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Utah Senate, House Pass Jack Thompson's Game Sales Bill 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeps-going-and-going-and-going dept.
Ars Technica reports that the Utah State Senate and House have both passed Jack Thompson's proposed legislation that would stiffen penalties for the sale of M-rated games to minors. Oddly, on its trip through the state legislature, amendments rendered it largely ineffective; retailers are in the clear if the employee who sold the game goes through a training program, or if the minor misrepresents his age. It's also possible that the bill could cause some retailers to simply take down their ESRB-related advertising. Thompson's statements about the bill put the focus on advertising, but discussion on the Utah Senate floor had a familiar ring, touching on the story of a Grand Theft Auto player who killed two policemen in 2003. The ESRB wrote an open letter in opposition of the bill, saying it could undo the efforts they've made to popularize their rating system. The bill's sponsors fired back, questioning the industry's overall commitment to ratings, and now it awaits only the governor's signature before becoming law.
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Utah Senate, House Pass Jack Thompson's Game Sales Bill

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  • by bugi (8479) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:27PM (#27203545)

    Only three GTA players have killed cops? GTA must make people less likely to kill cops. After all, think of all the killing of cops not associated with GTA players.

    Hmm, perhaps an occasional game of fake-blow-shit-up would make disaffected youths less likely to really-blow-shit-up? It is all about the kids, right?

  • Friggin' Utah. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:28PM (#27203561)
    You couldn't pay me to live there. The funny thing is that I know some Mormons who feel the same way. I guess Utah Mormon is a bit of a different breed than Mormons from almost everywhere else. It must be the effect of any one group having a majority. They get to be assholes.
  • Revenge! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:52PM (#27203827)

    Picture the sales clerk saying OK kid! You must first misrepresent your age before I am allowed to sell you this game!

  • Re:why are people... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbcad7 (771464) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @09:21PM (#27205155)
    Just keep in mind that crap sometimes spreads.. There was a time when you could smoke on the Greyhound bus.. that is until you entered the state of Utah.. look where we are at today.
  • Re:Amendment 1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @09:33PM (#27205273)

    While I do not agree with the bill, no game publisher's free speech is being restricted, no game company is being prosecuted by the government for the content of the games. The games are still able to be sold, and while not as damaging as cigarettes, alcohol, guns (yes, in most states you have to be 18 to jump through the hoops solo to get a gun), or porn, an average, voting citizen's access to the games are not restricted and the game company has not been silenced.

    First Amendment law requires strict scrutiny. That means the government must, when regulating sales or distribution of material covered by the First Amendment, demonstrate that its proposed law has the minimum necessary effects required to accomplish its goals. Since the goal (regulating commercial press activity) is unconstitutional to begin with, there's no way the law can meet strict scrutiny.

    Seriously. Why do you think that, out of dozens of attempts to pass laws like this in various states, absolutely none of them have survived court challenges?

    A further question. The First Amendment puts a free press on an equal footing with the free exercise of religion. What do you think might happen if the Utah legislature attempted to dictate the terms under which Mormon literature and religious items could be sold?

  • by nabsltd (1313397) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @10:04PM (#27205599)

    They latched on to something of an urban myth surrounding James Dallas Egbert III [wikipedia.org].

    Egbert was pretty messed up long before fantasy roleplaying came along.

    Like many gamers, he was a very smart kid (he graduated high school at 14 or 15), and he really just wasn't ready for the real world. He was two years older than me, but 3-4 grades in front of me, so I didn't know him personally, but my parents knew his parents moderately well.

    The stories in the papers were pretty sensationalistic, because at the time, D&D was just really catching on, and (like you said) a lot of people wanted some ammo against it. Anybody who did any research would have known that he had been on thin ice for a long time, but nobody dug deeper and the lie the investigator told stood for years. Despite his book, nobody remembers the real story.

  • Re:Friggin' Utah. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IorDMUX (870522) <mark DOT zimmerman3 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 16, 2009 @12:58AM (#27206841) Homepage
    Agreed.

    I am a Mormon (converted a few years back, in college) and have lived in Ohio and California, but never Utah. I've visited friends in the area and my wife has some extended family there, but I have to say that I can't stand the so-called "Mormon culture" that has sprung up in some areas.

    On issues of religion, we agree fully. As Latter-Day Saints (the actual name of members of the "Mormon" church), I would call them my brethren. But I most certainly don't get the Jello-eating, "oh-my-heck"-cursing, conservative-voting subculture that dominates the state.

    At its core, this Utah behavior is a culture/tradition set rather than a religion. For example: Though the Vatican is an enclave of Italy, Irish Catholics and Latino Catholics bear little cultural resemblance to their Italian brethren.

    The population of Utah is actually fairly small. Most Latter-Day Saints in the United States don't live in Utah, and most Latter-Day Saints in the world don't live in the United States. Please don't let Utah give us a bad name. :-)
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday March 16, 2009 @04:11AM (#27207599) Homepage

    Killing a fellow human is a learned behavior. Almost every single person has an innate resistance to killing someone. There's plenty of research to back this up.

    • Thousands of muskets filled to the muzzle with loads that were never fired.
    • A civil-war era study that calculated the accuracy of an Infantry Company: If all the troops were really trying to kill eachother, battles would have lasted minutes, not days.
    • Studies that found that in all wars UP till the Vietnam war, the vast majority of US soldiers IN COMBAT never fired thier weapons at the enemy.

    People can't just be "trained" to kill people: To get any real participation you have to "condition" them to do it. Conditioning, brain washing, pavlovian response (if that rings a bell), doesn't matter what you call it. The Army started using man-shaped pop-up targets. Thru repetitive "target up, breathe-relax-aim-squeeze, target down, reward" cycles we actually have the majority of the soldiers actually trying to kill the enemy.

    What all these goddamn nerds, in their haste to scream how video games don't make you violent, don't know is that some violent video games recreate that conditioning. It doesn't make people more violent, but some of your natural resistance to killing is reduced.

    Now /.ers, do me proud and cry how this isn't possible. "You talking about killing? Hmm? Y'all experts? Y'all know about killing?" -- SSG Barnes from Platoon.

  • Dissonance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Monday March 16, 2009 @11:51AM (#27211259)
    I'm having a hard time connecting the age-limit restriction and the death of two police officers. Is this to say that if a 35 year-old person were to shoot a police officer, we should restrict violent game sales to only those who are 36 or older? These phony imposed age-limits need to go and let parents decide what is best for our kids instead of the government. My kids (13 and 9) will have a harder time drumming up $50 for the game than they would buying it underage anyways.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam

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