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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Column: Videogames are not sex machines

On Jan. 21, the Fox News show “The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum” ran a segment titled “‘Sexbox?” which looked at the popular videogame “Mass Effect.” The show falsely claimed the game featured a sex scene which “left nothing to the imagination” and gave players the ability to engage in “full, graphic sex.” Psychologist Cooper Lawrence was interviewed, claiming sexual content in such games teaches adolescent boys to consider women as sexual objects. Both MacCallum and Lawrence admitted they’ve never played the game.

To anyone who’s played “Mass Effect,” those arguments contain a number of false statements. The sex scene lasts only 30 seconds in a 30-hour game. Clearly, the game isn’t filled with pornography.

These lies were so blatant that publisher Electronic Arts demanded a correction from Lawrence and Fox News. Lawrence later retracted her claims after watching someone else play the game, stating that it isn’t any worse than anything you can see on cable TV.

Although Lawrence admitted she was wrong, the damage had been done. Her words are being used as the latest uneducated argument for people to censor what they don’t understand; in this case, videogames.

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Videogame developers have always had to fight against the ridiculous idea that their games are murder simulators. Now, thanks to ignorant comments by quacks like Lawrence, they have to fight against the preposterous idea that they’re rape simulators.

According to some critics, children play mature-rated videogames and then act out sexually. Parents use these false assumptions to blame videogames for when a child acts violently, instead of accepting the blame themselves.

But according to the Electronic Software Association (ESA), there have been numerous third-party studies that prove there is no link between violence and sex in videogames and children’s behavior. Also, 85 percent of games sold in 2007 were rated below a mature level, further proving not all videogames are filled with sex.

Critics insist children who play excessive amounts of videogames develop psychological problems, but that’s simply not the case. According to the ESA, 36 percent of parents say they play videogames, of which 80 percent play with their kids. And 66 percent claim playing them has brought their families closer. If anything, videogames sound like the replacements for board game nights.

The fact is that it’s not up to anyone except the parents to determine if it’s OK for their child to play mature-rated videogames. It’s not difficult for a parent to determine how violent or sexual a game may be. Each game is rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, with clear, easy to understand ratings. These are displayed on the front of every box, so parents have no one but themselves to blame if their child plays a game intended for adults.

The argument perpetrated by Lawrence has no basis in fact. If the media is going to do reports like these, they should get people who have actually played the game to discuss them.

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