Saturday, April 30, 2011

KG Dogfighting: A Tempest in a Teapot

Oh boy. Here we go again.
A new Android video game in which players cybertrain their virtual dogs to fight has some animal lovers in an uproar. Critics, including the Humane Society and NFL star Michael Vick, are calling for Android to pull the game and for Google to forbid similar releases on its platform.
(via The Wall Street Journal)
Games only seem to make the news because of stuff like this. No wonder so many non-gamers seem to think that video games are nothing but atrocity simulators.

The Humane Society's well-intentioned efforts to raise awareness about dog fighting has served to draw attention to a small-time game that would have disappeared of its own accord soon enough. Instead, the game's developers have changed its name from Dog Wars to KG Dogfighting, presumably to cash in on the free publicity. And to make sure that curious people find exactly the animal cruelty app they're looking for.

I do not intend to play KG Dogfighting, but it doesn't sound so bad relative to other reprehensible games. It's no Baby Shaker or RapeLay.

And guess what? I wasn't in favor of censoring those games, either. Dogfighting, infanticide, and rape are all serious crimes. Depicting them in a work of fiction, whether to sensationalize or condemn them, should not be.

I'd rather see people free to explore whatever ideas they want in their art. That's the only way for the best ideas to come out and rise to the top. And for the horrific ones to die a lonely death.

If we live in a society that makes Baby Shaker or KG Dogfighting a runaway hit, then we have problems that banning the game won't fix. We don't live there yet.

If you're offended by a game, do what I do: Don't buy it. Don't download it, don't click on it, don't play it. And for God's sake, don't give it free publicity on your blog.


(h/t Greg)

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