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Congress Sets Sights on Videogames

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the cheap-election-tricks dept.


boarder8925 writes "According to CNET, Congress has set its sights on 'the purported problem of violent and sexually explicit video games.... A U.S. House of Representatives committee on consumer protection says it will hold a hearing on the topic later this month, with a focus on 'informing parents and protecting children' from the alleged dangers of those types of games.' " The article goes on to describe seven bills under consideration that either attach fines to the sales of Mature titles to children, or study "the effect of electronic media on youths." Five of them are sponsored by Democrats.

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Damned if you do... (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463829)

The article goes on to describe seven bills under consideration that either attach fines to the sales of Mature titles to children, or study "the effect of electronic media on youths." Five of them are sponsored by Democrats.

I love how our political system works. You can either vote for the party that pisses all over the middle of the bill of rights... or you vote for the party that pisses all over the top of the bill of rights.


Re:Damned if you do... (3, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463846)

It's an election year. There's really not much else to say; the President is posturing for an anti gay marriage amendment (again) even though there's no chance it will ever pass. He's doing so in order to appeal to the radical right. Democrats are posturing to the moderate center by trying not to look like "the godless party." It's all a bunch of he said she said ape-style beating on your chest.

God, sometimes I hate this town.

Re:Damned if you do... (2, Interesting)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463867)

study "the effect of electronic media on youths."

What does this even mean? Electronic media is SO broad! They intend to study the effects of television, motion pictures, music, video games, and the interweb on children? What meaningful research could possibly come from this? That kids like electronic media more than the anolog alternatives?

Re:Damned if you do... (1)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464028)

I imagine the test procedure will look something like this:

Ho (Null hypothesis): Video games do not make children more violent.

Ha (Alternative hypothesis): Video games make children more violent.

Test- gather data until Ho is rejected.

See- you too can be a government statistician!

Re:Damned if you do... (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464085)

The problem is that the politicians aren't statisticians, so they're (naturally) inept at asking the right questions of the statisticians.

That is, if they don't employ the statisticians so that they'll FIND biased statistics.

It's mid-term election time. (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463868)

This is where you find out that the Democrats are the other political party and not "liberal" by definition.

They're just following the most basic of political teachings: It's easier to get people to vote if they're "protecting" their "children" from the "bad people".

You don't hate the children, do you?
You don't support the bad people, do you?

The only way to prevent this from happening is by writing letter to your Congress Critters and telling them exactly how you feel about the issues and that they will lose your vote (and the votes of anyone you can convince) if they do not vote against those bills.

Then you just have to convince enough of your friends/family to become an active voting bloc with you.

Freedom is not free. At the minimum, it takes time and effort.

Re:Damned if you do... (2, Insightful)

dick pubes (963843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463927)

Video games don't teach kids how to kill. Absent parenting combined with social retardation (as in the case of Columbine)lead kids to kill. Bad parenting or no parenting is behind most if not all teen murderers.

Re:Damned if you do... (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463935)

The problem isn't so much bad parenting as it is Fundamental Attribution Error [] .

This is a term in psychology where basically, bad things that happen to me are attributed to external causes, and good things that happen to me are attributed to internal causes.

For example, if I do well on a test, it was because I studied hard. If I didn't, then it's because the teacher failed me or didn't like me for some other reason, or because I was tired.

Being a parent myself, one of the last things I would want to do is admit I'm a bad parent. If my son screwed up, it would be very difficult for me to admit that it was my bad parenting that caused it.

But I like to think I'm pretty open-minded, and that I would admit it eventually.

But someone like Jack Thompson is just another ambulance chaser. He just aggrivates the situation the parent is going through by telling them that their kid killing some people isn't their fault, it's the video games' fault. Everyone is prone to Fundamental Attribution Error, and Jack Thompson is just helping that process along. When you're in a state or mourning, it's easy to not see the truth clearly.

Jack Thompson = Popular Politics (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464098)

Plain and simple. The FAE is definitely not helping here, but I think a great deal of it is that people just *like* to see the government doing ANYTHING that seems morally right.

Hopefully, of course, the whole thing will blow over. Our grandparents (or for you older slashdotters, maybe even your parents) claimed that Rock & Roll was downright satanic. Heck, way back in the day, books like Chopin's THE AWAKENING or Hawthorne's THE SCARLET LETTER were seen as extremely overtly sexual and inappropriate.

This content bashing has been going on for a LONG time.

Re:Damned if you do... (1)

s16le (963839) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463943)

By "social retardation" do you mean "emotional abuse at the hands of their peers"?

Re:Damned if you do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463994)

No, I'm pretty sure he means, "imbeciles who don't know how to comport themselves around people so as not to come across like the goth, trenchcoat-wearing pieces of shit they are."

Re:Damned if you do... (1)

basic0 (182925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463937)

Or you can vote for the party that takes the bill of rights and rolls a big fatty with it.

Re:Damned if you do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463965)

Or you can vote for one of the many other candidates, or you can run for office yourself.

Seriously, the only reason the Republicans and the Democrats have so much power is because you keep "voting for Kodos" and take it in turns to complain when the other lizard gets elected.

Re:Damned if you do... (3, Funny)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464073)

Once again proving that democracy doesn't work. But then again, nothing works. Life sucks and then you die.

Do they already pay attention? (2, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463831)

According to this [] article, parents already seem to oversee game purchases.

And anyways, isn't this what the ESRB was started for?

Re:Do they already pay attention? (2, Funny)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464008)

Wait a minute ... you're quoting a Mac magazine about games?

Are you insane?

Re:Do they already pay attention? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464011)

Dear government,

Please include all media in this law, not just media playable by certain pieces of hardware using certain wired or wireless devices.

Movies, music, and books should also be banned due to this law. Most especially, the Bible, which contains many scenes of both debauchery and violence: hedonistic practices, fathers killing sons because of voices in their heads, entire cities being leveled due to a bet ("for the usual amount") between two make-believe parties, etc.

As to your sig, I started to read it as part of your comment and got "If you can't convince them, convict them" before I saw it correctly.

You're right; the ESRB must not be doing as good a job as it should for this to be necessary. (Or perhaps, it has received "recommendations" to do a bad job, to cause this to be necessary.)

Re:Do they already pay attention? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464044)

I like your ESRB conspiracy theory (not that I really believe it, but still...). You also have a good point that other forms of media should be affected: it really helps demonstrate the idiocy behind the bills.

As for my sig, I think I'll change it to say "convict". Thanks ;)

Re:Do they already pay attention? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464102)

I don't believe close to 100% of the conspiracy theories I invent and disseminate. It's just a thought experiment, which sometimes serves a direct purpose but is generally just exercising the gray matter.

You're welcome on your sig. ;-)

Democrats and Republicans (1, Offtopic)

Meor (711208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463834)

Just two corrupt parties fighting for more power. Vote Libertarian []

Re:Democrats and Republicans (4, Interesting)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463860)

Or... write in "No Confidence."

Re:Democrats and Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464117)

Or you could just crumple up your ballot and throw it in the trash. (Which, incidentally, most Libertarians wouldn't want the government to pick up.) Sorry, but Libs have just as many problems as either of the two mainstream parties.

Both sides of the coin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463835)

If games can't have bad effects on people? Then doesn't that mean they can't have good one's either?

Get your nose out of my kids! (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463844)

It's my, and only my, responsibility to raise my kids. Not that of government, not that of special interest groups, not that of any political party. Mine!

I, and I alone, decide which values to give my kids.

Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (4, Funny)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463869)

I, and I alone, decide which values to give my kids.

So that they can grow up and rebel against them, of course! ;-)


Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463912)

That is for sure one of the values I'll give them.

Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463950)

You've out-clevered me.

I know when to quit.


Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464065)

Bless you, sir. Bless you, bless you, bless you.


Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (1)

KimmoA (975372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463974)

Then again, most people shouldn't even have kids from the beginning. And yes, that certainly includes me, too.

OT: Why would anyone want to have a baby again?

Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (1)

zidohl (976382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464007)

Note that it says illegal to sell or rent this to kids. You could perfectly well give it to your kids without it being illegal if it stays that way, so if you want your children to play these games, the only obstacle you would have to overcome is that of purchasing the game yourself.

If this law was passed and really enforced so it would be harder for children to access these games, my guess is it would only increase the amount of illegaly downloaded versions of these games.

Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (2, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464101)

Geez no, kidding; all this pirate bay, allofmp3, video game crap makes me want to say one thing:

DUDES! Get up out of my jock and get back to word. For God's sake. Literally: for God's sake. God is going to die if you don't do this.

Re:Get your nose out of my kids! (1)

cybereal (621599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464103)

You and many of the other excitable slashdotters are missing the whole point.

The problem all of these whining morons are trying to solve is selling M rated games to minors. No different than not selling R rated move tickets to minors.

If you as a parent feel like your kid should play games that involve mature themes, then buy them for your kids. No problems are introduced by any of this legislation in regards to that.

The only thing that might happen is when the clerk at gamestop sells a 10 year old a copy of GTA, gamestop will be fined.

I completely agree that it's the burden of parents to raise their children, however, far too many parents are lazy worthless idiots who let their children do whatever they want. This tends to occur mostly within families producing stupid children, who are probably much more impressionable by fake violence than the kids raised intelligently. So if the fearmongerers are actually right, and kids ARE influenced in their actions by the games they play, then I'd rather not be shot in the back at a mall by some jackass kid who effectively has no parents.

And for those comparing video games to movies, you don't make the choice of committing violent acts in movies. It's completely different in a video game, you are pulling the trigger, regardless of reality, it has a far deeper meaning relating to behavior than merely observing the act.

To sum up: Parents - Nobody's taking away your responsibility of raising your children, some jerks are just trying to make it harder for your kids to get their nasty little hands on these "violent" games on their own. Tinfoil Hat Wearers - What are you worried about? Are you under 18? If so, too bad, wait a few years and this will not be a problem for you.

This has to be the most benign of the stupid things going on in government at the moment. While I'm in complete disgust at how our government is bloating up in these last 6 years, this particular issue couldn't be any less meaningful in the scheme of things. Any worthwhile retailer already attempts to enforce the rules that might become laws.

If the government wanted to do something useful, they could apply some monetary assistance tot he ESRB so that they can actually experience more of the games they rate to produce more accurate ratings.

Good to hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463848)

that they have solved all the big issues and now focus all their attention stuff like this.

Re:Good to hear (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464079)




With regard to the editorial remark... (3, Informative)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463849)

... the republicans and the democrats are two sides of the same coin.

It makes no sense to differentiate between the two anymore. Sure there are "polarizing issues" -- like them god damn queers and whatever else is on the docket today -- but for the most part it is fairly certain that regardless of a given particular cause, the cause itself seems to be a restriction on individual liberty.

Re:With regard to the editorial remark... (4, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463900)

It makes no sense to differentiate between the two anymore.

It never did. If you're voting for a party, you're a moron. Vote for people, not parties. There are good ones and awful ones in all of them.

Re:With regard to the editorial remark... (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463926)

Mod +20 Insightful. I should have been more clear -- if the person is truly aligned with either ideology as presented by the parties, steer clear. Of course, there are always people running on tickets who aren't exactly toeing the line.

Where ARE the parents? (5, Insightful)

chrisxkelley (879631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463852)

Ridiculous. Cant we let the parents do the parenting? It's really their responsibility for watching what their kids are doing, not the governments.

Re:Where ARE the parents? (2)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463870)

I think the current idea with government is to see how big we can get it until it either a) implodes, or b) somehow becomes self-aware.

On-topic: I agree wholeheartedly. This type of policy only makes parents less and less accountable for their childrens' actions. It reminds me of the novel Brave New World: the concept of "family" and "parent" is becoming erased.

Re:Where ARE the parents? (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464064)

The problem is that "parents" keep pestering the government instead of actually being parents.

My father and I were discussing legal matters (a favourite topic of ours besides tech). And one of things that we came to a conclusion on is most (if not all) problems of this type can be traced to one thing: A fundamental lack of ownership of their actions (i.e.: lack of responsibility).

If these "parents" were actually being PARENTS, much of this stupidity would be gone. But sadly... for every responsible parent (one that actually takes responsibility of their family) there are hundreds that claim everything is the fault of "them" and so they want the government to step in... (i.e.: the government is the parent) and so what happens... we all suffer. The real parents are being regulated and so can no longer be effective parents. The people without children can't do anything without incurring the wrath of some overzealous family Nazi. And children are given mixed messages which just further confuses them at a time that SOOO much is going on which just screws them up even more.

To answer your question (and sum up), the real parents are in jail, the fakes are running the streets, and the kids are casualties in this struggle.

five down (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463854)

Five of them are sponsored by Democrats.

That's actually good news. Now all I'm worried about are the other two that might have a chance of passing.

*yawn* (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463857)

None of these bills are going to pass, and even if one does, it will be swatted down in court for being unconstitutional.

But feel free to get hysterical anyway. I'd hate for any of you have to actually venture out of your rooms and try to have fun or interact with people.

Re:*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463875)

swatted down in court for being unconstitutional

You seem to forget who now controls the courts.

Bring on the studies! (4, Interesting)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463861)

I think the fines and restrictions are totally unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional, but I'm 100% in favor of the studies. We've heard enough about violent and sexual video games warping children and turning them into serial killers; let's shine some light on it. Ultimately it's an empirical question with an accessible truth value. I suspect we'll find that video games do not damage children in any statistically significant way, and I think that'll go a long way to deflating this particular political football. If I'm wrong, and it turns out that video games do damage children, then I'd be first in line to regulate their sale. Either way, we're better off knowing for sure.

Re:Bring on the studies! (1)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463896)

I'm 100% in favor of the studies

I'm in favor of scientific studies which I am 100% positive these will not be. "Let's conduct a study to see who has the largest, most powerful lobby. The video game industry or the various right wing, family values coalitions."

Whose studies to believe? (4, Interesting)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463907)

If I'm wrong, and it turns out that video games do damage children, then I'd be first in line to regulate their sale.

The problem is you won't turn out to be right or wrong. You'll be both alleged right and alleged wrong because each side will pay for biased studies. It's not that good science is not done, it's that bad science is done, too.

See Ron Rivest's very interesting paper on chaffing [] and compare his theory of security through what amounts to a formalized and theoretically sound notion of smokescreen with the way the market is going.

I think in the end it will be something where people make up their minds and we just have to vote and hope. But I would hope we vote for freedom if we're unsure because freedoms lost are hard to get back. There probably is some occasional effect of violence in movies against weak minds, but the effect of lost freedom is not without tangible cost and I weigh the latter more heavily in my own book of public accounting. No scientific survey will ever sort that out.

For most of us, though, video games still come down to choice. Does letting someone pull a trigger not also let them not pull it? Rather than removing violence, maybe we should focus more on seeing the consequence of violence. In the studies I've chosen to believe (heh), the idea of consequence-free violence is closer to the root of problems than the mere choice of violence.

The Sims, for example, is full of ways to torture people to death with no consequence to the player. I might argue that practice, bloodless as it is, was worse than a game with guns that lets you rescue a princess or save a hostage or a nation, which some might argue instills basic values.

And what about movies, which offer no choice but force you to just ride the course. How is this better than sitting in a movie where you want the violence to stop but can't make it stop without leaving the people you came with. At least a video game gives you a choice at each moment.

It might be kinda cool, actually, if some movies were more videogame-like and you could press a button saying "no more of this kind of scene please" and it would dynamically tone things down for either just you or for the whole of an audience if everyone voted likewise... Then seeing the movie multiple times would give you a different experience every time, too, which would be great for the movie houses...

Soft Sciences (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463918)

Studies into this kind of thing are a bad idea. Such a thing as "violent tendencies" tends to be fairly subjectivly measured. For example, what might be considered normal in a male, might constitute "violent tendencies" in a female.

When it comes to video game violence, no doubt increased adrenaline levels will be seen as justification for an outright ban. Despite the fact that such levels could probably be seen after watching a football game.

What we are seeing here is a classic moral panic. Irrational fears, spiced with only superfically valid arguments, delivered by a hysterical media coverage, all combines to give you... prohibition. And we all know how well that one went down.

People like this do not need to be fed studies and test, surveys and psychology tests. That would feed the troll. These people need to be called what they are. Scaremongers. They need to be publically laughed at, not listened to.

Re:Soft Sciences (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463979)

i think that The way to solve this problem is to teach children a "defensive dance" that includes the use of a Bo or similar stick

1 this would cut down on crimes against children
2 part of this would be PROPER USE OF FORCE
3 game v real life

Re:Bring on the studies! (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464013)

And while we're at it, we should study the effects in countries in like Japan and South Korea, where lots of violent video games are also played, yet they seem to have lower rates of violent crimes than the US. Could it be that we're simply a violent culture and kids pick up on that? Well, let's see, how often are we at war compared to other countries? Maybe our kids wouldn't be so inclined to violence if we weren't so violent ourselves.

Re:Bring on the studies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464082)

Well ...

Its a far more complicated problem then people suspect and I doubt a simple study can actually uncover any problems/benefits from videogames.

Advertizing and Marketing deomnstrate to us that people can be manipulated by the images that they see, and the sounds that they hear; why would the actions that people virtually commit be any different. As an example a pilot study I have recently seen (it hasn't been really published because the sample size was reasonably small [50 families IIRC], but the findings proved worthy of more funding) was that several families were prevented from watching any television, reading the paper, listening to the radio or surfing the web for a period of 6 months; at the end of the study they found that the average person lost 20 pounds, had a far healthier attitude towards food (in particular children were less likely to associate food with 'fun'), people reported that they were far less stressed and almost everyone reported that their relationships between their spouse/family members were much stronger.

Now, the problem is how do you categorize the benefits from this study? Was all this electronic entertaiment damaging people or were the benefits created by people finding "something better to do."

Now, perform a similar study with videogames and prevent 16 year olds from playing videogames for 2 years. Suppose they find out that (at 18) the average male is far less agressive ... was this because the control group (who played videogames) becoming agressive because of videogames or was the sample group far less agressive because rather then play videogames they got laid?

Consistency (5, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463862)

Recently, watching the Da Vinci Code movie, I marveled at how we have movies that allow PG-13 to contain "disturbing violent images" but only mild sex. There's a lot of sex not in that movie that's in the book. But the violence that was only passing in the book is really graphic in the movie. My conclusion was that the government cares only about limiting sex and not violence. p>

Now I read here that the government cares about violence in video games. Why not in movies?

It's the random way in which the government incoherently stabs us with little points of pain rather than ever creating any notion of consistent policy that troubles me way more than just whether they want ratings on video games or not.

I wouldn't care if they rated all video games heavily for sex and violence, and then left it to the market what to buy. But when they rate some but not all, regulate some but not all, what's the point? The only obvious result I see is the eventual strangulation of all US business by litigation.

Re:Consistency (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463941)

Why not in movies?

Because in the movies, you aren't partaking in the violence. So you aren't being encouraged to kill, or maim, and not face consequences. You aren't enjoying killing in movies.

Not that I agree with this stance. I think it's bull shit. I've played violent video games of all sorts since Wolfenstein 3D came out*, including Doom and the Grand Theft Auto games, and I've yet to kill someone. I haven't even been in a fight in ten years, and I was like thirteen then.

Of course, I have also consumed vast amounts of pornography, and been exposed to (thank you internet) some pretty disgusting porn. I've yet to go out and rape someone. So that's another claim (porn makes people commit rape) that is ridiculous on its face.

There are so many of us playing violent video games and looking at porn, but violence in the U.S. is on the decline, and as far as I am aware, rape is part of those statistics.

*Honestly, Pac-Man and Mario Brothers are pretty violent too. Pac-Man contains weird paranormal cannibalism, and the Mario games feature cruelty to animals. Nowhere in Vice City was I able to brutally crush a turtle with my feet.

I wouldn't care if they rated all video games heavily for sex and violence

I think they should with movies, too. But I think it should be broken into catagories. Tits should not make a game Adult Only if brutally killing people with a chain saw does not. There was a mission in Vice City where you were sent to kill a man with a chain saw. There's another where you have to kill a man's wife in a "car accident."

I cannot imagine why this would be more acceptable for a seventeen year old boy than a pair of naked breasts or even -- God forbid! -- some pixelated bush. I don't see how polygonal nipples and artificialy rendered labia are worse than polygonal brutal murders and artificially rendered blood.

Give us a rating for violence, and a rating for sex, and keep them separate because they aren't the same thing.

Re:Consistency (1)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464031)

Because in the movies, you aren't partaking in the violence. So you aren't being encouraged to kill, or maim, and not face consequences. You aren't enjoying killing in movies.

A Clockwork Orange []

Not that I agree with this stance.

Phew. :)

I think they should with movies, too. But I think it should be broken into catagories.

FWIW, I tried this experiment [] and it's not all it's cracked up to be. My personal conclusion was that ratings work only because they are vague. The more specific they are, the more they reveal plot, which means people who want suspense (often the point of a movie) can't get it. "Does he boink her at the end?" is kind of a pointless question to ask when the rating is "explicit, unmarried sex between a guy and a girl". "does this sci-fi movie end badly?" is kind of pointless when the rating is "nuclear devices deployed in this movie". Ultimately, a complete description of the plot is the only clear rating, and is a real spoiler. The hyperlink above goes to some uses of my ratings, click here [] for a key to the ratings. Obviously, this wasn't a scientific experiment, it was just for fun. But because I had no serious preconceived end in mind, I had an open mind and learned a lot.

Re:Consistency (1)

cathars1s (974609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463944)

It's not the government that makes the ratings for movies - it's the MPAA.

Re:Consistency (1)

Nelson (1275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463993)

Did you draw any conclusions based upon it being PG-13 rather than R, PG or G? I think it is a somewhat curious example you chose.

The MPAA isn't run by the government. It's a volunteer thing. You don't have to rate a movie. Should a movie recieve certain ratings I think there are laws in some places about letting minors in without a parent but that's about the extent of it. The feds don't rate the movies. It happens to be a cartel that is pretty powerful and you'll never get your non-rated movie shown in their theaters but that's a different issue. Basically, the movie industry saw what was coming and took care of their shit, like it or not, most movies get some kind of rating. the system isn't perfect and there will always be debates about movies getting soft-Rs and hard PG-13s and NC-17s for raunchy jokes but at least they are making an effort and theaters and rental places are supposed to help enforce the age issues.

Bills and things have come up multiple times in multiple areas. It's very clear that some percentage of the populus cares enough about it that various governments are starting to take things in to consideration. Sony, MS, and Nintendo should own up to this before they are told how to do it. Rate games, provide v-chip like mechanisms in the hardware to let parents define what kinds of things are allowed, done. Some of the other side effects are very logical, minors won't be allowed to buy some games anymore. That's not really a problem since they aren't the target audience anyways. You want your kid to play GTA4, then go buy the "rated R game" and give it to him/her. What's the big deal?

The worst thing would be letting the US government decide how this shit should work. Sony has already done the work, you can tell a PS2 not to play certain rated DVD movies without a code.

Really this has a lot more to say about the overall responsibility of the game publishers. Look at the Hot Coffee thing, someone, somewhere did work, real work to make it and put it in the game. It wasn't an accident. It was supposed to be a joke or gag for testers or something and it backfired. Their audience is bigger and they need to take some responisbility that comes with the hundreds of millions of dollars (billions?) that the publishing houses are making.

Re:Consistency (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464071)

The only obvious result I see is the eventual strangulation of all US business by litigation.

All except the business of litigation.

The ultimate violent video game... (5, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463865)

Does any of the bills address the Pentagon's usage of video games [] as a recruitment tool? Last I heard, the military can't even wait for students to get out of middle school before signing them up.

Re:The ultimate violent video game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463999)

What I think is funny about America's Army is that nobody gets to play the "bad guy" because whichever side you're on, you're the Army, and the other side is the terrorists. Both sides see themselves as the righteous, noble side. Is this really the message we should be sending out? I think you should be able to be a terrorist, and the game quest says that you're supposed to ruthlessly raid a building and kill the innoccent civilians, because that's what terrorists do.

I think the justification for the "nobody plays a bad guy" thing is that it's all "ok" if it's done in the name of "good," but the message it's really sending is that maybe the other side isn't as absolutely evil as you're being led to believe by the government. Maybe they've just got a different point of view.

Re:The ultimate violent video game... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464062)

Last I heard, the military can't even wait for students to get out of middle school before signing them up.

That would be because the USA has a massive shortfall in the proportion of its population who can be considered *fit* for military service.

See if you can get a copy of the CIA world fact book pre-2001, find the section on military manpower and population and do some math.

It would appear that the USA has *less* than 1% of its total gross population fit for service.

The worst that any other nation has is 5%.

Interestingly, not long after sometime mid September 2001, these figures appear to have been removed.

The USA *needs* vassal states, strategic weapons and autonomous fighting machines in order to be anything other than a paper tiger.

Re:The ultimate violent video game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464076)

What I always find disturbing is the ROTC drills where they are playing with thier gun shaped toys. I understand that these guys are probably too insecure to use batons, but really, what kind of safety are they teaching. From the NRA web site

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot

and I am sure there are also safety rules about not hitting your gun on the ground or dancing with it. The ROTC bozos point the mock guns at the audience, at each other, bang them, throw them in the air.

What kind of safety are these dancing soldiers teacher about guns. That guns are toys? It is like lawnmowers. You never treat your lawnmower as a toy, your child is less likely to have their foot torn off. I would wager that many of our problems comes from the mixed messages we get, many from the government. We are supposed to be chaste until marriage, and then faithful, but many public officials, it did not start with clinton, gringrich divorced his wife on her deathbed, are not. We are supposed to not be violent, but most public officials will use violance as a first option. We are supposed to be forgiving, but we have severe penalties for the first offenders, usually those we do not like.

Is it an election year? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463871)

Oh, whoops, I guess it is.

Well, I guess the Democrats have to find something to do with their time this year. After all, if they couldn't find something to keep themselves busy, they might have to start taking on the Republicans on things like systematic corruption-- or the process whereby the management of federal departments like FEMA or NASA have now been bungled to the point where they might as well not exist at all-- or the handling of a "War on Terror" that's long since stopped being about any actual threats to America and started being about just pouring money into a big pit-- or the Republican Congress' refusal to investigate the President's admitted violations of the law.

And of course the Democrats don't want to do that. So it's time to concentrate on the things that are really threats to America's wellbeing-- video games!

Re:Is it an election year? (1)

Doom bucket (888726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463909)

In an ideal world, I'd be voting republican, and I'm sure most slashdotters would be too. Rather, voting for what the republican party is supposed to stand for, limited government, lower taxes... kind of what "conservative" means. Oh well.

In the meantime nobody should be surprised that the Democrats are supporting this bill because democrats favor increased government control. Hillary Clinton and Lieberman are not the only democrats that favor increased government regulation... all of them do!

Re:Is it an election year? (1)

eqisow (877574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464014)

In an ideal world, we'd all be voting Libertarian. You know, limited government, lower taxes, and personal freedoms. Unfortunately everybody is so afraid of "wasting" a vote than they only vote Democrat or Republican. To me, though, both partied are ruined past the point of no return. Something has to change. More information about

the Libertarian platform [] .

Re:Is it an election year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464033)

Sorry about the screwed up formatting, apparently I suck at using the preview option.

Re:Is it an election year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464090)

Man, libertarians don't care at all about personal freedoms. They just think that corporations should be the ones restricting personal freedoms, rather than the government.

Libertarianism is basically a big bait and switch. They get you to concentrate on how much you hate taxes and the government so hard and for so long you basically forget there is any other kind of injustice or suffering in the world.

What's Illegal? (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464053)

The reason congress isn't seriously investigating activities that the press has called "illegal" is because they approved of all of those activities in the first place. Not only that, but the still do approve of them. And not only the republicans support it, so do the democrats. Why would they want to draw attention to the fact that the approved of some politically unpopular programs? You'd be better off if you'd just look at the facts and realize that the democratic party is not now, nor has it ever been the party of civil rights.

I guess the real problem isn't that the political parties are against civil rights, so much as the american public is. At least two thirds of this country is obsessed with inappropriately controlling aspects of other peoples lives. Some people want to tell you not to do drugs, some people want to tell you not to have gay sex, some people want to tell you you can't shop at wal-mart, some people want to tell you that you can't decide how to spend you own money, some people want to tell you that you can't play violent video games. Add all of that fucked up shit together and you have millions of people using the ballot box to try to control and regulate every little aspect of your life.

And then, people pretend that just because you can vote, they aren't trampling all over your rights. WTF? If I want to buy pot and gay porn at wal-mart, why the hell shouldn't I be able to? These people always talk about what's good for society, and the common good and all that crap, but you know what's really best for society? Everyone staying out of everyone else's shit. That's what's best for society. When it comes down to it, democracy is just another way of doing the same thing dictators do.

Sports? (1, Insightful)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463884)

I think that sports are way to violent. I think we need to tack an amendment that prohibts all children from watching sports. And makes it a federal offense to let a child play football. Think of the Children. Can someone get me the data for how many children that play sports in school have any sort of illness or injury before they graduate so we can get this passed.

Re:Sports? (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463978)

well considering that in my area, you may remember this in the national news, but a group of highschool football players shoved a pinecone up another teammates ass causing serious damage.

Also a kid from my area, is a suspect in that lacrosse team rape story you heard about on national news...

I'm in total agreement about sports... and i like sports just the way they are.

Its when we go too far, that things get us in trouble. Thats where parenting comes into play.

Do we laugh at the idea of kicking a baby... I sure do.

BUT do we actually kick a baby?

Most of us would never dare think of doing it in reality, but there are those few.

So what really is the problem here? Videogames? Sports? TV? Movies? Art? Speech? or humanity itself?

We are the one common aspect to all of the things we blaim for the behavior of humans...

It starts with us.... our parents.

These politicians are just out for a photo op. Senators/congressmen dont do anything on TV anyways unless its for PR. Ever watch C-Span? How much debate is actually taking place in the senate or the house? Very little. Most officials dont even show up because they are busy fund raising.

Our bills are written by lobbiests and "sponsered" by officials.

Its either an election year, or its time for the videogame lobby to pay up.

Dont worry, nothing will happen, and it if it does, you really cant do anything about it anyways because the government is out of control and beyond the reach of Americans. observation (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463892)

This is what happens when one claims that the reason the opposition party is losing is because they are "immoral" as a whole and approving of measures that infringe on people's rights in order to inforce "morality." The polititians start acting super-extra-jackboots-all-in-your-business "moral" in order to try to convience you to vote for them.

There are people begging for authoritarian "morals" inforcement in this county. And because it seems they are the ones that decide elections, not the rest of us poor bastards, they are getting the attention. Regardless, I do not suffer people willing to steal my freedom for their personal profit.

Out with them all


MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463897)

I think it's great that they're going to hold a study on this topic -- the study will PROVE that violence in video games does NOT cause people to be violent. HEY GOVERNMENT, GOOD JOB... now if only you could do things like NOT spend my tax dollars on studies to find out things I could already tell you.

The "study" will find what they want it to find. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463911)

I think it's great that they're going to hold a study on this topic -- the study will PROVE that violence in video games does NOT cause people to be violent.
I don't believe so.

The only way to "prove" that would be to take groups of kids and allow certain groups to play "violent" video games while the other kids are not allowed to.

Since we probably won't be doing that ... this "study" will find the exact "findings" that the people pushing it want it to find.

This isn't about any real research into this. This is all about "supporting" their views so that they can get more laws passed.

More of the same = ? (4, Insightful)

DeusExMalex (776652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463906)

Does it seem odd to anyone else that additional laws are typically enacted to make previously criminal offenses even more criminal-y instead of enforcing those laws already enacted (or perhaps punishing the non-enforcement of said laws)? For instance: killing someone is already a crime - does it really need to be extra crime-y if the victim is somehow different from the perp?

Son (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463908)

its illegal for me to sell you this video game and I will get fined for it BUT you can tell your mommy that we do have a special on Fighers For Freedom toy guns today.

a product is not free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463913)

Commercial speech does not get the same protection as other expression. Ads are not protected as free speech (and it's a good thing they are not.) Products are not speech. This board, or an editorial in a newspaper, or a public debate, or whatever you talk about in your own living room is free speech. A game or a product has no status of any kind under the Bill of Rights.

Stuff gets left alone until a certain point is reached. You have to be reckless and be abusing the line with impunity to get the legislature on your case. The abuse of the threshold of violence has been crossed, kids are seeing examples they should not be seeing, and are in effect learning to have zero self-restraint and no remorse about doing terrible things.

If we are mostly dissatisfied with these law-breaking piratical leaders, imagine when a lot of kids come of age with their values and willingness to break laws instilled by video games.

IMO The parents who allow the kids to see these games are abrogating their responsibility to instill values. This is one of the ways the threshold has been crossed and this will get you some kind of governmental intervention every time. If you don't want a nanny worried about how unhealthy these games are, then accept some responsibility and stop whining in defense of things that are indefensible.

Re:a product is not free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464108)

Uh...hey baby...Troll here often? me..What part of "no law" don't YOU understand? The supreme court's misinterpretation notwithstanding.

Before you go to the hearing (2, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463922)

make sure to drink a cup of hot coffee

Other forms of media? (1)

Clazzy (958719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463928)

It makes me wonder why no other forms of media are affected. Surely encouraging parents to be more wary about what their children watch is also a bonus? I can appreciate that playing a game is more hands-on, but everything can have an effect on a growing child.

Of course, most people who have played violent games in their life are perfectly normal, it's just the occasional few that the media latch onto, when I'm sure just as many people have been affected by watching TV.

The last remnants... (5, Funny)

Stalli0n (921471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463933)

The Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emporer has dissolved the council permanently.

democrats and social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463938)

both parties do a lot of social engineering. the republicans are big supporters of extreme christianity, and religion is a major form of mind control, etc...the democrats seem willing to fight to "fix" any social issue if they can get a check and a matter what the facts say.

me? i wish we could toss them all out. you know, my friend has a poster on his wall of a bunch of guys sitting in beach chairs and watching a atomic bomb go off...they're all wearing shades, just having a blast. supposedly some of the new nukes have very little fallout, and are very safe if you are outside a given radius...i ought to be able to buy tickets to go watch one of those bad boys go off, maybe on the 4th of the right settings atomic blasts are very beautiful. but noooooo it's too frickin' politically incorrect.

these absurd social engineering politics, where some up and coming NGO or small-time politicians gloms on to a cause to get a name for hisself, it makes me sick.

there ought to be a constitutional ammendment allowing 10% of a popular vote to override and disqualify any law or policy...and fastracked straight through the supreme court...the justices would have to prove actual harm is likely to keep the law in place, else it swirls right down the shitter. Modern communication tools (internet, telephone) should make such a ammendment both possible and workable.

and the authors of said laws are prohibited from serving on committees for 2 years.

like America's Army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463939)

which was payed for by taxpayer dollars and is basically a recruiting tool for the military?

i think we have to ask ourselves: why do anti-video game senators hate our troops?

after all, you are either with us, and our tax funded army recruitment FPS, or you are with the terrorists.

self policing doubl standard (1)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463940)

So the MPAA can "self regulate" movies, but the game industry cant? What a double standard!

Untill they start jailing parents who take their 7 year olds to an -R- rated movie, they should leave games alone!

What is the opposite of progress? Congress!

Re:self policing doubl standard (1)

Stalli0n (921471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464075)

Movies are considered 'socially acceptable' to the current generation of pointless people. At least the next generation of pointless people will have played Grand Theft Auto so all those pesky homicide laws go away.

Re:self policing doubl standard (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464118)

Untill they start jailing parents who take their 7 year olds to an -R- rated movie

When they start jailing parents who take their 7 year olds to see a movie, maybe I'll start going back to the movies again.

Little distracted, are we? (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463951)

Seven coin flips. 128 possible outcomes. 42 of those split five and two and 58 are at *least* that lopsided with toss-up odds. That who-did-more count will mislead the ignorant and irk the rest.

Agreement popup (2, Interesting)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463953)

Game makers should just cover their asses and make an agreement/disclaimer that pops up before the game can be played that says,"By pressing the button, you agree that you are playing a game and understand that any violence in the game is for entertainment purposes only. You also agree that the author is not liable for anything detrimental you do in real life as a result of playing this game." Even if people don't read it, at least the game makers won't get in trouble for it.

New Tag (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463963)

I propose the tag "breadandcircuses" for articles like this.

Re:New Tag (1)

eklitzke (873155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464100)

Apparently you don't know what that expression means... or at least completely misunderstood the article.

Phew! Thank God! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463968)

I've been waving my shotgun around at the slightest noise while cowering behind this upturned dining table for years! For a long time I've been expecting video games to smash my doors down or climb through my windows and anally rape me, but now that the Guvmint is going to spend many hundreds of millions of tax dollars to banish this terror once and for all I can finally take this old blanket off my head at last.

Will make no difference (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15463971)

If they fine stores for selling 'M' or higher games to minors then kids will just get their older siblings or else their parents to buy them for them.

In other words, exactly what happens with fines for selling cigarretes to minors right now... it doesn't stop dick.

Re:Will make no difference (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464023)

That's not true... Nobody will buy cigarettes for my poor cousin Richard.

Amazing! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15463973)

Normally when a blurb like this comes up about 95% of slashdot freaks out and starts screaming "It's the bible beating republicans". Now that the blurb actually points out it's the democrats the posts are suddenly "the problem is both parties!"

This kind of double standards piss me off. Come on fuckers! Vote em out! Vote em all out! or was the rest of that just bullshit talk because you keep your fucking blinders on when it comes to the democrats? Do you vote on ideals or do you vote on the party line? I think the answer is apparent.

movies and games (1)

john_uy (187459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464012)

not from the us.

my question is that when in movies, if it is rated r-18 (restricted as far as it goes for me,) then people watching below the age of 18 are prohibited from doing so. reasons for the restriction may include violence and sex.

for the video game side, people are saying that there should be no rating (or if there is, mature ratings can be sold to young people.)

i'm just baffled as why it is ok for the movies and not ok for the games. it can either be the movies and games both ban sale depending on the rating. (on the basis of moral grounds as argued by people.) or ratings in movies will be removed and everyone including kids will be able to watch those restricted films. (on basis of free speech as argued by people.)

maybe someone can shed some light to this?

Oblig. Blues Brothers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464018)

What do you want for nothing? Rubber biscuit?

More Grandstanding. (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464030)

This stuff never worries me.

the wedge issues:
gay marriage
sex and violence on tv

they will never go anywhere because there are always large numbers of people representing each side, but theyre nice little red herrings to drag up and grandstand upon during elections.

meanwhile, the real issues get swept under the rug so the incompetent can remain in office.

Videogmaes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464060)

Pslaee ecsxue me, as Enslgih i'snt my fsrit lagnauge. I d'ont tihnk taht the gnoernvmet slhuod get ioelvvnd in cpemtour gmaes, and tehy souhld sictk to pltiaciol gaems.


KermodeBear (738243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464070)

Legislation is not going to fix the problem. What ever happened to parental responsibility? You can make all the laws you want, but if the parents are not responsible adults then the laws will mean and do nothing. You cannot legislate responsibility!

These videogame bills are just getting annoying... (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464091)

I was actually (somewhat) supporting these – I've reached the point where I'd be willing to take up religion just so the Grand Theft Auto guys can burn in hell – but by now they're just getting obnoxious. What happened to actually getting stuff done?

Damn poloticians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15464099)

What do these damn politicians think they can do? They can't stop game developers from making 'explicit' games. They can make a law making it a crime to sell M games to underage kids, but who's going to inforce it? Who's going to care? They can't stop us from playing games, because that'd just be against the first ammendment.
I'm tired of all these politicians that think they can rule the internet and games.

The party left off the hook (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464104)

Is the parents. Television has long been an electronic babysitter, and video games brought interactivity to the mix. Parents saw it as a blessing.

Then they went out and bought games for their kids. They had no idea what the games were, nor did they bother to look at the packages, etc. They just saw the green case and did a double-take at the mocha colored images on the package but then thought that little Johnny was worth it. But they missed the rating that's ALREADY on the box. In the case of GTA: San Andreas it clearly states that it's rated M for Mature 17+.

Under some of these proposed laws, if I happened to be playing the game and a friend of ours brought their 14 year old over, I'd be in the hoosegaw for $5000.

Our legislators need an education, Hillary Clinton included. But congress has long turned a deaf ear on science or logic.

Congress needs to be ABOLISHED. (1)

EvilPickles (943600) | more than 8 years ago | (#15464115)

In this day and age, new technology that brings about actually [b] important[/b] issues such unlike gay marriage and abortion, we do not need congress to make new legislaton [b] every year[/b]. Congress is overly useless, pointless, and []b no longer needed[/b]. I don't mean, the other two branches can have their way, I mean we [b] don't need anymore effing laws[/b]!! Like someone said, people seem to value [b] morals [/b] over [b] rights [/b] now. People are to stupid, and uneducated to care about our [b] rights [/b]. The only people who are politicians, or want to be active in politics, are those who want power, and to use the government to their own advantage. Currently, the MPAA and RIAA, have seemingly unstoppable power, in the government. Why is it that the movie industry, and the music industry have this power, have no legislation against them, [b] and [/b] can induce the government to put pressure on other countries, or deny another country a service, if our government doesn't do what [b] the MPAA, RIAA, and movie industry [/b] want? Simple: they are paying the representatives money to make the reprsentatives do what they want. It's all so simple and obvious, the gaming industry is new, and doesn't have it's hold in congress like the other two industries. Congressmen and representatives get payed money to run for office, by these industries, the game industry simply doesn't anymore. I predict what I know happened to the other indsutries will happen to the video games indsustry soon enough: the market will be flooded with unsavory crappy games, monopolized by these agencies, and nothing but absolute [b] crap [/b] will make it into the market. I no longer watch TV, it has absolutely nothing of worth to me, and the content on it is offensive, and insulting to me. Between being insulted by advertisements, threatened by advertisements, watching crappy reality TV, cool sci fi shows, with the cheapest possible set and actors, who couldn't act if their life was on the line, I do not want to watch this BS. Right now, video games are quite expensive to make, and not a definite guarnatee of profit, but it's getting there. As the older generations die off, and take their unworthy views with them, the generation that grew up with video games comes into power, but then what? Well, I can tell you, then video games are cheaper to make, less difficult to make, so the market is flooded with [b] crap [/b] like the movie and music industries, only what the rich people executives makes the scene, anything else gets absolutely no attention. The people controlling this herding of the world are the rich elite, families who control the world. Snobby rich asholes who grew up rich, seek to take advantage of what we all love, and make money off of it. People's think moral > rights now, because rights aren't very well, fun, anymore. You've got computer games, music, all this stuff, who the hell gives a fuck about [b] rights[ /b]? Am I right people? I think so. I hate this consumerism that our world has. People value their lives more than they value themselves or other people, that is the reason for our current drug problems, and the constant battle over [b] property [/b]. The rich have felt this way for centuries, but now, no, now they value something else, I don't know what, but they techonology has finally allowed us [/b] poor common folk [b] to enjoy what they have for oh so long. You're job should need [b] you [/b] not the other way around.
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