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Dissecting U.S. Violent Game Bills

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-let-rockstar-teach-your-kids dept.

Games 419

Many reactions to last week's violent games bill. Primotech writes "I first heard of California's AB1179 late Friday night. Like most others, who simply shrugged the bill off as inconsequential, my first thought was strikingly indifferent. Beyond the perfunctory glance, however, it becomes evident that this bill brings into focus and, more importantly, actually probes some of the more serious issues facing the industry. Above all else, examining and dissecting the proposal reveals some truly frightening facts." Relatedly, Shodan writes "Hal Halpin, the President of IEMA, today issued a statement in response to California Assembly Bill 1179, which is on the floor to address the issue of violent videogames." Other states are taking their lead from Illinois and California. KymBuchanan writes "I'm sad to say my state is on the bandwagon, and the charge is being lead by Democrats. From the article: 'Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has announced that she will sign legislation later this week that will make the sale or rental of mature or adult-rated video games to children illegal ... The fine for anyone caught selling a "violent title" ( apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings) to minors will initially be $5,000, and can go as high as $40,000 ...'"

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419 comments

Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551403)

In my town, teens pay upwards of $10/pack for cigarettes. 21 year olds get up to $50 to make liquor runs for high school parties. The teen black market is very lucrative.

My firm belief is that this is the responsibility of the parents, not the State. Parents now have even less involvement in parenting due to these laws. Kids will still get the games.

The margin on video games is thin (5-10%). Adding the cost of policing adds another burden to the retailers, making them less competitive with the e-commerce sites. retail is a huge portion of a local economy, it is a shame to see more regulations on business owners.

Of course, in the long run the State wins: More tax money for enforcement positions and the red tape jobs they add. Added income from fines and penalties.

In the end, the consumers suffer, parents distance themselves more from their responsibility, and the State profits. Not a worthy solution in my opinion.

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551449)

You are absolutely right.

It should be the parents responsibility. If the kid wants GTA:SA, you think the stores will stop him? He'll just end up paying someone to get the game for him. Of course, he has to play the game at home...

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (2, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551745)

Indeed.
Society is going to hell, simply because we are constantly encouraged to pass the buck
Example
Little billy shoots up his school -- most people say it's because other kids made fun of poor billy. His parents, who obviously don't give a damn, never noticed that their son was becoming aggressive. It wasn't the video games, directly -- it was the fact that he was using the characters in the games as replacements for his tormentors. Eventually, because he never got any help (and it should have been pretty obvious) he goes and shoots the people at his school

His parents blame the games -- when they should be blaming themselves and those who picked on billy. Kids don't become murderers overnight (usually) -- there are warning signs.
Any responsible adult should put a stop to the things that cause violence -- anything that may sadden or piss a person off.

What the hell's this? (0, Redundant)

21st Century Peon (812997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551482)

A relevant, insightful, non-totally-upper-case first post?
It's like the whole world's gone mad!

Re:What the hell's this? (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551510)

Whoa, weird!

Check my post history, it'll get modded -1 Flamebait soon enough :)

Even weirder, I post from my h6315 PDA with 9.6k GPRS. /. must be getting slow! :)

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (5, Insightful)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551504)

That's not what this is about.
 
This is about taking the parents' ability to blame the video game manufacturers and putting the blame squarly on themselves for NOT BEING PARENTS! The sooner video game companies stop getting sued because stupid parents won't actually be parents and police what their children do, the sooner video game companies can spend less money defending shit like that and start making more games for less money.
 
It doesn't cost the retailers more, all they have to do is look at the back of the freakin box! And if some 12 year old is trying to buy GTA, well, don't let them! If mom buys it for them, then its mom's fault, not the retailer or the game maker. Mom can't try to cash in on the game company because her child shot someone.
 
Reguardless of whether or not the kids end up with the games anyway, it will now be the responsibility of the parents, and they won't be able to get out of it anymore. It IS a good thing.

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (1, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551839)

I first read your post and sort of agreed.

Then I realized my parent post already dismissed your opinions, at least in my opinion.

First, this law won't make parents more responsible. Will Little Johnny ask mom to buy the game, or ask Big Brother Billy or Older Friend Paul?

I do t ink this bill adds overhead to businesses that can't absorb the cost. Retailers now need to police games better out of Hot Coffee fears. They need to take register time to check IDs and slow down traffic. They need to police their own employees to make sure they're obeying the legal directives.

Want to bet the law isn't clearly worded? Hiring a business law lawyer is $300/hour, bet its more in California.

I can forsee many more added costs the more I ponder.

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551517)

Just what we (and especially financially strained CA) need: more bureaucracy. Let's ignore that fact that banning the sale of games with certain content is blatant government censorship (good or bad). Let's ignore that whole "freedom of speech thing" (even if that refers to only political speech).

The article makes a great point. The RIAA gets to oversee music. The MPAA gets to oversee movies. The ESRB is impotent and the goverment must oversee games.

But next it will be music.

Then movies.

Then TV.

And the slope slickens (like that word? I think I invented it). This bugs me for many reasons, but two major one. First, the government shouldn't be in the business of censoring anything some little group doesn't like (once it's law, how long do you think it will be before any violence of any kind against any minority is instant grounds for a banning?). And second, of all the things we see (cursing and sex on network TV, violence, sexualizing of children, anti-religious sentiments, etc.) why is it VIDEO GAMES that we are working on? If the average kid plays 1 hour of video games a day (probably too high), and watches 3 hours of TV (probably too low, much of it "sexy" primetime), and sees 2 big movies a year (violent, "sexy"), and more houses have TVs than video games (for obvious reasons), which medium will have the most effect on kids psyches?

Right. The video games.

PS: Let's just ignore the fact that at the rate we're going video games are about the only place kids can see real conflict (especially in sports) since we wouldn't want to keep score in games or every let anything harm poor Billy or it might hurt his self esteem (until he is 18-21 unless he is a minority, at which point he is in the "real world" and his self-esteem be damned even though he was never taught any coping skills).

Sorry that got a little rant-y.

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551555)

You just pointed out the reasoning behind all prohibition (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc.) It's to provide more money and power for those with political connections and provides the side benefit of making politicians look like they are doing something useful. For anyone who wonders why pot is illegal, this is the reason.

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (2, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551647)

Plus you further erode responsibility for the parents. Why govern your child when the state will for you! If you fail and your child becomes a junkie, it is not your fault, it is the states! No one is to blame.

Just when you think it is only the republicans attempting to legislate morality you have democrats trying to usurp them. Sad really. Plus you are correct again, the private "blackmarket" sale of games will only sky rocket.

And hello to a fellow anarchocapitalist Mises fan!

Re:Free Market versus Black Market: Nanny State (1)

markass530 (870112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551750)

50 dollars for a liquor run? Either they are hard up, or not very inventive. I was the goto man for alcohol in high school because I had a good rap with whatever bum I came across. You'd be surprised how nice they are if you talk to them nice, and offer a big mac, top ramen, or something of that ilk.

Stupid Democrats!!! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551415)

Stupid Democrats!!

Make people responsible for thier own actions, not some stupid rating on a video game.

If a kid goes and robs someone, its not the games vault. Its a lack of discipline.

Re:Stupid Democrats!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551487)

Stupid Republicans!!

Didn't you read it? Arnold Schwarsewhatever is who this one dem is copying...

Re:Stupid Democrats!!! (3, Insightful)

the arbiter (696473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551577)

You're both fucking idiots. There is not one iota of difference between Democrats and Republicans. They're both looking to steal all of your money that they can grab for the corporations that put them in power. All the rest of it (abortion issues, storm relief, etc.) is just a three-ring circus act to keep you distracted from the guy who has his hands in your pockets.

Modern Parasites (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551419)

I plucked this quote out of someone's sig, but it seems appropriate:
 
"The problem with 'post-modern' society is there are too many people with nothing meaningful to do, building 'careers' around controlling the lives of others and generally making social nuisances of themselves. They justify their meddling by discovering social 'problems' and getting the media to magnify them out of all proportion."

-Graham Strachan

Re:Modern Parasites (2, Insightful)

maswan (106561) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551603)

How about another quote, this time from a video game (Alpha Centauri):
As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Re:Modern Parasites (0, Offtopic)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551625)

You forgot some of the "irony-marks". The "passage" should "read": The "problem" with "post-modern" "society" is there are too many "people" with nothing "meaningful" to do, building "careers" around "controlling" the "lives" of others and generally making "social" "nuisances" of themselves. They "justify" their meddling by "discovering" "social" "problems" and "getting" the "media" to "magnify" them "out of all proportion".

Re:Modern Parasites (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551723)

You know what? The 'post-modern' society actually works so great that there isn't actually any more problems to solve. The whole system is pretty much as good as it can get; no radical change can make it any better. At the same time, however, there has to be some change -- otherwise, the society will stagnate. To create some dynamics in the system, some changes are constantly made in it by random. This is how it's done. All those bills are actually created by monkeys randomly pounding on typewriters. The "voting" charade they do in the congress is actually a sort of a Turing test: if a bill passes the test, it gets signed.

Modern Flamebait (0, Flamebait)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551786)

The problem with 'post-modern' society is there are too many people with nothing meaningful to do, building 'careers'...

...constructing video games.

Not to be too obnoxious, but the people who promulgate these laws wouldn't be put into power unless a fair number of our fellow citizens saw similar problems or had a rising distaste for what they see in the modern video game. And although I am a firm believer in the First Amendment rights of anyone who wants to publish anything they want in a video game, neither the manufacturers nor the fans do a very good job of describing why large amounts of violence are somehow integral to the games being designed. As such, when y'all get attacked for promoting something that is relatively unwholesome for entertainment purposes, don't go around whining to each other. This battle (as was most of the battle having to do with mor extreme forms of art, pr0n, etc.) will only be won in the courts. Good luck - with your maturity level, you'll need it.

Its a good start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551420)


because violent culture has been promoted for quite a while, there are those who say "it has no effect" but if that was true iam sure the US Gov wouldnt want to waste billions of dollars on "battle simulators" and promotional products (Americas Army)

lets turn the tables, if you wanted to promote a violent culture to youth, how would you market it ? and which popular media formats would you use to achieve it ?

VIOLENT GAMES SHOULD BE BANNED IN THE U.S. (0, Troll)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551421)

OR ELSE THE TERRORISTS WILL WIN!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like TROLLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like TROLLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like TROLLING.

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like TROLLING.

Re:VIOLENT GAMES SHOULD BE BANNED IN THE U.S. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551466)

Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they'll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran
Or spread some fucking disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It's all greek to me.

Re: "Dissecting" the bills (3, Funny)

Toasty16 (586358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551432)

Actually, the proposed bill on violent games would prevent such depraved acts as "dissection" of itself by anyone under the age of 21 without the presence of a parent or guardian. Any minors found dissecting such bills would be fined $5000 and sentenced to 15 hours of community service, scratching X's into original, non-censored copies of GTA: San Andreas.

Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (3, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551433)

I'm sad to say my state is on the bandwagon, and the charge is being lead by Democrats.


Er, why is it always about politics with some people? It's not like stupid ideas only come from one political party.... And don't anyone say that it's "always" or "mostly" one party, because it's not.


Stupid ideas are pretty universal.


Anyone that's been out in the real world (particularly the business world we all love to complain about), should know that.

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551514)

I would guess the Democrat statement was in the article because this is something that would typically be viewed as coming from the Republican party.

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551553)

because the main consequence of control is aimed at the male demographic.

The democratic party is a front for one of the most hateful movements in the world, feminism. That is the only common thread in which the party acts upon.

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (1)

0star (886611) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551584)

Or that so many of the Slashdot posters are reflexively liberal (or at least anti-"conservative") that it they would assume it was Republican.

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (1)

plankers (27660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551567)

It was Lewis Black that said:

"The Republicans are the party of bad ideas. The Democrats are the party of no ideas."

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551681)

Yes! STUPID IDEAS ARE UNIVERSAL!

HOWEVER, this is your "Elected Officials" and "tax dollars" hard at work!

I didn't know Poverty, Social Security, Medicare, Rising Energy Costs(see Oil and Natural Gas), Education, and the other 100 items I could list, get TRUMPED by VIDEO GAME VIOLENCE AND OH MY GOD, WE MUST THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Bills like this show the Death of Creativity in Freedoms, and a Reminder that the POPULUS of AMERICA CAN'T THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

BS bills like this WILL continue to go through the Legislatives Branches, only because the MAJORITY of those who think it shouldn't, aren't speaking up and don't give a crap..

It sickens me to say the least ....

/responsibility surrenders

Re:Why is it ALWAYS about poltics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551784)

I took it to mean that it was a second thing the poster was sad about. First the poster is sad due to his state being on the bandwagon, and then the poster is further saddened to see that the bandwagon is being drawn by Democrats. (Saddened, but hopefully not surprised; this type of "won't-somebody-think-of-the-children" bill is one of the few ways the more pandering Democrats can score any points with "family values" types, since they don't really have the option of demonizing homosexuals and atheists.)

Fine by me (0)

samael (12612) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551446)

I'm over 18 - hand me my simulated chainsaw, and keep it clear of the children's market so that we don't have any more of these fusses.

Re:Fine by me (0)

packeteer (566398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551502)

I know that video games are not the same as real life safety but i think this is a good quote for oyu to consider, mister "it doens't effect me so i dont give a damn"

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me --
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

-Pastor Martin Niemöller

Re:Fine by me (3, Funny)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551561)

Also, apples are red and shiny and oranges are orange and bumpy. So consider that.

Re:Fine by me (1)

samael (12612) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551580)

I don't think that all media are suitable for children. You need to be of age to buy alcohol, smoke cigarettes and rent porn. I don't see any reason why video games with sex and violence in them should be any different to movies.

Re:Fine by me (1)

crotherm (160925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551694)


I agree with that, but why not the industry police itself as does the film and music. And on top of that, I's REALLY like it if the damn Government would stay out of peoples lives. Let the parents do their job.

(I know it is not 9/19, but aaarrrrgggg)

Re:Fine by me (2, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551731)

You don't get fined for porn. Alcohol and cigarette fines are set by the community, not federal.

This is taking away control from parents. In come communities, it is illegal to pubicly punish your kid (read: whip, just a little smack, not beat)

In some communities, if the (public) school recommends your kid is to be put on Ritalin, you have to abide for the best interest of the child. Who the f*k made the school the doctor? The same people pushing this law.

Fine by you, not fine by me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551616)

That's an extreme oversimplification of the issue. When you create a law against selling certain types of media (information) to children, you do several things:

- Eliminate the ability to buy goods without presenting your identity.

- Force creators/vendors/artists to pre-screen their audiences. This entails a burden on the wrong party. Should I have to pay in order to protect others from themselves?

- Eliminate freedom of communication. Sure, you may not want to hear certain things, but I can guarantee that someone disagrees. Do you have the right to place a blanket burden on certain ideas just because you find them offensive?

- Create a default "morality" which is based on government decree. This "morality" automatically applies to children so they can be conditioned from birth.

Am I turning into a lawyer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551453)

So my first response would be that the character on the screen may resemble/symbolize a human being, but he did not exist in 4 dimensions, react according to real world stimuli, etc. Therefore, he did not APPEAR TO BE a human being.

The painting over there resembles/symbolizes a human being as well, but it does not appear to be one.

Can I go home now? Yes? Ok, shove that fine up your ass.

If they're going to control our lives, they should at least be more careful about the language they use to do it.

Re:Am I turning into a lawyer? (1)

Rayaru (898516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551531)

Also, minors are only defined as "natural persons." What if I clone someone? Hey, in California, it could happen....

Next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551460)

The next thing you know they'll want to restrict children's access to pornography. Will the eroison of our rights ever end?

Piracy (5, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551461)

Wanna bet that this bill will increase software piracy? Kind of ironic that by preventing imaginary crime (killing people in games), they'll end up encouraging kids to commit real crimes...

One man's realistic... (4, Insightful)

one_get_one_free (868733) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551463)

defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings

Good thing everyone has the same opinion of what's "realistic" in a video game, or this bill would be absurdly vauge.

Re:One man's realistic... (1)

21st Century Peon (812997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551563)

Does that mean selling to minors with top-of-the-range graphics cards will incur harsher penalties than those with last year's model?

Re:One man's realistic... (2, Funny)

MemeRot (80975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551587)

I know. My first thought was "Wow, that's every video game I own". Then I thought... how can you show a REAL depiction of physical injuries of a video game character?

OK, who's ready for the next wave of fighting games featuring cute, fuzzy animals ripping each other apart in super-gory, but legal, ways? Or maybe the next sniper game will be Sniper3:Duck Hunt Extreme.

xbill? (1)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551465)

... physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings ... does that mean xbill is illegal for minors now?

Re:xbill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551732)

No, the victim has to represent a human being. That excludes Mr. Gates...

stupid california (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551475)

Yes. Blame video games. I mean, it's not like the parents let their children watch violent tv, violent movies, violent news, violent cartoons that all have been around much longer than video games. I'm sure all the old folks that remember playing cops and robbers when they were young weren't imagining shooting other people. Spaghetti westerns aren't violent at all.

Anyways, think of the children!

Re:stupid california (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551760)

How about make it illegal to older children to encourage violence? Computer gamerz don't kill peoples, but they get treated as criminal... On the other side, politician kills real peoples by controling troops with their "power glove" (for the one that are too young to understand... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Glove [wikipedia.org]) and this is alright?

Forget the video games, let's go kill peoples in other contries, it's legal and approved by the government!

Jam

Violence: Europe vs. USA vs. Japan (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551476)

Violence in America is much greater than violence in Japan and Europe simply because the degree of competition in America is much greater than the degree of competition in the other 2 places.

Violence is a degenerate form of competition. Imagine that degrees of competition are rated from 0 to 10. 10 indicates degenerate, extreme competition: violence via rape, murder, etc. 10 means "I want 'it' now. Society be damned." Then, we plot the number of Americans exhibiting each of the 11 degrees of violence: 0 to 10. We have a Gaussian curve.

Do the same graph for Japan and Europe.

In American society, the sublimal message in the culture is "Compete to win. Free enterprise. Yeah!". This message shifts the Gaussian curve to the right.

In Japan and Europe, the societies are more paternalistic. Europe is effectively a socialist economy with cradle-to-grave entitlements. Japan is also socialist, but its socialism is not mandated by the state. Rather, Japanese culture is socialist. Firing and laying off employees is very difficult in Japan, and Japanese banks are notorious for funding bankrupt companies just to provide a wage or salary to their employees.

Which society is better? You make the call.

A Double Standard? (4, Interesting)

SirChive (229195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551478)

Do any of these bills propose equal penalties for people who show violent movies or tv shows to kids? How about violent comic books or novels?

No? Didn't think so. Harsh penalties are reserved for computer games because anything with the word "computer" in it scares and confuses the authorities.

Re:A Double Standard? (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551582)

Silly poster. You're not thinking like a politician.

If they did that, it would be CENSORSHIP and they would be thrown out of office. Instead what they are doing is saving innocent kids from their terrible parents^H^H^H evil industry types who are trying to get kids to play sex games and learn how to commit mass murder.

You are against mass murder, aren't you?

If this gets passed, they will say in a year or two that it made a small "dent" but people found ways around the law or turned to other sources of violence (music, TV, movies). So that is when they will add on to the bill (which will be given a cute acronym like K.I.D.D.I.E. or named after a dog that was hit by a car by someone who had played GTA, thus "Spot's Law"). They will make the law more draconian and add new media types.

This will continue until people come to their senses, or the Californian government gets total censorship control over the media. The pendulum swings, it's up to the voters where it stops.

Re:A Double Standard? (1)

munrom (853142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551744)

No? Didn't think so. Harsh penalties are reserved for computer games because anything with the word "computer" in it scares and confuses the authorities.
and the general mass known as society

Re:A Double Standard? (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551814)

There aren't those harsh penalties for movie theaters, because movie theaters, for the most part, enforce the ratings on films. They do so to keep the government from getting involved.

If they video game industry had paid better attention to what was going on around them, they could've policed themselves, and the government wouldn't have gotten involved.

Sure there are some bad parents out there who need to pay more attention to their children. But there are also plenty of good parents who do take an interest in what their children are exposed to, but who realize that they can't lord over their children 24/7. Watching a young teenager like a hawk all the time isn't good for the parents or the teen. But neither is throwing all caution to the wind and letting a child do whatever the hell he wants.

The saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Most of us don't live in a village anymore, it's impossible to know even a sizable percentage of the people/situations that your children are going to be exposed to. So society creates some laws to make that a little easier to deal with. Most parents don't want the Playstation, the TV, or the internet to raise their kids. They don't want the government to do it either. But they certainly wouldn't mind a little help now and then, and restricting the sale of content deemed mature seems like a pretty reasonable way to help.

Restricting the sale of video games to kids is not the huge travesty of basic human rights that some people want to make it out to be.

Sounds great. (1)

shuufoxie (907008) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551480)

I just hope that parents who buy said games for their kids are held accountable for it, in addition to the people selling the games. Last thing we need is a law that lets parents off the hook.

Nothing about pediphilia in games like the sims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551481)

Title says it all.

realistic humans? (2, Interesting)

phriedom (561200) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551483)

"apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings'

So if a rational person judges that NPC "people" in the game are not realistic human beings? I mean, nobody actually thinks a real person is being injured when I run over a San Andreas pedestrian right? So that isn't realistic to me. But if they are alien zombies or Combine soldiers, will it still be okay? I guess all of next years games will feature aliens, 'cuz aliens don't vote.

Re:realistic humans? (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551706)

I'm wondering about that as well. Currently I'm in the midst of writing yet another not-soM MORPG.

So what is a "graphic depiction of physical injuries"? If I have a full-body image with damage depicted on it (similar to the PC's head in Doom), does that count? How about if a parent gets mad in a conservative town and I'm in front of a judge who has never played a computer game in his life?

Its laws like these that makes me consider having a sign-in with a click-through verifying that all players are 18 or older.

My kids will be sad to hear this... (1)

securityfolk (906041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551492)

Guess this means no more Sony Online Game accounts for my 6 and 11 year-old kids... That's a shame - my son's EQ2 Troll was doing really well, and with all the time I spend on the computer, it was one of the few times we could run around as a family and kill virtual things... must... resist... urge to kill.... virtual... things...

Re:My kids will be sad to hear this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551615)

..and if you were actually paying attention, they can SELL it to YOU and you can give it to your kids. Your kids aren't supposed to be able to BUY it.

Re:My kids will be sad to hear this... (1)

securityfolk (906041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551800)

True, but the "spirit/intent" of this is that my kids wouldn't be exposed to violent games (which involve the killing of humanoids). So, if I follow the intent, then my kids can't play. In reality, I don't give a darn about other people's opinions on how I raise my kids - at least I'm not forcing them to believe in old, white-haired, ultra-powerful-yet-invisible deities who watch while you poop.

Improve game quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551500)

This could be a good thing - perhaps if game companies can't just remake the same old kill-everybody-with-railgun FPS, they will have to think about some new ideas for actual game play. This can only help improve the quality of games.

Wake me when something truly frightening happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551512)

If stores get fined for selling video games to non-minors, then I'll care. Until then, I see this as a proactive approach to a potential problem. If more studies come out an 15 years and show the violent video games didn't harm anybody, then the only people who got shafted were the kids whose parents wouldn't buy them the games.

What about the news? (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551527)

The fine for anyone caught selling a "violent title" ( apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings) to minors will initially be $5,000, and can go as high as $40,000 ...'"

So if a news story shows soldiers shooting their guns at a target, or if they show a video of a missle destroying a tank, do they get fined? Or is it because you can't see the people being killed, that it's fine? What if a man runs out of the tank on fire on a life news broadcast, will they then be fined since the person doens't just appear to be a human being, they actually are a human being, and they're really on fire. Does the news now then to pay a fine?

Okay as long as they apply it to Movies/Tv/Etc. (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551541)

Seriously-
If you realistically portray damaging another human in a movie or television show - you get a $5,000 fine per minor that sees it.

Oh--- what , you mean we've been doing this already for the last 70 years? And before that we did it in plays?

What IS the world coming to?

Some questions (4, Interesting)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551543)

No matter what the measure -- gun control, banning/regulating violent videogames/movies/TV/comic books, punitive sentencing laws etcetera -- there's always someone arguing passionately against it.

I firmly believe that there are some people whose morality and upbringing inoculates them against committing violent acts, some who would do it regardless, and some who are borderline cases, for whom the constant diet of violence on TV and in video games (and, who knows, in their real life surroundings) is just the push they need.

Do people who are against video game regulation consider the level of violence in the US acceptable? If not, what do they see as the causes of America's very high (relative to other "first world" or developed nations) rates of violence, and what do they propose to do about it?

Re:Some questions (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551589)

Yep- and many people can drink alchohol without any problems- smoke and live to a ripe old age- rock climb and not fall to their deaths- break dance and not - do cocaine without consequences (I know at least a dozen people who did it in the 80s and all are fine upstanding citizens today with families and kids).

Are we going to keep taking away the freedoms of 90% of society to protect the 10% of society from doing themselves in?

And more basically- if I want to bloody risk killing myself doing something risky shouldn't I be allowed to do so?

Oh Well. (5, Funny)

hahiss (696716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551545)

There goes any chance for a ``Passion of the Christ" videogame . . . .

Re:Oh Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551686)

Yeah. Doubt I'll have much luck with my "Senate Massacre" game either now.

Parents should take more responsibility, but it seems fair to make their lives a little bit easier by trying to ensure that video games are sold to the right age range. It might give the retailer some cushion as well next time some kid shoots his friend in the face when they're playing counterstrike in the local park.

Re:Oh Well. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551787)

And people thought the HORDE was outnumbered in WoW!

Seriously, who wouldn't play as the Romans?

*flashback to Alex's Jesus daydream in "A Clockwork Orange"*

Linux Users: (0, Troll)

queef_latina (847562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551547)

* You're being left in the dust, using an inferior operating system.


* Goatees do not work for pudgy, effeminate cubicle shit such as yourselves. Girls see through it, I promise you.

* When the best you can hope for is a few months of monogamous sex with someone as pudgy and undesirable as yourselves, with 17 months of celibacy in between, your life has taken a serious wrong turn.

* No, you can't turn back. I just came here to gloat

-Love,
  Your economic and social betters.

P.S. God made you the way you were, because, not all of us can be astronauts. Thank you for your time.

I have a novel idea... (1)

cl0nehappy (914685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551558)

Instead of trying to solve problems, let's just focus on quelling the EFFECTS of the problem. That way we won't have to do any real work, and we will look like saviors to all the lazy, uneducated parents out there who vote for us!

What could be simpler?

Nothing New Under the Sun (1)

Castar (67188) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551569)

It's really odd how every time a new medium arrives, certain people run around like headless chickens. The point of things like the constitution and the court interpretations of the First Amendment is that they're meant to be general principles, applicable to a variety of situations - once we decided that books shouldn't be banned, the question should have been (mostly) settled.

Of course, it's possible that I'm seeing confusion where in fact there's malice - perhaps the people who wish books could be banned see a new opportunity to assert their values with each new medium. I wouldn't be surprised.

And yet (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551576)

On broadcast TV most nights of the week you can watch CSI with all of it's gruesome details or some other shows/movies with all of it's violence.

Oh wait, those have to be shown after the extremely late hour of 9pm.

I see. Because of that strict security, THE CHILDREN are being protected.

Let's thank the government for doing our thinking and parenting for us again. Where would we ever be without them?

"so what?" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551586)

Censorship has always been a slippery slope. Every bit of historical evidence supports this. Why should we be suprised that each new medium brings more restrictions? Games more restricted than TV, TV more restricted than movies, movies more restricted than plays, plays more restricted than books...

Re:"so what?" (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551629)

Games more restricted than TV, TV more restricted than movies, movies more restricted than plays, plays more restricted than books...

Ironically, games are played more than TV, TV's watched more than movies, movies watched more than plays, and books.... book, what's that? Is it edible?

Can I have some of that money please? (1)

CorporalKlinger (871715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551598)

While the premise is flawed and I agree with most posters on here, the least the people passing these laws could do is ensure the money derived from their enforcement is used to prevent teen violence through education and after school programs. It's inevitable that the laws will get passed; the least we can do is hope for them to do some good in troubled communities through alternative ways (since I know banning sales of certain video games to minors really won't do much in the way of improving things.)

Violence in Media (4, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551599)

This is a recurring issue that returns everytime a new media comes to bear.

The issue of violence in video games is fairly devisive as the main portion of law makers are not amongst the demo-graphic of game players. Thus it's far easier to run an anti-video game campaign when your voter base and politcal makeup is on average over 25 years old.

Comicly, somehow everyone has missed the boat in regards to the fact the crime and violence in the US has been on a steady decline since the 70's. How can you argue these games and other mediums (gangster rap, death metal, movies, etc...) are causing increases in violence when the stats clearly show we are becoming less violent as a culture?

Maybe these mediums are serving as an outlet for violent behavior which would otherwise be exerted in the very real world with very real consequences.

Another point it seems many people willfully miss under the guise of free speech and/or desire for games with illicit content, is that there may well be a serious moral, ethical, and social problem associated with content that glorifies and/or encourages anti-social behavior.

This is quite a paradox, crime is on the wane, so its hard to say if these games are causing a problem or helping it. However as an adult who does play GTA and every FPS i could get my hands on, i can definitly say this isnt the type of stuff ill want my children playing. And while many would argue(and i do agree somewhat) that this falls into the realm of parental control and proper parenting, i say that our society has made such parenting increasingly difficult to do.

The average white collar family has TWO working parents who spend 50-60+ hours a week at work and commute another 10+ hours. Blue collar families face similar if not worse conditions leaving less and less time for adequate parental supervision. Maybe the solution is a reduced work week, but i dont think ANY of us believe that will happen in the near future (not to mention the effect on our economy), so in the interim i cant help but support better controls for parents.

Those controls are inadequete and nearly laughably easy to circumvent right now, as such the only moderation available without industry support is through strenuous law. Which puts us directly in the path of free speech.

How do i, as an adult gamer maintain my right to view whatever content i want, and leave the industry free to PRODUCE that content, without endangering the wellfare of my child in todays society? A society where even as a top-tier earner it is difficult for me to keep my child in a safe environment of my choosing.

This is a very serious problem which everyone seems to be avoiding by pointing at each other.

sadly enough it may be DRM is the only dependable solution. Now THATS a scray thought.

Re:Violence in Media (4, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551742)

The average white collar family has TWO working parents who spend 50-60+ hours a week at work and commute another 10+ hours.

So how does your ass feel after pulling these numbers out of it?

Goofy: Human or Dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551607)

This begs the eternal question:

Is Goofy a representation of a human or of a dog?

Independent game devs? (4, Insightful)

xiaomonkey (872442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551645)

Could this make it harder for smaller independent game developers to enter the market? For example, imagine the following scenario:

Your a small independent game shop that decides to forego using a major publishing house to distribute your titles, but rather decide to distribute/sell your video games from your own website. In many ways this could be a smart move since it avoids that whole you putting the majority of effort into making the video game and somebody else pocketing almost all of the profits thing. In any case, after setting up the website and posting a few games online, lets say that one or more 15 year olds gets a hold of his/her parents credit card and buys a couple of games the could be considered 'violent' under this law (e.g. almost any FPS). The kids buy the game even though there is a clear warning on the web site that it should not be purchases by anybody under 18, which of course is a pretty useless deterrent to a 15 year old. Then later, lets say the kids parents find out and decide to go after your company using this law.

Now, for a few sales that brought in $20 to $30, your company has to pay out $5,000 $40,000?!? That's probably going to be a significant chunk of the development budget for your next game. Heck, if you're a one man shop, that might be all of your development budget.

So, it seems like this will pretty much force independent developers to distribute with major publishing houses who can afford to shoulder the liability. Or, even better for the publishing housing, shift that liability over towards the brick and mortar shops that most people buy their video games at.

Dissecting? No. (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551650)

>> Dissecting U.S. Violent Game Bills

Dissecting them? No.

Actually it's more like beating them repeatedly with a crowbar, then stabbing them a few times with a kbar, a double-tap in the head with a Glock, a few rounds of buckshot from the ol' assault shotgun, a clip from a 9mm sub-machine gun, several three round bursts from the assault rifle, one bazooka round, a blast from that thing that makes you turn to ice and shatter, and a direct hit from a plasma rifle.

Then you can see what's really on the inside of these things.

Doom3 patch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551674)

So in order to make Doom3 ok, all we have to do is attach pointy ears to all of the humans.

Violent Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551675)

I'm 21 now, I have my own house, car, etc..

Now, I have been playing Doom since it game out. I started on Wolf 3D, then Spear of Destiny, then Duke Nukem, and Quake, so on so forth.

I have never initiated a fight, I have never wanted to. How can they possibly think games are responsible for this? My parents weren't even around all that much, however, they were supportive when they were around, perhaps that helps? I don't know. Everyone is different. Some people are going to drink bleach label or not. Someone is going to do drugs no matter how much you tell them not to. Some people are going to kill no matter how much you shield them from it.

Secluding kids from reality does not help things.
If anything, allowing them to see what is real (as violence is a reality) it better prepares them for it. Sheltering it from them makes them uneducated about the situation. If kids don't know what violence is, how can they not do it?

Also, since video games have been around, kids are LESS violent than they used to be. The percentage of violent kids is way down based on population, there is just more kids around so the percentage may be lower, but the number is higher.

First Prime Factorization Post (1)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551678)

Dissecting a Bill? Here's my analysis. 1179 = 3*3*131, a product of 3 Sophie Germain primes. Therefore the bill is effeminate.

Can our *NEURONS* tell fantasy from reality? (0)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551766)

People say that they can separate fantasy from reality. But this misses the point. A brain is a neural network that is exposed to stimuli and makes associations. It sees "opponent" and "me killing him" and the neurons between these two things are strengthened.

If you can separate fantasy from reality, it meens that the neurons linking "opponent" and "me killing him" and "fantasy" are strengthened. Which inevitably spills over onto just the first two.

Maybe you can separate fantasy from reality perfectly well. But can your neurons? -- No.

Re:Can our *NEURONS* tell fantasy from reality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551855)

Thank goodness we've got a PhD in Cognitive Science to elucidate how "the brain" works so succinctly... what's that, you DON'T have a degree and you're talking out of your ass? Oh, OK then.

Call the governor's office (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551775)

California governor's office 1 (916) 445-2841. While the bill might be ruled unconstitutional, it's better it not get signed into law in the first place.

Why bother ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551781)

I don't know why I'm bothering to post this, as I'm sure it'll never be seen, but hey why not try ...

What strikes me as amazing is how many people jump to the defense of games where you can simulate: carjacking someone, killing police, stealing, looting, burning... yes, this is entertainment. Nothing more exciting then a simulation of how to kill hundreds of people in the convenience of my own living room. Forget puzzles, that's not any fun.

The idea behind all of this censorship is that there is a proven link between the violence in media (and that includes ALL media combined) and violence in people - and, like it or not our society is producing adults with less and less respect for other humans. The problem is, of course that nobody knows where to direct a response. There's a murder where the suspect says something about video games, and our focus changes to them. Wait, it's movies, focus changes there.

The bigger picture is that society as a whole - media being a part of that - has graduated each and every component towards this problem. That's where we need to focus our efforts, but nothing would come of that either - we need a free market for violent video games so geeks (myself included) can play our first-person shooter as much as the gangbangers in Brooklyn need rap music to roll to.

Like it or not, video games are a small part of this. As is violent music, violence in movies, crime itself, and how we punish and litigate criminals in less and less meaningful ways.

But try telling that to a rap music fan, a gangster movie buff, or a defense lawyer because you'd just be another idiot trying to ruin their freedoms.

If, 50 years ago, 4 or 5 children (one 2 months old) were shot in a period of a 5-day workweek, the whole world would have noticed. It barely made the front page in my city last month.

What about downloadable games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13551801)

I don't know about America, but in australia you can get a credit card at 16. So what about downloadable games that are in this category? Are a few combo boxes on a form asking your date of birth sufficient id?

Bring on a happy tree friends game.

Re:What about downloadable games? (1)

Primotech (731340) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551827)

Not only that, but games purcahsed online and then physically sent to a home. I know for a fact that many teenagers have their own or access to their parents credit cards. This is another intersting facet of this topic that I wanted to get into a bit more.

Welp... (1)

Praedon (707326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551829)

Thank god Im 21.... That and the fact that from what I see, its not illegal to GIVE The game to a minor... Here little timmy!! Go play the car thief! Dont forget to use the cheat codes to use the tank to blow up people! Thats important!

I can just see it now! (1)

GecKo213 (890491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13551835)

It'll be like the liquor store parking lot as the weekend comes near. There will be hoards of "minors" outside waiting to find the one shady looking person who will buy them the booze... er, uh video game without question.

Minor: "Hey Mister, I'll give you 20 bucks to buy something for you if you go inside and buy us the new GTA video game."
Mister: "Ok, but you're not working with the Feds are you!? Cause if you are, that'll be the last thing you'll be able to ask anyone for without having to write it down!"


Does anyone else see this type of thing happening? I mean, c'mon. I don't want my young kids playing those types of video games, but if they want them, there are a myriad of ways for them to get them. Or at least get to play them say at a friends house.
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