September 4, 2005
Entertainment Software Association president Doug Lowenstein, in his E3 2005 keynote:
We can use things like the American Constitution’s guarantee of free speech as a shield to legitimize virtually any content. Indeed, the very essence of art is that it has no boundaries, and the critical acclaim accorded various paintings, photographs, or books attests to that. But I submit to you it is one thing to say a product is protected speech, which it is, or that it is rated and parents need to accept responsibility for shaping the quality and values of the culture we live in. We’ve all seen games that depict content that is constitutionally protected artistic expression and yet which also raises the question of whether it really was necessary to realize the designer’s artistic vision. That’s not a call for censorship or government intrusion into videogame sales. But it is meant to say that it is fair for critics, and us, to ask whether everything that is cool and pushes the envelope is, in fact, creatively necessary.
Like flag burning, racial slurs, and pro-Nazi propaganda, maybe once in a while Rockstar could stop making GTA and Bully and The Warriors, and ask that just because they can make it (and it will sell like mad), should they?
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