Video games value, violence will be debatedBy Seth Sanders
An upcoming conference sponsored by the Universitys Cultural Policy Center will address the complex issues raised by video games and their impact on children and culture. Following the Littleton, Colo., shootings and myriad other outbreaks of youth violence, the public debate on this issue has become passionate.
On Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27, a wide range of significant voices in the debate, from psychologists and activists to artists and game designers, will come together for two days of intensive discussion.
The conference, Playing by the Rules: Video Games and Cultural Policy, will air detailed evidence and arguments about video games potential and problems, while expanding the perspective on their meaning and their influence. The program will feature such cultural studies experts as Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jenkins will explore the way video games pose imaginative possibilities as well as dangers.
The opposing sides of the issue of video game violence will be illuminated when Craig Anderson, professor and chairman of psychology at Iowa State University, shares a panel with Jonathan Freedman of the department of psychology at the University of Toronto. Anderson is the co-author of a study directly linking violent video game play with violent behavior, while Freedman produced a survey showing that most English-language studies do not demonstrate a link between violent media and violent behavior.
Additionally, artists will discuss the creative possibilities of video games. Among the speakers will be video game designer Noah Falstein, formerly of DreamWorks and currently of The Inspiracy, and Feng Mengbo, a young artist from Beijing whose work uses the styles and structures of contemporary electronic games. Mengbos work will be featured in an upcoming exhibition on campus at The Renaissance Society.
Public roundtables on Day 1 and closed-door working panels on Day 2 will explore the use of interactive play in education, the ways that video gaming affects families and communities, the future of video games as an art form and the regulatory issues raised by vio-lent games. Conference organizers hope to move the debate forward in all of these areas by creating a forum where critics and game designers, psychologists and public policy experts can air the issues and evidence.
Public roundtables will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, in the first-floor theatre of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required because of seating limitations.
Video on Video, a documentary about video game culture in Chicago, will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, in a public screening at the Universitys Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th St.
The following public panels will be offered Friday, Oct. 26, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.:
The following panels, open to experts only, will be on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th St.:
The final session on Saturday will be a public screening of Video on Video: Documentaries of Video Game Culture, beginning at 7 p.m., in the Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th St. The film, created by Cinema & Media Studies graduate students Kaveh Askari and Michelle Puetz, is a documentary about video game culture in Chicago.
The filmmakers and some of the video game players featured in the film will take questions following the screening.