Violent games on the OLPC Activities page

Bennett Todd bet at
Thu Jan 17 16:46:17 EST 2008

2008-01-17T21:09:22 Ties Stuij:
> > > What's wrong with erring on the safe side with a controversial
> > > topic like video game violence in a learning setting like the
> > > OLPC project.
> [...]
> As was mentioned earlier in this thread, there are always gliding
> scales. The solution is not to just forget about them and just allow
> everything to keep things simple. To clarify my sentence above, I
> don't think the topic of violence in a learning setting is so
> controversial.

Let's get a concrete definition of "violence" and I think the
disagreement will fade right out.

Would a game like pacman count? How about asteroids? Missile
command? I'd probably feel good about a definition that could
exclude missile command, that made me feel ill the first time I saw

What I'm uncomfortable with is a lack of definition, any activity
that could expose a child to anything that anybody feels is too
violent should be evicted, or at least chased off into a ghetto.

> There are little learning packages I know of that situate
> themselves in a post-apocalyptic setting with as goal to murder as
> many henchmen of Satan as possible.

I missed Doom, didn't know anything about it. Sounds like a good
candidate for putting in a separate place from educational games for
young children. Can we define any sort of objective criteria ---
including "a majority of people expressing an opinion agree" (which
Doom has certainly achieved here).

> And it's not so controversial politically, or socially.

Doom no, it appears. But:

> The only groups who would endorse a game like this that i can
> think of would be the arms lobby and some extreme Christian sects.

It's folks in extreme [religion] sects, and other "my beliefs win,
agree or die" types that worry me the most.

> I don't want to generalize but amongst a number of nay-sayers I sense
> a strong cencorship fear, while I just see a pragmatic decision to not
> include war material in an education project.

Can we get a concrete definition of "war material"?

It's not censorship, OLPC owns this microphone, they get to decide
how it's used. I'm not saying Doom belongs on the same page as
SimCity and Speak. Given your above description it shouldn't. I'm
asking for _some_ kind of line between the two. The recent DVD
release of the first season of Sesame Street warns that it isn't
appropriate for young children. That creeps me out.

How do we define the line between Doom and SpaceWars?

I see the Activities page currently requests no "strongly violent"
games. Is that clear enough?

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