The lights are on
Another violent game has found itself in the cross-hairs of news
media’s scrutiny. This time FoxNews is criticizing Epic Games/People Can
Fly’s blood symphony Bulletstorm. The game sports some of the foulest
language in video games, rewards players for shooting enemies in the
gonads, and contains blood-infused sexual innuendos. All this has
FoxNews hot, bothered, and talking with the experts about Bulletstorm’s
supposed dangers. Publisher Electronic Arts has officially responded to
the article, insisting this is fictitious sci-fi entertainment aimed
towards adults, not children.
Tammy Schachter, vice president of public relations for EA, issued the following response to us:
"As you know, Bulletstorm is a work of entertainment fiction that
takes place in the 26th century on the abandoned fictitious paradise
planet Stygia, where our heroes fight mutants, monsters, flesh-eating
plants and gigantic dinosaurs. Epic, People Can Fly and EA are
avid supporters of the ESA and believe in the Entertainment Software
Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. We believe in and abide by the
policies put in place by the ESRB.
Bulletstorm is rated M for
Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual
themes, strong language and use of alcohol. The game and its marketing
adhere to all guidelines set forth by the ESRB; both are designed for
people 17+. Never is the game marketed to children.
Can Fly and EA support the right of artists to create works of
entertainment fiction for consumers of all ages, including adults who
enjoy action adventures like Bulletstorm. Much like Tarantino's Kill
Bill or Rodriguez's Sin City, this game is an expression of creative
entertainment for adults."
Despite Bulletstorms bold “M for mature” (17+) rating, FoxNews insists
kids as young nine years old could be exposed to it. One doctor says
that the gore and cussing could “significantly damage” a young mind and
encourage violence during conflict.
Psychologist Carol Lieberman takes it a step further, insisting that
““The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing
out of [sexual] scenes in video games.” No research or statistics are
provided in support of this alleged correlation.
Another accusation tosses Bulletstorm in with other game’s marketing
campaigns which use controversial imagery like sexuality or
hyperviolence to hide the fact that their game really sucks. “Games
without sufficient quality of gameplay -- games that include highly
objectionable violent or sexual content -- often pump up the level of
this kind of content to gain media attention,” says Billy Pidgeon, games
analyst. Generally, it’s poor practice to imply that a game lacks fun
or innovative gameplay without having played it. However, Pidgeon is an
analyst and it’s his job to study trends, even if many gamers who’ve played the demo are very happy with the game.
Melanie Killen, A professor from the University of Maryland, even
insists that Bulletstorm’s marketing campaign is geared toward “children
and young adolescents.” Check out this age-gated, ESRB-stamped promotional video and judge for yourself whether it’s aimed at kids or not.
Finally, Hal Levy of National Youth Rights Association says the game
has been “praised for encouraging innovative thinking. Bulletstorm
involves developing new moves and dispatching of enemies creatively.
Plenty of emotionally unstable adults will play the game and they’ll be
For more on this sensationally violent game, check out Game Informer's Bulletstorm hub, our interview with producer Tanya Jessen, and this new batch of screens.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
@Carol Lieberman: Shut the f**k up you ignorant piece of s**t! You have NO clue what you're talking about. If games make people rape others, then I can blame misspelled words on my keyboard. Just do us all a favor Carol and go die in a corner somewhere. b*tch.
Figures! Oh, and your link to the age-gate vid is down... somehow.
bbbourb Posted Feb 9, 2011 3:47 pm CT
This is not the first time Fox News has massaged the facts for the sake of decrying a video game. Does anyone remember the Mass Effect fiasco? Go back to the statement about rape and you can see how they will allow anyone with a "fact" that is wrong to use it so long as it supports the story.
Oh, and Professor Killen, next time you gripe about how the marketing is "clearly aimed at children and young adolescents" I suggest you support the claim with examples. I do not recall seeing commercials for Bulletstorm on Disney, Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, which are all children's channels. Nope, I have seen them on Spike and so far that is all.
So, ultimately this is another example of Fox Fiction.
One more thing: I work as a videogame retailer and I can say unequivocally that no minor will get the game at MY store unless his PARENTS say so. We follow ESRB rules or get fired. That's how we roll. We can't stop mom and dad or big brother or sister from buying the game then giving it to them though. That, frankly, is not my problem.
I just don't understand any of this. Parents of america ITS TIME TO WISE UP! You wouldn't take your ten year old to see something like Sin City would you? Then why would you buy your child a game that is almost the equivalent of an NC-17 film? Parents need to study the ratings systems and learn about what their kids play before they go off and purchase something like Bulletstorm.Fox has been on the nerve of gaming since the Mass Effect controversy and until parents take to heart that video games are just like all other media forms, I can tell you now that the industry will never have peace.
Games are always the scapegoat. Games actually help expose negligent parents to society through the actions their children display.
It's the parents decision, and im pretty sure that on launch day they won't sell this to 9 year olds, or teens. Quit hatin FOX!
I'm glad to see that EA is standing up for Bulletstorm. And not running away at the first site of controversy. I'm also glad they didn't just throw out the "its just a game" excuse. How can we get people to accept games as art if we say that?
I am a parent who watched along as my boys played the games like Mortal Combat and many like this. I explained to them that this was a game and these actions were not something to do in life. I think if a parent takes the time to actually be a parent instead of expecting everyone else to then there would not be a problem. We had all of these same problems long before there were video games so what caused that!
Oh yea I am posting this on my sons site so it pays to be a parent!
Fox News is the biggest supplier of fail on the planet. Remember the time they couldn't even find Egypt on the map? Oh yeah, that was only a few weeks ago. I rest my case.
I don't like how they blamed the ESRB for the whole thing. Thier job is NOT to prevent children from buying M-rated titles, its to let players and parents know of the content in video games before they purchase them for people who cannot handle the content.
well. in my opinion if you havent pissed off fox news you havent made a good video game.
so... we should punish the game companies for parents letting them play overly violent video games. that makes perfect sense.
Lol, this is great marketing. I hole Fox's intention was to increase Bulletstorm sales!
This is really starting to irritate me. Thats why i blogged about it.
*** fox news
I see this game being big just because fox news is gonna give bulletstorm all the free advertisment. alot of game get that kind of boost. like the duke nukem every one will buy it because they said so. why? the original sucked.