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NY Videogame Bill Undermines ESRB

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the save-us-from-the-awful-pokeymans dept.

Games 70

GamePolitics is reporting that a bill introduced just four days ago in New York's senate will soon become the law of the land. Written by Rep. Andrew Lanza, the bill's goals are extremely vague. Aiming to 'crack down on video game violence', the bill will 'establish the Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence to review the [ESRB] rating system and its effectiveness, and recommend additional steps that can be taken to curb children's access and exposure to such adult-only material.' Unsurprisingly after drawing on public fear and a lack of education to ram through useless legislation, Lanza isn't above some gloating. "Speaking in support of his bill, Sen. Lanza apparently couldn't resist drawing on the shock value of controversial amateur game V-Tech Rampage (which he mistakenly refers to as V-Tech Massacre), even though his legislation would have no effect at all on this non-industry, non-retail, non-rated, non-professional Flash game: The recent release of 'V-Tech Massacre,' a sick game which exploits the Virginia Tech University tragedy, is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which has severe consequences on our youth and society ..." Along with Best Buy's decision to include CMA ratings on videogames, this would seem to be another harsh blow to the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

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Whatever the rating (4, Interesting)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19226677)

If I think my kid will like it (and it won't make him dumber), I'll buy it. If I'm responsible enough to raise a kid in the first place, let's hope I have the brains to decide what games are "appropriate" for him myself. Ratings are for the parents who want a rebellious streak in their kids down the road.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229735)

Like alcohol and cigarettes, if you give your kid a video game, movie, book, or CD that the government deems harmful, you'll lose your kid.

Right now, movies, music, and games are rated by commercial entities. Their ratings are suggestions from one private group to another. Once the government starts rating games, the ratings become law.

There are a few ways to stop this. One is to ensure that Child Protective Services investigates every possible case of a child playing a "M" rated game. Or whatever their 17 and older rating is. Have your kid take a pirated copy of a game to their kid's house. Then, call CPS on them. Get all the parents you possibly can investigated. Once a good percentage of the parents lose their kids for a few days, the law will be struck down.

The other way is just to stop selling physical copies of games in NY. I don't really dig on consoles, but all the major consoles have downloadable content. Just sell games online-only and use credit card for verification of age. Again, if a parent complains, have his kid taken by CPS while they investigate abandonment.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230491)

"Like alcohol and cigarettes, if you give your kid a video game, movie, book, or CD that the government deems harmful, you'll lose your kid."

So, when do we start seeing federal agents waiting by McDonald's, ready to arrest anyone who brings his kid in for a Happy Meal?

Seriously though, how is this bill going to get by the 1st ammendment?

According to the bill, all games would have to have enforced ratings. The V-tech game has no rating, therefore all online games would have to be rated, but then, why not the whole internet? Libraries are also online, as are a number of books. Does this mean that the government is in favor of determining what books are ok for children to view? Isn't that government censorship?

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230795)

Legislation exists that's been written and shoved through by those who have no idea what they're legislating?

Unpossible!

It'll be ignored wholesale like other 'laws' similar to it.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230901)

>>So, when do we start seeing federal agents waiting by McDonald's, ready to arrest anyone who brings his kid in for a Happy Meal?

If you feel it needs to be addressed, then bring it up in City Council meeting. That's how most laws are proposed. If you really want to make an impact, start a parents' group who will become the "enforcers" once the bill passes. Make sure to request funding and such and you can make a good living off of it.

>>Seriously though, how is this bill going to get by the 1st ammendment?

It may be hard. However, do you think parents should be allowed to show their children kiddy porn? How about beastality? How about regular hard core porn? How about pictures of maggot infested corpses?

At some point, there will be a line of what is okay to show a kid and what isn't okay. You have the right to freedom of speech so long as it does not harm another. If your free speech is harming your child, then your child will be removed.

>>According to the bill, all games would have to have enforced ratings. The V-tech game has no rating, therefore all online games would have to be rated, but then, why not the whole internet?

Yeah, they are pretty dumb. It's like saying all movies have to be rated. Does that mean I have to submit my vid of Seaworld to the MPAA?

There will most likely be an "unrated" category of rating. That will, by default, fall into the highest classification. If your kid plays Sudoku on some shitty "allflashgamez4u" site, you are in violation of the law. You have just "abandoned" your kid.

>>Libraries are also online, as are a number of books.

Not sure what you are getting at. If my local library stocks Penthouse, they damn well better not let my kid view it. If they provide access to the internet for minors, then they are responsible for what those minors do. If they want to have a filter room for 17 and under, fine. Maybe the filters will work; maybe they won't. But at least they are trying.

>>Does this mean that the government is in favor of determining what books are ok for children to view? Isn't that government censorship?

I think you don't understand government. You do realize that the government is you, right? 300,000,000 assholes in the US get to come to a consensus for how people behave in public. In some cases, they get to decide how people behave in private. If there are 200,000,000 parents and they don't want their kids playing violent games, then they will write a law for that.

They do have to fall within the bounds of the Bill of Rights. They also have to be aware of the tyranny of the majority. But, in the end, they will pressure their way into getting what they want.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19242007)

In some parts of the world, what is considered "normal" activities for children would end up having the parents arrested for child abuse/neglect.

For instance:

In Japan it is not unusual for children of mixed sex to bathe together, or even hop in the tub with mom or dad or other relatives.

In many parts of Europe, it's not unusual for children to have a small amount of wine with dinner on special ocassions.

Either of these would have social workers pounding down the doors so they can "rescue" the children from such an "abusive" environment.

Yes, there should be some definition of what is considered improper or abusive treatment of a child, but the definitions are vague, and basically boil down to "If social services is contacted, there must be a problem with the parents."

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19244547)

You forgot to mention the reprehensible practice of grading caseworkers based on 'child saves' which just means removing a child from his/her parents. There are some cities where bonuses are awarded per case and some where they are awarded quarterly and some where they are just quota-ed and not given bonuses at all. Such utter crap and totally the wrong model to use.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233355)

First amendment limits what the Congress can do. Bill of rights doesn't apply to States, unless the state has a similar document.

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

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19247771)

First amendment limits what the Congress can do. Bill of rights doesn't apply to States, unless the state has a similar document.

Actually it very much does apply to the states, or try explaining how all those other anti-violent game laws were overturned in the courts because they were found unconstitutional in regards to the 1st amendment.

Re:Whatever the rating (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19254989)

"Ratings are for the parents who want a rebellious streak in their kids down the road."

No, ratings are a tool to help you decide what is okay for your child. The ESRB ratings don't tell you how to raise your child (and neither will I).

I'm glad he agrees (4, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19226729)

I'm glad Lanza agrees that exploting the Virginia Tech shootings for profit is sick and wrong. Now if only he'd quit being a hypocrite.

Re:I'm glad he agrees (-1, Troll)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228205)

Who are YOU to tell me what is appropriate to take pleasure in? Some people think gay sex is sick and wrong. Some people think eating meat is sick and wrong. Some people think smoking is sick and wrong. But I'll be damned if I let you force your opinions on me.

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229179)

Who are you to tell him what he's telling you? Read his post again. He said NOTHING about sensoring other people, merely stated that he agreed with the Senator's opinion that exploiting the V-Tech incident for profit is wrong.

You are still free to think anything you want, no matter how sick and twisted it is. However, if you want to live in a society (and you do, I assure you, or you would have found a way not to by now) then you'll have to obey it's laws. Feel free to look for a different society if this one doesn't suit you. Or even lobby to change it. Maybe there's more people like you and you can get the laws changed.

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19240513)

So, basically, you want to force your opinion on him that he shouldn't have an opinion. The funny thing is, he wasn't telling people what to do. Quite frankly...it seems like you have some problems and should probably seek mental help.

Re:I'm glad he agrees (2, Funny)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228311)

The best part is, I had never even heard of the game 'V-Tech' until she brought it up. I looked it up and wasted a few minutes until I had to go to work. Thanks Senator Lanza for recommending 'V-Tech Rampage'.

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233813)

Thanks Senator Lanza for recommending 'V-Tech Rampage'.
Thats 'V-Tech *super-gore ultimate ninja massacre*' - get it right people!

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231499)

Correct me if I'm wrong (I've never heard of the game before today, and my brief inquiries were thwarted primarily by the fact that the makers website has apparently been taken down) but isn't the game free in a similar fashion as the Columbine game?

Personally I don't like games like this V-Tech Rampage but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's sick and wrong, more like it bothers me but I'm sure some people will play it for reasons that are perfectly acceptable (i.e. 'How Could Someone Do Something Like This?')

Now this law on the other hand is just dumb. 4 days from being introduced to voted in? What is that? Could it be that the V-Tech shootings, which had absolutely nothing to do with video games as far as the evidence points, influenced the quick passing of this bill (Especially since it has a "Parent-Teacher" part)? And since when is violence Adult-Only material? Man...I'm starting to feel old, I played with Army Men, Squirt Guns, Tag, Street Hockey and numerous other games/toys that involved violence as a kid...so now that's all counted as Adult-Only? (I know tag's being treated that way). Honestly this is just getting pathetic, violence is a natural part of life. What person hasn't felt angry at some point? What adult didn't play a game that involved violence as a kid? Where's the evidence (the real evidence, not Anti-Violence funded studies that show clear signs of subject bias) that seeing violence as a kid makes you a violent person?

I mean I played CS, all the Battlefield's, Doom, Halo and tons of other violent video games that a kid the same age as me would probably be banned from playing in a few years and I would say I'm a pretty peaceful person, never gotten in a fight etc.

I hope this gets shot down or invalidated somewhere along the line. I would hate for it to actually become a law I'd have to deal with, it's so obviously made by a bunch of people who have no idea what a video game is besides a tool for corrupting children and producing violent murdering machines. Here's hoping...

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19236833)

"some people will play it for reasons that are perfectly acceptable (i.e. 'How Could Someone Do Something Like This?')"

That makes no sense.. if they are thinking that then they're not going to go and watch a simulation of it. I would possibly play it to see if it's a good game, which I doubt (flash games are usually a heap of sh!t, though not always). I just think it's in very bad taste though, so I'm probably not even going to look it up..

Re:I'm glad he agrees (1)

Trails (629752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19241345)

I just think it's in very bad taste though
I think you've hit the nail on the head here. To paraphrase Larry Flint "The government shouldn't legislate good taste".

Thank god for small miracles (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 7 years ago | (#19226825)

One, I live in the Great White North, and therefore don't have to deal with this crap.
Two, I recently turned 18, and can now buy AO games no problem.
And three, I have the common sense to think about the content of the games I buy, and not rely on someone else to think for me. Though I think that last one might count as a big miracle.

Re:Thank god for small miracles (2, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227005)

Ratings, if done well, mean that you have better information on what content is in games and can therefore use your common sense better. I have no objections to that use of ratings: As a consumer's guide to help people know what is in each game, so they can make their own choices.

Unfortunately, that's not how ratings are often used and 'sold'.

Undermine? (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19226941)

Does it really undermine anything? TFS states that it will create an advisory board whose explicit purpose is to examine the ESRB system and recommend ways to help make it work.

Of course, the above is really naive. The goal will be to undermine the ESRB anyway. There's no reason why this new entity can't just go:

1. ESRB sucks. We know because we thought of the children.
2. We're making the NYESRB. It will go up to 11.
3. It will be government controlled. Because we know best, and if you disagree you are a terrorist.
4. Meeting over.
5. ??? (let's do lunch for the next 2 years while pretending to work)
6. Profit! (let's milk the taxpayers, and, oh, NYESRB will have rating application fees even higher than the ESRB has now)

Re:Undermine? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227361)

Heck, you can skip 1-4 and you'll get the same thing. This is just another example of a politician using FUD to create jobs for his cronies in Washington (or New York as this case may be). You could sit down with a small group and hash out ideas and come to some kind of rough conclusion in under 1 work week, write up a formal report in maybe a week or two, and wrap it up with a presentation to the state senate. Instead, it will take this group 2 years, numerous trips to tropical/tourist locals (to inspect other countries systems), and millions in tax payer dollars to do.

I'm torn on the issue though. I WANT my political body to do research and make wise decisions. But at the same time, other political groups have tried to come up with solutions to the "ESRB problem" only to have them overturned on constitutional grounds. It's a fine line of having the investigatory power, and abusing the investigatory power. This one sure seems closer to the abusing side.

-Rick

Re:Undermine? (4, Informative)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227571)

It undermines the First Amendment with the following:

S 614. No person, partnership, or corporation shall sell or rent or attempt to sell or rent at retail a video game in contravention of the rating affixed thereto.
*slow clap* Congratulations, New York. You're about to waste money on a law that will be struck down as unconstitutional (most recent casualty: Illinois taxpayers are out $510,000).

Re:Undermine? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234295)

How is this different then selling porn to minors, which, unless I am mistaken, is illegal in the USA.

Re:Undermine? (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19235043)

Or cigarettes, or alcohol. It's the same damn thing.

Re:Undermine? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19235425)

Or Orwell's 1984, or condoms, or steak knives, or spray paint, or crowbars, or chocolate covered peanut butter cups, or Eminem, or skateboards, or Red Bull, or Ozzy Ozbourne, or the Bible, or the Matrix, or bikinis and thongs, or pork rinds, or Paris Hilton, or hockey sticks, or scissors, or gold chains, or Orwell's Animal Farm, or makeup, or chainsaws, or...

There's a lot of things that can 'harm' a child. But narrow-minded authoritarians who manipulate the system for their own gain are by far the worst.

Re:Undermine? (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19235601)

Well, here's the test of whether something is "harmful to minors" (Ginsberg v. New York):

"Harmful to minors" means that quality of any description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, when it:

(i) predominantly appeals to the prurient, shameful or morbid interest of minors, and

(ii) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors, and

(iii) is utterly without redeeming social importance for minors.

In the eyes of the courts, obscenity refers to sex and obscene materials may be restricted, so long as adults aren't prevented from obtaining said materials (child pornography being an exception). Violence isn't obscenity and so it may not be restricted. TBH, IANAL and I haven't read the whole case, so I'm not sure what the precedents are. I suspect it comes down to what's considered the double standard in American society.

In any case, there are now precedents restricting minors from buying porn and precedents allowing them to buy violent materials. Alcohol and tobacco don't fall under the First Amendment, so that's an entirely different matter.

Re:Undermine? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19241003)

In the USA no other medium has its ratings enforced by law. Movie ratings are enforced by the movie industry just like videogame ratings. TO single out videogames there would have to be a mountain of evidence that exposure to them is bad for children. No such mountain exists. Therefore this is nothing more than fear mongering and doing things so politicians can say, "See? I care about families!"

Mistakenly refers to? (1)

TheGreatHegemon (956058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227221)

"Speaking in support of his bill, Sen. Lanza apparently couldn't resist drawing on the shock value of controversial amateur game V-Tech Rampage (which he mistakenly refers to as V-Tech Massacre)" I doubt it's a mistake - massacre has more of a ring to it that rampage. Especially when appealing to fear.

CMA? (2, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227281)

What do the County Music Awards have to do with video games?

Re:CMA? (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227935)

Are you part of this kakistocracy?


Kakistocracy? It seems more like the advanced version, a kakistodemocracy.

Re:CMA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19232803)

What do the County Music Awards have to do with video games?

Cause there's (probably award-winning) country music in Grand Theft Auto 1, and that's, uh, one of them violent video games that is, uh, corrupting the youth today and needs to be regulated!

Or that's what most legislators will probably think.

Punish the retailers instead (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227497)

What possible control could the publishers and raters have over Target, BestBuy, Wal-Mart, etc.? Stores like those represent the real weak link here. They're the ones that allow an unsupervised pre-teen to buy a sex and violence-heavy game like God of War I/II. Why aren't local vice squads going after them on obscenity charges?

Oh, right, because if the vice squads used existing laws the government might be a functional organization rather than a platform for personal success for scumbag politicians.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227673)

Or maybe it's because selling said games to kids is not illegal.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227705)

I don't know about your Wal-Mart, but the ones I've been to have carded for M-rated games. In fact, I had a friend who worked in electronics at one, and complained about how annoying it was to have mothers of children (13 years old and less in many cases) bitch him out because he couldn't sell Grand Theft Auto to their children. Yes, seriously.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229891)

This is a sign of any new store policy. Stop accepting returns for opened software; get bitched out. Demand zip codes for internal marketing purposes; get bitched out. Stop selling guns without a waiting period; get bitched out. Demand SSN, address, phone numbers on checks; get bitched out.

Retailers need to stop being such babies. I sell games to kids because if I don't i get yelled at. What a fucking pathetic excuse. A woman yelling has nothing to do with your job. As soon as she gets pissy, tell her to go to customer service. If she refuses, call security. Otherwise, just ignore her.

It's that simple.

But to refuse to do your job because someone might get upset and not like you is just sad.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19230779)

Not to rain on your self-righteousness parade there, champ, but the grandparent said nothing about his friend not doing his job.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231191)

Thank you AC. My friend did, indeed, do his job, and refused to sell to the child. However, he could do nothing about the parent buying the game for her child, despite his protests.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

rmgrotkierii (190011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229913)

I once worked in retail for that big company that censors movies themselves. I was a cashier there, I would have teenage looking kids in groups coming to my register and one would try to buy cigarettes or chewing tobacco. I would ask for ID from all of them and they would say "Hey I am buying this [product] for myself not them. So why do they have to show ID?" Arrgghhhh. A few times of explaining to their feeble minds why I am required to card entire groups if only one is making a purchase of that kind, I grew tired of the back talking and such, so from a point on till I left that store, I would call a CSM or a Manager over to explain it to the thugs.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230563)

I've heard of stores (not just Walmart) having policies like this, and inevitably they all dropped it after having the same thing happen with angry parents yelling at the clerks.

Personally, I've never seen a store do this, nor have I seen a movie theater actually enforcing the movie ratings. Last R movie I went to see had the theater about half full of 13-16 year olds...

I'd like it if the stores did try to enforce the ratings, but they better do it for everything - not just games. For instance, have you EVER heard of a store refusing to sell a "R" movie to a kid? Much less the novelization of said movie... Yet, if the politicians had their way, a store could sell a kid "Halo: The Novel", but not Halo the video game. Huh?

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231403)

As far as I know, the Wal-Mart still does it. I've also been carded at several GameStops.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19232045)

Where I grew up, they would post cops at the doors to R-rated movies. I guess it varies by area.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19234339)

I've heard of stores (not just Walmart) having policies like this, and inevitably they all dropped it after having the same thing happen with angry parents yelling at the clerks.

Maybe its just me, but angry parents yelling at the store clerks sounds perfectly fine to me, because its not the job of the clerk to do the parenting, thats what the parents are for. If a parent thinks a game is ok for their kids, while the ratings says something different, its the job of the parent to make the final decision, not that of the clerk.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19241775)

So, you're saying the store should have a policy to refuse sales of "M" games to unaccompanied minors, or that the store shouldn't even be involved with any sort of decision whatsoever?

Personally, I think the stores should make an attempt to enforce the ESRB rating - and movie theaters should do the same thing. If it really IS ok for the kid to buy "M" games, have a parent go with him. Or, for stores like EBGames/Gamestop, which have membership/discount cards, do what video stores do - put the parent's decision regarding M games on the card. That way, the kid can come in alone and buy whatever games he's allowed to without having to drag his mom/dad down there (which we all know is just TOTALLY embarassing!)

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229533)

[quote]They're the ones that allow an unsupervised pre-teen to buy a sex and violence-heavy game like God of War I/II.[/quote] And a lackluster portrayal of ancient mythology at that! I mean [i]geeze[/i], Titan Quest wasn't even as watered down... Historically speaking.

Re:Punish the retailers instead (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19229627)

Awe, I made myself look stupid by messing up the brackets and tags :(

Once again... (1)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227541)

Thank God I'm not a New Yahkah.

from the movie "thank you for smoking" (2, Insightful)

skeletor935 (790212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227669)

"Education should come from parents, not from package labels." Sadly, the reality is that parents are the ones pushing for this ever increasing government watchdog behavior because why should they be responsible for educating their kids about sex, cigarettes, violence, n+1 sql calls, and other such monstrosoties of society.

State enforced vs Coorperation enforced (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19227835)

I for one would be much happier with a state enforced rating system then one that is enforced by cooperations alone, as is currently the case. The reason is not only that a state enforced could be more effective, since every retailer would have to obey to it, but a state enforced one would also end up being much more transparent and fair then a cooperation enforced one. With a cooperation enforced ones you basically have to follow the will of the big retailers and publishers, if they don't want you, they can simply rate your game in such a way that they will be kept out of the stores and since its all a private thing you really couldn't do anything about it. If the state would do it, you could have quite a bit more control over the whole thing.

Re:State enforced vs Coorperation enforced (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230551)

Your shitting me right? Turning that kinda thing over to the government would get family groups involved with games they've never seen. A whole lobbying industry would spring up overnight in the interest of "protecting the children" oh dear god why won't someone just think of the fucking adults who just want to buy the games, and not deal with the bullshit? At least with the way it is the ESRB is fair unless the game companies have something hidden, or flat out forgot to take out (GTA:SA). Turning something over to the government to be done is when you yourself admit you are incapable of doing it yourself. If parents can't look at the game box, and figure out Doom 3 is all about blow shit up with yummy bloody bits. I think they should just turn their kids over to the government. They have no intrest in being a parent if they are THAT disconnected from their children's life. If your going to breed a people who are reliant upon the nanny state, at least do it right I say.

Re:State enforced vs Coorperation enforced (2, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230659)

You're obviously not thinking this through, or aren't living in America.

There's a reason that every rating system for movies, games and TV are not - and CANNOT - be government run and it's written into the ammendments to the Constitution. Made #1, as it were...

Also, what alternate dimension do you live in where government programs are actually more *effective* at anything, other than red tape and corruption?

State-by-state rating system would be insane. So, instead of having to deal with just 1 organization, you want companies to deal with 50?! And if 1 state says "Good for everyone" and 1 state says "It's the work of the devil", what would you expect the company to do? Cater to the lowest denominator? Not sell in that state? (oh yeah, THAT'S going to work...)

As for your last point, you really don't understand how things work do you? Retailers can already make the decision to carry a game or not. If WalMart decides they won't carry anything "M" or higher, so be it. The publisher can decide if they want to either live without WalMart, or make changes. It SHOULD be the publisher's choice - NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S.

Re:State enforced vs Coorperation enforced (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233631)

You're obviously not thinking this through, or aren't living in America.

I am living in germany and I am very happy with the state enforced rating system over here.

The publisher can decide if they want to either live without WalMart, or make changes.

What you don't understand is that missing out the big retails can mean the death of a game company. If ESRB decides to give your game an AO, you have lost and can do nothing against it, its after all "voluntary". However it is still de facto censorship, just because its not written in law doesn't mean that it changes the effect of it, if the state actively censors or a private company gives you an AO isn't all that difference when the effect is the same. If you let the censorship be controlled by private companies, the big ones will sooner or later abuse their power to keep the smaller ones out, its a cartel and if you are not with them, then you might have a big issue. I am not saying that this is currently the case with the ESRB, if on the other side I belelive the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated [imdb.com] it seems to be the case with the MPAA.

And by the way, whats up with porn in the USA? Unless I am mistaken a child belove 18 is not allowed to buy one? Is that right? Isn't that a violation of the first amendment? How would a mandatory rating system be different?

Re:State enforced vs Coorperation enforced (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19241491)

The rating is voluntary, meaning you don't have to get your game rated by the ESRB.

The fact that most retailers will only handle games with ratings is a separate issue.

The ESRB's rating is not final. It is possible to get the rating changed, and in fact, the ESRB has changed its ratings on some games.

Ignoring all that, it's still possible to sell games within the US without the ESRB, and without retailers.

Now then, using the government to decide what's "OK" or not runs afoul of our first amendment. Basically, it states that the GOVERNMENT may not make laws in which they have to determine what the public can view, read, say, or hear. This is why every single previous attempt made by our idiotic politicians on this matter has ALWAYS been thrown out by the courts - but only after the idiots waste millions of dollars just to get a few favorable sound-bites and photo-ops.

This isn't to say the ESRB is infalliable - far from it. I'm pretty sure that much of the stuff you can accuse the MPAA of from 'This Film Not Yet Rated' also applies (and maybe moreso) to the ESRB. However, our consitution prevents the government from becoming involved with the process any further, which many Americans would agree with.

As for porn...ya got me there. I don't know the whole history, but basically porn is considered in the same category as cigarettes or alcohol - substances that are detrimental to minors, and therefore, are to be restricted by law. I don't know what it takes to make something a detrimental substance. When do we see McDonalds barring unaccompanied children, for instance? After all, their junk is just as addictive and poisonous as cigarettes.

THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228011)

Allright, keep kids away from violence. Best we keep them in front of the Teletubbies, Barney and other lalaland shows that shelter them from anything that could be a threat to their fragile little soul. Don't you dare to expose them to anything bad that could and probably will happen to them.

Then send them to schools where the local bully has the say, with teachers looking the other way 'cause that's not their problem, let them learn that way, first hand and hands-on experience is always better than some virtual world. And when they finally snap 'cause, well, nobody likes being the perpetual heel for the rest of the world, and they go on a killing spree in their school (ever wondered why it's always schools and not, say, Starbucks or McDonalds?), we blame video games again.

Or... wait, how? Oh, right, it only means that the surveillance of our kids and that crack down on violence wasn't hard enough. Let's ban it! That's gonna solve it.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228229)

Then send them to schools where the local bully has the say, with teachers looking the other way 'cause that's not their problem

...or because they think you need a swift asskicking, because that's how it was in their day.

Frankly I think that sending a child to public school is just one step away from child abuse, for a whole variety of reasons. Bullying is just a minor part. Public schools in America are incredibly poor educators of children, and are really just brainwashing clinics. It begins in the morning with the pledge of allegiance and its placement of you (along with the whole nation) under "God". You're then compelled to sit in rows and your most important mission is to not stand out. The "No Child Left Behind" fiasco means that we are now compelled on paper to create as mediocre a class as possible; you must spend all your time with the slowest kids, bringing them up to speed, instead of the smartest kids, who could achieve more than everyone else in the class combined if only they were nurtured.

I could go on, but everything is wrong with the public school system. It's just one more reason I've elected not to reproduce. If I can't afford to give my offspring an upbringing not intended to make them into a burger-flipper, it would be horribly irresponsible of me to have any.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228589)

Blah blah blah, more unfounded bashing of the public school system. The Public School system has its problems, obviously, but your posts notes none of them.

I take exceptional offense to your comment "you must spend all your time with the slowest kids, bringing them up to speed, instead of the smartest kids, who could achieve more than everyone else in the class combined if only they were nurtured." Who the hell do you think you are who gets to determine that only the "smart kids" should get to learn... and how are you going to determine who "they" are? ignoring the fact that educating students isn't a one or the other... teachers can educate both slow AND exceptional learners using a variety of differentiated instructions. A student slow to learning during their primary years isn't doomed to a life of abject failure. Funny, adults with children rate public education highly, and people without children rate them poorly.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228933)

Who the hell do you think you are who gets to determine that only the "smart kids" should get to learn... and how are you going to determine who "they" are?

You aren't. What you're going to do is spend if not equal time with students (insofar as they need it) then more time with the students who are bored because they're done with your stupid work, and you have two choices; they can learn more, or they can be disrupting the class. This problem didn't originate with the No Child Left Behind act; I was the smart kid (false modesty is worth nothing) who was disrupting the class because he was bored. NCLB simply codifies this sad state of affairs.

ignoring the fact that educating students isn't a one or the other... teachers can educate both slow AND exceptional learners using a variety of differentiated instructions.

Sorry, with class sizes pushing forty in many if not most places, and the no child left behind act meaning that teachers who don't achieve the impossible and get ALL the least-capable students up to speed are penalized, they don't have time for that shit. Not that most of them cared enough to do it.

A student slow to learning during their primary years isn't doomed to a life of abject failure.

That's very true. But by giving them more attention than is really warranted (meaning that they end up taking up the vast majority of the teacher's time) the education of all other children suffers.

A big part of the problem is parents insufficiently involved in their children's school experience, but I don't want to go off in all directions right now.

Funny, adults with children rate public education highly, and people without children rate them poorly.

You must have been a product of the public education system, because you're mixing singulars and plurals.

Regardless, most adults with children are not experts on education, they're just happy to have someone babysit their children for the majority of the day, and amazed that they're learning anything. They've been so brainwashed by the laughing happy "it's okay as long as you try" culture that they're incapable of making a serious judgement.

Also, I submit to you that most people are fucking idiots. It's not so much that they lack a brain as that they've learned all their lives not to use theirs - beginning when their parents told them "BECAUSE I SAID SO" but truly ingrained in school when they're told "SIT DOWN IN YOUR ASSIGNED SEAT AND DO AS YOU ARE TOLD". You should note also that intelligence and childbearing are, for the most part, inversely correlated. People with more intelligence are both less likely to have children, and likely to have less children. Therefore the people who actually have children are pretty much the least qualified (on average) to make judgements about the education system.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233281)

The problem is that the bored children don't get to learn more, but kept busy. More often than not by chores that are just as boring, feeling more like punishment than anything else. What you learn: Being smart gets you punished. Being dumb gets you attention.

I have the sudden urge to watch Harrison Bergeron again.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233259)

Funny, adults with children rate public education highly, and people without children rate them poorly.

That's mostly because the former have learned to love schools as a very convenient tool to get rid of their children at least for a while, while the latter can only draw from the experience they had themselves as kids.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231801)

Ditto on the not willing to reproduce on account that public schools in general are degrading to crap and I cant afford to put a child into some real schooling.

Children are very much unbridled evil when left unsupervised simply because they can get away with a lot of things before they reach legal age in which any action they partake becomes their responsibility and their accountability, not someone else's. A lot of bad things children will do go unaccounted for and unpunished now. I can't completely protect my offspring from someone else's child that never gets proper accountability and punishment.

Just visit any Walmart or department store, you will find kids running amok, stealing and destroying things because they are not at home, not supervised even amongst other customers. Most customers who spot a child doing bad things wont say anything except, "Not my child."

Then we have the same unsupervised children getting hush money or allowances or gimmie daddy bucks who go out and buy other unsuitable things for themselves often without their parents knowing what they buy.

I remember from my time at walmart that they do not sell anything over pg-13 or over esrb E to minors. Though, it is simply a programming of the registers to prompt the cashier. The cashier isn't accounted for or tested for correctly checking id and answering the prompt favorably. There is no law enforcing non-sale of mature rated content to minors.

Now beer, liquor and tobacco on the other hand, there's law enforced on it. Cashiers have accountability, they are tested and they will get fined if they slip up and are caught. The last part is the tough one, how can they exactly get caught if the transaction is a normal non-test case that they oops, let things go through and sell?

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

BarrilPrime (1021153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19238305)

Boy, I'd love to see their faces after video games are completely banned, with things like school shootings still happening. Sadly, they'd probably just find a new scapegoat entertainment source.

Re:THINKOFTHECHILDREN! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19249883)

Nope. Then the mafiaa jumps in and claims it's due to those games being spread illegally.

But, again, the key question: Why is it school shootings? Why do kids go to their school to wreak havoc? Why not a single case of a Starbucks blown to pieces, or a fashion shop?

ESRB is still the only system for ratings in..... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228195)

windows vista.

Censorship - Plain and Simple (4, Interesting)

Discordian_Eris (1010563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19228215)

I have mod points, but this needs to be said. Having the industry regulate itself is one thing. Having the government do it is some altogether different. What the NY bill does is nothing less than establish a board of censorship whose sole duty will be to essentially blacklist games in the state of NY. It makes no sense whatsoever for any honest legislator to introduce a bill like this when he damn well ought to know that it will be shot down in the federal court system as unconstitutional.

Re:Censorship - Plain and Simple (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#19233867)

Even knowing that it will get shot down, it gets out because it gets said politician press/media coverage. IIRC there was some crap a few months back on Techdirt about a politician suggesting that school-books should be padded with kevlar "to stop bullets in case of a school shooting" - do you think that ever was meant to go through - all he wanted was the press coverage it got him? The only reason this *might* gain momentum is idiot soccer-moms who base decisions on rating alone ("A teletubbies game that's rated PG? Too much for my kids!") rather than having a look at the content of the game/movie/music/etc...

Here's an Idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19228881)

how about parents who do thier jobs??

Re:Here's an Idea (1)

CrazyAntal (947594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19231261)

Or in your case, how about elementary school teachers that do their jobs?

Vtech (1)

Zarxrax (652423) | more than 7 years ago | (#19230473)

When I read "V-tech rampage", I thought it was talking about a game for this [vtechkids.com] . It would be pretty sad if they were harping on how violent those edutainment titles are.

Re:Vtech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19254305)

That was my first thought too :-)
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