In Medias Res

A journal on press freedom and the rules of the public sphere

Archive

2021/1


Religious aspects of video games: contents, effects and reactions of churches

Author: Mónika Andok

Religious content is widely used in popular culture, and this is true not only of movies, television, or comics, but also of video games. Religious references may have an explicit reference (in relation to ancient religions, places, or names), but they appear in an implicit way (in the struggle between good and evil, in the opposition of orderly world and chaos, or in the apocalypse) in games. The aim of the essay is to provide a comprehensive picture of research on the relationship between religion and video games. First presenting the history of games and their research that can be related to religions in some way. Then the essay provides insight into various areas of research that focus on the narrative, symbol use, and iconography of games. Finally, it summarizes the differentiated positions of traditional churches regarding video games. Presenting beliefs that condemn the violence, and the blasphemous content of games; and the same time they point to educational and community building opportunities.

Keywords: popular culture, simulation, religious symbols, religious contents


Gaming and linguistics: investigate the linguistic context of video games

Author: Andrea Balogh

The lexicon of video games, although it is increasingly entering colloquial forms (e.g. avatar, level up), still belongs to a closed group language, which is partly explained by the fact that different types of games have different basic vocabularies. In the light of the current findings, there appears to be a marked difference between the language choice of texts used in video games and those about them. While hungarian ingame gamers prefer English terms, in other types of texts (e.g. newspaper articles) they prefer the Hungarian version. This dichotomy can be explained by the link between video games, digital literacy and various text types. During my research, I synchronised the results of several collections from different sources and time periods into one database. In addition, several online game-related thematic articles, comments and comments were used as a basis for the terms. The aim of the study is to investigate the vocabulary of language choices of different games and game types in two communication areas, comments and articles about games.

Keywords: video games, linguistics, vocabulary


Social identity and social norms among video game users

Authors: Tamás Győri – Balázs Jagodics

Hundreds of millions of people play online and offline video games. It is important to clarify who we describe as video game users or gamers. Certain approaches everybody who plays video games can be described as a gamer. Behaviors and perceived norms of significant others influence people’s behavior, therefore it is important to explore how social influence impacts users in massively multiplayer online games. The goal of our study was to explore bullying-related norms and factors related to gamer identity. Four hundred fourty-nine video game users answered our online survey. Our results suggest that „gamers” spend more time playing, and they spend more on microtransactions. Norm exploration revealed that the behaviors used in this study are prevalent and important for the users, and pluralistic ignorance is present among gamers similarly to other contexts.

Keywords: video games, cyberbullying, gamer identity, pluralistic ignorance


The relationship between video games, simulations, and experiential learning – Is it possible to learn by playing Minecraft?

Author: Mátyás Hartyándi

Not only can we relate to life playfully but we can also model different areas of life as games. It is perhaps no coincidence that research on the learning potential of simulations coincides with the advent of the first video games. Their cross-section, serious gaming, is a phenomenon that has been around for at least half a century. However, can we learn from a leisure game? If so, what and how? The literature on these topics has developed in several ways, in parallel. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the relationship between leisure video games and informal and experiential learning by finding com­monalities between them. It also attempts to outline the theoretical foundations of a set of criteria for their evaluation. The study is based on a secondary research project elaborating on Simulation & Gaming, a journal decisive for the subject. A narrative literature review of three related topics can be found below. By analyzing the so-called serious games, in other words, gaming simulations for learning purposes, it is possible to identify various functional mechanisms and criteria that can be used to assess the learning potential of recreational video games.

Keywords: serious game, experiential learning, game-based learning, simulation-based learning, informal learning


Video game addiction – Child protection aspects of the regulation on video games with addictive gameplay patterns

Author: Krisztina Nagy

Among the risks that can be identified in the context of excessive use in the new media environment, the study addresses the issue of problematic game design patterns that pose a risk to children’s health and raise regulatory issues. Based on research into the psychological mechanisms of problem gaming, it argues that a self-regulatory approach to video games is no longer an effective protection against excessive use. In the PEGI age rating system for video games, the assessment of the risk of developing addiction to video games is not sufficiently emphasised and does not ensure prevention. In order for the use of parental control systems offered by technology to be effective in protecting children, it is necessary to review the classification of video games and to create an information environment that helps parents make informed choices. The role of video games in children’s media use is the basis for treating video games as a medium in their own right, which points the way for regulation towards media law solutions for child protection.

Keywords: child protection, video games, self-regulation, problematic video game use, loot box


Video game law – The regulatory dilemmas related to the intermediary service providers of the gaming industry in the European Union

Author: Kinga Sorbán

Video games are interactive software that offer opportunity for recreation for several people in every region of the world. Statistical data shows that the revenues of the video game industry are constantly growing; the global gaming market generated 159.3 billion USD in revenue in 2020. The regulatory environment of video games is very complex and consists of rules of several different areas of law. On one hand the software-specific rules of copyright laws shall be applied to these products, while on the other hand video games are sui generis media with audiovisual elements and as such there are some specific rules to be applied that come from media law – such as the age-rating of video games to protect minors. These specificities of video games are reflected in the regulation of those intermediary service providers that offer services connected to video games. These intermediaries are new stakeholders in the gaming industry; therefore the legal systems sometimes lack the necessary instruments to tackle those legal challenges that emerge in relation to these services. The aim of the study is to introduce the complex regulatory landscape of video games, highlighting those issues that have emerged recently regarding these products and the intermediary services that are closely linked to them.

Keywords: video game, intermediary service provider, distribution platform, streaming, copyright


The case law of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the restriction of access to internet

Author: Gergely Gosztonyi

„The Internet has now become one of the principal means by which individuals exercise their right to freedom to receive and impart information and ideas.” (European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), cited in Cengiz and Others v. Turkey). Are these rights merely window dressing for some countries? For example, in 2019 there were at least 213 documented internet shutdowns around the world, with the number of countries experiencing shutdowns increasing from 25 in 2018, to 33 in 2019 – or 17% of the countries in the world today. In this respect, Russian and Turkey are standouts as landmark cases that have come before the European Court of Human Rights. Here, the fundamental issue is blocking access to the Internet, regardless of the methods used by each State. This paper examines the use of shutdowns in Russia and Turkey with a view to understanding how these States in particular are responding to the propagation of fake news, hate speech, content that promotes violence, and how to balance drastic measures (shutdowns) with the need to ensure public safety and/or national security and freedom of expression.

Keywords: freedom of expression, media, human rights, internet shutdown, collateral blocking, excessive blocking, wholesale blocking


User freedom from copyrights on the global content-sharing platforms

Author: Péter Lábody

When you think about the amount of memes, parodies, GIFs and other user-created (or further created) content available on global online platforms such as YouTube, you would not even assume that a large part of it was illegally created or uploaded. But they are. This fact has gained even more significance in the context of the EU copyright reform. Article 17 of the CDSM Directive, adopted as part of the reform, stipulates that these platforms must obtain licences from copyright holders for content uploaded by their users – content that has been viewed billions of times and which, of course, generates billions in advertising revenue for the platforms. And if either they or the rightholders do not wish to do so for the content in question, the platforms must actively ensure that this content is not made available on their platforms, essentially by filtering it. Yet, in some cases access to this content is not illegal at all, and according to some views it is to be considered an exercise of the rights of users. This brings us to the exceptions and limitations to copyright, which are intended to safeguard freedom of expression and which therefore bacame compulsory for all Member States to introduce by the CDSM Directive, in order to balance the new platform rules. After a brief introduction to the background and provisions of Article 17 of the CDSM Directive, the paper deals with the international, EU and national context in which these exceptions and limitations apply. Afterwards, it examines in more depth the practical scope of quotation, uses for the purpose of review and criticism, as well as caricature, parody and pastiche in the platform context. The study compares these free use cases with the specific types of content and typical uses carried on such platforms and assesses them from a legal perspective as well.

Keywords: online content sharing platforms, content filtering, copyright, parody, free use


Mephisto will be 50 soon

Authors: Edit Sápi – Csenge Halász

In the present study, we examine the issues related to the freedom of artistic expression and creation, with paying particular attention to its intersections of copyright and personality rights. Firstly, we examine the meaning of the freedom of art, which is a right deriving from the freedom of expression, and it connects to creativity, creation, and culture. The legal analysis of these terms is not an easy task, but it seems clear that intellectual freedom and artistic (self)expression deserves the legal protection. However, the legal protection is not unlimited, in our study we examine the copyright and personal rights issues of works created by artistic freedom. The analysis is based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the most important Hungarian and various European judgments. In our study, we examine the limits of artistic freedom imposed by personality rights and copyright law, and we show the framework and possibilities of the exercise of artistic freedom and artistic self-expression in the 21st century, which opens new frontiers by the technological development in this area as well.

Keywords: freedom of artistic life, personal rights, copyright, freedom of art


The impact of social media algorithms on opinion formation – Focus on the results of a Central and Eastern European survey

Author: Tamás Szikora

Social sites were initially used to facilitate networking, but due to their popularity, they soon outgrew their original function and became unavoidable actors in increasingly diverse areas of everyday life. One such area is receiving information, which can be significantly influenced by the personalised content on platforms. The results of a representative survey conducted at the end of 2019 in four regional countries (in addition to Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania) clearly pointed out the dominant market position of Facebook and its interpretation as a potential news source for its users. Another important finding is that the majority only read the news appearing there, and the passive news consumption habits suggest that the information that appears on a social site can undeniably have a big impact on users’ perceptions of public debates. Thus, making the operation of the algorithms transparent cannot in itself be a meaningful solution to ensure the possibility of diverse orientation, for which the increase of the activity and awareness of the users will be essential.

Keywords: Facebook, algorithm, news consumption, public sphere


Criminological theories and cybercrime

Author: Árpád Varga

Cybercrime has become an issue affecting our everyday lives and occupying the research community in the 21st century. For this reason, the study analyses the possible causes of the various forms of crime present in the online sphere. Through the theories of criminology, it becomes visible how different approaches can underpin research into becoming a cybercriminal. Of the many theories known in criminology, this study examines the possibilities of applying rational choice theory, routine activity theory, the general theory of crime, social bonding theory, social learning theory, neutralization theory, and developmental criminology to cybercrime. Overall, the paper draws attention to the potential of the interactionist paradigm and developmental criminology, and the benefits of combining them. The analysis includes the basics of the selected theories and then highlights the research perspectives in this field using the results of the most frequently cited criminological research. The study also addresses the shortcomings of the examined researches and the doubts associated with the applicability of these theories.

Keywords: cybercrime, cyber-dependent crime, criminological theory, criminalization, hacking