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ELSPA responds to criticism from Tory MP

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 08 Jan 2007 15:37 User comments (11)

ELSPA responds to criticism from Tory MP We reported yesterday about how Boris Johnson, an outspoken Tory MP, had blasted videogames and placed the blame for falling literacy rates in youths almost completely on them. Paul Jackson of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), has responded to the criticism, saying that while he respects Johnson's opinions, he fears the MP is "painting his picture with too broad a brush".
"The games industry is often a scapegoat for many problems society encounters with youths. But instead of placing blame where it should not lie, we need to educate parents and carers of the 21st Century child," he said. He continued to say games are a "great source of education in their own right" and gave examples such as how the Civilization and Total War series offer historical lessons.

As another example, he pointed out Nintendo's Brain Training game for the Nintendo DS handheld saying it provides "mental stimulation, memory and reaction improvement, and entertainment and enjoyment in equal doses". He also denied that games lead children to become speechless, motionless "blinking lizards". "A large quantity of games that children play require a huge amount of movement and social interaction," he said.

In conclusion, Jackson stated: "Rather than criticizing the medium as a whole, we'd encourage Mr. Johnson to maybe take a closer look at how modern games differ from the age-old stereotypes. We would be more than happy to show Mr Johnson examples of the types of games I am referring to and we think he would have a lot of fun finding out more."


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11 user comments

18.1.2007 17:30

haha you tell 'em. People with that frame of mind ,like BJ(hah), piss me off.

28.1.2007 17:39

Video games are always blamed for the most ridiculous things...but placing blame never solved a problem.

39.1.2007 0:39

He continued to say games are a "great source of education in their own right" and gave examples such as how the Civilization and Total War series offer historical lessons. As another example, he pointed out Nintendo's Brain Training game for the Nintendo DS handheld saying it provides "mental stimulation, memory and reaction improvement, and entertainment and enjoyment in equal doses".
My point exactly :) as like what i said in the previous article related to this one.

49.1.2007 4:30

It's about time that someone with a voice that matters stepped up and said something positive about the medium when people that don't know any better choose to speak about it negatively.

59.1.2007 11:30

I hate people that try to blame everything on video games. Most of the games I play you have to be able to read anyway.

610.1.2007 15:52

Duh, clearly placing blame *always* solves problems. They blamed 'The Matrix' and 'Doom' for the events of Columbine. By flooding the news and the internet with these remarks, they clearly helped the problem a lot, by keeping it at the forefront of student's minds across the world; and the US saw more shootings spring up like never before. The school I was attending had a big lockdown over a shooting in the same district, which got MORE local coverage, to a degree that was sickening, and not two weeks later, the school I was attending was hit as well. The media, and people making statements like this aren't genuinely looking to solve the problem. They are people who have come to a decision, based on missing information, and biased opinions. They are, in fact, don't see violence and plummeting educational systems as the problem; these are people who instead jumped into the campaign for their own motives seeing games, movies, music, or anything they aren't intimately familiar with as the problem. And they will continue crusading against their cause as long as someone will listen. We can't stop them from doing this, and no one is going to correct them. They aren't interested in hearing the other side, they've made their decision, and no amount of FACT is going to change their minds. Personally, I think it needs to be fought with education on the topic, and individuals who are able to better explain the broad category of media. Saying that games are evil, because they cause violence; is about as reasonable as stating that cars are evil because they kill people. It's not completely untrue, but it's a very generalized and incomplete statement. Only when we get public speakers who can defend our media, and who can genuinely get some interest in our side of the story, will this get under control. But I honestly don't know if a sort of 'Jack Thompson'/Tory MP antithesis will come about in time for us to salvage public opinion. It's kind of scary, as a gamer.

714.1.2007 13:45

Well said.

814.1.2007 14:26

I personally find it more worrying that the likes of Boris Johnson proclaim to be an authority on morality. The fact that some parents will automatically assume Mr. Johnson is correct, is also a worrying issue. For a supposedly educated person this short and sweet article above has basically exposed him for being yet another, government hack.

915.1.2007 5:39

There are a LOT of people in high places, with lots of education, in a position to scapegoat the games industry. Being schooled in debate, and literature, and foreign politics, history, and the economy does NOT make you an expert on entertainment. It does NOT mean that you really understand what your kids are playing. And it does NOT mean that you are smart enough to really carry on a conversation condemning this media, and those who enjoy it. Now if someone wants to really sit down and have this conversation, I for one, would love to. I have been playing games for nearly two decades, I have worked the front lines of game store retail; I have tried to talk parents out of M rated games for children. Let the politicians sink their teeth into that one.

1015.1.2007 6:39

I'd really like to see this debate continue in an official capacity - perhaps with people like handsom and other people who can actually base their views on experience. How about it, Boris? Boris seems to be revelling in generalisation - overtly condemning the industry yet deliberating failing to substantiate his views beforehand. As Handsom related, someone in one position of authority is not automatically an authority of other issues - especially when their view appears to be non-reciprocal. Boris is attacking video games and not the people who play them..let's attack guns instead of the people who shoot them for no reason; let's insult the majority of people who play Grand-Theft-Auto, by insinuating those people are all murderers the moment they reach a certain point in the game. In basing generalisations, Boris also fails to address - in my view - any failings within the educational system: it's just buck-passing. For instance children in the UK are leaving school at 16..whereas in other countries that is considered a ludicrous age to prepare them for the outside world. How about bullying, or the state of schools that are oversubscribed and falling to pieces? How about the propaganda children are fed from television programs and the influence this has on their self-worth? How about the break-up of family values. I have witnessed fed up, anxious children and their mannerisms are the same whether they are interested in films, games or a fast-food joints. Blaming their behaviour and their academic ability on 'games' is a ludicrous affair. So perhaps Boris should address issues instead of spin. The games industry is a huge industry and generates huge revenue, not just from children - if those children are gaining access to 18-rated games then that is not the fault of the game itself. Some children are also smoking and driving - do we ban cigarettes and cars as well..or do we slap a huge prohibition tax on every imported next-gen game? Bingo.

1115.1.2007 7:16

what has not been a scape goat since the 20s, 20's books,magazines 30's books,magazines,radio 40's books,movies 50's movies,books,magazines 60's all of the above 70's music,TV 80's TV,Comics,Music 90's COMICS,MUSIC,TV,Internet, 2000 VIDEO GAMES,TV,Music,movies I mean really its not their teaching ability its not their dislike of new things,its not their inability to learn from the past....wait I guess it is "THEIR" FAULT after all...

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