Volume 95, Issue 11

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
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Londoners rally for peace

Games hit too close to home

USC loyalty causes confusion

OUSA puts student face to student debt

News Briefs

Games hit too close to home

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

Many video and computer game makers have altered or postponed their releases as a result of the events of Sept. 11.

On Monday, Activision Inc. announced it is postponing the delay of Spider-Man 2 Enter: Electro due to some fight scenes that take place on top of buildings resembling the World Trade Center.

"Out of respect for the victims, their families and our fellow citizens, we will be postponing the launch and making minor changes to the game," said president and Chief Operating Officer Ron Doornink in a press release.

Despite having released Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 a year ago, Electronic Arts has decided to replace its current boxes – which feature the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and buildings that resemble the World Trade Center, all of which appear to be damaged or destroyed. Consumers who have already bought the game will be given the option of exchanging their boxes.

The military strategy game involves a war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In one part, a player must obliterate the Pentagon before moving on to take down the World Trade Center.

While EA is facing many questions about whether it will alter its game-making strategy in light of last weeks events, they do not plan to withdraw any games that are already on the shelves.

"We believe people who play games know the difference between reality and fantasy," said EA corporate communications manager Trudy Muller. "These were done long before the attacks were even dreamed up.

"We believe we should be held to the same standards as the movie and book industry."

Londoner Bryce Holiday, a former game designer for both Electronic Arts and Blackbox Games, said the blurring of the line between fantasy and reality is a hot topic in the video game industry.

He pointed to the soon to be released State of Emergency by G.O.D. Games, which was inspired by the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, as a game symbolizing this issue. In the game, Holiday said, a person is put into a riot and is supposed to cause as much chaos as possible, including killing police officers.

"The ESRB [Entertainment Software Rating Board] ratings are the only standards forced on the industry," he said. "Really, [it comes down to the fact] that the content and themes included in games are what the consumer wants and they will ultimately decide what gets released."

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