Filed at MTVNews: When The Movies Were As Feared As "Grand Theft Auto"


Yesterday I wrote about how, even during my recent week without video games, I had video games on my mind.

Case in point: the topic of my GameFile column today, an anthology of old movie reviews and articles I read on the beach of Belize. You'd think it had nothing to do with games. But as I read it I noticed that movie reviews from 1900-1935 were full of comments that remind me of what mainstream critics say about video games now. A lot of people really hated the movies back then, and a good portion of society seemed to fear them.

If ever you thought that games were the only form of entertainment that is blamed for hypnotizing the youth and polluting the public with only the lowest form of entertainment, consider the quotes in today's column from....

  • a 1916 article: "85 percent of the juvenile crime which has been investigated has been found traceable either directly or indirectly to motion pictures which have shown on the screen how crimes could be committed."

  • a 1932 article (written by a man who was born in 1904 but died the day I read this book, on June 9 of this year -- weird!): "To us, the question of whether film is art or not seems misplaced, and ought to be replaced by one regarding the degree to which it might become art."

  • The top critic of the day called people who went to the cinema as "movie morons."
If you want a true sense of where movies once stood, check out today's column. You'll think you were reading a modern politician's take on "Grand Theft Auto" in 2007.