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Games Government Entertainment Politics

NY Videogame Bill Undermines ESRB 70

GamePolitics is reporting that a bill introduced just four days ago in New York's senate will soon become the law of the land. Written by Rep. Andrew Lanza, the bill's goals are extremely vague. Aiming to 'crack down on video game violence', the bill will 'establish the Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence to review the [ESRB] rating system and its effectiveness, and recommend additional steps that can be taken to curb children's access and exposure to such adult-only material.' Unsurprisingly after drawing on public fear and a lack of education to ram through useless legislation, Lanza isn't above some gloating. "Speaking in support of his bill, Sen. Lanza apparently couldn't resist drawing on the shock value of controversial amateur game V-Tech Rampage (which he mistakenly refers to as V-Tech Massacre), even though his legislation would have no effect at all on this non-industry, non-retail, non-rated, non-professional Flash game: The recent release of 'V-Tech Massacre,' a sick game which exploits the Virginia Tech University tragedy, is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which has severe consequences on our youth and society ..." Along with Best Buy's decision to include CMA ratings on videogames, this would seem to be another harsh blow to the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
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NY Videogame Bill Undermines ESRB

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  • I'm glad he agrees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:18PM (#19226729)
    I'm glad Lanza agrees that exploting the Virginia Tech shootings for profit is sick and wrong. Now if only he'd quit being a hypocrite.
  • Undermine? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:30PM (#19226941)
    Does it really undermine anything? TFS states that it will create an advisory board whose explicit purpose is to examine the ESRB system and recommend ways to help make it work.

    Of course, the above is really naive. The goal will be to undermine the ESRB anyway. There's no reason why this new entity can't just go:

    1. ESRB sucks. We know because we thought of the children.
    2. We're making the NYESRB. It will go up to 11.
    3. It will be government controlled. Because we know best, and if you disagree you are a terrorist.
    4. Meeting over.
    5. ??? (let's do lunch for the next 2 years while pretending to work)
    6. Profit! (let's milk the taxpayers, and, oh, NYESRB will have rating application fees even higher than the ESRB has now)
  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:33PM (#19227005)
    Ratings, if done well, mean that you have better information on what content is in games and can therefore use your common sense better. I have no objections to that use of ratings: As a consumer's guide to help people know what is in each game, so they can make their own choices.

    Unfortunately, that's not how ratings are often used and 'sold'.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:56PM (#19227497)
    What possible control could the publishers and raters have over Target, BestBuy, Wal-Mart, etc.? Stores like those represent the real weak link here. They're the ones that allow an unsupervised pre-teen to buy a sex and violence-heavy game like God of War I/II. Why aren't local vice squads going after them on obscenity charges?

    Oh, right, because if the vice squads used existing laws the government might be a functional organization rather than a platform for personal success for scumbag politicians.
  • by skeletor935 ( 790212 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:06PM (#19227669) Journal
    "Education should come from parents, not from package labels." Sadly, the reality is that parents are the ones pushing for this ever increasing government watchdog behavior because why should they be responsible for educating their kids about sex, cigarettes, violence, n+1 sql calls, and other such monstrosoties of society.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:26PM (#19228011)
    Allright, keep kids away from violence. Best we keep them in front of the Teletubbies, Barney and other lalaland shows that shelter them from anything that could be a threat to their fragile little soul. Don't you dare to expose them to anything bad that could and probably will happen to them.

    Then send them to schools where the local bully has the say, with teachers looking the other way 'cause that's not their problem, let them learn that way, first hand and hands-on experience is always better than some virtual world. And when they finally snap 'cause, well, nobody likes being the perpetual heel for the rest of the world, and they go on a killing spree in their school (ever wondered why it's always schools and not, say, Starbucks or McDonalds?), we blame video games again.

    Or... wait, how? Oh, right, it only means that the surveillance of our kids and that crack down on violence wasn't hard enough. Let's ban it! That's gonna solve it.
  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:57PM (#19230659)
    You're obviously not thinking this through, or aren't living in America.

    There's a reason that every rating system for movies, games and TV are not - and CANNOT - be government run and it's written into the ammendments to the Constitution. Made #1, as it were...

    Also, what alternate dimension do you live in where government programs are actually more *effective* at anything, other than red tape and corruption?

    State-by-state rating system would be insane. So, instead of having to deal with just 1 organization, you want companies to deal with 50?! And if 1 state says "Good for everyone" and 1 state says "It's the work of the devil", what would you expect the company to do? Cater to the lowest denominator? Not sell in that state? (oh yeah, THAT'S going to work...)

    As for your last point, you really don't understand how things work do you? Retailers can already make the decision to carry a game or not. If WalMart decides they won't carry anything "M" or higher, so be it. The publisher can decide if they want to either live without WalMart, or make changes. It SHOULD be the publisher's choice - NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.