Friday, 17 October 2008

BarryBoxx - Is Computer Game Violence linked with Real Life

Hey Guys its BarryBoxx representing the Tech Side of the Myboxxcollective. Bringing you the reviews and information from the Gaming and Technology world.

OK I am going to be looking into a game called Saints Row 2, recently released and has been facing scrutiny like Grand Theft Auto IV from the New York Police Department, which they said "These horrible and violent video games desensitize young people to violence while encouraging depravity, immorality while glorifying criminal behaviour." NYPD union boss Patrick Lynch told the New York Post.

Lynch isn’t the only one that is against the selling of Saints Row 2. Jack Thompson called Saints Row 2 a GTA rip-off, suggesting that it pushes the envelope further than the Take-Two Interactive franchise he spent so long crusading against. National News Service followed up on the story by reporting that Leslie Crocker-Snyder, a candidate in next year's election for Manhattan District Attorney, has also picked up the NYPD bosses cause.

You can look into this story at this -
Police union martyrs Saints Row 2

Now I am getting sick and tired of computer games being put into the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. If a murder had happened recently, one of the things blamed for murders would be computer games. This has been happening since the very first Grand Theft Auto released back in 1997. One of the biggest cases that involved a computer game been put to blame was Manhunt in 2004. It was when Stefan Pakeerah, 14 was killed by his friend Warren Leblanc, 17. Now Stefan’s mum put the blame the murder on the Manhunt game. She claimed that Leblanc had been 'obsessed' with the game after he pleaded guilty in court. Now the police denied a link between the murder and the game. Leblanc was found guilty of the murder of Stefan Pakeerah. It was later discovered that Leblanc didn't actually own the game, but Pakeerah did. It was also found out that Leblanc had previously seen a Chucky film at a cinema and it went unnoticed that the murder was identical to one seen in the film; when this became known, Manhunt returned to store shelves. When the investigation was going on the game had been banned from GAME and Currys stores in the UK.

Now I have done a lot of research looking into computer games especially when I was in university and found out that there is very little evidence to prove a link with violent murders in real life and violent computer games.

Now I was looking back at some work I did back when I was in university, I did a thesis project looking to see if there was link between real life violence and video games. I found some evidence from someone called Henry Jenkins.

Henry Jenkins believes that researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. Jenkins does believe it is true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players like for example the Columbine High School Incident. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. He found that majority of kids who play video games, do not commit antisocial acts.

What Jenkins found in a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. He believes that moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.

Now I know this is an old case study but I feel it can be related to what is happening now. So I’m here to say that video games don’t have an impact on real life. I think lecturers and the media are over reacting to something that comes new to mainstream society.

I thought I'll leave you on a trailer of Saints Row 2.

This is Barryboxx signing out.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

BrainBoxx : Why are we all going bust?

Hello everyone, welcome to MyBoxxCollective, this is BrainBoxx.

We all know the world is in financial turmoil right now, and some people are even calling this the start of a recession. But what does that mean?

To try and make things clearer today I am going to be focusing on why this happened, what we are trying to do to fix it and how this is going to affect us in the future.

No 1: Why?

A loan is when a bank gives you a sum of money that you have to pay back over a period of time with interest. It used to be that banks were very strict as to whom they gave out loans. They had to make sure you were definitely capable of paying it back by looking at things like how much you earned and your reliability of paying back loans in the past.

This changed about a decade or so ago when banks in America started encouraging people with low income, who weren’t really capable of paying back large amounts of money, to take out massive loans to buy property.
This trend eventually spread worldwide.

Now, a large amount of these loans started to default, which means people simply couldn’t pay the money back.
This was ok for the banks because they would simply reclaim the property and, seeing as this was a time when house prices were on the rise, they could sell on this property for more than the loan they had given to the previous owner, therefore making a profit.

This is when the problems began.

House prices work on a cycle of supply and demand. When more people want to buy houses, this creates demand, therefore they are more willing to pay higher amounts of money, so prices go up.
However they then reach a point when prices get too high for most people to be able to afford to buy, therefore less people buy houses, the price drops and then the cycle continues.

So when prices started to go down a year or so ago this was bad news for the banks.
They started to have to sell the houses for less than the loans they had given their clients. Making a loss.
Fast forward to the present day and the banks are losing so much money they are going bust.

This has also lead to a freeze up of the markets caused by the fact that the banks are no longer lending money to each other purely because they are scared of the possibility that whomever they lend to could go bust tomorrow.

Now. No 2: What are we doing to get us out of this mess?

Here is what would happen if we didn’t intervene. The big banks that made huge profits from these loans that are now going bust would simply collapse.
This would mean short term chaos, not just for the business and financial world, but also for normal people who rely on these banks to look after their savings and provide them with things like overdrafts.
This would leave us with the smaller banks who couldn’t afford to take these high risk loans. They would eventually grow and take the place of the big banks, after which financial normality would be restored.

Governments around the world don’t seem to be willing to let this happen because of the initial turmoil that would ensue.
What they intend to do will depend on where you are in the world.
In the UK Gordon Brown has instigated a nationalisation plan, in which the government has bought up the banks, basically meaning that the majority are now state owned. This means that the government should be able to have some control of the bank’s behaviour in the future, potentially having the ability to prevent another crisis like this.
Government in main land Europe are also in talks about putting into practice a similar plan.

In the USA the Bush administration has decided to take a different approach. Instead of taking control of the banks they has proposed to give US banks $700 billion which will be used to pay for the ‘toxic loans’ that the public can’t pay back.
There is however a call for a similar plan to Britain and the rest of Europe.
Regardless both tactics have been very controversial and has seen an outcry from taxpayers who don’t see why they have to pay for the bank’s mistake.
Whether this is fair or not is up to you.

In terms of how this will affect us in the future (No 3) there are conflicting opinions.

On the one hand there are those who say this is simply a blip on the radar, others say this is the beginning of a great recession.
In the UK and Europe, seeing as we assume governments will have a say in future proceedings of their banks we can hope money lending could become more responsible.
However in the US there is a danger that those who are being bailed out are still in charge without a scratch on them, and there is a danger they will continue to act irresponsibly.

Regardless in the future we are going to have to wade through a whole lot of crap. We will have to deal with rising unemployment, fuel poverty and less spare money to spend on our high streets. It is up to those that we have put in charge to make sure we survive, whether it is just a blip, or something bigger.