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Default Mass Effect - Fox News & EA Debate Sex

January 25th, 2008, 19:38
Arhu writes in to point out the brou-ha-ha surfacing after an episode of "Live Desk With Martha MacCallum," on Fox News, where the Xbox was referred to as the SeXBox and various Fox- selected pundits vented on the whole issue of nudity and sex in games. Arhu's blog link didn't work for me, but there's full coverage of the debacle for those interested at Action Trip and ShackNews.
Background from the Shack News piece, which also has a streaming video:
The Fox News Channel recently invited longtime gaming journalist Geoff Keighley, who has played BioWare's Mass Effect, and radio talk show host and author Cooper Lawrence, who has not played Mass Effect, to discuss Mass Effect. The discussion was moderated by an anchor who has not played Mass Effect, and was followed by a round table consisting of four panelists who have not played Mass Effect.
The topic of the piece is the Xbox 360 game's much sensationalized sexual encounter, a brief moment among an extremely length campaign. Lawrence rattles off a list of unsubstantiated—and generally unaccepted—"facts" relating to the average age of gamers and the links from virtual violence and sexuality to real-life behavior.
She doesn't even know of the game's option to play as a female character equal in ability to the male protagonist—she claims the game depicts women as mere objects to be conquered, unaware of even the most basic of Mass Effect's features.
What is really astonishing is how taken aback Lawrence is when Keighley asks if she has ever played the game. Not only has she not played it, she sounds almost offended that he would even consider that she has tried to gain an informed perspective on the material she condemns so vehemently …
And EA responds in the latest ShackNews coverage:
Were you sufficiently enraged by the Fox News Channel's recent travesty of journalism revolving around Mass Effect? If not, please go acquaint yourself. Then, you can read this open letter issued by Jeff Brown, VP of communications at Electronic Arts, the new parent company of Mass Effect developer BioWare. Brown addressed it Fox News' Teri VanHorn and the show she produces, The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum. Brown forwarded the email on to us today.
Brown lists a number of factual errors made by MacCallum, guest Cooper Lawrence, and the members of the invited panel, none of whom had ever played Mass Effect. "EA would like you to set the record straight on a number of errors and misstatements which incorrectly characterize the story and character interactions in Mass Effect," he writes. "The resulting coverage was insulting to the men and women who spent years creating a game which is acclaimed by critics for its high creative standards."
Brown seems understandably incredulous that Mass Effect's relatively tame sexual situations—which one panelist claimed should receive an Adults Only rating—could be panned on Fox. "Do you watch the Fox Network? Do you watch Family Guy? Have you ever seen The OC?" he asks, rather pointedly. "Do you think the sexual situations in Mass Effect are any more graphic than scenes routinely aired on those shows? Do you honestly believe that young people have more exposure to Mass Effect than to those prime time shows?"
More information.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 25th, 2008, 19:38
Read the comments about the book that the lady, talking about Mass Effect wrote
http://www.amazon.com/review/product…DateDescending
Priceless
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January 25th, 2008, 19:47
Frith.

To be honest, I was kinda hoping you guys would ignore this nonsense.

The fact that EA wrote an open letter instead of suing for slander shows pretty clearly that they're abusing this for free PR. Let's not row that boat, please.
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January 25th, 2008, 20:06
While its true that Ea is getting a nice pr-trip with this mass effect sensation, nevertheless their statement is more than valid and this kind of attitude from the major publisher (even if we don't think highly of this particular one) is good for all gamers. Even today mainstream media just doesn't seem to understand what games are all about. Press still bumps the image of gaming being a kids' thing even if the average age of a gamer is somewhere around 30…
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January 25th, 2008, 20:42
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
is good for all gamers.
Is it?

I doubt it, they're just validating the stupidity by replying to it. Amazon rankings won't change a thing, right now that woman is making a buck-and-a-half out of this hype, just like the stupid article that started all this. Do you think all those piles of money are apt to change a person's mind?

If EA was out to change perspectives, there'd be better ways to go about this, a lawsuit first and foremost. That's obviously not where their interests lie, tho'
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January 25th, 2008, 20:52
Not only that, but it is propagating the 'video games are inherently bad in some way … and often hide things that kids discover later on, that we wouldn't have let them have the game if we knew about' attitude.

— Mike
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January 25th, 2008, 21:20
This discussion about sex in video games is a bit like our discussion about violence in video games.

Plus all of the reactions.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 25th, 2008, 21:20
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
To be honest, I was kinda hoping you guys would ignore this nonsense.
Heh. Sorry about that. I was the one who stumbled upon this and sent it in. I got a chuckle out of it, given that I like neither EA nor Fox, but that was all. Yes, it has yellow press and whatnot written all over it, but it's still relevant news, isn't it?

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This discussion about sex in video games is a bit like our discussion about violence in video games.

Plus all of the reactions.
True enough..

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; January 25th, 2008 at 21:32.
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January 25th, 2008, 22:32
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Frith.

To be honest, I was kinda hoping you guys would ignore this nonsense.

The fact that EA wrote an open letter instead of suing for slander shows pretty clearly that they're abusing this for free PR. Let's not row that boat, please.
Yes. That must be it. It's certainly not news of interest to the CRPG community, and EA's motives must entirely be based on PR mongering.
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January 25th, 2008, 22:38
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Is it?

I doubt it, they're just validating the stupidity by replying to it. Amazon rankings won't change a thing,
Maybe you aren't familiar with the (1) history of new media in the U.S. or (2) the history of Fox NEWS.

1) Means that video games are fighting an uphill battle not to have the shit regulated out of them.

2) Means that morons will eat the news reports up, write letters to their representatives and cause 1 to become impossible rather than merely uphill.

At this stage, the battle is best fought in the public eye rather than the courtroom. If we can't convince the masses that video games won't turn our children into fornicating murders any more than literacy, the printing press, electricity, college, radio, movies, jazz, tv, comic books, rock-n-roll, roleplaying games, rap, or text messaging, then the industry is screwed until something else comes along for parents to blame their own failures on.

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January 25th, 2008, 22:39
I have to scream at this point: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH SEX!? We'd never have this kind of idiocy in Europe.
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January 25th, 2008, 22:54
Even discussions like this one (on Fox) are good, I think. Sometimes it's appropriate for parents to be afraid and concerned for their children, and they need to know whether or not it's appropriate here. The more familiar they get with this, the better.

The game expert from Spike TV did a good job. Too bad Fox is so biased, but at least they gave voice to other point of view. The idea of suing for slander seems a little silly to me.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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January 25th, 2008, 23:43
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I have to scream at this point: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH SEX!? We'd never have this kind of idiocy in Europe.
What the hell is wrong with old boy scout symbols, i.e., the swastika. Try that in Germany, even on a game that has WWII German soldiers in it.
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January 25th, 2008, 23:52
Personally, I think EA did the right move here. It just makes EA, and gamers in general, seem to have the moral high ground by telling journalists that they need to research facts before spouting shit to the public.

I'm neither a fan of EA nor Fox. Don't lynch me.
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January 25th, 2008, 23:55
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
What the hell is wrong with old boy scout symbols, i.e., the swastika. Try that in Germany, even on a game that has WWII German soldiers in it.
I might be wrong but I thought the Nazis used the same salute as the boy scouts. Don't think they used a swastika.

But, either way, people were slaughtered under the banner of a swastika. When was the last time the world fell into a war for… umm… fucking?
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January 26th, 2008, 00:03
The swastika predates the Nazis by forever (at least as far back as 1500BC) and shows up a lot in odd places. There's an old pre-1900 mansion near where I live that has them all over in the tile work. Look at the end of the "Uniforms and distinctive insignia" section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting


I understand why the German's don't want it flashed around but sometimes they carry it to excess (by my standards) including things like not showing up in historical based games.

And then there's the question of why children don't show up in European RPGs. . .

The point is different societies have different standards. We may not agree with them but, well, there they are.
Last edited by BillSeurer; January 26th, 2008 at 00:10.
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January 26th, 2008, 00:06
I see, point taken.
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January 26th, 2008, 00:08
I think it's always worth a look when stupidity this egregious gets on the public air waves. And while I'd be the last to glorify it, the kind of prurient self-righteousness that Fox is exploiting here to get money and attention isn't going to go away merely by being ignored. It feeds on fear as much as publicity.
It's not just America, though. Great Britain is apparently dealing with it as well, in this article where video games are called "crack cocaine of the brain."

It's totally bogus journalism, if nothing else.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 26th, 2008, 00:09
Originally Posted by obediahJKWCM8 View Post
At this stage, the battle is best fought in the public eye rather than the courtroom. If we can't convince the masses that video games won't turn our children into fornicating murders any more than literacy, the printing press, electricity, college, radio, movies, jazz, tv, comic books, rock-n-roll, roleplaying games, rap, or text messaging, then the industry is screwed until something else comes along for parents to blame their own failures on.
Well, believe it or not, these kind of PR battles have never been won by validating loud-mouths by addressing them directly. All that nonsense around that woman's book? That's just going to strengthen her position. Fox? Fox has always thrived on those it condemns calling it stupid. To Fox viewers (not all of them, obviously), someone responding just makes him look guilty. It's very Catch-22.

I know it sounds contra-intuitive and all, but when someone is shouting something very obviously stupid the way to go is never to respond to that person. Respond *around* that person, but never *to* him/her. Addressing Fox directly isn't going to do nothing for no one.

I'm fairly sure EA knows all this. And let's be honest here, we shouldn't start suspecting EA of having noble motives, should we?

Besides, if you're right, and you might well be, and this is supposed to be a purely public-eye thing, why not also sue? I know it doesn't help cases to discuss them publicly, but let's be honest here, this is such a clear case of slander that a court would have to be nuts not to put EA in the right.

Then again, I'm European, and not always completely in tune with American…ehm…sensibilities.
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January 26th, 2008, 01:16
Fox News is horrible trash, the way they "debate" issues with a "moderator" (which is rarely moderate or impartial at all) is a travesty to legit news organizations. The Mass Effect discussion is just one example of many.

Mis-information on a major news site needs to be brought to the light for what it is and I hope EA crushes Fox.
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