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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Gaming industry to review content
Majestic WWW
Majestic was available to download from the internet
The gaming industry is to review its content to avoid offence in the wake of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Though some long-awaited action games will be launched as planned, many companies are already taking action.

Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem: Violent scenes in games
"I think that our industry has a responsibility to look at what we do," said Doug Lowenstein of the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA).

"We will assess whether tragedies like this should in fact influence how we approach making the products that we make."

The IDSA represents 90% of the entertainment software industry.

Leading US game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has withdrawn Majestic, a popular interactive game that draws players into an X-Files-like conspiracy.

During the game players receive recorded messages from actors portraying frantic characters.

EA was worried that these could echo the real-life messages from victims of the attack on the US, though it maintains that these are merely games.

"We've always held (that) there's considerable physical and psychological distance between our games and the reality of current events," said EA spokesman Jeff Brown.

Games are unreal and I don't think people will make that connection

Technology analyst Julian Morse
Arush Entertainment is also revising a forthcoming game that features renowned video game character Duke Nukem on the rampage in New York.

The game will now be monitored for possible offensive scenes, such as depictions of the World Trade Center.

Microsoft has not yet commented on the future of its forthcoming X-box console game Metal Gear Solid. The protagonist in that game reportedly runs amok in New York.

Nintendo and Sony have both said they are pushing ahead with their releases.

But this is an industry well known for the violence of its products and many observers feel that any long-term transformation is unlikely.

"I doubt (game publishers) will make any change," said technology analyst Julian Morse. "(Games) are unreal and I don't think people will make that connection."

Some are even arguing that games can provide an important release to people under pressure.

"Now more than ever people need escapism," said John Davison of the Ziff-Davis Media Game Group.

"Games provide a kind of all-engaging diversion that even movies cannot."

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