Hear ye! Hear ye! Spencer Halpin’s 2007 documentary Moral Kombat is currently viewable for free over at Babelgum for a limited period. It highlights the issues surrounding videogame violence from the first amendment and the industry’s freedom of expression through to the implications that it may have on the next generation.
I spotted this over at GamePolitics.com and although it covers a lot of familiar ground it’s definitely worth a look if you’ve not seen it before and have an hour and a half to spare. I do have a few bones with it however.
Firstly and most apparently is the production and ‘special’ effects; which sees all sorts of overlayed game footage ceaselessly flashing and cutting throughout. Now if that couldn’t get any more distracting the film starts doing some really bizarre stuff like imposing Lorne Lanning’s face on to some World of Warcraft creature and then later Marie Sylla gets morphed into a Grand Theft Auto illustration; it’s just crazy. Did the director think we’d lose interest if the speaker was, you know, just left to speak?
Secondly, the film needs some structuring and space to breath as it feels like an extended trailer of swirling sound bites and swift edits. As a result it doesn’t dwell enough on some of the key issues and ends up repeating itself with a handful of interesting insights from the likes of Lorne Lanning (who I greatly admire) and Henry Jenkins.
There’s a lot of good stuff here but it’s caught in a storm of special effects and haphazard editing which clouds the otherwise admirable intention and sound content of the film. Having said this, it’s still a cracking primer for the uninitiated and something that the industry should endeavour to expand upon seen as these issues aren’t going away any time soon.
Geez. I wish I had caught this earlier. I had to give a speech on this very topic this last wednesday, and there’s a lot of good stuff here. What I got from this is basically in line with what I already believed. I play M rated games in front of my three year old daughter. BUT if she takes notice of the action happening on screen, I take the time to explain the difference between reality and video games, as well as real world consequences of those actions. I think the whole violence in video games issue is just another example of why parents should stop using their telivision/computer as a babysitter, and take notice of what their kids are doing. Kids are always learning, and it’s up to parents to supervise that process.
That’s unlucky Jesse. Well I hope it went well nevertheless!
There was a time when that difference between reality and a videogame was blatantly obvious but within the next ten years I expect graphics to be to such a standard that it won’t be so easy to tell, at least when the game is stood still. I do think that user interaction is the one thing that will always make a game unreal however, not to mention that we’ll always know underneath it all we’re just watching a well directed bunch of pixels, not even a well directed bunch of real tangible actors!
It’s funny, I’ve done things in games that I wouldn’t witness in my nightmares yet the other day I hit a bird while I was driving and I felt a pang of guilt as I saw it flapping about on the road in my rear mirror as I drove away. Perhaps over the years I’ve been numbed to virtual violence and gore and like I said above, all I can see is pixels doing some sort of elaborate cosplay.