Time to reconsider the violent video game debate?

Brendan Sinclair, Gamesindustry.biz:

So when tragedies happen, our response must be galling to those who don’t “get” games. Instead of explaining the merits of what we do, we throw up discussion-ending roadblocks of First Amendment rights and scientific research (ignoring that parent watchdog groups also claim to have the weight of scientific research on their side). It’s not unlike what the National Rifle Association does when the issue of gun control comes up. They say it doesn’t work, namecheck the Second Amendment, and change the subject.

Sinclair is absolutely right – the video game industry has an unfortunate tendency to go the First Amendment whenever anyone in government questions what they’re selling or how they’re selling it much the same way the NRA goes to the Second Amendment.

I really wish both industries would stop rubbing our noses in their respective constitutional rights to exist.

Sinclair also talks about the backdoor marketing of violent video game content to children, despite ESRB ratings:

They put Kratos in Little Big Planet and Hot Shots Golf, Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the cast of Army of Two, Dead Space, and Medal of Honor in MySims: Sky Heroes. Oh, and who could forget the Mortal Kombat animated series?

Sinclair talks about broadcast television’s requirement to serve the public interest with a portion of their programming, and suggests the video game industry do the same.

The problem as I see it with that approach is that left to their own devices, consumers will choose shit over gold almost every time. Otherwise the cable broadcaster once known as “The Learning Channel” wouldn’t be shoveling crap like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” I don’t think the answer is as facile as “make better quality stuff,” otherwise PBS would be the most-watched channel on television.