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New York Bill Aims To Restrict Games Containing Profanity 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the legislation-versus-parenting dept.
GamePolitics notes a new bill out of New York which seeks to prohibit "the sale to minors of certain rated video games containing a rating that reflects content of various degrees of profanity, racist stereotypes or derogatory language, and/or actions toward a specific group of persons." It goes on to say: "These games, containing adult images such as morbid violence, rape, alcohol and illegal drug use, as well as other malicious acts, are not appropriate for children under 18. This legislation will regulate the sale of such games." The full text of the bill is available. It also suggests that children who are exposed to in-game crimes are more likely to participate in real-life crime.
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New York Bill Aims To Restrict Games Containing Profanity

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  • Monkey (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Friday January 16, 2009 @03:12AM (#26479215)

    "It also suggests that children who are exposed to in-game crimes are more likely to participate in real-life crime. "

    So they think it's monkey see monkey do? They give children far less credit than I thought.

  • Experts? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday January 16, 2009 @03:39AM (#26479333)
    Do they even ask the opinion of experts like paedopsychatrists or anything before writing such laws?
  • by pijokela (462279) on Friday January 16, 2009 @03:40AM (#26479335)

    I guess you didn't read even the blurb about the bill? Now, I guess the real bill could contain anything, but the blurb made it seem like it would make it illegal to sell games rated for adults to kids.

    This is a good thing. This allows parents to better control what games their children play. Then it's up to the parents to actually do that.

  • Re:Monkey (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday January 16, 2009 @03:47AM (#26479353) Journal

    So they think it's monkey see monkey do? They give children far less credit than I thought.

    You obviously don't recall the mid to low level hysteria of the 90's.
    Beavis & Butthead setting things on fire
    Children playing at being Power Rangers
    Kids emulating WWF in their backyards
    Mortal Kombat
    Rap music (2 Live Crew and Jack Thompson is just one example)
    etc, etc, etc

    And the thing is, there was always a kernel of truth embedded in the media and parental fear mongering. Eventually a few kids did get hurt, a house or two did get set on fire, but it was never nearly as many as the 'omg think of the children' types made it out to seem.

    The new millennium has had its share of hysteria too. GTA & Bully are the only two that I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure /.ers can give other examples. The 2000s have been less about suppressing depictions of violence and more about repressing sexuality.

  • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday January 16, 2009 @04:31AM (#26479521)

    This story would be more interesting if it was about a man named William from New York who aimed to put an end to all the game-playing by cursing at people.

  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Friday January 16, 2009 @05:01AM (#26479663)
    Why would a minor worry about being unable to buy a game in a store anyway? I'm pretty sure The Pirate Bay doesn't check for age. Legally binding age restrictions on games will increase piracy.
  • Re:Correlation ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16, 2009 @05:33AM (#26479803)

    Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson:

    CALVIN: [as he's watching a TV show] Graphic violence in the media.

    Does it glamorize violence? Sure.

    Does it desensitize us to violence? Of course.

    Does it help us tolerate violence? You bet.

    Does it stunt out empathy for our fellow beings? Heck yes.

    Does it CAUSE violence? ... Well, that's hard to prove.

    The trick is to ask the right question.

    I wouldn't say it does all the things you said. Glamorizing yes as it is something the media does but the rest is how it affects our personalities.

    I am 19 years old, played DOOM etc. as a very small kid, began playing a LOT when Operation Flashpoint (a shooter aiming for as much realism as possible) was published when I was 11 or so. I played that game practically daily for three years. Afterwards I have played violent games such as Max Payne, DOOM 3, CS (both 1.6 and source), Battlefield 2, Painkiller, Manhunt, the Punisher... The list goes on. I also watch my fair share of violent movies.

    How have I ended up? I am a pacifist, physically disgusted to see any real violence.

    Why? Well, I think that my father (a software engineer and a gamer to some extent who also happens to be a pacifist) likely had something to do with how my morals ended up. Much more than any videogame of which I know "THIS ISN'T REAL".

    So while my single case is not enough evidence for or against anything, I am sure I am not alone in my situation. So until I see some real evidence that graphic violence in media desensitizes us, stunts our empathy or helps us tolerate violence, I really don't believe it one bit. I guess could believe statistics showing that violent people look for violent media to project themselves into but not the other way around.

    Unless you were talking about news of course. I admit that after seeing starving children so many times in the news it might get easier to push it to bury the feelings to some part of your brain and try to not care. I just assumed you referred to video games, movies, etc. when speaking of media.

  • by dainichi (1181931) <foo&danielmiester,com> on Friday January 16, 2009 @05:56AM (#26479913) Journal
    Since when did outlawing anything stop anybody? In my state it is illegal for those under the age of 18 to purchase/use tobacco, or to purchase/use alcohol if under 21. Yet, explain to me how a buddy of mine has been getting cigarettes and booze since he was 12 (without parental permission or approval)? Let's not even talk about the pot. The laws did nothing to stop him from getting that which he wanted. Except for maybe provide a trivial puzzle for him to solve. Ditto for games. All you need to circumvent those systems is a friend that fulfills the age requirements. as the parent said:

    I'm pretty sure The Pirate Bay doesn't check for age. Legally binding age restrictions on games will increase piracy.

    On the one hand, they have parties trying to reduce pirating, and on the other, we've got parties creating policies that drive user towards piracy.

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:27AM (#26480571)

    There isn't a day where I play Metal Gear Online 2.0 or Gears of War 2 online where I do not hear someone say 'fuck' or 'shit' or 'dicklicker' using their headset or bluetooth mic or typing those same words into the in-game chat box.

    Shouldn't New York State ban all multi-player games that have in-game forms of communication?

    But what if they disabled communication in games? What if in Starcraft or any other RTS, the opposing player arranged his buildings to form the word 'cock' ? Shouldn't we ban Starcraft as there is the potential to communicate bad words?

    What constitutes profanity? Swear words? Bad words? What is a bad word? Is taking the (fictitious) Lord's name in vain using profanity? I guess that means GOD of War is a DISGUSTING AND INAPPROPRIATE GAME!!!

    These lawmakers will not stop until ALL games are banned.

  • by wernox1987 (1362105) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:36AM (#26480629)
    I don't mind violence and profanity in games, I just want a software switch the bleeps or turns the profanity off. I just don't see a point in hearing curse words. Yes, as an ex-marine I do realize that real marines curse, however having it in a video game doesn't add realism. Real Marines scratch their junk constantly and talk about girls, sex, and racial sterotypes. Unless you are going all the way with the profanity I don't see the point. Call of Duty WaW comes to mind here, there's an inordinate amount of profanity but there's also a switch to turn it off, however for some stupid, stupid reason, it doesn't work in online play.
  • Grand Thieft Auto (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday January 16, 2009 @11:31AM (#26482179) Homepage Journal

    Yes. I did become a street fighter, after all. No, wait, I didn't. I wonder what game of my youth was about going to an office and working for hours and hours until my soul died.

    I know a man (a friend's brother) who is in prison for parole violation. The crime he was paroled for? Grand Theift Auto.

    AFAIK he never played any video games at all. He told his sister (the aformentioned friend) that he stole cars because he loved cars. When he was on parole having a beer with his sister and me, he was extatic that he had been given a ride in a Lotus. "My life is complete!" I thought "Wow, and people think we nerds are dorky!"

    I've played GTA and know hookers, but I've never stlen a car (or anything else) and never shot any of my hooker friends in the face.

    More to the story's topic: this law is a bigger joke than my friend's imprisoned brother. I can't understand why legislators keep passing laws they know full well are unconstitutional and won't pass muster in any court. WTF is wrong with people?

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