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speaking of gaming in libraries…

This just in (to my emailbox from my library director)…

Critics say ‘Oh no’ to Halo
Specifically, a library hosting Halo 2 contest

…an article from the Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper.

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25 July 2007 - Posted by | gaming in libraries, glls2007, in the news, sad realities

3 Comments »

  1. I have to wonder about that case. The library’s not just making games available, it’s specifically hosting a Halo tournament–and knows there’s enough of a problem with Halo to require permission slips.

    I suppose the defense is that game violence is like cartoon violence, but I’m not sure that’s a great defense when the gamemaker labeled the game as for adults.

    Would the library have a teen book discussion club and choose an “adult” book as its selection?

    There’s a difference between having material available and explicitly pushing its use. I don’t think gaming as such is the issue here.

    Comment by walt crawford | 25 July 2007 | Reply

  2. That’s an interesting question that Walt raises, as it’s difficult to draw the line between “adult-” and “youth-oriented” materials. I know parents who think “adult” books are just fine for their 10-, 12-, or 15-year old. There are plenty of “adult” books that are indeed used in teen book discussion clubs, so I think the answer to that question is “maybe, depending on the item itself,” which is an appropriate answer here, too.

    In this case, Halo is essentially rated for adults because of some language and the fact that there is fighting in the game. *Any* game that involves any kind of fighting (even boxing between cartoon characters) is automatically rated “T,” even though the overwhelming majority of parents would have no problem with their 10-year old playing such a game.

    In cases like these, it’s very important to know the actual content of the game, which is what the librarians should have been able to address. However, my personal opinion is that permission slips are perfectly acceptable for something like this. As a parent, I would never have signed one without knowing something about the game, so yes, it is also the parent’s responsibility to know what she is signing. I’m not sure I don’t think it’s accurate to say the library is “pushing” this game when a parent has to approve the child’s participation.

    It’s not like Halo is Manhunt 2….

    Comment by Jenny Levine | 25 July 2007 | Reply

  3. @Walt: There’s another element here. I don’t think the only defense is that “game violence is like cartoon violence”; in fact, I don’t think Halo’s violence is like cartoon violence at all. The real point to be made, in my view, is that the “M” rating suggests the subject matter is inappropriate for youth without parental involvement. Just as young people may attend “R”-rated movies when accompanied by a sponsoring adult, under-18 is one of the biggest demographics of “Halo”; there are clearly a lot of parents out there who are either involved, permissive, or oblivious. I like to think of this library event as aimed not just at teens, but at teens with involved parents.

    Comment by Patrick Murphy | 26 July 2007 | Reply


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