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Magazine Articles

Without exception, every article analysed below takes an anti-censorship position.  This is usually owing to the fact that they are sourced from magazines that are published for the specific purpose of reviewing and promoting computer games among interested readers.  These article writers have an informed idea of the nature of computer games and their players and can thus comment on all topics mentioned in the eBriefs with a reasonable degree of authority.

Bloody games! Sex, violence and videogames. (1996, November). PC PowerPlay, pp.  24-29. 

Violence and sexual content in games is examined in the context of their strong relevance in presenting an exciting fantasy world in which the players use various skills and strategies to win and have fun.  This article, appearing in Australia's largest computer games magazine, takes an anti-censorship position and points out just how little it takes for games to get banned in Australia.  It also emphasises the maturity of gamers, who are mainly adults, in that they do not exercise any criminally violent impulses in the real world.

Violence in games issue of PC PowerPlay
A chainsaw cuts through a computer's monitor, spattering blood, to indicate the main story in the November 1996 issue of PC PowerPlay.

Hafner, K. (1996, August 12). Log on and shoot. Newsweek, pp. 58-59.

Women enjoy the Duke Nukem 3D game that some have considered degrading to their sex.  Written by a female journalist who interviewed female players of this game, no mention is made of any controversy, just that these women love the game, especially for its multiplayer capabilities in which they fight each other in Duke's virtual world.  Their game playing husbands are delighted by their wives' newfound preoccupation.

Ferrell, K. (1996, August). Sex and violence '96. PC Games, pp. 42-45.

One of the leading computer games magazines from the USA examines several computer games in development or released in 1996 that feature high levels of sex and violence.  Such titles include: Duke Nukem 3D, Harvester, and Phantasmagoria 2.  Both the reporter and the game company representatives he interviews note the trend towards increased levels of controversial content to the aim of increasing the games' appeal to adult players and to promote mature moral messages.

Hellaby, D. (1996, April). Forbidden games. Australian Penthouse, pp. 70-72, 110, 128.

A leading Australian computer issues journalist notes that computer games are now being regulated according to unfair assumptions imposed upon them by politicians.  Such assumptions fly in the face of plenty of games industry evidence that most game players are adults and deserve to play games specifically aimed at them.  Particular attention is placed on the banning of Phantasmagoria. Calls for decreased censorship are made.

Mackay, P. (1996, November). How it happened and where it's heading. PC PowerPlay, pp. 28-29.

Peter Mackay, the OFLC's former chief games censor, now games industry representative, writes of his frustration with the supposedly unjust and illogical way in which computer games censorship was imposed in Australia.  He ridicules the assumptions on which the current system is based.  Mackay urges gamers to understand that the OFLC only administers the regulations as dictated by politicians - it does not necessarily agree with them.

Phantasmagoria banned. (1995, October). Hyper, pp. 5-8. 

Upon learning that the much-anticipated game Phantasmagoria had been banned for sale in Australia, the editor of the largest local gaming magazine wrote this extensive editorial.   It defended the right of adults to play games specifically designed for them and pointed out the inconsistencies of a society that allowed adults to vote, fight in wars, and have consensual sex, but yet banned them from playing certain mainstream, popular games enjoyed by their peers overseas. 

Ricketts, E. (1996, June). Wild at heart. PC Format, pp.19-26.

A leading computer games magazine from the UK takes a highly balanced view on the issue of sex and violence in computer games by presenting various examples of both and inviting representatives of many community and government groups to comment on them.  Very wide ranges of views are expressed, with firm arguments both for and against this sort of material.  The magazine's reporter takes the view that extreme examples of sex and violence in games are just a passing phase and that gamers will quickly tire of it as actual gameplay is most important rather than extreme controversy.

Russo, T. and Toyama, K. (2001, February). Games grow up. NextGen, pp. 54-60.

Within a computer and video games magazine from the USA aimed primarily at an adult readership, this article presents a long, insightful look at the current state of controversial content in games and associated ratings issues.  It emphasises that gaming is primarily an adult activity and that games should be permitted to capture the entire range of adult human experiences.  As such, the adult gaming community should be able to buy many games aimed specifically at them while other games are aimed at younger generations.  A revised, fairer, and more detailed ratings system must accompany such reform.

Sex and violence in games issue of NextGen
Computer game action heroes Duke Nukem (from Duke Nukem 3D) and Lara Croft (from non-controversial Tomb Raider) feature on the front cover of NextGen's sex and violence in games issue.

Sex, lies, and videogames. (1997, August). PC PowerPlay, pp. 44-48.

In this update to their earlier article on similar topics, PC PowerPlay catalogue more recent examples of controversial computer games and the various actions that have been taken against them by concerned government and community groups. Both sides of the sex and violence in games issue are explored (see both Accusations and Stakeholders), with the magazine coming down on the side of decreased censorship.  Once again, adult games are recommended for adult players.  Readers are asked to protest to the OFLC and ask for an R (adults only) rating for games.

Violence in video games. (2000, July). Hyper, pp. 14-19. 

Two interviews related to the controversial ultra-violent computer game Soldier of Fortune are presented in order to contrast the creative, artistic viewpoints of the people who created this game with the rigid legalism of the OFLC who passed it with the highest possible classification (MA 15+).  Essentially, the game's creators included graphic violence for realism and associated emotional impact purposes, and the Australian censors responded with by the book adherence to the regulations they are bound to administer.  See Accusations.

© Anthony Larme 2002
Comments and questions are most welcome