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Newspaper Articles

Unlike the magazine articles detailed above, the newspaper articles mentioned here tend to hold a variety of views on computer games censorship.  Such articles are often sensationalist and could well be the cause of so much of the alleged community concern regarding computer games.  Those that hold clear anti-censorship positions are often written by knowledgeable specialist computer journalists.  These articles are particularly useful for answering issues such as the violence and/or degradation accusations, the exact nature of computer games and their players, and to identify the stakeholders in the games censorship debate in this country.

Carbon, D. (1993, May 29). Senator urges ban on violent computer play. Courier Mail, p. 9.

One of the first computer games regulation articles to appear in any Australian publication, it reports on the beginning of Senator Margaret Reynolds' politically influential crusade to restrict the sale of violent and pornographic computer games such as Night Trap.  Even at this early stage, her actions were opposed as being unwarranted zealotry by deputy Chief Censor David Haines.

Chapman, J. (2000, April 5). Computer guru says violence no game. Courier Mail, p. 5. 

An extensive study conducted by a US psychologist found that computer games, particularly because of their interactive nature, do promote violence and aggression in the real world, particularly by addicted teenaged boys.  Furthermore, it was found that eighty percent of games portrayed graphic violence and twenty percent depicted violence against women.  This study's violence promotion findings are not supported by the vast bulk of other literature on this topic which tends to point to either inconclusive or opposite results.

Hayes, S. (2001, June 5). Games vendors start censorship campaign. The Australian, p. 31.

The association that represents computer and video games distributors in this country, the Australian Video and Software Distributors Association, launched an information campaign to explain to parents the existence and workings of the Federal Government's games classification system.  To calm community concerns, emphasis is placed on the fact that violent games are appropriately regulated through the OFLC's current guidelines.  Accusations that violence in games leads to violence in real life are firmly rejected.

Murphy, K. (2000, May 16). Easy distinction between a game and reality. The Australian, p. 15.

An experienced computer issues journalist asserts that computer games players can readily comprehend the considerable difference that exists between the often violent fantasy worlds of computer games and the real world.  One of the main reasons for this is that games present an environment of exaggerated unreality in the aim of furthering their often overblown storylines.  According to this journalist, all hobbies must be enjoyed in moderation and overindulgence in video games should be seen as no more or less worrying than overindulgence in stamp collecting.

Peek, L. (2001, April 24). Classics to help EA go beyond shooters. The Australian - the Cutting Edge, p. 8.

Electronic Arts, a leading computer games company based in the USA, is considering turning to classic works of European literature such as Homer's Odyssey and Shakespeare's Hamlet in order to learn how to introduce strong plot and character elements into their normally action packed games which are quite weak in these elements.  In this way, violence will have a detailed context with realistic consequences and they will be able to sell more of their products to older gamers and women who tend to reject the mindless violence in most current titles owing to boredom issues.

Polak, S. (1996, October 19-20). Game hunting. Weekend Australian - Syte, p.8.

While discussing the need for an Australian games ratings system that recognises that adults play computer games, the author of this article quotes the findings of a local computer games distributor, Psygnosis, that up to seventy-five percent of computer games players in this country are over the age of eighteen.  Emphasis is placed on the fact that games are far from just a childish preoccupation as is commonly assumed by most pro-censorship members of the community.

Polak, S. (2001, May 15). Myst lifts to show games girls play. The Australian - the Cutting Edge, p. 3.

Far from being excluded or marginalised by the computer games industry, women, who number just under half of adult gamers and prefer games with much more plot and character than their male counterparts, are having their specific needs catered for with games such as the Myst series.  Further female appeal lies in the way in which it can be played cooperatively with friends rather than in the competitive situations sound so often in male dominated violent action games.

Pottinger, P. (1999, December 4-5). I was a virtual child. The Australian Magazine, pp. 46-48.

Generation gaps that have existed in all periods throughout human history are currently responsible for so much of the furore over controversial content in computer and video games.  Psychologists and other academics do not all agree with the scientific evidence that supports the claims that computer games are harmful to minors.  Parents and teachers are best advised to educate children in media literacy so that they are able to cope with new forms of information and entertainment using their own critical reasoning to determine what is useful/harmless and what is not.

Turner, M. (1993, November 22). Games children play. Courier Mail, p. 13.

Filled with conflicting opinions from all sides of the games censorship debate, this article provides an overview of community opinions at the time when Australia's games censorship system was being developed.  The journalist presents plot and content summaries of contentious titles that contain supposedly graphic violent and/or sexual content and quotes a Brisbane academic who holds the view that games are overly violent and harmful to children.  In contrast, the games distributors, retailers, and players themselves see little need for any regulation, especially seeing that most gamers are adults.

© Anthony Larme 2002
Comments and questions are most welcome