GOOD NEWS/“BAD” NEWS

Time for another BAD FOR YOU roundup of reviews (excerpts included; follow link for full post).

From graphic novel writer/researcher/editor Paul Buhle’s review for The Comics Journal:

“For a book aimed at kids, this one is chock-full of information, but presented so well in comics (and also charts and info-graphics) that the details are destined to move easily, and usefully, into young minds.”

From comic legend Tony Isabella’s blog Tales of Wonder:

“This non-fiction book combines comic-book storytelling – art by Pyle – with graphs and prose articles in a delightful journey through the centuries. … If I ever write a sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, you can bet Pyle and Cunningham have earned themselves a place in it.”

From a “Young Adult/Children’s Librarian in Indiana” blog:

“This is a cool exploration of the many ways that adults have tried to take away fun from kids and teens.”

And from a self-described “ artistic queer vegan feminist librarian” at the blog Glitter and Dirt:

“AHHHH! This book is awesome!!!

The whole of the piece is a testament to the historical and present American mistrust and mistreatment of youth– it’s totally great. I read it straight through.”

Our interview on the Geekdad site “Video Games, D&D, and Farting on the Bus: Bad for You Is Good for You,” got a discussion going about the once vilified game of chess.

That exposure lead to a post on a gaming website Gamasutra –  a coveted spot in the eyes of the authors, since BAD FOR YOU features a whole section on the debate about the impact of video games on kids.

“Like video games, chess was once decried as a time-waster that kept kids entranced at a desk for hours when they could have been outside playing or studying something useful.”

BAD FOR YOU even appears on a website about “BIGFOOT” and “THE PARANORMAL.” It’s a blog by the author of Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience. The website features an excerpt from the book about, big surprise, Legend Tripping.

THE TWELFTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STUBBS THE ZOMBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, everyone loves zombies – just look how many movies and TV shows feature the creatures. In this particular video game, the really cool part was that it turned the whole horror genre around by letting the player become the brain-munching monster, roaming the city, hunting humans. Stubbs was also one of the first horror games to use humor as part of the action – leading to what the game’s creator called “funny results.”

WHY IT WAS BAD: According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, Stubbs was encouraging cannibalism in kids! “It’s something we’ve never seen before,” NIMF told a crowd at their 2005 press conference to announce their annual “Games to Avoid” that year. Stubbs supposedly send “the worst kind of message to kids” and was “dangerous to your children’s health.” While the organization never had the power to actually ban a video game, for 15 years NIMF would post the list a few weeks before Christmas, hoping to scare parents away from purchasing them as gifts for their kids.Over a hundred video games made NIMF’s “Games to Avoid” over the years, some of which were super popular, including Doom, Grand Theft Auto and Halo. All these games mentioned so far were rated M for Mature. Which means they’re for 17-year-olds and not kids – so what exactly was NIMF so worked up about? By the way, the group dis-banned in 2009. Ho-Ho-Ho.

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And now that you know how dangerous toys can be…

 

HAVE A VERY WARY CHRISTMAS!

THE ELEVENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: EA SPORTS MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a brutal fighting game where players can pretend to punch, stomp, kick, knee-slam, elbow and karate chop the heck out of their opponents! But unlike the real cage matches the game is based on, if you get pounded by another player in this virtual world, it only pain you feel is your hurt pride.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Think it was banned because of its violence? Wrong. In Denmark, the marketing of energy drinks is prohibited, which just so happens to be the product heavily promoted throughout the game. But Venezuela did become the first country to ban all violent video games. Then-president Hugo Chavez called Nintendo DS and PlayStation “poison” (a different kind of toxic toy). PlayStation is also illegal in China. The Communist country believes its a waste of time (wonder what they think of Hula-hoops and Pokeman?).

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THE TENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: POKÉMON TRADING CARD GAME

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY THEY WERE FUN: There are now over 718 “revealed” species of the title “pocket monsters” franchise – which can also be divided up into “generations” of games. Think about it, the variations are almost endless. And yet, somehow, if a kid gets obsessed with them, they’ve got to try to complete the set – or in Pokemon parlance, they “gotta catch ’em all.” It becomes an all-consuming goal for a kid. It’s…addicting.

WHY THEY WERE BAD: Same reason. According to Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, which issued the edict banning Pokemon games in 2001, they “possessed the minds” of young folks, causing them to “spend all their money to buy the cards and compete with each other to win more.” Well, duh – that’s the point!

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CHESS MESS

In the Tor.com excerpt on Friday, “Game Over,” readers learned that once upon a time Scientific American warned kids against playing chess, calling it “a mere amusement of a very inferior character which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements.” Being a “mere” science mag, the editors were limited in what they could do about it, recommending kids in the 1800s partake in “out-door exercises” instead of “mental gladiatorship”. But for such a cerebral game, chess can stir some deep emotions from those in power – leading to outright bans over the years. Here’s a partial list of all the governments and organizations who have outlawed chess since Scientific American‘s lament:

Late 1950s

Is there something about scientists and chess that just don’t mix? Russians in Antarctica had to stick with checkers following the murder of a Soviet scientist at a research station there. His colleague split him open with an ax after losing a game of chess (of course the cold, isolated environment of Antarctica could have contributed to the crime – or vodka).

Mid-1960s

During China’s Cultural Revolution, chess was considered as bad as capitalism. Ten years later, the Chinese were sending players to international chess competitions!

1974

The World Chess Federation (best known as FIDE, from its French acronym for the Federation Internationale des Echecs) decided to do some banning of their own – barring South African and Rhodesia from certain FIDE events because of the apartheid practices of their governments (in 1977 South Africa gets a full ban from FIDE for 15 more years).

1979

Chess – actually, games in general – have been looked on with suspicion by Islam for centuries. Games can lead to gambling, which is prohibited by Islam; and like many religions, amusements like chess are considered to be time-wasters (time better spent praying). After the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Islamic clergy who take control outlaw chess from public places. But chess-lovers continue, going underground during the near decade-long ban. These days, the country’s chess federation has one of the most professional coaching centers in the Middle East and kids there recently won three world titles in the under-10 and under-12 chess categories.

1993

A confrontation between chess players and cops lead to American River College’s ban on the game in their campus library and cafeteria. Campus police are called into action after “disruptive behavior” is reported. When the game-gang at the California college refused to stop, authorities confiscated their board and their pieces.

1994-2001

Taliban edicts proclaim chess off-limits in Afghanistan; imprisonment or beatings can result from playing the game.

1996

Chess was but one of many non-academic clubs banned from Salt Lake City high schools. The game wasn’t the problem – an across-the-board ban was enacted to prevent teens from organizing a separate club for gay students.

2001

Rowdy chess spectators cause the game to be banned at the Minneapolis Public Library.

2002

For similar reasons, the game was banned from malls in Chicago’s Hyde Park.

2010

Game-bangers cause a chess ban in Emercon Playground, New York City; seven adult chess players receive summonses from police later that year.

2013

Games of chance (chess, dice, backgammon, etc.) are still prohibited from entering the country of Saudi Arabia – so don’t pack a chess set if you plan to travel there!