Given the amount of controversy surrounding that scene in Modern Warfare 2 it is unsurprising that the mainstream media have been debating its merits. On radio, television, and print, even touching the establishment that is Parliament, the suitability of the medium handling topics such as terrorism was discussed. Unsurprisingly the topic of children playing violent games also came to the fore but in all cases I was remarkable pleased with just how these debates were handled.
On previous occasions, with the furore over GTA, Manhunt and associated “games linked with violence”, Ali has had to turn off the radio/TV because of just how wound up I got with the seemingly one-sided barrage the industry received. This time, however, The Byron Report on the digital world seems to have made a real difference and ministers came out defending videogames’ right to express and show adult and possibly controversial issues.
When questioned by the infamous Keith Vaz in Parliament, Tom Watson (former defence minister) stated “I’ve seen the content in this videogame, it is unpleasant, though no worse than in many films and books, it is an 18-plus game and carries the BBFC 18-plus rating as well.” Furthermore, and even more pleasingly, speaking on 5 live Breakfast he went on to say that whilst he did not like or agree with what MW2 depicted he defended it and the industry’s right to release it.
Whilst it may take the controversial events for gaming and its boundaries to be debated in a wider forum I feel that the corner has now been turned. With high profile support from with Westminster there is a legitimacy that I felt was lacking in yesteryear.