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Games Government Entertainment Politics

'Over 30' Section For Games Stores? 220

A New York law introduced by Representative Keith Wright seeks just that, a section for gaming stores that keeps 'violent games' under lock and key, and is accessible only to people over 30. The law is one of two poorly-thought pieces of legislation being considered by New York state's legal system. From the 1up article: "The history of the courts striking down such legislation goes just about as far back as politicians who attempt to bolster their own image by capitalizing on the public fear and hysteria over the bogeyman of video gaming. It's interesting to note that recently, courts have begun penalizing entities who purposely waste their time with attempts at passing frivolous and unconstitutional anti-videogame legislation. You'd think might deter motions like [these] somewhat, wouldn't you?" Update: 01/19 04:10 GMT by Z : As ahecht points out in the comments 1up has things wrong here. There is only one bill, and it restricts violent games from being sold to those under 18 only. Line 5 of the bill's text is the section in question.
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'Over 30' Section For Games Stores?

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  • by The Real Toad King ( 981874 ) <toadking@toadking.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:09PM (#17671798) Homepage
    "Yes, you're allowed to get drunk off your ass and purchase hardcore porno flicks, but you can't buy these video games."
  • honestly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:10PM (#17671818) Homepage
    People mature differently. I know a couple teenagers that are more mature than my 32-year old cousin. Leave it up to parents and oneself to make this decision.
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:11PM (#17671828) Homepage
    As in, if a law is passed and rejected by the courts, all the people that voted for it should be forced to watch a one hour video on the constition of the United States, before they are allowed to vote for any other law.
  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:11PM (#17671840) Journal
    Or: "You can be sent overseas and kill people, but you can't play Quake 4!"
  • Remember... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:12PM (#17671846) Journal
    It's ok to actively recruit 18 year olds and send them to real violence in Iraq, but it's not ok for a 29 year old to play fake violence.

    Also, why 30? Why not 21? 18? It's one thing if the government regulates what can be sold to minors without their parent's permission, but what exactly gives them the right to arbitrarily block adults from something?

    Damn hypocrites. Keith Wright, feel free to exercise your right to bite me.

  • by mad.frog ( 525085 ) <steven AT crinklink DOT com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:13PM (#17671864)
    Given that a substantial percentage of game developers and testers are under 30, this would definitely put the kibosh on game development there...
  • by DigitalReverend ( 901909 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:16PM (#17671908)
    18 is the age of becoming a legal adult, 18 should be the age for everything, games, drinking, voting. An 18 year old can pay taxes, get married, die in war, but can't play a video game or drink? Puhleeese.
  • by bunions ( 970377 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:20PM (#17672002)
    > Parents refuse to take responsibility for what their kids do because it's inconvenient.

    When my kid is 28, my responsibility for his behavior is pretty much zero.

    I could sort of not mind a law like this too much, but the age can't be 30.
  • 30- America's Army (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:21PM (#17672024)
    So does this senator want to personally pay for all the then wasted resources the army has put into its whizz bang recruitment game:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Army [wikipedia.org]

    Or are they going to have to modify the game so nobody gets killed?

  • by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:23PM (#17672054) Journal
    I don't even understand 21. In theory, the reason we have an age limit of 21 for booze is because the brain is still developing up until age 21, so alcohol might stunt that growth.

    at 18, you are legally an adult. I expect to be treated like one.

  • by TheJerg ( 1052952 ) <jr_g_2006@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:23PM (#17672064)
    It's not the government's responsbility to tell parents what is and isn't acceptable for their kids. All it does is enable parents to take an even smaller role in determining what is and isn't right for their children.
  • The reason for 30 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:25PM (#17672096)
    I suspect the main reason they choose 30 is to ban violent videogames without actually banning violent videogames ...

    Even though there are lots of gamers over 30, and the average age of gamers is quite high, the quantity of games played by a gamer decreases with age; as a guess I would say you probably buy/rent twice as many games at 15 as you do at 25, and you buy/rent twice as many games at 25 as you do at 35. If you could successfully prevent 66% of game sales from occuring in the age of the $20 Million game you will successfully prevent any company from attempting to make one of these games (because you simply can not be profitable).

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:30PM (#17672198) Journal
    Half the fricken' comments in this story wouldn't have been posted if people had happened to notice this point: You have to be over 18, not 30. They will only card you if you look under 30. Very inaccurate summary and headline.
  • All right! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:32PM (#17672246) Homepage

    Now I can look for those Sega Genesis games in one convienent place!

    I was expecting the "over 30" section to have the intelligent games, not the violent ones. Sheesh, what a let-down.

    And get off of my yard, you punk kids!

  • it won't pass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 6ame633k ( 921453 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:32PM (#17672248) Homepage Journal
    Hooking their little red wagon to the ridiculous and ARBITRARY "30 years of age" rating will kill this piece legislation for sure. It makes me think it's a ploy for attention, and not a serious bill.
  • by Lane.exe ( 672783 ) * on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:41PM (#17672412) Homepage
    If what we're worrying about is kiddos getting their hands on a violent game where they take up a gun and kill people, then we should be doubly worried about signing them up for the real thing.

    /In life, there's no reset button or checkpoints.

  • Incorrect article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TravisW ( 594642 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:44PM (#17672484)

    According to this link [gamepolitics.com] cited in the article, it's not that "violent" games would only be "accessible" to customers over 30, it's that retailers would be required "to check I.D. for buyers" who wanted to browse that section and "who appear to be 30 or under." It's more like the policy of checking IDs when serving alcohol than the nonsense the article and summary suggest.

    Incidentally, if they were accurate, it would (comically) mean that someone could run for and win a seat in the House of Representatives and sponsor laws re video game violence before they could browse the proposed section at game stores.

    It's apparently too much to expect that when a story is submitted by an editor, he check the primary sources linked in the cited article to support what's obviously an improbable assertion (and in this case, a flatly incorrect one).

  • by Atomic6 ( 1011895 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:29PM (#17673208) Homepage
    We're talking about virtual violence, which has nothing to do with hurting people. The two are very different and while real violence is a very bad thing, virtual violence is not. People should only be concerned about whether the player is mature enough to understand the difference between real and virtual violence, which many people associate with understanding sex.
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:32PM (#17673250) Journal
    If "violent" games can be purchased by anyone of any age, then these do-gooder politicians have an excuse to ban them completely. However, limit these games to 18+ only, and you can make the argument of, "I'm an adult and only adults can purchase these games. Stay the Hell out of my business."

    (assuming that the law is 18+, not 30+ as the summary says.)

  • by Merusdraconis ( 730732 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:02PM (#17673702) Homepage
    I fear a one vote per person system ala Ancient Greece. Haven't you seen American Idol? Imagine that system applied to something important!
  • by Dagowolf ( 646208 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:05PM (#17673736)

    The bigger issue here hasn't really been addressed by anyone in the general media or the gaming specific media. The issue is that most of the people in office haven't played many of the modern video games they are demonizing and seeking to legislate. Should laws like this (the correctly cited version that is) pass? I don't see why not, there is no added burden beyond having to look at someone's ID. Besides, the kids will just get their parents to buy the games for them, therefore circumventing the law.

    The larger issue of uneducated (or undereducated) lawmakers is where the gaming public needs to focus its energy. The industry is often viewed by the lawmakers and the non-gaming public as attempting to push their agenda of violence for all. The education needs to come from the gaming public. There are books out there that discuss the real impact of gaming on people, and the impact is not as bad as lawmakers and the non-gaming public believes.

    In Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad is Good For You he discussed how we as gamers spend so much time "not having fun" while playing a game, how we learn skills beyond that which we would subject ourselves to in the real world. An example Mr. Johnson uses is his nephew who learned the basic premise of industrial economics while playing SimCity. No seven year old would sit through an urban planning or economics class to learn that reduced tax rates spur growth, but that same child happily learns this while playing a game. Granted SimCity isn't going to be regulated as violent anytime soon, but Mr. Johnson doesn't stop with SimCity. He touches on the value of games like Half-Life in building the players ability to track objectives. As the player progresses they develop a sort of running task list of objectives. While a game like PacMan might have a relatively short objective list, a game like Zelda or Half-Life has a large and complex matrix of objectives, some of them might even appear on the surface to conflict with each other.

    If Mr. Johnson's book doesn't fully address the world of gaming (which it doesn't as it also looks at TV), James Paul Gee's book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy addresses the impact of gaming do a much deeper level. Mr. Gee's book addresses the development of semiotic domains, learning and identity, situated meaning, telling and doing, cultural models, and the social mind through the lens of a converted gamer. Using games such as Pikman, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, and EverQuest (to name a few) Mr. Gee investigated how playing games helps develop a person's ability to read, understand, and interact both in the virtual world and in the real world.

    I mention these two books because they are what is missing from the debate on regulating the gaming industry. Lawmakers look past the good and seek out the bad because it is in their political interest to do this. We as gamers need to make sure that our elected leaders understand that gaming is not a "waste of time," but is a "fun" way for the gamer to learn skills and concepts that can help them in the "real world." Instead of voicing our displeasure concerning these proposed laws only on Slashdot we as gamers need to interact with our elected leaders and make sure they understand that it is not just young boys that play games anymore, but that more and more middle aged men and women are playing games like Quake or Gears of War.

  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @09:17PM (#17674694)
    You mean to tell me that some 18 year old guy or girl can sign up in the military to be sent off to fight and die in a war for Darth Bush, but they can't buy a game? I can believe there is a law proposing that, because only a legislator could come up with something that fucking stupid.
  • by Millenniumman ( 924859 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:13PM (#17675328)
    Wow, this summary is probably the worst I have ever seen. Blatantly untrue.

    Please, tag this article 'falsearticle' .

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan