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California Continues To Push For Violent Game Legislation

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed,-you're-probably-california dept.

Government 167

Back in February, the US Court of Appeals shot down a California law that banned the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Shortly thereafter, State Senator Leland Yee petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case. Now, along with California's Psychiatric and Psychological Associations, Yee has filed an amicus curiae brief with Court that elaborates on the reasoning behind the law. Within the brief (PDF) are some interesting quotes: "Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery. ... Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control." The video game industry has filed its own amicus brief to dispute Yee's claims.

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167 comments

Oh, that's super (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805617)

California has no other problems right now...

Oh right, I forgot the contemporary approach to politics. If you have real problems you don't solve them, you distract your people by making up problems where there are none.

Re:Oh, that's super (4, Funny)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805673)

That's all right, apparently the US Supreme Court accepts IOUs.

Re:Oh, that's super (3, Funny)

NickCool (802521) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807233)

"California Continues To Push For Violent Game Legislation".... For a minute I envisioned legislators proposing duels or gladiatorial combat as a new form of government.

Re:Oh, that's super (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805677)

It's one of the oldest political tactics in the book: bread and circuses. [wikipedia.org] (This is one of the circuses.)

Re:Oh, that's super (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805853)

It's one of the oldest political tactics in the book: bread and circuses. [wikipedia.org] (This is one of the circuses.)

I thought circuses usually involve niggers. Oh wait, that's orangutans. Sorry. Easy to confuse them.

Re:Oh, that's super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806015)

It's one of the oldest political tactics in the book: bread and circuses. [wikipedia.org] (This is one of the circuses.)

Or in our case, "health care" and "welfare checks".

Re:Oh, that's super (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806149)

It's one of the oldest political tactics in the book: bread and circuses. [wikipedia.org] (This is one of the circuses.)

Or in our case, "health care" and "welfare checks".

hell yeah, its all inclusive! health care for white people, welfare checks for black people. that way everybody gets what they want. its win-win!

Re:Oh, that's super (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805703)

Oh right, I forgot the contemporary approach to politics. If you have real problems you don't solve them, you distract your people by making up problems where there are none.

Where's a state-wide brushfire when you need one?

Bad argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806107)

While I am as much against this law as any other Slashdotter, I don't like that argument.

If there are problems A and B and A is considered a bigger problem than B, B should still be taken care of unless doing so significantly hampers taking care of A.

Re:Bad argument (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806285)

While I am as much against this law as any other Slashdotter, I don't like that argument.

If there are problems A and B and A is considered a bigger problem than B, B should still be taken care of unless doing so significantly hampers taking care of A.

And that's the logic that lets them get away with this crap.

"No no no. We'll get to solving A, but right now we have to deal with B. It's a reeeal biiig problem. Honest! Would we lie to you?"

Re:Bad argument (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807295)

But in this case, California is pretty much bankrupt. It would be like if someone living paycheck-to-paycheck decided to tour the world. That isn't going to solve their financial problems its only going to make it worse (by spending a ton and not working), California wants to use this which would result in less taxes for them.

Re:Oh, that's super (2, Insightful)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806325)

Legislatures are the problem nowadays. Fact is, effectively governing a country doesn't actually require anything close to the time we allow those guys to meet. They meet anyway, and meddle with our lives and businesses to the detriment of us all.

Best drive them home, and let them only meet every two years. Then perhaps every three years after a little while.

Really, let's see how long it takes us to miss them.

Re:Oh, that's super (2, Informative)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806881)

To be fair this law has been working its way through the legal system for years. Since either 2004 or 5 if I recall correctly. It wouldn't make much sense to just quit because the money situation has changed.

Did Hitler have an Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807305)

Last time I check people were violent long before video games nor do they need them to be violent. (Taken from a comedian Howard Greenspan).

Did Hitler have an Xbox? Did Stalin have a colecovision? Pol Pot(sp?) playing too much Soldier of Fortune?

This is complete crap. People dont need to reference something like a video game to be an ass. I am not sure why everyone doesnt see this.

Re:Oh, that's super (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28808149)

California has no other problems right now...
Oh right, I forgot the contemporary approach to politics. If you have real problems you don't solve them, you distract your people by making up problems where there are none.


Just as well California isn't a nation state. Otherwise they'd probably have started at least one war by now...

California does not have the cash for a case that (5, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805627)

California does not have the cash for a case that will likely end being shot down by the 1st amendment.

Re:California does not have the cash for a case th (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807279)

Personally, I just love the delightful irony of this bill being signed into law by Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's next, a law against the sexual exploitation of women--championed by Ron Jeremy?

Re:California does not have the cash for a case th (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807785)

Ron Jeremy is a vocal feminist supporter and feels that most current pornography is degrading and unacceptable.

I fucking hate mushrooms (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805631)

I hate those little fungus motherfuckers. They make my skin crawl.

Every time I see one of those pieces of shit, I jump on it until it's fucking smashed and dead.

I also hate fucking ducks with shells. Those fucking freaks of nature just piss me the hell off. I love to stomp on them and then grab the shells and just wipe mushrooms the fuck out with them.

Goddamn pipes also freak me out.

Re:I fucking hate mushrooms (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805685)

You can't hate mushrooms too much, it certainly sounds like you've had a few too many tonight.

Re:I fucking hate mushrooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806003)

Are you sure you're not confusing mushrooms with methamphetamine?

Re:I fucking hate mushrooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805817)

>>I fucking hate mushrooms

Do you have any issues with badgers or snakes?

Ornithologist 007's Field Guide to Koopas (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806173)

[I hate Goombas from Super Mario Bros. But] I also hate fucking ducks with shells. Those fucking freaks of nature just piss me the hell off. I love to stomp on them and then grab the shells and just wipe mushrooms the fuck out with them.

But even more than that, I hate people who insist Koopas are ducks. According to the field guide Koopas of the Mushroom Kingdom by James Bond [wikipedia.org] :

A lot of people got their NES with both Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt and should know what a Nintendo duck looks like. The only kind of "duck" in a Koopa shell is a turtle that has "ducked" into its shell.

Re:I fucking hate mushrooms (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807319)

That should come with a "donotreadwithofficedooropen" tag. Now everyone thinks I have jumped the tracks.

And, I have the hicups.

Heh... (5, Insightful)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805691)

can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery

If a kid is smarter than his parents, maybe he should be put in charge of restricting his parent's media content (maybe reality TV, Deal or No Deal, 20/20 are all off limits).

Re:Heh... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805927)

Mastering a video game does not make one smart. Unless, there are video games that require one to solve math problems, verbal problems, or some other mental puzzle. Learning to shoot and run around doesn't take much intelligence - skill, yes, but not intelligence.

Re:Heh... (2, Insightful)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806531)

You've obviously never played a real FPS. Halo, Half-Life, Quake, all require figuring out how to get through the level you're on. It is conceivable that you can just shoot your way through a level, but you'll have to go through the level multiple times before you finish it. TFP.

Re:Heh... (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807639)

Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action...

Wait... isn't that slightly contradictory? If you've achieved a mastery of a game, chances are you're spending a fair amount of time planning your actions. In fact, there are plenty of games out there that force you to think, plan, cooperate, etc. I'd bet that they'd qualify as violent too.

Bah... whatever... We've got a bunch of idiots who are trying to look good by "protecting the kids." If they really want to solve the problem, take your kids outside and play some basketball... Wait... in my family that tends to be more violent than most of the games I played....

I have a very competitive family.

Re:Heh... (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#28808037)

The better you get at something, the *less* cortical activity is needed to perform. The judge doesn't know his neuroscience of expertise, and therefore is wrong.

Re:Heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807555)

Sure, fast fingers and a lot of time makes someone more intelligent... at least for a video game that doesn't implement Ms. Andersan's new, super expensive, living room curtains...

Who cares? (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805699)

Some huge majority of 12 year olds with $300 gaming systems are talking their parents into the $75 game anyway.

The ones that aren't will play them at their friend's.

Well, this is california, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805719)

You know those wily French with their three strikes law? And the Germans with their think of the chiiildrun laws? This, this is different. This is the Californian way.

All bad? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805759)

"Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control."

I find this interesting because I grew up playing a lot of computer games (probably too much), yet I was, and am still today, basically the poster boy for self-reflection, discipline and self-control. To a point where it has actually hampered me and I've had to work on diminishing those traits so I can live in a better and more carefree way.

So if this statement is correct, perhaps computer games was a much needed way for me to take a break from myself, maybe other kids have the same need?

Re:All bad? (4, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806023)

What does that even mean? 'Depressed activity in the frontal cortex of the brain'. Boohoo. What can we conclude from that? How long does this thing last, how does it affect a person?

Maybe it simply means someone has become good at the game and no longer needs to think about every single action while playing, like many sports (we'll probably never know since it's hard to scan the brain of someone playing tennis or juggling...). Maybe it means your brain has magically become more efficient and requires less activity to deliver the same quality. Maybe it even means we get dumber, less capable of self-reflection and planning, but only while playing the game.

The little fact about the brain is completely useless without more information. If 'they' had more information that would suggest these effects are permanent and damaging, they would have included this information, since it supports their point. Since they didn't, we can conclude that there is no reason to believe the changes in the brain are permanent or harmful in any way, but it sure sounds like something creepy and nasty to those who don't think it through.

Re:All bad? (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806335)

What does that even mean? 'Depressed activity in the frontal cortex of the brain'. Boohoo. What can we conclude from that? How long does this thing last, how does it affect a person?

Helpful /. Translation: "Staring at a video game screen for ten hours makes your brain 'tired'".

No shit, sherlock. So does doing calculus for ten hours. OMG Ban teh Mathz Clazzez!

Pretty sure doing anything "thinky" for many hours at a block is going to have a similar effect.

Re:All bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806861)

Isn't slashdot all about believing the scientists over business intrests ?

Helpful /. Translation: "Staring at a video game screen for ten hours makes your brain 'tired'".

Your brain has different regions. Suppose you are standing in front of an elderly lady, or a 3 year old kid, for that matter. There are tons of parts of your brain that will come with all sorts of propositions. They will analyse, "simulate" and predict the consequences of all sorts of actions ranging from helping her cross the street, to raping her, to killing her. So far, we're all the same, serial killers, babies, you and me, the pope, everyone.

The frontal cortex of the brain is the part of your brain that selects between these suggested courses of action. In the absence of an operational frontal cortex, evidence suggest you just pick a random course of action.

So what does "depressed activity in the frontal cortex" do ? It makes it harder for you to see the moral difference between helping a 3 year old kid search for his mommy and raping him. That's what it does.

It has long been an established part of psychology that people who see much violence, real or fictional, makes people more violent. That's about as close to reality as anyone in the "soft" sciences gets. Or to put it another way, it is not an absolute certainty that videogames make people violent. It is not a certainty that evolution actually exists. They're theories you see, mere hypotheses.

Re:All bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807229)

Isn't slashdot all about believing the scientists over business intrests ?

....

No, not when those business interests coincide with the shallow, sheltered existence of the Slashdot crowd's desires. In this case, the desire for violent video games.

See also the cognitive dissonance over "copyright". When copyright is used by the FSF to uphold the GPL, it's great. When copyright is mentioned in the same universe as the RIAA, it's bad and needs to be totally eliminated. Once again, we see the effects of basal wants on the unthinking Slashdot crowd.

Re:All bad? (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 4 years ago | (#28808065)

The better you get at something, the less neural activity is required to perform. It will not make you an immoral monster.

Re:All bad? (2, Interesting)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806109)

"Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control."

I find this interesting because I grew up playing a lot of computer games (probably too much), yet I was, and am still today, basically the poster boy for self-reflection, discipline and self-control. To a point where it has actually hampered me and I've had to work on diminishing those traits so I can live in a better and more carefree way.

So if this statement is correct, perhaps computer games was a much needed way for me to take a break from myself, maybe other kids have the same need?

I'd like to see how video games depress the frontal cortex but tv and movies don't. You pretty much have to actively be thinking and planning to play most video games, I'd expect them to improve these skills. Passive entertainment like tv and movies, not so much.

The DON'T do the same with movies. (2, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805811)

Despite common belief, they DON'T do the same with movies.

It's not a crime to let a kid into a three-year-old into R-Rated movie, or even to let him buy one. It's just against the rules of the movie union guys. It's actually covered under the First Amendment.

So why should it be a crime to sell a kid a violent or sexual game?

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (1, Troll)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805937)

Because showing a child how to slaughter an entire family on screen is educational and informative

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (0, Troll)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806077)

Did I SAY that or even imply it in any sense? No.

I said it's First Amendment issue... which it is.

Respond to my actual points, dammit.

espite common belief, they DON'T do the same with movies.

It's not a crime to let a three-year-old into R-Rated movie, or even to let him buy one. It's just against the rules of the movie union guys. It's actually covered under the First Amendment.

So why should it be a crime to sell a kid a violent or sexual game?

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806167)

I agree it isn't, it stifles innovation! I for one have great respect for self-taught serial killers.

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807571)

Did it ever occur to you that people including kids do things because they are fun, and have a "gross-out" factor? Not because it "intellectually stimulates" them?

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806575)

I'll admit, it's easier to get into an R rated movie as a minor then to rent an M rated game, but I've still been carded in the past. Your statement is simply untrue, or depends on the state from which you are posting.

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (4, Informative)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806721)

I'll admit, it's easier to get into an R rated movie as a minor then to rent an M rated game, but I've still been carded in the past. Your statement is simply untrue, or depends on the state from which you are posting.

My statement is _not_ untrue. Re-read it.

It is not a crime to let a three-year-old into an R-rated movie. Movie theaters restrict kids from their audience, yes, but they do it voluntarily in order to adhere to the system of rules set in place by the MPAA. A theater could theoretically let an unchaperoned group of kindergartners into any R-rated movie they wish right in front of a Cop and not be charged with a crime, since it's not against the law. They may lose their license by the MPAA but, again, let me reiterate: they won't be charged with a CRIME.

That's why this is completely different from movie ratings. Movie ratings are an industry standard, and there is literally no legal weight behind them. [wikipedia.org] California's attempts to put legal weight behind Video Game ratings will end in failure, just as it did in Freedman v. Maryland. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806747)

Not it isn't. In the USA there are NO laws regulating ratings on films. The film industry just like the videogame industry is self-regulating. If you get carded going to a movie it is because the movie theater is enforcing the ratings not the government.

Re:The DON'T do the same with movies. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807323)

No, his statement is entirely true. The movie theatre owner refuses you entry by his own decision to enforce the movie rating, mainly because his distributor will stop selling him movies to show if he doesn't. No law forcing him to deny you entry exists.

What a load of Bullshit (3, Insightful)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805825)

No one organization out there right now can provide definitive prove that playing âoeviolentâ video games train kids to be killers or desensitizes them from violence. Just because the military uses simulators to train soldiers for combat preparedness; does not mean that FPS game are the simulator training kids to be killers. If this was true every child who ever played FPS or âoeviolenceâ video games would be able to handle a gun like a pro and kill anything that moves without discrimination.

You don't need every child affected (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805857)

Not every child is directly affected. This is true.

However, sometimes there are secondary effects which do affect every child.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_High_School_massacre#Video_games [wikipedia.org]

Re:You don't need every child affected (5, Informative)

sckeener (137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806047)

Argh...every time someone mentions violent video games, columbine comes up. It should be declared a subset of Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org] .

Violent games are not affecting our kids in negative ways. Canada plays our violent video games and has a passion for guns and they have no where near the US gun fatalities. Japan plays extremely violent video games and has the lowest gun fatalities.

Parents need to stop blaming the media and start being parents.

Re:You don't need every child affected (4, Interesting)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806415)

Dreading Columbine [guardian.co.uk] by Mark Ames:


Why, when even attempts were made post-9/11 to understand Arab anger (feeble though they were), does America refuse to even try understanding Columbine? Why do they continue to blame cheap, easy suspects like video games, the internet, lax morals and the NRA, when the most obvious suspect - Columbine, and every other school like it - is sitting right in front of them? Because that would be tantamount to suspecting that something is genuinely hateful about Middle America.

Re:You don't need every child affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807857)

We don't need a subset of Godwin's law; the killers themselves said that video games were not to blame. Just bring up that fact and you've deflated their argument.

Re:You don't need every child affected (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28808269)

OJ said he was looking for the real killers. I'm not sure taking people at their word is really the best strategy when they obviously have something to protect.

Re:You don't need every child affected (5, Insightful)

shinmai (632532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806069)

If we start to make rules for the many based on the actions of a select few, we're destined for failure.

The fact that a couple of disturbed and mentally unhealthy kids got their adrenaline running by psyching themself with violent video games doesn't mean we should ban these games from all kids. Just like if I use a baseball bat to beat someone to death we shouldn't shut down every single litte-league in the country to stop the children from doing the same.

I think that some age control with games is good. In Finland we use PEGI age recommendations, and some games are also reviewed by the Board of Film Classification. The important classifications are 16+ and 18+. A retailer can refuse to sell a 16+ game to a person younger than 16 without a parents consent. 18+ games are prohibited by law to be sold to minors. If parents choose to buy a game and give it to their child, it's their choice, but a retailer, with no way of knowing the personality or mental maturity of a child, will not be permitted to sell an 18+ game to the child.

This system is by no means perfect, but it stops little impressionable kids from getting their hands on adults-only games, but permits parents to expose their children to such material, if they feel they're mature enough to handle it.

Re:You don't need every child affected (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807767)

The PEGI ratings though are terribly flawed (not to say that the ESRB isn't). For example, SWAT: Target Liberty is rated at 18+ by PEGI ratings for no apparent reason other than "discrimination", hate to break it to the PEGI, but discrimination happens in real life. The same game is rated as Teen by the ESRB and 12 by the British ratings board. Similarly, Clubhouse Games was rated at 12 by the PEGI because it contains simulated gambling, WTF? Then there are plenty of other games, Bioshock, Resident Evil 5 and tons of other games that are rated high.

I really see no problem in letting kids buy their own games if they can afford them no matter what the content is. Really, there is very, very, very little harm in letting them play a violent game when they want to play it.

Re:You don't need every child affected (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806153)

Come on video games is not the cause of the Columbine Shooting there are no proof just a bunch of bullshit speculation; these kids are high school social outcast that has been picked on by their peers and were subject to prolong physical and mental abuses. And the fact that their parents and school officials failed to identify this and failed to take responsibilities but instead shift the blame of the shooting on video games and music is retarded. Also I would not trust anything the FBI said they have a long history of twisting facts; and don't forget that this agency was base on the principle of a paranoid delusional man who likes to wear dresses.

Re:You don't need every child affected (2, Insightful)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806155)

It could be the "devil music" they listened to. Or the movies they watched. Or their parenting. Or genetics.
Correlation != Causation

Re:You don't need every child affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806679)

My real concern is with food. Had the Columbine kids not eaten food, they would not have been alive! Then they could not have killed anyone! Sure, most people who eat food don't kill people, but because SOME people who eat food do, then obviously we should ban food. Imagine if YOUR child were eating food right now!

Re:You don't need every child affected (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806933)

That's great. Let's also ban airplanes because crazy people have also used those to kill people.

Re:What a load of Bullshit (3, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806535)

No, you are wrong. With the new "Recoil & Jam" model mice you can train kids to be violent killers. You see...these new mice actually recoil with each shot and can occasionally jam and even will backfire and injure/kill the operator sometimes!

The hilarious thing about all the people that cry foul about the military training stuff is that I have yet to meet one that has even had a clue about what they do, why they do it, or have even a remote understanding of human behavior. These "murder simulators" have precious little to do with the killing. You can't train people for live fire with a fucking mouse and a monitor. What you CAN train them for is tactics, squad movement, reaction times, perception skills, etc. There is no soldier in the field (and probably never will be) that has not gone through the live fire training or any of the other live combat training stuff. The issue is that it is WAY cheaper and WAY faster to train a lot of those skills through a simulator. The military has been using "violent video games" for LONG time training pilots how to fly without losing valuable jets or any training accidents. No one talks about the lives saved by using these simulators for the initial training.

What I can't figure out is this whole definition of "violence". There aren't exactly a whole lot of games that could completely avoid the "violent" definition. This is just the D&D panic all over again. If the kids cannot separate reality from fantasy that has more to do with the kid and less to do with the video game. They love to point out "look at all the kids that were violent killers and played lots of FPS games". Well..I bet they also all drank soda too...should we go after Coke and Pepsi for making kids violent? The number of people that play those games and don't go psycho should pretty much show that it isn't the games doing it...but again...no on talks about how many people play them without going nuts. So...I blame Coke and Pepsi!

Re:What a load of Bullshit (2, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806823)

I blame Coke and Pepsi!

I blame American football, rugby, soccer, and any other contact sport. They have more real violence than coke or pepsi, and kids are being indoctrinated earlier and earlier.

The tail wags the dog (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805929)

The tail wags the dog, as is usual in politics. Which dog is Senator Leland Yee wagging? Or, perhaps more pertinently, who's Yee being wagged by? And why? There's usually some special interest group, or someone who stands to gain...who is it?

ZOMG teh BRAIN DAMAG3!!! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805949)

Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control.

Yeah, that's actually true and what this guy is conveniently leaving out is that it's not permanent. I was reading about this phenomenon on Dr. Daniel Amen's website years ago (and it's NOT just violent video games).

Essentially, too much intense video gaming for too long makes your brain concentrate too much and you use up all the neurotransmitters that let you concentrate. The result is ADD-like symptoms. Cut back on the video games to reasonable levels and the neuotransmitter levels return to normal because they aren't being depleted.

So the real message is: too much of anything is bad for you.

But this Yee dude doesn't bother to say that part.

Do you have time to live in fantasy worlds? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28805953)

If you want to see an example of the mental devastation caused by thousands of hours of playing video games, just consider Slashdot editors. In more than 10 years they have not learned to be professional editors.

Re:Do you have time to live in fantasy worlds? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807705)

I think you are misunderstanding the job title. It's not editor in the sense of newspaper editor, it's editor in the sense of text editor. A text editor is a tool which lets you rearrange text in an arbitrary, but not necessarily semantically-valid, way. Similarly, a Slashdot editor is a tool who rearranges Slashdot in arbitrary, but not necessarily semantically-valid, ways.

800 hours ?? (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28805959)

"These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery."
Yeah. Right. Maybe if you count the full gameplay, or many many game additioned together. I would be hard pressed to find a GAME with 800 hours of gameplay for a single session until "mastery". You would have to add multiple gameplay. Unless somebody spot an error in my reasoning, I call shenanigan on this senator. Spouting non sense to support his cause should lead to an automatic impeachment,a s a politician.

Re:800 hours ?? (2, Insightful)

addsalt (985163) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806073)

Yes, but it isn't that sensational to say

  • Listen to a CD : 60 minutes (ave)
  • Watch a movie: 120 minutes (ave)
  • Read a book: 500 minutes (average novel at average reading speeds)
  • Play video game: 600 minutes

In all reality, 5 minutes in any of these mediums will tell you what the rest of the content will be like.

Re:800 hours ?? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806265)

You are obviously not a Square/Enix fan.

Re:800 hours ?? (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806339)

Even the Square RPGs can be finished in under 200 hours easily, and for what it's worth they're not really violent. And as one of the previous posters suggested, the violence does not change throughout the course of the game.

Re:800 hours ?? (1)

fiontan (671239) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807509)

the violence does not change throughout the course of the game.

Giant meteor flying at the world, much? It's natural to peak near the end, that's what they call a finale.

Re:800 hours ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28806613)

Starcraft, Diablo II.

Is thinking about this even possible? (1)

anegg (1390659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806001)

One approach to this news would be a knee-jerk "this can't possibly be true" reaction based on exposure to a small sample size (of possibly one, subjective.

I trust that some of the more educated readers of slashdot will consider the scientific evidence presented and that a higher level discussion will ensue.

After hours of gameplay: (1)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806081)

"...can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery."

Gosh you know, that's what I hated about Quake 3. Your opponents only started blowing up into bits after you played the game to the final tier. And in Gears of War, the lancer chainsaw was actually a love belt until the final act where it became an excuse to splatter gore all over the screen.

In all seriousness, it really takes hours of gameplay to find out whether a game has material you might object to as a parent?

up to 800 hours of footage? (1)

Sumbius (1500703) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806161)

"up to 800 hours of footage"? I have never played a game that would last for that long. Most of these "violent" games are usually short, 10 to 30 hours of content, usually around 15 hours. The rest of the game time is just repeating the same content again and again. If you play Counter-Strike for 10 hours, thats not 10 hours of footage. It's just a few maps that you play repeatedly. Every time will be slightly different, but it will be the same content. Saying that a game has "up to 800 hours of footage" is like saying that a 2 hour movie has 200 hours of footage if you watch it 100 times. There have always been aggressive people and murderers/criminals. Getting rid of violent video games for kids ain't gonna help much. Games CAN cause violent behavior, but so can many other things. Most of the time its the invividual, not the game that is to blame. Parents should know their kids well enough to know what they can handle. This is not always the case, but you know what I mean. It is understandable that games may cause a "brainwash effect" younger children like some politicians say. It's a part of human mental development. I just don't see this as such a big problem as some people blame. This is a part of the same age old chain of fear that todays children will be corrupted by entertainment business. Even Plato, who lived 400BC, thought that literature and drama plays were corrupting the young distort their sense of moral and give a very bad bad influence from them. It is the same as todays. Today we just do it better.

Re:up to 800 hours of footage? (1)

BillCable (1464383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806319)

I too was trying to think of where the 800 hours of "footage" figure could possibly have come from. Then it hit me. World of Warcraft. Duh. 800 hours is a slow month to those guys...

Violent legislation (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806323)

Given that they have Arnie as governor, it's no surprise that they push for their legislation to be more violent. Games are just the start!

Where's the beef? (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806601)

I'm old enough that this wouldn't prevent me from getting whatever game I wanted. Can someone explain what the difference between this and say the laws against selling porno to minors is? If anything it would force parents to be involved (because the parent would have to buy the game) and at least know what their kid has. Sure, kids would find some ways around it (everyone had a friend, who's friend had a playboy when you were 10), but having one barrier between Manhunt and my kid would make me feel a bit more in control.

I do question the enforceability of something like this, for instance, if the local store won't sell to the kid, they can just buy it on eBay (cheaper there anyways), or get it through Gamefly. I doubt those companies are going to put special restrictions in place because of one state.

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806847)

First pornography is a genre and not a medium. A pornographic videogame would be subjected to the same regulations that a pornographic film would be. Under this legislation a violent game would be subjected to different regulations than a violent film.

In the USA no medium has their ratings enforced by the government. Film ratings are NOT enforced by the government. They are just like the videogame industry in that they are self-enforced. If you get carded going to an R-rated film it is because the theater is enforcing the ratings not because the government is making them.

Films have been declared free speech under the First Amendment. To the best of my knowledge videogames have not previously been brought to the Supreme Court and presumably the court would determine weather or not videogames are entitled the same protections as film. Previous videogame laws in Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, Utah, and Oaklahoma have all been overturned in court or vetoed by the governor under the grounds that videogames are believed to be entitled to First Amendment protection.

Assuming they are entitled to First Amendment protection then to single out a single medium would require a mountain of evidence that they are damaging to minors. Contrary to Yeland Lee's assertions, no such mountain exists.

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807021)

I see your point, and I agree. Games and video (as well as books/magazines or any form of expression I suppose) should all at least be held to the same standard.

I'm not sure I see how this falls under First Amendment protection? The material isn't being destroyed, and they aren't making it a crime for a minor to have the material, but merely a restriction at the time of purchase.

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807101)

Eh, rules restricting sales of porn are lame at best anyway. The issue is the general mentality of censorship and doing people's parenting for them.

Or... (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806645)

Or parents could simply look at the ESRB sticker and know right away what kind of content is in the game. That's why those ratings are there after all.

800 Hours?! (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806651)

Up to 800 hours of footage??? Other than an MMO, how many games do people play with up to 800 hours of play? Jesus! We're lucky if a game has 8 hours of game play nowadays. 800?? Are you joking!

Re:800 Hours?! (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807117)

I wanna know what mmo you're playing, all I've seen aren't all that gratuitous in their violence.... Unless someone made a l4d mmo and didn't tell me.

Re:800 Hours?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28807177)

Try Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.

Re:800 Hours?! (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807199)

I didn't say anything about gratuitous violence - I was talking about game play time. Read my post again. Thanks.

Re:800 Hours?! (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807337)

No, i understand what you mean, but i more meant that it's irrelevant since, at least currently, no game you would spend that much time on is of the particularly violent variety that the law seeks to control, so they're still idiots.

Correlation = Causation! (2, Insightful)

burtosis (1124179) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806655)

"extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control."

From this I can only conclude: Senator you must be one hell of a gamer...

Correlation goes the wrong way (3, Informative)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 4 years ago | (#28806801)

The reason they are talking about things like brain activity (and no neuroscientist can tell you what patterns of brain activity are good or bad) is they are trying to distract everybody from the fact that as videogames have gotten more realistically violent, real world violence and crime have dropped, and dropped most sharply in the very same demographic of young males that are the biggest consumers of videogames. Of course, that doesn't prove that videogames prevent violence, but it does prove that any hypothetical anti-social effect of videogames must be so small as to be absolutely swamped by other social and economic factors that influence violence and crime.

Backyard fences (2, Insightful)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807043)

I bet they will never push for a law against violent MOVIES, what with Hollywod present in the state. Games, however, are mostly made out-of-state, e.g. Austin TX has a lot of video game companies.

I disagree with Calif, but... (2, Interesting)

SkyLeach (188871) | more than 4 years ago | (#28807425)

I have real issue with the federal circuit courts having any say whatever in what California can or cannot ban for sale in their own state. The distribution of authority in the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of the United States has been shifting with ever increasing momentum to the federal level.

I think california is full of insane pollitics, but isn't that their right as a state under the constitution? I don't like my local and regional policies being dictated by californian pollitics and in order to preserve the rights of my own state I am willing to let california have their rights.

-SL

Re:I disagree with Calif, but... (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 4 years ago | (#28808163)

Was that complaining I heard? Well sir, why don't you go with those nice men for some re-Neducation! First you'll feel a slight pinch, then just a wee tickle, but soon everything will seem right as rain! You see, people all over the country - and even the world! - have different needs and problems. The only way to ensure every last one of them gets a fair shake is to collect all the wealth and power at the top, and then fairly and evenly distribute it amongst all the people. It just wouldn't be fair if your state or town provided you with a service to which a person 3000 miles away had no access. You see that now, right?
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