Britain's Anti-Games Politician Says He's Pro-Games

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Britain's Anti-Games Politician Says He's Pro-Games

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The British Member of Parliament who argued against violent games like Bully and MW2 attended an event in support of the industry to say he likes games after all.

Back in 2004, Keith Vaz was prompted by the murder of a teenager in England to ask the police to investigate the possible link between such violence and the Rockstar game Manhunt. No link could be established and the only copy of Manhunt found was believed to be the victim's. Later, Vaz commented that he supported the banning of Manhunt 2 by the British Board of Film Censors. He spoke in Parliament against the games Bully, for portraying violence against schoolchildren, and Modern Warfare 2, for the Russian airport scene but no action was taken. As recently as last October, Vaz put forth a motion to investigate how CounterStrike may have influenced a string of shootings in Sweden. Despite all of that, Vaz attended Parliament Games Day yesterday, an event where British MP's could play games for themselves and discuss the gaming industry. Vaz's attendance at the event came as quite a surprise, but he said that it's only violent games that he opposes, and only for those too young to decide for themselves.

"I've never been against games," Vaz said. "I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing."

He continued: "I just think it's very important that people respect and acknowledge the age limits. And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have."

The other dignitaries in the room had a lot to say regarding their colleague's appearance, including the Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey. "I'm constantly teasing Keith and I think he is aware of the sea-change in videogames and that, particularly with the new generation coming into parliament, there are now many more MPs who grew up with games as a normal part of their life."

"When Keith Vaz walked in there was a murmur of recognition across the room," said Paul Gibson, the chairman of Gamers' Voice, who organized the event. "Keith is a sensible MP but at the same time he hasn't made many friends in the videogames industry. For him to show up this evening is a show of good will on his part, because he knew when he walked into that room that everyone was going to turn and look. It's fantastic that he came along - he didn't stay for long - but the fact he came speaks volumes."

Maybe Americans like Jack Thompson should take a cue from the politicking skill of people like Vaz. I may not agree 100 percent with Vaz's views, but it doesn't seem like he's a raving lunatic like many who campaign for more stringent ratings of games.

Source: Eurogamer

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I chuckled at "Maybe people Americans."

Good show on Mr. Vaz's part though.

Huh.
Now there's a turn-up for the books.
Nice to see an actually sane anti-voilent games lobbyist, though.

Manhunt 3 for Kinnect!

Do it! Do it!

No Mr Vaz, what you are doing is trying to get games which fall within the ages limits banned.

UFriday:
Huh.
Now there's a turn-up for the books.
Nice to see an actually sane anti-voilent games lobbyist, though.

Indeed.
At least he seems to have a basic understanding of what he's on about.

He is a clever guy with an opinion that is well stated and not all together bad.

Well played sir, well played

It is politicing pure and simple. All this says is that he is pro-games he agrees with. The simple fact is making video games and related software is a profitable little money spinner in Britain at the moment (as it is here in Ireland at the moment) and he does not want to offend those donors. This is only saying "as long as you make appropriate games, it is okay" .

They came for the inappropriate video games but I did not play them, so I said nothing...

Hmph. Well, if he is trying to make amends with the gaming industry that was a good way of going about it...

I don't see the major issue with making it law that game retailers take your ID whenever you buy games. That's what they do here in Sweden. Sure, there's an occassional slip-up from the people who work there, but what do they want from us? Banning games certainly won't help.

His idea of respecting the age limits is banning anything that's given them?

Right then, moron.

Greg Tito:
He continued: "I just think it's very important that people respect and acknowledge the age limits. And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have.

That is... logical. I am confused. It's almost as if this guy is not an idiot. In any case, I admire the fact that he was man enough to essentially show up where he wasn't really wanted and state his case.

imnotparanoid:

UFriday:
Huh.
Now there's a turn-up for the books.
Nice to see an actually sane anti-voilent games lobbyist, though.

Indeed.
At least he seems to have a basic understanding of what he's on about.

Well the problem is if he truly is a level-headed, right thinking individual the press will ignore him and look for a Jack Thompson. The media prefers fringe lunatics to people with informed opinions.

lostzombies.com:
Manhunt 3 for Kinnect!

Do it! Do it!

Nah, has to be for the Move. They already have a suitably psychotic looking advertising campaign.

OT: Not impressed. This isn't Vaz seeing sense. This is Vaz seeing he can't do shit and trying to back off with some dignity intact.

Greg Tito:

Maybe people Americans like Jack Thompson should take a cue from the politicking skill of people like Vaz. I may not agree 100 percent with Vaz's views, but it doesn't seem like he's a raving lunatic like many who campaign for more stringent ratings of games.

Wow.

Seriously, this guy makes one PR spin and you're defending him?

Putting aside all the insane politicking he's done on games in the past, maybe you should take a look at Leicester East, or even better - his own Wikipedia page.

Let's see:
"allegations that Vaz had accepted several thousand pounds from a solicitor"
"cleared Vaz of nine of the 28 allegations"
"angered by the way in which Vaz had "spun" her report"
"Vaz, along with Peter Mandelson and other MPs, had contacted the Home Office about the Hinduja brothers."
"On the same day, Vaz told reporters that they would "regret" their behaviour once the facts of the case were revealed. "Some of you are going to look very foolish when this report comes out. Some of the stuff you said about Peter, and about others and me, you'll regret very much when the facts come out," he said. When asked why the passport application of one of the Hinduja brothers had been processed more quickly than normal, being processed and sanctioned in six months when the process can take up to two years, he replied, "It is not unusual.""
"In 2002 Vaz was suspended from the House of Commons for one month after a Committee on Standards and Privileges inquiry found that he had made false allegations against Eileen Eggington, a former policewoman. "
"In 2001 it was revealed that Vaz had assisted Anglo-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi in his attempts to avoid extradition to France."
""Dear Keith... Just a quick note to thank you for all your help during the period leading up to last Wednesday's vote. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated all your help. I trust that it will be appropriately rewarded!... With thanks and best wishes, Geoff."[17]"
"In September 2008 Vaz faced pressure to explain why he failed to declare an interest when he intervened in an official investigation into the business dealings of a close friend, solicitor Shahrokh Mireskandari"
The Detention without charge inquiry
"Vaz's total expenses of 173,937 in 2008/2009 were ranked 45th out of 647 MPs with office running costs and staffing costs accounting for 70% of this"
Vaz has also criticised Bully, which had a pre-release screenshot showing three uniformed pupils fighting and kicking - he also asked Tony Blair to ban Rockstar making Bully.

But the real clincher is this
In October 2010, Vaz put down an Early Day Motion (EDM) noting that the race shootings in Malmo, Sweden "have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike."

And THIS is the guy who you think is showing the way forward in games? He's a sleazy, underhand, New Labour con-man, whose greatest trick is smelling of roses after he's dumped nuclear fuels next to a playgroup.

Well, perhaps he's regained his senses after a few years of "Ze violent games, zhey are everywhere!" paranoia and discovered that yes, all games aren't for everyone, but that informing about them and looking at the marketing of them is probably a more reasonable and rational response to that concern than banning them.

...Or that paranoia just don't work as well as a political strategy anymore, as people become more and more familiar with the medium, and it's time to ditch that horse for whatever one comes next.

He's pro-Head games.

Woodsey:
His idea of respecting the age limits is banning anything that's given them?

Right then, moron.

I agree with Woodsey, even though this guy seems to be more levelheaded than Jack Thompson, he still has the wrong idea on how to handle this. Some games are aimed at adults, kids who manage to play those games have parents who are barely paying attention. Not that you can control 100% what your kid does, but blame the parents, not the developers who make games for adults.

Sparrow:

Greg Tito:
He continued: "I just think it's very important that people respect and acknowledge the age limits. And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have.

That is... logical. I am confused. It's almost as if this guy is not an idiot. In any case, I admire the fact that he was man enough to essentially show up where he wasn't really wanted and state his case.

The problem with this arguement can be demonstrated with a test.

Guess what this rating means:
image


It's not hard, is it?

Ultimately, I can't think of how clearer the ratings can be.

That said, the BBFC ratings (which are used on films, and everyone in the land should be familiar with them) are still occasionally used, but they're just as easy. For example:
image

Britain (and indeed most of Europe): where the age rating is exactly what it says on the box.

The Human Torch:

Woodsey:
His idea of respecting the age limits is banning anything that's given them?

Right then, moron.

I agree with Woodsey, even though this guy seems to be more levelheaded than Jack Thompson, he still has the wrong idea on how to handle this. Some games are aimed at adults, kids who manage to play those games have parents who are barely paying attention. Not that you can control 100% what your kid does, but blame the parents, not the developers who make games for adults.

There's really not much more for me to add to this.

It kinda bugs me how many of you are willing to swallow this tripe, "I@m only against the games I don't like." Well bully for you, now sod off and stop trying to trick these nice people with your doublespeak.

Greg Tito:
Vaz attended Parliament Games Day yesterday

Is that like the last day of school where you can play Twister?

I just can't get the image of MPs having a massive Street Fighter tournament out of my head, and I hear Nick Clegg owns at Dance Dance Revolution.

Greg Tito:

"I've never been against games," Vaz said. "I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing."

Which I also personally agree with, and I first played GTA (the first one) when I was around 9 years old.

My Mothers God Son is 10 and he has Modern Warfare 1 and 2 as well as Black Ops, and he plays them over Xbox Live, and to me that is very wrong, especially considering he hasn't got the mental capacity to fully interpret them correctly. He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that they are not realistic in the slightest.

Hold on, I just spotted this on a re-read

an event where British MP's could play games for themselves and discuss the gaming industry.

So, they had a LAN party? Which I assume we paid for...

And snacks and nibbles of course...

Tell me, America, what would you feel like doing if the Senate got a day off to play computer games? Or the Australian Attorney-Generals getting down for a Shrimp and Surf barbie?

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hold on, I just spotted this on a re-read

an event where British MP's could play games for themselves and discuss the gaming industry.

So, they had a LAN party? Which I assume we paid for...

And snacks and nibbles of course...

Tell me, America, what would you feel like doing if the Senate got a day off to play computer games? Or the Australian Attorney-Generals getting down for a Shrimp and Surf barbie?

Me, I'd feel relieved, because it meant a day they weren't spending is that much more into oblivion.

Something seems a bit off about this guy. I think the headline sums it up best.

This doesn't change the fact that Keith Vaz is one of the biggest buttmonkey Mp's in office.

Seriously, the guy is a punchline to a poor joke.

Delusibeta:

Guess what this rating means:
image

Actually that is only a PEGI rating, it is only a GUIDELINE for retailers (who often follow them anyway) and parents, BBFC ratings however can ONLY be sold to people who prove they are of the appropriate age

Well, it's a nice gesture but it doesn't help that fact that he's completely full of shit. He'll have to do more than appear at a gaming event to get the good will of this industry. This is just a PR event for him.

Incidentally, I found an interesting contradiction in the article:

"I've never been against games," Vaz said. "I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing."

He continued: "I just think it's very important that people respect and acknowledge the age limits. And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have."

We have the ESRB and PEGI for ensuring proper labeling. Yet it also said that he supported censorship and banning. If he's changed his mind, great. I support it fully. But don't go calling for the ban and censorship of games, then turn around and say that all you wanted was "proper labeling".

Also, did anyone find it strange that he wanted to investigate a connection between a shooting and CounterStrike in Sweden?

I call political shenanigans.
It sounds like a trap of trusting him.

The_root_of_all_evil:

And THIS is the guy who you think is showing the way forward in games? He's a sleazy, underhand, New Labour con-man, whose greatest trick is smelling of roses after he's dumped nuclear fuels next to a playgroup.

Agreed. The guy's spinning for political points and his record speaks for itself, with not a whole lot of positive to say.

He calls for "clearer" ratings but I'm not really sure how much clearer a giant 18 sticker can be.

Edit:

Keith Vaz:
And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have.

Bullshit! To quote the Escapist on his Modern Warfare 2 objections:

"I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks," he said.

Uh-huh. All about the 'proper labelling', eh Keithy boy?

Generic_Dave:
They came for the inappropriate video games but I did not play them, so I said nothing...

I lul'd.

I absolutely agree. It's clear that this guy's idea of responsibility in the industry involves liberal application of the government Banhammer. The fact that he doesn't want to ban everything (i.e., games he likes) does not make him pro-games.

I seriously wonder if his anti-game history is also just a political fabrication to curry favor and support his career.

Sounds like a well-meaning, but misguided man.

Unlike Jack Thompson, who is a ravenous misguided jerkbag.

Well, it's a good thing that he's turning a new leap.

lostzombies.com:
Manhunt 3 for Kinnect!

Do it! Do it!

LOL!

Good thing there is atleast one anti-game politician who wasn't a lunatic!

Goody:

Delusibeta:

Guess what this rating means:
-snip-

Actually that is only a PEGI rating, it is only a GUIDELINE for retailers (who often follow them anyway) and parents, BBFC ratings however can ONLY be sold to people who prove they are of the appropriate age

From my understanding, British law doesn't have this distinction.

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