Beyond gaming this week is dominated by violence I’m afraid.

Alot of the news this week is about the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and the resulting appearance of Jack Thompson on Fox News mere hours after the events on Monday. I’m sure you’ll agree that Fox and Thompson should be ashamed of themselves, even the gun control lobby waited until the smoke had cleared. It saddens me greatly that a supposedly ‘Fair and balanced’ news agency (their words btw) should give air time to a man like Thompson for the purpose of pushing his personal agenda over the events at VT. Shame on them both. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on Monday, and I sincerely hope that we never see such a tragedy unfold again, I fear however that I hope in vain.

On almost the same subject, and a complete coincidence I might add, a report released this week by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has found that negative media coverage of game releases may boost sales of controversial titles, like that wasn’t obvious already. Games like Manhunt, State of Emergency, Bully, and Grand Theft Auto push the buttons of anti-videogame campaigners deliberately, to drive sales. Also in the report was a dismissal of the idea that videogames have an absorbing or ‘addictive’ effect on players. The report stated that the need for the player to interact with the game keeps them aware that they are playing a game and that it is not reality.

“We were particularly interested to see that this research suggests that, far from having a potentially negative impact on the reaction of the player, the very fact that they have to interact with the game seems to keep them more firmly rooted in reality,” – David Cooke, director of the BBFC

The research suggests that a range of factors make videogames less emotionally involving than film or television. The report can be downloaded directly from bbfc.co.uk.

Another example of synchronicity in action is the summit being held in Indianapolis this week to discuss violence in the media. Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB was in attendance to represent the games industry said “We are doing a lot as an industry but we can always do more.” A press release reports on the summit which was sponsored by the National League of Cities.

Thats about it for Beyond Gaming this week, lets hope next week has a happier note.

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