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Comic for: April 8th, 2008
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Woody & Ted: "Mean Comic Incoming!"
Posted: Tuesday April 8th, 2008 by

In a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, pop-horror author Stephen King defended video games against the attempts of Massachusetts politicians to ban the sale of M-rated games to individuals under the age of 18. King's assertions were that kids will find a way to get "it" [referring to violent content] and that responsibility belonged with the parents. He went on to needle Massachusetts legislators saying "Could [they] find better ways to watch out for the kiddies? Man, I sure hope so, because there's a lot more to America's culture of violence than Resident Evil."
Source: EW.Com [ more info ]

I don't really have anything against Stephen King (OR Charlie Daniels for that matter). But honestly, you can tack any number of people up on the "Wall o' Douchebags" for whatever reason you want, whether those reasons are valid or not. Please note: I put myself on the Wall o' Douchebags for just this reason.

For Charlie's part in the strip, he recently condemned the use of his country-rock classic The Devil Went Down to Georgia in Guitar Hero III claiming the game perverted his song and that he was disgusted with the result. He went on to warn parents against the in-game content. [more info] Now, for all my bluster, I think Charlie has a point. The problem he had was that the song was supposed to be a "lighthearted novelty" and that the devil never wins. In GH3 the devil wins quite a bit. As an artist myself, understanding that fatherly protection of my own work, I absolutely support his right to say he never would have allowed the use of his song. Unfortunately, Charlie lost his rights to the song long ago.

I'd also like to point out a common thread between the two news items: the responsibility of parents. I am a proponent of a rating system that spans across all audio/visual media including video games. The idea is that whether I pick up a CD, a movie, a video game or sit down to watch a show on TV they would all use the same rating system and qualifiers. This way there's never any confusion. I also support the idea that the same laws be applied across them all. That probably puts me a bit on the fringe. But the truth is, video games are currently being rated SEVERELY compared to their TV/movie counterparts. But, that doesn't mean retailers should not be penalized for selling games with adult content in them to minors (just as other retailers are penalized for movies with adult content in them to minors).

In any rating system though there is one factor that should have overriding power and that's the parent. A parent should be in tune with their children well enough to evaluate whether appropriate for their kid or not. That notion swings in both directions. Their kid might be over the age mark for a certain piece of entertainment but may very well not be mature enough to deal with its content appropriately. The parent should step in. Some kids "get it" earlier though. They make the distinction between the real world and the world of visual entertainment. In this case the parent steps in and bridges any remaining gap, answers questions, and freakin bond with their child rather than using the TV, movie, game to babysit their kid for them. **coughs** [/digress] Sorry. I'm pretty opinionated on this issue.

On a lighter note, I don't really think Stephen King is a douchebag. I've read a lot of his older stuff. The newer stuff... not so much. When I first read about his comments in regard to HB1423 (the law that inspired today's cited source) I wanted to do a caricature. He has such an interesting face you know. But with yesterday's throw away strip, my hand was forced a bit. I needed to disseminate the information more than I needed to do the caricature.

Some other time King... some other time.

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