Video games are still somewhat a more junior industry, and they don't have the perception of mass-market appeal, so they continue to be viewed like that. It always goes through the cycle, and then once it gets out of there...
DC: Sure. But I think the problem also is that laws are made by people who have never played a game in their life, so they believe that games are these magical, mysterious things that can totally turn the head of your kids around. So be careful! We need to be hyper-careful.
And often when I ask the questions to these people, I say, "Why are games different from television or cinema? Do you think that seeing tits in a game will make your kid rape someone? Look at what they can see on the internet just surfing, without looking for it. You have a good chance to end up on a porn site. What's the difference?" And they say, "Oh, because it's interactive. Because when you watch tits in a movie, that's one thing, but when you play in a game and can see tits, they totally make you crazy." Okay.
I had a conference with a French psychologist who has spent a lot of time working on image and how it influences people. He worked on movies and television and cartoons and comics and everything - and games. It was really interesting. In France, when the first comics became really popular, there were some very strict laws protecting childhood comics, because comics were dangerous, they were encouraging violence and pornography and et cetera.
These laws are from the '40s or the '50s, but it's insane, because when you look at them, this is exactly what we go through with games now. Retroactively, when you think about it, it's ridiculous. They're comics. What's the point?
We've done the same thing in the U.S., actually, and it will be the same with any new media that come up, because first of all, it gives politicians the ability to blame something for problems. "I can't fix these problems because of video games!" Every politician does that to shift focus and responsibility off of themselves.
The other thing is that it's not a mature industry. There is not a united front of people. If you point your fingers at video games, every single developer has to deal with it in their own way. You don't have a bunch of big video game creators coming together and saying, "We support each other!" That network doesn't exist.
DC: No. It's absolutely true, and that's the problem. Instead of saying, "Look, this isn't fair, and this is why." We can explain. Read our studies, talk to a psychologist... whatever it takes for them to demonstrate that we are not that different from movies and TV shows, and that the same rules should apply.
But instead of that, the industry tends to say, "Oh, okay. Don't hit me. Let me do my video games and I'll do whatever it takes." This is really frustrating. Let's explain what we're doing. Let's show that not all games are about Hot Coffee and having sex with prostitutes, and it's not about violence. It's just a medium, and it's only what you do with it.
You can't limit cinema to pornography and condemn all of the industry of cinema because there are porn movies. It's the same thing with games. Some people are going in excess in some directions, whether it's violence or sex, but this is not what the medium is about.
One of the really difficult things is that the understanding of games requires the playing of games. Since games aren't perceived as accessible by everyone, they don't play the games. They just see their kid shooting things, and they hear the sound from their room, "Bang bang bang."
DC: I agree. People just want to be reassured, because they don't want to watch their kids while they play. They want someone to tell them, "Look, it's safe. You can leave them alone." Okay, fine.
When I have kids, I know what they're playing, and I spend some time with them, and I spend some time with knowing what the games are, and I don't buy them everything. [The way people react now is] just a way not to pay attention to them, and to have something telling you, "Look, it's safe. You can let them play."
It's easier with movies, for example, because if the kid wants to see a movie, the parent will have to take them. Also, there is no barrier of entry for movies. It's like, "Do I have vision? Do I have ears?"
DC: But with games, you need to understand another technology and know how it works.
So I think it's a much more difficult battle to fight, and it will take a much more concerted effort, which does not exist.
DC: But I'm not saying I'm against rating. Rating is necessary. It works very well on television, and in cinema. We need ratings, but we just need to have rules that make sense to apply these ratings, and we don't want to fall into censorship, where we will be forbidden to say certain things or to show certain things. To serve the story and what we want to say, we should be free to tell the stories we want to tell.