Fox News decided to stir the pot with this year’s video game controversy, the upcoming shooter Bulletstorm. The article is entitled, “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Game in the World?” and goes on to make all kinds of sweeping claims about violence, sex crime, and video games. Here’s what I think of this hodgepodge (NSFW language and photos after the break).

First of all, I’ve had it with these bullshit, half-assed “news” stories bouncing around that throw video games under the fucking bus at every turn. Last week it was a story about how gaming supposedly makes you a more aggressive driver (hint: it doesn’t) and this week gaming supposedly promotes sex crime?

Fuck you, Fox News.

To start things off, the headline is outright inflammatory, even offensive. Is Bulletstorm the worst game in the world? How could you ask such a question?! Everyone knows that’s Shaq Fu.

 

Sorry, Shaq, but your game sucked.

THEN they go on to post a “screenshot” from Bulletstorm, underneath which there’s a caption which states, in teeny tiny letter:

“An artist’s rendition of a scene from controversial video game Bulletstorm…”

An artist’s rendition, eh? Let’s see this.

Sweet tapdancing baby Jesus what the fuck is that, Gumby Goes Ballistic?! Have you even played Bulletstorm or were you just making shit up?

UPDATE: A Reddit user pointed out that this shot is actually from a Bulletstorm advertisement video designed to mock a Halo video that had previously come out. The link to the Ars Technica story on that is here. It doesn’t change my original point, because seriously, that means Fox News can’t even get a real screenshot of the game. Anyway…

I have played Bulletstorm, or at least the demo, and it looks fucking fantastic, not like some shit that a freshman art student crafted with clay, jello, and photoshopped stills from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Nightmare Before Christmas. It looks something like this:

Ah, much better! That’s low resolution, too, so if you really want a taste of the graphics you need to check it out in HD on an appropriate TV or monitor. The game seriously does look graphically fantastic. It plays wonderfully, I might add, but I digress.

The article then talks about explicit language, gruesome violence, and body parts flying all over the screen. Fucking sweet; no secrets there. Bulletstorm is as violent as a tornado that just sucked up a razorblade factory and moseyed on into town, probably more so. It’s awesome.

Insert a quote from some psychologist I’ve never heard of about how violent video games can fuck up children. Not true or ever demonstrated in any clinical studies, but whatever you want to say. Since we’re just looking at quotes here, it’s your word against mine, buddy, and I can use big words, too. There has never been a demonstrated, statistically reliable, valid, causal mechanism or relationship between violent video games and violent behavior in children, adolescents, or adults cited in any study I’ve ever read.

Also, why can’t Fox News cite peer-reviewed research articles instead of getting quotes? Given the time and energy that goes into an interview, no matter how long or short, it wouldn’t take up much extra effort to dig up some actual research…which brings me to the next and biggest bone I have to pick

You have to read the next part verbatim. Here’s what it says:

“Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games – highlighted so well in Bulletstorm – have led to real-world sexual violence. ‘The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,’ she said.”

Before this point, I was reading this as just another bullshit Fox News story decrying violent video games and looking to stir the pot about the ESRB and the upcoming Supreme Court decision about the legality of selling M-rated video games.

After, this point, the only question on my mind was, “Who the hell is Carol Lieberman?

Turns out she’s a psychologist, at least according to her degree. She wrote some killer best selling books that you’ve obviously read, like “Bad Boys” and its counterpart, “Bad Girls.”

Um, what?

I went to Carol (Carole?) Lieberman’s website to check this woman’s credentials out. Unfortunately, I almost went blind from the excessive level of hot pink.

M’am, Sanrio called; Hello Kitty wants her palette back.

Anyway, the woman has what is essentially an empty curricula vitae, with a resume filled with pop psych books, court appearances, and an entire web page dedicated to every newspaper that’s quoted her without actually showing what those quotes or stories say. It also talks about her TV show and how she’s been an “expert witness” in high publicity court cases, yet conspicuously absent is anything that actually demonstrates her credibility as an expert in the first place. If I make shit up about something every day for a several years, it doesn’t mean that I actually know anything about it no matter how many TV shows I’ve been on, court cases I’ve been a part of, or newspapers have quoted me. Her actual degrees are on there, but you can be a C student and they’ll still give you your degree.

So what gives her the authority to talk about sex crime, then? She’s obviously never even played Bulletstorm, because she seems to think that it clearly shows graphic sex acts yet it doesn’t. I can think of several games that include sex, including one about mythological characters, one about actually solving crime, one with aliens and space ships, and one featuring elves and dragons, but none of them actually show any sex at all. Bulletstorm isn’t even on that list of games with sex in it, so I have no idea what game it is that she’s actually playing. For all I know, she could have been playing Kirby’s Epic Yarn, mistaking his signature ability for some exotic form of full-body fellatio. Who knows?

At least she got the little quip about increasing accounts of rape correct, right? Surely a Bureau of Justice Statistics graph is going to back her up on this.

Well, shit, Carol; it looks like you’re actually a dumbass.

It turns out that rape has been pretty steadily decreasing for the last three decades, as have most types of crime. This graph is based on data collected from the National Crime Victimization Survey, a random digit dialing survey that’s the second largest annual survey conducted in the United States, second in response rates and reliability only to the United States Census. Also, it includes both actual rape and attempted rape.

Let’s not forget to mention that not a single journal article or reliable, scientific source was cited in the claim that video games have any impact whatsoever on crime.

Parents? You should be less concerned about Bulletstorm, a game that I trust you’ll almost certainly keep away from your kids because it’s more graphically violent and intense than Grand Theft Auto on PCP, and more concerned about assholes like Fox News and Carol Lieberman trying to feed you bullshit about what’s going on in the world.

Bulletstorm comes out February 22nd, 2011 for the PS3, XBox 360, and PC courtesy of People Can Fly and Epic Games. Fox News comes out with new crap every day.

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