LAFS SVGI Session 9 - Games and Society
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LAFS SVGI Session 9 - Games and Society



Lecture for Session 9 of The Los Angeles Film School's Survey of the Video Game Industry course.

Lecture for Session 9 of The Los Angeles Film School's Survey of the Video Game Industry course.



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  • Intellectual property (IP) is any creative work or invention considered to be the property of its creator. <br /> <br /> Often, intellectual property rights are recognized and protected under the corresponding fields of law.[1] Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights, such as the ability to publish to various markets, license the manufacture and distribution of inventions, and sue in case of unlawful or deceptive copying. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets.
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LAFS SVGI Session 9 - Games and Society LAFS SVGI Session 9 - Games and Society Presentation Transcript

  • Session 9 David Mullich Survey of the Video Game Industry The Los Angeles Film School
  • Fighting Games G4 Icons #58: Fighting Games (20:05)
  • Mortal Kombat (1992)  Publisher: Midway  Designer: Midway  Genre: Fighting  Mortal Kombat was one of many violent video games that appeared in 1992-93, and was the first game to raise the issue of violence in the medium  The U.S. Senate held hearings on video game violence  Possible catalyst to the implementation of a rating system, and the first game to receive an “M” rating
  • Doom (1993)  Publisher: id Software  Designer: Tom Hall, Sandy Petersen, John Romero, Shawn Green  Genre: First-Person Shooter  Doom was, and remains, notorious for its high levels of graphic violence and satanic imagery  The game sparked criticism throughout a period of school shootings when it was found that the Columbine High School shooters were avid players of the game
  • Grand Theft Auto (1997)  Publisher: BMG Interactive  Designer: DMA Design  Genre: Action-Adventure Open World  The game was controversial from the very first incarnation of the series. It was condemned in Britain, Germany, and France due to its “extreme violence,” and Brazil banned it outright.  Later versions of the game were criticized for allowing the player to commit violent acts, including the killing of policemen, and instigating gang wars
  • GTA 5 And Violence Does GTA 5 Mean That There Will Always Be Violent Video Games? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios (6:13)
  • Columbine High School Tragedy  In 1999, two students opened fire in their Colorado high school -- shooting 20 people and killing 13  The media revealed that the two killers played a lot of violent video games  The widow of one of the slain teachers filed a lawsuit naming multiple video game publishers  Do video games contribute to violence?
  • Arguments That Games Do Promote Violence The basic claim is that video games are more likely to affect people’s behavior than TV:  Games are immersive  Games are repetitive  Games reward violent behavior According to a 2001 study reported in the journal Psychological Science, children who play violent video games experience an increase in:  The physiological signs of aggression  Aggressive actions
  • However…. A relationship between virtual aggression and real- life aggression isn’t necessarily cause and effect. Maybe bullies in real life also enjoy being bullies in virtual life, so they play violent video games The results of studies, so far, are inconclusive. And to date, all lawsuits against video game companies for distributing violent content have been thrown out of court. But the controversy is far from over.
  • PBS Newshour Can Violent Video Games Play a Role in Violent Behavior? (13:25)
  • Discussion  What was the incident that happened in Newtown Connecticut?  What do critics of video game violence say is the effect on players?  What do supporters of video games say in response to the criticisms?  What did the Supreme Court have to say about video game violence?  What does President Obama recommend doing about video game violence?
  • Violence and Free Speech Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 06 - Free Speech (7:04)
  • Entertainment Software Ratings Board The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. trade association dedicated to the business and public affairs of video game publishers. The ESRB was established in September 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association as a means of regulating the video game industry.
  • ESRB Ratings  Early Childhood – Game is geared towards children ages 3 and up.  Everyone – Game is well suited for a general audience. It has minimal violence but may contain some crude language.  Teens – Game is for older kids, ages 13 and up. Such games often have violent content and can contain strong language.  Mature – Game is for people 17 and older. It usually has very violent or gory content, strong language and possible nudity.  Adults Only – Game is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. They may contain graphic violence, language or sex.
  • How Games Get Rated  Publishers submit game content (video) to ESRB  ESRB has reviewers view tapes  Reviewer recommends rating  ESRB sends rating to publisher  Publisher can change content and resubmit
  • Global Ratings Groups  US – Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB):  Europe – Pan European Game Information (PEGI):  Germany: USK:  Australia: Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC):  Japan: Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO):
  • ESRB G4 Icons Episode #42: ESRB (21:32)
  • COPPA The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 places restrictions on the online collection of information from children under 13 years of age. It details:  What a website operator must include in a privacy policy  When and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian  What responsibilities an operator has to protect children’s privacy and safety online, including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13
  • Intellectual Property  What is the Goal?  Technological IP  Creative IP
  • Importance of IP  IP protects market share  IP represents future earnings  IP represents majority of company worth
  • Copyright  Literary works  Musical works  Dramatic works  Pantomime and Choreography works  Pictorial, graphic, sculptural works  Motion Pictures and other audiovisual works  Sound Recordings  Architectural works  Computer Software
  • Copyright  Length: 95/120 years  Process: Low cost - $30.00, easy to obtain  Rights: Negative rights  Penalties: $150,000 per + Damages  Scène à faire: elements that are almost obligatory for the genre
  • Trade Secrets  Any idea or process that conveys business advantage  Length: Immortal  Process: Cost of Practice  Rights: Negative rights  Penalties: Damages
  • Trademark  Any Word, Name, Symbol, Graphic or Short Phrase  Length: Immortal  Process: $3,000 - $4,000 Federal registration  Rights: Negative Rights  Penalties: Damages and/or seizure or destruction of infringing items
  • Patents  Any new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter (but not something found in nature)  Length: 20 Years (with renewals)  Process: 2-3 years, $10,000 - $30,000  Rights: Negative Rights  Penalties: Damages  Cost of Protection: $1,000,000+
  • Examples of IP Copyright Trade Secret Trademark Patents Music Customer Mailing Lists Company Name Inventive Gameplay Story Publisher Contacts Company Logo Inventive Game Design Characters Middleware contacts Game Title Tech Innovations Art In-House Development Costs Game Sub-Title Hardware Innovations Box Design In-House Development Tools Identifiable "catch phrases" Source Code Deal Terms
  • Different Forms of IP IP in the Game Industry Patents Trademark Trade Secret Copyright Length 20 years Immortal Immortal 95/120 Years Cost High Medium Medium Low Ease of Obtaining Tough Medium Medium Easy Use Rare Often Often Often Registration? Yes Recommended No Recommended Coverage Medium Narrow Large Large
  • Rights of Publicity  Commercial use of own image or likeness  Ellen Page accused Naughty Dog of “ripping off” her likeness for their game The Last of Us.
  • Software Piracy Copyright infringement is the use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works, without permission from the copyright holder. Piracy is the unauthorized copying, distribution and selling of works in copyright.
  • The Debate Software publishers say that software piracy removes revenue from the developers, jobs are lost and there is less incentive to create new software. However, there are the people who believe that all information should be free and all programming should be open source. They believe that this will spark industry creativity instead of stifling. Others argue that personal backups, and being able to resell software as long as you are not still using it should always be legal regardless of what a company wishes to say.
  • Piracy Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 26 – Piracy (7:32)
  • Are Video Games Art? The concept of video games as a form of art is a controversial topic within the entertainment industry. Though video games have been afforded legal protection as creative works by the Supreme Court of the United States, the philosophical concept that video games are works of art remains in question, even when considering the contribution of creative elements such as graphics and music.
  • Thumbs Down From Roger Ebert The late film critic Roger Ebert described video games as a non-artistic medium incomparable to the more established art form: “To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.” Ebert went on to say that video games don't explore the meaning of being human as other art forms do.
  • Enriching Lives Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 07 - Enriching Lives (7:10)
  • Are Games Art? Extra Credits, Season 3, Episode 02 "Art" Is Not The Opposite Of "Fun” (6:23)
  • The Art of Video Games The Art of Video Games -- Chris Melissinos' Keynote Address (21:12)
  • Video Game Addition Video game addiction is an excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games, which interferes with a person's everyday life Video game addiction may present as compulsive game-playing; social isolation; mood swings; diminished imagination; and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other life events
  • Video Game Addiction Extra Credits, Season 3, Episode 04 - Game Addiction (pt. 1) (6:23)
  • Game Addiction Extra Credits, Season 3, Episode 05 - Game Addiction (pt. 2) (25:03)
  • Terms  Educational games are games that are designed to teach people about certain subjects, understand an historical event or culture, or assist them in learning a skill as they play  Serious games are simulations of real- world events or processes designed to train or educate users
  • The Oregon Trail (1971-2011)  Publisher: Broderbund, others  Designer: MECC  Genre: Simulation  The original game, first created by Don Rawitsch, a senior at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, was designed to teach school children about the realities of 19th century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail.  The player assumes the role of a wagon leader guiding his party of settlers from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon's Willamette Valley over the Oregon Trail via a covered wagon in 1848.
  • Math Blaster! (1981)  Publisher: Knowledge Adventure  Designer: Davidson & Associates  Genre: Educational Action  Players are presented with a math problem and had to shoot at the correct answer.  Spawned numerous sequels and expanded into other subjects such as reading and science
  • Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego? (1985)  Publisher: Broderbund  Designer: Broderbund  Genre: Educational Strategy  The goal is to track Carmen’s villains around the world and ultimately catch Carmen herself.  Spawned several critically-acclaimed sequels as well as television shows and books.
  • SimCity (1989)  Publisher: Broderbund, others  Designer: Will Wright  Genre: Simulation  The objective is to design and build a city, without any goals except in certain scenarios.  After the success of the original game, Wright’s company, Maxis, created “Sim” games of many types, including multiple sequels to SimCity as well as The Sims.
  • Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (2005)  Publisher: Nintendo  Designer: Kouichi Kawamoto  Genre: Puzzle  Based on the book by Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, Brain Age features a variety of puzzles designed to keep certain parts of the brain active.  However, there has been controversy over the game’s scientific effectiveness.
  • Games In Education Extra Credits, Season 6, Episode 22 - Games in Education (6:01)
  • Propaganda Games Extra Credits, Season 3, Episode 12 - Propaganda Games (9:11)
  • Facing Controversy Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 15 - Facing Controversy (9:53)
  • Jesse Schell Jesse Schell on Gaming Education and the Future of Games -- BIG TALK with Adam Sessler (16:25)