ARTICLES | October 9th, 2007
Who’s Afraid of Videogames?

The subject of violence in games is never far from the front pages ? especially in the wake of the decision by the BBFC to refuse Manhunt 2 a certificate ? for the second time. But just what should the standards be for the violence portrayed in games? Should they be tougher than for film or TV? How sophisticated is the BBFC’s understanding of games and how they work? GameCity is delighted to welcome Jim Cliff, a longtime BBFC examiner to the festival to discuss these issues and more.

Censorship is always a sensitive issue, and as games get more ambitious in their subject matter, it’s an issue they are facing more frequently. Last year, the decision of the SlamDance Guerrilla Game Festival to ban one of the nominees – Super Columbine RPG ? sparked controversy across the gaming world. That decision provoked the maker of Super Columbine RPG, Danny Ledonne, to create a documentary addressing the issues his provocative game had raised. Are there some subjects games should never tackle? Are games always trivial, or can they shed new light on historical or social issues?

GameCity is exceptionally proud to present the world premiere first-cut of this documentary ? ‘Playing Columbine’ – followed by an extraordinary chance to put your questions to director Danny Ledonne and Sam Roberts, the curator of the Slamdance Guerrilla Game festival, who took the difficult decision to disqualify Ledonne’s game. The Q&A session, led by the Guardian newspaper’s Keith Stuart, will be conducted via live videolink from Washington DC session following the screening of the documentary

Finally, GameCity offers a chance for those who aren’t so familiar with the games industry to get their questions answered. The ‘Who’s Afraid Of Videogames’ session puts an expert panel at your disposal, so you can finally put your mind to rest on any subject ? are games addictive? Are they good for my kids? What do all the different ratings mean? The GameCity panel ? developer Jonathan Smith, e-learning specialist Jenny Murray, addiction researcher Mark Griffiths and BBFC examiner Jim Cliff ? has the answers.

Jim Cliff: The Man From The BBFC ? 3pm, 26th October. Broadway Cinema and Media Centre

Playing Columbine ? 5.30pm, 26th October. Broadway Cinema and Media Centre. Over 18s only

Who’s Afraid Of Videogames? ? 10am, 27th October, View From The Top Gallery

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4 New Versions of L.A. NOIRE coming this November