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Is Novato Wary of Its Role in Violent Video Game Development?

Several manufacturers of shoot-em-up games have staffs in Novato. In the wake of so many gun-related massacres, what are your thoughts about this industry?

Animation programming sounds like a harmless enough industry, but there is a twist: Such programmers occasionally work on the most violent video games. And some of those programmers work in Novato.

Activision|Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive have studios in Novato where artists and engineers work on game development. The Marin Independent Journal analyzed the local ties to such games in this story, pinpointing those local companies that employ people who make those games. The nonprofit Marin Economic Forum has targeted digital filmmaking for promotion in coming years.

In the wake of the gun-related massacres in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., among so many other cities, there has been a lot of talk about gun control. There could be an ethical backlash about the encouragement of more violent games being made here in Marin.

What are your thoughts about this? Share your comment below.

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Tina McMillan February 12, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Game developers are brilliant, creative and magical people but since violent content sells more games they are paid to create what will sell. Don't kill the messenger, change the message. Support games that are more than just first person shooters. In the 70's when Dungeons and Dragons was first developed people thought it was too realistic and that teenagers and young adults would get lost in worlds of magic. What they later found was if people distorted reality as a result of mental illness these games could become a part of their delusional systems. The game did not cause the illness, it just became a part of it. Not all video games are violent. We have a local company that created a wonderful children's game called "Skylanders". It has won awards in the U.S. and the U.K. and yet the only Activision games described in this article are the violent ones. http://universe.skylanders.com/ Most games are based on the premise of good fighting evil. If you think about books and movies that have been successful they have aspects of violence in them. For example the Harry Potter series. In it you find a battle between good and evil with heroes, villains and magic. For most books to be interesting there must be a conflict around which a story emerges. Violence alone is not the issue. It is more complicated than that. Even Shakespeare wrote about violence.
25 Year Resident February 12, 2013 at 08:04 PM
This country has a real opportunity to address actual gun violence and it is disappointing to see this author supporting the NRA's campaign as they try to deflect the media away from the actual issue. The Japanese spend a larger portion of their income on games, including violent ones, but don't have our rate of gun deaths. The Brits play the same games, watch the same movies, but have 1/40th our rate of gun deaths. It is not video games. In 2008 & 2009 alone nearly as many children were killed in this country by guns then all of the American soldiers killed during our 10 year war with Iraq. We have a real problem with guns, not video games. If guns made us safer, we would be the safest country on the planet. Real people are being killed by real guns, and it is a disservice to their memory to distract the public from the real cause.
T.Sprocket February 12, 2013 at 08:43 PM
You are right 25 Yr Resident. Video games and crazy people do not cause guns to kill people. However perverted people watching violent video games over and over, like Adam Lanza and others, do pick up guns and then decide to kill people. But you are right.. video games do not pick up guns and kill people.
25 Year Resident February 12, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Seems like there are a lot of creatives that fall for this same trap of using violence to sell products. Murder and Crime mystery authors like Christie, Doyle, Clark, James, Eisler, Evanovich, Gardner, Chandler, MacDonald, Kellerman, just go visit your public library. What about Horror authors like Poe, Blackwood, Saul, Bierce, Lovecraft, King and Matheson? A huge portion of the Western and Adventure Genres is violent. Military fiction? Don't even get me started on violence in the Bible. Put your efforts into addressing actual gun violence. Google 'Novato Shooting' and realize that there are real issues that need to be addressed. Look up actual studies that have found no conclusive link. Learn to evaluate sources since it is in the NRA's interest to distract you from what is actually killing tens of thousands Americans each year. Look for Nancy Pelosi's recent interview with Chris Wallace just a few days ago as he tried to perpetuate the myth that game violence leads to real violence and she gives specific examples why this belief is fallacious. Ask yourself why the NRA has been fighting against actual research? Because they like people who respond emotionally not rationally.
25 Year Resident February 12, 2013 at 10:44 PM
In December when a crazy person in China went into an elementary school and stabbed 23 students not a single student died. Mental illness is not unique to the US, but massive gun ownership is and the resulting death tolls are. 45% of gun owners with children don't even use gun locks and over 2,000 children are killed with guns every year in the US. There is far more than mental illness involved here and focusing on Lanza or even assault weapons and large clips alone doesn't begin to scratch the surface.

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