Amateur Press/Fan Response

This section looks at some of the ways video game fans used digital tools to enter discussions surrounding video game censorship and violence. From social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to free, easy-to-use blog hosting sites like this one, the ways in which individuals can access and express themselves within larger debates have certainly changed and multiplied since the MPPDA found themselves under attack in the 1920s. And while Frank Zappa could always organize a fan letter-writing campaign, and television viewers could always write to their local news station, the access individuals have today to react and respond (sometimes in real time) to news and events is unprecedented. Whether anybody is listening, however, is another matter.

We do not want to  overemphasize or underemphasize the role these digital tools played in the lead up to and aftermath of the Supreme Court case.While some organizations like the VGVN or the NYRA used social media for explicitly political activism, the vast majority of digital artifacts went unseen and made little direct social impact. At the same time, however, we do not want to discount the importance of the blog post, the rarely viewed YouTube video or the message board comment. Each of these examples is an instance of an individual using digital media to express his or her opinion and join a national discussion. These act, in and of themselves, are valuable and political.

What follows is a collection of different forms of digital amateur artifacts that address the topics of video game censorship and video game violence. Some are related directly to the Supreme Court case, while others address anti video game activists like Jack Thompson. Some are serious meditations, and others use humor and parody to make their point. Some are more polished than others, and some more popular. But they are all part of the conversation.

Personal Blogs: Unlike professional games journalists, these bloggers do not get paid to think and write about video games. As such, they only write when they want and they only write about topics that interest and excite them.

The Brainy Gamer
The Brainy Gamer blog is a popular forum for the thoughtful, though accessible,discussion of video games. It is operated by Michael Abbott, a professor of theater at Wabash College.

Experience Points is a blog and weekly podcast that explores issues of video games and culture. It is operated by Scott Juster and Jorge Albor, and was conceived as a forum to bridge their academic interests and fan practices.
Gamer MelodicoGamer Melodico is a collaborative gaming blog that features articles written by both professional journalists and fans. It tries to use inventive techniques to comment on topical subjects.
PK Bloggin’! is a perfect example of a personal, fan-operated blog. Joe Walker, the owner of the blog, even mentions that he was drawn to blogging since “anyone can write about anything and they don’t need any degree from a fancy university to prove they know how to write.” Unlike news blogs, PK Bloggin’! does not repost news articles from other sites but focuses on reactions to news stories and editorials on the industry.
Community Sites: These are popular commercial sites that incorporate community elements into their structure. Users can have their own profiles, blogs and friends lists. Because these sites work to foster a sense of community, they also tend to have active message boards where members can debate and discuss any topic they choose. While many board conversations devolve into meaningless flame wars, message boards can sometimes be the primary site for extended, thoughtful, insightful discussion. * Please note that the following sites may contain offensive language.

1Up & Destructoid

Fan-Made Videos: There are hundreds, if not thousands, of user-created videos addressing issues of video game violence and censorship. The 6 selected here represent different approaches and scales from the Vlog and the remix to the mock public service announcement and from the parody music video to machinima (a video created using video game footage). All communicate a specific point of view and use creative rhetorical strategies to make their point. As you watch these videos, it might be worthwhile to think about why a particular style or form was chosen and how it contributes to the overall argument the video creator is trying to make.

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