I was just flipping through the various news networks (Fox outstanding, of course) while eating some left over pizza and just happened to come to MSNBC as the news lady was introducing the Executive Producer, Mike Bilder, in charge of the Midway's new unlicensed pro football game called "Blitz: The League". The game contains an entirely fictitious football league, composed entirely of fictitious teams and players, and features gameplay and story elements that are unsavory to say the least. Not only is the gameplay spectacularly brutal, but players are able to run the gamut of off-the-field discretions. Steroids, boozing, drugs, prostitutes -- it's all in here. The game's mantra is "win at any cost" and allows you to do whatever it takes to win and have fun doing it.
Needless to say, the game is rated "M" for Mature. And unfortunately even more needless to say is that the game and its makers are being taken to task by the media who still think only kids play videogames.
The brief interview on MSNBC went like this:
MSNBC: What about the children?
Bilder: Well, the game is rated "M" for Mature which is just like an "R" rated movie and it's up to parents and retailers to keep the game out of the hands of children.
MSNBC: But isn't the game good enough on it's own, why do you need the extra stuff? It only hurts the children.
Bilder: We wanted to create a game for adults. Just like an R rated movie or things on the Internet, it's up to the parents to monitor their kids and protect them from things that they aren't old enough to view. A lot of people are still under the misconception that games are only being played by teenagers, when the average age of a gamer is about 26 years old. We created this game for that audience. An older audience.
MSNBC: What makes you so sure they want this type of stuff in their games?
Bilder: The success of games with similar content suggests it, not to mention the popularity of R-rated movies and what's on late-night television. But ultimately we'll have to wait and let the consumer tell us by deciding whether or not to buy it.
Well, Mike, I bought your game. And I'd like to commend you on taking the lemons that was EA's exclusive license with the NFL and making some pretty good lemonade. I'd also like to commend you on keeping a smile on during that ridiculous interview on MSNBC. It was totally clear from the start that she was on a witch hunt and I enjoyed watching you calmly explain that the game wasn't meant for kids and that videogame publishers shouldn't be held to a higher standard than movie studios.
Mike Bilder's response to the accusatory tone of the interviewer should be repeated like a mantra throughout the industry when confronted by these grandstanding journalists and lawyers.
The response should consist of these 3 parts:
1) The game was not made for kids.
2) It's the same as an R rated movie. Why should games be treated differently?
3) The average age of a videogame player is in their late 20's.
I'll have more to say about "Blitz: The League" after I spend some more time with it. I purchased about a half-dozen new games in the past 10 days and will get more time in with it soon.