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Censorship Government Games

Switzerland Pursues Violent Games Ban 276

Posted by timothy
from the brutal-crackdown-on-violence dept.
BanjoTed writes "We hear lots about the issues facing violent games in Australia, but the anti-games bandwagon is gathering pace closer to home — in Switzerland, to be precise. The Swiss government is gearing up to consider a total ban on mature games in the country."
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Switzerland Pursues Violent Games Ban

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  • Er... (Score:5, Funny)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:23AM (#31196142)

    "We hear lots about the issues facing violent games in Australia, but the anti-games bandwagon is gathering pace closer to home — in Switzerland, to be precise."

    Are you sure you don't live in Austria?

  • by syousef (465911) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:25AM (#31196160) Journal

    This isn't closer to home for me:P~~~~

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:26AM (#31196162)

    Some games are really bad, whether it be egregious content or age-inappropriate content.

    But there's no need to get violent about it. A normal rational games ban would work just as well as a violent games ban.

    • by dangitman (862676)
      Couldn't you at least come up with an analogy?
    • by the_womble (580291) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:53AM (#31196812) Homepage Journal

      Why do they not ban all films, books, and CDs with content unsuitable for children as well?

  • Slipperly slope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:28AM (#31196170)
    If as an adult you let the government treat you like a child, remember what happened to you as a child when you "said something mommy and daddy didn't like".
    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:30AM (#31196178)

      remember what happened to you as a child when you "said something mommy and daddy didn't like

      All those years of expensive therapy for naught...

      Thanks, asshole.

    • by beh (4759) *

      Strangely enough, nobody screamed outrage when bans against games, graphics, etc. depicting child-p*rn were brought in...

      So - where do you draw the line in which crimes should be 'legal' as game subjects, and which ones should not be?

      Personally, I am somewhat sympathetic towards banning acts considered serious crimes in real life from being the subject of a game (by which I mean games requiring players to act out these types of crimes).

      On the other hand - the games industry is a bit lazy as well - obviously

      • by coolsnowmen (695297) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:48AM (#31196790)

        Because I want to blow shit up...

      • Re:Slipperly slope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday February 19, 2010 @05:58AM (#31197480)

        Great idea.
        If it's a crime it can't be the subject of a video game.

        Any super hero game is out since it encourages vigilante behaviour which is a serious crime.

        Uplink should be banned because it has the player commit serious crimes like breaking into computer systems without their owners consent.

        Commander keen is out since obviously he flew without a pilots liscence while underage (encouraging kids to joy ride), operated firearms without a liscence(unless 8 year olde are commonly issued liscences for powerful weapons) and murdered large numbers of animals with no consideration for proper methods of humane slaughter.

        Pacman is out since it encourages kids to consume pills which haven't been proscribed to them.

        Dwarf fortress is out since it allows genocide, torture, theft and flooding of populated towns with magma.

        The whole point of games is that they allow you to do things which would not be allowed in real life.
        I don't know about you but I wouldn't find "Accountancy: The Game" much fun.
        Similarly "Complying with building code regulations" is far less fun that lego.
        "Turning found large qantities of cash into the proper authorities to see if anyone claims it" is far less fun than rogue.

        Why limit it to computer games.
        Any children playing guns with pieces of wood should be forcibly stopped from playing games in which they act out doing illegal things like kill people.
        The blocks of wood should be confiscated and replaced with math books so that they can become productive members of society.

        The whole point of games is that they're not real life.

        I've never stabbed anyone despite playing as an assasin in oblivion.
        I've never shot anyone despite playing doom and GTA.
        I've never undermined by house with tunnels depite playing digdug

        • by Zerth (26112)

          Pacman is out since it encourages kids to consume pills which haven't been proscribed to them.

          This typo made my morning.

          Dwarf fortress is out since it allows genocide, torture, theft and flooding of populated towns with magma.

          Don't forget it encourages the killing of useless government officials to ensure better functioning of society:)

      • Re:Slipperly slope (Score:5, Informative)

        by radish (98371) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:31AM (#31198904) Homepage

        Why aren't we seeing any games manufacturer try for a push in games that aren't quite as destructive?

        You're right! Those damn game makers should try making games which aren't violent. Maybe someone could make a game where you're in a band [metacritic.com], or maybe you're a DJ [metacritic.com]. How about sports? Someone should make a football game [metacritic.com], or a snowboarding [metacritic.com] game, or skateboarding [metacritic.com], or bowling [metacritic.com]!. If only someone had thought to make a game to tie into the Winter Olympics [metacritic.com]! There's such a lack [metacritic.com] of imagination [metacritic.com] in games these days.

    • remember what happened to you as a child when you "said something mommy and daddy didn't like"

      I remember that. They explained what the long-term consequences of being impolite would be as an adult. Not sure quite what the relevance is. Perhaps you're projecting your own bad-parenting experiences on to the rest of us?

  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:35AM (#31196190)

    With this focus by Swiss leadership on the dubious social dangers of simulated violence, we can at least take heart knowing they've found solutions to all other social issues with demonstrated negative impacts.

    I'm so happy to live in a world with such pragmatic leaders. We can always count on politicians for intellectually honest debate of issues and good faith efforts to fix the problems they can.

    So nice to sleep easy knowing that representatives the world over don't let themselves get bogged down in baseless populist hysteria or abuse the power they're given to manipulate economies such that wealth is redistributed to their buddies.

    I don't know what we'd do without our honest, hard working politicians. May your silver spoons never tarnish, you captains of hypocrisy.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      Well Swiss politicians like to be re-elected. If you don't like what they are doing you can elect someone else, or make it clear to the current bunch that they might not be re-elected if they bring in stupid laws. There is a pirate party in Switzerland which opposes this law: http://piraten-partei.ch/ [piraten-partei.ch] supporting them might make the currently elected politicians think again, or get them replaced eventually.
    • by Ltap (1572175)
      Come on, it's Switzerland. They haven't had any violence in their country for 700 years, it must frighten the poor dears in their government.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jedi Alec (258881)

        Switzerland...a country full of mountains where the majority of households has an assault rifle and 2/3's of the male population has military training [wikipedia.org].

        I was rather surprised the first time I got a mail from a business associate saying he wasn't going to be available for a few weeks, on account of him going off to crawl through mud, shoot heavy weapons and other fun activities. Not quite something you'd expect the typical porsche driving hot-shot business exec to do, let alone enjoy.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:35AM (#31196198) Homepage
    Switzerland has very little regard for free speech. Very little regard for things that are unpopular or disliked and has an aging, reactionary voter base. Frankly, I got far more worked up over the ban on minarets that they enacted last year. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/europe/30swiss.html [nytimes.com] That was a much more serious violation of basic rights. This? This is small potatoes.
    • by golden age villain (1607173) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:03AM (#31196314)

      Switzerland has very little regard for free speech. Very little regard for things that are unpopular or disliked and has an aging, reactionary voter base.

      Aaaaah Switzerland, this famous dictatorship... And you are supporting these claims how? Because I happen to live in that country but it doesn't seem to be the country you are describing. Free speech? Very little regard for things that are unpopular or disliked? What the hell are you talking about exactly? Do you have examples that make Switzerland stand out of the crowd of European countries? Agreed, the ban on minarets is not exactly the vote we can be most proud of. I would just like to point to the fact that Switzerland is no different from other European countries in that regard as was demonstrated by numerous polls in Europe following this particularly infamous vote. Also on votes asking whether or not to put a cap on immigration, the Swiss people have constantly voted no (there was several votes on this question since the 70s) and we have also accepted to embrace bilateral agreements with the EU and extend those agreements to the new EU members from Eastern Europe so I don't really see more reactionary voters than in any other western country. The only difference is probably that pretty much everything goes into a public vote and is hence very visible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Radtoo (1646729)
        Agreed. Free speech is not really in danger in switzerland:

        Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2009 [rsf.org]

        Freedom house [freedomhouse.org]

        I'm sure you can find more evidence if you care enough.

        Whether a human right has been dented with the minaret law is (potentially) still to be determined by some court. But I think it would sure be a tough case for the court. Determining whether towers in certain shapes can't be prohibited by a democratic and fair election isn't easy by itself, I bet. Add to that that these to
      • Do you have examples that make Switzerland stand out of the crowd of European countries?

        Yeah, you waited until 1971 to let women vote. WTF took so long?

        Aaaaah Switzerland, this famous dictatorship

        If less than half the country can vote, it is closer to a dictatorship than an democracy.

      • by radish (98371)

        Agreed, the ban on minarets is not exactly the vote we can be most proud of. I would just like to point to the fact that Switzerland is no different from other European countries in that regard as was demonstrated by numerous polls in Europe following this particularly infamous vote

        Actually it is different, in that no other European country actually introduced a ban on Minarets. The way things work in Switzerland shows both the best and worst sides of a pure democracy. Specifically the ability for propagand

    • Switzerland has very little regard for free speech. Very little regard for things that are unpopular or disliked and has an aging, reactionary voter base. Frankly, I got far more worked up over the ban on minarets that they enacted last year. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/europe/30swiss.html [nytimes.com] That was a much more serious violation of basic rights. This? This is small potatoes.

      How's not being allowed to build a tower (or four) a violation of human rights ? God won't listen if you've got a flat roof ? This is much more serious since these games are played in the confines of your own home by adults not bothering anyone else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Asic Eng (193332)
      You'll find stupid laws in any country, just because you heard of the minaret ban doesn't mean that's representative of Switzerland. Besides free speech does not mean you can build whatever you want, the minaret ban does not prevent anyone from saying what they want.
      • No but it is blatantly discriminatory and unjust, and, like the ban on violent games, follow a pattern of banning anything that the majority dislike without regard to the rights of individuals.

        • They can practice their religion in private, but when the bring it out in public they're imposing on everyone else. I for one don't want to look at minarets, much less hear the hideous caterwauling.

          If a bunch of Sikhs turned up in Mecca and asked for permission to build a temple what do you think would happen?

          • You can practice your religion in private but the moment you express it in public in any way you're imposing on everyone else.
            I for one don't want to look at or hear *any symbols or expressions of your religion or lack thereof*

            If a bunch of Sikhs turned up in Mecca and asked for permission to build a temple what do you think would happen?

            I see, because some people in some places are intolerant, racist or bigoted we must all copy them and be intolerant, racist and bigoted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
      I got far more worked up over the ban on minarets that they enacted last year. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/europe/30swiss.html [nytimes.com] That was a much more serious violation of basic rights.

      Can you name the "basic rights" that are being violated here? Nobody is stopping Muslims in Switzerland from practicing their religion, they are only not allowed to impose it on everyone else in the form of giant rockets (erect penises?) whose only purpose is to promote the said religion. Since they are not even be
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by yndrd1984 (730475)

        Can you name the "basic rights" that are being violated here? Nobody is stopping Muslims in Switzerland from practicing their religion, they are only not allowed to impose it on everyone else in the form of giant rockets (erect penises?) whose only purpose is to promote the said religion. Since they are not even being used for calling for prayer what else is their purpose?

        Can you name the "basic rights" that are being violated here? Nobody is stopping Christians in Switzerland from practicing their reli

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      The Mosques in Germany were infamous for getting a building permit for, say, 2 stories and then building a multistory monstrosity and ignoring any local goverment - either eating the fines or ignoring them relying on the Politically correct to shut up any opposition while they go ahead and dominate their neighbors sunlight and skyline.

      Can't imagine it was much different in neighboring Switzerland.

    • As a hopeful soon to be Swiss... I am actually proud of the minaret vote. Not the result because I would have probably voted no. No I am proud of the fact that the Swiss people can vote on these issues. Time and time again I see in other representative democracies votes being made that are only for a small minority of the people. Shall we call them lobbies? When lobbies take over then minorities take over, and then you get the mess called American politics.

      The American political system is completely broke

  • by Cruciform (42896) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:58AM (#31196296) Homepage

    If we look at the youth crime rates in the US, they dropped of precipitously when the PS1 came out and have stayed low compared to previous decades ever since.

    If the trend was the same in Switzerland, what happens when you take away that outlet?

    Most of the drop in crime likely comes from resolution of boredom, but it probably serves as a panacea for some of the whackjobs out there too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Oh video games, is there any crisis you can't solve [smbc-comics.com] ?

    • If we look at the youth crime rates in the US, they dropped of precipitously when the PS1 came out and have stayed low compared to previous decades ever since.

      The Playstation was released on December 3, 1994.

      The US price was $300.

      $580, adjusted for inflation. CPI Inflation Calculator [bls.gov] That makes the market middle class and, stereotypically, suburban.

      Windows 95 was released in August 1995. In 1996 AOL went to flat-rate monthly billing. IE4 arrives in 1997. The [middle class] kid in the mid-nineties was getti

  • by jbatista (1205630)
    I'd like to see this much dedication in governments to other, more serious, forms of violence such as hunger, desease, poverty and (there I say it!?) corruption and unemployment. Yes, I realize banning unemployment is futile (some people are incompetent) but I consider it a vile form of violence against 40-something people when they're too old for employment but too young for retirement. But if they can get it right with some little things, maybe they can figure out how to get it right with bigger, more imp
  • by janwedekind (778872) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:12AM (#31196348) Homepage

    There are Flash games and soon there will be HTML5 games and then they will be discussing the introduction of internet censorship.

  • Closer to home? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by srjh (1316705) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:17AM (#31196376)

    Some of us are Australian, funnily enough.

  • on positive side (Score:5, Informative)

    by jarkus4 (1627895) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:20AM (#31196390)
    Switzerland has more direct democracy than most countries. Even if the legislation passes parliament, if someone gathers 50k signatures against some law (in 100 days), he can cause national vote on this matter. In this vote all citizens decide whether the law should stay or be rejected. So to get rid of it they just need to convince normal people (and not politicians) that this is a bad idea.
    • This is pretty much what I came here to post. Even if the Swiss Govt DOES pull this off the citizens can just deal with it themselves if enough of them care.

      • by Baki (72515)

        Since more than half of voters are over 65, there is little chance for that.

        The direct democracy is just a farce if you ask me. I have lived here for 10 years and I've never seen anything good come from it. The latest painful affair was the prohibition of minarets, which is just a blamage. I'm glad I don't have Swiss nationality or I'd need to be really ashamed for my people.

        On the topic, there's still more weapons around here (from the army) than in almost any other country in europe. And often "accidents"

        • >>I've never seen anything good come from it.

          No that is a real study of a political system. Gee I lived in the US, Canada, UK, France, and well I come to the same conclusion its all a farce... Does that mean it's true? Not really...

          The direct democratic system works in Switzerland if you understand the Swiss mentality. The minaret vote while people might disagree with the result is an example of a discussion on a topic that most people ignore. Let me throw out another example, gay marriages. I don't c

          • by Dhalka226 (559740)

            By allowing gay marriage you are opening the can of worms where the catholic church would have to allow the marriage of people.

            Why would it?

            You and your friend are right about the problem being terminology. When we talk about whether or not to allow gay marriage, we're talking about the institution of marriage. That is, the government's recognition of a partnership conferring a certain status, certain set of benefits (and drawbacks), etc. This is the same whether you choose to have a big church wedding

        • Turnout of voters (Score:3, Informative)

          by goto_break (1749078)

          Since more than half of voters are over 65, there is little chance for that.

          This is just wrong: http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/themen/17/22/publ.Document.89803.pdf [admin.ch] Turnout of voters by age (in 2003): 18-24: 33% 25-44: 35% 45-64: 52% 65-... : 57% (and average age is 31)

    • Switzerland has more direct democracy than most countries. Even if the legislation passes parliament, if someone gathers 50k signatures against some law (in 100 days), he can cause national vote on this matter.

      This sounds a lot like the situation in California. Maybe it works better in Switzerland, but here we have a ban on gay marriage, inconsistent property taxes and all kinds of crazy bond measures as a result.

  • Of course this stupid idea has been bundled with some child porn legislation to ease its way into the parliament. :/ Here is the original press release [parlament.ch] (in French, also available in German and Italian).
  • Denken Sie bitte an die Kinder?
    Pensez svp aux enfants ?
    Pensi prego ai bambini?

    Please think of the little wallabies eh mate? Now let's throw another shrimp on the barbie.

  • This won't prevent me from driving 15 minutes to enter France and buy my games there. However, as Swiss Citizen, I feel concerned since: 1. This law will infantilize me and strip me from my adult judgment over what is good or bad for me. 2. This law doesn't deal with the real issue which is the lack of liability of today's parents in their progeniture's education. They tend to rely more and more on school & State to raise the kids they chose to have. 3. Child Pornography and Video Games are put togeth
  • . . . then shouldn't the NHL currently own the North American sports market, based on sales of NHL 94?

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