The Needles: Master Chief Goes to Washington

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Aidinthel:

Continuity:
what way exactly would it be any different from a constitutional POV from age restrictions on selling alcohol?

Alcohol has proven negative effects on the body. Videogames do not. There is no comparison.

Its not a question of comparison but rather of establishing a principle. Besides, is the only reason we don't let kids drink alcohol because its toxic? I think not.
The point is a video game with adult content may not be suitable for children, the only way to have any chance of stopping kids from getting hold of said games is to restrict their sale. The only way your argument could stand up is if we all accept that its ok for children to be exposed to violence, sex, drugs, criminality etc in any degree and at any age; i just don't see that as a tenable position.

Also I still don't see what the big deal is, games are restricted by age here in the UK and its not the end of the world...

Continuity:
Its not a question of comparison but rather of establishing a principle. Besides, is the only reason we don't let kids drink alcohol because its toxic?

Um...yes? Children's brains are still developing, so they're particularly vulnerable to the effects.

Continuity:
I think not.

What? You're going to have to explain that.

Continuity:

The point is a video game with adult content may not be suitable for children, the only way to have any chance of stopping kids from getting hold of said games is to restrict their sale.

We do. It's just that our age restrictions are enforced by store policy rather than government mandate.

Continuity:
The only way your argument could stand up is if we all accept that its ok for children to be exposed to violence, sex, drugs, criminality etc in any degree and at any age; i just don't see that as a tenable position.

What are you even talking about? No one is saying that.

Continuity:
Also I still don't see what the big deal is, games are restricted by age here in the UK and its not the end of the world...

Our system isn't the end of the world either, and I don't see the point of adding to government power unless absolutely necessary.

With regards alcohol, kids are a danger to themselves when sober never mind drunk. Also I can't see that its a good idea to give kids recreational drugs even in a fictional scenario where there was no physical harm from the substance itself.
I can see your point regards legal restrictions but then on the other hand if its worth restricting games by age, isn't it better to legally oblige stores to comply rather than just relying on their good moral fiber? At the end of the day not selling some games to kids under certain ages is going to hit their profit - I think its naive to not expect many stores to sell games irresponsibly.

Continuity:
At the end of the day not selling some games to kids under certain ages is going to hit their profit - I think its naive to not expect many stores to sell games irresponsibly.

Kids don't typically have much money, so it really doesn't hurt their profits much. Also, if a store ignored age restrictions it would anger many of their older customers (you know, the ones with money), so they have very real reasons to enforce the age ratings. Movie theaters also self-regulate, and it is successful enough that many Americans don't realize it isn't law. (Despite having a lower enforcement rate than the videogame industry.)

Well I don't know about kinds not buying many games, I bought over 100 games for my Amiga 1200 and that was about 5 years before my first job. Anyway, if self regulation works then fair enough.. but if so then whats all the fuss about?

Continuity:
if its worth restricting games by age, isn't it better to legally oblige stores to comply rather than just relying on their good moral fiber?

When you make something illegal, you are making it punishable by force. That's the only thing the government does that citizens can't--governments have a legal monopoly on the initiation of force. Behind every law, and every supposedly peaceful punishment for breaking a law (fines, etc) is the threat of the government gun.

So when you say "why not legally oblige them to comply rather than relying on their moral fiber" what you're really saying (whether you realize it or not) is "why use nonviolent means when we can hold a gun to their heads?" Personally I don't think it's morally acceptable to use force against someone for selling a game to a kid, no matter how violent it is.

Continuity:
The point is a video game with adult content may not be suitable for children, the only way to have any chance of stopping kids from getting hold of said games is to restrict their sale. The only way your argument could stand up is if we all accept that its ok for children to be exposed to violence, sex, drugs, criminality etc in any degree and at any age; i just don't see that as a tenable position.

Also I still don't see what the big deal is, games are restricted by age here in the UK and its not the end of the world...

Once again we seem to be getting away from the real point here. Nobody is arguing that kids should have unfettered access to the Rockstar catalogue; we're arguing that videogames should have the same First Amendment protections as every other form of media.

I feel like I'm hammering on the same points over and over again in this thread, but at the same time I haven't seen any real arguments as to why games should be excepted, so there's not much else to say.

BrassButtons:

So when you say "why not legally oblige them to comply rather than relying on their moral fibre" what you're really saying (whether you realize it or not) is "why use non-violent means when we can hold a gun to their heads?" Personally I don't think it's morally acceptable to use force against someone for selling a game to a kid, no matter how violent it is.

A legal obligation isn't the same thing as assault, and if your police officers pull guns in cases of under-age sales then I think someone need to seriously look at that policy.
You, and it seems many of your countrymen, seem to be of the opinion that the purpose of law is to oppress people... If that's how things work in your country then I'm glad I don't live there. However I suspect that is not actually the case.

Andy Chalk:

Once again we seem to be getting away from the real point here. Nobody is arguing that kids should have unfettered access to the Rockstar catalogue; we're arguing that videogames should have the same First Amendment protections as every other form of media.

So "the real point" as you put it, has nothing to do with video games it seems but rather this first amendment you mention, at least it seems to me that that is what you're all getting worked up about, over what is actually a very straight forward issue.

*googles 1st amendment*...

Ok, I have no idea how you can possibly think freedom of speech has anything to do with age restrictions on video games... you're going to have to explain that to me (I assume your reference to the 1st amendment is about freedom of speech).

Continuity:

A legal obligation isn't the same thing as assault

I did not say this. What I did say is that "behind every law, and every supposedly peaceful punishment for breaking a law (fines, etc) is the threat of the government gun." So the punishment for breaking this law may be a fine. But if you don't pay--if you resist--the government is allowed to send armed men to your house, where they will proceed to take you away as a prisoner. If you resist being taken away, they can and will use physical violence to force you to comply. If this wasn't a possibility laws would be useless--no one would follow laws they disagreed with, because the government would lack the ability to enforce them. Governments are force. That is their nature.

The only reason to involve the government in anything is that you need to use force--or at the very least threaten force--to achieve your goal. That is what a government does. You, as a citizen, can oppose the sale of violent games to children. You can refuse to shop at stores that sell violent games to kids. You can educate parents about the rating system. What you cannot do is threaten stores with force if they sell those games to kids. So you ask the government to do it for you.

You, and it seems many of your countrymen, seem to be of the opinion that the purpose of law is to oppress people...

Laws prevent people from being able to do the things they want. That is oppression. In some cases oppression is necessary (a government should oppress your ability to murder innocents). This is not one of those cases.

Ok, I have no idea how you can possibly think freedom of speech has anything to do with age restrictions on video games... you're going to have to explain that to me (I assume your reference to the 1st amendment is about freedom of speech).

This law would give the government the authority to regulate a creative form of expression, which the First Amendment says they are not allowed to do. Yes, this law would only limit the sale of games to kids, but it is still a limitation. The Constitution says that there may be no abridgment of the freedom of speech, period. Saying "you can't sell it to group X" is an abridgment. You cannot have freedom of speech if the government can forcibly (see above--every law carries the threat of force) prevent you from sharing (or attempting to share--you don't have the right to an audience) your speech.

Continuity:
Ok, I have no idea how you can possibly think freedom of speech has anything to do with age restrictions on video games... you're going to have to explain that to me (I assume your reference to the 1st amendment is about freedom of speech).

Less important than what I think is what federal judges, 12 of them so far, think, which is that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech" works out to mean that state and federal governments are constitutionally forbidden to enact laws which dictate and regulate, with some narrowly-defined exceptions, the creation and consumption of media. I've always liked this quote from Judge Thurgood Marshall, which I think sums things up nicely: "If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch."

Some people have said that the First Amendment (and presumably by extension the entire Constitution of the United States) is an old and out-of-date document that's not relevant to modern society and concerns. You may agree. I don't, and so far, luckily, the judicial system has sided with me.

Why are you so anxious to throw away your rights?

If the SOCUS lets this slide, i'm going to consider moving out of the US. Too many things are going on lately that are just grinding my nerves.

ok, I see where you're coming from and I understand your point. From my point of view though, in a country that does just fine without a written constitution, maybe you can see that I find it odd that you place so much value in yours.
However I don't particularly want to get into a political debate, not least because i don't know much about politics or law but mainly because my reason for coming to this site is computer games. Plus its not really my business as I'm not a US citizen, but I thought I'd offer an opinion anyway.

This is where it's decided whether or not games can be art, if they're just toys or a legitimate form of expression.

This is where it's decided if gaming means anything.

Continuity:
ok, I see where you're coming from and I understand your point. From my point of view though, in a country that does just fine without a written constitution, maybe you can see that I find it odd that you place so much value in yours.
However I don't particularly want to get into a political debate, not least because i don't know much about politics or law but mainly because my reason for coming to this site is computer games. Plus its not really my business as I'm not a US citizen, but I thought I'd offer an opinion anyway.

What country is that?

Odoylerules360:
This is where it's decided whether or not games can be art, if they're just toys or a legitimate form of expression.

This is where it's decided if gaming means anything.

Ok thats reaching a bit don't you think? Besides, the computer game format isn't art any more than the movie format is art - its what you do with that format that makes the product, the movie or game "art" or artistic. Lets not get into a whole discussion about art or meaning though or this thread will never die and I many jump off the nearest tall building.

Andy Chalk:

What country is that?

Britain.

Continuity:
Ok thats reaching a bit don't you think? Besides, the computer game format isn't art any more than the movie format is art - its what you do with that format that makes the product, the movie or game "art" or artistic. Lets not get into a whole discussion about art or meaning though or this thread will never die and I many jump off the nearest tall building.

Whatever you think art is or isn't, this is where games could be legally defined as a 'form of expression', and would therefore have everything that comes with that.

If games get first amendment protection, they will be legally, and eventually culturally, equal to all other forms of 'art'.

Like I said computer games are a medium though which expression can take place, just like film or photography or fiction etc.

BTW:

If games get first amendment protection, they will be legally, and eventually culturally, equal to all other forms of 'art' ^in America^.

BrassButtons:

When you make something illegal, you are making it punishable by force.

wait... what?

Continuity:

BrassButtons:

When you make something illegal, you are making it punishable by force.

wait... what?

Please read through my most recent post in this thread. I think I do a fairly good job of explaining myself there (although maybe not).

Canadian here. I'm watching this legislation like a hawk from way up north. Likewise, I do my best to make sure my country steers clear of any similar legislation. It is absolutely paramount that we gamers stand up for our rights, as individuals and as gamers. The time has not yet come when we can put a gamer in office, and have him fill his cabinet with his WoW guildies. Until that day, we must show the world we have a voice too.

Wait I don't understand this. It would make it so young people can't buy certain games? We already have that, you have to be 17 to buy M games! And yes cinemas do have the same rules, you have to be 18 (or 17?) to buy tickets to an R-rated movie.

Can someone please explain this to me?

One thing: there ARE laws in the US restricted kids from just seeing any movie (in theaters).

If you're under 17 you have to have someone over 17 with you to get into an 'R' rated movie.

Likewise, if you're under 17 your parent or guardian has to confirm that they approve of you buying an 'M' rated game to a store clerk.

This may not be a national thing but in my home state (Maryland) it's been like this for a while. So what would this law change? Would it absoluetely restrict the sale of 'M' rated games to <17 year olds? If so, then it's ridiculous. Otherwise I don't see what else it could do.

I like how in an economic climate such as this, these American states are quite willing to harm a profitable industry.

The weird thing about this argument is that people are suggesting that kids SHOULD be restricted by force of legal action from being able to purchase a violent game. I consider myself in the "minority" who believes that this should not be the case.

I'm on the wall of whether or not I'd actually allow my rhetorical (non-existent) child to play sex, drugs and violence-filled games. But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would want that choice to be MINE.

For one thing, there is no correlation between video games and real-life violence, so there is no argument outside that of pure moral compass (subjective) that this law could have any positive outcome. Any child can just as easily download porn on your computer while you're away. Will that turn them into a future sexual deviant/hooker/womanizer? No. If we start basing our laws on morality then we might as well just wave goodbye to our freedoms right now.

Overly dramatic considering this particular law, but as it would happen, new legislation always has that potential to become a slippery slope.

And that's the ultimate point here - It's your responsibility as a parent to BE a parent. I'm not one, but when and if I become one, you can be sure that I'll be proud of that responsibility and I will do everything in my power to raise said child as I see fit. NOT how legislation sees fit, thank you very much.

If I DON'T take that responsibility seriously then I AM the problem; Not games, Not society, Not my government - Me.

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