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NY Governor to Target Violent Video Games

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the answer-to-all-the-worlds-evil-obviously dept.

Politics 306

NoMoreGuns writes to tell us that Governor Eliot Spitzer is planning to target violent movies and video games in a new bill. "Spitzer said he wants to restrict access to these videos and games by children, similar to motion picture regulations which prohibit youths under 17 from being admitted to R-rated movies without a parent or adult guardian. Under Spitzer's proposal, retailers who sell violent or degrading videos or video games to children contrary to the rating would be sanctioned."

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Bad headline! (5, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#18784121)

Unless I'm really misreading this, he isn't targeting the violent games at all. What he's targeting is the sale of violent games to minors, in the manner of R-rated movies.

I expect that sort of misleading headline from the mainstream press, but Slashdot should really have fixed it.

Re:Bad headline! (0)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 7 years ago | (#18784169)

>What he's targeting is the sale of violent games to minors, in the manner of R-rated movies.

In other words, he's targeting violent video games.

Re:Bad headline! (4, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | about 7 years ago | (#18784185)

*NOT* in the manner of movies. That's the problem.

Movies do not have this regulation. All media or none.

Re:Bad headline! (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 7 years ago | (#18784313)


What? So I, hypothetically assuming I was 12 for example, could go out and buy Blood-Murder-Death-Sex 3 from my local Blockbuster? I could go ask the nice mister at the counter to take my allowance for Death-Death-Death-And-Blood 7 and he'd do it?

There are already restrictions on buying R rated movies, at least where I live, and the same goes for video games (Already). This is really a non-issue if he means M rated by violent.

Re:Bad headline! (3, Informative)

AndersOSU (873247) | about 7 years ago | (#18784453)

There are legal restrictions preventing sale of porn to minors, but no legal restrictions for violence. If your blockbuster won't let twelve year olds rent "Death-Death-Death-And-Blood 7" it is due to store (or corporate) policy, not due to regulation.

Re:Bad headline! (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#18784749)

There are legal restrictions preventing sale of porn to minors, but no legal restrictions for violence. If your blockbuster won't let twelve year olds rent "Death-Death-Death-And-Blood 7" it is due to store (or corporate) policy, not due to regulation.

It's a matter of local and state laws, not federal laws. There are no federal laws banning the sale of any movies to minors, AFAIK. However, most states have laws regarding the sale of pornography or movies with strong sexual content. Surprisingly, most states do NOT have laws concerning violence.

So what we as a society are saying is that it's okay for kids to see people shooting, stabbing, kick boxing, or whatever else to each other in a violent rage, but HEAVEN FORBID if any minors see NAKED PEOPLE or, worse, two people engaged in a perfectly normal act that is part of our biological survival process as a species. Hmmm, I wonder which would inhibit the development of a child more...?

Re:Bad headline! (5, Interesting)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | about 7 years ago | (#18784915)

"So what we as a society are saying is that it's okay for kids to see people..."

Incorrect. The body of law may seem to imply that, but certainly I as a parent don't. And I'm sure most of my fellow parents feel the same way.

Parents should be responsible for their children, not the government.

Re:Bad headline! (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | about 7 years ago | (#18784543)

"There are already restrictions on buying R rated movies, at least where I live, and the same goes for video games (Already)."
Where do you live? I know of no government regulation that makes the MPAA rating law. There may be pushback from the MPAA if the ratings are not enforced but the cops aren't going to be called.

Re:Bad headline! (5, Informative)

SEE (7681) | about 7 years ago | (#18784653)

There are no laws enforcing the movie ratings system. It is perfectly legal to allow a six-year-old to rent or buy a film rated R or NC-17. It is merely social custom and private policies of vendors which restrict such activities.

Laws prohibiting the sale of indecent materials to minors do exist, but they exist independent of the ratings system, and already fully apply to video games.

Re:Bad headline! (1)

bockelboy (824282) | about 7 years ago | (#18784747)

There are already restrictions on buying R rated movies, at least where I live, and the same goes for video games (Already).

Not in the US. I know this is not the same for several European countries.

Re:Bad headline! (1)

amuro98 (461673) | about 7 years ago | (#18784791)

Any enforcement of the ratings on movies (or games for that matter) is currently on a voluntary. While some theaters or stores may have policies to restrict kids from buying/renting R or M material, the vast majority of them DO NOT.

This proposal would make this enforcement a LEGAL requirement. It wouldn't be so bad if it covered ALL media - games, movies, DVDs, rentals, etc. However, it only targets video games, and as such will probably get shot down like all the other similar proposals...but only after the politicians in question get their soundbites at a cost of several million dollars in taxpayer money.

Re:Bad headline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784265)

...but Slashdot should really have fixed it.

Are you having a laugh? Is he having a laugh?
</Andy Millman>

Re:Bad headline! (1)

teshuvah (831969) | about 7 years ago | (#18784271)

I expect that sort of misleading headline from the mainstream press, but Slashdot should really have fixed it. You must be new here. Slashdottians don't read the article, only the summary.

Re:Bad headline! (2, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | about 7 years ago | (#18784457)

I expect that sort of misleading headline from the mainstream press, but Slashdot should really have fixed it.

You must be new here.

Re:Bad headline! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784493)

You are very correct. This is a GOOD thing. It adds relevancy to the ESRB and supports the rating system that is/was currently being attacked by the federal government.

Regardless of whether or not you think censorship is bad, I think we can all agree that voluntary censorship via the ESRB is preferable to manditory censorship by some government board.

Re:Bad headline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784857)

You're forgetting that Slashdot is full of teenage gamers. For them, a ban on selling violent games to minors is the same as if they were banned outright, which is why you see so many people talking about "free speech".

It's not an infringement on the game developers' rights because they are still free to sell their games to adults. If it's an infringement on anybody's rights, it's an infringement on the rights of the minors to see what they want. Our society has decided that minors have fewer rights than adults (e.g. alcohol, porn), the question is whether kids should have the right to play violent games against the wishes of their parents.

Re:Bad headline! (3, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 7 years ago | (#18784975)

And here I thought it was the parent's job to monitor the video game habits of their children. Silly me. Thank goodness the government is here to save me.

Fine, sanction the retailers... (1)

djones101 (1021277) | about 7 years ago | (#18784147)

But leave the damn consumers alone.

Re:Fine, sanction the retailers... (1)

M4N14C (873188) | about 7 years ago | (#18784179)

If the consumer is 13 and trying to get the latest GTA episode should they be left alone or should their parents have the responsibility to dispense that kind of mature content to the "Consumer"(Child).

Re:Fine, sanction the retailers... (3, Interesting)

Skye16 (685048) | about 7 years ago | (#18784215)

Actually, no. Attack the consumers with a vengeance. Which consumers am I referring to? The parents who buy GTA San Andreas for their 10 year old son.

Make it illegal for retailers to provide the game to kids. That way, when the kid gets it from his inept, irresponsible, moronic parents, and actually *does* do something he saw in the game (probability dictates some retarded insane person is going to do it eventually, and you *know* what the media is going to focus on instead of them being retarded and/or insane), then the game companies and the publishers and the retailers can all say "look, the game says Adults Only, but that kids' parents got it for him, so they are obviously to blame." It will all be on mommy and daddy's shoulders then, and they won't have a leg to stand on.

That wont' stop the media from blaming video games entirely, of course, but it still weakens their argument.

Re:Fine, sanction the retailers... (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#18784447)

That way, when the kid gets it from his inept, irresponsible, moronic parents

As the saying goes, "you can't legislate stupidity." Parents are increasingly irresponsible and clueless when it comes to what their children say and do. We're having trouble with my 10-year-old stepson because he feels we're being unfair because we won't let him have games rated T-for-Teen, or have his own cell phone. He rails at us because we won't simply let him go where he wants, when he wants, and we won't continuously feed his bad habits. He constantly tells us how "other kids' parents don't do this," to which my standard reply is "I don't care what other parents do." And I don't, because I see how other parents let their children push them around, guilt them into buying them things, browbeat them when they don't get what they want. And these people cave in!

But again, that's what they decide to do. Parents will do stupid things and while you can make those things illegal, you can't make people not do them. Parents have to decide for themselves that buying these games for their children are a bad idea.

Re:Fine, sanction the retailers... (1)

Skye16 (685048) | about 7 years ago | (#18784623)

Agreed, I'm not even saying it should be illegal for a parent to give their kid an AO game. That's their decision. I've known some suprisingly mature 15 year olds, and some ridiculously immature 20 year olds. It really kinda does depend.

But removing the retailer's culpability from the picture simplifies it drastically. Either the kid stole the game, got it from another adult who wasn't his parent, or his parents' bought it for him. Or he downloaded it from a bittorrent tracker of some sort. Regardless, the industry itself is much more protected than it was, when it was openly accused of "preying on [our] youth". As a gamer, I care more about the industry than I do about the kid being a crackpot or his parents letting him browbeat them into giving him what he wants. But the PR boon (or, really, the safety from any negative PR) for the industry is huge. If I'm EB, Valve, or EA, I'm super in favor of this law, if only to bypass some of the more ridiculous claims of Jack Thompson, Joseph Lieberman or Hillary Clinton.

Little late... (2, Insightful)

KyoMamoru (985449) | about 7 years ago | (#18784923)

But, this guy evidently has failed to look at what most corporations are doing such as Gamestop. If an employee sells to a minor a Mature game, he's fired. Truthfully, if the kid wants the game, he's going to get it. I wanted Mortal Kombat when I was a kid, and so I sat down with my dad, and we talked it over. He asked what it was, I explained to him that it was a combat game that involved blood, and beating up other players. I even mentioned the fatalities. My dad, simply asked if I realized the difference between reality and fiction (I was seven at the time), and so we had a discussion about it. Once he realized that I wasn't going to Back-Back-B my sister, it was agreed that I could get the game. The only stipulation was that if friends came over, they couldn't play the game unless their parents allowed them to (who were called by either my dad or mom). I turned out fine, right? =P

Just what we need (-1, Flamebait)

soft_guy (534437) | about 7 years ago | (#18784161)

More asshat laws in NY.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784375)

You're a dumbass. This is about actually regulating something that is supposed to be a rule anyway.

Re:Just what we need (1)

wakingrufus (904726) | about 7 years ago | (#18785017)

Close. It is about making a frivolous law to ban something that most reputable retailers already have policies about. Actually, even closer to the truth, this is about getting votes.

I don't see the problem with this law (5, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | about 7 years ago | (#18784167)

Maybe I'm missing the big picture, but what's the problem with preventing minors from buying games specifically market for adults? I know legally there's been no teeth in it up until now (and parents should really be watching out for their kids) but what's the objection to this? The only group I would think could possibly object is minors.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 7 years ago | (#18784227)

There is no equivalent for movies. There is also a potential chilling effect.

Kids should not get their hands on these games, but that's the responsibility of the parents. They have the tools.

there isn't a problem with this law (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | about 7 years ago | (#18784399)

They would have the tools if laws like this weren't fought tooth and nail. What tools can they have if their children take the money they got from their paper route (or other legal job for minors) and buy a game their parents aren't allowing? If they don't happen to catch them in the act, whose fault is it? It's just like the laws against purchasing pornography for a minor. The parents can't stop their children if they are being helped by outsiders (such as the video game store clerks).

Re:there isn't a problem with this law (2, Insightful)

theantipop (803016) | about 7 years ago | (#18784519)

You're seperating the act of buying the game from the act of playing the game. The goal of laws like this are to stop a kid from playing the game, not from buying it per se. A parent definitely has the tools to take this game away and return it if they don't approve.

Re:there isn't a problem with this law (1)

Jtheletter (686279) | about 7 years ago | (#18784955)

They would have the tools if laws like this weren't fought tooth and nail.

I think you misunderstand the difference between a parental tool and THE LAW. The law is no more a parental tool than is gravity. Parents don't have a choice in enforcing the law, it will be enforced regardless of their desire, it is out of their hands at that point and is no longer a tool for the parent, but for the state. In addition, you seem to imply by saying parents would have the tools, that they somehow do not have the tools they need now. That is patently false. Let's see, supervision of the child in the parent's own house, full access to all of the child's possessions and control over their entertainment time in front of the TV that the parent owns. The parent has a say in whether or not the child can earn their own money - if little Johnny's caught spending his paper route money on games he's not supposed to have then you prevent him from having a paper route, if he's going to his friend's house after school to play the game then you talk with the other parents about it and/or forbid visiting that friend unsuprvised. Yeah, it's not fun, it's not easy, and it won't make them your friend, but guess what - parenting is not supposed to be easy, always fun, or always going to make you the buddy, that's why you're the PARENT.

This is a personal decision to be made by the parents of the child on a family-by-family basis. Making it a law REMOVES that choice from the parent's control. Also this kind of law does not exist for other forms of media other than pornography, so comparisons to movies are null and void as there is no sanctioning by the STATE if a theater violates their R rated movies policy. So why have such a law that applies to scenes of simulated violence when highly-realistic scenes of real people being violent are not held to the same standard? And why then not books as other have mentioned. Stephen King's "It" is a fantastic book, but it is terrifying and gory, why is it we let minors check it out from the state-funded library? That's called hypocracy, and even so in the regulate-all-media-or-none debate I would side with "none" because again, it removes the CHOICE of the parent and hands it to the state where the parents no longer have a say. The right for your kids to not be exposed to violent media is equal to my kids' right to be exposed if I deem it proper for them.
And all of this legislation is based on gut reactions and feel-good vote getting, not any definitive studies that show real harm. I'm sorry, but I have higher ideals for my government than laws of whim and fancy. If you want to encroach on the rights of others than you'd damn well better have proof that there is a compelling need that cannot be met by any other means, such as telling concerned parents to do something about it in their own house and not in mine. And if you can't stop your kid from playing a video game then good luck with alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex, gangs, dragracing, and any other dangerous thing that is more difficult to control and more dangerous to your child than any video game. Did you know kids dislike doing homework? We should make a law to make sure they all do their homework since how can the parents possibly have any tools to ensure it gets done?

Correction... (1, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about 7 years ago | (#18784499)

"Kids should not get their hands on these games, but that's the responsibility of the parents. They have the tools."

Correction... it should read "My Kids should not get their hands on these games, but that's the responsibility of the parents. They have the tools."

When you state that universally "kids" should not get their hands on the games, you validate the idea of creating a law. After all, if it is an absolute truth that "kids" should not get their hands on the games, then the only time the law would go into effect is when a parent is not doing their job. Add to that, that what a "kid" is, is a political mess. The government still considers people kids up to a decade or more ofter reaching puberty.

Also, no disrespect intended with this, but, I'm not any more comfortable with you defining what my child should and should not be exposed to than I am with some politician making the same decision.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (4, Insightful)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#18784269)

I'm an adult, and I have a problem with it.

If the law just targets video games, then that is unfair. Other than pornography, there are no laws about content being sold to minors.

Video games, like movies, are voluntarily rated. There is no law to enforce the movie ratings, as far as I am aware, and so there shouldn't be one for video games.

Another poster here said, "All media, or none." And I agree.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784379)

this has come up in other states before and has always been overturned by the courts as a 1st ammendment violation...why do politicians keep bringing it up??

Because it gets them votes. (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | about 7 years ago | (#18784489)

The majority of voters in America are seniors who still hate comic books for "destroying America's youth." So, of course, politicians are going to use anything they can to leverage more votes. Look at how many Democrats are trying to propose this type of legislation. 10 years ago the Dems would never support anything that has been struck down as a free speech violation.

Unfortunately, in the USA, baby boomers are the ruling party.

Re:Because it gets them votes. (2, Informative)

Khaed (544779) | about 7 years ago | (#18784789)

The majority of voters in America are seniors who still hate comic books for "destroying America's youth."

Don't tell them now, but comic books no longer carry those stupid "Comics Code Authority" labels advertising their safe-for-children content. Now they have ratings, just like everything else.

Gasp, shock, horror.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#18784367)

One problem is that movies are usually rated R more for sexual content than violence. Violence is more acceptable, whereas ANY nudity or sex turns a PG13 into an R. Another problem is that a movie is real people depicting things. A videogame is... well... *entirely* fake.

Why not restrict people under 17 years of age from reading Stephen King's Tommyknockers or from reading Slaughterhouse 5? What movie could you possibly compare the unrealistic violence toward - say aliens - in Quake 4 to?

Just because it only affects minors doesn't make it acceptable. If you don't want your kids to buy the games because you have stupid impressionable children, then don't let them buy it. How hard is that? They do live in your house and spend your money, correct?!

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18784805)

What movie could you possibly compare the unrealistic violence toward - say aliens - in Quake 4 to?

Oh I dunno, say, Aliens [imdb.com]?

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18784639)

The only group I would think could possibly object is minors.

And they don't vote so who cares! It's not like kids are humans with rights or anything.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#18784659)

The simple fact of the matter is that the government isn't there to parent our children for us.

Re:I don't see the problem with this law (1)

peter_gzowski (465076) | about 7 years ago | (#18784855)

I think it usually comes down to the definition of the content that they want to restrict to minors. In the case of sexual material, the courts have accepted the governments evidence that exposure to sexual material is bad for kids, and thus the government has a legitimate compelling interest in restricting access to that material. They do not have the same convincing studies to show that violent content, in general, is harmful to children, and so they try to come up with definitions that pass muster as "obviously" bad for children, such as depicted violence against policemen, or mutilation of corpses. The courts generally find some example of content that fits the definition but may have some literary or artistic merit (God of War has been cited in some cases), and throw the law out as unconstitutional.

Here Spitzer faces a similar challenge: coming up with a definition of what to restrict, and hoping that content which minors perhaps should have access to doesn't fall within that definition. Others have suggested that it is illegal in NY to permit minors into R-rated films. Does anyone have a link to the law? I would be very surprised if such a law actually existed. I like Spitzer for other issues that he's tackled, such as payola, but I think he's going down a fruitless path here. He should learn from past mistakes by about 9 other states.

While we're at it... (5, Interesting)

KenshoDude (1001993) | about 7 years ago | (#18784199)

Lets ban children from watching, listening to, or reading the news. There are all kinds of accounts of anti-social behaviors contained in the news. Shouldn't we be "protecting the children" from that too?

Besides, are social problems like school related shootings really being encouraged by video games, or is it possible that massive news coverage plays a larger role? I mean, I take what I see on TV to be a lot more "real" and "possible" than anything I see on a video game.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

s20451 (410424) | about 7 years ago | (#18784553)

The news doesn't generally show you the really graphic stuff.

The main problem is that the anti-game lobby has a compelling story to tell: "Participating in simulated violence predisposes you to commit violent acts." It's intuitive and easy to understand, which is why it has currency -- even if it's incorrect.

Meanwhile, the gamers' story is: "If a nine-year-old wants to blow somebody's simulated head off, and see the blood run everywhere, over and over, hundreds of times a night, there's nothing wrong with that." Not exactly endearing to the general public.

My point is that gamers need to get a better story to tell. The anti-gamers are cleaning your clocks in the political sphere because you don't have anything to offer.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | about 7 years ago | (#18784677)

Lets ban children from watching, listening to, or reading the news. There are all kinds of accounts of anti-social behaviors contained in the news. Shouldn't we be "protecting the children" from that too?
Or from reading the bible.


"And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel." (Judges 19:29)

"Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it." (1 Samuel 17:50-51)

"And I will set My jealousy against you, that they may deal with you in wrath. They will remove your nose and your ears; and your survivors will fall by the sword. They will take your sons and your daughters; and your survivors will be consumed by the fire." (Ezekiel 23:25)

"And when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under...." (Matthew 2:16)

"Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

"And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him." (I Samuel 31:4-5)

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, as a long hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times." (Proverbs 5:18-19)

"Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I said, 'I will climb the palm tree. I will take hold of its fruit stalks.' Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your breath like apples." (Song of Solomon 7:7-8)

"Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, 'Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?' And David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, and said, 'I am pregnant.'" (2 Samuel 11:1-5)

"And Lot went up to Zo'ar, and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zo'ar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

"And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

"Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

"And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

"And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

"And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

"Thus were both daughters of Lot with child by their father." (Genesis 19:30-36)
Ban the Bible? [loompanics.com]
Saving our children from the bible [elroy.net]

Please keep in mind I'm not actually suggesting that the bible should be baned or anything like that.

Here we go again. (4, Informative)

MrShaggy (683273) | about 7 years ago | (#18784237)

Interesting that the supreme court(?) has just struck down this very same bill, in Louisiana. The Judge berated the state for trying to undermine the constitution, as well as not seeing what has happened to very similar bills in other states. They also made the state pay out the 94,000$ in lawyer fees that the gaming industry had to pay in order to fight this.

Apparently there was a quote from the group responsible for the bill saying that they would try again. Millions of dollars wasted in 'thinking of the children', when most stores do that anyway.

Let me see if I've got this... (2, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 7 years ago | (#18784249)

So he wants to make sure that certain violent games, let's presume for the moment he means M rated for the sake of argument and then deal with T, cannot be bought by people younger than 17...does New York not already have this law? I know for a fact that in Arizona selling an M rated game to a minor is illegal and actually punishable by some law, I had to show my driver's license to buy Counter Strike.

The only thing I can see about this bill that might concern people is the definition of violent. If, by that, the bill means M rated then who cares. M rated is supposed to be sold to 17 year olds or older, so now it'll be enforced by law, that's nice. Now then, if by violent the bill intends for all games with violence, with no care to the rating, to be sold to 17 or older then we have a problem, especially since every game has violence except the most absolutely boring arcade games.

That's all I'm concerned about, how is a violent video game defined? I'd presume by the movie part as well that it means M rated but hey, it's politics, they could very well mean to ban all games in one fell swoop.

Re:Let me see if I've got this... (3, Informative)

oneiron (716313) | about 7 years ago | (#18784567)

I know for a fact that in Arizona selling an M rated game to a minor is illegal and actually punishable by some law, I had to show my driver's license to buy Counter Strike.

So, you don't think it could just be a store policy that prompted them to ask for your driver's license? Not all store policies are based on laws, you know. You really should be a bit more sure before you use a phrase like, "I know for a fact..."

Re:Let me see if I've got this... (4, Interesting)

bockelboy (824282) | about 7 years ago | (#18784827)

I know for a fact that in Arizona selling an M rated game to a minor is illegal and actually punishable by some law

I know for a fact this is not true. For a writeup of this, see:
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070223-8915 .html [arstechnica.com]
Video game restrictions, unless if it has something to do with pornography, are voluntary, just like movie restrictions are. Now, mind you, you have to look hard to find someone willing to violate these restrictions, which is why many people mistake this for a law.

I've got an idea! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 7 years ago | (#18784267)

Oh yeah well I think politics are too violent. I'm gonna try and get CPSAN banned from TV! I don't want my kids watching that. It's out of control, people! There's a CSPAN 1,2, and 3 now!

I'm all for it (2, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 years ago | (#18784285)

I'm all for a law like the one mentioned but it won't work at all anyway since Grandma will buy Junior any game wants for Christmas. They need to teach clerks at stores to ask people who the game is intended for so they know what they're buying.

I know a ten year old who was playing GTA San Andreas and thought that the dildo he found in the police station was a purple balloon. He's running around beating people up with it when I walk in and ask him where he found that weapon. Well, I'm still laughing. His much older sister felt compelled to explain it to him. Later he was asking me why the women were approaching his car asking if he wanted a good time. So he's way too young to be playing this and any reasonable store clerk wouldn't sell it to him, but he borrowed from a friend.

Re:I'm all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784603)

If grandma buys an M game for a minor, then we can accord her the respect to assume that she knows junior is mature enough for it. Much like a parent can accompany their underage children into R rated movies. The law would not be obliviated.

It's those damn COLLEGE KIDS buying for high schoolers that's the problem! Damn college kids! They should shut down all the colleges!

Re:I'm all for it (2, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 years ago | (#18784741)

The point I want to make is that Grandma doesn't look at the rating. Junior said he wanted GTA and for all she knows it's a fun, happy video game - which she equates with pong. Make Grandma play GTA for five minutes or give her a sense of the gameplay and she'll realize that her eight year old grandson isn't ready. South Park is another example. I know a couple that had young children when it first came out. They saw it was animated so they assumed it was for children. Whoops. When they got the question, "Dad, how does licking carpet make you a lesbian?" they took a closer look. A little rating in the corner of the box or in the corner of the screen won't be enough, and these parents will blame others and not themselves for exposing their young children to mature matters.

Re:I'm all for it (1)

Emperor Zombie (1082033) | about 7 years ago | (#18784851)

I wrote up a post agreeing with this legislation, but then I thought: how will this change anything? I'm 24 with facial hair and I've been carded on numerous occasions when purchasing a violent game. In my experience, the retailers are already doing their job - the problem is the lazy and irresponsible parents who can't be bothered to pay attention to what their children are playing (and don't say it can't be done, my parents did a pretty good job). Maybe people like Jack Thomson are a necessary evil, because the sort of people who are easily convinced by all this "think of the children!" sensationalist journalism and talk show drama are probably the same ones buying Murder Simulator 4 just so little Johnny will stop throwing a tantrum in the middle of the mall. There may be no truth in the claims that violent games lead to real-world violence, but maybe that's what we need to tell people to get them to open their eyes and realize that maybe, just maybe, their 8-year-old shouldn't be playing a Mature rated game.

"Quick look like you doing something!!one" (1)

Maugrim (947665) | about 7 years ago | (#18784303)

I'm sorry, but these are just getting ridiculous. For as long as I remember, retailers haven't been selling M rated games to youngster's due to the reliability of doing so. Way back in the day I wasn't even allowed to look at M rated games at GameCrazy until I was old enough. It's simply not an issue. This stuff is just busy work for Senators to do to make it look like they're actually doing something.

Re:"Quick look like you doing something!!one" (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#18784423)

Way back in the day I wasn't even allowed to look at M rated games at GameCrazy until I was old enough.
Back in the day? What are you, 19?

The Dictionary of ME (1)

Maugrim (947665) | about 7 years ago | (#18784589)

Accordingly the the dictionary of ME, "back in the day" is in reference to something that was in excess of 5 years in the past. Just like a "shitload" is the number of a certain item in excess of two.

"Society" doesn't know best (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 7 years ago | (#18784309)

Parents have been basically regulated into the ground by governments like this one. They can't punish their kids without social services show up, can't buy their kid a handgun and let them carry it in their own car to a range, even if the kid is a 100% balanced eagle scout, can't let them drink, can't let them do that. All the while the parents shoulder most of the blame if their kid does anything wrong.

That's why I say fuck the "community." The only person raised by a village was a feral, tribalist, not a civilized human being.

Re:"Society" doesn't know best (1)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#18784451)

No, I think parents have down in quality. Because they can't help but blame other people for their problems. A kid carrying a gun for you seems like a accident waiting to happen. If you let your kid do this you need to remove both of you from the gene pool asap before you hurt someone. You may not hit your kid so hard that they need medical attention but generally corpral punishment is still legal. I can spank my kid or rap his knuckles but punching him in the face is a bit much.

Parents are too caught up with career and their own vices. They should prioritize their kids and raise them in the same way their parents did. But in the last couple of generations the parents thought they knew better then their parents and have tried such utter bullshit new age parental techniques and trying to be their kids best friend instead of being their parent.

Re:"Society" doesn't know best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784765)

You know in less urbanized areas of this country kids actually grow up around guns and have done so for a long time?

Your average "I live in a hepa-filtered bubble in a suburb" kid may not know the first thing about handling firearms, and why is this? Because of think-of-the-children parents living there! If little Johnny grew up around firearms, they are less of a big deal. They become a tool and not some wizbang cool thing to point at your friends to play like in the movies.

For someone talking about new age parental techniques as a bad thing, you seem to have drunk a bit of their kool aid.

Re:"Society" doesn't know best (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | about 7 years ago | (#18784649)

The only person raised by a village was a feral, tribalist, not a civilized human being.

Yeah, that and the villiage idiot.

Re:"Society" doesn't know best (1)

mc1138 (718275) | about 7 years ago | (#18784657)

I know it's really only a minor point here, but in New York at least parents can let their kids drink, so long as it's only their kids and it's at home.

Virginia Tech (-1, Flamebait)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#18784333)

I wonder if it's related to the massacre? I'm sure people like jack thompson would desprately want Cho to be a gamer because in their small little brains it would validate their beliefs. From all accounts the guy didn't play games but the truth has never stopped these people. I think selling M games or R movies to minors should be restricted. Let parents make the choice for their kids.

gamestop (2, Insightful)

otacon (445694) | about 7 years ago | (#18784337)

Gamestop's new policy seems to be working, I'm 23, about 6'2'' 210lbs...and definatley look older than 16...and I got IDed at gamestop buying F.E.A.R. and I don't carded for cigarettes or alcohol.

There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (3, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 7 years ago | (#18784353)

So when "Spitzer said he wants to restrict access to these videos and games by children, similar to motion picture regulations which prohibit youths under 17 from being admitted to R-rated movies without a parent or adult guardian." Either Spitzer is ignorant about the law, he is lying just to get headlines, or just possibly he knows there aren't any such laws and so it would be technically correct to say that there will be regulations "similar" to film regulations.

Either way he is an ass.

There are no laws in the USA regulating the sale of any entertainment medium. There are regulations on things like porn, but those are a genre and they are notoriously vague in that at least once a year a comic book store gets busted for selling comic books with drawings of boobs.

If videogames were to be singled out there would have to be a mountain of evidence that shows that they are dangerous to children. No such mountain exists. Therefore, it is just singling out videogames because it is an easy way to look like you are "looking out for families."

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (2, Informative)

SighKoPath (956085) | about 7 years ago | (#18784511)

In New York, it is illegal for movie theaters to admit children under 17 to R-rated films without a parent present (I know, I grew up there, and every time I'm there, I still get ID'd for R-rated films). Spitzer simply wants to extend this regulation to the retail sale of BOTH video games and movies. Also, the article mentions that it is according to the RATINGS of the media.

I know it's too much to expect those here on /. to RTFA, but all of the above is mentioned in TFA, though in far fewer words.

Negative, there is no LAW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784819)

No it is not-you just BELIEVE it is. Otherwise cite the LAW you are talking about.

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | about 7 years ago | (#18785015)

You must remember there is self regulation in place for movies (the same self regulation that currently exists on games) and in most places it is in fact not illegal. What you really need to show it is illegal is someone being busted for violating it, or better yet the law.

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | about 7 years ago | (#18784535)

They are refering to the fact that you can't go to a movie theatre to see an R rated movie if you are under 17 without a parent or guardian. I don't know if that's law or if it's just a very very very common practice done by movie theatres, but all they were doing is making a comparison to make us understand what he is trying to accomplish.

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 7 years ago | (#18784547)

Films have ratings in the US, right? So you're seriously telling me it's totally legal for a movie theater to knowingly let a minor into an adult-rated movie over there? I'm quite surprised, if so.

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (2, Informative)

chaidawg (170956) | about 7 years ago | (#18784755)

To everyone who questioned the "there is no law" statement, it is correct. There is no law in the US prohibiting access of minors to the movies. It is industry regulation by the MPAA that they enforce by threatening to pull movies from theaters that violate the policy. The MPAA created these regulations precisely so Congress would not legislate on the matter.

Re:There are NO regulations on movies in the USA (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 7 years ago | (#18784949)

Yes it is. The films are rated by the MPAA which is an organization created by the movie industry. It is not a government organization. It is an organization that was created by the movie industry to prevent the creation of a government ratings board. I beleive, but may be wrong, that the theaters could be fined by the MPAA if they get caught letting minors into an R-rated film.

There is also nothing preventing a kid from buying an R-Rated film from Wal-Mart or what is much more common, the special "unrated" edition of a PG-13 movie which is, obviously, unrated.

Terorists and Cops. (1)

Irvu (248207) | about 7 years ago | (#18784751)

Interestingly the article also says that he wants to extend the death penalty to people who kill cops or those labeled as "Terrorists". No specific context is given to explain a) why such measures are needed as killing cops and terrorism can already get the death penalty in many ways (e.g. capitol murder or federal executions) or b) how "terrorists" would be defined according to the law.

As vague as the definition of "porn" is "terrorism" is just as loose, and far more telegenic.

Tycho Brahe said it best (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 7 years ago | (#18784393)

On of the producers of Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] quipped, "I am willing to allow that gamers are more prone to violence so long as we agree that this violence is largely directed against peripherals." I haven't seen any real evidence that violent video games have any detrimental effects on kids in general, and in my personal experience I've seen the opposite [slashdot.org].

But frankly, I'd be perfectly happy to have things be a bit more European around here, with less tolerance for violence in the media and also less prudish reserve about sex. So long as I'm quoting humorists, I direct your attention to George Carlin's statements on the subject: "People much wiser than I have said, 'I'd rather have my son watch a film with two people making love than two people trying to kill one another.' I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentiment, I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I'd like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word 'f**k' for the word 'kill' in all of those movie cliches we grew up with. 'Okay, Sherrif, we're gonna f**k you now, but we're gonna f**k you slow.'"

Wouldn't it be novel... (2, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 7 years ago | (#18784477)

Wouldn't it be novel if, instead of telling us how the poor children need to be protected from violent video games or movies or comic books or sinful negro music, a politician who claims to be concerned about our children's welfare has a major campaign to get them better medical care and education?

Rated -G- (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | about 7 years ago | (#18784491)

Why don't they target lame games like pokemon or other pansy games as well, that have the potential of turning children gay when they get older?

"Warning: This video contains extremely gay content. Any attempt to recreate any action portrayed on this game may lead to homosexual tendencies. Use with caution."

There were killing sprees way before video games had violence in them. I remember seeing the clock tower massacre, which I'm sure is way before any video game was even created. What a joke. Why don't they work on laws to prevent parents from using video games as baby-sitters as well?

Re:Rated -G- (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18784905)

There were killing sprees way before video games had violence in them. I remember seeing the clock tower massacre, which I'm sure is way before any video game was even created.

Don't be so sure. The clock tower massacre [wikipedia.org] was in 1966. Spacewar [wikipedia.org] dates from 1962. Your point stands regardless.

Motion Picture Association of America (1)

Nonsanity (531204) | about 7 years ago | (#18784539)

But his proposal is not like films at all. Films ratings are set by a non-government group called the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Keep government out of it and let the free market decide what to do.

Re:Motion Picture Association of America (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | about 7 years ago | (#18784743)

His proposal is to use the non-government rating system just like some states have ID laws regarding underage movie viewing for R rated movies. It's actually exactly like those laws if I'm not mistaken.

M-Rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784643)

How do they talk about restricting access to games without once mentioning the ESRB's ratings. They compare it to preventing kids from getting at R-Rated movies, but they never once mention the M-Rating. You think that once, just once, they would look at ALL the times laws like this have been overturned by the courts, and say, maybe we should try something different, maybe we should use the rating system that is ALREADY in place?

All they would have to do is take the old R-rated movie law, and sed it to change MPAA to ESRB and R-rated/rating to M-rated/rating.

A greater issue at hand (1)

Wister285 (185087) | about 7 years ago | (#18784693)

Let me preface this post by first saying that I have played plenty of games of many different kinds, whether they be FPSs, RTSs, or RPGs. Some were not violent while others were.

I don't see this issue as a matter of whether video games are bad for children. This issue has more to do with society and how it relates to family and more generally accountability. Fifty years ago, a matter like this wouldn't really be a question since parents either wouldn't give children money to buy such things. If this wouldn't happen, the store owner may not have sold such goods to a child since he may have been a family friend, a neighbor, or someone who didn't believe that a child should have "bad" games. Now shameless commercialism allows people to do almost whatever they want since people are no longer directly shareholders in the lives of each other. It may be cynical, but it seems like people care less about each other than they once did.

The fact is that society has been liberalizing and I don't mean "liberalization" in a political sense. When I say "liberalization", I mean that people are free to do as they wish, no matter their age or any other factor. Parents let their kids run rampant in today's society. Freedom is great, but it can come at a price when people aren't careful about how they take their freedoms. When someone goes wrong now, they don't look at themselves as the source of an issue. It's always someone else's fault. Accountability of people's actions has been left to the government. This is why there are so many lawsuits today. People can't settle issues between themselves because they no longer choose to do so. Furthermore, people don't want to accept the fact that they may have been wrong.

Are games bad for children? It's almost impossible to say since we don't have the ability to test cases in parallel universes. The origins of many of society's problems have a common source. All one has to do is take a basic psychology class and observe a few different family situations to realize that how a child turns our directly correlates to how they were raised. If people were more concerned about being good parents instead of obsessively focusing on their careers or blaming video game companies or the government, society would benefit.

Out of touch with reality, as usual. (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 7 years ago | (#18784727)

Great! Another silly law that actually does nothing but attempt to fool people that our lawmakers are actually addressing "real issues". I hate thees "protect our kiddies" - laws most of all. Isn't it the parents job to monitor and raise their kids? It certainly is not the job of the State. This is basically saying, "Parents your too stupid to know what's bet for your kids, so we are going to do it for you.." This is such a waist of money and resources.

These kinds of laws increase the problems. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784737)

The more restrictions and taboo placed on violence and sex will only draw children towards it and further disassociate it from what really does occur in reality when the same acts are committed. The sooner politicians and citizens realize that making items difficult to acquire only drives up the popularity and creates black markets for sale o the items at exhorbitant mark ups.

When children were exposed to death routinely, either through the horrors of war or through the exceedingly high infant mortality rates (most people over 30 have grand-parents who have dead siblings who died in early childhood) death was not taboo and there was a knowledge and familiarity with death. Now, people are so far removed from death and violence that they only way they experience it is in virtual situations that do not mimic real life behaviours.

These kinds of laws will do nothing but further that disassociation and increase the likelihood of someone committing a violent crime because they will be unaware and unable to comprehend the reality of it. Want to make a kid more aware of the reality of where his food comes from? Have him clean and gut his own deer or go out back and chop the head of the chicken so Mom can de-feather it and cook it up for dinner. These types of actions were once a part of normal everyday life and brought us into contact as a society with the idea and consequence of death. As we move further away from it the society begins to break down because it is too far removed from reality.

Only in America (1)

andol221 (947550) | about 7 years ago | (#18784815)

You got to be kidding! A regulation on a video game, but in Virginia it's perfectly ok to by a gun without even a license or cooling-of period. An assault weapon is ok if its not "to be used in anger". Why don't you take one step back and get your priorities right.

Eliot Spitzer not an ass (3, Informative)

prakslash (681585) | about 7 years ago | (#18784831)

First of all, Spitzer is not an ass.

Like many slashdotters, I have an extremely low view of politcians but Spitzer is a good man.

When he was in New York District Attorney's office, he single-handedly ended the Gambino crime family. When he became New York's Attorney General, he showed a great zeal in going after biggest Wall Street firms like Goldman Scahs, JP Morgan that were inflating stock prices and giving biased investment advice to customers. He did it inspite of a great deal of pressure. Then, he went after music companies practising "payola" schemes to get their songs played on radio. He didnt even spare huge insurance companies like AIG and chip manufacturers practicing price-fixing and other fraud.

Even in the current case, he is NOT against violent video games. He is just against the SALE of mature-rated video games to minors. This is no different than preventing minors from purchasing tickets to R-rated movies

Card them... (1)

creimer (824291) | about 7 years ago | (#18784849)

Treat M-Rated video games the same way as cigarettes and beer. If the customer is not the legal age and doesn't have identification to prove his/her legal age, no sale. If an adult buys a M-rated game for minor, they should be busted the same way for buying cigarettes and beer for a minor. Why is this so hard?

A good sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784873)

Shed a tear, gaming is growing up. No longer is gaming a hobby of a small specific group of people, but a mainstream activity! Like comic books and rock and roll music, gaming has come of age: and is promptly attacked by government and concerned citizens groups.

It's a rite of passage.

PnP RPGs, you are still my favorite red-headed stepchild.

If at first you don't succeed, ... (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about 7 years ago | (#18784879)

If at first you don't succeed [slashdot.org], just keep trying, right? Hey, it's not their money these scumbag politicians are wasting each time they get their state(s) sued over these idiotic laws, right?

Ratings are not laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784951)

PG means Parental Guidance suggested. "Suggested"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_picture_rating _system [wikipedia.org]

I think we should have a lawmaker rating system.

E Everyone this rating means new bill helps everyone
POOR this bill only helps those below the poverty line
$ This bill only helps those above the poverty line
$$ This bill only helps those with million dollar homes
$$$ This bill only helps those owning private jets and or islands
OIL These bills only help George W. Bush and friends
WT These bills are a waste of time
FOOL These are the foolish bills that the creator doesn't even understand
GMM (Give More Money) This is for crap like wars.

Guess they'll have to get their violence elsewhere (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 7 years ago | (#18784963)

I grew up reading things like Robert E Howard novels. The hero would be slipping on the decks of ships from all the blood while a man that was just gutted by a sword grabbed at his own entrails. Shakespear is full of violence and if the Colubine kids had read The Art of War they might have done a lot more damage and it's thousands of years old. I've got no problem restricting the sale to minors I'm concerned about over reactions and the witch hunts that follow. Like all good witch hunts they rarely burn the guilty party but they do get everyone worked up and afraid. Focus on the actual causes not the percieved causes. Games and movies get lots of hype but when's the last time you heard some one say the killer just read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and decided it'd be cool to rob and murder a family in a farmhouse? Violent content may trigger a reaction from a tiny group of people but it's never really found to be the root cause. Columbine was thought to be brought on by abuse from jocks. No one said to crack down on abuse from jocks. I recently read that only a couple of percent of students were free of abuse. The rest were either victims or causing it. It's easier to blame the media than the system itself. It's been a lot of years but I still remember clearly what school was like. The jocks ruled and everyone else was a friend or afraid. Apparently this kid had a chip on his shoulder about Rich kids. I've read that they were very concerned about his writing before the incident. After Colubine they didn't target jocks but they did target outcast types. Man am I glad I wasn't in school then. Now what? If a kid writes something violent in nature can they be expelled? If a 16 year old had written a story like Stephen King's Rage would he considered likely to commit an act of violence? Possibly but out of a million kids that might write something like that one may commit the act. That's a lot of punishment for one crime that may or may not happen. You can't paint such a broad stroke. You might as well say if you have the gene for alcoholism you can't get a drivers license. It may save lives but at what cost?

stop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784977)

stop, stop, stop!! These people are idiots. When will the people in power realize that violence, murder, rape, has been going on for as long as humans have walked the earth? Damn it, stop blaming video games and movies to push your selfish agenda..we are tired of this shit, christ

angry anonymous coward

Get that ... out of office please (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 7 years ago | (#18785001)

He only gets re-elected because he passes such laws, which inherently appeal to parents of children and old people or he passes other laws which are good for certain business. In the mean time small business (like mine) and young professionals do get undermined by a lot of fees to get anything done in NYS.

Another thing is the harsher laws on DWI (and DWAI) only account for more 'poor' people that get caught to lose their jobs and life. I know a guy, that has been re-applying for his license for years. The DMV in NYS doesn't (have to) give him any honest process, just denies all claims (did you know the initial claim is ALWAYS denied) which they collect $50 for each time, his license is still revoked. The guy didn't have that much (cable guy, installing boxes) with no prior history, so a lawyer wasn't in it, he isn't a drunk (only got caught once, barely over the limit, never hit or hurt anyone). In the mean time, I know of another guy, that went in debt to shill out 10-20k for a lawyer, he DID hit somebody and he only got suspended for 6 months.

Taxes keep on rising upon residents as do the price of the utilities. Now the market in NYS is finally 'open' for utilities, still providers are allowed to raise an extra fee on top of the other providers costs for 'using their network' (gas and electric, not phone or anything fancy). Where I live, such surcharge would be $10/month, thus killing off any savings that I would get using an alternative or 'green' provider.

Try to get ANYTHING done in NYS, you'll see that for any form that you want to file to the State, there is on average an instant $10 'administrative fee' not even to mention the 'processing fee' ($30-60) if it was a claim that needs to be approved and then processed.

In unrelated news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18785005)

Violent video games to target NY Governor.
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