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Games Are Porn in Utah 160

Posted by Zonk
from the so-many-wrong-things-about-that dept.
GameDailyBiz reports that there is new anti-videogame legislation brewing in both Iowa and Utah. Utah's law is more poorly thought out than most, essentially classifying violent games as porn. From the article: "Meanwhile in Utah, State Rep. David Hogue (R-Riverton) is taking a different approach. Hogue's HB 0257 would seek to amend an existing Utah statute by adding an 'inappropriate violence' clause--such as violence exhibited in some of today's popular video games. Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony. Hogue is certainly not the first politician to compare violent video games to pornography. CA Assemblyman Leland Yee and countless others have put playing violent games in the same category as porn or smoking cigarettes."
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Games Are Porn in Utah

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  • by MikeFM (12491) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:03PM (#14563310) Homepage Journal
    This post is filithy and should be counted as porn too I think.
  • "'inappropriate violence' clause--such as violence exhibited in some of today's popular video games."

    If the game makers had used some type of self-restraint and cooperation like we see the movie industry doing with their ratings for vchips maybe there would be no need for stupid laws.

    • Well, these laws are useless anyhow. Both in how they work and the need for them. This is the job of parents really, whatever the government says.
      • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:3, Insightful)

        by catahoula10 (944094)
        As correct as you are, if enough parents compalin about violence in games then we will see more laws like this one.

        Simple math really.
      • This is the job of parents really, whatever the government says.

        I used to think that, and then I had kids. And then they grew old enough to start going to school and talking to their friends at recess, and going to friends houses.

        While I have more control over my children than many parents seem to have, it still stuns me how little control we actually do have. As they grow older, what control we do have will dissipate.

        Thus, while I wouldn't want violent VGs marked as porn, we do want/need some sort of eff
        • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb@gmail.cLISPom minus language> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:20AM (#14565235) Homepage
          Thus, while I wouldn't want violent VGs marked as porn, we do want/need some sort of effective rating system.

          We do have such a rating system [esrb.org]. Hell, I'm 33, huge with a bushy beard and a register monkey at Target tried to card me when buying an M-rated game - probably because he thought it was funny, but the important thing is that the register stopped him and reminded him that the game had a "not for little kids" rating.

          These videogame laws are attempting to criminalize something which I don't think should be criminal. In fact, in the case of Utah the result of their law (if it held up, which it won't) would be to make it a felony for a parent to let their minor child play GTA3 or Medal of Honor. The article doesn't contain the actual text of the amendment, but if it's as vague as they say an adult could go to jail for showing Serenity to a 17-year-old, let alone giving them a copy of Call of Duty. The Iowa law is hardly better since someone would have to determine on a case-by-case basis which games would cause a violation and the "offender" would still end up with a friggin' criminal record.

          These legislators are just trying to get publicity. I doubt they truly give a rat's ass about videogame content or they would recognize that the ESRB sets some good guidelines and at least reference those standards when constructing their patently unconstitutional laws...
        • by Octorian (14086)
          Somehow, though, I think a more ideal situation would be where you no longer have to worry once they get older and you lose direct control.

          And no, I don't mean external controlling forces.

          What I mean is that children are probably better off it raised such that "bad external influences" don't have "negative effects" on them. The last think you want is anyone to grow up too sheltered, because then they may lose all control once they enter the real world.

          This sort of reminds me of the environment that I grew
      • The important job of a parent is to make sure they don't completely fuck up, the rest is out of their control.

        Kids raise themselves for the most part. Trying hard isn't going to change that.

    • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:31PM (#14563511) Homepage Journal
      Yeah. What video games need is more appropriate violence.
      • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:5, Funny)

        by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @10:09PM (#14564212) Homepage Journal
        What video games need is more appropriate violence.
        You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?
        • now that could be a popular game :) heheh
        • You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?

          Kill all Congressmen. The game for the new millenium. Freedom fighters defend the Constitution by offing as many politicans as they can. To win you must prevent Congress from passing unconstituational legislation and restore the country to a democracy. You get bonus points for nailing rightwing Republicans but all politicans have point value. You can also score by defending a Congressman that is filibustering unconstitutional legislat

        • You mean like a game where you beat the shit out of your state senator?

          I'll buy that. When will you have it on the shelves? Oh, and don't forget the rest of the politicians. Make the low-level monsters the larval city council candidates, and have the senators show up after you beat your way through a crowd of lobbyists.

          -jcr
      • So the only violent video game allowed in Utah is "America's Army?" Because everybody knows the Pentagon only uses force appropriately...
    • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:4, Informative)

      by PhoenixOne (674466) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:41PM (#14563592)
      Yes, if only there was some sort of standard rating system that video games could use...
      http://www.esrb.org/ [esrb.org]

      Maybe somebody at Take2 should just buy their own Congressman.

      • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:2, Informative)

        by Osty (16825)

        And if only there was some way to enforce [xbox.com] [2] [xbox.com] those ratings ...

        (I'd link something for PS2, but I couldn't find anything appropriate.)

      • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ugly American (885937)

        Yes, if only there was some sort of standard rating system that video games could use... http://www.esrb.org/ [esrb.org] Maybe somebody at Take2 should just buy their own Congressman.

        I'd add that the ESRB ratings do indeed cause developers to exercise some restraint in what kind of content goes into games. At least according to Wikipedia, there's a grand total of 19 AO-rated games in existence (including GTA:SA.) That's 19 titles out of 8,000 or so rated by the ESRB. It seems pretty clear to me that not many publ

    • I put the word "inappropriate" in the same class as "indecent". It's uselessly nonspecific, doesn't actually mean anything in this context, and gives lawmakers plenty of leeway to decide what is or is not "inappropriate" as they see fit. And, of course, that results of that determination can vary depending upon the barometric pressure, phase of the Moon, and the current political wind.

      I wish those people would find something more productive to do.
    • Re:tsk, tsk (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Castar (67188) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @09:46PM (#14564047)
      The video game industry was given awards for their rating system by concerned parent groups and the government. The real problem is that there's a disconnect with parents. To them, "videogames" are like "comics" and "cartoons" - they're for kids. So anything that's a videogame MUST be suitable for little Johnny and there's no need to check any sort of ratings system. So even though a game called "Grand Theft Auto" has a big M - MATURE: VIOLENCE, SEX, REALISTIC BLOOD AND GORE on the cover, it still must be OK for their kid.

      The other problem is that the retailers don't take the ratings as seriously as the movie theater operators do, and frequently sell kids games that aren't meant for them. However, this isn't as big a problem as the other one; it turns out that 84% of games that kids get are bought for them by parents.
      • I'd hardly call that "realistic" blood and gore, I mean its only a particle effect, we need proper fluid dynamics before we can call it "realistic"...
    • Guess the movie theatres will be pulling out of Utah then. Along with bookstores, half the prime-time television offerings, more than a few cable channels, and a handful of magazine publishers.

      Now, at least, I know where not to go for a vacation...

  • This way you can explicitly put there alcoholic beverages, cigarrettes, pornography and violent videogames in the same category.
  • Not again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:08PM (#14563334)
    I have yet to hear (from friends, in the press, whatever) from any parent who claimed that he was unable to stop his child from playing these kinds of games and therefore needed a law like this one. These politicians talk about how children are playing inappropriate games, so you would think that they could fine one parent who needs this law. Has there ever been a case of a politicians proposing a law for parents without having a parent vouch for it? Where are these parents supporting these laws???? I want to hear from them!
    • so you would think that they could fine one parent who needs this law

      I'm sure you meant 'find' one parent... and i agree with you; but how about fining parents too ;) seems a sight more effective than hassling retail shops

    • Re:Not again (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TexVex (669445) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:32PM (#14563515)
      It goes like this:

      1> Religion creates the concept of vice
      2> Guilt and fear in the populace create a need to criminalize and/or tax vice
      3> Criminalized vice gives rise to organized crime and makes criminals of ordinary people
      4> Legitimite business buys off legislators
      5> Organized crime buys off judges and prosecutors
      6> Law enforcement gets more tax money to handle the growing criminal populace
      7> The offering plate at church gets more donations from laymen assuaging their guilt
      8> Everybody profits but the average Joe, who gets completely screwed

      Of course, it could be that #2 is the cause of #1 instead; I don't know. Chicken and egg? I say roast the chicken and stuff it with an omelette, that would be yummy.

      It is unfortunate. If society were more open about sexual exploration and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals, and thought that responsible gambling was just fine, and provided socially acceptable outlets for aggressive tendencies, things would be just fine. The government could go about its real duty of providing security (at the national level) and infrastructure (at the local level), and leave all the law-abiding folk to their business.
      • If society were more open about sexual exploration and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals, and thought that responsible gambling was just fine, and provided socially acceptable outlets for aggressive tendencies, things would be just fine.

        A lot of this can be blamed on the Victorians. If you read about the history of sex, during much of the history of the world, things like prostitution were considered normal and essential to maintaining a decent society. Hell, Japanese baths were co-ed until Western

        • The Victorians only invented this because of the British Empire.

          It goes like this:
          -Britian has a large empire, but seeds of decent demand a ligitimate reason for the empire.
          -British invent the idea that they are 'more civilised' and are bringing 'civilisation' to the countries of the empire.
          -In order to encourage traits in native peoples, the British concept of 'civilisation' means a society without violence or strong emotion in any form, as these are the traits that lead to rebellion.
          -Thus begins the stric
      • Out of curiosity, is something that's not "socially acceptable" (noted regarding "outlets for aggressive tendencies") considered a vice? If so, what is responsibile for defining "socially acceptable?" The concept of socially acceptable appears to be ok with you, but religion defining vice apparently isn't. Perhaps it's not really religion that defines vice but our general perception of "acceptable" that does so?

        Furthermore, how and why are laws defined? Are they to prevent vice? And as a public or soci
      • If society were more open about sexual exploration

        Exploration without adequate protection may likely bring babies and immunodeficiency [ytmnd.com].

        and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals

        Unlike liquor or tobacco, cannabis allows the smoker to force anybody else to get high by blowing smoke in the victim's face. Getting a "contact high" from secondhand marijuana smoke can make it impossible for one to safely operate a motor vehicle or other heavy machinery.

        • Unlike liquor or tobacco, cannabis allows the smoker to force anybody else to get high by blowing smoke in the victim's face.

          Unlike liquor, but EXACTLY like tobacco. Speaking as someone whose nonmedicinal drug use is limited to alcohol and caffine, both moderately and responsibly, I've always felt that adults in a free society have the right to make these kinds of decisions for themselves. Which means drugs should be legal but with heavy restrictions on public use. The government can't force me not to

        • Unlike liquor or tobacco, cannabis allows the smoker to force anybody else to get high by blowing smoke in the victim's face. Getting a "contact high" from secondhand marijuana smoke can make it impossible for one to safely operate a motor vehicle or other heavy machinery.

          uhhh... yeah. Because if all you had to do to get high is just let it hit your face, bongs'd look a whole lot different.
          I mean, come on. Do you actually believe this? And, more to the point, can you prove it?
          Case in point- I worked a

      • Re:Not again (Score:3, Insightful)

        1> Religion creates the concept of vice

        No, because then religion would have no need to worship the positive deity (e.g., God) instead of the negative deity (e.g., Satan). In order to say that God is good and the devil is bad, there must be an external reference point for good and bad.

        2gt; Guilt and fear in the populace create a need to criminalize and/or tax vice

        I would say you only need to criminalize or tax something if people aren't already deterred. If religion were doing such a good job of keeping p
      • If society were more open about sexual exploration and the recreational use of pharmaceuticals, and thought that responsible gambling was just fine, and provided socially acceptable outlets for aggressive tendencies, things would be just fine.
        That's not required. All that's required is that people accept personal responsibility for themselves, and mind their own damn business regarding others.
      • I am sure there are many atheists out there who would be offended to hear you say that 'religion' has invented the concept of right and wrong. If you say that, then logically you must include murder as a fabricated standard invented by 'religion', which basically says that atheists have no morals whatsoever.

        Give me a break. Lots of people in this world who have no religious affiliation also have a sense of right and wrong and strive toward their sense of right. Give them some credit.

    • Much as I hate to put an argument on the wrong side - Unfortunately I am that 'one parent' who can't control what my seven year old watches at his mom's house. He came back one time to my house describing scenes from "Faces of Death" that he saw with his mom.
      • Yech, sorry to hear about that man. I wasn't exposed to that particular crap of a film till I was about 14-15. Didn't really have any effect on me other than making wish I hadn't wasted 3$ on that turd of a film, but I was like twice your kids age. I really don't believe that is appropriate for a child of that age. Good luck with your situation dude.
    • I suspect that the politicians would not be pursuing these laws unless their constituents were supporting them. Further, the politicians themselves are often parents. What's causing this is a combination of the media, the few parents who are or were directly affected by some violent videogame or another (or felt they were), the various groups that support those parents, and the politicians who like to be seen doing something about a highly publicized issue. They are putting forth ideas that the public fi
    • I think the answer is quite simple; parents support this because it makes their life easier to never have to consider saying "no" and then spend the time explaining it. As a bonus, you really don't have to worry about that whole peer pressure thing anymore.

      Personally, I disagree. When I was a child I was often told what not to do and it was remembered a whole lot longer than what I was told explicitly I could do, and I turned out fine.

      > Well, other than being an introverted, slashdot-reading, societal

  • Texas taxes too (Score:5, Informative)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:14PM (#14563382) Journal
    There's also a candidate for political office (iirc) in Texas who wants to add a 50% tax on all "violent" games (without really any definition of what is violent and what is not). The bill in question essentially would make almost all video games 1.5x more expensive.
    (...He also wants to add a 10% tax to all soft drinks and a $10,000 tax to all abortions. Take that as you will.)
    • Re:Texas taxes too (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eros (6631) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:22PM (#14563449)
      So he is saying that immorality, by his definition, is okay as long as you have the money?
    • He also wants to add a 10% tax to all soft drinks and a $10,000 tax to all abortions. Take that as you will.

      What a pansy. He wants to create a de facto abortion ban, but can't because it's been ruled legal, so he tries to tax it to death. We so need precedent that recognizes and bans this sort of behavior.

      • Re:Texas taxes too (Score:3, Informative)

        by Detritus (11846)
        Too late. The federal government has used this tactic for a very long time. Back when the feds at least paid lip service to the Constitution, they imposed a $200 transfer tax (NFA 1934) on the sale of machine guns. $200 was a hell of a lot of money in 1934, almost $3000 in today's dollars, and far greater than the value of the weapon in a free market.
    • The law would be void as being vague and be overturn by the courts. Similar laws have been overturned in Washington and Ohio I believe.
  • Except. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:15PM (#14563392) Homepage
    Polygamy 3.0, sold a lot in Utah.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:18PM (#14563416) Journal
    Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony.

    Add "inappropriate violence" to that, and most R-rated movies have become illegal to sell to minors. Not to mention movies shown on cable (or even network) TV. I'd like to see this pass just to see what a mess they make of it. (Though I'm sure if I lived in Utah I'd feel differently.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:19PM (#14563423)
    Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony.

    So kids bathe blindfolded there? Oh wait, they elected Orrin Hatch... that explains everything.

  • by abb3w (696381) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:21PM (#14563442) Journal
    For years I've been bothered that the US considers sex more obscene than violence. This is a step to restoring parity.

    On the other hand, I'd rather parity be restored by increasing open-mindedness about sex... but I'll take what I can get.

    • Your signature is probably the most accurate thing I've seen in this thread. The laws they're attempting to pass are asinine: "Under the existing Utah statute the distribution or showing of pornography and explicit nudity to minors is a felony." A fairly standard view of that would make nudist videos illegal.
    • I'll take what I can get.
      So you're okay with more repressiveness, so long as you have more fairness? I'm guessing you didn't think that remark through too clearly
      • So you're okay with more repressiveness, so long as you have more fairness?

        "Okay with" grossly overstates it. However, given the choice between the constant increasingly obsessive negative focus SOLEY on sex, and a more widespread repression... well, yes. While politically I'm closest to libertarian, I'm ultimately a pragmatist: if something increases the likelihood of a major breakdown in society, it's generally a bad thing. As a rough analogy, it's the difference between someone who has a highly repress

  • Porn (Score:1, Redundant)

    by countach (534280)
    I don't see the controversy. If there is any such thing as porn, highly violent video games would have to qualify better than anything else I can think of.
  • by xaoslaad (590527) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:42PM (#14563595)
    They can finally claim to have had sex after interacting with another player in a round of violent online gaming after this law is passed.
  • by B_un1t (942155) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @08:45PM (#14563623) Journal
    I think I want to move out of the country (US). Politicians are getting less intelligent by the nanosecond. Don't they have more relevant issues to lobby for? How about showing the redneck parents that videogames are not for friggin 8 year olds anymore? I hate when a parent will buy a game for a little kid, not examine it before letting he/she play it, then blame the producers of the game for ruining their child. only in the us...jeez
  • First off I'd consider myself a pacifist. I may have a decent amount of inner rage, but I'm anti-war, anti-death penalty and generally think that there's little reason to ever hurt people.

    Earlier today I was playing Resident Evil 4 on my second run through and became quite disappointed that after shooting enemies in the head they would just fall over dead. Sure I'd accomplished my goal by removing them as a threat, but it was just so lackluster if a perfect headshot from a powerful handgun (maxed out Red9) or shotgun (maxed out Striker) didn't cause their heads to explode in a mass of gore. A bit of violent fireworks to signify a job well done.

    A little later I was talking to my girlfriend about this when I realized that when compared to real-world violence video game violence is simply more visceral and exciting. If I were to shoot someone in the head in the real world they'd simply fall over and bleed quite a bit.

    Perhaps this is related to years upon years (i.e. since the release of the NES) of playing video games (not necessarily violent or not, I choose games based on their quality, Civilization being my all-time favorite) or maybe it's a result of all sorts of other effects culminating in a constant desire to get more and more out of it, but honestly real world violence isn't in any way exciting. It's simply painful, messy, unpleasant, and good for hurting people. Any claim that kids who enjoy the thrill of seeing a head pop open when hit by an excellent 500 yd shot from a sniper rifle would suddenly love to go out and do it in reality simply don't realize that watching some guy a long ways away fall over really isn't exciting. A good thing for all of us and a bad thing for the military... the only people who actually want kids to go off and shoot people in the head in real life.
    • Re real violence:

      Actually, shooting someone with a large caliber handgun at close range, or a rifle at most any range is likely to produce an exit wound. That actually will give you gore and splatter.
    • I'm a pacifist as well, and I'd love to believe that you were right about this - because that would mean ultraviolence in video games would be a fairly straightforward way to world peace. (Which, I guess, would make America's Army the single best effort by America's army to that end, ever.) Sadly, I believe you're taking a fairly naïve view of the situation.

      The point is that this isn't all about the "fun factor". People don't generally wake up and tell themselves, "Hey, I'm rather enjoying killing spre
      • (remember that we're not counting movies and other forms of entertainment as "real life", this argument could be made for movies, etc. as well, but applies more to games for me personally)

        There is more depth that comes through in movies than in most videogames. There is a scene in Pulp Fiction where they blow a kid's head off in a car. Gore, blood, grizzle everywhere. Most videogames would stop there, with the gnarly exploding brain effect. These guys paniced, pulled their car off the road, and had to s
      • You certainly make a valid point, but I can't say I entirely agree. Yes, I can see plenty of Counter-Strike players taking an overly simplistic view of international terrorism, but at the same time plenty of Americans who haven't played it don't have any problems adopting the same viewpoint without much prodding.

        While I realized even as I wrote it that, technically, Civilization is bloodless, but unimaginably violent (though, sadly, reflecting only real-world violence) in theme it's never caused me to chang
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @10:03PM (#14564170) Homepage Journal
    This is just a continuation of the let's ban/restrict "violent" video games political bandwagon. Once these laws have been proposed and struck down in all 50 states and D.C., then things should cool off. Even the stupidest politician must know by now that they can score points with this without the threat that any of these laws will withstand constitutional muster. It's a great way to get yourself in the news on the right side of what is "decent and pure".
  • by CuBeFReNZy (771060) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @10:35PM (#14564378) Journal
    I can't believe how many people (the politicians/ law figures in particular) are still storming over this issue. And what's worse is the solutions they come up with to fix this alleged problem. Out of all the violence that occurs on our planet, the make-believe and at times imaginative forms is the biggest concern? Please, why not spend the energy alleviating the ACTUAL violence that consumes many people's lives, and which hardly even stems from fictional violence...
  • "As bad as porn" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    > Utah's law is more poorly thought out than most, essentially classifying violent games as porn.

    Well waitaminute...

    Why does porn need to be censored again?

    If Utah suddenly stopped censoring everything it currently considers "porn" and started censoring games, will the state have improved or degraded itself in terms of moral standards?

    I think maybe when we talk about censorship of games, we might as well open up the notion of censorship in general: when is it it wrong, when (if ever) is it ri
  • The citizens of Utah get off on extreme violence.
  • ok....? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TRRosen (720617) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @07:12AM (#14566058)
    Wouldn't this make it illegal to show "the Passion" to a minor?
    • The Passion was rated R, there's a good chance it was already illegal to show to a minor in most of those towns.

      In case you don't know, it's not unusual for conservative townships to pass laws that add legal weight to what are otherwise industry run or voluntary rating systems like the MPAA ratings or the Comics Code Authority.

      Of course these laws are rarely enforced unless a politician wants to make some news right before election time or the proprieter does something to make himself unpopular.
  • It appears as if the students weren't too far off the mark. It would explain some things.
    Have a look at answer 26 [davesdaily.com]

    .haeger

  • by sauge (930823)
    I vote. I hung out and watched who went to the local poll I voted at. 30+ voters. A lot of white haired voters.

    If you want the politicians to behave themselves, then you need to use that stick called voting to put them in their place.

    I have five friends who moan and complain and did they vote? Nope. They went on about this "I didn't vote as a jab at the system."

    Well guess what - if you don't vote that means the morons have fewer people to attract to gain power over YOU. THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO VOTE.

    Go
  • "Games are porn in Utah". Ok, so does this mean everyone in Utah defines all games (including Boggle and Scrabble) as porn? I find that suggestion to be silly. One legislator in one city is making one proposal. This does not mean that all Utahns (including myself) are behind this guy's idea. As society tries to find a balance between liberty for the partakers and liberty for the receivers, imperfect proposals like this one can and will surface. Blowing them out of proportion and stereotyping an entire

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