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Dissecting U.S. Violent Game Bills 419

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-let-rockstar-teach-your-kids dept.
Many reactions to last week's violent games bill. Primotech writes "I first heard of California's AB1179 late Friday night. Like most others, who simply shrugged the bill off as inconsequential, my first thought was strikingly indifferent. Beyond the perfunctory glance, however, it becomes evident that this bill brings into focus and, more importantly, actually probes some of the more serious issues facing the industry. Above all else, examining and dissecting the proposal reveals some truly frightening facts." Relatedly, Shodan writes "Hal Halpin, the President of IEMA, today issued a statement in response to California Assembly Bill 1179, which is on the floor to address the issue of violent videogames." Other states are taking their lead from Illinois and California. KymBuchanan writes "I'm sad to say my state is on the bandwagon, and the charge is being lead by Democrats. From the article: 'Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has announced that she will sign legislation later this week that will make the sale or rental of mature or adult-rated video games to children illegal ... The fine for anyone caught selling a "violent title" ( apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings) to minors will initially be $5,000, and can go as high as $40,000 ...'"
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Dissecting U.S. Violent Game Bills

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @05:55PM (#13551403) Homepage Journal
    In my town, teens pay upwards of $10/pack for cigarettes. 21 year olds get up to $50 to make liquor runs for high school parties. The teen black market is very lucrative.

    My firm belief is that this is the responsibility of the parents, not the State. Parents now have even less involvement in parenting due to these laws. Kids will still get the games.

    The margin on video games is thin (5-10%). Adding the cost of policing adds another burden to the retailers, making them less competitive with the e-commerce sites. retail is a huge portion of a local economy, it is a shame to see more regulations on business owners.

    Of course, in the long run the State wins: More tax money for enforcement positions and the red tape jobs they add. Added income from fines and penalties.

    In the end, the consumers suffer, parents distance themselves more from their responsibility, and the State profits. Not a worthy solution in my opinion.
    • by TheAxeMaster (762000) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:06PM (#13551504)
      That's not what this is about.
       
      This is about taking the parents' ability to blame the video game manufacturers and putting the blame squarly on themselves for NOT BEING PARENTS! The sooner video game companies stop getting sued because stupid parents won't actually be parents and police what their children do, the sooner video game companies can spend less money defending shit like that and start making more games for less money.
       
      It doesn't cost the retailers more, all they have to do is look at the back of the freakin box! And if some 12 year old is trying to buy GTA, well, don't let them! If mom buys it for them, then its mom's fault, not the retailer or the game maker. Mom can't try to cash in on the game company because her child shot someone.
       
      Reguardless of whether or not the kids end up with the games anyway, it will now be the responsibility of the parents, and they won't be able to get out of it anymore. It IS a good thing.
      • I first read your post and sort of agreed.

        Then I realized my parent post already dismissed your opinions, at least in my opinion.

        First, this law won't make parents more responsible. Will Little Johnny ask mom to buy the game, or ask Big Brother Billy or Older Friend Paul?

        I do t ink this bill adds overhead to businesses that can't absorb the cost. Retailers now need to police games better out of Hot Coffee fears. They need to take register time to check IDs and slow down traffic. They need to police thei
        • I think it is more likely that the retailers will just not sell anything that is determined to be violent. It probably doesn't make financial sense to take on the extra risk and the extra cost for the bit of money you'll get from those games.

          People will have to buy the games by mail from someone who doesn't operate business in California.
      • "The sooner video game companies stop getting sued because stupid parents won't actually be parents and police what their children do, the sooner video game companies can spend less money defending shit like that and start making more games for less money."

        This is a bad bill, no doubt about it. It accomplishes nothing.

        On the other hand, I have two observations for you: 1) The people who say "It is really the parents' fault" and start giving out parental advice usually don't have kids, and have no idea
        • Either that or they're GOOD parents. I had a couple of those once, it was cool. And my mother complains that "people who buy their kids violent stuff and then complain about it" are idiots, and she does so on a fairly regular basis, so I'm pretty sure I'm not misinterpreting her comments. After spending a decade of her life organizing volunteer work at elementary schools, I assume she knows what she's talking about.

          So, sorry, the ad-hominem attack is not only irrelevant but incorrect. Your other point
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:07PM (#13551517) Homepage
      Just what we (and especially financially strained CA) need: more bureaucracy. Let's ignore that fact that banning the sale of games with certain content is blatant government censorship (good or bad). Let's ignore that whole "freedom of speech thing" (even if that refers to only political speech).

      The article makes a great point. The RIAA gets to oversee music. The MPAA gets to oversee movies. The ESRB is impotent and the goverment must oversee games.

      But next it will be music.

      Then movies.

      Then TV.

      And the slope slickens (like that word? I think I invented it). This bugs me for many reasons, but two major one. First, the government shouldn't be in the business of censoring anything some little group doesn't like (once it's law, how long do you think it will be before any violence of any kind against any minority is instant grounds for a banning?). And second, of all the things we see (cursing and sex on network TV, violence, sexualizing of children, anti-religious sentiments, etc.) why is it VIDEO GAMES that we are working on? If the average kid plays 1 hour of video games a day (probably too high), and watches 3 hours of TV (probably too low, much of it "sexy" primetime), and sees 2 big movies a year (violent, "sexy"), and more houses have TVs than video games (for obvious reasons), which medium will have the most effect on kids psyches?

      Right. The video games.

      PS: Let's just ignore the fact that at the rate we're going video games are about the only place kids can see real conflict (especially in sports) since we wouldn't want to keep score in games or every let anything harm poor Billy or it might hurt his self esteem (until he is 18-21 unless he is a minority, at which point he is in the "real world" and his self-esteem be damned even though he was never taught any coping skills).

      Sorry that got a little rant-y.

      • Let's ignore that fact that banning the sale of games with certain content is blatant government censorship (good or bad). Let's ignore that whole "freedom of speech thing" (even if that refers to only political speech).

        Nobody is saying that they can't make these games. The issues is that games with graphic sexual content, violence, or appropriately adult situations are NOT APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS. We're not talking quantum physics here (we could if you want).

        Have you ever seen the movie Hellraiser? (Un
        • by tmortn (630092) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @09:27PM (#13553186) Homepage
          Ummmm how do you know the parent DIDN'T pay attention to the content and decided there was nothing wrong with their kids playing a game? Just because you do not agree with their judgement does not make theirs wrong.

          Cowboys and Indians... theres a game. Kids pretending to kill each other. Not pixels on the screen. Yet most would just poo poo it as quaint and old fashioned. Violent games for kids are nothing new. Tell me would you really rather have your kids out playing a pick up game of tackle football than sitting in the den firing game rocket launchers at game police helicopters? I can assure you which one is more likely to end up with someone getting hurt. And before you say they won't be doing that... take your pick of whatever boys are going to get up to when you shoo them out from in front of the TV. Perhaps Mario will return to the fore but I doubt it.

          Ya know, just about every Child in this world is the result of a man fucking a woman and they ALL came out of some woman's Pussy in a gory bloody violent event with screaming cussing and most likely drugs... hell she may even have been sliced open (Ever seen a fresh cesarian scar?) to bring them free. Sure I could pick differnt language to describe that which was less offensive or harsh... but it would mean the same thing. What is this fear of sex and violence? And what is this fear of kids that play video games are so driven to violence? Hell my theory would be that the more they play the LESS likely they are to be violent and more likely they are to be socially maladjusted geeks that grow up to post a lot on /. I don't know many geeks that get into bar brawls or beat their wives (hell they wish they had one to worship)... but I run into thousands of them online fraggin my ass off gleefully as I do my best to frag em back.

          A lot of the kids I knew that were violent growing up were the ones that DIND'T have video games. And to risk sounding like an elitest snob most of them were of the lower socioeconomic strata, but certainly not all. I knew violent little snots all across the social order with families from all walks of life. But it was more common for poor kids, I suspect because being outwardly violent is something valuable for them to have. Kids were violent little snots before video games ever came around. What a shocker they are violent little snots after video games have come about. And its not the games that make them that way. The violence in games is kinda like sex. IT IS WHAT SELLS. Take em away completely and they will still be violent cruel little snots.

          And if you don't belive me you to are in denial about your child hood. Now take off those rose tinted glasses and recall how kids treat each other behind closed doors. And no I am not talking about you and your buddies that banded together on your own. I am talking about ALL kids you grew up with in general. How your group treated others and how others treated you. How the social peer pressure in schools created monstrous environemnts that most people can't recall in detail if they try.. and most don't care to. There just are not many people that would care to go back through child hood.... WHY ? Cause kids and being a kid sucks. They are ignorant, mean, cruel little bastards and only through years of patient training do they become good socialble little liars that keep a pleasant face on everything like society preffers.

          And yes I agree not ALL kids are such. But most of them are and it has fuck all to do with video games and an awful lot to do with a few million years of evolution to survive in a harsh violent environment. Violence in and of itself is not a bad thing. Many Many good things in this world were accomplished through violence. The cliche example of the over throw of Hitler obviously comes to mind. Does that condone all violence? Certainly not. But I don't see much allowance here for the fact that Violence is a part of our society. I see a mentality of sweep it under the rug... Hide it. At least for the kids... let them keep their illus
      • Then TV

        What cave are you hiding in? The government is already in your TV. They haven't extended to cable but their own threats to, the FCC has said they would like to regulate cable like they do broadcast, is part of the reason cable has dulled itself down lately. The ship is sinking, sensible people first, screw the women and children...well maybe not the cute women...
      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:32PM (#13552276)
        And second, of all the things we see (cursing and sex on network TV, violence, sexualizing of children, anti-religious sentiments, etc.) why is it VIDEO GAMES that we are working on?

        What's wrong with anti-religious sentiments? Religion is a pretty silly thing--really, who still believes in stuff like a guy named Atlas holding up the world? Although many religious people know laugh at this notion, all modern religions are filled with similarly stupid and ridiculous stuff, so I see no reason not to make fun of them. Besides that, religion is to blame for a lot of the misery and suffering in the world, so again, I ask, what's wrong with anti-religious sentiments?

        And what's wrong with sex on TV? Sex is something that people do, just like eating, crapping, and farting. Are you going to complain next that TV shows people eating, and this is gross? How about if we only have TV shows about happy robots, so we don't ever have to think about any of those nasty biological things that people have to put up with?
        • Sex is something that people do, just like eating, crapping, and farting. Are you going to complain next that TV shows people eating, and this is gross?
          For more on this concept, read "Camelot 30K" by Robert L Forward. It's about the discovery of an alien race, less technologically advanced than us. They aren't at all bothered by being seen crapping, but mouths and eating are a major taboo.
    • You just pointed out the reasoning behind all prohibition (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc.) It's to provide more money and power for those with political connections and provides the side benefit of making politicians look like they are doing something useful. For anyone who wonders why pot is illegal, this is the reason.
    • Plus you further erode responsibility for the parents. Why govern your child when the state will for you! If you fail and your child becomes a junkie, it is not your fault, it is the states! No one is to blame.

      Just when you think it is only the republicans attempting to legislate morality you have democrats trying to usurp them. Sad really. Plus you are correct again, the private "blackmarket" sale of games will only sky rocket.

      And hello to a fellow anarchocapitalist Mises fan!
    • Realisticly, what'll happen to games? Most publishers aren't going to want to make a game that kids aren't going to be able to play. So most games will turn their enemies into robots. A few games won't make that sacrifice, and if kids can't buy it, you want to offset that with adults. So you make some really fucking adult games, use your imagination... Anyway, cause of the internet and all, kids get their hands on these anyway.
    • This is just posturing by California politicians to prove that they are doing something about violence. Better to spend their time doing something real about curbing domestic violence, rapes and murder.
    • I completely disagree. This is a great solution.

      First, many kids under 18 buy games, so this will have a big impact. Instead of just buying games at their local retailers where it's convenient, they'll buy them from online retailers. So this extra tax money you talk of won't happen. Even more so if local retailers increase their prices because of the regulation, which will simply cause even more people to move to online stores. This will have the benefits of 1) moving more shopping online, which is ult
    • Heck, I don't even think kids are going to have to pay that much.
      1. Get modchip for whatever system you are using
        • Given the shift of consoles more towards computers this may eventually be just a software hack
      2. Install modchip
      3. Download copy of game from your preferred P2P network
      4. Burn and play restricted game
      5. ???
      6. Profit!!!

      Though I doubt that even this much trouble will be expended in most cases. Usually little Timmy will just ask his parents for a copy of "Whore Fucking and Killing 12", and they will ign

  • AB1179? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nuclear Elephant (700938) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @05:55PM (#13551410) Homepage
    I first heard of California's AB1179 late Friday night

    Is that a tiger patch? I want it! I want it!
  • Modern Parasites (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @05:57PM (#13551419)
    I plucked this quote out of someone's sig, but it seems appropriate:
     
    "The problem with 'post-modern' society is there are too many people with nothing meaningful to do, building 'careers' around controlling the lives of others and generally making social nuisances of themselves. They justify their meddling by discovering social 'problems' and getting the media to magnify them out of all proportion."

    -Graham Strachan
    • by maswan (106561)
      How about another quote, this time from a video game (Alpha Centauri):

      As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart

    • You know what? The 'post-modern' society actually works so great that there isn't actually any more problems to solve. The whole system is pretty much as good as it can get; no radical change can make it any better. At the same time, however, there has to be some change -- otherwise, the society will stagnate. To create some dynamics in the system, some changes are constantly made in it by random. This is how it's done. All those bills are actually created by monkeys randomly pounding on typewriters. The "v
    • Post modern??? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HermanAB (661181) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:59PM (#13551986)
      Religious shamans have been with us since time immemorial. Do this, don't do that, eat this, don't eat that, wear this, don't wear that, have sex now, don't have sex now. What is modern or post modern about Inquisitions?

      "I don't like meddlers and the worst meddler of all, is a meddling man of god." - Shane.
      • Re:Post modern??? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Rude Turnip (49495)
        Shaman/monk = life revolves around studying religious experiences and sharing them.

        Priest = Religious beaurocrat = makes up stupid rules that miss the point about religion.

        A slight difference, but one I felt like pointing out.
  • by Toasty16 (586358) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @05:58PM (#13551432) Homepage
    Actually, the proposed bill on violent games would prevent such depraved acts as "dissection" of itself by anyone under the age of 21 without the presence of a parent or guardian. Any minors found dissecting such bills would be fined $5000 and sentenced to 15 hours of community service, scratching X's into original, non-censored copies of GTA: San Andreas.
  • by deanj (519759) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @05:58PM (#13551433)
    I'm sad to say my state is on the bandwagon, and the charge is being lead by Democrats.


    Er, why is it always about politics with some people? It's not like stupid ideas only come from one political party.... And don't anyone say that it's "always" or "mostly" one party, because it's not.


    Stupid ideas are pretty universal.


    Anyone that's been out in the real world (particularly the business world we all love to complain about), should know that.

    • It was Lewis Black that said:

      "The Republicans are the party of bad ideas. The Democrats are the party of no ideas."

    • Er, why is it always about politics with some people? It's not like stupid ideas only come from one political party.... And don't anyone say that it's "always" or "mostly" one party, because it's not.

      When people hear about stupid censorship like this, there is a tendency to attribute it to the party they don't like, in order to feel better about their own views. Really though, this type of legislation is just as likely to come from conservatives (religious right, "family values") or from liberals (nanny

      • Authoritarian is authoritarian is authoritarian ... the parties feel strongly about different issues, but in their respective areas of interest, they're just as vehement about imposing their view of "the right thing" ... It's hard to have a political party based on the idea of forcing people not to oppress each other.

        Legislating victimless crimes pisses me off. So does this idea that the state has the *right* to push its rules on us simply because it sees long-term benefits from doing so, through some convo
    • "Stupid ideas are pretty universal."

      Great ones, otherwise, are not. That said, it is quite easy to see how people can be upset by the total failure of some people to have good ideas from time to time.

  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daniil (775990) <evilbj8rn@hotmail.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:01PM (#13551461) Journal
    Wanna bet that this bill will increase software piracy? Kind of ironic that by preventing imaginary crime (killing people in games), they'll end up encouraging kids to commit real crimes...
    • The can't convict people for not committing a crime , litigation is big business
      • Re:Piracy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mOdQuArK! (87332)
        Heh - I always thought that combining a balanced-budget amendment with an amendment requiring that the government provide free legal services to _everyone_ (the cost of which would have to be taken into account when writing laws) would probably result in the simplest, easy-to-understand legal system in history, since the government wouldn't be able to afford to keep existing otherwise.

        Of course, I also think that criminals should be allowed to vote, since that provides a valuable form of negative feedback a
  • by one_get_one_free (868733) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:02PM (#13551463)
    defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings

    Good thing everyone has the same opinion of what's "realistic" in a video game, or this bill would be absurdly vauge.
    • I know. My first thought was "Wow, that's every video game I own". Then I thought... how can you show a REAL depiction of physical injuries of a video game character?

      OK, who's ready for the next wave of fighting games featuring cute, fuzzy animals ripping each other apart in super-gory, but legal, ways? Or maybe the next sniper game will be Sniper3:Duck Hunt Extreme.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:03PM (#13551476)
    Violence in America is much greater than violence in Japan and Europe simply because the degree of competition in America is much greater than the degree of competition in the other 2 places.

    Violence is a degenerate form of competition. Imagine that degrees of competition are rated from 0 to 10. 10 indicates degenerate, extreme competition: violence via rape, murder, etc. 10 means "I want 'it' now. Society be damned." Then, we plot the number of Americans exhibiting each of the 11 degrees of violence: 0 to 10. We have a Gaussian curve.

    Do the same graph for Japan and Europe.

    In American society, the sublimal message in the culture is "Compete to win. Free enterprise. Yeah!". This message shifts the Gaussian curve to the right.

    In Japan and Europe, the societies are more paternalistic. Europe is effectively a socialist economy with cradle-to-grave entitlements. Japan is also socialist, but its socialism is not mandated by the state. Rather, Japanese culture is socialist. Firing and laying off employees is very difficult in Japan, and Japanese banks are notorious for funding bankrupt companies just to provide a wage or salary to their employees.

    Which society is better? You make the call.

    • by Gaccm (80209) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:09PM (#13552085)
      I agree with your view of Europe, but Japan could be viewed as being more competitive than U.S. In Japan, there are far more suicides than any other first world nation (more than double U.S.). And about 1/4 of these suicides are from "joblesses and bankruptcies." [usatoday.com] You're right in that they don't have much of a "i want it now, society be damned" view, but their view of suicide being acceptable* in the face of economic failure is troubling.

      *I'm not saying the society is pro-suicide, but the people in that society are more likely to think (and act on) the idea than in U.S.
    • My understanding is that school in Japan is a constant meatgrinder of pressure. In the USA, it's possible to flunk every class, drop out and become a millionaire. In Japan, that is pretty much impossible because, as far as I can tell, the society is a lot less tolerant of people trying to make a living outside the usual social structure.

      OT: I was planning to say "look at the suicide rates, then try to tell me Japan is less stressful". The figures [glocom.org] I found did indeed show this, but I can't bring that in be
  • A Double Standard? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SirChive (229195) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:03PM (#13551478)
    Do any of these bills propose equal penalties for people who show violent movies or tv shows to kids? How about violent comic books or novels?

    No? Didn't think so. Harsh penalties are reserved for computer games because anything with the word "computer" in it scares and confuses the authorities.
    • by MBCook (132727)
      Silly poster. You're not thinking like a politician.

      If they did that, it would be CENSORSHIP and they would be thrown out of office. Instead what they are doing is saving innocent kids from their terrible parents^H^H^H evil industry types who are trying to get kids to play sex games and learn how to commit mass murder.

      You are against mass murder, aren't you?

      If this gets passed, they will say in a year or two that it made a small "dent" but people found ways around the law or turned to other sources of vi

    • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:38PM (#13551814) Journal
      There aren't those harsh penalties for movie theaters, because movie theaters, for the most part, enforce the ratings on films. They do so to keep the government from getting involved.

      If they video game industry had paid better attention to what was going on around them, they could've policed themselves, and the government wouldn't have gotten involved.

      Sure there are some bad parents out there who need to pay more attention to their children. But there are also plenty of good parents who do take an interest in what their children are exposed to, but who realize that they can't lord over their children 24/7. Watching a young teenager like a hawk all the time isn't good for the parents or the teen. But neither is throwing all caution to the wind and letting a child do whatever the hell he wants.

      The saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Most of us don't live in a village anymore, it's impossible to know even a sizable percentage of the people/situations that your children are going to be exposed to. So society creates some laws to make that a little easier to deal with. Most parents don't want the Playstation, the TV, or the internet to raise their kids. They don't want the government to do it either. But they certainly wouldn't mind a little help now and then, and restricting the sale of content deemed mature seems like a pretty reasonable way to help.

      Restricting the sale of video games to kids is not the huge travesty of basic human rights that some people want to make it out to be.
      • I am not intending this reply as a troll.

        I fully blame parents' inability to lord over their kids 24/7 as government's fault.

        Households pay 50% in taxes at every level, versus 8% in the 60s. Mom has to work so the household can earn less still than just Dad working in the 60s (versus Mom and Dad to be PC).

        Parents who spend through debt to keep up with the Joneses are still at fault. You CAN monitor your kids' activities 24/7, you just don't want to.

        It does not take a village to raise a child; it takes a v
        • While your general point about financial situations making family life harder, parents being able to lord over their children 24/7 is not really the answer either. A fifteen year old should have some measure of freedom, even if it's something as simple as hanging out at the mall with some friends.

          Even if a parent has the ability to be with their kids all the time, that's not going to be pleasant for either party, and it won't result in a young person ready to deal with the world. The job of a parent is not
      • There aren't those harsh penalties for movie theaters, because movie theaters, for the most part, enforce the ratings on films. They do so to keep the government from getting involved.

        A recent study showed more compliance to video game ratings than movie ratings. What was that argument again?
  • realistic humans? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phriedom (561200) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:03PM (#13551483)
    "apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings'

    So if a rational person judges that NPC "people" in the game are not realistic human beings? I mean, nobody actually thinks a real person is being injured when I run over a San Andreas pedestrian right? So that isn't realistic to me. But if they are alien zombies or Combine soldiers, will it still be okay? I guess all of next years games will feature aliens, 'cuz aliens don't vote.
    • I'm wondering about that as well. Currently I'm in the midst of writing yet another not-soM MORPG.

      So what is a "graphic depiction of physical injuries"? If I have a full-body image with damage depicted on it (similar to the PC's head in Doom), does that count? How about if a parent gets mad in a conservative town and I'm in front of a judge who has never played a computer game in his life?

      Its laws like these that makes me consider having a sign-in with a click-through verifying that all players ar

  • The fine for anyone caught selling a "violent title" ( apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings) to minors will initially be $5,000, and can go as high as $40,000 ...'"

    So if a news story shows soldiers shooting their guns at a target, or if they show a video of a missle destroying a tank, do they get fined? Or is it because you can't see the people being killed, that it's f
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:09PM (#13551541)
    Seriously-
    If you realistically portray damaging another human in a movie or television show - you get a $5,000 fine per minor that sees it.

    Oh--- what , you mean we've been doing this already for the last 70 years? And before that we did it in plays?

    What IS the world coming to?
  • Some questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzy12345 (745891) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:09PM (#13551543)
    No matter what the measure -- gun control, banning/regulating violent videogames/movies/TV/comic books, punitive sentencing laws etcetera -- there's always someone arguing passionately against it.

    I firmly believe that there are some people whose morality and upbringing inoculates them against committing violent acts, some who would do it regardless, and some who are borderline cases, for whom the constant diet of violence on TV and in video games (and, who knows, in their real life surroundings) is just the push they need.

    Do people who are against video game regulation consider the level of violence in the US acceptable? If not, what do they see as the causes of America's very high (relative to other "first world" or developed nations) rates of violence, and what do they propose to do about it?

    • Re:Some questions (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:15PM (#13551589)
      Yep- and many people can drink alchohol without any problems- smoke and live to a ripe old age- rock climb and not fall to their deaths- break dance and not - do cocaine without consequences (I know at least a dozen people who did it in the 80s and all are fine upstanding citizens today with families and kids).

      Are we going to keep taking away the freedoms of 90% of society to protect the 10% of society from doing themselves in?

      And more basically- if I want to bloody risk killing myself doing something risky shouldn't I be allowed to do so?
    • firmly believe that there are some people whose morality and upbringing inoculates them against committing violent acts, some who would do it regardless, and some who are borderline cases, for whom the constant diet of violence on TV and in video games (and, who knows, in their real life surroundings) is just the push they need.

      And I firmly believe that a normal person, by the time they are ten, has no trouble at all distinguishing reality from make believe and will not become violent simply by playing a vi
  • Oh Well. (Score:5, Funny)

    by hahiss (696716) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:10PM (#13551545) Homepage
    There goes any chance for a ``Passion of the Christ" videogame . . . .
  • On broadcast TV most nights of the week you can watch CSI with all of it's gruesome details or some other shows/movies with all of it's violence.

    Oh wait, those have to be shown after the extremely late hour of 9pm.

    I see. Because of that strict security, THE CHILDREN are being protected.

    Let's thank the government for doing our thinking and parenting for us again. Where would we ever be without them?
  • Violence in Media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by visionsofmcskill (556169) <vision.getmp@com> on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:15PM (#13551599) Homepage Journal
    This is a recurring issue that returns everytime a new media comes to bear.

    The issue of violence in video games is fairly devisive as the main portion of law makers are not amongst the demo-graphic of game players. Thus it's far easier to run an anti-video game campaign when your voter base and politcal makeup is on average over 25 years old.

    Comicly, somehow everyone has missed the boat in regards to the fact the crime and violence in the US has been on a steady decline since the 70's. How can you argue these games and other mediums (gangster rap, death metal, movies, etc...) are causing increases in violence when the stats clearly show we are becoming less violent as a culture?

    Maybe these mediums are serving as an outlet for violent behavior which would otherwise be exerted in the very real world with very real consequences.

    Another point it seems many people willfully miss under the guise of free speech and/or desire for games with illicit content, is that there may well be a serious moral, ethical, and social problem associated with content that glorifies and/or encourages anti-social behavior.

    This is quite a paradox, crime is on the wane, so its hard to say if these games are causing a problem or helping it. However as an adult who does play GTA and every FPS i could get my hands on, i can definitly say this isnt the type of stuff ill want my children playing. And while many would argue(and i do agree somewhat) that this falls into the realm of parental control and proper parenting, i say that our society has made such parenting increasingly difficult to do.

    The average white collar family has TWO working parents who spend 50-60+ hours a week at work and commute another 10+ hours. Blue collar families face similar if not worse conditions leaving less and less time for adequate parental supervision. Maybe the solution is a reduced work week, but i dont think ANY of us believe that will happen in the near future (not to mention the effect on our economy), so in the interim i cant help but support better controls for parents.

    Those controls are inadequete and nearly laughably easy to circumvent right now, as such the only moderation available without industry support is through strenuous law. Which puts us directly in the path of free speech.

    How do i, as an adult gamer maintain my right to view whatever content i want, and leave the industry free to PRODUCE that content, without endangering the wellfare of my child in todays society? A society where even as a top-tier earner it is difficult for me to keep my child in a safe environment of my choosing.

    This is a very serious problem which everyone seems to be avoiding by pointing at each other.

    sadly enough it may be DRM is the only dependable solution. Now THATS a scray thought.

  • by xiaomonkey (872442) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:21PM (#13551645)
    Could this make it harder for smaller independent game developers to enter the market? For example, imagine the following scenario:

    Your a small independent game shop that decides to forego using a major publishing house to distribute your titles, but rather decide to distribute/sell your video games from your own website. In many ways this could be a smart move since it avoids that whole you putting the majority of effort into making the video game and somebody else pocketing almost all of the profits thing. In any case, after setting up the website and posting a few games online, lets say that one or more 15 year olds gets a hold of his/her parents credit card and buys a couple of games the could be considered 'violent' under this law (e.g. almost any FPS). The kids buy the game even though there is a clear warning on the web site that it should not be purchases by anybody under 18, which of course is a pretty useless deterrent to a 15 year old. Then later, lets say the kids parents find out and decide to go after your company using this law.

    Now, for a few sales that brought in $20 to $30, your company has to pay out $5,000 $40,000?!? That's probably going to be a significant chunk of the development budget for your next game. Heck, if you're a one man shop, that might be all of your development budget.

    So, it seems like this will pretty much force independent developers to distribute with major publishing houses who can afford to shoulder the liability. Or, even better for the publishing housing, shift that liability over towards the brick and mortar shops that most people buy their video games at.
    • Or maybe it'll level the playing field a bit. Violent and explicit games are incredibly popular these days and if a company wants to publish a game like this their only outlet might be to sell it independently online, foregoing a major outlet (retail) which larger publishers are likely to have an advantage.

      So to sell their violent (and presumably "popular") games they'll be restricted to web sites, which is potentially a smaller developer's only (or best) means to sell their own games.

      Taking away retai
  • >> Dissecting U.S. Violent Game Bills

    Dissecting them? No.

    Actually it's more like beating them repeatedly with a crowbar, then stabbing them a few times with a kbar, a double-tap in the head with a Glock, a few rounds of buckshot from the ol' assault shotgun, a clip from a 9mm sub-machine gun, several three round bursts from the assault rifle, one bazooka round, a blast from that thing that makes you turn to ice and shatter, and a direct hit from a plasma rifle.

    Then you can see what's really on the in
  • by Anonymous Coward
    California governor's office 1 (916) 445-2841. While the bill might be ruled unconstitutional, it's better it not get signed into law in the first place.
  • It'll be like the liquor store parking lot as the weekend comes near. There will be hoards of "minors" outside waiting to find the one shady looking person who will buy them the booze... er, uh video game without question.

    Minor: "Hey Mister, I'll give you 20 bucks to buy something for you if you go inside and buy us the new GTA video game."
    Mister: "Ok, but you're not working with the Feds are you!? Cause if you are, that'll be the last thing you'll be able to ask anyone for without having to write it down

  • For all the comments made by everyone about the good, the bad, and the ugly about this proposed law (and the way more States seem to want to pass similar laws), the fact remains that the average person DOES NOT know about the slashdot protestations.

    Furthermore, the average person has little to no idea about what the video game industry is actually like, and will get all their information from the politicians and the mass media.

    Laws WILL be passed to further restrict what can and will be consumed by everyo

  • Resale? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chanda3199 (786804) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @06:51PM (#13551912)
    How does this affect me selling my old "Rated M for Mature" games on Ebay? Would I or could I be held responsible for this? Contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

    I sure wouldn't want to be hit with a $5,000 fine for pawning my old game off online for $4.99 plus shipping!
  • i know this is going to draw a lot of flames, but i want to ask this seriously ... in american society, the rights of minors are restricted (by the state) in all sorts of ways. they cannot buy alcohol, they cannot buy porn, they cannot purchase cigarettes, they are required to attend school, they cannot work under 16 years of age (or whatever it is), they cannot purchase tickets for certain movies, etc.

    it seems to me, all of this is about giving parents the right to choose for their minor children ... whi

  • Hmmm - no more cartoons for the kids. I guess they haven't consulted with Disney or Warner yet.
  • thank goodness we have the democratic party to save us from ourselves.
    this "video game" thing has just gotten way out of hand, and it's time that somebody put a stop to it!
    I'm just so happy that future generations might not have to deal with the pain and sadness violent video games, movies, tv, and other depictions of realistic events or concepts can cause.

    That's what our government is here for isn't it?? Honestly who knows better what is right for all of us than those thousands of wealthy l
  • wtf ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SQLz (564901) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @07:21PM (#13552198) Homepage Journal

    I'm sad to say my state is on the bandwagon, and the charge is being lead by Democrats. From the article: 'Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has announced that she will sign legislation later this week that will make the sale or rental of mature or adult-rated video games to children illegal ... The fine for anyone caught selling a "violent title" ( apparently defined by the bill as real or simulated graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings) to minors will initially be $5,000, and can go as high as $40,000 ...'"

    So...basically, your for selling adult rated material to children or I am missing something? Let me guess, your under 18 and your pissed you won't be able to buy the next version of topless titi BMX racing without your mommy's consent.
  • RTFA people! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PhoenixOne (674466) on Tuesday September 13, 2005 @08:41PM (#13552858)
    I don't care that much if somebody under the age of 18 can't buy GTA without their parent's help. This is the part that scares me:

    "If the bill were to pass, games put on sale in California would need to be rated and labeled by the state government, not the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)."

    Not only do I doubt the ability of the government to judge what is good and bad for our kids, but this is unfair. Movies and music are not rated by the government; why do they think games need to be? And, when Idaho and Alaska pass their own bills, do I have to submit for a rating from them too?

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