The Needles: Master Chief Goes to Washington

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Don't live in the USA, but over here in the Netherlands I have to identify myself if I want to buy a game with a rating. The retailers who don't ask for ID or sell to a different agegroup than the rating allows get a m-m-m-m-massive fine. I barely ever buy movies in retailstores (internet ftw ) so I'm not completly sure if the same rules apply on those, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Fenixius:
Government regulation of any kind of expression isn't necessarily a bad thing. Censorship is. The difference being that some expression can be harmful to some people, and should never be made to view it or exposed to it unintentionally.

We're not going to start teaching Manhunt in grade two. And our society gets along just fine without legal restrictions on any other forms of "harmful expression." So the question remains unanswered: Why games?

What my Government has is the right idea with an awful implementation. If they added the R18+ rating, it's very close to perfect, except that some content which would be AO under the ESRB's system would still be banned, which is sub-optimal.

The bar may move but the government still gets to ban content it thinks is inappropriate. Yeah, I'd call that pretty "sub-optimal" too.

It's fine if I get their okay. Some parents go "Oh, thanks! No, Sam, you're not having this", while some go "Yeah, it's okay. I'll play it with him", and others just don't care. It's still the parent's responsibility to parent. That's why I call it "very close to optimal".

But we're already doing that. And again, I point out that the videogame industry has a higher rate of compliance with age ratings than any other entertainment medium on the market.

Even if they don't particularly look for "idiotic, blood-soaked bullshit", they understand it because it's still similar to whatever they enjoy. There are few to no games which would appeal to people of that age, however, and therefore the medium enjoys less understanding and comprehension than others.

Which sounds a lot to me like, "I don't understand it, therefore I fear it and seek to control it." Is this really the kind of political attitude you want to encourage and pander to?

I do see where you're coming from, but the videogame industry is already doing these things and doing them very successfully. Other industries are not, and that's really the whole point: Why us?

...America's rating systems are not law? I can't help but feel thats ridiculous. Over in the UK we have restricted ratings to get into cinemas and buy video games etc. They cannot legally let us in or sell it to us if we are below the certificate age. While I'm against the idea that games are treated seperately from other media this law should be put into force for all media in america. Seriously whats the big deal? We have no first amendment over here and we still hold our precious freedom of speech. And I have no complaints for the age rating system either.

AnnaIME:
The Gaiman quote... is he saying that people in Britain don't have free speech?

This is the entire post:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

It relates to comics, not games, but the point is the same: Government regulation of speech inevitably leads to censorship. The UK is obviously far better off than many other countries, but there are limits (and those limits seem to be getting tighter with each passing day). In the US, the situation is different. Freedom from government interference in expression is guaranteed in the Constitution.

It may seem like a fine hair to split, but there's more to it than may be readily apparent. Gaiman does a better job of explaining it than I do, but if I was Neil Gaiman I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you, would I?

;)

Hurr Durr Derp:

However, playing Devil's advocate for a moment, I'd say that comparing game laws to movie laws doesn't make a whole lot of sense. After all, games by definition contain a strong interactive element. It could easily be argued that watching a violent act being carried out on TV is something very different from playing a simulation of acting out that violent act yourself. In that light, it's not so strange that people think it's more important to keep small children from playing violent games than it is to keep them from listening to abusive lyrics or watching violent movies.

True, people often argue this, but in reality it has little basis on any fact. There have been no conclusive scientific studies that have found performing violent acts in a video game is more desensitizing than watching violent acts in a movie. Indeed, the actual physical act required to kill someone in GTA (pressing a button) is not all that different from what you'd have to do to view a murder on a DVD (press play).

Archangel357:
As a European, I fail to see a problem with this...

As a European, I do not believe in all this "small government" rubbish Americans are so fond of (but then, nobody here elects people with sub-80 IQs like Sarah Palin - if we did, I might start being for less government, too); and my country, like most of its neighbours, HAS no freedom of speech. We have a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of opinion. BIG difference. So since children are opportunistic arseholes and parents and salespeople are morons, actual laws restricting the sale of certain content to minors is totally fine by me.

Come on now, you cannot put a breast on a magazine cover in America, your network TV and radio is home to censorship on a communist level, and you complain about a law that might actually keep Manhunt out of the hands of quite a few pre-teens?

Here in America it's not so much that we don't want this stuff regulated. It's just that we don't want it regulated by the government. As the article mentions there are already industry-controlled regulations in place that prevent children from buying a violent game themselves. Sure some idiot mom might accidentally buy it for her son for Christmas, but the same thing could happen even if there were government regulations in place. Essentially people just don't want the courts to set a precedent for government regulation that might be taken farther a couple years later (dunno about in your country, but the American legal system is essentially based on the precedents set by earlier cases).

Plus it makes a distinction between games and other forms of media, which is another idea that I don't like.

Andy Chalk:
I do see where you're coming from, but the videogame industry is already doing these things and doing them very successfully. Other industries are not, and that's really the whole point: Why us?

If you actually read the full text of my post(s), you'd've seen that I suggested not that videogames be regulated, but -all- forms of media. Equally, without differentiation. You're absolutely right - videogames do not deserve a special treatment, for better or worse, compared to other forms of media.

And I'm not suggesting that lack of such regulation is producing murderous children, shooting sprees, carjackings, etc. That is clearly hyperbole at best, fallacy at worst. Probably the worst. But I do think it's better that an 11 year old can't come and buy Modern Warfare 2 without parental consent.

Andy Chalk:
Which sounds a lot to me like, "I don't understand it, therefore I fear it and seek to control it." Is this really the kind of political attitude you want to encourage and pander to?

Of course not. I was simply clarifying on behalf of The Random One, as you appeared to have misinterpreted his comment in the post you made where you quoted him. I hardly think it's "pandering", and "encouraging [ignorance]" to look into a new market, however. Else, you'd best be slamming down hard on Nintendo for their blasphemy with the Wii and DS in your next Needles.

tsu-money:
Look at the bright side: if this law goes into effect, there will probably be less homophobic racist screaming 13 year olds playing your favorite FPS game.

Unlikely, because the sale of these games is already checked for at most retailers, based on the ESRB ratings. The reason these kids get these games is typically because their parents (or other relatives) buy them and let them play, not because the retailers sell them to anyone.

Here's a comparison from December 2009, run by the FTC, of how easy it was for 13-16y/o purchasers to buy 'mature' media in various formats - lower is better:

M-rated Video Games: 20%
R-rated Movie Tickets: 28%
R-rated Movie DVDs: 54%
Unrated Movie DVDs: 58%
Explicit Content Music CDs: 72%

Fenixius:
If you actually read the full text of my post(s)

For the record, I tend to have very little interest in responding to messages that begin with the tired old "if you'd actually read my post."

I was simply clarifying on behalf of The Random One, as you appeared to have misinterpreted his comment in the post you made where you quoted him. I hardly think it's "pandering", and "encouraging [ignorance]" to look into a new market, however.

You said videogames aren't widely understood by "people of that age" and that game studios should therefore attempt to make more games that would appeal to them. That sounds very much like pandering to me, and furthermore, I don't see how it really addresses the issue since it would serve only to convince those same politicians that "normal" videogames are non-violent, family-friendly affairs and that M-rated titles are as deviant as they think.

And again, it's not relevant. Books, movies and music are protected by the First Amendment; regardless of how you may feel about that, it is a fact of law. So the question still stands: Why not videogames as well? Why are games being centered out for exclusion? Not what you think should be, but what is: Other media are protected, games are not. What's the justification?

Andy Chalk:
And again, it's not relevant. Books, movies and music are protected by the First Amendment; regardless of how you may feel about that, it is a fact of law. So the question still stands: Why not videogames as well? Why are games being centered out for exclusion? Not what you think should be, but what is: Other media are protected, games are not. What's the justification?

I've not argued once that games should be regulated where other media should not.

Fenixius:

Andy Chalk:
Why is it okay to regulate videogames, but not movies, books, music or DVDs?

It's not. They should -all- be regulated[1].

...

As far as the pending Supreme Court challenge goes, you're dead on: games must not be regulated differently from other media. But I'm of the opinion that it should -all- be restricted to age-appropriate groups, not just opened up to anyone.

Fenixius:
I should also point out that the Australian Classification Board does not just rate videogames with these same, legally-binding ratings: books, music, and movies/video content are all within the scope of the Australian Classification Board.

Fenixius:
I suggested not that videogames be regulated, but -all- forms of media. Equally, without differentiation. You're absolutely right - videogames do not deserve a special treatment, for better or worse, compared to other forms of media.

As you can see, I've agreed with you on at least three occasions. If you're tired of posts beginning with "read my posts", well, I suggest you read what you're taking quotes out of context from.

Andy Chalk:
I don't see how it really addresses the issue since it would serve only to convince those same politicians that "normal" videogames are non-violent, family-friendly affairs and that M-rated titles are as deviant as they think.

Then why don't they go after movies which are bloody and "deviant", also? Explain that to me, Mr Chalk.

[1] This is absolutely not an advocation of censorship: regulation and restriction do not involve the banning or outlawing of media; just its viewing by specific age groups.

"I may not agree with what you say, but i'll defend to the death your right to say it!"

LONG LIVE THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

If the Justices have any inkling of how to interpret the first amendment, this should be an extremely short case!

ObsessiveSketch:
...wait...don't people get carded for this sorta stuff? Like, for R-rated movies, ID is required. Same for M-rated video games. How does this law change anything whatsoever?

It would be government mandated, as opposed to establishment policy.

That's the difference.

Fenixius:
Then why don't they go after movies which are bloody and "deviant", also? Explain that to me, Mr Chalk.

I'm really not sure which part of this is giving you trouble. Movies, music and books are protected by the First Amendment. Videogames are not.

I don't know how much clearer about it I can be, so I'm going to move on.

Archangel357:
As a European, I fail to see a problem with this.

It's a uniquely American approach, absolutely. And a lot of the mystified responses come from non-Americans who aren't steeped in traditions of individual liberties like the Americans are. Those traditions have created a lot of nuttiness, but I don't consider the First Amendment to be part of that. It's obviously not perfect, but neither are the systems found in Germany or Australia and given the choice, when it comes to speech and expression I'd rather err on the side of freedom.

ObsessiveSketch:
...wait...don't people get carded for this sorta stuff? Like, for R-rated movies, ID is required. Same for M-rated video games. How does this law change anything whatsoever?

Sure they do, sometimes. And from a purely functional perspective of, "You can't buy M-rated games if you're under 17," nothing really changes. But declaring an entire medium exempt from the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? That's pretty huge.

Andy Chalk:

Archangel357:
As a European, I fail to see a problem with this.

It's a uniquely American approach, absolutely. And a lot of the mystified responses come from non-Americans who aren't steeped in traditions of individual liberties like the Americans are. Those traditions have created a lot of nuttiness, but I don't consider the First Amendment to be part of that. It's obviously not perfect, but neither are the systems found in Germany or Australia and given the choice, when it comes to speech and expression I'd rather err on the side of freedom.

Diff'rent strokes, I guess. I've always believed that Americans gave individuals far too much credit; freedom, like art, needs a capable mind which is able to appreciate it, something I find sorely lacking in most people.

Freedom is all good and well in theory, but in practice, I have to say that my opinion is diametrically opposed to yours - hardly surprising, since my concept of liberty is based on Hegel, while yours is borne of Jefferson's thoughts. Both are equal in worth, but vastly different in meaning.

Simply put, between giving people freedoms and keeping them from doing dumb shit, I will always err on the side of the latter.

It stands to reason that there should be a law allowing the restriction of the sale of games to those under a certain age. As Andy has argued repeatedly, this practice is widely upheld by the videogame industry itself. Normally in a society, accepted standards in which lines are drawn are formally assembled together in LAWS. I think all of this should be common sense.

So then the major argument comes into play as for why it should not be law. Due to it violating certain precedents already set by law according to the First Amendment. Why should those previous precedents not be struck down as not in accordance to the First Amendment? After all, for each circumstance of an age restriction being held up in the mediums of film, music and books, should it not be thus argued that they are violating the minors rights according to the constitution?

Andy Chalk:

Fenixius:
Then why don't they go after movies which are bloody and "deviant", also? Explain that to me, Mr Chalk.

I'm really not sure which part of this is giving you trouble. Movies, music and books are protected by the First Amendment. Videogames are not.

I don't know how much clearer about it I can be, so I'm going to move on.

I'm sorry, but it seems you're being willfully ignorant of the point Fenixius is trying make Mr. Chalk. He's not arguing that First Amendment rights not be given to games. I think the insinuation that the exception be made for games(as outside of protection) is ridiculous to most of us and should be to all(including the state of California and the Supreme Court). He's arguing both that restrictions be made on all forms of media, not to exclude them from the First Amendment, but to make the restriction outside of First Amendment rights being upheld, and also that the education of older people in the medium of games(through sale, perhaps) will allow them to see games as a medium to be rightfully protected. That is to say, they will make no exceptions based on their medium of choice, as gaming would also be one. As far as 'pandering' goes, in gaming's current state pandering is the de facto reason for nearly all of the major publications, that's just how you make money.

Andy Chalk:

It's a uniquely American approach, absolutely. And a lot of the mystified responses come from non-Americans who aren't steeped in traditions of individual liberties like the Americans are. Those traditions have created a lot of nuttiness, but I don't consider the First Amendment to be part of that. It's obviously not perfect...

Here is where you reveal the major stumbling block to your argument. You seem to hold the First Amendment to be holy, yet you admit it's not perfect. Why then, can't the First Amendment be amended as it were, to include the clause "Age restrictions are not considered to be in violation of the First Amendment and thus cannot be revoked through it's use as a protection" to some varying degree of wording assuredly? The Canadian government frequently amends it's constitution, and that does not make it weak, it makes it applicable to the changing and more complete understanding of society.

Andy Chalk:

Why is it okay to regulate videogames, but not movies, books, music or DVDs?

As a final point of refutation, why can't videogames be the first to accept some regulation? Could we not bring ourselves up into such a standing that we are seen as the 'the most mature' medium rather than the 'the least' and hold us regardless of the age of our medium? You may see us as being picked on, but if a perhaps lesser recognized medium such as our falls under fair regulation, couldn't the others follow suit in a domino effect?

Just to be clear on why a law barring the sale of rated games to minors would be fair and somewhat necessary. As it stands, if any small-time entrepreneur or large-scale enterprise, not explicitly dealing in games, sell without the 'industry regulation', what stops them from exploiting the current law/lawlessness? As another commenter illustrated, he can go to "... Ed he sells drugs at this school, over there, yeah that's Jon. Jon sells M rated video games for a 10% markup". I apologize for taking your situation somewhat out of context, but regardless; The two examples are both morally wrong, but what stands out between them? The sale of M-rated games to minors, in even an exploitatious state is not illegal. Can Andy and we as gamers not see this as a possible loose end?

i don't buy the argument on self regulation working. I believe vested interests will trump this, and it is in the industries interests to focus on their sales. It rather depends whether you believe that people will voluntarily stick to rules of their own devising which are inconvenient to them or not. I don't - or at least think not in enough cases to make it effective.

Never got the whole thing about freedom of speech, I mean, America still has liable laws and such, does it not?

"You have insulted me without merit, freedom of speech shan't apply here!"

Sorry, sorry, off track.

It would be a sorry state of affairs if this got through, because then they could possibly push to do it with other media.

Rule of thumb: If a law keeps coming back despite repeated Constitutional smackdowns, it's probably being funded, backed, and lobbied by a bunch of women. Who are most likely using the logic: "I just don't HAVE TIME to check the rating when I buy videogames for my son because the Justin Bieber head distracted me!" or something like that. But they don't really want their negligence or wrongdoing exposed, so they go pass laws to make it respectable.

Respectability is also the prime motivator behind abortion, mandatory arrest of the man in all DV situations, and no-fault divorce, come to think of it.

Precisely the wrong thing to do is stick to Constitutional challenges and legal precedence. Women tend to understand everything except liberty, equality, and fraternity. If you want to lobby public support against a law like this, you have to do what Penny Arcade did, on a large, media-wide scale. Take out some commercials on the tellyvisions that the women love to watch in the daytime and simultaneously some Internet ads on sites sympathetic to your cause that the men view at the nighttime. They could be the same ad, they just have to have the same sensibility as the Penny Arcade comic, but cruel enough to both shame any women watching them away from supporting the bill and piss off enough men who don't usually pay attention to constitutional issues to fight the bill. (Make sure the mom is single frazzled and ugly, as that alone will turn many women off from even thinking about supporting the bill.)

This will not only more effectively stop the bill, but make sure that bills like that are much less common in the future.

Andy Chalk:

ObsessiveSketch:
...wait...don't people get carded for this sorta stuff? Like, for R-rated movies, ID is required. Same for M-rated video games. How does this law change anything whatsoever?

Sure they do, sometimes. And from a purely functional perspective of, "You can't buy M-rated games if you're under 17," nothing really changes. But declaring an entire medium exempt from the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? That's pretty huge.

I'm not an American but I don't see how the two things can be related, Age restricted sales and censorship surely it would not change games content or allow the gov to dictate what is and isn't suitable content

GOD FUCKING DAMNIT! SHIT!

See, this is exactly what I said would happen a couple of months ago in a similar thread. If this bullshit gets passed, if this sets a legal precedent, MY GOD.

People. I cannot stress this enough. TAKE THIS SHIT SERIOUSLY. If we don't, it'll be giving them an inch, and we all know what happens when we give them an inch - they take a goddamn mile. It will start with legally enforcing the ESRB guidelines, then soon enough, we'll have a system much like Australia's, and trust me when I say that with the radicals in this country, it will go one step further. It will end at the virtual destruction of the First Amendment, and potentially the Bill of Rights itself.

Sure, that sounds crazy reading it, but just think about it - All they need is a single precedent, be it in video games or professional cup stacking - to end it all for us. Once there is a precedent, there is almost nothing standing in their way. They'll be able to bring up that case on multiple grounds, and use it in ways it was never intended, as they do.

Simply put, they will use the legal precedent this case will make to either make or break the Constitution of the United States of America. It's about video games, sure - they're anything but serious business. However, as I said, it could be about cup stacking or wearing baseball caps, it is still under the First Amendment, and it is still on the thinnest legal ice ever developed in the history of the nation. Please, PLEASE, TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Write your congressman, write your senators, write the President, Vice President, neighborhood hobos, I don't care, but make sure that you are HEARD.

Hey, we aren't the ones going around in powersuits torturing people.

and this is exactly why working off a constitution written a few hundred years ago fails.
Video games and such "interactive" forms of media (key word: interactive) didn't exist then and so DO need looking at seperately.

And what's with the freedom of expression bollocks? If this law was going to stop companies creating and selling violent games, I'd be shooting it with shit, but -
Does this law stop companies from making Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.
Does this law stop companies from selling Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.
Does this law stop me, a 23 year old, from buying Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.

If the industry ratings guys don't think that a kid should be shoving a cat onto the end of a shotgun's barrell and blowing people apart with said shotgun, I don't understand why it's a big deal if it suddenly becomes law to stop kids buying that material.

A cinema would be shot to bits if they let a 14 year old in to see Nightmare on Elm Street, likewise I agree that Asda/Walmart would be shot to shit for selling that 14 year old Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector, if the age on the box says 18+

the_maestro_sartori:
and this is exactly why working off a constitution written a few hundred years ago fails.
Video games and such "interactive" forms of media (key word: interactive) didn't exist then and so DO need looking at seperately.

And what's with the freedom of expression bollocks? If this law was going to stop companies creating and selling violent games, I'd be shooting it with shit, but -
Does this law stop companies from making Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.
Does this law stop companies from selling Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.
Does this law stop me, a 23 year old, from buying Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector? No.

If the industry ratings guys don't think that a kid should be shoving a cat onto the end of a shotgun's barrell and blowing people apart with said shotgun, I don't understand why it's a big deal if it suddenly becomes law to stop kids buying that material.

A cinema would be shot to bits if they let a 14 year old in to see Nightmare on Elm Street, likewise I agree that Asda/Walmart would be shot to shit for selling that 14 year old Postal 3: Kitten Corpse Collector, if the age on the box says 18+

Read my above post.

ionpulse2:
Read my above post.

But unless I'm missing something my point still stands. First amendment, freedom of expression - that expression (creation, distribution of the games with adult ratings) isn't being hindered in the slightest by this law. Only the enforcement of age-restricted sales of these types of games which is meant to be done anyway would be coming into play.

If another case were to be appealed on the basis of the first amendment, and wanted to use this case as an example in their favor, I dont understand how any court would agree that they're similar.

"We, the state of Pennsylvania, have decided NOT to let you, mr angry person, shut down other mr angry person's radio show talking about Obama being the anti-christ, because the first amendment lets him do it."

"But you legally stop kids from simulating murder!"

"...So what? Get out."

arealperson:
As a final point of refutation, why can't videogames be the first to accept some regulation? Could we not bring ourselves up into such a standing that we are seen as the 'the most mature' medium rather than the 'the least' and hold us regardless of the age of our medium? You may see us as being picked on, but if a perhaps lesser recognized medium such as our falls under fair regulation, couldn't the others follow suit in a domino effect?

So you're suggesting that the videogame industry should surrender its First Amendment rights so it can lead the charge toward an across-the-board loss of these rights in other industries?

That's really quite a position to hold. Can you tell me what led to it? Have you ever called for legislated restrictions on the sale of movies, or books?

I honestly don't mean to argue from the position of "it is because it is," but there is simply no reason why the legal regulation of videogame sales would be necessary or acceptable, but not the regulation of other media. A number of you think that other media should be regulated - which would essentially spell the end of the First Amendment, and what happens to the Constitution after that is anybody's guess - and while I'm not terribly surprised that non-Americans would take the position, I'm absolutely blown away that American gamers would be so willing to let their rights slide.

Of course the First Amendment isn't perfect. I don't Germany or Australia have it quite right either. The UK had trouble just deciding who gets to make the rules, but they did manage to keep Manhunt 2 off the shelves for a year - not just out of the hands of kids, but out of the hands of everyone. Seems to me that nobody's come up with a perfect system yet, so why should we (well, they, or you, I suppose) change the system to make it more like something that we all know is no better, and quite possibly worse, than what's already there?

The bottom line is this: If you believe that videogames should be regulated, and you'd like to see some steps taken toward the erosion of the First Amendment, then do nothing. Just sit quietly and let a few vote-chasing government agencies do their thing and pretty soon, if you're lucky, you'll get what you want - and, I daresay, what you deserve.

The rest of us will be over here, standing up on your behalf.

The first amendment comes down to protecting everybody's right. If we start saying one group or one type of speech is outlawed then what is to stop them from saying your speech is wrong. What will you do if you are the minority and people don't like what you have to say? The bill of rights is there to protect everybody equally. If we start to knock down these walls of liberty to stop nasty influences on our children and to make laws in place of involved parenting what is going to protect us when a tyrant arises and turns on us? What then will protect you? If we use our power as the majority we to ban things we don't like then we are no better than bullies and destroyed what this fair nation stands for. This nation was designed so the strong could not prey on the weak. It was meant to have a law that applies to all members of the nation regardless of their power or numbers. We tried to free ourselves from the tyranny of right by might and instead create a land that was free under a equal and blind law. A law all men could read and understand. A law that applied to every person the same way. A law that protected the weak and the strong. This is the idea that is the United States of America. That was the dream that propelled us to revolt in the first place. Thousands have died to protect that right. Do not let their sacrifice have been in vain by giving up your liberties.

Mr. Chalk thank you for watching out for a nation that is not your own. You are an American at heart. America is an idea and any person that holds to that idea is a citizen at heart.

Its okay for movies books music and comics and any other form of art but video games im not gonna lie thats bullshit

Flauros:
How is it even their RIGHT to "outlaw" a videogame? Is it hurting anyone? Does it get you addicted to heroin? Its really none of their business.

Ok, I understand that you're upset about all this, but you seem to be WAY off the mark here.

There is no "right" to outlaw videogames, but law makers to have the right to make laws, its kinda in their job description. What they plan on doing is to put video games in the same category as porn, in that the government would be allowed to regulate who uses it, and it would not be protected by the first amendment.

Getting addicted to heroine also has nothing to do with this, so, I'm not really sure where you were going with that argument.

AS for it being their buisness, well, it became their buisness when parents came screaming to lawyers desks because their lil' Johnny just Bought CoD: MewTwo, and they heard him yell, "FAG" at the television, and now their panties are in a bunch.

Essentially, people are giving lawyers money to bring video games to court, so that's just what they are doing.

the_maestro_sartori:
and this is exactly why working off a constitution written a few hundred years ago fails.

Yes, um, "fails" is a pretty strong word there bud.

Now, trust me, I'm on your side here, but, if we're gonna be arguing the same point, I'd rather you choose a more viable point. The US constitution is considered by many to be one of the most successful constitutions in the world, having only been amended 27 times since its inception. That is a pretty good track record by anyone's standards.

While I agree that the government has every right to regulate this sort of thing on the premise that the industry itself is effectively asleep at the wheel on the subject, what we're looking at is anything but that. Ratings awareness has shot up in the last 10 years, the rating system has been made more robust to accommodate different games and the system itself even mirrors the same system put down on movies- G-PG-PG13-R-NC17 is almost identical to E-E10-T-M-A.

Even with that aside statistics suggest that if anything video games are calming the kids. This "Grand Theft Auto" generation is the least violent in years according to the government's own statistics. What's more an actual minority of games made every year are rated "M" and of that few actually achieve high sales.

Really though, what I find reprehensible in all this is that California, who's bankrupt mind you, is spending money to see this through. Doesn't that strike you as a bad idea?

Shynobee:

Flauros:
How is it even their RIGHT to "outlaw" a videogame? Is it hurting anyone? Does it get you addicted to heroin? Its really none of their business.

Ok, I understand that you're upset about all this, but you seem to be WAY off the mark here.

There is no "right" to outlaw videogames, but law makers to have the right to make laws, its kinda in their job description. What they plan on doing is to put video games in the same category as porn, in that the government would be allowed to regulate who uses it, and it would not be protected by the first amendment.

Getting addicted to heroine also has nothing to do with this, so, I'm not really sure where you were going with that argument.

AS for it being their buisness, well, it became their buisness when parents came screaming to lawyers desks because their lil' Johnny just Bought CoD: MewTwo, and they heard him yell, "FAG" at the television, and now their panties are in a bunch.

Essentially, people are giving lawyers money to bring video games to court, so that's just what they are doing.

Umm, gee sorry man. I was just giving the standard offended protest, wasnt really expecting anyone here to argue with me. Allow me to correct you.

No, its NOT there job description to make any law they feel like. There are rules and laws to making laws. "regulate who uses it" exactly. Thats why its wrong. The laws are there to protect people, not to regulate what they like. You are allowed to read ANY book you want. YOu are "allowed" to watch rated R movies, yes, even if youre a child. If a parent wants to watch a scary movie with you, they can. Theres no "laws" involved.

"getting addicted to heroin has nothing to do with it" you are obviously just trying to argue, its obvious that I was making a statement that the videogame/movie/book/painting isnt commiting a crime or hurting anyone, so you cant say people cant use it. Obviously

So yes, once again THEY HAVE NO RIGHT. Oops, way off the mark again....

RobfromtheGulag:
I tend to agree with Derp ^.

I don't see this as much of a 1st amendment killer in the way that many other laws are [such as the hazy pornography regulations].

I'm not going to condone this bill, but the conservative side of me sees the logic to it. And I'll have to look up that bit about R-rated movies, because growing up we always thought our best shot was standing on each others' shoulders and putting on the overcoat -- theatres hold to that regulation as if it were law even if it's not.

are you stupid? never mind, ok here is the problem, the article is 100% right about there being no law against children seeing a rated R movie, currently there are very very few restrictions of freedom of speech, really as long as your not advocating harming another or yelling fire in a crowded theater in order to start a panic you can pretty much say anything you want. The problem with this is that if somehow there is a law that manages to make it on the books that a minor cant buy a so and so rated game then instead of the esrb you have a much bigger govt body that has to regulate it and they get to decide what a violent video game is. The biggest worry is that what happened to the comic industry will happen to the video game one, in other words, imagine grand theft auto but instead of having freedom your only allowed to do certain things, you can only have one car and are not allowed to kill cops or really anyone that isnt a drug dealer and the deaths cant be by shooting they have to be by having them fall off a building or something. Really just look up anything about the comic industry in the 50-60s and youll see what I mean.

dammit, can you have a conversation with an American without the words 'freedom' and 'rights' coming up?

Shynobee:
The US constitution is considered by many to be one of the most successful constitutions in the world

isn't that just the same as saying it's considered by "many" NOT to be one of the most successful in the world? o.O

Shynobee:
having only been amended 27 times since its inception. That is a pretty good track record by anyone's standards.

you mean since it was written it's "only" been amended 3-4 times per generation? I stand corrected, that clearly is awesome... If each generation are only changing it 3-4 times it was clearly bang on the money, which sorta proves my point, the more time passes the more parts of it become out-dated and redundant. That's exactly why these revisions are being made, because topics like this obviously didn't exist until the technology was available for kids to play what effectively, are simulated murders

MaxerJ:
dammit, can you have a conversation with an American without the words 'freedom' and 'rights' coming up?

Sure you can, they're the rare ones :p it's just the Americans you can't converse with without it cropping up are a dime a dozen :P

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