The Battle over Video Games

Sunday 1 November, 9.45am until 10.30am, Courtyard Gallery Breakfast Banter

Opinion is divided as to the value of video games. For many social critics games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and ‘Manhunt’ are a ‘toxic’ influence, corrupting both young and not-so-young by conveying antisocial messages and diverting them from more ‘healthy’ outside pursuits. There are regular calls for particularly violent games to be censored. Others are more positive. They argue that video games are a unique form of entertainment, their interactivity opening up enormous possibilities. Jonathan Blow goes so far as to suggest that they ‘inherently teach’; others argue that they act as a ‘mind gym’, and games are even being developed for use in school lessons. Some advocates of video games are more positive still, taking steps toward making an art form of it. Compelling experiments with setting are being performed, and groups like the American ‘Kokoromi’ are exploring how game rules can deliver an artistic statement and directly evoke emotion.

Do video games have a significant effect on society? If they do, can we trust and encourage their makers to use their abilities responsibly? Or will gaming, no matter what how commercially successful, remain a shallow and even dangerous hobby?

Listen to the session audio…

Other formats are available here

David Cooke
director, British Board of Film Classification

Dr Dan Pinchbeck
researcher, game design and analysis, University of Portsmouth; director, thechineseroom (game development team)

Alice Taylor
commissioning editor, education, Channel 4; former vice president, digital media, USA West Coast, BBC Worldwide; blogger, Wonderland

Hamish Todd
doctoral student; software developer and biologist at the Center for Systems and Sythetic Biology, University of Edinburgh

Toby Marshall
A Level Film Studies Teacher; PhD researcher in sociology of education, UCL Institute of Education

Produced by
Toby Marshall A Level Film Studies Teacher; PhD researcher in sociology of education, UCL Institute of Education
Hamish Todd doctoral student; software developer and biologist at the Center for Systems and Sythetic Biology, University of Edinburgh
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