×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

PC Games (Games) 299

Spamicles writes "European Union justice ministers met today in order to discuss the regulation of sales of violent video games to minors. Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school. A European Union Commissioner is taking advantage of the shootings last year called for stricter regulations in the video game industry. A motion introduced last month calls for legislators to "put in place all necessary measures to ban the sale of particularly violent and cruel video games.""

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

299 comments

Cruel? (4, Funny)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501851)

"Cruel" videogames?

Like Daikatana?

Re:Cruel? (1)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501905)

Isn't torture already illegal in the EU?

Re:Cruel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19501991)

Depends. Is it being done by the CIA?

Re:Cruel? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502309)

Yeap, but we just put people in orange jumpsuit, superglue on a fake beard, and put them on a flight to the US.

Re:Cruel? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19501917)

They should regulate "stupid parents" first.

Re:Cruel? (2, Insightful)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502235)

it's easy for governments to control the sale of video games, but nearly impossible to control all those stupid parents...

Re:Cruel? (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502299)

How dare you attack the parents? Don't you have any pity for them, after all their kids just caused a mass slaughter in their former school! Could anyone here please think of the parents?

Is it me or COULD there be a connection? I mean, when did you ever hear of a teenager going postal in a, say, Starbucks? Why is it always schools?

Re:Cruel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502539)

GTA San Andreas.

"Here's a plane that handles like shit. You must take off, fly through a series of tiny rings, and land again in order to progress beyond this point in the plot. Oh, and you'll need to do it at maximum speed, because after about a minute and a half your score drops low enough that you'll have to do the whole thing all over again. Also, if you take a break, I will nag you incessantly to get back to the airstrip, because I'm an asshole."
"Fuck you, Toreno. I should ram this fucking plane right up your ass."

Ridiculous (3, Funny)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501883)

This is utterly ridiculous, can't they at least think of their own fake reasons!

Save The Children is our politicians!

Re:Ridiculous (2, Interesting)

donaldm (919619) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502469)

It is far to easy to misdirect public opinion with catchy words such as "Save/Think the Children" or "Speed Kills" or "Drinking/Smoking kills" and the list goes on. What people in general have to realise is that the government should not mandate what is a social responsibility.

Banning violent video games IMHO is stupid and counter productive since a violent game will most likely enable a person to take out their aggression on the game rather than actually take out their anger on real people. Most people who play violent games (good grief what game isn't in some way) would never even contemplate mass murder and would even find this very thought in real life repugnant even though they could happily butcher virtual enemies. You are always going to have the "nutters" and "fanatics" who are in a very tiny minority and hopefully they can be stopped before they commit a crime.

For people to give up their rights for some perceived security is IMHO very short sighted. What will the politicians want to to do next ban violent cartoons such as "Bugs Bunny" or "The Road Runner" (think of the children) maybe we should ban smoking or alcohol (again) after all they kill more people than some madman with a gun. Do this and all you succeed in doing is driving the problem underground as the Prohibition era in the USA did and effectively made many law abiding adults into criminals.

We knew this was coming (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501901)

The Germans made no secret of their plans to advance this during their turn with the rotating EU Presidency. Fortunately, this wouldn't force other member states to adopt the ridiculous German position on games, but it's still pretty bad. Last I had heard, several Governments, including the UK, were less than enthused by the idea and planned to resist it (although this may have changed).

Our best hope, really, comes from the fact that the Presidency moves on to Portugal at the start of July. So far as I know, Portugal's position on games is nothing like as screwed up as Germany's and they might not be so motivated to keep pushing to advance this.

The proposed EU constitution rejected by a number of states over the last few years was a bad joke, but there's no denying that the EU needs serious structural reform. Unfortunately, given that said reform should really limit the powers of the EU institutions rather than enhancing them, we're unlikely to see any sensible proposals emerging any time soon.

Re:We knew this was coming (2, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502315)

Doesn't the UK already have age limits on some games? My copy of RE4 has the same "15" label as films use, God of War has an 18. The age limits on films are non-voluntary and legally enforceable, presumably the game limits are too?

Re:We knew this was coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502327)

Not only that, but doesn't Germany already regulate games themselves? Companies have been issuing press releases since the 80s gleefully announcing their game was "banned" in Germany for "being too realistic" or some other such fluff.

Re:We knew this was coming (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502491)

Sort of. Most games Europe-wide get a PEGI [pegi.info] rating, but this is for information only and doesn't actually have any legal force. However, UK games that depict "human sexual activity or gross violence to any significant extent" get a BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] classification which it's a pretty serious offence for retailers to breach.

Germany is already completely screwed up (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502323)

Especially when it comes to game violence. Have you ever played a "German version" of any kind of game? It's actually a good laugh. A few highlights of Command and Conquer Generals:

- No soldiers, you're commanding "robots". Which is a bit odd when it comes to the special units, but ... ohwell.
- Of course they don't bleed or yell when they die. They just fall over and vanish.
- No Anthrax in the arsenal of the Terrorists, they're using acid. Why that acid only affects "robots" and no tanks is beyond me, but ok.
- Here's the best part: No suicide bombers, instead you have cute little "rolling bombs" which resemble a tea-cart with a comic-style "bomb" on top. Why those teacarts can drive cars or generally behave like humans not really explained.

And so on. I mean, I don't need my games "bloody", but when it crosses the line to ridiculous that's usually where I stop enjoying the games. And the "germanized" versions usually leap over that line by a few miles.

Re:We knew this was coming (1)

Teejaykay (1107049) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502601)

My immediate thought upon reading this article was that the commissioner is German - and as you've already more or less said, we all know how Germany's been regarding violent video games in the past. It's almost as hilarious as Carmageddon with green-blooded zombies. Furthermore, I'm annoyed that the writer had to go and say "Europeans were riled ..." - wtf? Unless they're referring to Germans alone, BLEEEEP. We're not the States. Don't lump Europe into one mold! We've got a bunch of different cultures in the EU with different takes on Christianity in many of the member countries. Comparing Germany and Finland, I can tell you Finns don't get this popular hysteria. I can't remember the last time I've seen or heard of anyone blaming video games for violence over here. I'd rather blame parents and educators. I could blame genetics, too. And I could blame the country, as the more people one has in a country, the likelier it gets that violent crime happens. (Oh, all right, that last bit was just as bad saying "Europeans were riled ..." This was a brat-from-a-Nordic-welfare-state broadcast. Back to you, Jim.

Gun violence != Violent video games (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501903)

I think European politicians are simply jumping on the bandwagon and blaming video games for cheap political points. Seriously Europe already has less gun-friendly policies (compared to the U.S.) already in place, regulating video games is going to be even more of a waste in their political system compared to the U.S.'s.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (5, Interesting)

Ours (596171) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501985)

less gun-friendly policies
Not part of the EU but here in Switzerland the gun lobby made sure the policies are quite friendly to them. No politician wants to touch that with all the foreign currency coming in from weapons exports. Time to time the mandatory assault rifle at home for all service-man policy (with military service mandatory for all males) makes a scandal when some guy goes Rambo but then they hush it with "values of tradition" and other crap and everybody forgets about it. And nobody talks about the use of such rifle involved and way too many suicides.
But yeah, lets blame video games and leave the weapons in the hands of the people... Like we need them! It's bloody Switzerland, not Israel.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502023)

So if suicides are done via rope or knife it is somehow better?
Japan has a much higher suicide rate than the USA, and next to no guns.

Anyhow who cares if some loser offs himself. Cleans out the gene pool.

Also consider that the armed citizenry has kept switzerland save from invasion for 800 years.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (3, Insightful)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502055)

As a university scientist, I can say that he most brilliant researcher I ever worked with, or even encountered ended her own life as a result of suffering from a borderline personality disorder.

Clean up the gene pool my ass. Our field of physics will move more slowly without her.

But then, I wouldn't want to get in the way of you clinging to your unnecessary guns with a religious zealotry.

Anonymous Coward couldn't be more appropriate for that tripe. If you're a total jackass, fine, but have the strength in your blind faith to attach your name, loser.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502089)

Sounds like she was bonkers, good riddance. Gene pool has been cleaned a bit.

I keep guns for self defense, thanks, no religious nut jobbery needed.
Resorting to ad-hominem attacks wont help you convince anyone, nor will your appeal to emotion and whining.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502137)

And your nazi-like fetish for the quality of the gene pool will help you convince people?

just wondering... who's attacking you?

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502153)

I don't think it gets any more 'ad-hominem' than attacking the quality of someone's genes!

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (0)

krunk7 (748055) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502151)

I am sincerely sorry for your loss and the loss to science. I too work at a university and all to often see brilliant people with a bent towards the abnormal or depressed. Not that this is in any way the norm, but sad none the less.

But how does this relate to guns in any way? Guns are often used in suicides due to the sureness. However, many suicides are committed without guns and there doesn't seem to be any link between accessibility to firearms and the rate of suicide in a socieity (e.g. Japan). I sincerely hope that your friend's tragedy did not irrationally bias you in this regard as the tragedy is in her death not in the instrument.

As far as the necessity of an armed populace, there is only one sure historical truth: Sooner or later the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants and if tyrants are the only ones with firearms the tree may very well drown from an excess of the blood of patriots.

In firrst world countries, it's very tempting to become comfortable in our security and judge that it is by some natural superiority of culture or heritage that we enjoy the freedomes that we do and have no need for personal protection. But history paints a very different picture for every empire that has come before. Why should we deprive our future from a means to protect themselves simply because we may be fortunate enough to slip under the wire?

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502209)

If you have a 1 hit kill weapon in your house that requires no pain until the moment of impact when it hits suicide is MUCH easier.

Hanging takes time and you have to resist saving yourself (or you set it up so you can't).
Cutting your wrist/throat/whatever requires resisting a lot of pain til you black out.
Drink/Alcohol requires a lot of work to get it and then take enough to die.
Jumping off a building/bridge requires you to goto said place, climb up, then jump off.

All of the above have some kind of barrier between you and them, picking up a gun is just as simple as closing your eyes and pulling a trigger. Which compared to the others is a walk in the park.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (2, Insightful)

DerangedAlchemist (995856) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502355)

As far as the necessity of an armed populace, there is only one sure historical truth: Sooner or later the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants and if tyrants are the only ones with firearms the tree may very well drown from an excess of the blood of patriots.

In a democracy you can vote people out of power. Historically there have not been many democracies so far.

I'll believe this type of argument if say the US citizens use guns to revolt instead of voting out the current party.

If you really believe this, wouldn't citizens owning nuclear weapons just accelerate the process, or do you think there should be limits on the destructive power a single person should have?

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502247)

>As a university scientist, I can say that he most brilliant researcher I ever worked with, or even encountered ended her own life as a result of suffering from a borderline personality disorder.

And where were you when that person needed help? Raving and ranting against gun owners or playing WoW? Or smugly thinking how much darn SMARTER you are compared to Joe Sixpack?

University scientist my ass. I bet you're the janitor. Flunked out of college, didn't you? Couldn't take the strain? It must be hard, seeing all those people you despise having more success than you.

How does it feel being a failure? Does it hurt much? How do you cope with it?

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502025)

You're a disgrace to your country, and your reasoning is utterly specious. If someone's going to kill themselves, they're going to kill themselves whether they have a firearm or not.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502167)

Maybe it would be worth to find out why people in Switzerland commit suicide, not how. Maybe unemployment, lowering wages and rising costs of living have something to do with it.

That and the fact that in Switzerland they hammer you pretty badly for not paying your bills in time. Unless you're a former Swissair manager, of course.

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502679)

First off, I'm from switzerland too, and I cannot agree to this. Switzerland ranks second to last in regard of violent crimes world-wide (Japan ranks lowest). From time to time some nutcase goes haywire and starts shooting. So what? We've still got extremely little violent crime. You really think you could prevent that by banning guns?

Example from 1994: Population 7 Mio; violent deaths: 1596, total homicide 92; homicide involving firearms: 40; total suicide 1490; suicide involving firearms 392.
Households with guns: 27.2% Apart from a high suicide-rate, this is VERY LOW. And even of those suicides, only one third involved firearms.

There is NO NEED for discussion of that topic; actually, I consider this as a deliberate diversion to keep public attention off the really important things (copyright, prohibition, surveillance/wiretapping, finances).

Re:Gun violence != Violent video games (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502473)

Actually, while there is no constitutional right in Germany to own a gun, that does not mean it's all that difficult to obtain one. All you have to do is join a rifle club, and get through the bureoucratic hurdles. (It seems the latter mainly requires patience.) IIRC that's what the guy in question did. Also since Germany has a draft, most males have received some gun training, too.

Good (0)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501919)

Maybe this will keep pieces of crap like "State Of Emergency" off the shelf, and will motivate Rockstar to do more with the GTA franchise than violence upgrades.

Re:Good (3, Funny)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502047)

Is that you, Jack? I didn't know you posted on /.!

Re:Good (1)

jellie (949898) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502091)

No no, he's over there talking to the Europeans, trying to find a new population to drive insane!

Re:Good (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502145)

Heh. I'm not advocating the bans on violence by any stretch. I'm just saying maybe some good will come from this, such as an increase in the quality of other aspects of games.

Human beings are creative. When they want to do something, they will figure out how to get it done. If the law bans violence, we will figure out another way to get our kicks.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502291)

Heh. I'm not advocating the bans on violence by any stretch.
Depending on which rambling junk that falls out of Jacks mouth you choose to follow, he is not advocating a ban, but a age restrictions, like they already do (on films and video games) in some parts of Europe.

What happened to gun regulation? (4, Interesting)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501923)

I thought that when a crazy guy shot someone, and then killed himself, we were supposed to blame evil guns. Now when a crazy guy shoots somone, and then kills himself, we are supposed to blame evil video games. If this progression continues I wonder who... correction, I wonder whom... correction, I wonder what will we blame next.

The religion of peace (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19501993)

The Koran made me do it!

Europe usually blames the Jews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502163)

Europe usually blames the Jews.
Or as they call them via codeword now-a-days Zionists or Israel.

If Iran nukes Tel Aviv Europe won't be such bad guys for willfully putting their Jews in cattle cars and letting Germany do what France 7 Belgium really wanted.

Re:Europe usually blames the Jews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502489)

Europe usually blames the Jews. Or as they call them via codeword now-a-days Zionists or Israel.

Thing is that plenty of Zionists arn't Jewish (notably the so called "Christian Zionists") and plenty of Jews arn't Zionists. Indeed some of the strongest critics of Zionism (and the state of Israel) are Rabbis.
Equating Jews and Zionists is actually Zionist propaganda to deflect any critique of Zionism and/or the state of Israel.

If Iran nukes Tel Aviv

How would Iran do that? The only country with nuclear weapons (and the ability to deliver them) in that part of the world is Israel... It would be more likely for the Israelis to blow up Tel Aviv and claim that Iran did it, remember Mossad's motto.

Re:What happened to gun regulation? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502287)

Here's a good question. Are video games simply the blame du jour or does the gun lobby have something to do with it? As evil as it sounds, maybe it's time for a games lobby?

Re:What happened to gun regulation? (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502351)

One thing's for certain, the one person/thing that WON'T be blamed is the person that pulled the trigger.

It's just the usual "dunno it, so it's the culprit (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502375)

Look back in history and realize that there's always been something that drives our kids nuts. First it was the "bad book" (ok, first is maybe wrong, but it's the first thing I know), where reading Marc Twain was putting bad ideas into your head and those books were to blame. Then the readers grew up and rather few of them turned out to be idiots, so it can't be those bad books.

Along came radio. So it was the radio telling our kids all the wrong things. Radio listeners grew up and behold, again being a loonie wasn't the next big thing.

Swing music. It has to be that dreaded swing music with all those odd wiggling dances that drives the youth nuts. Well, guess what, the swingers grew up...

Ok, television. That flashy crap, it's the bane of youth and rots their brains. Hmm... nope, the TV generation grew up (not to mention that the TV lobby is strong enough that even though TV did rot their brains...).

Heavy metal! The devil's music and all those hidden messages twisting our kids minds and making their hair grow! Well, the metalheads grew up and cut their hairs, the beheading of chickens by biting their heads off isn't the new fad, so... nope, not either.

RPGs. That's it. Dungeons and Dragons, the devil spawn itself! Look at all those false gods and whatnot and our kids getting lost in that fantasy world. Well, the D&D generation grew up and still no temples of Bane and human sacrifices.

But ... but computer games! Ok, that's gotta be it then....

See a pattern? It's always whatever the teenage group is interested in that the parent generation does not understand. The current generation of teenager parents is in the area of their 40s, born around or just before 1970, grown up in the mid/late 80s. Some might even know computer games, but those games were anything but realistic. They know all about TV, radio, books, music (hey, especially music!), but usually know precious little about computer games.

So who's gonna get the blame?

I predict in 5 years it's gonna be trading card games and Animes.

Re:It's just the usual "dunno it, so it's the culp (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502549)

You're way too late for trading cards, that was soooo 2003. :P Anime hasn't become widespread enough to really hit the spotlight, whether it will or not, time will tell.

Right now (in Australia at least) it's the emo subculture that's destroying our youth. Two teenage girls commit suicide and it's front page news for weeks... if they'd been fugly instead of hot (in a goth-chick way), it woulda been mentioned once on page 17 then dropped. Damn media.

As for what *our* kids are going to be making us tut-tut about youth-of-today with... who knows? Probably something to do with mobile phones and either sex or violence. Kids are getting 'active' disturbingly young these days, apparently the average age in Britain is 13-14 and over here it's 15ish. Back in the 90s (when I were a lad :P ) that was unheard of. /rant-over :P

Re:What happened to gun regulation? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502645)

Really? It seems just like with Columbine blaming video games is one of the standard reactions, depending on your political background.

Actually... (2)

gowen (141411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501957)

This seems like a fairly sane response. I don't think violent games (or films) *cause* violent tendencies, but I do believe they can be influential and reinforcing to those in whom those tendencies already exist, (e.g. minors). As long as this law applies only to minors, I really can't see a problem.

I imagine every slashdotter knows how isolating obsessive tendencies can become (even if its just hours spent playing Nethack online).

[I know, I've stepped over slashdot's "all censorship is unremittingly evil" axiom. Make my day, mod me to hell]

Re:Actually... (3, Insightful)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502111)

The point is that the law would discriminate against videogames, and not regulate the sales of violent movies or other media. So, because the violence was in a videogame instead of a movie, that makes it so much worse it has to have it's own law.

Make a law regulating all violent media, or don't make a law at all. Preferably the latter.

Re:Actually... (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502147)

I don't know about the rest of Europe, but games and movies are already regulated by age restrictions - it's illegal to sell games/films marked '18' to anyone below that age.

I don't think anything here would change much, but then I haven't RTFA, so I could be wrong.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502127)

Make my day, mod me to hell

No need; you already live there. What you're saying is that you basically see people as helpless, programmable automatons who are influenced to kill by what they see and hear. You clearly don't live among people for whom you have any respect, and I'd guess the feeling's mutual.

Re:Actually... (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502231)

Everything has an influence on everything else; look up the Butterfly Effect. Your argument is convenient in that it only applies to minors. I could make the same analogy as to why their should be bans and limits to exposing children to religion, but I just don't see any political will or enthusiasm. More people have died from the influences of religion than from video games.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502573)

"I do believe they can be influential and reinforcing to those in whom those tendencies already exist, (e.g. minors)."

I can see it now, the fourth Pirates of the caribbean will have minors as the evil enemy instead of the Kraken

"OMG, the minors are coming! THE MINORS ARE COMING! RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIVES!"

What could happen? (4, Insightful)

jonathan DS (1110515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501965)

Well, you can ban violent games for children, but maybe that's one way to 'de-frustrate'. They will still see violence on TV, in real life.
At least they can control the violence in games, but TV doesn't bring that option.

I think it's up to the parents to take control over what their children can handle. The parent knows best what's best for the kid. I know a 10-year old that plays GTA, but he still knows the difference between games and real life. The parents need to know if their child can draw that line, before their children cross it.

And it will start with violence, but what are they going to do about racing games? They'll try to find a link between car accidents and Gran Turismo...

Re:What could happen? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502395)

Oh, they already did. Recently I've seen a "study" about car accidents and people playing racing sims.

Re:What could happen? (1)

jonathan DS (1110515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502623)

What was the outcome of that study? 'Cause I want to know how big the odds are of me causing an accident.

Re:What could happen? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502513)

I think the whole idea of linking video games and actual violence is statistically absurd. Millions of people play these games, one or two shoot people. If the game was a major factor, then we should have an epidemic. There must be thousands of things in the lifes of these shooters, which they have in common with other people - watching TV, eating bread, drinking beer, being frustrated at school, being lonely. There is no sensible reason to make a connection with video games.

oh yes, that'll help (5, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#19501983)

Because y'know, there never was any violence before video games turned up.

What we have here is a handy emotive issue that can be used to make politicians sound like they are 'in touch' with the needs of the community. The fact that its a loads of nonsense obviously has no relevence.

Re:oh yes, that'll help (3, Interesting)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502239)

The other thing these people never explain is how kids who grew up in Palestine, Kosovo, Baghdad, Darfur, ... don't all grow up to be bloodthirsty psychopaths. How can a video game possibly trigger sociopathic behavior when real-life violence clearly does not?

Re:oh yes, that'll help (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502613)


I suspect that may be due to a considerable difference between the unfettered slaughter of millions with no comeback in a virtual environment, and the very upfront and personal slaughter of people you know in front of you, with full 3D sound, realistic graphics and wet and distressingly bubbling blood effects.

The question you should be posing is how come so many Palestinian children grow up as heavily armed violent militia members when they don't have computer games to play.

Re:oh yes, that'll help (2, Interesting)

Sylvanus (213197) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502475)

That really is a silly comment. We all realise that violence has complex causes and we'd all agree that there is never a straightforward single explanation of any killing or attack. That said advertising works and we are all affected by what we read and see around us. A constant background culture of violence, materialism and porn will create a different mood in society to a constant background of for instance, art, classical music and meditative exercises. Compare how you feel after a yoga class and after watching a violent film - there will be a difference, I promise.

In western society we pay too little attention to the subtle symbolic values of our actions and the powerful cumulative effect that our behaviour, TV, music etc has on signalling to those around us. Those signals accumulate and gradually change attitudes and taboos. You're right that there is no one-to-one relationship between violent games and real violence. The relationship is more complex and more subtle but no more powerful for that.

Politicians have picked up on widespread concern amongst the public - believe it or not, that is their function in a democratic society.

not an outright ban (5, Interesting)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502021)

This is not a ban on violent video games. This is a limitation on content for minors, and frankly, I don't think it's such a bad idea.

I have loved playing GTA over the last few years, but that doesn't mean that I think it's appropriate for 10 year olds to play. I have no interest in the likes of Manhunt, but I see no reason that it shouldn't be made - only reasons that it shouldn't be sold to the wee ones.

If we had something stronger than volunteer parental ratings for an ignorant parental populous, just maybe we wouldn't have to listen to Jack Thompson's tripe any longer. After all, the generation that up until very recently has been buying games for their kids has had NO way of understanding the medium - it's been foreign to parents, and therefore parents have made dubious purchasing decisions.

Why not make retailers check ID as a liquor store does? Some games are simply inappropriate for little kids and should be limited to adult consumption. They shouldn't be "banned" or limited in the production, but the sales should be limited to those who are old enough to have learned what boundaries are.

Re:not an outright ban (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502063)

You say that, but why should we hold games to a higher standard than movies, which are also voluntary? Lots of places will refuse to sell M rated games to kids. Problem is, the parents will just come back and buy the games for them anyway. Woops.

Re:not an outright ban (1)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502113)

Good point.

When I was wee, I was pretty much allowed to watch as violent a movie as I wished by age 10 (these were the Rambo and Revenge of the Ninja years), but when I wanted a moderately violent videogame, my dad said no. When I asked why it was any different he gave a fairly long speech about the effects of replaying a scene over and over or trying to complete a level 20 times, versus seeing it on the screen for a minute. That may be totally misled, but it really stuck with me.

The fact is, my parents were involved, and parents are the best first line for appropriate media. Unfortunately, there are a LOT of really bad parents, and I don't think it would hurt to beef up things in a way that doesn't effect adults, but helps cover the gaps of a society with a lot of unaware parenting.

Re:not an outright ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502115)

Yes, unless there are regulations on parents buying video games for minors, this will be useless. I don't think video games make people shoot others, because if that were true, I would have done it right? I played doom in high school and I didn't shoot anybody. So there must be another reason it happens. Could it be the idea that everyone is special that has been pressed on our youth? Even in college, I see freshman come in with this attitude that the world owes them and when they get a bad grade they have mommy come to bitch out the professor. Now they are like 10 years younger then me ( i started late), so image what a 10 year old thinks about himself right now. I go into a store these days and see little brats running around and if you say anything their mommy is their saying their kid is special and can do anything it wants. How can every kid be special? Thinking about it, its not a surprise this has happened. Our leaders have this attitude as do our pharmacists (personal beliefs override doctors you know). How about we start teaching kids, politicians and pharmacists that no one is special and we all have to get along. That will stop shooting sprees when they realize the real world isn't all roses. It also means we could get our prescriptions filled again.

Re:not an outright ban (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502401)

Where's the problem?

A parent should have the right to say what their kids may or may not do. I'm strongly against giving the state too much power over what kind of information parents may give to their kids!

Re:not an outright ban (1)

the Jim Bloke (1110963) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502273)

There are games out there that kids shouldn't be playing, and for that matter there are games which would be improved by having less kids playing. So in principle I agree with the concept. However I dont believe it can be enforced, and the stated excuse for it is a load of crap, so if it does happen it will be done badly and for the wrong reasons. Recipe for a disaster.

Re:not an outright ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502423)

We already have a mandatory ratings system in place here in the UK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bbfc) for both film and video games, and it work's perfectly fine thanks.

Every time I see this discussion come up I wonder what the big deal is. The US seem slightly confused when it comes to "personal freedoms". The majority of states won't let you drink a beer until you're 21 and no one bats an eyelid yet there is a massive outcry every time someone tries to stop your 10 year old buying* GTA.

FACT: Certain media contains content that is not suitable for viewing by minors.

Enforcing a mandatory ratings system takes the choice away from the retailer and puts it squarely in the hands of the parent. If they want little Jimmy to be able to watch/play "RapeKillMaim 3" then there is no law preventing them from purchasing the film/game and letting him. The law just stops little Jimmy having access to it without his parents consent, which is surely a sensible course of action?

We may not always agree with the classification of what is a 15 or an 18 rating, but in those situations the parent can choose themselves.

*Notice I said buying and not playing.

Pardon the Godwin's Law Violation... (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502073)

... but what was Hitler playing? Ban starving artists, save the world!

More constructive advice: economies where young folks can actually get hired might put a dent in that wave of youth crime. I doubt you'll find that many of the 300 cars which will get burned in France tonight were torched by kids with jobs. Thats the liberal part of me talking. The conservative part of me adds that you'll want to figure out how to assimilate more of those immigrants, because I doubt that many of the cars are being burned by boys with names like Jacques or Pierre.

Funny how things are different.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502405)

More constructive advice: economies where young folks can actually get hired might put a dent in that wave of youth crime. I doubt you'll find that many of the 300 cars which will get burned in France tonight were torched by kids with jobs. Thats the liberal part of me talking.

That's amusing because that's more of a conservative position in Europe and...

The conservative part of me adds that you'll want to figure out how to assimilate more of those immigrants, because I doubt that many of the cars are being burned by boys with names like Jacques or Pierre.

..assimilation/integration would be more of a left-wing/socialist position.

Huh? (4, Informative)

skrolle2 (844387) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502095)

Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school.

No we weren't.

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502393)

I wondered about that myself, apart from a few newspaper notices the only place that only appear to get "riled up" was Germany itself. I don't read German newspapers daily, so the level of their concern I don't know, but certainly in Scandinavia this has hardly been discussed. I also read a lot of British newspapers and I certainly haven't seen much there to indicate such a reaction from the Brits either.

Go sensationalism!

Re:Huh? (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502461)

I think this is caused by the 'American' effect, not that it criticises the US in any way. But if this article was describing how someone from Iowa or California was creating a new bill, then it would be correct to say that 'Americans' are doing this, or 'Americans' are doing that. That would be the nationality of those doing the act in question. However, I am British. My nationality has not changed by being part of the EU. So this article should say that some 'Germans' were riled, not 'Europeans'. Yes, they are Europeans but it is not, in this instance, a defining characteristic of the people who were riled. The EU is still comprised of sovereign states which, by and large, do not get overly excited about a single occurrence in another state.

Adverse effect? (1)

b0z0n3 (1086487) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502107)

Why not just let people buy the violent games and then go home and let off some steam (on Steam?) instead of taking their aggressions to the streets? Heravy Metal and an online boom-stick - That's the trick!

They have already admitted that the reason is fake (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502141)

I'm from Germany, which is the country pushing hard for this sort of nonsense I'm ashamed to say. However, the reason they ostensibly give is not the true reason they are pushing for it. Several of the major proponents of this have already let it slip that the real reason is that they don't want people to play video games period. They don't want teenagers "wasting their time" with games and get "worse grades" at school which may make them less attractive as wage slaves, I mean, makes it harder for them to find employment.

Magic Bullet (2, Interesting)

trawg (308495) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502173)

Yes, stopping kids from getting their hands on violent video games will be the magic bullet that stops violence, aggressive behaviour, bullying, etc.

The practical effect of this seems to me to obviously be that people that want to play violent video games will now just get them through non-official channels - ie, they'll pirate them. Or download any number of violent video games that are made available for free on the Internet [americasarmy.com] to anyone in the world.

Politicians - please stop wasting your time and our money and get back to doing something else. Leave the parenting to the parents and let people accept some responsibility for their actions, eh?

Why politicians want to scape-goat violent videos (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502175)

Two reasons why politicians want to scape-goat violent videos games for the perceived demise of society:

1) Boost their popularity by portraying themselves as crime fighters who are protecting the children
2) An excuse to get rid of (or at least limit) things they just don't like or want

It's interesting:
- that this crime was committed by a 19 year old, which would be considered a legal adult in most countries (except for the US where you have to be 21 to enjoy full legal status, i.e. the alcohol laws)
- they don't blame guns
- they haven't looked into the social life and influences of this person other than he played a video game(s)

Point in fact:
- rape and murder are not caused by pornography, video games, rock and roll, Drugs, or any of the other usual suspects. False analogies are just that - false. It's too hard for them to find the real answers to social problems like spending money for after school programs, and providing people with proper social housing, medical and social support for psychiatric programs, etc... the list goes on. Simplifying the cause of a murder to a video game is so ludicrous it would be laughable if it were not true.

When I was a kid I wondered why adults are so stupid. As an adult I still wonder.

Re:Why politicians want to scape-goat violent vide (1)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502413)

When I glanced at your first line I saw it as:

"Two reasons why politicians want to scrap goat-violent videos games for the perceived demise of society:"

That put a nasty image in my head.

Re:Why politicians want to scape-goat violent vide (2, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502495)

Two reasons why politicians want to scape-goat violent videos games for the perceived demise of society:

Two more:

1. They don't understand or play video games.
2. They don't believe a significant number of their voters or donors play violent video games.

Simple solution to "think of the children" complex (2, Interesting)

Urusai (865560) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502187)

...do not let minors purchase anything. Make it a crime to sell anything to minors. They do not have contract rights or many other rights already, there's no reason to give them general buy/sell rights.

This forces their parents to buy everything for them. They can't hire Random Guy to buy their cigs because Random Guy would in effect be selling to the minors (a crime). The parents are presumably giving their offspring what they need, so they commit no crime. This way, I don't have to deal with stupid laws, but more importantly the state doesn't have to decide on the standard by which children are raised, which is a terrible, terrible idea.

New bussiness opportunity (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502229)

1. Buy violent, cruel and unusual games
2. Advertise them in EBay for double the marked price
3. Admit those false moustaches as proof of age
4. Profit!

That without taking P2P networks into account. I'm not sure if the EU bureaucrats are aware of the difficulties of controlling the distribution of digital content in the Internet era. They should talk to the RIAA before wasting their time.

Games don't kill, RPGs do. (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502303)

> EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games

WTF? They want to regulate games, while at the same time selling weapons willy nilly to anyone with the cash to pay for them (no questions asked)? The US and Russia leads the world arms trade, but runners up have suspiciously European-sounding country names:

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2605823,0 0.html [dw-world.de]

I think this is what we call a Cluster of Clusterbombers:

http://apps.sipri.org/milap/world_aprod_map.html [sipri.org]
http://www.sipri.org/contents/milap/milex/aprod/si pridata.html [sipri.org]

Some of these sales are self-defense, but a lot of it feeds third-world conflicts:
http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/11/ 13/us_is_top_purveyor_on_weapons_sales_list/ [boston.com]

Yeah send these people underground (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502313)

Make it as hard to get the video games as it is to obtain real guns. Oh wait a second derranged idiots already seem plenty able to get hold of them despite all the regulation. What will they want to ban next? Action figures? Chess (heck that's based on war). Idiots.

This should not be an EU thing (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502319)

Most countries in Europe have their own system of classification for films, usually based on an age classification, and backed by law. In Britain we apply these to games as well. It should be up to the individual nation what they do and don;t allow. Not the EU.

PEGI? (5, Insightful)

TechnicalFool (719087) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502365)

There is already a perfectly usable [wikipedia.org] pan-European game rating system. It's voluntary, but I haven't seen a single game on sale in the UK that doesn't have it, with occasional mandatory BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] ratings for more "realistic" games (GTA3 and beyond are all released with an 18 cert). As well as that, you'll find that a lot of stores here will abide by PEGI ratings, which detail exactly why the game has the rating it has (sex, violence, drugs and gambling amongst the reasons) supposedly so parents can make a more informed decision. I don't see how introducing more centralised bureaucracy is going to work any better than the current systems in place in European Union member states. Whatever ratings system you put in, you'll still get 45 year olds coming into the shop with a 12 year old waiting outside and swearing blind that the copy of Bloody Chainsaw Revenge IV they are buying is for their own personal use.

This stuff happens every time some psychopath decides to go on a rampage. Banning violent video games won't work, and is completely bloody stupid when you consider where half of your so-called "traditional" games come from. Chess is a war game. If you think British Bulldog [wikipedia.org] is innocent, try thinking of it as a bunch of people trying to rush a gun platform. "Ring-a-roses" is a warning poem describing the symptoms of bubonic plague. The only difference between these games and video games is the fact that for the first time in history, a war game or zombie horror story can be rendered on a screen in real-time with precise detail.

You can only take a psycho down before they kill too many people. Sometimes you're lucky and someone will spot that a person is acting strangely or getting unstable. Banning violent video games will just mean that the next time someone decides to start dishing out mass lead injections, we'll have slingshots or some other item banned because, well, he started by firing marbles at cats and it progressed from there. Something Must Be Done, Think Of The Children, you catch my drift.

I hope the justice ministers discussing this have a sudden attack of common sense and declare that any mature, sensible adult should be able to engage in as much of an orgy of virtual destruction as they like. Fact is, taking some geek out with a headshot is fun, dammit. It's the old equation of "(fear - danger) == excitement".

Has anyone ever wondered about reasons? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502429)

Fakt: ALL shootings, no matter where on this planet, were conducted in schools. The youths who went on a killing spree didn't just grab a gun and besiege the next mall where the body count could have been considerably higher. They invariably went to their school and many of them started the killing spree in their class and/or with certain hand picked teachers.

COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

Fakt: ALL of those teenagers or young adults who went on a killing spree had rather poor grades and were generally not accepted members of their "society" (however you want to define it). Many of them have already dropped out or were forced to leave their schools.

COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

Fakt: ALL of those who sought bloody "revenge" come from what is today labeled a "broken home", usually with negligent or abusive parents with few or no friends.

COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

But no, let's blame games. It's less hassle than having to deal with the problems.

America's Army (1)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502431)

Last I checked, the most realistic "murder simulator" was the real thing. Do soldiers come back home and Rambo their communities?

I am questioned ... (4, Insightful)

testman123 (1111753) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502481)

When I see those all-day-long movies and TV sequels displaying murders, torture, sadism (including people beeing massacred with gallons of blood ejected) without anybody disturbed or questioned about that (look at PG "rating" details).

And when I see at the same time that one single nipple displayed on a show triggers a massive censorship on live TV shows, I am even more questioned.

Does this mean that a nipple is more obscene for child that a live murder ? Does it mean that a nipple is more abnormal and unnatural than to kill somebody ?

What kind of example is this for children ?

When born, children have no nudity problem, once fed with occidental culture, the trouble starts : nude = abnormal bad evil, violence = normal cool fun !

To me the real problem with occidental culture is violence addiction. Violence shocks nobody. But a single niple shows almost everybody.

Realy we should all go and consult a Psychologist, because we got a problem ...

Typical EU paternalism (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502553)

This kind of proposed legislation sums up the European Union perfectly. In contrast to traditional liberalism (a strong tradition in the Western world) they feel that they can legislate their way towards their own private distopia.

For example, in the UK they have introduced 3000 new criminal offences since 1997, many coming from the EU.

For me, this is a quasi-democratic (soon to be despotic) body doing nothing more then limiting our freedom of expression through paternalistic and unneccessary legislation. It is the parents responsibility alone to make sure their kids aren't watching/playing anything that might be unsuitable.

I don't see a problem with kids playing violent games, and I don't see a connection to RL violence. Some might disagree, but it is their right to do so. It is not a government issue to enforce their twisted morality upon parents.

Only in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502593)

Oh - wait . . .

What are non-violent games? (1)

rastos1 (601318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502649)

Just what multiplayer games are not about defeating the enemy? Does chess count as violent? Is Battle for Wesnoth violent? What about Lemmings (poor, little buggers), Liquid Wars, ... ? Are the kids going to be stuck with Tetris?

'Riled Europeans' in "I Could Care Less" Shocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19502711)

Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school.


No they weren't. I just asked ten people sitting near me, of various ages, and not one of them even knew that some German had done a 'Postal'. Each of them, and myself, are Europeans.

If the Germans want to pass stupid laws to protect their idiotic citizenry, then that's for them to decide. Stop with this idiotic idea that all Europeans think and act European.

Bully for example (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502751)

If the boss at Rockstar can explain how he can sleep at night having released Bully then he should be allowed to keep their profits.

Aslong as it stays in European style (1)

anduz (1027854) | more than 6 years ago | (#19502757)

I'm not a fan of politicians who see fit to violate our personal freedom because they think they know better than we do, but I'm frankly not too concerned if these limitations stay true to European tradition. Because then it'll still be possibly for minors to play violent video games, though only if their parents take an interest in their childs hobby because they'll have to purchage the games.

If it ever takes an American style approach though, then it'll be absolutely horribly. Imagine going to jail for two and a half year because you let your son, or daughter, play fallout with their friends.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...