Christian Group Says Games Industry "Mirrors" Tobacco Industry

As the period of public consultation on the issue of an R18+ rating for videogames concludes, a conservative group claims the games industry is engaging in tactics "reminiscent of tobacco companies" in denying "violent gaming effects."

The Australian Christian Lobby says games industry claims that the link between violent computer games and aggressive thoughts or behaviour is unproven is "reminiscent of the tactics of tobacco companies in questioning the link between smoking and lung cancer."

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace argues that the games industry is ignoring research that demonstrates there is a link between violent video games and aggression.

The ACL cites a 2009 paper titled ‘Video game effects confirmed, suspected and speculative: A review of the evidence’, authored by Barlett, C.P., Anderson, C.A. & Swing, E.L., which states: “Multiple studies have found overwhelming evidence to suggest that exposure to violent video games is causally related to ... aggressive feelings, aggressive thoughts, and physiological arousal ... aggressive behaviour, and other variables.”

One of the authors of that paper ought to be familiar to Kotaku readers. C.A. Anderson is Professor Craig Anderson, the academic name-dropped by Michael Atkinson whenever he points towards research into violent games.

In replying to Michael Atkinson's public letter in December last year, Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, wrote that Anderson "is all they can draw upon in their arguments which, in themselves, are convoluted. Their dependence on this single source demonstrates there is not a widespread scientific support for their position."

Chris Prior, co-founder of Gamers 4 Croydon, agrees: "The single researcher cited by the ACL, Craig Anderson, has been called out specifically by his peers for making extensive use of a test that has no scientific grounding to 'prove' the harmfulness of violent media. His habit of ignoring bias in others' work that fits his prejudice has also been criticised.

"The argument about the impact of violent media has no founding in reality. Despite claims of extensive, reliable research and implied scientific consensus, neither exists.

"Much of the research claiming to find that consumption of violent media caused violence and aggression has been extensively criticised for ignoring results that do not fit with the prejudice, and even taking research that suggests one thing, and claiming it proves the opposite."

So, on one hand we have an argument supported by the majority of research on the topic. On the other, we have a group clinging to one lone voice who supports their case.

It's clear to see the ACL's tobacco industry is actually true. Thing is, they don't seem to realise who's who.


    ACL is the enemy of modern australia, of the gay people, new progressive culture AND multiculturalism istelf. They dont want to ambrace australia as the multicultural haven it is, but they want to stomp christian values into australia, wether we want it or not...

    they are super powerful btw, dont piss them off.

      Well of course they're powerful, ACL has links to Rudd, Conroy, Atkinson and a number of the other Right-Wing Labor Unity Politicians. As for their argument, I think it's still difficult to understand how willing people are to believe one piece of evidence which supports them over many which deny them, look at climate change science.

    and so my faith in humanity died
    They do know on smoking boxes there are warnings of the effects?
    That anyone who wants to can know that and still choose to buy them? A little something called freedom of choice
    Similar to games except games arent proven to have any harmful effects
    God , you just gotta wonder how stupid can these people really be

    Grrr, stop making Christians look like total fun police. ''Whatever is outside the body can't corrupt it.'' And yes I am a Christian gamer, and yes I played Madworld to death, and yes Jesus said that.

      ^^ This man speaks the truth. There is nothing wrong with true Christian values. The ACL seems to be made up of people with their own ideals and a misinterpretation of the Bible.

      To paraphrase Gamers 4 Croyden:

      I'm a gamer and I believe in Jesus

      (and I want to see the addition of a R18+ rating for games come to pass)

      Uh yeah. Exactly Al. I'm a gamer who's a Christian too and I think the ACL are loony.

      Here Here!

      As a Christian gamer, I'm really interested in using video games as an evangelical tool. I hope to run LANs for the community, showcasing that Christians are not, as you said, fun police!

      Aye I'm a Christian gamer too, and I want an R18+ rating - it would be better for everyone.

    It would be fun to outlaw the acl.

    i'm a christian gamer too, but claims like this just annoy me as they are totally unfounded....
    i am not a violent person in the least but i love violent videogames...
    it is just a select minority that cant distinguish fantasy from reality that are ruining it for everyone...

      I think it's not even that they can't distinguish between reality of fantasy, they just *happen* to be violent and play violent videogames.

    Christie, perhaps tell that to the christian lobby group that is making the faith look like fun police?

    I'm not a religious person, but is there a teaching of the christian faith that it is the free will of every man to make his own decisions? The role of the good christian is to show him the light of their faith, not attempt to push him into it?

    And yes, I may be 100% wrong.

    Ah... organised religion, when will you learn.

      Time for fun!

      The Australian Kotaku Lobby says ACL claims that the link between intentional misinterpretation and religious fervour or discrimination is unproven is “reminiscent of the tactics of tobacco companies in questioning the link between smoking and lung cancer.”


    Don't forget; the ACL are also behind the net filter debacle. Jim Wallace, their M.D., is on the record bragging about his unfettered access to Conroy (I'm trying to find the exact link however here's a statement released in response to it by the greens:

    The major problem is that the ACL has direct sway over both Rudd and Abbot. So no matter what happens at an election, there's still potential for these nut jobs to veto public opinion.

    At least trying to draw such a tenuous link to the tobacco industry works against any credibility they had for their claims.

    If you ask me, the ACL are a good standard to base your own values on: just base your values on the polar opposite of whatever they're going on about, and you'll do good in a modern, enlightened society.

    Jim cracks me up, he was a brigadier general and has no dramas sending men to kill or be killed in the real world. However in fantasy land he draws the line.

    Pffffft such a hypocrite.

    More idiots with big claims and no proof.

    I'm a christian and all I can say is we have ignorant morons just like every other denomination of whatevers (seeing as how we all generalize like the title implies in this case). Expect the attitude to change in the future as the oldies disappear.

      The title of the article doesn't generalize. It is the Australian Christian Lobby making the statements, therefor the title "Christian Group Says..." is perfectly correct and not a generalisation.

      It would be a generalisation if the title was "Christians Say..." implying that ALL Christians say that.

        Your probably right, I kind of thought about that after I wrote the comment although the line blurs for me when it says ‘Christian group’ as opposed to the ‘ACL’. Its hard not to take it personally.

    So this Craig Anderson chap just writes some nonsense down on paper and they all buy into it? Thats not like Christians to just read something and believe it without question.

      Hahahahaha!! I laughed for at least 5 minutes XD

    Reminds me of when the NRA ran ads connecting the passing of new gun laws in Australia to a spike in shooting deaths in the same year. They failed to mention that the spike was caused by the Port Arthur Massacre... BEFORE the new gun laws were passed. These sort of lobbyists just figure that as long as they something superficially attractive, no-one will look at how lousy the foundations are.

    By the way, for anyone interested in this Professor Anderson bloke, he's at Iowa State University (that bastion of top line research). This is NOT the Professor Craig Anderson from the Neuroscience Department at University of Sydney... wish our leaders here in Australia would spend more money on the wish list of the Aussie Prof. Anderson than the wish list of the US Prof. Anderson!

    This is surprisingly similiar to the two-minute piece of garbage that went to air on Ten News last night...

      i just watched that and well i feel kinda sick blaming a glassing at a kebab shop and on a nightclub bouncer on videogames ... yet no mention of the alcohol which at a kebab shop and a nightclub was almost certaintly the major contributing factor id like electronic frontiers australia or the IGEA or some offical group to lawer up and deman a retraction and apology on AIR prime time

      Hey! I totally watched that last night!
      "In Modern Warfare: Call of Duty 2 [...] gamers plot terror attacks against civilians."
      At least it's a mostly accurate statement? And there's a few seconds footage of the No Russian level, so that's something too, right?

      I turned around to my dad afterwards (who was also watching) and said "You should be grateful I'm not a mass murderer". He laughed and said "If you were, at least you'd get out more".

        There was no in-game footage shown. All the footage of the game in that news report was from the trailer. Which makes it obvious nobody at Channel Ten news has a clue what they're talking about. And calling it 'Modern Wafare: Call Of Duty 2' makes thier ignorance that much more obvious. It's like saying 'Revenge Of The Fallen: Transformers' or 'The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull and Indiana Jones'.


        1. They present no actual link or evidence to support their claim.

        2. Dr. Warburton is part of a fringe anti-game organisation ( and Channel Ten present no opposing view or counterbalance to his insane statement of 'greater link between games and violence than smoking and lung cancer'. The organisation themselves are violently against introducing an R rating for games.

        3. According to Channel Ten, MW2 is solely about 'plotting terror attacks against civilians'. Like, the whole game.

        4. The reporter at the end mentions 'experts'. No experts are named or presented.

        5. They try to connect video games to the schoolyard stabbing in Brisbane. Despite only the police knowing the attacker's identity.

        5. No evidence is given as to whether any crimes mentioned had anything to do with video games.

        6. People who watched it last night will actually believe it and take it as fact. Channel Ten should be ashamed of themselves for simply making things up for no reason.

          I'm not even sure it was from the trailer, either. There's a few Modern Warfare 1 shots in there, like Zakhaev and Price sliding you as Soap his handgun. Or maybe I didn't watch enough trailers. Either way, yeah, it's just a bunch of action shots spliced together that's not actual in-game footage. But they did show the right game (ignoring some of the MW1 bits), if that's any consolation.
          Still, at least most of the words were accurate. There was "Call of Duty", "Modern Warfare" and a "2" in the title, so after they jumble it around after a few more reports, they'll get it eventually.

          I like the idea that the whole game apparently revolves around plotting terror attacks. Not only for the obvious irony that for the most of the game you're fighting against it, but if there ever was a game about plotting a terrorist attack, I'd imagine it'd mostly involve you looking at all sorts of maps and plans and data, talking with a bunch of other guys in an abandoned warehouse/cave, over the span of a few months or years quite possibly amounting to absolutely nothing. Blueprints? How exciting! I can't wait to review hours upon hours of tape to review that security guard's patrol movements!

            Modern Duty of Call 2: Warfare.

            I agree with you, but part of me now thinks that a multiplayer game where you and your friends huddle over maps in caves for hours sounds pretty awesome. :)

      I liked the bit about how video games "desensitize" kids to violence. Good thing the human race never had anything like gladiator battles to the death, feeding people to lions or flogging people and then hanging them on a cross in public, then. Good thing we don't have violent riots at sporting events, or people getting angry on the road. Good thing there's no schoolyard bullying or kids dying in the playground. Yep, lets get rid of video games so this world be one big, happy, shiny place.

        why yes i agree compleatly seriously murder theft assault genocide have only been around since the first video game if only we could be rid of them we could return to holding hands and singin to acustic guitar in a green field under a freking rainbow ... i mean come on when ever i read one of these storys i think is that what these douche bags actually belive these problems pre-date any currnet living country or civiliseations (id damn well put money on the fact that mesopotamians had thief and murder issues and i can guarantee these problems will continue to exist at least untill we are assimilated into the borg collective

      I think I die a little inside every time I see tripe like this.
      The only solace I find is that this was last night, and the public consultation closed a few days ago.

      To be honest, I came away from that with the impression that they were trying to say these games are not suitable for children. That tougher guidelines and classifications need to be introduced.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what we are fighting for?

        The clear message is that video games are bad for people, not just children. Unless you are suggesting that the kebab shop stabbing was somehow child-related?

        In any case making a statement linking video games to "planning terrorist attacks on civilians" is clearly inflammatory.

    [Insert some sort of link here about Mrs Lovejoy going around screaming "Won't somebody please think of the children?!"]

    As it stands more people have died from RELIGION than GAMES, ever. Period.

      oh snap

    People are surprised that Religious Fundies make shit up? Mmmm.

    Perhaps those of the unprovable mythological-belief persuasion should take a look at there own "Recruitment" and "Denial" tactics. They have more in common with evil corporations and the tobacco industry than any Games Studio.

    KEEP AUSTRALIA SECULAR don't let religious fools have any power. Religion needs to be put in its proper place. A belief system, not a plan for governing. It shouldn't even be a guide for ethics. Let rationality and logic rule.


    "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."- Carl Sagan

    So where is the violent killer games are turning this kid into?

    Yeah i've been using MW2 to plot terror attacks since release.... seriously they cannot beleive that can they?!?

      Dude, why not? It was on the news, so it must be true right?

      We live in a world where a journalist writes a story about the 'new Sony Xbox'! Anything is possible!

    As soon as I saw that this was a Christian group kicking up on R18+ games, my first thought was "God dammit.... -.-"

    Hmmmmm... Here's a thought: People over the age of 18 can choose to buy cigarettes, yet we don't have this choice.

    Kind of a worthless argument, if you ask me

    If you look at statistics the bible has caused more violent 'happenings' than game. You know the sort of things family mass suicides, witch burning and oh a little flutter in history known as the SPANISH INQUISITION! (in addition to countless other genocides).

    So before pious morons tell the free media to change the label I want to see a big sticker on the bible saying: 'Warning contains references to violence, indecency and torture' right next to the other sticker saying 'FICTION'.

      And yes I realise that Christians and Catholics aren't really the same but... I hate the idea of restrictive beliefs and the idea of religion itself.

    well i just had a thought so on behalf of the millions of people butchered over the centurys by various christian denominations for being heratics id like to point out that the christians DO NOT and ill repeat this ... DOOOOO NOOOOT have the moral high ground in any conversation on the topic of violence

    Ye Gods.

    Saying that the gaming industry is akin to the tobacco industry is a nice soundbite, but totally unfounded hyperbole. You want something that really endorses violence, read the Bible.

    They don't call it 'going Old Testament' for nothing.

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