Jeff Brand PART 2: ‘You’re not able’ to play videogames

Following on from yesterday, Jeff Brand’s Freeplay 2011 speech is concluded with a call to action from gamers. In 2005, 88% of Australians supported an R18+ rating. What happened?

JB: Elizabeth Hansley, who is in charge of the Australian Council on Children and Media, and former South-Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, said my numbers [the 88% figures] were bogus, and they haven’t been able to back that claim up.

In fact, other government organisations, including the Commonwealth government in Australia, have backed my numbers up.

In the United States, just at the end of June, the US Supreme Court confirmed the right of game companies to put whatever kind of message they want in games because they said games were a valid form of political speech.They also said that all this nonsense about psychology saying that games are harmful is ‘not persuasive’.

The Attorney-General’s office here in Australia said the very same thing. They said that after looking at the research, the findings of psychology that games are bad for you simply had no policy relevance.

Back in December I had the opportunity to be at SCAG (the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General) and present my case on why we needed an R18+ classification.

I asked Jim Wallace, chief of the Australian Christian Lobby, in a moment of stupidity, ‘Do you play computer games’?
He replied, with an upturned nose and an air of dismissive superiority ‘I don’t have time’.

I didn’t know what to say to that, so I walked away and I stewed on it, so here’s the political movement…

I have a plan to deal with this now. I want all of you, whether you’re a gamer, game designer, whatever – if you believe in the power of games as an important and expressive medium that is designed to communicate, I want you to ask everyone you know and meet ‘Do you play computer games?’

If they say ‘No, I don’t have time.’, here’s your response. I want you to reply very patiently (and be understanding and sympathetic) and say ‘Be honest: you aren’t able.’

Don’t tell them why they’re not able, just tell them they’re not able. They can stew about the different kinds of inability they might have, but the moral panic around computer games is that people who don’t play them are actually afraid that they may fail.

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