Friday, October 21, 2005

Rockstar Founder And I Couldn't Agree More About Videogames

I found the Times piece behind a costwall where they talk about the new Rockstar videogame, The Warriors and the big controversy about parents saying all videogames are a dangerous influence on their kids' minds.

I rarely find parents who take THE TIME TO SIT DOWN AND PLAY the games with their kids. That's what I've been doing for three years now. I stink at playing, but I know about a lot of games. Parents who don't play think Tetris, Splinter Cell, Jak and Daxter and Halo are the same -- and they are not.

Dan Houser, a co-founder and Creative VP of Rockstar Games, which developed Grand Theft Auto and was taken to task last year by Hillary Rodham Clinton (gotta wonder if she's a gamermom ...) for a sexy scene they never intended to be public, had this to say:

ROCKSTAR and Mr. Houser perhaps best embody the bifurcated cultural space that video games occupy. To millions of people who actually play games, they seem like normal entertainment. Yet millions of others are wary or even frightened by the entire medium.

"Certainly it's frustrating when people don't wish to understand what you do and don't wish to learn," Mr. Houser said. "Anyone who plays any of our games and wishes to criticize it, having played it, experienced it and thought about it, they are of course welcome to do that. But when large numbers of people criticize something and haven't even done it, it's very frustrating. There's a large amount of the population that lives in relative ignorance and only hears scary stories about what we do."
-- The New York Times, article by Seth Schiesel, 16 Oct 2005
As I mentioned below, even if you are a parent who has ZERO interest in actually playing videogames, please read the book "Everything Bad is Good For You" by Steven Johnson, to get a perspective on what a complex, artistic, challenging, educational excursion our kids are taking when they play.

And yes, Rockstar's games are rated for Adult or Teen, so you have a much better chance of knowing what's appropriate when it comes to gaming than with most films, music or tv they might be consuming.