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Sunday, August 27, 2006

An Apology

OK, yes, I'm a hypocrite. A dirty, self-deprecating, summer's day orifice stain on the king sized bed that is the internet. If you have seen the title of the video above this post, observed the comments I made on the last video I posted on this blog and correlated this data correctly then you will know why I say this. Filthy. Unclean. But please, in my time of infection, you - most sterile and fragrant scented visitor to my site - can help me to recover from the sepsis rapidly encroaching upon my organs. I implore you, watch the video and grit your teeth through the first unbearable moments; By doing this you will be offering me your arms of vindication and dragging me out of this vat of puss within which I am drowning.

Now, if my typing fingers were not currently encrusted in a hardening yellow orgy of germs I'd be able to tell you that I love this video. I'd tell you that I respect 'Software Pirate' (the video's author) for his accomplishment and bravery when facing what must have been an intimidating interviewing environment. If my eyes were not clouding over with ooze I would have observed that although the protesting group - the 'Peaceaholics' - displayed strangely threatening bodily language considering their affiliation with non-violence; the interviewees put across their viewpoint in an eloquent and well informed manner.

The central non-swashbuckling figure in this video raises a question that deserves to be answered by the video games industry. Why is it that children are able to purchase unrated games on the internet using their own debit cards? Being a child once myself, I know from experience that using a debit card on the internet is not as simple as one may assume. Only a handful of websites will accept cards such as Visa Electron, but it is this fistful of bothers that creates the issue as I see it here. Minors should not be allowed to purchase unsuitable games, and an unrated game could very well be unsuitable.

So what's the solution? Banning Bully is not the answer. Many gamers enjoy violent games. I see blood, gore and death on my screen every day and I laugh at it. The ragdoll corpse tumbling down the staircase and sliding head-first into the fireplace is a great source of amusement to me, and I would be no better adjusted to life if its influence was removed from my psyche. Surely banks, the issuers of credit and debit cards, hold personal information on their customers? Information such as birth date and thus age? I know that retail websites must check certain information before allowing a purchasing transaction to complete (account number, name etc.) so what's stopping the banks and the websites from getting together and swapping data on the age of their customers at the same time? If the age of the cardholder is below that of the game's rated age, or if the game is unrated and the cardholder is below 18 or whatever age an individual is deemed to be an adult in their society then the purchase will be denied. Perhaps this system would also encourage developers to have their games rated sooner, so as to avoid loss of sales on a game suitable for kids but remaining unrated.

And when I've coughed up the last crusted remains of filth from my lungs you can make me Prime Minister of the World.

Edit : I found this. It seems that (in the UK at least) the Bank of England is compelled to release its data when presented with a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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