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We wanted to avoid covering this story altogether – our logic, of course, being that Fox clearly wants attention, and it's pulled very similar game-demonizing stunts in the past. But the outlet's misinformation-packed article is everywhere now, and we'd be remiss if we didn't attempt to drop a kernel of actual truth into the mess. So we're not going to talk about Fox or its alleged “experts.” We're not even going to link to its article. Instead, we're going show you some excellent investigative work by the fine folks over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
So that you don't have to sift through Fox's handiwork yourself, here's the gist: the article declares that Bulletstorm is “the worst videogame in the world” because the game contains sexual innuendos, which somehow turn the game's over-the-top, cartoony shooting sections into “sexual scenes,” which – according a TV psychologist with no relevant gaming experience – are “in large part” the reason there's been a recent increase in rapes.
Ok. Are you still with us? Have you remained conscious despite your keyboard-crushing rage? Good. Now it's time for the fun part. First up, as Rock, Paper, Shotgun explained using (SHOCK) factual information, there hasn't been an increase in rapes. Quite the opposite, actually. In the last three decades (roughly gaming's entire existence), rape has dropped off 85 percent.
Granted, not all of Fox's sources were totally out of the loop when it came to gaming. Fox also contacted a few reputable sources. Here's the thing, though: their quotes were also absurdly over-the-top. For instance, Billy Pidgeon of M2 research allegedly told Fox that games with mature content often “pump up” their violent and sexual content in order to cover up for a lack of quality. In the end, he allegedly added, “this tactic typically fails, as can be seen in the poor sales performance of titles such as BMX XXX and Postal.” In other words, violent games are bad all around. No one likes them and they're clearly evil in every possible way.
So, how'd Fox do it? Was it magic? A Jedi mind trick? Nope. Instead, it's a little technique called “selective quoting.” Here's what Mr. Pidgeon actually said: “The market will favor games with quality gameplay and content, so if Bulletstorm is a good game, gamers seventeen and older will likely buy it [Emphasis ours]. Games without sufficient quality of gameplay — games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content — often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention...”
Fox, of course, used its quote-based nip-tuckery on many of its sources, or – in the event that they failed to spew back the exact words Fox attempted to put in their mouths with heavily skewed questions – omitted their answers altogether. Fair and balanced, huh?
And that's only the tip of the iceberg. We highly, highly recommend that you take a look at Rock, Paper, Shotgun's entire multi-part expose and spread the word to anyone that might have actually taken Fox's targeted half-truths as gospel. We may not be able to bring “news” outlets crashing down for stunts like these, but at least we can help clean up their messes.