies in the face, and games allow you to do that in the safety of your own home. I feel better after playing than I did before. It offers an escape from reality, a place to be aggressive without hurting anyone, and a way to be someone you’re not for a little while. Who wouldn’t want to be a Spartan with a massive suit of armor that can kick some alien butt? It’s not like that’s going to happen in real life. 😉 And shooting zombies in L4D is excellent training for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 😉

    I’ve played some other ultra-violent games that relied so heavily on blood and guts that they forgot to make a good game around it, and yeah, I eventually got bored and quit playing. Gore is a great hook to get people interested, but if it doesn’t have a solid game behind it, there’s little reward for playing. I’d love to be able to list a few, but they were so forgettable…

    I just googled “ultra violent games” to see if something would jog my memory, and after clicking a few links, I’m reminded of some of my favorite games that some people think fall into that category. Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, God of War, I just don’t think of them as being over the top, but I guess I can see how some people who aren’t gamers would see it. What they’re missing is that it’s a game, the characters are made of pixels. They’re NOTHING like the SAW movies, where, even though it’s all fake, use real people in disturbing situations. Where were all the people complaining about our games when they made SAW 5000? (or what ever number they’re up to now.) I think games are unfairly singled out because the older generation doesn’t understand why someone would want to sit in front of a screen and interact with it. They think that there must be something innately wrong with you for wanting to play games, so it must be the brainwashing power of the game itself. It’s just one more way the older generation thinks the younger generation is rotting their brains. It used to be rock n roll, or TV, or the internet. By the time we’re the older generation, video games will be accepted and something else will be suspect. I can’t wait to find out what that’s going to be. I’m sure I’ll love that too. 😉

  3. I guess Joy nailed it — it’s always “those icky youngster are not like we used to be”, forgetting that their parents said the same and it annoyed the heck out of them… But then, in a time when some Amy Chiu wants to convince you that child abuse is fun and games because it’s all about ME ME ME, you wonder which generation is f*cked.
    The “Saw” movies are worse imho, because the last ones — apart from the fact that they are crap — have really morphed into torture porn, forgetting tht the first one worked on plot more than torture. Porn insofar that there’s less and less “you can escape”, the murders (complete with people in pain) are just like the sex scene and the audience is in the position of the voyeur, made NOT to root in any way for the victimes. Perfect for the crowd that goes on saying how they root for serial killers on internet board… Much more perverse than mowing down aliens.
    BTW how come those who feels oh-so-concerned about the effects game can have on the young are the same who wants to load them full of guns as soon as they can walk and are gung-ho about sending them get killed in unnecessary wars (as long as it’s not THEIR kids of course) ? Hmmmm…

  4. Pingback: Why blame guns or gangs when you can blame video games? | Backward Messages

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