Last week saw the publication of the Byron Review (an examination of, amongst other things, the effect of playing video games on children). Many in the games industry/media were somewhat surprised to find it was a sensible, level-headed look at the issue, concluding with a series of reasonable recommendations which the government has already announced it will take on board.
However, this is of little interest to those in politics and the media who have already made up their mind on video games as a medium. ScottishGames picks up on two shining examples, the first being this truly appalling request for stories from a 'national newspaper' on the topic of: 'Did computer games make you turn to a life of crime?' The paper is offering "hundreds of pounds to the right person" who provides a suitably salacious response. I was initially shocked to read this, and then simply felt naive for my reaction. This kind of non-journalism aims for the lowest common denominator - playing on public fears and then tossing them a scapegoat - simply to sell papers. As a result, these tabloids will be the very last to change their tune on the subject of video games - they'll wait till the general public fully accepts them as a part of today's culture, and then they'll find some different fears to play on. (Rant over.)
The second story ScottishGames picks up on isn't much better - Labour MP Keith Vaz has been claiming that the Byron Review (edit: name corrected) agrees with his usual line on how violent video games cause real-life violence. Except it doesn't. Another easy and popular line to peddle, regardless of the the increasing body of evidence against it.
(Vaz, incidentally, is best known for quotes such as "there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech", and was once described in The Guardian as "an ideological weathervane... [whose] displays of political double-jointedness that have astounded even fellow politicians." Okay, rant over again.)