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Run for your lives! Fox says Bulletstorm causes rape

Oh Fox News ... will you ever tire of trying to terrify our nation?

In a recent article titled "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" Fox News reporter John Brandon does his best Chicken Little impression with this opening line: "Parents had better beware: There's a Bulletstorm on the horizon."

He's talking about the forthcoming first-person shooter from People Can Fly/Epic Games/EA due to hit stores Feb. 22. The game —which is an over-the-top, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, mad-cap bullet fest — is a "Mature"-rated game. That means it's meant for grown-ups (as in people 17 years and older) and has been labeled as such by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

But don't tell Fox News that. The Fox article not only insists young children (9-year-olds, in fact) are going to be playing the game, it then goes on to quote an expert who claims games like "Bulletstorm" have caused an increase in sex crimes. Rape even.

Says the breathless article:

...with kids as young as 9 playing such games, the experts spoke with were nearly universally worried that video game violence may be reaching a fever pitch. Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told that sexual situations and acts in video games -- highlighted so well in Bulletstorm -- have led to real-world sexual violence.  “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” she said. 

Of course, Fox doesn't bother to offer up a study to support such a claim. You know why? Because there isn't one. And if there is ... I call bullspit. Also, the FBI says rape is down nationwide. That is, if you want to believe those guys.

The sexual content the Fox article is referring to is the sexual innuendo found in the game's "Skill Shot" system. With Skill Shots, extra points are awarded for outlandish enemy kills. You get "Gang Bang" points for killing multiple enemies with the Flail Gun and you get "Topless" points if you cut the torso off an enemy. Also, the characters in the game use the F-word. (Oh my!)

But wait, beyond the innuendo ... do the game characters actually have any, oh, sex in the game? An EA rep says, in fact, no.

So, what's to be done about this civilization-destroying madness? The Fox article suggests that the Supreme Court should uphold the (currently unconstitutional) California law that would make it illegal for "violent" games to be sold to minors with fines being handed down to retailers. Because more government involvement in our lives is something Fox News likes to get behind. Hey ... hold on just a minute ...?

While I refuse to directly link to the Fox story (you're going to have to go find it yourself) I will link to this amusing post  from game site taking the article apart, piece by piece.

Meanwhile, Tammy Schachter, vice president of public relations for EA, has sent me this response:

As you know, Bulletstorm is a work of entertainment fiction that takes place in the 26th century on the abandoned fictitious paradise planet Stygia, where our heroes fight mutants, monsters, flesh-eating plants and gigantic dinosaurs. Epic, People Can Fly and EA are avid supporters of the ESA and believe in the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. We believe in and abide by the policies put in place by the ESRB.  Bulletstorm is rated M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language and use of alcohol. The game and its marketing adhere to all guidelines set forth by the ESRB; both are designed for people 17+. Never is the game marketed to children. Epic, People Can Fly and EA support the right of artists to create works of entertainment fiction for consumers of all ages, including adults who enjoy action adventures like Bulletstorm. Much like Tarantino's Kill Bill or Rodriguez's Sin City, this game is an expression of creative entertainment for adults.

Next up, this breaking story just in from Fox News: The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

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Winda Benedetti writes about games for You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter .