So here we are, a mere three weeks into 2010, and the world media already afire with vitally important news related to science and technology. No, not that scientists have mapped the genetic structure of the plant most effective against malaria; that pales with insignificance against the fact that Ron Jeremy, the world’s most unlikely and yet successful porn star, has stated that computer games are worse for children than pornography.
At least, that’s what every attention-whoring journalist around the world would have you believe. The truth of the matter is, as always, considerably less sensational. Speaking at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, Jeremy defended the porn industry against the wonderfully named anti-porn campaigner Craig Gross, and in doing so stated that studies “have found that violent video games are a much bigger negative influence on kids.” Which studies precisely Jeremy failed to mention.
It would be easy to mock the man, who has himself appeared in games such as the execrable sex-adventure Bonetown, and whose likeness to everyone’s favourite Italian Plumber has almost certainly earned him a fair amount of money realigning a grotesquely proportioned Princess Peach’s water pipes. Yet aside from his vague comment about videogames in defence of his own oft-persecuted industry, Jeremy genuinely had some important things to say on the porn industry’s commitment to the restriction of children accesing adult content online, a stance which had earned the support of various child-protection agencies.
Yet everything of interest that Jeremy actually said has become irrelevent, as media has latched onto his off-the-cuff comment about video games like barnacles to the side of a ship, as if Satan himself arose from the infernal realms of hell and stated categorically that even he wouldn’t play the ‘No Russian’ level in Modern Warfare 2.
The BBC in particular were guilty of blowing this story massively out of proportion, with a huge banner atop their website dedicated to alerting everyone to the story. Shouldn’t the BBC be doing more important things like filling BBC Three’s airtime with terrible reality TV documentaries about obese animals and endless repeats of the same five episodes of Family Guy?
In all seriousness, though, the games industry gets enough flak without whole stories being concocted from a few offhand words. Mind you, that’s exactly what I’ve done with this column, so maybe it’s an easy mistake to make.