Gaming

4 Most Ridiculous Moral Panics in Video Game History

In 2008 the NPD Group did a survey showing that 72 percent of Americans have played video games. It was up from 64 percent in 2006, and it's probably even higher now. Video games have gone from a novelty to being recognized as a legitimate art form, and their influence can be seen throughout the world.

And yet, to this day there are still wide swathes of people who simply do not understand anything about them. The medium is seen as having mystical powers of persuasion, voodoo technology capable of mind control, or even as weapons.

The result is that there have been some absolutely ridiculous moral panics centered around video games over the years, and here we expose the four stupidest ones.

Greece Bans All Video Game Systems to Stop Gambling

You can be as optimistic as you like, but Greece is in trouble. Right now their financial situation is so bad that their exit from the Eurozone is edging from possible to likely. Massive debt, record unemployment, and a host of other problems plague the nation.

Some have called it a failure of leadership and here's a very good example for that argument in the form of a law in Greece banning all video game systems. You might think that this would be in response to the portrayal of Greece in the God of War games, although it'd hard to imagine people being upset over being compared to Kratos, but the truth is a lot more harebrained than that.

Greece was apparently worried about electronic gambling, that poor impulse control and bad financial management was a threat to the common people. So in 2002 they passed the vaguely-worded Law 3037/2002. This ruling not only eliminated all the electronic gambling machines, but all arcade machines, and even levied a fine for people caught gaming at internet cafes. The internet café industry was crippled and the arcade industry completely destroyed. All because the Greek government was too uninformed to know the difference between video poker and Starcraft.

The EU itself had to write the Greek government a letter letting them know that A) the law was actually in violation of the European Community Treaty, and B) they were dumbasses. As of 2009 the ban was still in effect, even though the European Court of Justice was fining Greece EUR 31,536 a day ($40,000) until lifted. At least Greece didn't gamble the money away.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner