Oklahoma House Democrat Will Fourkiller introduces a 1% surcharge on all Teen-rated and up games sold in his state to combat childhood obesity and bullying.

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One rabbi praises "Call of Duty: World At War" for its ability to show the complexities and the moral consequences of war. Read More...

Some rather fiendish combat and a lot of slow-motion bullet-fire failed to ruin my second hands-on demo of March's "Wanted: Weapons of Fate" game, even if the game's producer was certain I'd be too squeamish. Wary of my reaction, he began my hands-on time with the game in a most unusual way... Read More...

People joke about "Postal" these days (Uwe Boll's film adaptation didn't help). But "Postal" used to seriously push the boundaries of accepted interactive violence, which is why "Postal 2" is apparently being included in Sweden's Nobel Museum as part of the “Freedom of Speech: How Free is Free?” exhibit. Read More...

It was bound to happen eventually. The first age-restricted iPhone game premiered on Apple's application store courtesy of Adult Swim.


Reports about studies linking violent video games to aggressive behavior have a tendency to spread like a brush fire.

From CNN.com to the Washington Post to GamePolitics.com, you can read reports about a new study that appears in the journal Pediatrics that has studied "longitudinal" (translation: more than short-term) effects of violent video games on children in the U.S. and Japan.

The report determines that there is a link, as measured by following up with both American children and Japanese teenagers, collectively age 9-18, who do and don't play violent video games up to six months after they were first studied.

The study reports that similar increase in aggression was spotted among gamers in Japan and America, when compared to their peers who don't play violent games.

What befuddles me, though, is that reports about studies like these seldom link to the study itself. Why not? It's easy to do.

Here... read the study yourself (it's a PDF) and see what you make of its conclusions about the links between young people playing games and increased levels of aggression.

After the jump, check out some items of interest that I've pulled from the study: Read More...

"MadWorld" is one of the most anticipated third-party Wii games and perhaps the most violent. Though sporting a black-and-white aesthetic, there's plenty of blood.

At the first day of Nintendo's fall summit in San Francisco, a pair of Sega representatives showed me an updated build of "Mad World" and described how they're handling the game's violent nature.

Sega is working closely with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to ensure the game receives just an M rating, they told me. The ESRB receives new builds on a regular basis and Sega notes their feedback. Sega wants them to feel "part of the process" of developing "MadWorld" and isn't looking to surprise them.

And even though Japan-based Platinum Games is developing "MadWorld," Sega isn't sure "MadWorld" will show up in its native territory. Sega will not be showing the game at next week's Tokyo Game Show, and any Japanese release will be evaluated after "MadWorld" is released here in March 2009.

This also applies to other violence-sensitive countries, specifically Australia and Germany. Those markets could see "Mad \World," but it's not part of Sega's strategy right now. If "MadWorld" is a success, it might happen, but the concern right now is making it a western hit and ensuring its violence remains gory -- but within an M rating.

But don't let the ESRB's involvement make you nervous; "MadWorld" is plenty violent right now. It looks like "Sin City" was bathed in a bucket of blood.

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Context is everything.

Earlier this week, Gearbox Software defended the extreme amount of violence portrayed in their World War II shooter "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway."

I'd questioned Gearbox's motives because of a gore-filled trailer publisher Ubisoft had released. Gearbox told me the violence's context was key.

Since the interview, I've played an hour of "Brothers in Arms" and concluded the developers were absolutely right.


After unboxing and playing the Christian-themed "Guitar Hero" spin-off "Guitar Praise," I got Tom Bean, CEO of Christian game makers Digital Praise, on the phone yesterday to chat about it.

During our conversation, he told me about how the company takes popular styles of games and infuses them with more positive and encouraging content; the company has also made a Christian-based, "DDR"-style game called "Dance Praise."

With that in mind, I asked Bean if he ever considered making a Christian version of "Grand Theft Auto" -- you know, without the "grand theft auto" parts.

Here's what he had to say:

War is hell, they say, and the increasing visual fidelity of video games means developers are able to render that hell more and more realistically every year.

Ubisoft recently distributed a video -- titled "Brutality of War" -- promoting "Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway" by highlighting the violence and gore of Gearbox Studio's latest shooter. It actually made me look away from the television.

Of course, it had no context. It was just gore for the sake of gore rolled into a 30-second video spot. But after speaking to Epic Games about how they determined the role of gore in "Gears of War" in a fantasy environment, I wondered how Gearbox handles its place in something portraying reality.


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