Video Games

Why Not Books?: "Sweden Mulls 'Sexist' Video Game Labels"

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So Sweden's video game trade association and the country's "government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova" (god help us all) are talking about rating video games on the grounds of "sexism." Reports the English-language site The Local:

Project manager Anton Albiin said it was unclear at this stage if all games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes….

"I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area".

He said that as well as analysing the content of the games, Dataspelsbranchen would also look at the processes used by different developers to promote gender equality and diversity, with a view to "helping others to learn from their innovation"….

"…games can be about fantasy but they can be so much more than this. They can also be a form of cultural expression—reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things".

Given the questions about sexism in the gaming world raised by #gamergate, I think it's kind of interesting to think about why video games (or comic books, say, or pop music) get singled out for such state-supported or state-mandated re-education processes rather than, say, opera or novels. How many folks would feel good about reading this?:

Project manager Anton Albiin said it was unclear at this stage if all novels produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if publishers developing novels that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes….

"I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area".

He said that as well as analysing the content of the novels, Dataspelsbranchen would also look at the processes used by different developers to promote gender equality and diversity, with a view to "helping others to learn from their innovation"….

"…novels can be about fantasy but they can be so much more than this. They can also be a form of cultural expression—reflecting society or the society we are hoping for. Novels can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things".

More here.

Of course, you can see the glimmerings of such semi-official sanctions for works of "art" in the movement toward so-called trigger warnings at U.S. colleges. But I'm guessing that the bluebloods at Hachette and other publishing houses would flip their wigs if a government agency doled out a grant to study the sagacity of putting warning labels or "some kind of certification" on books based on their accordance with a politically correct vision of cultural commisars. The difference, of course, is that video games are "just" entertainment, right, whereas novels (now, anyway) are "art." And you don't fuck with art because only educated people, smart people, wealthy people—people like us!—consume art.

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