Artifact: Game Theory

Credit: Reason MagazineCredit: Reason MagazinePresident Clinton's million-dollar federal inquiry into the marketing of "violence" to kids targets such video games as the notorious Doom (pictured at left), among other media products. "We can no longer ignore the well-documented connection between violence in the media and the effects that it has on children's behavior," Clinton said in June.

In fact, what makes games like Doom, Quake, and others so popular is that kids can script them on their own computers, creating their own experience within the games by creating their own levels of adventure. Doom's aficionados are not simply game players. They are game designers.

Game consoles will soon feature the same ability as PCs. Sony's powerful PlayStation2, due out next year, lets owners create and play digital games in real time. Director George Lucas, who owns a computer game company, is eager to develop games for the new machine. "But," he complains, "you can't bring it into the country because it's classified as a supercomputer!" Lucas thinks the new PlayStation2 is superior to the equipment used to make The Phantom Menace. Its real effect on children may well be to train them to be movie moguls.

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