MIT's Jenkins dispels eight video game myths
What we think and what we should know
By Nebojsa Novakovic: Thursday 15 December 2005, 00:10
IN HIS revealing essay, Professor Jenkins details the finer points of perception and myth.
Video games are new, culturally speaking, and plenty of opinions abound. Our conception of video games can't keep up with their development.
Jenkins' essay is based on extensive research and covers eight myths including 'only kids play video games,' 'girls don't play video games,' and 'video games make their players violent.' In fact, four of the eight paragraphs discuss violence and video games, so it might better be described as a five-point essay.
However, the emphasis on myths of violence is not unwarranted, since there are many arguments out there and much legislation in the works regarding the topic.
I personally find myth six "Video games are not a meaningful form of expression" to be the most disturbing, at least for Americans. Jenkins writes, "On April 19, 2002, U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. ruled that video games do not convey ideas and thus enjoy no constitutional protection."
Does this mean that anything can be deemed to convey no ideas by a court and be taken out from under the protection of the first amendment? Can paintings and songs be legally censored via this loophole? And if something doesn't convey ideas, how in the world could it convince people to commit acts of violence? Since video games supposedly do that to too.
I hope Jenkins' well-founded article is taken seriously by law makers and parents alike. The vast canyon between perception and research data regarding video games is in dire need of a bridge. µ