In case you haven’t heard, SimCity Societies is the latest one of these ‘video game‘ things that are corrupting minors and tearing apart the framework of society. It will terrify your children and their clenched, sweat-drenched little hands into bowing down to socialist green police views by threatening them with punishment.
I’m sorry, I just can’t keep this joke running for any longer. The above claims were actually made by Fox News, and are you really surprised?
In reality SimCity Societies is a spinoff of the well known SimCity series that decides to put extra emphasis on social engineering. The game has you keep track of six social energies (productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge) and provides you with a wide range of building options that can each have positive or negative impacts on any of those stats. You’re allowed to use the space as a sandbox, and you can do whatever you want with it. Societies never tells you whether you’re doing the right or wrong thing and allows you to find your own solution to the problems that you encounter. Not including “green” choices in the game would have been a major oversight for the developer because this is a title that attempts to include all options along with their potential perks and flaws. It would be tough to find a kid that would be interested in this game, but if they were willing to play it they would be receiving a healthy dose of problem-solving skills rather than liberal propaganda.
This isn’t the first time that Fox News has gone after a game for unfounded or exaggerated reasons. Back in February of this year they claimed that Epic’s M-rated Bulletstorm was being marketed directly to children. They went on to say that exposure to the violence and language would cause serious damage to our youths and increase the number of sexual assault cases in America. I’m not kidding.
It has been well known for a while now that humans (and their dogs, for goodness sake) can very easily distinguish between serious situations and play. This is a concept that play theorist Eric Zimmerman refers to as the “magic circle,” and can be very easily observed by spending a few hours watching Animal Planet or any other nature shows. Wolves and lions have no trouble telling the difference between friendly wrestling and a fight over territory, and your children (barring mental handicap) share those same instincts. If they do get their hands on a game like this they’re not about to go shooting up their schools or sexually assaulting their neighbors. Rest assured, letting players shoot an enemy in the ass and calling it “fire in the hole” does not lead to, say, fire in your hole. There’s also the minor detail that the game can only be purchased in stores by someone who is at least seventeen years old, but when was the last time that something as insignificant as facts influenced a Fox News report on games?
We also have the Mass Effect “Se”xbox fiasco where they accused Bioware’s sci-fi RPG of being a “porn simulator”. The host opened by saying that the game features full frontal nudity and allows the players to engage in graphic sex before introducing the two people whose competing views are meant to give the illusion that Fox was behaving like a balanced news station. Cooper Lawrence, an author and radio host, had no real knowledge of the game, but that didn’t stop the host from giving her the spotlight as she spouted out a series of unfounded statements. Her opposition, Geoff Keighley, was the only person in the session who had any real knowledge about the game, but they proceeded to talk over him or cut him off every time he started getting in the way of their agenda with those pesky facts. When asked whether she had played the game, Lawrence actually laughed while saying no.
It’s a pity because if they had done any research whatsoever they would have known that Bioware handles sexuality (and storytelling in general) in a very mature manner in their games. You actually have to hold several conversations with the character and develop a virtual relationship within the story in order to have sex, and even if you go through all of that the deed itself is merely implied rather than shown on screen. Instead of objectifying women Mass Effect manages to properly include sexuality as a part of their character in order to flesh them out and make them feel like real people. Female players could pursue a similar experience with one of the male characters, and many Bioware games would go on to include homosexual couplings. This is also another M-rated game that they would go on to claim was marketed to children. Y’know, facts and stuff. Guest speaker Cooper Lawrence would eventually apologize for her statements, saying that Fox had only shown her a short clip before the interview and fed her false information. “Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it’s like pornography. But it’s not like pornography. I’ve seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit.”
As gamers we have a unique opportunity here to properly gauge the quality of a news station. These organizations cover complicated issues on a daily basis that are often far beyond our comprehension, demanding that we simply trust in their honesty and sincerity. Here we are given a topic that we have a deep understanding of, and how does Fox News fare? We find them waist deep in rampant sensationalism and partisan lies. We are free to see through their manipulative fear mongering and massively uninformed guests because we know the truth behind each of these stories. If this is how they handle topics that you understand, how do you think they’re handling the ones where they demand your trust? Sarah Palin’s “death panels” were ranked as PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2009, but that didn’t stop Fox News from taking her on as a contributor. All of these factors point to the station being dishonest, sensationalist, incompetent, or some combination of the three. If you’re a conservative gamer I know that your options may seem limited, but Fox News simply isn’t the answer. You can see what’s wrong here plain as day, so turn elsewhere for your news. The internet is an infinitely expansive place after all.