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Crackdown on M-Rated Videogames? 268

Posted by michael
from the surprise,-surprise dept.
Inigima writes "According to this article at the dying GameCenter, the IDSA is preparing to make a proposal to Congress about the marketing of games rated "M" by the ESRB. According to Gamecenter's analysis, not only would this neuter the game marketing industry, but might even prevent games like Quake and Half-Life from being produced."
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Crackdown on M-Rated Videogames?

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  • Protect the kids, no film harder than Mary Poppins is allowed.

    Are you kidding? It's obvious that Mary Poppins was a meant to be a witch! No way I'd let my kids get corrupted by a piece of pagan propaganda like that!

    :)

  • Most game makers couldn't design/produce a worthwhile game if God himself showed them all the right little storylines, plot hooks, character development, special effects, head trips, combination of game play, interaction with others (in multiplayer games), etc. For once I'd like to see a game that didn't bleeding rehash the same stupid Hollywoodized plots and character motivations (if they even bother with such).

    Of course, not all games need plot or character development, i.e. sports games, strategy games, or arcade style games (although it's certainly possible). But be honest, when was the last time you saw a game that wasn't: 1) a slap a famous name (player or association) on it and release it just before christmas 2) a rehash of Risk/Supremacy with a few more elements thrown in or 3) a repackaging of Karatika (from the Apple II days) or Tetris?

    I firmly believe that "there's nothing new under the sun", but come on! At least show a little creativity. Please?

  • Your right to raise your child as you see fit is neither god-given nor absolute. The government has laws against child abuse and negligence that exist for good reasons and I support. The child is not your property, he/she is your responsibility.

    Yes, there is a great deal of merit in films aimed at an older audience, and I believe that a child could learn a great deal about life from, some of these movies. But do you want this child to be making this decision without you? All this means that, if a child is going to buy Q3 is that you have to be there to buy it.

    My attitude is to place the same restrictions on in-store video games as we have on our movies. If a child really wants to play/see something violent, then the parent must be there to consent for it.

    However, I do not agree that violent games should not be advertised. As long as the advertisements are tame enough for the given media (eg not actually showing anyone being gibbed to bits on afternoon TV commercials) then they should be allowed to do so. After all, R-Rated movies seem to remain successfull, and they have that same limitation.
  • True. But Lieberman would have been nothing more than a decoration, just like Gore was for the last 8 years.

    That said, he's nothing more than a conservative in left-wing clothing. While his assuming the VP office would have been a step forward in racial relations, he would have more than made up for it by his conservative stance on media.
  • You just don't get it. The problem is not the toys themselves, it's the morons who point threatening-looking objects at police officers. Teach people not to point things at cops and there won't be any problems.

    Oh, whoops, I forgot. That involves people taking personal responsibility.
  • What kind of a conservative (read:mindless) anal bloke are you, anyway?

    okay, it's off topic, but I have to respond to this. as a "conservitive" living in the northeast, I see this all the time where everybody is a "liberal" because they want their social freedom. that's not what the terms mean. if you're conservitive, then you believe in small government. if you're liberal, you believe in big government. the deffinitions stop there. what's happened is that the terms have also come to describe social beliefs and that's what most people think of when they think of conservitive or liberal. given the correct deffinition of these terms, however, it seems to me that most /.ers would actually be conservitives. it is the people who want to expand the size of the government that want to dictate yet more of your daily life to you. I'm about as pissed off at GW right now as anybody else here, but at least under him, we should get a smaller government, and that's a good thing, imho, and anybody here who voted for Browne should agree because otherwise, you're the sheep here.

  • Of course, don't forget that they've been making bibles for kids for decades now, bible comics, Chick tracts, and our old favorite, "Davey and Goliath"... Even frigging PEANUTS had biblical messages strewn throughout, spouted by the mutated mongoloid, Linus (not Torvalds)...

    Biblical infiltration of kids' media is oft times far more insidious than video game marketing... You buy Quake, you KNOW something's head is going to be blown off... But look at the average cable channel lineup between 5 and 7 (when most kids are getting up for school), and what do you see? Cartoons? Yeah, for the terminally brain dead Barney and Tellietubby sect... But beyond that, you see no less than 5 (and as many as 10)seperate channels all running Christian broadcasting...

    Used to be (showing my age again - sometime around the early to mid 80's) the other way around, where if you were searching for it, you'd find bible thumpers on perhaps one channel, and one of the fringe channels to boot... Otherwise, the cooler old cartoons would be on, or news... 5AM used to be prime Rocky and Bullwinkle and Robotech viewing time...

  • Does the games industry want to be tarred with the same reputation as the cigarette industry? They will get it if they continue saying that they have to market violent QIII type games at children, right or wrong (rightly, in my view).

    Your analogy does not hold water. The cigarette industry produces a product that, in practically all studies except the few that the industry itself funded, shows cigarettes to be dangerous, addictive, carcinogenic, yadda yadda.

    There exists no such clear consensus with video games. While you can find many links to studies that show cigarettes to be Bad For You(tm), you will find a) very few studies on games in the first place and b) a widely ranging series of opinions c) that the studies are not funded by the likes of Electronic Arts.

    That said, explain again how the game companies' marketing and direction of games at kids causes violence and makes them like the cigarette industry again please?
  • I would argue likewise, but with porno magazines. I know as many 16 year olds that read porno as people my own age (23).
  • Knowing Congress, they'll probably comply with IDSA's request, in the interest of "protecting the children". As an avid gamer, I believe this is a crock of $#!+, but Congress is known to be unclueful about such things.

    Wait and see who gets re-elected.

    This is a good point to advocate voting. Did you vote in the last non-presidential election?

    A lot of pissed off gamers is going to get the Congressional membership to turn over like people leaving an XFL game. There are a lot of gamers in the States, not just computer gaming. Consoles are huge... take away people's mature-rated games (leaving them with Pokemon) and watch the "unprecedented" incumbant defeats in Congress.

    The question is, though, will "M" rated games be available to those over 18? I would assume so... if you can go to war and actually shoot someone, why won't the government let you do it in a video game?

    I always though Unreal Tourney, Quake, and Half Life were good for nation... if we ever had to go to war and had a national draft, most of the young men would already be partially trained.
  • Ok the way I read it, this proposal is a revision of the industry self regulation rules already in place, not a proposal for an actual law. Therefor these regs only apply to IDSA members, so what's to stop, say id, from pulling out and marketing Quake [1+n] however the hell they want? Sure not being a member of the IDSA could hurt them in the retail channel, but I imagine that smaller niche developers could survive off of web orders (I'd love to be able to download the offical ISO of some spiffy new game, saves a trip to the store, saves massivly on packaging and waste too) and for the larger studios (id, Blizzard etc) what store would be stupid enough to to NOT stock say Diablo III when it comes out? Sure CompUSA may not stock it because of corporate policy but even the national niche stores like babbages won't be able to ignore such a major revenue stream. As far as local shops go, if customers are straining at the bit, ala Diablo 2, for some game that is on the IDSA's verbotten list, do you think they'll care?

    The IDSA would have to basically forbid member studios from distributing games to non-compliant stores (ie ones that defy the IDSA and sell non-member games) like the MPAA has done to shut unrated indy films out of all the large theater chains. I don't think such a scheme would work in this case as showing movies requires a major capital investment, whereas setting up a software store is no more exspenive than running any other mom & pop sized retail shop. Too many little operations to audit for compliance, sure they could demmand distribution lists from members but the rouge developers wouldn't have to disclose who they sell what to. And the only way they could find out if a smaller store was stocking verbotten games would be to physically go to the store and browse the shelves. (sure they could call and ask the clerk "Hi I'm from the IDSA, are you stocking any verbotten games next to our sanctioned ones?", "Nope", "Thanks, hey your not lying are you?", "Of course not", "Ok thanks, bye", customer: "Hey you got Quake 5?" "Yea, aisle 3 next to barney's family time sing along", "Cool thanks!" ) Which is just too damned expsenseive.

    Like any cartel it just takes one major member to pull out before the whole thing starts to unravel. Now I'm not saying that the defecting publishers should start handing out UT flyers to grade school kids, but continue to market to their audience in a sane, targetted manner. Which means marketing to gamers, on gamer websites and mags. Even if John Doe 13yr old sees an ad that's for an M rated game it's not like he can buy it on his own (at least in theory stores are supposed to enforce the ESRB ratings) and has to get his parents to get it for him. If he gets parental consent for the game then the games rating becomes moot as parental consent always trumps any industry rating standard and federal regs. What everyone of course fears is actual regulation by the government, and it is a valid fear what with all the furor to protect the children. However provided that we don't start seeing Quake ads during Sesame Street or other such foolishneess there won't be enough of an uproar over the marketing of games to motivate congress to do something really stupid (OK OK I know they don't really need much motivation to do something stupid) If the IDSA wants to do something to appease the FTC they should work with stores and get them to start enforcing the ratings system already in place. As myopic and useless as that system is, it doesn't burden producers or consumers too much and still allows for sane advertising.

  • It's not MY job to be enforcing morality on your kid.

    check with your employer's policy: it might very well be exactly your job. I suppose you think you should follow only the rules you want to.

    get off your lazy ass

    and if it was your job and somebody got off their lazy ass and came down and got you fired, we would no doubt have to listen to you whining on slashdot about it.

    I've played Doom, Quake, Quake 2, Half-Life, Unreal, and Wolfenstein 3D since I was 10. Now, does this make me a psychopathic killer? Did it encourage aggressive behavior?

    I've driven drunk a bunch of times and till now I've never killed anybody, or even had an accident... so, drunk driving should no doubt be legal for me.

  • I have the constitutional right to verbally let my girlfriend know what a good blow she gives.
  • by gdyas (240438)

    The game software industry seems much smarter than knee-jerk reactionaries, both on this forum and in congress. If you think voluntary prohibitions on advertising from the ISDA (which is run by the game makers) are going to have ANY effect on the popularity or ability to sell these games you're off your nut.

    Information and advertising about how good (or bad) a game is spreads 10x faster & more efficiently through a high school hallway than software dealers could ever acheive through advertising. Combine that with the fact that kids that're into these games are usually anticipating them months if not years in advance of release, checking up for the latest info on them from websites & such and you find that nothing essentially will change.

    Many kids who play Quake / UT know more than their parents about computers. Hell, if you can kick ass on multiplayer Starcraft or Age of Empires you sure as hell can strategize a way to get your paws on the game you desire.

  • More education has to be given to parents and even kids that M rated games should only be viewed by adults. Hell, can you imagine if 10-year olds across the nation were all watching Hannibal without their parents knowing its contents? Nightmare city.

    DEAR GOD!!! We'd have a bunch of creepy little monsters running around with scalping knives looking to eat nubile young females!!! Oh wait ... &ltrolls eyes&gt
  • Are you telling me that Half-Life was "deeply moving" to you and that is "spoke to the human condition?" Come on, get a life.

    The human condition is only what me make of it. Are we tied to living a certain kind of lifestyle or can we change it as we please? And your statement that no movie, play or other work of art with a PG rating or less can be moving and have an impact is utterly ridiculous. You obviously have a skewed view of the world. If someone doesn't shoot, maim and kill lots of other people while having sex with his next door neighbor's granddaughter, then it's not moving? Come on!

    You're statements contradict themselves. On one hand, you oppose exposing children to this kind of violence yet on the other hand, you say they can't function without being exposed to it.

    The games won't be disappearing off the shelves. They'll still be there. All that's happening is forcing the marketing of them to take a different path. Parents will still be able to choose to let their kids play the games. In fact they'll be able to have more control over their children this way, without the fear of having the violence forced on their children before they're ready.

    Yes, humans are a violent species. But that doesn't mean that we have remain so.

    --

  • After all we have a right to bare arms in Unreal tournament and Quake...
    We cannot let are god given right to use the annihilator or rail gun slip threw are fingers.

    Praise Causey www.thecauseyway.com
  • Schools don't have to teach morals, parents should be doing that. I listen more to my parents about morals than I would listen to my religion professor, anyhow.

    That said, it's not politically correct for a politican to get up there, and tell America's parents what fuckups they are, and that they are responsible for what's happening in this country.

    A man like that would never get elected. Telling it like it is just doesn't work when talking to the herd...
  • "There ought to be limits to freedom" GW Bush

    Scary, but in all fairnmess didn't Clinton say something about us having too much freedom. I think he might have said it on MTV of all places. Sorry I don't have the exact quote.

    Neither party is to be trusted, it is just a matter of which one will hurt us the least.

  • I agree with your points, but you know as well as everyone else that a single data point (you) cannot be, and is not, a persuasive argument. That said:

    there is someone we should be pointing our fingers at, and it's the parents out there, or as I like to call them, the fuckups.

    I subscribe to the idea of being born as a tabula rasa (clean slate), and being shaped mostly by the environment. If the environment (mostly your parents) makes you a killer, that's what you'll be. Eric and Dylan's parents should be in jail for mistreating their progeny, and causing them to do terrible things.

    Same thing with the rest of America, but it would be very politically incorrect for a politician to point the finger at the masses of fuckups errr parents out there, and tell them how they screwed up, and how they're responsible for the state of the US. That man would be right, but would never get elected.

    So we'll just busy ourselves with singling out more scapegoats, while ignoring a problem. The herd will never notice...
  • Wow!!! You know how to interpret the bible correctly??

    Somehow, people have been killing each other for hundreds, perhaps a thousand years because of this book, and how they interpret it ... but you know how to interpret it correctly? Wow!

    ** You must know how to interpret it correctly, if you know that 'stupid religious groups' are interpreting it wrong, correct?
  • by IronChef (164482) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:06AM (#441599) Homepage

    When I was 16 or so, I was playing Lazer Tag in the street in front of a friend's house. There were 3 of us. Two had the pistols (black, with red blinkenlights) and one had the Lazer Tag rifle (big and white, like a refrigerator, with red blinkenlights).

    We were playing at night. Someone in the neighborhood called the cops; we were told later that they had called in "man with a gun prowling around." Maybe they made that call knowing we had toy guns, because they just wanted us to go away. I'll never know.

    Anyway, the cops show up. I almost got killed. Literally. I was hiding behind a parked car. I hear a car driving up the street, and I think, "when it passes by, I will pop out and gun for my friend who I know is hiding across the street." Well, when I popped out I saw it was a POLICE car, passenger door open, driving slowly, deputy with a shotgun walking along with the car, using it for cover.

    He saw me pop up and pointed his shotgun at me. He must have been a cool customer because I did not get blown away. At than range (a couple of yards), the shotgun would have really made a mess of me.

    Anyway, I relate this tale of teenage misadventure to make the following points.

    1. It's too bad we live in a society where it just isn't safe to play with toy guns outside.

    2. To *some* extent at least it doesn't matter what your toy gun looks like. The cops still showed up for Lazer Tag. Because lighting was good where I was, the cop who aimed at me was able to make the right decision about my threat level. If it was darker it wouldn't have mattered what the toy gun looked like. I probably would have been shot based on my posture and the vaguely gun-shaped thing in my hand.

    If the LT pistol had looked like a real gun, I probably WOULD be dead. I still don't support laws that outlaw toy guns, or force restrictions on them. I am a fairly libertarian kind of person.

  • It is if you play it right.
  • Because the voters (parents) scream to the goverment "we don't want to do our job!"

    "You take care of these little monsters that we spawned!"

    "We just want to go back to watching monday night football and having affairs!"


    The average parent is a hopeless fuckup, but try getting a politican to tell the masses that...
  • Yes, I do.

    --

  • And the Bible is filled with very negative messages; anti-gay, anti-female, anti-other religion, etc.

    Not really. It's more just filled with the current beliefs of the time plus a whole lot of "love-thy-neighbor" messages. All that anti-stuff stuff came about from the stupid religious groups that interpret the thing incorrectly.

    --

  • by Faluzure (3650)
    This is retarded. Preventing M-rated games would eliminate most of the fun found in today's and the future's video games. They should quit trying to do this. It's pointless, we are Americans and this is our culture. We make these games because society wants it. If society doesn't demand M-rated games, then there would be no point to make them but we do, so leave us (and the developers) alone.
  • This reminds me about that movie with a terrorist living a normal life and his neighbour suspecting him, what was it called.... Arlington Road... there was one good point comming out of it: People needs to point at something tangible and do something about it to feel for their mind to rest. They arrest the terrorist, you feel more secure, but you forget that he had a message and some others will follow.

    Still following? I could apply the same concept with these people trying to shut down any exposure to violence. They're trying to find real world "guilty" hobbies that supposely promotes violence, without doing any research, without answering the question on HOW is, a game for example, affecting one's judgement. I play Quake (too many) hours a week, am I gonna go out and shoot someone? Hell no.

    It's sooooo easy for parents with violent kids to say "video games and TV fucked my child", not looking at themselves, the way they raised their kids, the value they teached. Parents or victims need to find guilty people, but they are never the cause of the problem of course. That's just plain hypocrite.

    School shootout for example, why would a normal tenn go out and kill specific people? because normally these specific people pissed them off beyond repair. Do you honnestly think that anyone "normal" would just happen to turn violent at specific individuals for absolutely no reason? without thinking about the consequences? c'mon.

    They try to find causes, but they are looking at the wrong place. That "violent" example, show me why a game would give him that idea, and after that explain to me how different from, let's say, building a snow castle and having snowball fights is that explanation and justification.

    My point is: stop being hypocrite and blaming games tv beggars and heavy metal music for your failure, that's just plain pathetic.

    Of course it's not always a parent's fault, there's always people and another universe around the teen, that can influence him/her good or bad. but then again, vigilant people would see this and try to seek help.

    And of course there are nuts everywhere that don't even think about acting, but will we stop our hobbies because of a few nutsacks? is our liberty threatened by a minority of people?
  • Nintendo realized the error of their "no violence" ways after the console release of Mortal Kombat I. Nintendo sanatized the blood and certain fatalities (e.g., changing Sub-Zero's decapitation w/ spine dangling from head fatality to simply freezing the baddie and punching him so that he shatters).

    The Super Nintendo version had far superior graphics and sound, but the Genesis version far outsold it.

    Nintendo pretty much decided to give up on being their customers' censor after that...

    --

  • by demaria (122790) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:06AM (#441607) Homepage
    I see a Jon Katz article in the making out of this. :) Wait a week, let's see.
  • Funny how no one (except some Gaming Sites)has been extensively publicizing the surgeon general's study on youth violence.

    Remember? The study that all the reactionary freaks demanded then claimed would validate their position? Fancy that, it didn't. Now no one wants to talk about it.

    That report can be found here:

    Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General [surgeongeneral.gov]

    To sumamrize another summary [avault.com] of the report:

    • Violent media plays no role at all in late onset violence (where a record of violent behavior begins in adolescence).
    • In violent behavior that begins before age eleven(11) media ranks as the 10th most significant factor behind violent parents, bad parenting, poverty, substance use, and natural agressive tendencies.
    So before you reactive momos point your judgemental little fingers away from your own slimy skins, go do a little research. I'd have a harder time cursing you out and laughing behind your back if you had ANY empirical backup.
  • Did I ever say that I supported it? My opinion is that if it doesn't benefit the US people, then we have no right spending US dollars, taken from the American people by force, on it.

    I don't care if the ammount spent is $100,000 or $100. All money that goes to the government comes from the American people through taxes. If you want to go give abortion counseling to other countries, go form your own private institution to do so, and keep you hand out of my pocket.

  • First they can't make toys that look like guns, now this! Watch, by 2003 it'll be illegal to sell little micromachine fighter airplaines.
  • While any industry agreeing to pre-censor itself is certainly a bad thing, and I hope that this measure fails quickly, I don't actually think it would prevent all these games from being made. Did anyone here buy Q3 as a result of advertising, as opposed to word of mouth?

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not an enormous fan of "really violent" games, and there are only a couple in that category I play. On the other hand, it seems ludicrous to be concerned with showing animated pixel blood when eny night of the week cable TV shows far far worse (which bothers you more: seeing a bunch of polygons fall off the side of a sprite in a shower of red pixels, or watching a very realistic representation of an actor's arm being shot off, complete with fake blood and screams? Don't answer all at once...) But whether any of these are "appropriate" for a given audience is a question for individuals and families, not the courts. Or it should be.

    Legislating morality = a bad thing.

  • IIRC, Congress can't make laws preventing stuff like this from being made or published in the first place (that First Amendment thing). However, there are things that can be done once it has been published. I'm not exactly sure which one they're trying to go for here..
    --
  • this has gone too far. people cannot blame TV and video games for violence in society. don't like Jackass on mtv? turn off the TV! dont like quake 3? dont buy it! dont like websites that advertise for X violent game? Dont visit! That is the basis of america. Free speech. freedom of choice. freedom of or FROM religons. I am personally ashamed to have supported al gore and joe lieberman now that they are so outspoken against freedom of speech and expression. i'm so tired of hearing people blame tv, games, books, etc. for problems in society. the problems stem from parents being so lazy that instead of parenting their children, they put them in front of the tv/computer/video game to babysit, and then they are upset because the tv/computer/video game is too violent. there are several church based and non-violent games/tv stations/books out there. if you dont want your kids setting themselves on fire because they saw it on jackass, tell them "now little jimmy, if you set your self on fire, its going to burn you. he's a trained professional, you're not" if you dont want your kids to shoot up his/her school, tell them "now little jimmy, if you go shoot your friends, you'll go to jail for a long long time, and your friends will not be here with us any more" the problem is not with kids seeing violence on tv. they need to see it, to know how the world really is, maybe not at a young age, but that should be up to the parents, not the govt, or some trade group. if parents would guide their children as they watch violent movies, watch sexual tv shows, play violent video games, then we'd have a better society. i hope that if the idsa adopts these standards that gaming companies withdraw from it or boycott it. we should write our congressmen, senators, etc to show them that we are against regulation and denial of our first amendment rights. i dont understand why the right believes they have the right to force their ideologies onto us. if we dont want to follow their standards, we dont have to. we dont have to listen to jerry falwell tell us how bad we are. some people dont care if they go to hell, so dont tell them that they are. people have a mind of their own and dont need some religous nut up on a stand taking the bible to extremes. i am not atheist or anti-religon, but some people are, and that's their choice
  • Computer games as a genre are neutral, but it seems as though game companies are rushing to produce the most bloody and violent games that they possibly can without any concern for the young lives that they are polluting. And I for one would be glad to see these games toned back down to levels at which they are not so brutal, because children sure as hell don't need to see that kind of thing.

    It all started with Mortal Kombat, but today that is tame compared to some of the blood and death games out there, where children are desensitised to death in the same way that soldiers are trained to be. How can this be right? Children are innocent, and that time in their lives is unique and should be cherished, not thrown away watching people having their entrails ripped out.

    There's enough violence in the world without bringing it into the front room. All I can say is thank God for Nintendo, who realise that you can have a great game without blood and guts.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:17AM (#441615) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps since some parents are incapable of raising children, all current and future children should be confiscated by the government to be raised in sterile, certified ISO facilities where they will be given the 24x7 attention and care they obviously need, instilled with the proper values and work ethic and released to be productive members of society at the age of 18.

    The benefits of such a system would include freeing parents, who these days both have to work to support the family, removal of the financial burden of children (The tax increase to support this should cost less since you're doing it in bulk) and the children will be raised in an environment that's much less likely to be physically or sexually abusive.

    All in all I think it'd be a good idea.

  • No - I, for one, expect parents to keep tabs on their kids, and take responsibility for their kids' actions. It's not my job. If I want to buy a copy of Quake, why should the fact that some snot-nosed brat's parents can't keep him/her under control, and keep track of what they're doing, preclude me from doing so?

    I don't think anyone's saying that kids won't be affected by anything that they see. But I just don't think that should burden or otherwise influence my ability to choose the games I wish to play. Make the parents be responsible for what their kids see and do - they brought them into this world, they think their genes are good enough to be passed on to a new generation - they should take responsibility for what they've created.
    _____
  • Oops, my fault. Teen lets you go to prostitutes. Mature lets you pimp.

    (Fallout 1/2 is M, Torment is T.Privateer 2 is also M)
  • Damnit...couldn't you just flame me back? Why did you have to go and be all reasonable?

    Muahaha! My master plan. Apology accepted. :)

    Isn't slippery slope usually considered a logical fallacy...?

    Well, not everyone believes it's a valid argument, but if you look at history there are a lot of examples. Even in the state of California, where I used to live, we went from "register your 'evil' guns and we promise they'll stay legal, we just want to keep track of them" to "we changed out minds, turn them in or you are a criminal" within a year or so. So it can happen.

    Switzerland: Google around for data, I don't have links around. But they are quite a gun culture, with some mandatory military service, and a lot of full-auto weapons knocking around. I don't have all the details here, but suffice to say with all that hardware misuse is infrequent.

    Economist article: Reading it now. You should read Gary Kleck's [guncite.com] studies. But this stuff is hard to study, it may never really get worked out.

    Truthfully, I don't care if it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that carrying a gun statistically makes me MORE at risk. I am the kind of person who would rather take the "risk," trusting in my intelligence and skills to carry the day if I ever had to use the weapon. (I do shoot pistol competitively. I have no experience with being attacked, but operation of the hardware is second nature and I have a lot of faith in that. I live in Seattle, where I can get a permit to carry a weapon, and I plan to do so. I shoot better than 99% of the cops out there, and I have an even temper.)

    I believe you mentioned somewhere in another post that you disapproved of too much sex in the media...

    Nope, wasn't me. I do not understand the American fear of that material either. We are a very odd culture here... it probably looks TOTALLY insane to an outsider. My Aussie friends who used to live here were in complete culture shock the whole time.
  • good point, good link.

    Here's the relevane page from the study about media and games. The result? There's quite possibly a real association, but it's *small*, and likely just an indicator of tendancies already there.

    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolenc e/sgreport/Chapter4/appendix4bsec2.htm#TelevisionF ilm [surgeongeneral.gov]
  • Nintendo is desparately trying to get away from that "family" image.

    There's no more money in making Mario 5123. FPS, RTS and action games are where the market has gone.

    LK
  • I'm really getting tired of running into immature brats playing online (M-rated) games. I'm not fond of censorship, but if it keeps some anti-social teen from going hostile on me in Diablo 2, I'm all for it.

    Or just make them take a psych exam previous to buying the game. That way we'll know if they're serial killers trying to get their jollies.
  • Kind of interesting that this comes at the same time as the report from the Surgeon General [surgeongeneral.gov] which does not blame games or TV for youth violence. Rumours before it was released had it that the report did in fact claim that there was a strong connection between violence and media, and the Los Angeles Times (which appearently had gotten its hands on a draft version) claimed that it would say that "statistical evidence on the connection of real violence to media violence was as strong as lung cancer's connection to smoking". More discussion of the report at the Adrenaline Vault [avault.com].

    An aside - whenever this topic comes up, 99% of the posters seem to agree that no connection exists, and that censorship is bad. I agree that we have to be careful with censorship, but I wanted to ask, what do you think causes the greater amount of violence in America? If it isn't the culture, what is it? If you say, "parents", what made American parents fail where parents from other countries succeed? If it isn't culture, what? Something in the water?

    I'm not trolling. I really want to know your opinion on this.

    ************************************************ ** *


  • 1. It's already illegal to be a fool and store your gun where kids can get at it. It has been for a long time. The penalties are severe. Such laws seem never to be enforced. Why? Beats me. Probably because the anti-gun crowd has an easier time getting more laws passed with a pile of dead kids around. If some parents did get locked up for being retards, other parents might get a clue and rates of accidental shootings might decline. That probably isn't optimal for the Master Plan, which is getting rid of all the guns period. (Was this an excessively cynical comment? Maybe. Maybe not.)

    2. The solution to bad parents is not more laws.

    As to the rest... forget it, I'm too lazy to have this argument today. Let's just agree to disagree.
  • Perhaps since some parents are incapable of raising children, all current and future children should be confiscated by the government to be raised in sterile, certified ISO facilities where they will be given the 24x7 attention and care they obviously need, instilled with the proper values and work ethic and released to be productive members of society at the age of 18.

    Well, we are going to be under Republican rule for at least the next 4 years. Anything could happen.
  • Damnit...couldn't you just flame me back? Why did you have to go and be all reasonable? Ok. I sincerely apologize for the personal attacks in my previous post. I mean it. Nevertheless, I'd like to adress some points:

    >It is true that the NRA lobbies against every single gun restriction. They're believers in the slipperly slope thing. Give an inch, you lose a mile.

    Isn't slippery slope usually considered a logical fallacy...? I know I don't want to ban all guns. That is defenitely a too severe infringement on personal rights. ...Of course, what I think doesn't really matter since I am not a US citizen. Aren't you glad? ;-)

    I'm not sure about the Switzerland example. I have heard it mentioned several times, but never from a reliable source. I know that some NRA people have used Sweden as an example in similar arguments. Sweden has more guns per capita than the US, but less violent crime, they say. However, what they fail to meantion is that what we have are rarely assault rifles or even handguns, but hunting rifles.
    Furthermore, the law says these must be
    A) Securely locked, for instance in a safe
    B) kept with a vital part removed, and
    C) In a separate place from the ammunition

    I'm not sure if it is a requirement to buy a gun, but to hunt, you have to have a hunting licence, and to get one of those you have to pass a pretty difficult test.

    >There is one other main reason to be anti-gun: many anti gunners simply don't believe in the possibility or the right to self-defense. They prefer to rely on the police for everything, and they are trying to arrange it so that you have no other option. I find these people especially odious. Self-defense is a basic human right, and the best tool for it is a gun. Even if you don't think people should be allowed to carry guns, they should have the right to keep one at home.

    I am sceptical that a gun is the best tool for self-defence. Did you read the article in the Economist [economist.com]? Of course, I don't believe that this is the final word or anything. I know Lott has sent a letter disputing the claims. But the Economist tend to do very well researched articles. I just don't see how having a gun is going to stop somebody from shooting me. If they know I might have a gun, isn't that just going to increase the likelyhood they make sure I don't get a chance to fire it, for instance by shooting me in the back without warning? If they have a knife at least I can run, but few people can outrun a bullet.

    By the way, I grew up in a hunting family. My grandad, my dad and my brother hunted. My brother is now a cop. So I am not unfamiliar with guns. I have been out on several hunting trips, and while I never was present while an animal was killed, I did see the dead bodies and the butchering. I have also done target shooting, and when I did military service I learned to use a machine gun (model 1945...I was a radar operator. If the enemy ever got into the command central it would be short distance combat, so the guns would actually be ok, especially since they are light to carry. They gave the modern guns, AK4 and AK5, to the people who would be in the field). So I have some familiarity with guns and might even be said to have experienced the "gun culture".

    I believe you mentioned somewhere in another post that you disapproved of too much sex in the media (or did I confuse you with somebody else?). That is such an alien concept to me. If you have to censor something, I really prefer that they allow sex (a natural, pleasure giving, life affirming act) and ban violence like they do in Sweden, instead of the other way around like in the US.

    ************************************************ ** *


  • Wish I had a +1 for you, well said.

    As to being afraid of guns -- well, it is better than being cocky and overconfident. But you are not being served by your fear. Too much fear is a detriment. If you have trustworthy friends or relatives who go shooting, try to go on a trip with them. Learn a little, like how to handle a gun safely. Having knowledge like that can never hurt.

    I actually think they should teach kids about guns in school, kind of like what they do with cars. They should show videos of gunshot wounds, like they do with car crashes. They should teach you basic things like "don't point a gun at anyone."

    (I actually think that kids should be taught HOW to shoot in school, because training can instill respect for the weapon, and it demystifies it, making daddy's hidden gun less attractive.)
  • Okay, I don't know that he said that, but the issue is that Bush and Cheney know what freedom is, and think it is a good thing, but it is not an unqualified good thing. That's far better than the democrats, who think that freedom is completely irrelevant, because they will discover the one true way to run your life, and then they will force it on you.

    I dislike republicans because they're inconsist in applying their principles and tend toward hypocracy. I displike democrats because they're servants of the devil who want to enslave the world to acheive their goals.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:43AM (#441654) Journal
    I don't play half life-- and I suck at Quake III. But I do enjoy the 'M' rated games from Bioware-- Torment, Fallout, etc. I did think that Privateer (also an 'M' game) was rather juvenile. On the whole, I like the freedom that a 'M' rating gives to its designers.

    No, the bloodspatter isn't strictly neccesary, but decapitating kobolds is somehow more satisfying than a bloodless death. It also wouldn't be quite the same without the prostitutes (male and female).

    Next thing you know, the'll be going after D&D taverns for serving liquor...
  • by Rylfaeth (138910) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @10:45AM (#441655)
    Are you stupid or just not paying attention?? Joe Lieberman is for censorship FOR CHILDREN, not censorship FOR EVERYONE "to protect the children". He has stated many times that Hollywood and videogame companies and any other entertainment companies should be allowed to make their products, whether they be violent or pornographic, et al. He feels that these products should not be marketed towards or sold to children. That is not the mark of a right-wing religious censoring nut...that's the mark of somebody with a brain. Children SHOULDN'T watch porn and children SHOULDN'T watch people be gruesomely murdered on-screen day after day after day...these are products for adults, and Joe Lieberman is only trying to keep them for adults.
    -Rylfaeth
  • Despite the fact most games are rated, the codes are voluntary. Enforcing of the codes, in most states anyway, is voluntary. I would simply stop using the ESRB. That way, when I publish a game and target it at kids (who are my primary consumers), I don't violate this proposal. Many record companies do not use the codes or "parental advisory" on grounds of censorship.

    As for the ratings, they're probably too high anyway. What is mature about Quake anyway? I would allow my (if I had one) under-17 play it at about age 12 or 13. Keep in mind that some manufacturer's ask for a higher rating to start with. It's the same reason why there are so many R movies out there.

    ----------------------

  • "those who would sacrifice a freedom for security will get, and deserve, neither" (not an exact quote of Franklin, I think).

    It's your kid. Hate to break it to you, but it isn't our responsibility to raise your kid how you want him raised. Nor is it our job to subject ourselves to inconvenience to make it easier for you to raise your kid how you want. Don't want your kid playing violent video games? Don't get him a video game system and know who his friends are. "Oh, but that's so much work, couldn't the government do it for me?"

    What the ratings system has meant is that if you want to make a movie that doesn't pass the board with an R, you aren't going to get to show it anywhere. How many of you saw Kids in the theater? I thought it was a great movie with a important message. You know what else? No kids are going to go see it. I mean, a friend of my who ran a church youth group took them to see it, but it's not exactly going to spread by word of mouth.

    How about American History X? Rated R. Only movie that has ever given me a nightmare. Should children be allowed to see it? Sure, why not? They can go to a bookstore and get a copy of Hersey's Hiroshima, with graphic descriptions of people's flesh falling off from the effects of radiation sickness, or Eli Weisel's Night that talks about people starving to death or grateful even for someone turning a hose on the train car they were locked in because it was unbearably hot. But when someone tries to present an unpleasant issue in a format that may actually attract those who don't like to read books, they won't let the kids in.

    It's not the movies, or the video games, that are violent and brutal. It's reality. If you want to shelter your son from that fact, that's fine. But do not ask me to help you gut culture because you don't like it. You keep your kids sheltered by keeping them sheltered. Like with a curfew, and keeping track of what they do.

    You are the problem. The entirity of the problem in today's world is reflected in your whining. You want someone else to solve your problems for you. You don't want to have to do things for yourself. This is the problem, whether people are saying they don't want to deal with their personality problems and turn to drugs, that they don't want to deal with the fact that they're a klutz and turn to personal injury attorneys, that they don't want to deal with teh fact that they're a loser and sue for wrongful termination, or that they don't want to deal with the fact that they are not confident in their ability to raise a child and turn to government to do it for them.
  • Maybe they should follow the lead of this idea [segfault.org] , as seen on Segfault. [added commentary follows]
    TV-Distributed Web to Be Censored

    Television companies will are poised to start delivery of Web content, but have announced today that they will be censoring all content they deliver. Due to fears of lawsuits based on the decency of material found on the Internet and the potential for distribution of copyrighted material, all content sent to homes over TV station bandwidth will be delivered sans graphics, video and audio. This is made possible by a revolutionary new piece of technology called Lynx.

    "Lynx will allow our affiliate stations to deliver web content with full certainty that none of the content is indecent, offensive, or copyrighted," said Jeff Singleworth, vice-president of ABC Corp. "We're also putting into place a word blocker which removes all offensive language from websites, so that we can be absolutely positive there is nothing which will get us in any trouble with anyone for any reason."

    "The real beauty of the system is that it will allow our users to stream text into their home in real-time, what with all the bandwidth we're saving by not transmitting graphics, audio or video."

    Pricing for the text browsing service is expected to start at $49.00/mo, and is projected to launch late third quarter, 2001.

    All we need is a purely text based sytem for gaming.

    Pure Text(tm), the latest advance in Mature Systems gaming. PureText by MS would be the best system for CDs, DVDs, and Streaming Text presentation systems. Plus the use of the Pure Text system allows for far more content and far larger worlds than has been experienced before.

    This is an Idea whose time has come.

  • Part of the problem is that much of the gaming press is largely undifferentiated, with "kids" games being covered right along with the mature ones. The rationale to this is that even older game players who play games like Quake can still also enjoy the latest Zelda release. Much of the attitude that typifies computer gaming is centered on "fun", which in America's twisted sense of work ethic and maturity is equated with "kid stuff". naturally anything that's bright, colorful and entertaining is either aimed at children or losers who never grew out of it. "Normal" adults should have no interest in it because they're clearly too old to play with toys, and the people who make these games are clearly just trying to extract money from kids since they couldn't possibly actually want to play such dreck.
  • >Could it be because the NRA bribes the republican party with millions of dollars to prevent any gun law, no matter how common sense, from being passed or enforced?

    Wow, you have it all wrong. Understandable, you aren't from here, the system probably looks screwy. Well, it is. But one thing you should be crystal clear on is this: the pro-gunners here are strongly, strongly in favor of the enforcement of existing anti-gun-crime laws. The NRA and its kin are big backers of stuff like "use a gun, go to jail." The reason is simple -- they know that the only chance they have not to get new, more restrictive gun bans passed is to enforce the "abuse a gun, go to jail" laws that are already out there. So whatever else we may disagree on, or whatever you think about politics over here, just understand that one thing.

    It is true that the NRA lobbies against every single gun restriction. They're believers in the slipperly slope thing. Give an inch, you lose a mile. (Yes, I am an NRA member.)

    >Why would someone ever be anti-gun if it wasn't to save kids from being killed by guns?

    There is one other reason: To change society. We have a lot of anti-gun-CULTURE sentiment here. There are a lot of people who seem to care less about "the children" than they do about getting rid of people who have a tradition of gun ownership. It's an ideological struggle, as bitter as any one a society has had over religion, abortion, or anything else. You just don't see it that way unless you are on the front lines as an activist for one side or the other.

    There are polite, well-armed societies out there like Switzerland. Every man there has a machine gun, given to him by the state. Yet their society isn't in chaos. Instead of trying to figure out what they are doing right, here in the US they are trying to paint all guns and the gun culture as evil.

    There is one other main reason to be anti-gun: many anti gunners simply don't believe in the possibility or the right to self-defense. They prefer to rely on the police for everything, and they are trying to arrange it so that you have no other option. I find these people especially odious. Self-defense is a basic human right, and the best tool for it is a gun. Even if you don't think people should be allowed to carry guns, they should have the right to keep one at home.

    >Oh, of course, it is all a plot to disarm white trash so the UN can invade and occupy their precious trailer parks.

    Wow, nice shot! You combined conspiracy theory and classic US white trash racism and tried to paint me with it because we disagree. Very classy. Very mature. C'mon... start taking about my overalls or pickup truck.
  • by GenChalupa (150051) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:11AM (#441686)
    It's always nice when *facts* humiliate the long-winded rants of Jon Katz.

    Since Bush won, all we've heard from him is "Evil Bush! He will only let you read books on baseball!! He's evil I tell you!"

    All of this was speculation, since Bush's record on any type of censorship is virtually non-existant. (That's good!)

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Joe Lieberman's *record* indicates a strong eagerness to censor based on "protecting the children." (Games, TV, movies, magazines...)

    Now, you may not like Bush, but let's be honest: when put side-by-side with Joe Lieberman, he's our *friend!*

    Add that to the fact that John Ashcroft is a die-hard privacy proponent, and arch-nemesis of Carnivore, etc.... hey, things are pretty good.

    GenChalupa
  • by LordAlpha (247426) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:14AM (#441691)
    What about freedom of choice?. Is the government the one who should say what is correct and what is not regarding computer games?. Is their responsibility?. I think not. Are people that stupid that they cannot choose or tell their children what they can buy and what they cannot?. Isn't the rating enough? One more time, the responsibility is placed where it shouldn't be.
  • Toy guns are different issue.

    There are stories about how a teenager (youngish teen) pointed a very realistic toy gun at a cop at night. Cop couldn't tell that it was a toy, it looked real, and so the cop shot the kid. Wrong thing to do? No. Unfortunate? Yes. After all, the police officer needs to protect his own life.

    The toy guns is understandable. This is a different can of worms.
  • Knowing Congress, they'll probably comply with IDSA's request, in the interest of "protecting the children". As an avid gamer, I believe this is a crock of $#!+, but Congress is known to be unclueful about such things.

    It might happen anyway, but perhaps a few hundred thousand letters from gamers might demonstrate that there's another side to this issue.

    Some possible arguments (brainstorming for my own letter):
    -Multiplayer games are essentially competitive sports, not much different from physical sports like football. They promote teamwork, cooperation, and perseverence.
    -There is no evidence that violent games lead to real-world violence. In fact, many theorize that it does exactly the opposite, providing a channel for stressed people to let out their aggression in a safe way.
    -Existing rating systems make it easy for parents to distinguish between violent and nonviolent games. For instance, the game _Soldier of Fortune_ bears a large red stop sign on the front of its box, containing a clear warning to parents. There is no possible way a parent could mistake this game for a harmless Disney adventure. SoF and other games also carry easy to read ESRB content ratings.

    -John
  • by Urban Existentialist (307726) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:16AM (#441701) Homepage
    Their claims that games such as QIII and Half Life will not continue to be produced are totally baseless. The simple fact is that the majority of these titles are aimed at the adult market of over 18's. I am not sure I would feel comfortable if my son, who is just 13, were playin Quake III all the time, just as I would not like him to watch 18 rated films. Ratings in the cinema have not meant the death of the film industry, nor have they meant the death of violent films with adult content. The same will be true of the games industry.

    Does the games industry want to be tarred with the same reputation as the cigarette industry? They will get it if they continue saying that they have to market violent QIII type games at children, right or wrong (rightly, in my view).

    You know exactly what to do-
    Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh-

  • >Typical pansy-ass liberal European.

    Let's deconstruct that.

    >European

    At least you got the continent right, that's better than most trollers.

    >liberal

    I guess.

    >Pansy-ass

    Well Mr Anonymous Coward, at least I have the courage to stand for my opinion and use my real name.

    >Someone oughta pop a cap in your ass.

    Words, words...


    ************************************************ ** *

  • See this article [ign.com] on IGN.com...

    "A recent meta-analysis of these studies found that the overall effect size for both randomized and correlational studies was small for physical aggression... and moderate for aggressive thinking. (Anderson & Bushman, in press). In separate analyses, the effect sizes for both randomized and cross-sectional studies was small. The impact of video games on violent behavior remains to be determined."

    So I guess "Science cannot prove that videogames forcibly take control of any child's mind and deny them the reasonability of free will against thoughts of emulating acts as violent as ripping another's heart our with only bare hands and attacking nubile undressed females with their mutated mandible claws", hopefully congress realizes this.

    -----
  • Where do these young impressionable children get these games? How many kids do you know who can afford to buy $50 games? Their parents buy them. If the parents don't take the time to read the package, it's not the game company's fault.

    It all started with Mortal Kombat, but today that is tame compared to some of the blood and death games out there, where children are desensitised to death in the same way that soldiers are trained to be.

    That's a lie. It's been perpetuated by people with a political axe to grind. Soldiers are trained to kill and overcome the natural aversion to killing your own kind by S-R. Stimulus-Response training is the best known way to overcome the natural aversion to killing your own kind. The targets that they use aren't pictures of people, they are silhouettes of human forms. In training you're just shooting silhouettes. The stimulus of a hostile silhouette gets the response of aiming and shooting. Stimulus=Hostile target. Response= Aim and shoot. Over and over again this sequence is repeated in training. They teach soldiers to disconnect the action of shooting from the reality of killing. No muss, no fuss the target pops up, you shoot the target goes down.

    In video games you get gore, you get blood, you get screams, you get corpses. Military training is rather sanitized by comparison.

    There's enough violence in the world without bringing it into the front room.

    Seeing and knowing in advance what a bullet will do to someone will make someone think twice before using violence unnecessarily.

    All I can say is thank God for Nintendo, who realise that you can have a great game without blood and guts.

    Two words "Killer Instinct", Nintendo and Rareware made one of the most violent arcade games ever.

    LK
  • I work in tech support for a school district. One of the psychologists told me that very few parents these days believe school personnel when their children are discipline problems. It's "You people are LYING! My LITTLE ANGEL never did anything. I going to SUE for making my little Sweetums leave the classroom." Parents want to use the net, videogames, school, and tv to babysit their kids for them. That's why we keep hearing this ridiculous censorship crap over and over again.

    Yes, I absolutely blame lazy parents who can't even be bothered to raise their own children. It isn't videogames, it isn't the net, it isn't music, and it certainly isn't the tv. These problems we have thrown in our faces again and again by the media are the sole result of lazy self indulgent parents who refuse to take responsibility.
  • Whenever I hear such arguments I compare myself to my sister. We obviously have the same genetic simularities (same parents) and grew up in similar enviroments (we shared a house) but I was the first child and my parents were far less restrictive with me than with my sister (they went religious about the time my sister was born but not so much as to try to change the direction they were raising me).

    I was exposed to 'real life' from the time I was a baby. Able to go where I wanted when I wanted for the most part, able to watch anything I wanted, listen to any time of music I wanted, use the Internet as I wanted, and play any type of games I wanted. My sister on the other hand was kept on a protective leash so as to not be exposed to supposedly harmful things such as violence, bad language, nudity/sex, drugs and all that stuff. She has never been able to go places without asking permission, couldn't watch movies above PG/P3-13, was forbidden from dating, couldn't listen to music that my parents didn't like and couldn't play video games more violent than Commander Keen (hey I love that game but y'know there are other good games).

    Today I am fairly well rounded. I've never been on drugs or smoked. I'm comfortable traveling to places I've never been and trying new things and have lived in several places. I've got a pretty good job and am working on improving my situation as I go. In other words I'm pretty normal and IMO happier and more confident than the average person.

    My sister has never managed to live on her on, go to school, get a job, etc. She's always afraid of everything and is pretty guliable. Overall she's depressed and uncertain of any direction for her life. She is easily pulled into weird and extreme cultish religious groups (anything that outwardly differs from the religous structure she was raised under). She is very effected by peer pressure and does almost anything her friends or the media make her think is required of her.

    Maybe this is an unusual case but I don't think so. Most my friends that are similar in personality to myself were raised under similar conditions. I'm not saying encourage your kids to beat the dog and watch pornos all day but I think expossure to real life help build a sense of how the world really is and a personal sense of place and morals. I certainly will raise all my children under a trust system and let them all have a lot of freedom.

    I am for the idea of ratings but they should be by content types and not left to comittees to decide upon. I like the life-like violence, cartoonish violence, nudity, etc ratings much better than G, PG, PG13, R, MA, etc stuff that is just tacked on psuedo-randomly. This gives parents an idea of what is really in the movie/music/game/etc before they buy the product. After they buy the product they should carefully review it before giving it to their child and make their choice with care. The government, corporations, and parent/religious/etc groups should not make these dicissions for us. A lot of fine art has been lost for all time because of censorship based on someone elses morals. I really don't like to see that happen and I doubt anyone else does either. It just sort of happens as things get left on the editing room floor as each group takes their shots at it.

    I'd argue that ratings have shreaded the availability of quality medita that is outside the mass-appeal norm. How many bad films add just a little bad language or nudity to get bumped up to an R rating to get more attention from their target market? How many movies have to clip out things that add to the plot but are deemed upfit because they say 'fuck' rather than 'darn' one to many times or show a nipple for 2 minutes rather than 5 seconds? Instead to see things of that nature we tend to have to get foriegn films, skinimax crap, film festival stuff etc. The rules are completely nutty and based on moving ideals of the moral norm. I for one don't like living to the lowest common denominator of society.

    Hrm that was long and spammy but hopefully made some sense without offending anyone. :)
  • In stores like wal mart, you have to be at least 17 to buy rated M games. They even card you. They are already regulating who these games go to. What is wrong with these games? They don't promote violence. I mean, sometimes I really want a railgun in some situations. But how can they really control this without taking another chunk of our freedome away?

  • And the Bible is filled with very negative messages; anti-gay, anti-female, anti-other religion, etc.

    Not really. It's more just filled with the current beliefs of the time plus a whole lot of "love-thy-neighbor" messages. All that anti-stuff stuff came about from the stupid religious groups that interpret the thing incorrectly.

    Exactly! It's a good thing we live in modern times where we're tolerant of minorities, other religions, faggots, pillow-biters, rug-munchers, fudge-packers, etc. Otherwise, something like the Bible would only provoke hatred of these groups.

  • by Fervent (178271) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:19AM (#441727)
    I don't agree with the majority of this article, but I do believe the current rating systems on games is an absolute joke.

    I recall going to purchase Unreal Tournament, a game with fanciful violence but a ton of blood just the same. Some kids simply took the game up to the cash register and bought it (the employee completely ignoring the M (17+) rating). When there was a parent involved, they simply plopped down their credit card at the cash register.

    I even pointed out that the game had a good deal of blood and violence to one parent, who was buying it for a kid who looked around 10. "There's blood in this game?" she said. They don't show blood on the front of the box. I pointed out the M rating that was clearly stamped on the front. "Oh. I didn't even know what that meant".

    More education has to be given to parents and even kids that M rated games should only be viewed by adults. Hell, can you imagine if 10-year olds across the nation were all watching Hannibal without their parents knowing its contents? Nightmare city.

    --------
    Carmack is an elitist, pseudonerd bastard.

  • by doormat (63648) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:21AM (#441732) Homepage Journal
    Kids without proper parental support and guidance kill kids, and since its not politically correct to teach morals to kids in school nowadays, the only people to teach kids right from wrong is their parents. Parents who drop the ball, or just "dont have time" to talk to their kids about this stuff are fucking it up for the rest of us... or maybe the parents dont know because they were not taught this stuff when they were kids (not too long ago).
  • The article and implications do not say that you won't be able to purchase these games. But, it will force stores that carry these games to make sure that only adults or supervisied children can browse and purchase M titles. If the implication that you couldn't even purchase these games was in there, then tons of established free speech issues are in play, and last I check, the porn industry is still thriving.

    However, I do think that limiting advertizing is questionable. I think that the industry needs to work with game magazines and the gov't to set self-regulating standards for print and internet ads that, while advertizing an M-rated game, don't cross a PG line, when these ads are in 'family' settings. For example, printing Q3A will full-gore on screenshots, or showing the heroine in the skimpy bathsuit is questionable. Of course, I could demand that they don't publish beer ads in sports magazines, since I'm sure kids read those too...

    Free speech will win out in the end, and fortunately the game industry has the porn industry which has fought with congress alot on these established fronts to make their point.

  • The problem is, many people associate video games with kids, not realizing that there are adult oriented video games, and that adults are actually serious gamers. I think some different marketing would go a long way, perhaps even organizing the games in stores according to age level. And bright yellow stickers on the boxes blatently advertising that the game is not for children may also help to inform the rest of the world that all games are not childrens games. Yes, I don't like it either, but if it shuts up the whiners, so be it. Then parents/polititions/whoever would have no one to blame but themselves if their children are playing Q3. Somewhere along the line, these people need to actually do some parenting. I think that the suggestions I have made would make it easy enough for them to do so. Besides, a bright yellow sticker on the box would make it easier to find the games I like *grin*


    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

  • Yea, for reals. He'd be at the church and we'd connect over a spare church phone line for deathmatching with doom. The only game he wouldnt touch was heretic (for obvious reasons). He said theres nothing wrong with killing demons if you're a pastor. I found it quite cool.

    Also not all warnings are ignored. For a period of time I worked at a blockbuster video and our store manager used to consistantly make sure none of us customer service reps would rent out the games unless the child was a certain age. (despite the fact i didnt believe it mattered)
  • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:30AM (#441765) Homepage
    Are you a parent? If so then you shouldn't be allowing them to play violent games in much the same way as you shouldn't allow them to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Ever hear of parental responsibility? Why should I as a 30 year old be deprived of something I consider fun because parents are too bone-idle to do their jobs?
  • Of course not, because Billy-Bob would have to shift his 350 pound carcass from the pro-wrestling to see what his son is up to on the computer. Protect the kids, no film harder than Mary Poppins is allowed.
  • Call me crazy... but I thought it was the parents responsibility to decide what is appropriate for a child to play with, not the government...
    the last time I checked the parent was bringing home the money to pay for these games no one forces Mortal Kombat or Half Life on you.
    and if the kid down loads an ISO of the game from that evil internet it's still the parents responsibility to know what there kid is doing on line. Parental ignorance is not an excuses to censer every thing in the world.

    Praise Causey...

  • by sqlrob (173498) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:36AM (#441777)
    All of this was speculation, since Bush's record on any type of censorship is virtually non-existant. (That's good!)

    "There ought to be limits to freedom" GW Bush

  • Well this will certainly affect the advertising budgets of gaming magazines, but I question how well advertising works for games in general. The vast majority of games I buy, I purchase for the following reasons: 1) Good review from gaming websites 2)I played the demo and liked it or 3)I played it at my friends house and want to join in for some multiplayer action.

    I don't think I've ever bought a game just because it had some hot babe or something in an ad I saw for it. Games are like movies, they sell by word of mouth.

    100% Ad free. The Linux Pimp [thelinuxpimp.com]

  • We will, however, leave you with this thought: we're chilled to the bone by the lengths to which the IDSA seems to be prepared to go to appease the U.S. Congress and the Federal Trade Commission.

    The article in its chilled indignation completely ignores whether or not limiting minors' exposure to violence is a good thing.

    I hate to admit it, since I enjoy a bit of violence in my movies and videogames: I'd like to believe that we can all handle any type of stimulus at any age, but it seems that study after study shows that kids exposed to violent media absorb that violence like sponges - acting it out in a myriad of ways against their peers.

    It seems a bit journalistically irresponsible to automatically take the side of the videogame industry's profits when there are other issues involved here.
  • In the words of Eminem, 'Where were the parents at'? The clerk may be to blame, but the responsibility ultimately lies with the parents. At the age of 12 my parents didn't watch me 24 hours a day but weren't stupid. After all you just have to look at the packaging on Quake to see that it isn't really suitable for young children. Mine would have been straight back to the shop shouting the odds about selling products clearly marked as not for children to me. But then my parents aren't irresponsible and bone-idle, expecting everyone else do the parenting for them.
  • sharkticon said ,"It all started with Mortal Kombat."

    Actually, there has been violence in video games about as long as there has been video games. The first interactive video game was "Spacewar" in 1961.

    In the mid 70s, I remember watching the older kids play a gunfighter game at a local pizza place.

    The first 3D shoot'em'up was battlezone. I stuck many a quarter in that machine.

    The 3D shoot'em'up that got the most quarters out of me was Star Wars. I got to blow up the death star and all the people on it! Pretty violent.

    Meanwhile, on the PC I remember some text games that described some pretty graphic detail when you died or killed a monster.

    Mortal Kombat got Joe Lieberman's attention, and next thing you know we have ratings on video games (not unlike Tipper Gore and her warning labels on music, another can of worms). Gore/Lieberman, the censorship ticket - and I thought dems were into free speech.

    My point is that video games haven't gotten more violent, graphics quality has just improved. Blood splattered on "Gunfight" too, it was just with 8 bit graphics.

    mrlefty
  • It's the job of the parents to enforce what their children do, not the job of Walmart or JOhn Carmack.
  • No, but the Bandura study (bobo doll) seems to be pretty relevant here. A child watching a character kill and be rewarded, not punished, is more likely to exhibit that behavior.

    I trust the Bandura study more than I trust any recent meta-analysis study.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with behavioral pyschology/the Bandura study: http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/bandura.html [ship.edu] look for "bobo doll studies"

  • In Finland we already have had a law for that. It has been enfrorced since 1/1/2001.

    There is some infromation (English too) in the web page of Finnish Board of Film Classification (www.vet.fi for Goatsex paranoids). The system is based on idea that the importers have the responsibility of setting the age limits.

    There are five categories: Everyone, 7+ years, 11+, 15+ and 18. Now, only 18 is an *absolute* limit (BTW: it is as well the drinking/driving/voting limit here too). The 18 marking means that no-one under 18 is allowed to *buy* such a game and stores are not allowed to sell them for minors. The other limits are only recommendations.

    The BoFC will not supervise activly the age limits, but can call a game for checking and enforce a limit. If the Board sets a limit, it will become absolute too. E.g. If the Board sets a limit of 15 years, the shops can not sell the ame for persons under 15.

    Some recent age limits are: Mechwarrior 4: 11, 1/2-life 15, Q3: 15 years. Not too bad, IMHO.

    -P


  • The US is on a role to censor all that it can nowadays presenting the notion that things which are not under direct control of government are somehow threatening to the well being of the US.

    The CIA [cia.gov] posted a speech by Louis Tenet, their director about one of the threates facing the US' superpower status, which went like this:

    Mr. Chairman, we are in a race with technology itself. We are creating relations with the private sector and academia to help us keep pace with ever-changing technology. Last year I established the Information Operations Center within CIA to bring together our best and brightest to ensure that we had a strategy for dealing with the cyber threat.

    This is part of the same government the is getting its servers defaced every other month, and not because their clueless, but rather because they use these istances to push for more power and funding.

    Along with partners in the Departments of Justice, Energy, and Defense we will work diligently to protect critical US information assets. Let me also say that we must view our space systems and capabilities as part of the same critical infrastructure that needs protection.

    Speech can be found here [cia.gov]

    Here's a solution for this threat, DON'T POST CLASSIFIED MATERIALS ONLINE, which they don't so what exactly is this threat? Someone DDoS'ing a webserver? 15 years ago when they only had the SIPRNET amongst themselves this wasn't an issue, they still use SIPRNET but now its an issue?

    Violence will always be violence and will always exist and whether video games, movies, music promotes it is never truly known, all we hear about are studies, and polls which claim this is the case, violence is fueled by games, music, etc. I never took any polls asking me questions, have you? Where are they getting their information from? has anyone took a quick look to think about this, who exactly is it thats answering these questions, and who gave them the right to decide for the majority of the people?

    Lacking the control they would love to have, the government will attempt to control as much as they can while they'll turn around and their explanation will be "Its for your own good", well to be honest I'm more concerned about getting better funding for schools, building housing for those in need, drug rehabilitation vs. incarceration. Not for my tax dollars to be spent by political bigwigs chasing the people at Bonsai Kitten [bonsaikitten.com] because they think its immoral. Why haven't they done anything to sites like Defacation Vacation [defvac.com] which posts pictures of women getting raped, killed, etc? Surely a life of a human would supercede a kitten?

    The same government is claiming that Cuba is our worse enemy, are you serious? Cuba? Give me a break Uncle Scam, Cuba is so crippled the only threat they could pose is if they stopped smuggling Cigars to those in Politics under the table.

    We can't forget the Osama Bin Laden incident where he's using crypto and stenography. Whats next are they going to go after Spam Mimmic [spammimmic.com] for jumbling up words?

    anyways enough rambling I have better things to do [antioffline.com]

  • by bwalling (195998) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @08:50AM (#441804) Homepage
    Look, I played Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, etc starting when I was 13. The games have had no effect on me. I am scared to death of guns. If I ever see one in real life, I will not even be able to pick it up.

    There will always be people in the world who are weakminded enough to try to solve their problems with violence. This has very little to do with video games, movies, or television. Do you think that people somehow get confused about the danger of guns when they kill someone in a video game? No, they don't. Do you think they get desensitized? Not in real life. Yes, I am less sensitive to video game and movie violence, profanity, and sex than I used to be. That, however, has nothing to do with real life. I am very much opposed to violence in real life. I am not a proponent of using profanity in public, especially in the presence of children. I am opposed to having a society that is too sexual.

    So, you tell me what has happened to me as a result of playing video games.

    No matter what you do, there will always be seedy people who seek violence or graphic pornography or whatever else. Please don't take things away from me because you are looking for something to point your finger at. Perhaps you should point to the fact that there are no restrictions on procreation. We have some of the worst members of our society producing offspring. They grow up with alcoholic, violent parents. Often, they grow up with one parent and grow enraged at a parent who abused or left them. Perhaps we should look at why our society does not frown upon things like adultery and divorce.
  • What the hell are you talking about?! Joe Lieberman is one of the biggest censorship advocates around. He would've been your vice-president. Yes, technically he's a democrat, but he was fairly right-wing at that.

    This same BS would be happening if Gore were in the white house. Maybe not some of the other stuff, but this would. The problem here is the misinformation of the current media. I think we all know about the false connections in all these school murders (well, at least the ones where white kids got killed) between the killers and video games and film and music that later were found to be completely made up. The news is reporting what people want to hear, and people want a scape goat, so they're blaming "unsavory" items of entertainment and killing their first ammendment rights.

    It's really, really sad, but it's not caused by republicans.
  • by X-Dopple (213116) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @09:17AM (#441808)
    I worked at a video game store for a bit as a cashier, and whenever a kid bought up Unreal Tournament or Q3A, I just let the kid buy it. If the kid was with a parent, it'd be just the same.

    Why? First off:

    - It's not MY job to be enforcing morality on your kid. YOU should take the responsibility to get off your lazy ass and download a demo of the game and determine if it meets your moral criteria.

    Second:

    - The ESRB's ratings are whacked. CHRONO CROSS was given a "T" for "Mild animated violence" and "Suggestive behavior". I can't find any "suggestive" behavior other than Harle's "Oh la la Serge, you look sexy!" behavior.

    In contrast, Lunar 2 (for the SEGA CD, not the PSX, which was corrected) was given a "K-A" rating, despite the fact that it had some nudity, blood, and swearing. In the PSX version, it was given a "Teen" rating, which is all good, but

    THIRD:

    - I've played Doom, Quake, Quake 2, Half-Life, Unreal, and Wolfenstein 3D since I was 10. Now, does this make me a psychopathic killer? Did it encourage aggressive behavior?

    Absolutement pas. I'm a calm individual who tends to shy away from the crowd. Yes, I'm desensitized to violence, but is that necessarily a Bad Thing?(tm)
  • Ummm the republicans had nothing to do with it. Remember the name Tipper Gore? She started the whole music censorship movement, and guess what party she was for?
  • by defile (1059) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @09:20AM (#441811) Homepage Journal
    What are they hoping to accomplish?

    If they're looking to keep dangerous content away from minors, they have plenty of other targets before they get to video games. For example:

    • The Evening News!
    • History
    • Art
    • The Rest of Television
    • Religion
    • Abusive Parents

    If someone reads "Happy shall he be, he who taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones" (Deuteronomy) and bashes their babies into rocks, they're considered crazy. If someone who plays Doom and listens to Metal shoots up their high school, it's the entertainment industry's fault.

    If you want to talk about protecting your children, you put an NC-17 rating on the Bible and prevent children from buying it or you're going to shut up.

  • by Hanno (11981) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @09:21AM (#441812) Homepage
    There is a similar rating system in Germany, so you Americans might want to turn over here and see about our experiences with it. Games like Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein are rated "18+" and cannot be advertised or sold to minors.

    i-d software knows about this and makes some sick fun of it. When Quake came on the shelves, they made advertisements about it months in advance, featuring "happy family" scenarios of a cute family all playing Quake on their computer, a typical 60's advertisement idyll, all smiling, all wearing sweatshirts with the Quake logo. Of course they knew that Quake would be labeled 18+, but they also knew that the rating would come only a few weeks before the actual launch. And until then, they made this faux ad campaign.

    Anyway, I doubt that the German rating system has worked. Nonetheless, it exists and it might be helpful to look at it to compare.

    ------------------
  • Perhaps we should read the article?

    Lieberman is a great guy (he's my Senator) and he's not for censorship. He merely wants companies to not advertise to young kids.

    Nobody has talked about limiting the sale of these games. Only limiting the advertisements. Don't fall victim to knee-jerk, folks.

  • by Valar (167606) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @09:02AM (#441821)
    Anything taken out of context can be made to support your point. What that meant, if listened to the whole speech is that we should have stricter penalties for criminals. He was saying that even though america is free, one still shouldn't be able to harm others.
  • All I can say is thank God for Nintendo, who realise that you can have a great game without blood and guts.

    A ruling like this, if it went through, would do a lot to take nearly all of the First-Person perspective games into a much narrower market. Personally, though, I'm getting a little tired of those. How long since we had a really good non-FPP action game on the PC? Or a console other than Nintendo's, for that matter.
  • The IDSA truly is evil. No other entertainment industry has ever been this chicken. They're going overboard to avoid shadow regulations which would most definitely be unconstitutional.

    You can find R-rated movies advertised on TV and in publications outside the demographics thresholds they've set. You can find Eminem songs on MTV. This is taking "protection of children" to an absurd extreme, especially in light of the total lack of objective connection between video games and violence.

    The gaming industry will end up like Hollywood. If your masterpiece is likely to get an NC-17 rating you can't make it unless you're willing to gut it because no one will touch NC-17 films. Eyes Wide Shut, Natural Born Killers, and many other films get hacked to death to get an R rating. Our film industry has lost the ability to make anything controversial because no distributor will touch NC-17 material. Now gaming, after a youthful period of great creativity, is headed down the same path, only even faster. Hope you like Mario, because he's all you're ever gonna see again.
  • I'm not saying that kids shouldn't be to see such movies. Hell, they can see all they want.

    But I do think the parents should be informed about the nature of the entertainment being provided, before the child engages in it. Hannibal is one thing, because there is a fairly large amount of media attention towards it (I read a few reviews, including Roger Ebert's, that said "If this level of violence doesn't elicit an NC-17 rating, nothing will").

    Unreal Tournament on the other hand, while revered by the gaming community, doesn't usually get any mass media attention.

    --------
    Carmack is an elitist, pseudonerd bastard.

  • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Saturday February 10, 2001 @11:43AM (#441837)
    Funny, his comments indicated to me that he felt that if it was necessary to block access to that kind of stuff for adult viewing in order to protect children, then that's what you had to do.
  • by ddstreet (49825) <ddstreet AT ieee DOT org> on Saturday February 10, 2001 @09:47AM (#441838) Homepage
    If you want to talk about protecting your children, you put an NC-17 rating on the Bible and prevent children from buying it or you're going to shut up.

    Damn right. More people have been killed and tortured in the name of Organized Religion than any other cause. And the Bible is filled with very negative messages; anti-gay, anti-female, anti-other religion, etc. Quake, Doom, Unreal, etc. show a little blood and guts, while the Bible tells you that everyone unlike you is evil and should be punished. Hmmm....
  • But toys are dangerous ! That's why Bush and it's right-wing fanatics will put more restrictions on toys, and less restrictions on gun sale/ownership. Guns don't kill people, video-games kill peoples !!!

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