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Games Are Porn in Utah

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the so-many-wrong-things-about-that dept.

Games 160

GameDailyBiz reports that there is new anti-videogame legislation brewing in both Iowa and Utah. Utah's law is more poorly thought out than most, essentially classifying violent games as porn. From the article: "Meanwhile in Utah, State Rep. David Hogue (R-Riverton) is taking a different approach. Hogue's HB 0257 would seek to amend an existing Utah statute by adding an 'inappropriate violence' clause--such as violence exhibited in some of today's popular video games. Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony. Hogue is certainly not the first politician to compare violent video games to pornography. CA Assemblyman Leland Yee and countless others have put playing violent games in the same category as porn or smoking cigarettes."

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Let's kill the children and eat them. (4, Funny)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563310)

This post is filithy and should be counted as porn too I think.

AND DONT FORGET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563461)

the search engines are aiding the government in the war on 'child porn'...

or was it children looking for porn?

or was it .. fuck hell if i know..

Re:Let's kill the children and eat them. (3, Funny)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563489)

Well, that certainly sounds like a Modest Proposal.

Re:Let's kill the children and eat them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14565584)

Wow, that's way too clever for slashdot.

Re:Let's kill the children and eat them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14565167)

Wow I'm really excited after reading your post!
I love your porn

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563312)

FP

tsk, tsk (1)

catahoula10 (944094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563320)

"'inappropriate violence' clause--such as violence exhibited in some of today's popular video games."

If the game makers had used some type of self-restraint and cooperation like we see the movie industry doing with their ratings for vchips maybe there would be no need for stupid laws.

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563414)

Well, these laws are useless anyhow. Both in how they work and the need for them. This is the job of parents really, whatever the government says.

Re:tsk, tsk (3, Insightful)

catahoula10 (944094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563450)

As correct as you are, if enough parents compalin about violence in games then we will see more laws like this one.

Simple math really.

Parental control (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564666)

This is the job of parents really, whatever the government says.

I used to think that, and then I had kids. And then they grew old enough to start going to school and talking to their friends at recess, and going to friends houses.

While I have more control over my children than many parents seem to have, it still stuns me how little control we actually do have. As they grow older, what control we do have will dissipate.

Thus, while I wouldn't want violent VGs marked as porn, we do want/need some sort of effective rating system.

Re:Parental control (5, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565235)

Thus, while I wouldn't want violent VGs marked as porn, we do want/need some sort of effective rating system.

We do have such a rating system [esrb.org] . Hell, I'm 33, huge with a bushy beard and a register monkey at Target tried to card me when buying an M-rated game - probably because he thought it was funny, but the important thing is that the register stopped him and reminded him that the game had a "not for little kids" rating.

These videogame laws are attempting to criminalize something which I don't think should be criminal. In fact, in the case of Utah the result of their law (if it held up, which it won't) would be to make it a felony for a parent to let their minor child play GTA3 or Medal of Honor. The article doesn't contain the actual text of the amendment, but if it's as vague as they say an adult could go to jail for showing Serenity to a 17-year-old, let alone giving them a copy of Call of Duty. The Iowa law is hardly better since someone would have to determine on a case-by-case basis which games would cause a violation and the "offender" would still end up with a friggin' criminal record.

These legislators are just trying to get publicity. I doubt they truly give a rat's ass about videogame content or they would recognize that the ESRB sets some good guidelines and at least reference those standards when constructing their patently unconstitutional laws...

Re:tsk, tsk (5, Funny)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563511)

Yeah. What video games need is more appropriate violence.

Re:tsk, tsk (5, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564212)

What video games need is more appropriate violence.
You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

diablomonic (754193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564413)

now that could be a popular game :) heheh

Re:tsk, tsk (2, Funny)

diablomonic (754193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564429)

we could call it DOOM 4 (in little writing "your senator")

Re:tsk, tsk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14565003)

we need a game where you live in a fictional country and the purpose is to raise an army and depose the tyrant ruling the country -oh wait...

I wonder if the Slashdot admins will reveal my user ID if I post AC when the fed come -a- knockin' ?

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565172)

That would drive away ad clickers, so I'm sure they won't.

Beat the poop? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565010)

You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?

To beat the shit out of somebody [nih.gov] , all you have to do is give him or her a stool softener, right?

Re:Beat the poop? (2, Funny)

drDugan (219551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565112)

here's 3 words I would have never guessed I'd see together tonight:

"bowel retraining program"

I'll put that right next to

"Hey Joe, would you toss me that piano?"

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

Belseth (835595) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565559)

You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?

Kill all Congressmen. The game for the new millenium. Freedom fighters defend the Constitution by offing as many politicans as they can. To win you must prevent Congress from passing unconstituational legislation and restore the country to a democracy. You get bonus points for nailing rightwing Republicans but all politicans have point value. You can also score by defending a Congressman that is filibustering unconstitutional legislation. If you shoot any Congressmen that objects to the fillibuster you win the round and the legislation is defeated. A game hint, you get an extra 1,000 points if you nail Darth Chenney. He's well guarded so it's a risky move. It's easier to go after his lightly guarded boss but he's only worth 10 bonus points.

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

wernercd (837757) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565752)

lol

if you was defending the constitution you would BE a rightwing republican offing leftwing liberal socialist democrats.

I would pay 50$ for that game

Re:tsk, tsk (3, Informative)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563592)

Yes, if only there was some sort of standard rating system that video games could use...
http://www.esrb.org/ [esrb.org]

Maybe somebody at Take2 should just buy their own Congressman.

Re:tsk, tsk (2, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563656)

And if only there was some way to enforce [xbox.com] [2] [xbox.com] those ratings ...

(I'd link something for PS2, but I couldn't find anything appropriate.)

Re:tsk, tsk (2, Informative)

Ugly American (885937) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565626)

Yes, if only there was some sort of standard rating system that video games could use... http://www.esrb.org/ [esrb.org] Maybe somebody at Take2 should just buy their own Congressman.
I'd add that the ESRB ratings do indeed cause developers to exercise some restraint in what kind of content goes into games. At least according to Wikipedia, there's a grand total of 19 AO-rated games in existence (including GTA:SA.) That's 19 titles out of 8,000 or so rated by the ESRB. It seems pretty clear to me that not many publishers want to earn an AO rating and have their game shunned by the major retailers.

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563607)

I put the word "inappropriate" in the same class as "indecent". It's uselessly nonspecific, doesn't actually mean anything in this context, and gives lawmakers plenty of leeway to decide what is or is not "inappropriate" as they see fit. And, of course, that results of that determination can vary depending upon the barometric pressure, phase of the Moon, and the current political wind.

I wish those people would find something more productive to do.

Re:tsk, tsk (3, Insightful)

Castar (67188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564047)

The video game industry was given awards for their rating system by concerned parent groups and the government. The real problem is that there's a disconnect with parents. To them, "videogames" are like "comics" and "cartoons" - they're for kids. So anything that's a videogame MUST be suitable for little Johnny and there's no need to check any sort of ratings system. So even though a game called "Grand Theft Auto" has a big M - MATURE: VIOLENCE, SEX, REALISTIC BLOOD AND GORE on the cover, it still must be OK for their kid.

The other problem is that the retailers don't take the ratings as seriously as the movie theater operators do, and frequently sell kids games that aren't meant for them. However, this isn't as big a problem as the other one; it turns out that 84% of games that kids get are bought for them by parents.

Re:tsk, tsk (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565682)

I'd hardly call that "realistic" blood and gore, I mean its only a particle effect, we need proper fluid dynamics before we can call it "realistic"...

Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563329)

This way you can explicitly put there alcoholic beverages, cigarrettes, pornography and violent videogames in the same category.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563368)

You forgot religious indoctrination.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563484)

> > This way you can explicitly put there alcoholic beverages, cigarrettes, pornography and violent videogames in the same category.
>
>You forgot religious indoctrination.

No he didn't. Look at your version of the list again:

"Booze, smokes, pr0n, video games, church."

One of these things is not like the other. One of these things does not belong.

I'll grant that getting "material harmful for minors" to show up when you type "fun things to do on wednesday night" is a bit of a stretch, even if he's using a Dvorak keyboard.

Maybe the Mormons have special keyboards to go with the underwear or something, and he's managed to find one in order to translate?

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (2, Informative)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563568)

I think he's right. To believe what we're being told, it's wrong to be conservative or Republican. There's a laundry list of politicians supporting this legislation referenced in the article. The Republicans are all branded as such, while the Democrats aren't expressly identified. And of course no one want's to mention that Tipper Gore is the mother of modern music and video game censorship.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (4, Insightful)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563882)

Do you have any idea how much violence there is in the Bible? I don't think even GTA showed genocide of entire races, a la the Midianites. Sure, it's a quite a stretch to ban the Bible (well, that and a violation of the first ammendment), but is it any more of a stretch than to ban a video game? What, just because one has thousands of years of entrenchment it should be given a pass?

I don't think it's right for the government to draw that line, in either case. Besides, aren't there a lot more important issues to deal with?

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564930)

I don't think even GTA showed genocide of entire races, a la the Midianites.

Well, Vice City had an infamous "kill all the Haitians" mission.

And just like the Midianites, after you killed all the Haitians they kept respawning anyway.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (2, Insightful)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565705)

The Bible is a textual, documentary description of events.
Video games are a visual, interactive and immersive medium where the player generally takes part in the virtual violent conduct.

There is a clear difference, like the difference between saying that Anne and Bob had sex and showing a video of it.

Although I disagree with these laws, it's correlation, not causation. A person with violent tenencies may be drawn to violent video games, but a person without violent tendencies will not develop them by playing violent video games.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564042)

Yes, I agree. One of them does not belong. Only one of them is responsible for thousands of years of xenophobia, persecution, and war.

The less radical side of me wishes to clarify that that I did not say "church" but rather "religious indoctrination." I think that's an important distinction.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (4, Funny)

dancpsu (822623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563429)

There should be some kind of way of corralling the "think of the children" laws. Maybe it could just be a list of contraband that forces the seller to check with the parent of someone below the age of X. Of course, it could be a long list. Everything from soft drinks to hard liquor could make the list in some areas.

The final crazy form of the law would be individual lists per kid of every family, where parents would tag their kids with some kind of embedded RFID that contains a list of everything their parents don't want them exposed to. Don't have the tag? You can only get water and whole wheat organic crackers.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563671)

My kid's allergic to whole wheat, you insensitive clod!

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563694)

Don't have the tag? You can only get water and whole wheat organic crackers.

I'm allergic to Wheat glutin, you insensitive bastard!

Mark of the beast? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565046)

Maybe it could just be a list of contraband that forces the seller to check with the parent of someone below the age of X.

I believe that many states' laws and retailers' regulations are structured in exactly this way. For instance, the list used by Wal-Mart in Indiana includes at least alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, lottery tickets, prescription medications, select OTC medications, spray paint, working weapons, R movies, and M video games.

parents would tag their kids with some kind of embedded RFID that contains a list of everything their parents don't want them exposed to. Don't have the tag? You can only get water and whole wheat organic crackers.

Christians and LDS disciples might be able to give six hundred sixty-six reasons for governments and retail associations to reject the policy of not being able to buy or sell without using what could be perceived as the mark of the beast.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563483)

Read what you just typed, and then read your sig.

Shameful.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563509)

Oops, sorry. Where's the darn edit button? Oh, right.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

November 1, 2005 (927710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563811)

You're stupid. How about that you stupid cocksucker?

Some of us are smart enough to use proper grammar without having to think about it. Sadly, you're not smart enough to use proper grammar but you've got just enough going on so that you can sometimes recognize proper grammar. You're the worst kind of scumbag because from time to time you can actually disguise your stupidity and fit in with us. I hope you rot in hell.

Re:Why not add a "material harmful for minors"? (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565095)

I reject the assertion that someone is "stupid" if they don't follow all the grammar and spelling rules. It's simply not true.

There are several points here: people have DIFFERENT SKILLS. Personally, I don't think I'm so smart, but many many of my peers and friends all tell me I'm the smartest person they know. I can't spell for shit. Frankly, I think people who can work on cars are amazing, I can't do it at all. Some people who solve really hard math problems are thought of as "smart". Some people are masters at getting others to feel good and part with their money.

Some people have a natural propensity for details. Jung described these types as "S" for "sensors". Others have a natural tendancy for models, and use details to support the models. These were described as "N" or intutives. Everyone can spell if they want to, and pay attention. But here's the point: It's a LOT more energy for some than others to spell correctly every time.

Second, there are many people in world who are hard wired to follow the rules, simply because those are the rules. Some call this group "traditionalists" -- Whatevery those rules are: go to church, eat at 5pm, capitalize the first letter at the start of a sentance, raise your hand in class, pay your taxes. "Everyone is doing it, so should I". Other people are not so hard wired to follow rules. Some will follow them becasue they make logical sense, and don't give a shit if everyone else is doing it. Some people simply *don't* want to follow them at all, because they are like bringing their fellow man down with them through the conflicts that erupt from breaking rules. For me, I follow rules if they align with my morals, PERIOD. I honestly don't care if large percentage of other people follow a rule. If a rule does not align with my morals, my only decision is a cost/benefit that weighs the costs of getting caught breaking a rule vs the reward that comes from breaking it (or following them). I have ABSOLUTELY NO moral feelings on the grammar and spelling rules other people set up for English, and there is almost no cost to breaking them. I simply don't care if there are grammar mistakes in online posts on places like slashdot.

Frankly, I coudn't really be bothered to spell well on slashdot posts.

You forgot Coffee... (2, Funny)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563585)

'nuff said.

Not again (4, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563334)

I have yet to hear (from friends, in the press, whatever) from any parent who claimed that he was unable to stop his child from playing these kinds of games and therefore needed a law like this one. These politicians talk about how children are playing inappropriate games, so you would think that they could fine one parent who needs this law. Has there ever been a case of a politicians proposing a law for parents without having a parent vouch for it? Where are these parents supporting these laws???? I want to hear from them!

Re:Not again (1)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563376)

so you would think that they could fine one parent who needs this law

I'm sure you meant 'find' one parent... and i agree with you; but how about fining parents too ;) seems a sight more effective than hassling retail shops

Re:Not again (3, Insightful)

TexVex (669445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563515)

It goes like this:

1> Religion creates the concept of vice
2> Guilt and fear in the populace create a need to criminalize and/or tax vice
3> Criminalized vice gives rise to organized crime and makes criminals of ordinary people
4> Legitimite business buys off legislators
5> Organized crime buys off judges and prosecutors
6> Law enforcement gets more tax money to handle the growing criminal populace
7> The offering plate at church gets more donations from laymen assuaging their guilt
8> Everybody profits but the average Joe, who gets completely screwed

Of course, it could be that #2 is the cause of #1 instead; I don't know. Chicken and egg? I say roast the chicken and stuff it with an omelette, that would be yummy.

It is unfortunate. If society were more open about sexual exploration and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals, and thought that responsible gambling was just fine, and provided socially acceptable outlets for aggressive tendencies, things would be just fine. The government could go about its real duty of providing security (at the national level) and infrastructure (at the local level), and leave all the law-abiding folk to their business.

Re:Not again (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564070)

If society were more open about sexual exploration and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals, and thought that responsible gambling was just fine, and provided socially acceptable outlets for aggressive tendencies, things would be just fine.

A lot of this can be blamed on the Victorians. If you read about the history of sex, during much of the history of the world, things like prostitution were considered normal and essential to maintaining a decent society. Hell, Japanese baths were co-ed until Western influence started radiating prudishness into that culture.

And so I'm more inclined to say that the ruling classes see the inherent advantages of the rest of society worrying about "morals", so they spin their interpretations of whatever religion is most prevalent in their society to advocate an extremist view that doesn't at all correspond to what the texts of said religion really say. If people would actually read, for example, the Bible, they'd find stories of this guy named Jesus saying things like "love your neighbor", and not "you must have sex exactly this way or you're going to hell".

Re:Not again (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565734)

The Victorians only invented this because of the British Empire.

It goes like this:
-Britian has a large empire, but seeds of decent demand a ligitimate reason for the empire.
-British invent the idea that they are 'more civilised' and are bringing 'civilisation' to the countries of the empire.
-In order to encourage traits in native peoples, the British concept of 'civilisation' means a society without violence or strong emotion in any form, as these are the traits that lead to rebellion.
-Thus begins the strict control of all emotions, especially those that lead to conflict (lust, anger, etc.).

Re:Not again (1)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564238)

Out of curiosity, is something that's not "socially acceptable" (noted regarding "outlets for aggressive tendencies") considered a vice? If so, what is responsibile for defining "socially acceptable?" The concept of socially acceptable appears to be ok with you, but religion defining vice apparently isn't. Perhaps it's not really religion that defines vice but our general perception of "acceptable" that does so?

Furthermore, how and why are laws defined? Are they to prevent vice? And as a public or society (back to socially acceptable again), are we not accepting of laws in general? Isn't there a general perception that law is 'necessary' and approved by "average Joe."

I guess the real crux is that if society were more open about the items you list, our concept of socially acceptable would need to have changed drasticaly anyway. Furthermore, what defines "recreational use" of drugs? What defines responsible gambling? What happens if people step past these definitions? What happens if people choose *not* to use the socially acceptable outlets for managing their aggressive tendencies? What happens when people make *bad* choices?

None of these issues magically disappear because we cite religion or government as a cause of some big problem.

Why pot is illegal: contact highs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565085)

If society were more open about sexual exploration

Exploration without adequate protection may likely bring babies and immunodeficiency [ytmnd.com] .

and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals

Unlike liquor or tobacco, cannabis allows the smoker to force anybody else to get high by blowing smoke in the victim's face. Getting a "contact high" from secondhand marijuana smoke can make it impossible for one to safely operate a motor vehicle or other heavy machinery.

Re:Why pot is illegal: contact highs (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565879)

Unlike liquor or tobacco, cannabis allows the smoker to force anybody else to get high by blowing smoke in the victim's face.

Unlike liquor, but EXACTLY like tobacco. Speaking as someone whose nonmedicinal drug use is limited to alcohol and caffine, both moderately and responsibly, I've always felt that adults in a free society have the right to make these kinds of decisions for themselves. Which means drugs should be legal but with heavy restrictions on public use. The government can't force me not to use drugs, but other individuals can't force me to use them, either.

The distinction you've hit on is important, but doesn't even come close to warranting absolute prohibition, especially an inconsistently applied prohibition. The three relevant factors when discussing drugs are addictivity, health effects, and psychological effects. Tobacco carries severe health risks and is severely addictive but has only mild psychological effects. Marijuana, on the other hand, has moderate to strong psychological effects, depending on dosage, but is only mildly addictive and carries (at most) only mild health risks. Saying tobacco is ok but marijuana isn't is precisely the sort of value judgement that MUST be left to the individual, not made by government (or strangers, in the case of secondhand smoke). Making drugs legal in private but restricted in public is the only solution which respects and protects the rights of all individuals.

Re:Not again (1)

pinkfalcon (215531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563711)


Much as I hate to put an argument on the wrong side - Unfortunately I am that 'one parent' who can't control what my seven year old watches at his mom's house. He came back one time to my house describing scenes from "Faces of Death" that he saw with his mom.

Re:Not again (1)

elasticwings (758452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564117)

Yech, sorry to hear about that man. I wasn't exposed to that particular crap of a film till I was about 14-15. Didn't really have any effect on me other than making wish I hadn't wasted 3$ on that turd of a film, but I was like twice your kids age. I really don't believe that is appropriate for a child of that age. Good luck with your situation dude.

Re:Not again (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564246)

I suspect that the politicians would not be pursuing these laws unless their constituents were supporting them. Further, the politicians themselves are often parents. What's causing this is a combination of the media, the few parents who are or were directly affected by some violent videogame or another (or felt they were), the various groups that support those parents, and the politicians who like to be seen doing something about a highly publicized issue. They are putting forth ideas that the public finds current and may bolster their reputation at the next vote.

As far as this particular attempt, they are not equating violent games with pornography, though the two share many striking similarities. What they are saying is:

We want to restrict violent game access to a portion of the population. There exists a law for this which defines penalties for a different crime. Let's define this as a crime with the same penalties. This is an efficient use of the law - rather than having a dozen laws, one covering each restriction, they'll define a few laws and put each item under an appropiate penalty.

As far as the actual law is concerned, I'm a parent of four boys all under the age of ten. My wife and I are one of the small percentage of families who are able and choose to have one of us stay home and care for the children full time. Yet we can't limit access to things we don't want our children to partake in 24/7. I know many familes which see their kids for perhaps a few hours a day.

I do not want my children watching pornography. I don't want them playing violent games. You can have an opinion on whether a 5 year old is ready for girl-on-girl action all you want, or whether you think they should be playing resident evil. I don't care what you believe. However, if my child is in your home with your child I expect you to respect my choices and not share material with my child that I do not wish them to have.

Unfortunately in the world we live in if there's no established law then I have little to no recourse to actions against my child of this nature. I may not have the money to initiate a suit against you, and law enforcement can't enforce a law that doesn't exist.

And so with only a little vocal support, and a lot of behind the scenes support (there are a lot of letters going to politicians concerning this issue) such laws are hashed out.

The politicians only have to enact a fuzzy law, and then let the courts hash out what "violent videogame" means, at which point they may modify the law when it doesn't work.

So - what else would you like to hear from a parent who doesn't want his 5-year old playing GTA at a friend's house?

Again, keep in mind that while my wife and I have the time and inclination to more closely monitor our children, many parents want the same amount of safety but have to work outside the home more than we. Such laws are more for the common two-working-parent familes than us one-breadwinner families. Feel free to lambast me for supporting a law which I likely will never avail myself of.

Lastly, there is a compelling interest for a society to set some basic morality level. To take an extreme example, there are people who feel that a 10-year old is ready for rape porn. It is unlikely, I imagine you'll agree, that a child who watches that material is going to have a healthy understanding of women, love, and sex. Where the line is drawn is the only thing then that we need to come together and decide on. That's the job of the politicians. If you feel extremists have the upper hand then you should have no problem finding people who, like yourself, oppose the current direction. If you can't find people who support you, then you've proven that the politicians are following the majority of their constituents. Who, apparently, feel that there is a compelling societal need for such a law.

-Adam

Re:Not again (1)

EinsteinRival (840539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564300)

I think the answer is quite simple; parents support this because it makes their life easier to never have to consider saying "no" and then spend the time explaining it. As a bonus, you really don't have to worry about that whole peer pressure thing anymore.

Personally, I disagree. When I was a child I was often told what not to do and it was remembered a whole lot longer than what I was told explicitly I could do, and I turned out fine.

> Well, other than being an introverted, slashdot-reading, societal reprobate.

Re:Not again (1)

itscolduphere (933449) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565686)

I have yet to hear (from friends, in the press, whatever) from any parent who claimed that he was unable to stop his child from playing these kinds of games and therefore needed a law like this one.

They aren't...at least not anymore. In a vast majority of places, it is pretty difficult for a minor to purchase an M-rated game without an *adult* present. Might not be the parent, mind you...but in a vast majority of cases it *is*. Having worked both retail and video stores, I've seen what parents rent and buy for their kids, regardless of how young the child may be.

About the only logical next step is to start restricting, by law, *where* such things can be sold...much the same way hardcore porn is treated in many areas. But if ostracizing Grand Theft Auto to "adult stores" while leaving Pulp Fiction on the shelf isn't silly, I don't know what is.

It's almost as if the people proposing these laws are still stuck in 1993.

Though to be fair the two states I've seen mentioned are Utah and Iowa...so that could have something to do with it.

Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563339)

Videogames==porn? If only it were true...

Texas taxes too (4, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563382)

There's also a candidate for political office (iirc) in Texas who wants to add a 50% tax on all "violent" games (without really any definition of what is violent and what is not). The bill in question essentially would make almost all video games 1.5x more expensive.
(...He also wants to add a 10% tax to all soft drinks and a $10,000 tax to all abortions. Take that as you will.)

Re:Texas taxes too (5, Insightful)

Eros (6631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563449)

So he is saying that immorality, by his definition, is okay as long as you have the money?

Re:Texas taxes too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563633)

The perfect Republican talking point! Yay, finally it has been boiled down to a single phrase. 'bout time.

Re:Texas taxes too (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563662)

I thought that was a given already...

Re:Texas taxes too (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563710)

He also wants to add a 10% tax to all soft drinks and a $10,000 tax to all abortions. Take that as you will.

What a pansy. He wants to create a de facto abortion ban, but can't because it's been ruled legal, so he tries to tax it to death. We so need precedent that recognizes and bans this sort of behavior.

Re:Texas taxes too (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564359)

Too late. The federal government has used this tactic for a very long time. Back when the feds at least paid lip service to the Constitution, they imposed a $200 transfer tax (NFA 1934) on the sale of machine guns. $200 was a hell of a lot of money in 1934, almost $3000 in today's dollars, and far greater than the value of the weapon in a free market.

Re:Texas taxes too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14565508)

That reminds me of cigarettes. Taxed to death.

Ha ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563908)

ACs are modded -6. I don't read you, I don't mod you, I don't see you. Don't like it? Don't be a coward.
Ha ha! Made ya look!

Re:Texas taxes too (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565471)

The law would be void as being vague and be overturn by the courts. Similar laws have been overturned in Washington and Ohio I believe.

Except. (5, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563392)

Polygamy 3.0, sold a lot in Utah.

Re:Except. (1)

Panascooter (948131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565130)

Naturally we need the obligatory polygamy joke. Seriously, not all utahns live in hotel style houses with their 8 wives. Some of us really only have 5 or 6. No really, while this guy might get some support from the extreme right lobbies here, I doubt it'll ever pass. The Utah legislature is usually hesitant about passing laws it knows it will end up defending in the courts.

A little broad there... (4, Interesting)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563416)

Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony.

Add "inappropriate violence" to that, and most R-rated movies have become illegal to sell to minors. Not to mention movies shown on cable (or even network) TV. I'd like to see this pass just to see what a mess they make of it. (Though I'm sure if I lived in Utah I'd feel differently.)

Re:A little broad there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563857)

Hey genious- R-rated movies already are illegal to sell to minors.

Re:A little broad there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564079)

Hey dumbass- R-rated movies are legal to sell to minors, stores don't do so by choice so that it isn't made illegal.

But thanks for trying. (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564544)

No, actually, they're not. Well, maybe they are in Utah - not living there, I don't know the laws too well, but judging from the success of the violent video game laws elsewhere I seriously doubt that they are. But if you'll show me a link to the law, I'll believe it.

In general, though, the movie industry is entirely self-regulated, and stores don't sell R-rated movies to minors because they don't want parents screaming at them (or worse, suing) for exposing their innocent wittle children to big bad movies and scarring them for life. But, y'know, a lot of places do it anyhow. Think about it: all over the place, you see signs saying exactly what date you have to have been born to buy alcohol or tobacco - have you EVER seen such a sign for R-rated movies?

Re:But thanks for trying. (1)

damsa (840364) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565500)

Selling cigarettes and alcohol are crimes, selling rated R movies are not. And although it is regulated by the MPAA, selling R movies by stores isn't going have any adverse consequences to either the theater owner nor the movie store owner.

How do the children bathe? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563423)

Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony.

So kids bathe blindfolded there? Oh wait, they elected Orrin Hatch... that explains everything.

Re:How do the children bathe? (1)

Klowner (145731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564816)

Oddly enough, that reminded me of that crazy woman on the Grand Theft Auto radio station talking about how she makes her kids wear bathing suits when they take a bath, and mirrors aren't allowed in her household because they're evil.

Re:How do the children bathe? (1)

Ours (596171) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565674)

Don't forget the blind-folded brest-feading. Don't won't no kids looking at tits untill they're 21!

Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (4, Funny)

abb3w (696381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563442)

For years I've been bothered that the US considers sex more obscene than violence. This is a step to restoring parity.

On the other hand, I'd rather parity be restored by increasing open-mindedness about sex... but I'll take what I can get.

Re:Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (1)

Zelucifer (740431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563546)

Your signature is probably the most accurate thing I've seen in this thread. The laws they're attempting to pass are asinine: "Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony." A fairly standard view of that would make nudist videos illegal.

Re:Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563578)

"A fairly standard view of that would make nudist videos illegal."

That honestly doesn't bother me at all. Making the distribution of porn illegal, well, I have problems with that. But videos of naked mormons? I don't see any need to distribute them.

Re:Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (0)

paedobear (808689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14565332)

Judging by the nudists I've seen, that's a good thing, too.

explicit nudity (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565441)

What exactly is implicit nudity? Isn't being implicitly nude like being a little bit pregnant?

Re:Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563569)

I'll take what I can get.
So you're okay with more repressiveness, so long as you have more fairness? I'm guessing you didn't think that remark through too clearly

Re:Bizarrely, I see a silver lining. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563642)

Agreed! I always thought it bothered me that any discussion or portrayal of sex is usually taboo, but parents have no problem buying their kids tons of toy guns and no problem with most portrayals of violence. This is an interesting idea and it almost lines up with making violence more taboo and sex more of an open topic, but it still seems hard to swallow.

Yep. Porn >> Violence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14563914)

I agree. Violence is far, far worse than most porn. It really sickens me how our religious/puritannical roots still govern much of what we accept as a society in the US today. Most people don't think twice about watching a bunch of killings on TV or in the movies, let alone allowing their kids to do so alongside them. But show a little female nipple, or two people tastefully expressing their love (or lust!) physically, and it's like the ultimate sin. Ridiculous! This stuff should be introduced to kids at the right time and with proper guidance, but it shouldn't be taboo.

I contend that a kid exposed to tastefully made porn, with frank guidance on what it means as part of natural human sexuality, will grow up a much better individual than his twin, exposed to the same amount of gratuitous violence.

Each has its place, especially when understood within the appropriate context (ie, watch a slasher flick for entertainment, fully understanding that it's make-believe and shouldn't be considered as remotely appropriate in the real world), but the balance is way, waaaay far off in the US.

Porn (0, Redundant)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563591)

I don't see the controversy. If there is any such thing as porn, highly violent video games would have to qualify better than anything else I can think of.

/. in Utah should be in favor of this law (4, Funny)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563595)

They can finally claim to have had sex after interacting with another player in a round of violent online gaming after this law is passed.

Thanks Utah ... (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564229)

Thanks Utah, Now I can also reached 100% pr0n usage of my computer with Doom3 installed.

I hate to break the stats.

Parents and Politicians are stupid. (3, Interesting)

B_un1t (942155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563623)

I think I want to move out of the country (US). Politicians are getting less intelligent by the nanosecond. Don't they have more relevant issues to lobby for? How about showing the redneck parents that videogames are not for friggin 8 year olds anymore? I hate when a parent will buy a game for a little kid, not examine it before letting he/she play it, then blame the producers of the game for ruining their child. only in the us...jeez

Re:Parents and Politicians are stupid. (2, Informative)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563780)

No, not only in the US. There are actually quite restrictive laws on gaming elsewhere in the world.

Australia [wikipedia.org] , for example, has a history of being quite restrictive.

Here's another article's info on Video Game Legislation Around the World [wikipedia.org] .

Videogame decreases interest in real violence (5, Interesting)

Belgand (14099) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563624)

First off I'd consider myself a pacifist. I may have a decent amount of inner rage, but I'm anti-war, anti-death penalty and generally think that there's little reason to ever hurt people.

Earlier today I was playing Resident Evil 4 on my second run through and became quite disappointed that after shooting enemies in the head they would just fall over dead. Sure I'd accomplished my goal by removing them as a threat, but it was just so lackluster if a perfect headshot from a powerful handgun (maxed out Red9) or shotgun (maxed out Striker) didn't cause their heads to explode in a mass of gore. A bit of violent fireworks to signify a job well done.

A little later I was talking to my girlfriend about this when I realized that when compared to real-world violence video game violence is simply more visceral and exciting. If I were to shoot someone in the head in the real world they'd simply fall over and bleed quite a bit.

Perhaps this is related to years upon years (i.e. since the release of the NES) of playing video games (not necessarily violent or not, I choose games based on their quality, Civilization being my all-time favorite) or maybe it's a result of all sorts of other effects culminating in a constant desire to get more and more out of it, but honestly real world violence isn't in any way exciting. It's simply painful, messy, unpleasant, and good for hurting people. Any claim that kids who enjoy the thrill of seeing a head pop open when hit by an excellent 500 yd shot from a sniper rifle would suddenly love to go out and do it in reality simply don't realize that watching some guy a long ways away fall over really isn't exciting. A good thing for all of us and a bad thing for the military... the only people who actually want kids to go off and shoot people in the head in real life.

Re:Videogame decreases interest in real violence (1)

guyanonymous (92409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14563933)

Re real violence:

Actually, shooting someone with a large caliber handgun at close range, or a rifle at most any range is likely to produce an exit wound. That actually will give you gore and splatter.

Re:Videogame decreases interest in real violence (1)

svkal (904988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564251)

I'm a pacifist as well, and I'd love to believe that you were right about this - because that would mean ultraviolence in video games would be a fairly straightforward way to world peace. (Which, I guess, would make America's Army the single best effort by America's army to that end, ever.) Sadly, I believe you're taking a fairly naïve view of the situation.

The point is that this isn't all about the "fun factor". People don't generally wake up and tell themselves, "Hey, I'm rather enjoying killing sprees in video games, maybe I should consider that as a career choice." Rather, every bit of information they process - be it a movie, a game or a conversation with their friends, their neighbour or the girl at the supermarket checkout - subtly alters the way they think about the world and what they associate with various concepts - including concepts such as war and violence. There's nothing especially harmful about games, but then again, there's nothing especially harmless about them.

In other words: Are guns cool? Is peacefully resolving a conflict situation an option? Are all pacifists wusses or traitors(all right, that one is on the Final Fantasy series, not generally regarded as very violent)? Are there "bad guys" and "good guys"? If you encounter a person who is not on your "team", is the appropriate response to shoot on sight?

I believe that, say, an avid Counter-Strike player can't avoid letting the game - to some degree - influence the way he or she thinks about, say, "terrorists". I'm not saying that most CS players(above a certain level of maturity) can't think reasonably about complex issues, but I'm saying that CS is an influence, and it is largely an influence in the direction of "violent" or simplistic thought. (To pacify the non-pacifists here: I'm not necessarily(heh) saying that all violent thought is simplistic, but most violent games tend to inspire violent and simplistic thought - because there is a clear-cut, violent conflict which is the main focus of the game.)

As a personal example: While playing FPSes, I often find myself thinking that certain weapons are elegant, neat, cool, etc. I would never associate these qualities with weapons if I saw them in real life(remember that we're not counting movies and other forms of entertainment as "real life", this argument could be made for movies, etc. as well, but applies more to games for me personally) - it would be too obvious to me that they are tools meant for killing human beings, which I generally don't approve of as "neat" - but to some degree these connotations do last, and they do affect the way I think about weapons.

(The same, as already mentioned, applies to e.g. movies: There can be no doubt that, say, James Bond makes espionage cooler in the minds of most people. I find it hard to believe the argument that the unique element of interactivity in games plays that much of a role, but that, of course, is a (hard) question for statisticians to answer, not one which can be decided by random speculation.)

(Oh, and as I remember some old gaming magazine once pointing out: Civilization is horribly, horribly violent. When I'm playing it I generally wage wars that span hundreds or thousands of years and kill off what I assume are thousands of non-combatants every time I capture a city. I don't think I ever even went for the spaceship ending.)

(Please not that I am not at all saying that we should all stop playing violent games, or that we should all feel horrible when we do. What we all should stop doing, in my opinion, is saying that games are 'harmless'. Nothing is 'harmless', and that is an important thing to be aware of.)

(Perhaps we could amend that to 'mostly harmless'. Sorry.)

Re:Videogame decreases interest in real violence (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565487)

(remember that we're not counting movies and other forms of entertainment as "real life", this argument could be made for movies, etc. as well, but applies more to games for me personally)

There is more depth that comes through in movies than in most videogames. There is a scene in Pulp Fiction where they blow a kid's head off in a car. Gore, blood, grizzle everywhere. Most videogames would stop there, with the gnarly exploding brain effect. These guys paniced, pulled their car off the road, and had to scrape the brains off the windows for hours. They nearly lost a friend over it. They suffered, they slaved, they argued over the mistake.

In movies, violence *can* have nasty and deep effects. Videogame violence rarely elevates to that level, because if it did it wouldn't be much of a game. Videogames rely upon predictability to allow people to learn to control a system. Movies rely upon the inherently unpredictable nature of humanity to put viewers in ambiguous and uncertain situations.

Sometimes in videogames you get caught putting a hampster in a microwave by the owner, but rarely do you face the consequences yourself.

At some point videogames will get to a depth where behaviors modeled on moral situations will have predictable but emotionally complex results. But we're nowhere near that level of artistic sophistication right now.

Just More Me Too-ism (3, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564170)

This is just a continuation of the let's ban/restrict "violent" video games political bandwagon. Once these laws have been proposed and struck down in all 50 states and D.C., then things should cool off. Even the stupidest politician must know by now that they can score points with this without the threat that any of these laws will withstand constitutional muster. It's a great way to get yourself in the news on the right side of what is "decent and pure".

This is still a debate? (4, Insightful)

CuBeFReNZy (771060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14564378)

I can't believe how many people (the politicians/ law figures in particular) are still storming over this issue. And what's worse is the solutions they come up with to fix this alleged problem. Out of all the violence that occurs on our planet, the make-believe and at times imaginative forms is the biggest concern? Please, why not spend the energy alleviating the ACTUAL violence that consumes many people's lives, and which hardly even stems from fictional violence...

"As bad as porn" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14564683)

>  Utah's law is more poorly thought out than most, essentially classifying violent games as porn.

Well waitaminute...

Why does porn need to be censored again?

If Utah suddenly stopped censoring everything it currently considers "porn" and started censoring games, will the state have improved or degraded itself in terms of moral standards?

I think maybe when we talk about censorship of games, we might as well open up the notion of censorship in general:  when is it it wrong, when (if ever) is it right, and what objective standards can we use to decide whether to toss a communication into one bin or the other?

'Cause, to me, it wouldn't matter if games were classified as "porn", so long as porn is freely available to all.

The can only mean one thing. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565767)

The citizens of Utah get off on extreme violence.

Better sex than violence. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#14565852)

Isn't the old troupe that I'd rather have my children watch people make love than kill each other? Well.. at least this makes them equal. And honestly, the degree of excessive blood and gibs in some games really is pornographic. It dosen't add to the reality of the experience. It's funny. It's somewhat gratifying when you finally land a saw blade in that punk's neck and his head flies off.. but really.. it dosen't help you tell the story. good for adults. Bad for nine year olds. Better yet, if you equate it to porn, you will get more parents to pull their heads out of their asses and go "Oh.. GTA isn't appropriate for my 7 year old?" -GiH
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