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EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games 299

Spamicles writes "European Union justice ministers met today in order to discuss the regulation of sales of violent video games to minors. Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school. A European Union Commissioner is taking advantage of the shootings last year called for stricter regulations in the video game industry. A motion introduced last month calls for legislators to "put in place all necessary measures to ban the sale of particularly violent and cruel video games.""
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EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games

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  • Cruel? (Score:4, Funny)

    by The Orange Mage ( 1057436 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:32AM (#19501851) Homepage
    "Cruel" videogames?

    Like Daikatana?
  • Ridiculous (Score:3, Funny)

    by phantomcircuit ( 938963 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:40AM (#19501883) Homepage
    This is utterly ridiculous, can't they at least think of their own fake reasons!

    Save The Children is our politicians!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by donaldm ( 919619 )
      It is far to easy to misdirect public opinion with catchy words such as "Save/Think the Children" or "Speed Kills" or "Drinking/Smoking kills" and the list goes on. What people in general have to realise is that the government should not mandate what is a social responsibility.

      Banning violent video games IMHO is stupid and counter productive since a violent game will most likely enable a person to take out their aggression on the game rather than actually take out their anger on real people. Most people who
      • While I'll agree that the law probably won't do much, and a kid isn't really influenced unless there was already something awfully wrong in their education... exactly what would such a law mandate? No, step down from the "loss of rights", "censorship", "evil politicians" soapbox for a moment, please. No, it didn't propose to outright ban those games. All it would actually do is require a parent to be present when a kid buys a violent game.

        Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with that. We all rant and rave a
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by plover ( 150551 ) *
      And just in case they can't think of their own reasons, let's send them Jack Thompson. We're certainly done with him.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:44AM (#19501901) Journal
    The Germans made no secret of their plans to advance this during their turn with the rotating EU Presidency. Fortunately, this wouldn't force other member states to adopt the ridiculous German position on games, but it's still pretty bad. Last I had heard, several Governments, including the UK, were less than enthused by the idea and planned to resist it (although this may have changed).

    Our best hope, really, comes from the fact that the Presidency moves on to Portugal at the start of July. So far as I know, Portugal's position on games is nothing like as screwed up as Germany's and they might not be so motivated to keep pushing to advance this.

    The proposed EU constitution rejected by a number of states over the last few years was a bad joke, but there's no denying that the EU needs serious structural reform. Unfortunately, given that said reform should really limit the powers of the EU institutions rather than enhancing them, we're unlikely to see any sensible proposals emerging any time soon.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zelos ( 1050172 )
      Doesn't the UK already have age limits on some games? My copy of RE4 has the same "15" label as films use, God of War has an 18. The age limits on films are non-voluntary and legally enforceable, presumably the game limits are too?
      • by simm1701 ( 835424 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:16AM (#19502879)
        The UK age certificates are legally enforced with heavy fines for anyone selling or renting films or games to those below the age of the rating. I think vendors that persist in selling media to those under age can be barred from selling dvds or games in the future.

        The ratings are also pretty fair and its not that expensive to get something rated (a couple of thousand for a 90 minute film)
        • by Pxtl ( 151020 )
          So the british actually treat games like any other media, instead of having special classifications for games that don't apply to movies or other competing forms of entertainment?

          The British film-lobby must suck at their jobs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Yeah, it works for us so I never really understand all the fuss americans kick up over it. Here in the UK, if you want a violent videogame underage just ask the clueless parents for it. My 11-yo cousin has already completed san andreas on the PS2.
        • Do you have a source for that? Last time I checked (some years ago, when age restrictions applied to me), the age stickers on games were purely advisory. A shop could choose to enforce them, or not. Some did, some didn't. Videos were a completely different matter; those age certificates carried a legal weight, and shops could get into trouble for selling them to children under the age shown on the sticker.
          • There's a voluntary age rating from PEGI [pegi.info] on every game, that's not legally binding (i.e., a shop can happily sell one marked as 16+ to a 5-year-old should they wish). Games that have also been rated by the BBFC, however, are subject to the same restrictions as films and carry the same certificates as well, hence a game with a BBFC 18 rating cannot legally be sold to someone under that age.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:14AM (#19502323)
      Especially when it comes to game violence. Have you ever played a "German version" of any kind of game? It's actually a good laugh. A few highlights of Command and Conquer Generals:

      - No soldiers, you're commanding "robots". Which is a bit odd when it comes to the special units, but ... ohwell.
      - Of course they don't bleed or yell when they die. They just fall over and vanish.
      - No Anthrax in the arsenal of the Terrorists, they're using acid. Why that acid only affects "robots" and no tanks is beyond me, but ok.
      - Here's the best part: No suicide bombers, instead you have cute little "rolling bombs" which resemble a tea-cart with a comic-style "bomb" on top. Why those teacarts can drive cars or generally behave like humans not really explained.

      And so on. I mean, I don't need my games "bloody", but when it crosses the line to ridiculous that's usually where I stop enjoying the games. And the "germanized" versions usually leap over that line by a few miles.
      • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @05:47AM (#19502767) Journal
        It can get more stupid than that.

        E.g., take "No One Lives Forever 2". The original game tweaked the AI a lot, so the enemies would notice a fallen comrade, see if he's dead, etc. Except the German version came and replaced all corpses with backpacks.

        So for a start you ended up hiding and/or disposing of backpacks instead of corpses. I mean, wth? Why would someone sound the alarm for seeing a backpack near a bed in the barracks? Don't all soldiers have one of those anyway?

        But it gets better. Picture this: A patrol comes by and starts shaking the backpack and saying stuff like "Oh no! Are you still alive? Say something!"

        I mean, WTF? Since when was a backpack alive in the first place?

        All that clever scripting and trying to make it believable in the original game... just made it look stupid in the censored version.
        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          I'm confused. Are you blaming the developer or the law in Germany for forcing the developer to change their product for a single country that really isn't that big?

          There's not enough money in the budget to rework all the AI and cutscenes to make sense in Germany, and if they make it for Germany from the start, they won't make as much money in the other countries.

          On the other hand, a friend pointed out to me today that you never hear of school-massacres from countries other than the US. Is it because we do
          • Pretty much I'm blaming both.

            Most of the gameplay changes aren't mandated by the law. There is a central agency which gives those ratings, and in extreme cases might even ban the game (mostly if you tried to go around them), but they can't tell you what to change in those games.

            Mostly the changes happen just because the publisher wants to get a lower age rating, that's all. Most of the time it's some marketroid saying, basically, "noooo, 18+ is missing our target demographic, we need 16+ at all cost!!!" Tha
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
            On the other hand, a friend pointed out to me today that you never hear of school-massacres from countries other than the US. Is it because we don't pay attention to world-wide events, or is it because it just doesn't happen as often?

            Probably both. They don't happen all that often in the rest of the civilized world, and when they do, they don't receive a lot of coverage in the US (just like so many other news items that happen "elsewhere).

            On the other hand, you don't hear about many "school shooting" inci

      • by Spliffster ( 755587 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:04AM (#19502829) Homepage Journal
        I am living in the german speaking part of switzerland and because our market is very small (about 4 million german speaking citizens) we mostly get those german versions of games.

        I often ask myself if this is doing any good to the children. Especially in first person shooters. Kids shoot at things that look like humans, they kill them but nothing happens, they usually just fall down and/or disappear. The lessons a kid could learn from this is? pointing with weapons at people and pulling the trigger doesn't do much (no scream, no blood, nothing). It's clean ... never give those kids a real gun ... I am a bit scared.

        Erfurt (germany's colombine) did happen despite the draconian measures the german government put on computer games. AFAIK there has not been such a case in another european country which have (mostly) very lax rules about computer games. It should be clear that happenings like Erfurt or Colombine are not caused due to computer games but most likely due to the environment of the school kid (personal problems, problems with family, teacher maybe all of them).

        Such laws do what? Usually after a release of the "german version" of a game there'll be a patch available (or a config setting documented) how to change the game back into its original non-german state. That's what i always do and i do not know anyone who does not. Many german friends have started ordering their games via internet from the uk or usa not because these games are cheaper there and not because many games get released earlier in the uk and the usa no - they want the "original version[tm]"
      • Of course they don't bleed or yell when they die. They just fall over and vanish
        In the German version of Red Alert, the soldiers would 'bleed' oil when they died. It was the same blood sprite as the UK version (which is presumably the same as the US version), but black instead of red.

        Wolfenstein 3D was completely banned in Germany. Apparently it glorified Nazis... by making you kill lots of them.

    • So basically you're just telling me that the EU works as it is? So one group might try to push an unreasonable law, the others vote it down, and that's it. Sounds to me no worse than the USA or than the parliament of any of the EU members.
    • You know, I could be wrong, but didn't the British fight two World Wars in order to keep themselves from being bossed around by German autocrats?

      I don't know, I think it is a little ironic that now they are voluntarily in that position.

      Maybe when the British get the presidency, they could suggest some changes in the way the Germans do things?

  • by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:44AM (#19501903)
    I think European politicians are simply jumping on the bandwagon and blaming video games for cheap political points. Seriously Europe already has less gun-friendly policies (compared to the U.S.) already in place, regulating video games is going to be even more of a waste in their political system compared to the U.S.'s.
    • by Ours ( 596171 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:55AM (#19501985)
      less gun-friendly policies
      Not part of the EU but here in Switzerland the gun lobby made sure the policies are quite friendly to them. No politician wants to touch that with all the foreign currency coming in from weapons exports. Time to time the mandatory assault rifle at home for all service-man policy (with military service mandatory for all males) makes a scandal when some guy goes Rambo but then they hush it with "values of tradition" and other crap and everybody forgets about it. And nobody talks about the use of such rifle involved and way too many suicides.
      But yeah, lets blame video games and leave the weapons in the hands of the people... Like we need them! It's bloody Switzerland, not Israel.
      • by Kirth ( 183 )
        First off, I'm from switzerland too, and I cannot agree to this. Switzerland ranks second to last in regard of violent crimes world-wide (Japan ranks lowest). From time to time some nutcase goes haywire and starts shooting. So what? We've still got extremely little violent crime. You really think you could prevent that by banning guns?

        Example from 1994: Population 7 Mio; violent deaths: 1596, total homicide 92; homicide involving firearms: 40; total suicide 1490; suicide involving firearms 392.
        Households wi
    • Actually, while there is no constitutional right in Germany to own a gun, that does not mean it's all that difficult to obtain one. All you have to do is join a rifle club, and get through the bureoucratic hurdles. (It seems the latter mainly requires patience.) IIRC that's what the guy in question did. Also since Germany has a draft, most males have received some gun training, too.
  • by Nymz ( 905908 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:47AM (#19501923) Journal
    I thought that when a crazy guy shot someone, and then killed himself, we were supposed to blame evil guns. Now when a crazy guy shoots somone, and then kills himself, we are supposed to blame evil video games. If this progression continues I wonder who... correction, I wonder whom... correction, I wonder what will we blame next.
    • by mrjb ( 547783 )
      I wonder what will we blame next Google says Big Oil. [iht.com]
    • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      Here's a good question. Are video games simply the blame du jour or does the gun lobby have something to do with it? As evil as it sounds, maybe it's time for a games lobby?

    • by MoonFog ( 586818 )
      One thing's for certain, the one person/thing that WON'T be blamed is the person that pulled the trigger.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:27AM (#19502375)
      Look back in history and realize that there's always been something that drives our kids nuts. First it was the "bad book" (ok, first is maybe wrong, but it's the first thing I know), where reading Marc Twain was putting bad ideas into your head and those books were to blame. Then the readers grew up and rather few of them turned out to be idiots, so it can't be those bad books.

      Along came radio. So it was the radio telling our kids all the wrong things. Radio listeners grew up and behold, again being a loonie wasn't the next big thing.

      Swing music. It has to be that dreaded swing music with all those odd wiggling dances that drives the youth nuts. Well, guess what, the swingers grew up...

      Ok, television. That flashy crap, it's the bane of youth and rots their brains. Hmm... nope, the TV generation grew up (not to mention that the TV lobby is strong enough that even though TV did rot their brains...).

      Heavy metal! The devil's music and all those hidden messages twisting our kids minds and making their hair grow! Well, the metalheads grew up and cut their hairs, the beheading of chickens by biting their heads off isn't the new fad, so... nope, not either.

      RPGs. That's it. Dungeons and Dragons, the devil spawn itself! Look at all those false gods and whatnot and our kids getting lost in that fantasy world. Well, the D&D generation grew up and still no temples of Bane and human sacrifices.

      But ... but computer games! Ok, that's gotta be it then....

      See a pattern? It's always whatever the teenage group is interested in that the parent generation does not understand. The current generation of teenager parents is in the area of their 40s, born around or just before 1970, grown up in the mid/late 80s. Some might even know computer games, but those games were anything but realistic. They know all about TV, radio, books, music (hey, especially music!), but usually know precious little about computer games.

      So who's gonna get the blame?

      I predict in 5 years it's gonna be trading card games and Animes.
      • You're way too late for trading cards, that was soooo 2003. :P Anime hasn't become widespread enough to really hit the spotlight, whether it will or not, time will tell.

        Right now (in Australia at least) it's the emo subculture that's destroying our youth. Two teenage girls commit suicide and it's front page news for weeks... if they'd been fugly instead of hot (in a goth-chick way), it woulda been mentioned once on page 17 then dropped. Damn media.

        As for what *our* kids are going to be making us tut-tut
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 )
          Oh, I'm pretty sure Anime/Manga will sooner or later become the scapegoat. And it will reunite America. Gramps who remembers '41-'45 side by side with Pa who lost his job due to Japanese cars being more reliable and chaper than Detroit's products.

          Maybe 5 years was a bit early. But it's certainly gonna be some very suitable scapegoat for the 2010 to 2020 years. After that, who knows what's the next fad for teenagers. But it's certainly going to twist their minds, ruin their lives and turn them into monsters.
    • Really? It seems just like with Columbine blaming video games is one of the standard reactions, depending on your political background.
  • This seems like a fairly sane response. I don't think violent games (or films) *cause* violent tendencies, but I do believe they can be influential and reinforcing to those in whom those tendencies already exist, (e.g. minors). As long as this law applies only to minors, I really can't see a problem.

    I imagine every slashdotter knows how isolating obsessive tendencies can become (even if its just hours spent playing Nethack online).

    [I know, I've stepped over slashdot's "all censorship is unremittingly evil
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The point is that the law would discriminate against videogames, and not regulate the sales of violent movies or other media. So, because the violence was in a videogame instead of a movie, that makes it so much worse it has to have it's own law.

      Make a law regulating all violent media, or don't make a law at all. Preferably the latter.

      • I don't know about the rest of Europe, but games and movies are already regulated by age restrictions - it's illegal to sell games/films marked '18' to anyone below that age.

        I don't think anything here would change much, but then I haven't RTFA, so I could be wrong.
      • The point is that the law would discriminate against videogames, and not regulate the sales of violent movies or other media.

        Those laws already exist, for example the UK has the BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] which regulates domestic sales of media. IMHO extending the system to include games is a no brainer. It didn't make sense with pacman, but games are getting more and more imersive and this change is inevitable.

        Unfortunately, the BBFC has a history of requiring cuts, for example headbutts are frowned upon, in order to relea

    • Everything has an influence on everything else; look up the Butterfly Effect. Your argument is convenient in that it only applies to minors. I could make the same analogy as to why their should be bans and limits to exposing children to religion, but I just don't see any political will or enthusiasm. More people have died from the influences of religion than from video games.
  • What could happen? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonathan DS ( 1110515 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:53AM (#19501965)
    Well, you can ban violent games for children, but maybe that's one way to 'de-frustrate'. They will still see violence on TV, in real life.
    At least they can control the violence in games, but TV doesn't bring that option.

    I think it's up to the parents to take control over what their children can handle. The parent knows best what's best for the kid. I know a 10-year old that plays GTA, but he still knows the difference between games and real life. The parents need to know if their child can draw that line, before their children cross it.

    And it will start with violence, but what are they going to do about racing games? They'll try to find a link between car accidents and Gran Turismo...
    • Oh, they already did. Recently I've seen a "study" about car accidents and people playing racing sims.
    • I think the whole idea of linking video games and actual violence is statistically absurd. Millions of people play these games, one or two shoot people. If the game was a major factor, then we should have an epidemic. There must be thousands of things in the lifes of these shooters, which they have in common with other people - watching TV, eating bread, drinking beer, being frustrated at school, being lonely. There is no sensible reason to make a connection with video games.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:55AM (#19501983)
    Because y'know, there never was any violence before video games turned up.

    What we have here is a handy emotive issue that can be used to make politicians sound like they are 'in touch' with the needs of the community. The fact that its a loads of nonsense obviously has no relevence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The other thing these people never explain is how kids who grew up in Palestine, Kosovo, Baghdad, Darfur, ... don't all grow up to be bloodthirsty psychopaths. How can a video game possibly trigger sociopathic behavior when real-life violence clearly does not?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sylvanus ( 213197 )
      That really is a silly comment. We all realise that violence has complex causes and we'd all agree that there is never a straightforward single explanation of any killing or attack. That said advertising works and we are all affected by what we read and see around us. A constant background culture of violence, materialism and porn will create a different mood in society to a constant background of for instance, art, classical music and meditative exercises. Compare how you feel after a yoga class and after
      • Politicians have picked up on widespread concern amongst the public - believe it or not, that is their function in a democratic society.

        Nice point, shame it's wrong. Polititians do not pick up on points of concern to the public, they pick up on the concerns about which there is the most shouting or potential publicity/funding from pressure groups.

        The public are not concerned about this issue. Most wouldn't even know about it unless someone plastered it across a newspaper. The lobbyists with money are concer
      • That really is a silly comment.

        Ok, at least that's a fair warning ...

        A constant background culture of violence, materialism and porn will create a different mood in society to a constant background of for instance, art, classical music and meditative exercises.

        I think you are taking the easy way out by using "different mood" instead of what you imply - i.e. that it's much worse, but for which you have no proof. Bringing up porn into a discussion about violence follows the ususal patten of "modern w

  • not an outright ban (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c_jonescc ( 528041 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @03:01AM (#19502021)
    This is not a ban on violent video games. This is a limitation on content for minors, and frankly, I don't think it's such a bad idea.

    I have loved playing GTA over the last few years, but that doesn't mean that I think it's appropriate for 10 year olds to play. I have no interest in the likes of Manhunt, but I see no reason that it shouldn't be made - only reasons that it shouldn't be sold to the wee ones.

    If we had something stronger than volunteer parental ratings for an ignorant parental populous, just maybe we wouldn't have to listen to Jack Thompson's tripe any longer. After all, the generation that up until very recently has been buying games for their kids has had NO way of understanding the medium - it's been foreign to parents, and therefore parents have made dubious purchasing decisions.

    Why not make retailers check ID as a liquor store does? Some games are simply inappropriate for little kids and should be limited to adult consumption. They shouldn't be "banned" or limited in the production, but the sales should be limited to those who are old enough to have learned what boundaries are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You say that, but why should we hold games to a higher standard than movies, which are also voluntary? Lots of places will refuse to sell M rated games to kids. Problem is, the parents will just come back and buy the games for them anyway. Woops.
      • Good point.

        When I was wee, I was pretty much allowed to watch as violent a movie as I wished by age 10 (these were the Rambo and Revenge of the Ninja years), but when I wanted a moderately violent videogame, my dad said no. When I asked why it was any different he gave a fairly long speech about the effects of replaying a scene over and over or trying to complete a level 20 times, versus seeing it on the screen for a minute. That may be totally misled, but it really stuck with me.

        The fact is, my parents w
      • Where's the problem?

        A parent should have the right to say what their kids may or may not do. I'm strongly against giving the state too much power over what kind of information parents may give to their kids!
        • by Goaway ( 82658 )
          Parents are perfectly free to buy violent games and give them to their kids, if that's what they want.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Actually, for the UK at least, we'd actually be holding games to the *same* standard we hold movies. The BBFC ratings given to films are legally binding and its a crime to let a minor in to see an 18-cert film, or to sell/rent the DVD to them.

        For those not familiar with the cinema ratings in the UK:

        • U - Universal (suitable for all)
        • PG - Parental Guidance (suitable for all but some scenes may be unsitable for youngsters)
        • 12A - 12 Advisory (noone under that age of 12 without a parent or guardian accompanyi
        • Personally, I think making the ESRB ratings in the US legally binding would, at least in theory, work well. I think the problem is that, in reality, the federal government would then start exerting control over the ESRB, until it reaches the point where any game that even uses the color red would be labeled as violent. I wouldn't mind seeing a law that says "Stores can't sell games to children younger than what the ESRB says the game is for, but the government won't interfere with the ratings." If only our
      • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

        You say that, but why should we hold games to a higher standard than movies, which are also voluntary?

        No, it's illegal to sell violent films to children here in the UK and other places in Europe as well. The USA idea that children should be able to buy violent films is considered quite odd by people over here.

        Problem is, the parents will just come back and buy the games for them anyway.

        Precisely. The government is putting the decision in the hands of the parents, rather than letting the kid

  • ... but what was Hitler playing? Ban starving artists, save the world!

    More constructive advice: economies where young folks can actually get hired might put a dent in that wave of youth crime. I doubt you'll find that many of the 300 cars which will get burned in France tonight were torched by kids with jobs. Thats the liberal part of me talking. The conservative part of me adds that you'll want to figure out how to assimilate more of those immigrants, because I doubt that many of the cars are being bur
  • Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by skrolle2 ( 844387 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @03:15AM (#19502095)

    Europeans were riled up last year when a German gunman shot several people before taking his life at a secondary school.

    No we weren't.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:30AM (#19502393)
      I wondered about that myself, apart from a few newspaper notices the only place that only appear to get "riled up" was Germany itself. I don't read German newspapers daily, so the level of their concern I don't know, but certainly in Scandinavia this has hardly been discussed. I also read a lot of British newspapers and I certainly haven't seen much there to indicate such a reaction from the Brits either.

      Go sensationalism!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm from Germany, which is the country pushing hard for this sort of nonsense I'm ashamed to say. However, the reason they ostensibly give is not the true reason they are pushing for it. Several of the major proponents of this have already let it slip that the real reason is that they don't want people to play video games period. They don't want teenagers "wasting their time" with games and get "worse grades" at school which may make them less attractive as wage slaves, I mean, makes it harder for them to f

  • Magic Bullet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by trawg ( 308495 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @03:32AM (#19502173) Homepage
    Yes, stopping kids from getting their hands on violent video games will be the magic bullet that stops violence, aggressive behaviour, bullying, etc.

    The practical effect of this seems to me to obviously be that people that want to play violent video games will now just get them through non-official channels - ie, they'll pirate them. Or download any number of violent video games that are made available for free on the Internet [americasarmy.com] to anyone in the world.

    Politicians - please stop wasting your time and our money and get back to doing something else. Leave the parenting to the parents and let people accept some responsibility for their actions, eh?
  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @03:32AM (#19502175)
    Two reasons why politicians want to scape-goat violent videos games for the perceived demise of society:

    1) Boost their popularity by portraying themselves as crime fighters who are protecting the children
    2) An excuse to get rid of (or at least limit) things they just don't like or want

    It's interesting:
    - that this crime was committed by a 19 year old, which would be considered a legal adult in most countries (except for the US where you have to be 21 to enjoy full legal status, i.e. the alcohol laws)
    - they don't blame guns
    - they haven't looked into the social life and influences of this person other than he played a video game(s)

    Point in fact:
    - rape and murder are not caused by pornography, video games, rock and roll, Drugs, or any of the other usual suspects. False analogies are just that - false. It's too hard for them to find the real answers to social problems like spending money for after school programs, and providing people with proper social housing, medical and social support for psychiatric programs, etc... the list goes on. Simplifying the cause of a murder to a video game is so ludicrous it would be laughable if it were not true.

    When I was a kid I wondered why adults are so stupid. As an adult I still wonder.
    • Two reasons why politicians want to scape-goat violent videos games for the perceived demise of society:

      Two more:

      1. They don't understand or play video games.
      2. They don't believe a significant number of their voters or donors play violent video games.
    • by Snaller ( 147050 )
      "rape and murder are not caused by pornography, video games, rock and roll, Drugs"

      But can be triggered by them.
      • "Trigger" is a synonym for "cause". Read post #19502231:

        Everything has an influence on everything else; look up the Butterfly Effect. Your argument is convenient in that it only applies to minors. I could make the same analogy as to why their should be bans and limits to exposing children to religion, but I just don't see any political will or enthusiasm. More people have died from the influences of religion than from video games.

        I can't read your mind, so I don't know whether you are trying to be Funny, a

  • http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html [infoplease.com]
    First, the Johann Gutenberg High School shooting was 5 years ago.
    Second, nothing I've read on this particular shooting ever linked it to video games. He was expelled from school.
    • The media did actually make quite a thing about it. It was like "OMG, they found Counter-strike on his PC, and he had some violent films. Everyone knows that 19 year olds normally watch Disney films and play educational software. These must have made him to a sicko"
  • by Urusai ( 865560 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @03:36AM (#19502187)
    ...do not let minors purchase anything. Make it a crime to sell anything to minors. They do not have contract rights or many other rights already, there's no reason to give them general buy/sell rights.

    This forces their parents to buy everything for them. They can't hire Random Guy to buy their cigs because Random Guy would in effect be selling to the minors (a crime). The parents are presumably giving their offspring what they need, so they commit no crime. This way, I don't have to deal with stupid laws, but more importantly the state doesn't have to decide on the standard by which children are raised, which is a terrible, terrible idea.
    • They can't hire Random Guy to buy their cigs because Random Guy would in effect be selling to the minors (a crime).

      It's already a crime to supply minors with cigarettes (in Norway anyways). The same goes for selling or giving them items that can encourage tobacco use, as well as sale from vending machines.

      We're thinking of the children.
  • 1. Buy violent, cruel and unusual games
    2. Advertise them in EBay for double the marked price
    3. Admit those false moustaches as proof of age
    4. Profit!

    That without taking P2P networks into account. I'm not sure if the EU bureaucrats are aware of the difficulties of controlling the distribution of digital content in the Internet era. They should talk to the RIAA before wasting their time.

  • > EU Considering Regulating Sale of Violent Games

    WTF? They want to regulate games, while at the same time selling weapons willy nilly to anyone with the cash to pay for them (no questions asked)? The US and Russia leads the world arms trade, but runners up have suspiciously European-sounding country names:

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2605823,0 0.html [dw-world.de]

    I think this is what we call a Cluster of Clusterbombers:

    http://apps.sipri.org/milap/world_aprod_map.html [sipri.org]
    http://www.sipri.org/contents/milap/mile [sipri.org]
  • Make it as hard to get the video games as it is to obtain real guns. Oh wait a second derranged idiots already seem plenty able to get hold of them despite all the regulation. What will they want to ban next? Action figures? Chess (heck that's based on war). Idiots.
  • PEGI? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechnicalFool ( 719087 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:23AM (#19502365)
    There is already a perfectly usable [wikipedia.org] pan-European game rating system. It's voluntary, but I haven't seen a single game on sale in the UK that doesn't have it, with occasional mandatory BBFC [bbfc.co.uk] ratings for more "realistic" games (GTA3 and beyond are all released with an 18 cert). As well as that, you'll find that a lot of stores here will abide by PEGI ratings, which detail exactly why the game has the rating it has (sex, violence, drugs and gambling amongst the reasons) supposedly so parents can make a more informed decision. I don't see how introducing more centralised bureaucracy is going to work any better than the current systems in place in European Union member states. Whatever ratings system you put in, you'll still get 45 year olds coming into the shop with a 12 year old waiting outside and swearing blind that the copy of Bloody Chainsaw Revenge IV they are buying is for their own personal use.

    This stuff happens every time some psychopath decides to go on a rampage. Banning violent video games won't work, and is completely bloody stupid when you consider where half of your so-called "traditional" games come from. Chess is a war game. If you think British Bulldog [wikipedia.org] is innocent, try thinking of it as a bunch of people trying to rush a gun platform. "Ring-a-roses" is a warning poem describing the symptoms of bubonic plague. The only difference between these games and video games is the fact that for the first time in history, a war game or zombie horror story can be rendered on a screen in real-time with precise detail.

    You can only take a psycho down before they kill too many people. Sometimes you're lucky and someone will spot that a person is acting strangely or getting unstable. Banning violent video games will just mean that the next time someone decides to start dishing out mass lead injections, we'll have slingshots or some other item banned because, well, he started by firing marbles at cats and it progressed from there. Something Must Be Done, Think Of The Children, you catch my drift.

    I hope the justice ministers discussing this have a sudden attack of common sense and declare that any mature, sensible adult should be able to engage in as much of an orgy of virtual destruction as they like. Fact is, taking some geek out with a headshot is fun, dammit. It's the old equation of "(fear - danger) == excitement".
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:39AM (#19502429)
    Fakt: ALL shootings, no matter where on this planet, were conducted in schools. The youths who went on a killing spree didn't just grab a gun and besiege the next mall where the body count could have been considerably higher. They invariably went to their school and many of them started the killing spree in their class and/or with certain hand picked teachers.

    COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

    Fakt: ALL of those teenagers or young adults who went on a killing spree had rather poor grades and were generally not accepted members of their "society" (however you want to define it). Many of them have already dropped out or were forced to leave their schools.

    COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

    Fakt: ALL of those who sought bloody "revenge" come from what is today labeled a "broken home", usually with negligent or abusive parents with few or no friends.

    COULD there be a connection rather than with their choice of video games?

    But no, let's blame games. It's less hassle than having to deal with the problems.
    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      When did we adopt newspeak? Oh well...

      Fakt: It is easy to label a parent 'negligent' after their child commits a mass murder.

      Fakt: It is easy to say someone was an outcast after they commit mass murder. NOBODY is going to say 'he was such a good friend' because they will be watched closely afterwards for the same behavior.

      Fakt: Everyone that kills people is angry or crazy, not just children.

      Fakt: Everyone that kills because they are angry goes after those they are angry at.

      Fakt: Taking a gun and shoo
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )
        Well, then what about the thousands of people who play shooters day in and day out, leaving virtual corpses left and right, while at the same time being rather "normal" in real life? Should I consider them mass murderers who're just warming up for their moment in the limelight?

        Talking about limelight, another reason we didn't even touch yet. Generally, you have teenagers and young adults in that "going postal" group who are anything but the limelight takers. They ain't the sports heroes, ain't the top geeks
  • by testman123 ( 1111753 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @04:50AM (#19502481)
    When I see those all-day-long movies and TV sequels displaying murders, torture, sadism (including people beeing massacred with gallons of blood ejected) without anybody disturbed or questioned about that (look at PG "rating" details).

    And when I see at the same time that one single nipple displayed on a show triggers a massive censorship on live TV shows, I am even more questioned.

    Does this mean that a nipple is more obscene for child that a live murder ? Does it mean that a nipple is more abnormal and unnatural than to kill somebody ?

    What kind of example is this for children ?

    When born, children have no nudity problem, once fed with occidental culture, the trouble starts : nude = abnormal bad evil, violence = normal cool fun !

    To me the real problem with occidental culture is violence addiction. Violence shocks nobody. But a single niple shows almost everybody.

    Realy we should all go and consult a Psychologist, because we got a problem ...
  • Just what multiplayer games are not about defeating the enemy? Does chess count as violent? Is Battle for Wesnoth violent? What about Lemmings (poor, little buggers), Liquid Wars, ... ? Are the kids going to be stuck with Tetris?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by k3vlar ( 979024 )
      Would somebody please think of the Tetris blocks? Every year, millions of blocks that make up a Tetris piece are senselessly killed when people of all ages complete a row horizontally. Many justify this atrocity by saying the blocks are now complete, are going to a better place, and that it adds to their score. We at the Unjust Treatment of Tetris Pieces Foundation implore you to stop killing these defenceless sprites. Please also consider making a donation to our foundation, or participating in our Adopt-a
  • by rpillala ( 583965 ) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @06:49AM (#19503029)

    Do folks see this type of regulation as a slippery slope? What could it lead to?

    If parents want their kids to be able to play violent games, they can just buy them. Not allowing the children themselves to purchase the games isn't really a problem IMO. If publishers are concerned that their marketing efforts to children will be wasted, then maybe they need to change their marketing. If adults won't buy these games for their kids, it's a different problem.

  • There is always some scapegoat. The school shootings are always the fault of video games, TV/movies, poverty, global warming, guns, fluoride in the tap water, hormones in beef, inorganic preservatives in our food, dioxins, religion, secularism, etc.

    Would be nice if people started providing solid evidence before legislating. but such is the flaw in democracy. it enables rule by the [ignorant] masses, or at least allows politicians to justify their own [warped] agenda by claiming they are serving the interest
  • Germany loves regulating everything you can and cant do. Whats appropriate for you etc. Sweden & Norway is in the same boat, hell you cant even buy alcohol outside of state owned shops there.

    On the other hand, this type of thinking just doesn't fly with other members of the European union, where you're expected to be smart enough to tell your kids what they can play, watch and do. And supervise them if you feel thats necessary.

    I think a German friend of mine explained how some videoshops work, ple
  • that pornography decreases rape, that violent videogames/ violent movies decreases real violence. they do this by providing a harmless release, a catharsis, for impulses that might otherwise be expressed in real life

    the truth is that violence and rape have actually been going down in areas of the world where media saturation with sexual/ violent content is allowed. that instead of desensitizing people to sex/ violence, pornography and violent media provide for a harmless release that would otherwise happen in the "real world"

    it all boils down to how you view the social development of children. are we born vessels of purity and innocence that are corrupted by society? or are we born raging no impulse control demons that are tamed by society? i don't know about you, but i've been around some 3 year olds recently, and a 3 year old human being is basically a feces slinging monster. Scale up a 3 year old to a teenager or young adult, without any proper social development, and you have your basic madman killer/ rapist. so social development channels our sexual and violent impulses into more appropriate channels, and violent and sexual media are merely an extension of this ability to tame our negative and natural impulses into harmless release

    anyone who played a lot of violent videogames/ watched a lot of violent movies/ indulged in a lot of pornography and then went out and killed/ raped is someone who is psychologically already damaged, and it wasn't the media that made him or her commit crime, and it would have been some other stimulus that would have precipitated their behavior if they were never exposed to violent/ sexual media. blaming the media is a red herring

    some of you may consider me bizarre, but i actually think we should expose children to MORE violent and MORE sexual media, in GREATER quantity, at a YOUNGER age. and this will result in less real life rape and violence

    i am not in any way joking. i seriously and firmly believe that

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI