No we haven’t made this up, dear god I wish we had. A self professed “Media Psychologist” named Dr. Carole Lieberman (spelt Carol Lieberman on the Fox News article) has claimed that a large amount of the blame for an increase in rape lies at the door of the video game world. It’s ok, feel free to read that a few times to let it set in before we continue.
As you would expect from Fox News it’s not only Carole Lieberman’s comment that is infuriating but it’s also how Fox News, in their usual wisdom have presented it. The ever angry Fox News also brought its fury and claims toward upcoming release Bulletstorm, but we’ll start with the scene stealer.
“The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” Dr Carole told FoxNews.com. The article and psychiatrist offer up no mention of evidence or research to support this wild accusation, just incase your into that kind of thing. And for those unfamiliar with this paragon, for her profession Dr. Carole did in the past file a four page complaint in 2009 to the LA Department of Children and Family Services claiming that OctoMom Nadya Suleman was unfit to raise her children having never met the mother. Consistently solid work all round it seems.
In spite of that, the main point of this article as mentioned was to raise questions on Bulletstorm, the title itself doing just that with “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?” While sounding like the title of a damning Metacritic review, it is instead actually “examining” the mature content of the game.
Fox offer up a quick synopsis of Bulletstorm for its readers. It is as follows “players are rewarded for shooting enemies in the private parts (such as the buttocks). There’s an excess of profanity, of course, including frequent use of F-words. And Bulletstorm is particularly gruesome, with body parts that explode all over the screen.“ They then go onto say.
“But that’s not the worst part. The in-game awards system, called Skill Shots, ties the ugly, graphic violence into explicit sex acts: “topless” means cutting a player in half, while a “gang bang” means killing multiple enemies. And with kids as young as 9 playing such games, the experts FoxNews.com spoke with were nearly universally worried that video game violence may be reaching a fever pitch.“
This is when a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California named Dr. Jerry Weichman also gives his thoughts on children playing Bulletstorm. “If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant,” he said before adding “violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems.”
Despite the obvious issues, my other annoyance with the full article in general is that it doesn’t seem to know what it’s commenting on. Is it that games inspire rape? Or that Bulletstorm is too violent or that a child may get their hands on it? The latter seems to be its favourite anyway.
Fox News (and good old Doc Carole) are intent on garnering as much attention outside of its viewership with stuff like this as possible while also continuing to pander to those who do bask in its sensationalist stories, sadly it’s a tactic that works. Sorry that should be “Fair & Balanced” stories. Thankfully though, while it will be widely commented on and reported on, most will see it as the ridiculous story it is, however you may still want to put away that copy of Mass Effect 2 you have. You don’t want sexy time with Tali turning you into a sexual predator do you?