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As it is quite difficult to find monographs that address the computer games censorship issue directly, particularly as it applies to Australia, books that address similar or related topics that can be applied to the issue with the aim of better understanding it often have to suffice.  These texts directly or indirectly address the issues of the nature of computer games and their players, motivations behind the stakeholders in the debate, issues of possible violence and/or degradation, as well as overseas responses to the overall computer games censorship issue.

Cohen, S. (1972). Folk devils and moral panics. London: Mac Gibbon and Kee.

Although not directly related to computer games censorship issues, this well-known sociological monograph is vital for the understanding of the concept of moral panic, particularly as a catalyst for any form of censorship.  According to some contemporary journal article writers (see Lumby, 1997 and Wark, 1994), moral panic explains much about the movement to censor computer games.  See also Victor, 1993.

Heins, M. (2001). Not in front of the children: indecency, censorship, and the innocence of youth. New York: Hill and Wang.

While this recent academic work makes surprisingly little mention of computer games, it does seriously challenge the central assumption behind so much computer game censorship, namely that children must be protected in the interests of preserving their innocence.  Readers can make easy comparisons and links to computer games censorship by reading about child protection in other areas of censorship such as television and sex education.

Not in front of the children - front cover
Front cover of Not in front of the children by Marjorie Heins.

Kent, S. L. (2000). The first quarter: a 25-year history of video games. Bothwell, Washington State, USA: BWD Press.

As part of a comprehensive history of video games, with some reference to computer games, S. Kent presents the details of the censorship controversies surrounding titles such as: Custer's Revenge, Night Trap, and Doom as played out in the USA.  He also makes mention of US Senate inquiries into regulating computer and video games.

The first quarter - front cover
Creatures from one of the first video games - Pac Man - feature on the front cover of The first quarter by Steven Kent.

Victor, J. S. (1993). Satanic panic: the creation of a contemporary legend. Chicago: Open Court.

Another sociological monograph not directly related to computer games censorship issues, it is nevertheless valuable for an understanding of the concept of moral crisis, particularly as a catalyst that leads to moral panic and thus censorship.  It deals mainly with Satanic controversies in the USA and associated examples of moral crusades, but its principles can easily be applied to the computer games censorship issue in order to get an even wider perspective than can be provided using the concept of moral panic alone.  See also Cohen, 1972.

Watson, C., and Shuker, R. (1998). In the public good?  Censorship in New Zealand.  Palmerston North, NZ: The Dunmore Press.

Significant portions of this monograph deal directly with the computer games censorship issue, particularly as it has been manifested in New Zealand and Australia.  Some mention is made of the sociological concept of moral panic in connection with such censorship.  The categories of games that have proved most contentious with censorship authorities are listed and analysed.  Special reference is made to Phantasmagoria.

© Anthony Larme 2002
Comments and questions are most welcome