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04 Sept 2007
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has outlined plans for a public review of violent and sexual imagery in games. It's part of a new government initiative that will allow members of the public to have direct influence on policymaking through so-called 'Citizen's Juries', beginning this week.
From what we can gather, regular Joes will be presented with a series of independent facts and figures on violent videogames and then asked to suggest solutions and views, much like a jury would in court proceedings.
"I know... that parents are concerned about whether children are too exposed to harmful violence and sexual imagery in video computer games and on the internet," said Brown in a speech yesterday, "so as we launch the court consultation on our children's plan we will be looking at all the evidence on the effects of this material, whether we need new rules for the advertising and sale of these products to children and young people."
Okay, so we like the idea of the government consulting with proles on the incendiary issues surrounding violent videogames - but what worries us is the views of many 'participants' may end up simply reflecting the tabloid press' victimization of videogames - as evidenced with games like Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto and God Of War 2 - rather than encouraging sensible debate. It's possible that we could end up with a panel of ill-informed, non-game players being selected - and how are they going to be able to make balanced judgements on challenging, adult-oriented games?
Ultimately, what GamesRadar would like to see come out of these talks is increased responsibility placed on parents to prevent children getting hold of 15 or 18 rated games - a major part of the issue in hand. Will this happen? We'll have to wait and see. Check back to GamesRadar later in the week for more on this story that will almost certainly kick off in the papers and on TV...