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Violent Games Bill On Tap In Florida

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the another-day-another-bill dept.

The Courts 69

Gamespot is reporting that a violent games bill similar to the one recently signed into law in California is being considered in Florida. From the article: "The bill bears more than a passing resemblance to the game restriction bill California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed into law. The language for what constitutes a 'violent video game' is identical, as are the $1,000 limit on fines resulting from breaking the law and the requirement that violent games be labeled with a 2-inch-by-2-inch sticker depicting a solid white '18' outlined in black. About the only difference between the two bills is that Diaz de la Portilla's legislation makes it illegal for violent games to be made available to minors in arcades as well as in stores."

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69 comments

Heh. (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889096)

As has and will be said a thousand times on these news articles: WTF!

It is the parent's responsability to control and limit their kid's gaming choices, not the government's. I really hope that this doesn't get passed.

I swear, if parents spent as much time with their kids as they did talking on their cell phones, America wouldn't be as fucked up as it is today.

If you live in florida, for god's sake, write to the lawmakers and tell them not to do this!

Re:Heh. (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889150)

I have no problem monitoring what games on my computer my son plays (expecially since he's 2 LOL) but there are a few problems here.

1) If my child does buy something that I don't think is appropriate, I can not return it.

2) With the advent of live CDs it is possible for a minor to run a violent video game on the PC with out leaving behind any sign of it. And as much as I want to keep an eye on my child, I also need to work to provide food, clothing and a house for him.

3) If my child is mature enough to play an excessively violent video game, it is my decision as a parent to make. So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

There are also some down sides. Like who makes the ratings? Who handles enforcement? How much tax money is this going to cost? Will this bill have an impact on the game development industry?

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

turtled (845180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889225)

I play games with my 4 year old; I am by his side. It's all about involvement in what's happening in the games (and movies, and music, and LIFE). Right now, it's limited to Mario, SpongeBob and PowerRangers. When time comes it will be up to ME on how we, or just him, plays games. I do not want the government raising my boy, let me be a man and do it.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889315)

So what are you going to do when your child gets home from school at 3:45pm and you get home from work at 6:30? At this point, our children are young enough that we can absolutely control what video games they are exposed to. But a 14 year old kid is significantly harder to keep tabs on.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

turtled (845180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889420)

His step-mother works 3rd shift. She'll be home when he gets home. She'll make the cookies, she'll be there until I get home. BUT, by the time he is 14, I hope with all my might that I will have taught him well. It's about the eary years as much as the later years. It's still about being a parent, even when not there. To me, today's kids don't have ANY parenting. Today's kids have the games as baby sitters. My son will have things like sports and outdoor activities as well as techy stuff like games and computers. It starts with ME and ends with AIDAN (my son)

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889741)

I'm glad you have round the clock coverage. Not all families are so lucky. And we all hope that we are good enough parent that our children will grow up well. My own parents were very active in my early years. My mom stayed home, my dad taught me right from wrong, I was in sports and into mechanics/computers. But when I was 14 I smoked, I listened to loud music, I pushed the envelope. That's what being a teenager is about, coming into your own, seeing what you can and can't do. Its not like we can or even want to coddle our children until they are 18 then boot them too the curb and expect them to fly off into a successful life. Would violent video games have changed me? Doubtful, but would my mother like to have known that I was at home playing strategy games or police shooters? -Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

ShibaInu (694434) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889955)

I don't understand the whole "the government shouldn't raise kids" argument here. Basically, what the government is doing is give MORE control to parents. Yes, we should all know what our kids are doing, but we should also have standards as to what the rest of the world can sell out kids when we aren't there. My folks let me have a beer every so often when I was a teen, but weren't outraged that it was illegal for Safeway to sell me beer. If you are an adult, this bill has no bearing on you whatsoever. If you are a parent, it means you KNOW some doofus at Best Buy isn't going to sell JR a game you don't want him to have. If you think your kid can handle it, get him the game.

I don't know if this bill is really needed, but the point of it is that the government is allowing parents more choice in what their kids can play.

Re:Heh. (1)

Audguy (736134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13892719)

The new part will affect adults, part of it will prevent mature arcade games to be viewable to children, thus most arcades won't buy them, and if the arcades won't buy them, they won't be made.

Re:Heh. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889306)

With the advent of live CDs

You can lock out booting from the cd, then. Don't go about giving up your rights to control what your kid can and cannot do just yet.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889454)

True, I can lock my child in a dog cage in the basement to keep him safe from the evils of society also. But that would be rather ubsurd, illegal, and all round sickening.

The same arguement could be made for smoking. Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor? Shouldn't it be the parents job to make sure their child doesn't smoke? Same for alcohol, pornography, and tatoos. The goverment is giving parents the control.

The government is not saying that the industry can not make these games. It is not saying that minors can not play these games. It is saying that if a minor wants to purchase these games they need a parent or guardian.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889520)

"Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor?"
They shouldn't.

"Shouldn't it be the parents job to make sure their child doesn't smoke?"
Yes, it should.

"Same for alcohol, pornography, and tatoos. The goverment is giving parents the control."
No it's not. It is taking control away from the parents. Parents would have full control if there was no act on behalf of the government at all.

"The government is not saying that the industry can not make these games. It is not saying that minors can not play these games. It is saying that if a minor wants to purchase these games they need a parent or guardian."
Why should the government even be involved in this? Your smoking/alcohol example is much less appropriate than comparing video games to movies and music - which are an entertainment medium. The government does not say that a minor cannot buy an R-rated movie. Why should the government say that a minor cannot buy an M-rated game? There is no difference.

Less government is more government.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889662)

So you are saying that I as a parent should quit my job and stand by my child at all points in time throughout the day to make sure he doesn't leave school at lunch and buy a pack of smokes?

If so, that would mean that the government would have to pay for our cost of living as I no longer have a job. So yes, we would protect the rights of minors so that they could buy cigarettes at the cost of a huge percentage of our work force.

"The government does not say that a minor cannot buy an R-rated movie. Why should the government say that a minor cannot buy an M-rated game? There is no difference."

The government says you can not sell Playboy to a minor. The content of playboy is no worse then anything you'd see in an R-rated movie today (due to the rating association lowering standards and bowing down to big budget movie makers). The problem is not that the government does prevent the sale of R-rated material to minors. The problem is that a corporate entity has altered the ratings system to maximize profits.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (2, Insightful)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889753)

"If so, that would mean that the government would have to pay for our cost of living as I no longer have a job. So yes, we would protect the rights of minors so that they could buy cigarettes at the cost of a huge percentage of our work force."
The government does not owe you the cost of living. You can make a choice to raise your child correctly so that he wouldn't go out and buy cigarettes as soon as you are not there and maintain your job employment or you can take the extreme route you propose. Based on your opinion, I'd say that it's pretty obvious you were raised by a parent who, instead of teaching you what's right and wrong, stood over you and forced your hand at every instance. Not everyone was raised this way and, unlike you who in the abscence of a parent 24/7, wants the government to serve that role.
"The government says you can not sell Playboy to a minor. The content of playboy is no worse then anything you'd see in an R-rated movie today (due to the rating association lowering standards and bowing down to big budget movie makers). The problem is not that the government does prevent the sale of R-rated material to minors. The problem is that a corporate entity has altered the ratings system to maximize profits."
Way to shift the argument!

Why do you believe government intervention is needed here? Any laws preventing minors from accessing games or movies would be state-wide - hardly representative of community standards. There is no reason for government involvement here. Raising children is not easy but it is much more valuable to raise a child who can make decisions on his own rather than having the government preventing the child from making "the wrong decision" on his own.

You sound like you're very needy and expect everyone else to take care of you. I feel sorry for you, Rick.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890254)

"ased on your opinion, I'd say that it's pretty obvious you were raised by a parent who, instead of teaching you what's right and wrong, stood over you and forced your hand at every instance."

Actually no. My parents gave me the freedom to try things while guiding me. And they did a pretty good job. Three honor roll college graduates with successful carreers and new families. All of use with solid ethics and a persuit of right. But that doesn't mean that a teenager is going to make the best decisions, no matter how well raised. Life is not so simple that you can absolutely point at the parent and say it was their fault. And I've said that since I was a teenage driving my own parents wild. And I'm sure some day my son will do things that drive me crazy too.

If you raise your child so perfectly that they never step out of line, never push the limits, never even glance at the dark side, they will likely have issues later in life. That why I don't buy the "raise your kids right and they won't play bad video games" crap. I expect my child to find ways to operate behind my back and around my intentions. If he couldn't, then what kind of problem solving skills have I inspired in him?

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890057)

"Why should the government prohibit the sale of cigarettes to a minor?"
Simple really, Direct tobacco use has long term(150+ year) proven harmful effects to the human body. Minors are adjudged(by the law it is part of the definition) to be unable to make rational decisions and it is the responsibility of the COMMUNITY at large to help them survive till they are mature enough(under the law) to make decisions that have fatal implications.

Re:Heh. (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890109)

Do you see how in my post that question was in italics and offset? That's because I was quoting someone. Thanks for your reply but it wasn't my question in the first place and therefore, completely out of place. You failed to address any point that I raised in my post.

Some people obviously need remedial comment reading help.

Re:Heh. (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890299)

"Government is bad" isn't a point. Neither is "They Shouldn't"

Re:Heh. (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890822)

The goverment is giving parents the control.

So if you decide your 18 year old kid is mature enough to handle a single glass of wine with a fancy dinner for graduation, you're going to go right on out to the restaurant and ord...Oh wait. The only "control" you have is to take the choices the government tells you to take.

I have a friend in Europe where this kind of censorship of violence is common. Recently, his customs office seized some movies he bought and tried to import from America, on the grounds he might show them to his kids (amusingly, he has none). With these laws enacted, how long do you think it will be before its a crime ("endangering a minor"?) for a parent to buy this and let their kid play? Will the state start inspecting your mail to make sure you're not buying violent games from a more permissive society?

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890997)

"So if you decide your 18 year old kid is mature enough to handle a single glass of wine with a fancy dinner for graduation, you're going to go right on out to the restaurant and ord...Oh wait. The only "control" you have is to take the choices the government tells you to take."

I fail to see the problem here. Depending on your states laws, that is perfectly viable. In Wisconsin a minor can drink alcohol if accompanied by an adult. I beleive in Hawii you can not though (My Sis and Mom went when my Sis was 20, and she couldn't have a drink with my Mom).

And in this case the government gives the parent the control of purchase instead of the minor.

As for England, different parts of the world have different societies. In europ violence in entertainment is frowned on, while sex and nudity is passe. Compared to here in the US were nudity is a sin and violence is entertainment. Each social region is entitled its own trade limitations. Heck, try getting some flesh showing porno in to Japan.

As for the future of government pilfering your mail and intruding in your home, I would say highly doubtful. This law does not limit speech, it just ensures that a minor has the permissions of their parent to access the content. The only civil liberties at stake are those of the minor, and even then there is a simple and socially acceptable work arround of going through an adult. If the government were to try and impose further control they would have major opposition from the ACLU and other consumer rights organizations. Not to mention the cost of any such enforcement would be astranomical and tax payers would lean heavily against it.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13893493)

I fail to see the problem here. Depending on your states laws...

So its not a problem because sometimes states don't completely take the choice away from you?

Hello optimist, meet pessimist. I guess we just see the situation differently. You see roses and sunshine, I see child protection taking kids away from their parents because their living environment is "unsafe" thanks to the "dangerous" influence of the 18+ games their parents play.

Re:Heh. (1)

hometoast (114833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889586)

I wouldn't be giving up those rights. Again, there is nothing preventing me from "opting-in" if you will, to purchase a video game for my kid.
The law doesn't say they cannot PLAY the games, but they cannot PURCHASE them. That, is seems, is a fundamental distinction that is lost on most slashdotters.

Re:Heh. (1)

JasonKChapman (842766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889519)

So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

How are video games not like movies and TV now? The industry has a voluntary ratings board, just like the other two. Vendors respect those ratings voluntarily, just like the other two. Parents still can't watch everything their children do all the time, just like the other two.

Bills like this one and the one in California, if applied to movies and TV, would make a movie theater owner subject to $1,000 fine and possible jail time every single time some 15-year-old sneaks into an R-rated movie in his theater. It would make your local cable company subject to those same penalties every time some kid watches an R-rated movie at home.

Will this bill have an impact on the game development industry?

Absolutely! How willing will store owners be to risk carrying anything that might run afoul of the restrictions? It will open up whole new categories of gaming, like First-Person Daisy Pickers and Home Decorating RPGs.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890290)

I should have specified, Broadcast TV. Cable is already an Opt In system. And I agree with you, in part. My disagreement is that software vendors do not enforce the ESRB rating like theators enforce the movie ratings.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890891)

My disagreement is that software vendors do not enforce the ESRB rating like theators enforce the movie ratings.

Have you checked to see whether all DVD vendors comply with MPAA rating guidelines restricting the sale or rental of R-rated movies?

Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games, but they do sell unrated versions of movies (some with restored footage that originally prevented them from getting an R-rating in theaters) that had failed to get an R-rating, and I certainly remember seeing Girls Gone Wild and Playboy DVDs on the Special Interests shelf next to the Anime section.

And just a friendly note: there is no "o" in "theater" (nor in "theatre").

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891054)

"Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games"

Thats good to hear. And if that standard were upheld universally then we wouldn't have any need for a law. I would suggest an independant investigation into local retail outlets and see how widely and consistantly the ratings are enforced. If 90% of all outlets in Florida/Cali enforce the standard 80% of the time, I wouldn't see any need for it. If 50% enforce it 50% of the time, I would probrably argue for an industry group to work on improving the standard's exception. If less then 25% of the vendors in the area enforced the standard, I would have no problem going to a law as it is obvious that the vendors are not excepting the industry standard on their own.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891335)

"Last I checked Best Buy won't sell AO-rated or unrated games"

That's good to hear. And if that standard were upheld universally then we wouldn't have any need for a law.


When GTA:SA got rerated to AO, I didn't hear of a single vendor opting to get the stickers so they could keep selling the relabeled game. Even on-line stores like Amazon that require credit cards to purchase games pulled it from sale.(*)

So I must have missed something. Can you cite an example of a place selling modern unrated or AO-rated games over the counter? (Activision's Bloody Human Freeway for the Atari 2600 isn't considered modern.)

(*) Legislation seeking to keep minors away from sexual content on the web say requiring the use of a credit card before access is sufficient to prove the remote user's adulthood, so why would Amazon need to pull GTA:SA?

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891621)

"Can you cite an example of a place selling modern unrated or AO-rated games over the counter?"

I can't say I can beyond a shadow of a doubt. But the question I have is, is this law for AO games? Or M games as well? Or does it define a new standard? Me personally, I would have a hard time selling GTA to a 12 year old kid.

"(*) Legislation seeking to keep minors away from sexual content on the web say requiring the use of a credit card before access is sufficient to prove the remote user's adulthood, so why would Amazon need to pull GTA:SA?"

Publicity.

-Rick

Nintendo's Punch-Out is illegal for minors (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13893086)

I can't say I can beyond a shadow of a doubt. But the question I have is, is this law for AO games? Or M games as well? Or does it define a new standard?

It totally disregards the ESRB ratings and defines it by content, which could include content found in T or E-rated games. It would apply to any boxing game as that sport meets the criteria "maiming", "depraved", "serious physical abuse", and "torture" as it defines them. Wrestling games could also qualify.

Though peppered with the criteria "killing", this bill has interpretations that allow the prosecution over a game that has no death in it at all. Particuarly note how a single "or" defeats a three-prong "and" test.

IANAL

Re:Heh. (1)

hometoast (114833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889523)

RingDev (879105) wrote ...
3) If my child is mature enough to play an excessively violent video game, it is my decision as a parent to make. So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?


Exactly! There is nothing in any of these bills that prevents a parent from purchasing a violent video game for their child.
I wasn't able to stroll in the the Cineplex when I was 15 and watch an R-rated movie, but I sure as heck could go with my parents.

Re:Heh. (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889603)

Because games already are like movies and mags - there are no laws protecting minors from violent movies, magazines, comic books, etc. - those laws are all self-enforced by their respective industries. Games are getting the sort shrift because parents don't read the ESRB labels like they read the MPAA labels. And because games are a good scapegoat, the way comic books, rock music, and rap used to be.

Imho, if such a law is to be applied, it should be applied accross all industries. The game industry competes with movies and other media - look at the sales figures to see it - they're just chewing into the movie market. By applying the law to this industry and no other, they're giving an unfair advantage. Movie rental places are not told where to stock their violent movies, or what labels to put on them, or who to sell them to, by anyone except the MPAA.

Really, if you let your kid have unfettered access to the TV or the PC, they can see much nastier stuff than what appears in GTA with a little ingenuity. On the PC they can DL something nasty and view it on the DVD player on TV, or on their PC itself.

Focusing on games reveals the law for what it is - an arbitrary sensationalist attack that will be accepted because it harms only a marginalized industry.

Re:Heh. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891245)

It's also that while cinemas all seem to enforce the ratings, not all game stores do. It's basically a "you do that or we do that" law. Of course, parents not reading ESRB labels is something that can't be stopped (though I still think that a plain "17+" label instead of that big M with a tiny 17+ in a corner would be more effective) and the politicians are overreacting but the basic idea that if the stores don't all enforce it (just needs one store selling M games to minors and it doesn't matter that all the others refuse to do that) the law has to is correct.

The MPAA probably revokes your license if you don't enforce the ratings, the ESRB or the ESA can't do such a thing.

Re:Heh. (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889782)

"I wasn't able to stroll in the the Cineplex when I was 15 and watch an R-rated movie, but I sure as heck could go with my parents."
There is no government backing to the ratings system for movies.

Hmmm, what's that similar to? Oh! I know! It's the ESRB ratings system! Same thing.

Get some facts before you spew this garbage.

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890161)

The difference is that the theator industry enforces the rating scheme. Not the parent. And if a theator was not enforcing the rating scheme and an under age child attended an R rated movie, the parent could theoritically file civil charges against the theator. Your average best buy/comp usa/software etc clerk is not going to ID kids for ESRB-M titles.

So what you are saying is that instead of having the government enforce the ESRB standards, we should have some lawyers get rich off of sueing retail stores and set a precident similar to that of theators.

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889901)

Actually, unless it is food you certainly can return it. Thats UCC territory there. It comes back to the minor being unable to enter a contract without parental consent bit.


UCC=Uniform/Universal Commercial Code

Mod parent up! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890316)

Now there's a post worth some mod points. Returning open box software to best buy under the pretense that it was purchased by a minor. Thanks!

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889951)

1. I totally, completely, agree with you about the return policies. I'll suport consumer backslash action against retailers who don't accept returns of undamaged product.

2. That may be true for the console, but not for the PC. You can lock down what the user can do with the PC with correct user policies (which I'm sure you are capable of doing yourself, seing as you can post in Slashdot ;) ). I don't recall many games lately that don't require some kind of HD install, I think the DOOM CD edition could be played directly from CD, but chances of your kid getting that from the shop are very slim :) Console control is a bit more troublesome, I'd suggest a locked cabinet with a key, when I was younger I wasn't allowed out to play unless I had finished my homework and I think it was a good measure. You can (IMO) put restrictions on game usage that are quite reasonable when you're not present.

Advent? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891070)

With the advent of live CDs

You say that as if it self-booting game disks were something new.

Re:Heh. (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891486)

1) If my child does buy something that I don't think is appropriate, I can not return it.

Finally, someone comes up with a sensical argument for these types of laws. Well, there are two ways around this that wouldn't involve the government needlessly curtailing freedom of expression:

1. Force the retailers to accept returns of M-rated games sold to minors. No proof that it was actually sold to a minor would be needed, of course, but what would then happen would be that retailers would refuse to sell M-rated games to minors (thus giving them plausible deniability), which gives us the perfect compromise position.
2. Punish your kid for buying the game. Radical idea, I know. If he did it with your money, then either take it out of his allowance, make him do a bunch of chores, or refuse to give him money for something the next time he asks for it. If he did it with his own money, well, taking the game away is punishment enough, isn't it?

2) With the advent of live CDs it is possible for a minor to run a violent video game on the PC with out leaving behind any sign of it.

If a kid knows enough to do that, then he knows enough to just download the game and bypass the retailers altogether. Besides, he would still have to hide the CD, and if he's clever enough to do that in your own house without getting caught, and has enough willpower to only play the game when it's "safe" to, then he's probably mature enough to handle the game's content anyway.

3) If my child is mature enough to play an excessively violent video game, it is my decision as a parent to make. So why not make video games like movies, TV and magazines?

Video games were already like movies and cable TV. That's the big problem with this legislation; it's hypocritical. As for magazines, I assume you're talking about pornography, which is considered obscene and as such is a completely different issue from violent video games. As for the government restrictions on broadcast TV, those are due to the fact that the airwaves are owned by the public and leased to the networks, which is a different situation from that with movies, cable, and video games.

Rob

Re:Heh. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891657)

"2. Punish your kid for buying the game."

And that is a great option. One that I intend on using if and when it is appropriate.

"...and if he's clever enough to do that in your own house without getting caught, and has enough willpower to only play the game when it's "safe" to, then he's probably mature enough to handle the game's content anyway."

Exactly :) Providing limits encourages creative thinking to get arround those limits. Gotta love teenagers. If my son grows up to be creative and smart enough to pull it off, he's entitled, untill I find out, then see the above ;)

-Rick

Re:Heh. (1)

Solikawa (604301) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889954)

If I'm not mistaken, I read on Slashdot not to long ago that wacko Jacko Thompson was put to the task of drafting out a law by our wonderful govener, Jeb Bush. I might be mistaken, but I'm too lazy to go looking for the original post

Re:Heh. (1)

llsouder (539184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890276)

>It is the parent's responsability to control and limit their kid's gaming choices, not the >government's. I really hope that this doesn't get passed. So what is wrong with a label to help a parent choose? And what is wrong with enforcing an age limit. If you want your 10 year old to play it, go buy it and give it to him, nobody is stopping you!

Re:Heh. (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890493)

It is the parent's responsability to control and limit their kid's gaming choices, not the government's. I really hope that this doesn't get passed.


Ah, but the government here is being used as a tool by parents, isn't it?


In this case parents are saying "if I'm not with my kid, you can't sell him these games".


Parents have a right to tell other adults not to sell things their kids. The government is an appropriate mechanism for enforcing that.

That's right... (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889107)

Guns don't kill people, kids who play video games kill people!

Re:That's right... (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889155)

I'd pay for a shirt that said that.

Hey! Lookit over there! (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889188)

Since state legislators have a harder time pressing the look-over-there-it's-a-terror-alert button, they have to resort to crap like this to save their flagging support.

FTA:"The bill would likely be a welcome change of tone in publicity for Diaz de la Portilla, who has spent much of the year embroiled in an ethics scandal over his failure to comply with campaign finance laws"

Given that the bill is nearly identical to the CA bill, doesn't this just seem like a publicity stunt for de la Portilla?

for sanity's sake... (1)

whysanity (231556) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889200)

...will someone tell these people to stop doing drugs and use thier brains a little.

i swear they shoot first (no pun intended) and ask questions later. little things like "what kind of future implications might this bill have" aren't even considered.

what's it gonna take to get someone with half a brain in office?

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

microTodd (240390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889288)

If you actually read the bill...

here [flsenate.gov]

at first, it doesn't seem that bad. "Violent" is described (para 2) as specifically heinous, depraved, or cruel. In other words, police shooters and military combat games aren't affected. And the bill specifically states (para 5) that parents are allowed to buy or rent violent games for their kids. In other words, if a parent thinks its OK a kid can still play a targeted game.

So in reality, is this bill that bad? Yes, I know its "parenting by legislation" but from a certain point of view this is no different than not allowing underage kids to buy alcohol. The question, of course, is whether alcohol is better/worse than playing a violent game.

My personal concern is that if the bill is passed it becomes some sort of "slippery slope" for other legislation. The bill states that playing violent games mentally affects and even damages kids but no scientific evidence is cited. So a bill could be written that says playing soccer is bad without any scientific evidence and it could become illegal.

Re:Hmm... (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889342)

Don't compare it to alcohol, compare it to buying music with those explicit lyrics tags...or allowing underage kids to buy R-rated movies.

Frankly, it doesn't sound all that different. Except that I'm not positive if there are fines involved with allowing minors to walk off with Sin City or the latest DMX album. I know they were talking about fining movie theaters that allowed minors into R-rated movies, but I don't know whether that went anywhere.

The "video games are evil" craze isn't really that different from the good ol' days of the PMRC and "explicit music is evil." Gotta love people desperate to protect the childrens!

Re:Hmm... (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889963)

IF retailers had enforced ESRB ratings in the same way as retailers enforce R ratings and PMRC labels
THEN nobody would be getting worked up about this

But, everyone here has a story about standing in line at EB/Software Etc/Gamestop behind a 8-12 year old with too much money buying GTA/BMXXX/etc.

Re:Hmm... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890694)

But, everyone here has a story about standing in line at EB/Software Etc/Gamestop behind a 8-12 year old with too much money buying GTA/BMXXX/etc.

All the comments I've read here has the parent joining the kid when the front of the line is reached, and that parent becoming indignant over being reminded of the game's rating, effectively saying, "Don't tell me how to raise my kid; that's the government's job!"

Re:Hmm... (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890757)

I've read those comments as well and support horsewhipping for those parents.

But over the last year I've seen just as many comments about idiot minimum wage clerks not even looking up as the game and cash slide across the counter.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Stryck96 (853773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889896)

I hope it isn't the case, but if Florida's following suit we may have started that slippery slope againt Video Games.

""Violent" is described (para 2) as specifically heinous, depraved, or cruel. In other words, police shooters and military combat games aren't affected."

- I would say that there is a portion of the populace that considers military combat to be cruel at the very least. Would games like Soldier of Fortune get by?

"Yes, I know its "parenting by legislation" but from a certain point of view this is no different than not allowing underage kids to buy alcohol." - Yes, people may have that point of view, but it is very different, in particular, they seem to have forgotten the first amendment:

"Amendment I

Congress shall make --no law-- respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or --abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press--; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Even if video games are harmful, this is equivalent to making it criminal to let a child into a museum where there are nude art pieces. Or perhaps violent or cruel art pieces. And it is most certainly equivalent to making it illegal to let a minor into a R-rated movie.

So, what's next if this legislation follows alcohol's? Mabye I'll be fined if someone reports me buying a violent video game for a minor. Will video games constitute Contributing to the Dilinquincy of a Minor?

Will I be liable if I allow a child to play violent games in my house?

If these laws aren't declared unconstitutional sometime soon, there's really no hope that stricter laws won't follow.

Re:Hmm... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13891341)

If you can do it without landing in jail it's obviously not heinous, cruel or depraved. Soldiers being brought to court for that are the exception and it usually went farther than what you can do in the average WW2 FPS.

But yes, since our own (german) constitution has provisions for youth protection in the free press rights that is obviously not possible without such exceptions. And the US constitutions doesn't grant those so this law looks unconstitutional to me.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 8 years ago | (#13892799)

thanks for the link, but I think you should read the bill

First, in the preamble to the bill it states that "the legislature finds that" [to paraphrase, read the language yourself] that minors are likely to be psychologically harmed by exposure to video games and that minors may perform violent acts as a result of video games. This is very tenuous position scientifically (last I checked), but now that language is a matter of law in Florida.

Second, +++"Violent video game" means a video game in which the options available to a player include killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted in the game in a manner that: 1.a. A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors; b. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community concerning what is suitable for minors; and c. Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors; or...+++

Read that language carefully. I think this language can be bent by people very easily for their own purposes.

-Jeff

Don't they have anything better to do? (1)

r00tl3ss (735241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889298)

The way the American government is fighting violence in games and movies makes it seem like there's nothing else wrong in the world. "Oh, we've already solved the problem of real life violence and crime. Now all we need to do is put a stop to all this make-believe violence, and we've achieved Utopia." You'd think time and money would be better spent on more important things, like curing cancer, or feeding the homeless or something.

Re:Don't they have anything better to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13889764)

Well, since all that real life violence is gone, they should really do something about the CNN channel. There's tons of realistic looking explosions and violence there all the time. I don't want my children to be corrupted!

"chilling effect" (3, Insightful)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13889649)

Having this sticker and not allowing the games to be placed in locations that anyone can she them does create a "chilling effect" on video games and it therefore against developers freedom of speech. Developers will feel obligated to avoid any adult content (be it violence, mature plot lines, sexual content) for multiple reasons.

First, developers are not going to feel obligated to make game to people of all ages only to avoid their game being pushed into a back room somewhere. Financially having good shelf space or location in arcades is important.

Secondly developers will avoid this content because of the legal reproductions that are possible. When the game ships it could be seen as good enough for all audiences but later in court the jury could decide otherwise. This creates a system that is subjective and open to change depending on who is deciding weather the game is only for adults or not.

Third, (this one is a little bit tin foil hat) this will allow for censorship on reasons other then violence and nudity. Because of the statement below statement this will allow games to be removed because of ideals or mentalities. For example say there is currently a war going on and a video game comes out with a strong anti government theme. Perhaps you are organizing protests against the country and using underhanded political tactics to undermine the government in order to evoke a revolt (like in the game "Republic: The Revolution"). Because the government is currently active in a controversial situation it could be seen that this game is instilling anarchy in our youth and should not be sold.

1.a. A reasonable person, considering the game as a 2 whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of 3 minors; 4 b. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in 5 the community concerning what is suitable for minors; and 6 c. Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or 7 scientific value for minors;"

I'm sure many people would say that point C would ensure that that wouldn't be a problem but it's not hard to say something doesn't have a "scientific value" literary, artistically, or politically when the ideals given are controversial.

"The principle of free thought is not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate." US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in United States v. Schwimmer (1929).

I can see it coming (3, Funny)

max born (739948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890080)

Johnson had a War on Poverty, Reagan a War on Drugs, Bush a War on Terror.

What's next? America's War on Violence.

...it's already here! (1)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13892103)

What's next? America's War on Violence.

Isn't that what we've been hearing for years though anyway? It seems like the government in particular, and to an extent, the greater U.S. culture is progressively getting more focused on violence. Which is troublesome, especially since youth violence is decreasing [bolt.com] .

Re:I can see it coming (1)

MyOtherUIDis3digits (926429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13896988)

ummm... we should probably wrap up the whole Iraq thing first...

Them gol-darned video games (1)

nekoniku (183821) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890432)

Florida gets whacked by a hurricane a few days ago and this is what's top of mind to fix? Please.

This is a good bill. (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#13890797)

If this is the same as the California bill in its definition of "violent", it is a good bill. Not all games that involve shooting or killing are necessarily "violent", since this bill's definition of violence involves torture/mental anguish or force beyond what is necessary to kill the enemy. Most fighting games wouldn't then be considered too violent: every strike decreases the opponent's HP (which has a minimum of 0) and does nothing else to them. There's not much gore, and there's nothing that mentally harms the player.

Similarly, Halo single-player has only one part IIRC that would be considered violent: the soldiers sometimes shoot corpses if you're not moving and there are no enemies nearby. Multiplayer isn't that regulable, but it's supposed to be non-"violent": the only infringing aspect would be teabagging, etc.

I can't say anythinng for games such as GTA, because I've never played it, but unless it involves really bothering/torturing people instead of merely shooting it, it probably won't be considered violent.

So this is a good bill. It doesn't affect most games rated M for pure violence.

Re:This is a good bill. (1)

omnispace (792135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894537)

Uh, so Phantom Brave (rated T) would be included in that definition? Because this game certainly allows, even encourages you to keep whacking at enemies after they have died.

Re:This is a good bill. (1)

joystickgenie (913297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894737)

Hey, that would include Mario as well.

Jumping on that poor defenseless turtles' shell repeatedly like that.

In this post is contained my entire reaction: (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13892688)

"fuck."

how ironic... (1)

clragon (923326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13894174)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was in some of the most violent movies... god knows how many kids watched those when they were underage. now hes trying to stop kids from playing violent games? how about making them stop watching those more graphical and violent movies he produced?

Next Up... (1)

thatoneguy_jm (917104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13895340)

Next up? A ban on all small plastic army men, water-guns, and action figures...
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