Congressman Seeks New Game Rating Legislation

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As I recall, one of the reasons the supreme court rebuked the California law was that it was seen as unnecessary. That is, the gaming industry, all the way from developers and publishers down to the local gamestop, were self-enforcing these rules.

Tamrin:
After looking into this guy I am deeply concerned.

He's putting video games ahead of gun control. He has a voting record on gun policy that I find morally questionable on some issues regardless of anyone being pro/anti gun. He's received multiple endorsements by the NRA receiving more donations than other Democrats. To top it all off The Daily Show just exposed the NRA's involvement in crippling the ATF agency and this guy, Jim Matheson, voted for such amendments preventing the ATF from doing their job properly.

Great find!

DVS BSTrD:

Devoneaux:

DVS BSTrD:
Oh so now we DO have to show some form of ID to purchase weapons at gun shows and gun stores are actually held liable for who they sell guns to?

More or less, we also have a waiting period.

But is any of that actually enforced?

Pff I dunno. Possibly not.

Devoneaux:

DVS BSTrD:

Devoneaux:

More or less, we also have a waiting period.

But is any of that actually enforced?

Pff I dunno. Possibly not.

My point EXACTLY, lets make sure we enforce the laws we have before we start pointing fingers again.

DVS BSTrD:

Devoneaux:

DVS BSTrD:
But is any of that actually enforced?

Pff I dunno. Possibly not.

My point EXACTLY, lets make sure we enforce the laws we have before we start pointing fingers again.

So you know whether or not we actually do? If you already knew why even bother with the line of questioning? If not then you still don't exactly have an argument.

It occurs to me, we should probably run some kind of public service announcement (an ad on tv or something) explaining what the big stickers on the box art mean. I'm sick of parents letting their kids play adult games and then complaining about it. If you think your kid can handle it, then by all means, it's up to you, but then you can't bitch about it if they have nightmares!
Everyone else who claims the government needs to restrict sales so they don't have to worry in the first place: Get of your arses and do some fucking parenting! Yes, it's a hassle! It's called "Parenthood"!

Devoneaux:

DVS BSTrD:

Devoneaux:

Pff I dunno. Possibly not.

My point EXACTLY, lets make sure we enforce the laws we have before we start pointing fingers again.

So you know whether or not we actually do? If you already knew why even bother with the line of questioning? If not then you still don't exactly have an argument.

We don't, I just wanted to see if you knew that.

Scars Unseen:

Entitled:
That sounds pretty... reasonable.

Probably legally redundant and not paricularly helpful, but not problematic in itself.

It's problematic as hell, but you have to understand how American law relates to our constitution to be able to wrap your head around the issue. Basically by issuing a law to restrict distribution and/or access, the proposed law would effectively declare that -unlike books, music and film- video games are not a valid form of speech since restricting speech is forbidden by our constitution. Once that happens, any governmental body at any level can restrict the medium any way they want, up to and including banning the medium's sale altogether(sort of like how we have "dry" counties that cannot sell alcohol).

So no, it is not reasonable at all.

Books, film, music and videogames all need government backed ratings. The way the US has it, they've basically trusted the cat to guard the canary. People who sell these products are after money, they don't generally care about ethics.

Regardless of my view, since its already very well established that this won't work the guy is intentionally wasting money, might I suggest people who live in that state sue him for doing so.

Blargh. And I was hoping that they were going to pass legislation to better regulate the ESRB which already enacts creepy censorship

Like this:

Hero: [shoots thug in the kneecap]
Big gun: BLAM!
Thug: OW! FUCK! Ha ha ha! You'll never take me down copper! [returns fire]
Hero: [keeps shooting until thug is dead]
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)

Hero: [Shoots thug in the kneecap]
Big gun: BLAM!
Thug: OW! OH FUCK THIS HURTS! FUCK! PLEASE, GOD, NO! PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!
ESRB Rating: Adults Only

Because normal (realistic) reactions to violence might "disturb the player."

238U

Actually books aren't officially rated. They're challenged, and often, but there's nothing but a vigilant librarian to stop your toddler from reading The Catcher In the Rye or Lady Chatterley's Lover if she has a mind to do so.

Like the ESRB, the MPAA ratings system is poorly regulated and will censor all sorts of weird shit, like women considering abortion as a viable option, or atheists portrayed as something other than embittered ex-theists and caricatures, or women actually enjoying sex.

The Explicit Lyrics marking that inhabits gangsta rap is just the Rock & Roll is Evil trope all over again, and is being less and less enforced since the marking sells more albums. Now every songwriter is obliged to fuck you like an animal.

238U

Uhh, we already did this, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of games, and a Supreme court decision is pretty much impossible to overturn.

Are there any AO games made in the U.S. that can be bought through a brick and motor store? Because I've never seen any. And as far as I know, retailers refuse to sell M rated games to kids. The parent has to be present, and even then the retailer tends to warn the parent exactly what they're buying. At Target, where I work, we have to scan your driver's license to sell a M rated game. If you're not old enough, the computer literally will not allow the sale to go through. All the things this law wants to do are already in affect as far as I can tell. You need to start passing laws on parents if you want any more regulation, and we all know that's not going to happen.

As for the rating system, there are two types as far as I'm concerned. There's the one on the box, sure, which explains what content is in the game and what age it should be played out, but then there's the common sense rating. If the box art has a zombie on it with blood dripping from it's mouth, or a marine fighting monsters everywhere with a smile on his face, or a weapon dripping with blood, do you REALLY think you should be buying that game for little Crystal for her eighth birthday?

Its not all that bad of idea, really. But that wont stop the fact that it was already put to court by California, and we all know how that turned out.

Its not the job of the government to keep M rated games out of the hands of minors, or the stores (which, all the ones Ive gone to, wont even let you put the game on the counter without showing an ID if you even look to be under 17.), its the job of the parent. And God knows there's enough help out there to educate them on the matter, they just dont bother to learn...

Going to say the exact same thing as other people, but yeah, people still stop you from buying M-rated games at gamestop. I was buying Mortal Kombat for PS3, and the lady behind the desk refused to sell the game until my escort (As I hadn't had a license on account of being 17, yes yes) showed up, and even then, despite the fact that she looks young but definetely older than 17, they wouldn't let her buy it since she forgot her identification. In the end, she literally had to put me in the car, go ask some guy to buy it for her, although she saw through it, but couldn't do anything about it. Good times.

But yeah, it's -that- ridiculous. This law isnt needed.

Oh wait, and, for once I was actually in the required age limit for an M-rated video game! Why couldnt the lady just give it to me?

Zen Toombs:
Serious question: Why is it okay for a movie theatre to not allow minors to watch R rated movies, but not okay for minors to be prevented from buying M rating games?

Because there aren't any knee-jerk lemons running around spewing bullshit about how movies are ruining our children*. No that's... that's really the only reason. Stop looking at me like that, I didn't say it was a good reason, it's just why. People are idiots.

*Edit: In fact, I would wager that some of those knee-jerk lemons will spew about violent video games corrupting their children one moment, then taking their kids to the latest action flick the next.

Sniper Team 4:
Are there any AO games made in the U.S. that can be bought through a brick and motor store? Because I've never seen any. And as far as I know, retailers refuse to sell M rated games to kids. The parent has to be present, and even then the retailer tends to warn the parent exactly what they're buying. At Target, where I work, we have to scan your driver's license to sell a M rated game. If you're not old enough, the computer literally will not allow the sale to go through. All the things this law wants to do are already in affect as far as I can tell. You need to start passing laws on parents if you want any more regulation, and we all know that's not going to happen.

As for the rating system, there are two types as far as I'm concerned. There's the one on the box, sure, which explains what content is in the game and what age it should be played out, but then there's the common sense rating. If the box art has a zombie on it with blood dripping from it's mouth, or a marine fighting monsters everywhere with a smile on his face, or a weapon dripping with blood, do you REALLY think you should be buying that game for little Crystal for her eighth birthday?

Other than PC games, there are no AO games that would be able to be sold in the US, since Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo have some licensing stuff related to their consoles, such that only games that these companies "okay" are able to be sold on their respective consoles. All AO games are forbidden by the Big Three.

So, other than the VERY rare PC game, there ARE no AO games to sell, since few developers would want to spend several thousand dollars just to get an Adults Only rating (a death sentence for any console game), when they could just sell it online on PC without any rating at all. Every console developer that gets an AO rating at first will make changes and resubmit until it is an M.

Theoretically, though, if there WAS an AO game that Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo allowed on their console, the vast majority of retailers also have their own separate policies forbidding the sale of them.

It's funny you mention Target, though, since they're massive hypocrites when it comes to violent media. I used to work there, and have seen it first-hand. Five year old kid walks up alone with an R-rated movie? Perfectly legit. M-rated game? Nope, not allowed. It's disgusting.

Doesn't he know that they already HAVE ratings on the front and back of the box?

Apart from the fact that they're going to buy them anyway, fuck this guy. People should not be making laws before research is done, and by research I don't mean how long someone hits a fucking pillow for after 20 minutes of CoD. I just...

...I'm just glad I don't live in the US. The worst we have to deal with is assholes trying to prevent R-rated games from entering the country.

The thing I hate about this is that there are real problems in our society and jackasses like this guy are wasting everyone's time with these proceedings. It's a joke because this isn't the act of a responsible law maker, this is the act of someone who is already campaigning for the next election season.

WhiteTigerShiro:

Zen Toombs:
Serious question: Why is it okay for a movie theatre to not allow minors to watch R rated movies, but not okay for minors to be prevented from buying M rating games?

Because there aren't any knee-jerk lemons running around spewing bullshit about how movies are ruining our children*. No that's... that's really the only reason. Stop looking at me like that, I didn't say it was a good reason, it's just why. People are idiots.

*Edit: In fact, I would wager that some of those knee-jerk lemons will spew about violent video games corrupting their children one moment, then taking their kids to the latest action flick the next.

The guys question was already answered on the first page. And answered correctly I might add. Movies aren't rated, nor are those ratings enforced, by the government so they have no power to actually do so. Same as with video games.

As for the idea that people don't claim movies are corrupting youth, that's bull. It happened a lot more a few decades ago before games became the it thing to bitch about, and before that it was comic books, TV, radio, etc. They still get flack for it, just not as much because like with anything, the people who were scared of this strange new media corrupting youth started to die off. Give it 20 more years and I will guarantee the politicians and parents will be on about something else, having forgotten how completely wrong their parents and grandparents were about that thing they liked when they were kids.

I can't understand why people are so hellbent on pushing stuff like this through the current system is fine the problem is the parents who buy the games then give them to their kids because they forgot what them fancy words on the back of this here plastic dohicky mean.

Also I was getting a game at a local store and my dad had the credit card so naturally the guy asked him for his license to confirm he was over 17, he clearly was but the guy still had to ask the funny part was the barcode on the back of his license was worn so we had to use mine since I'd just gotten it a few weeks ago so it was funny at least. So the point is stores have systems in place to prevent minors from getting games but it's ultimately up to the parents making it punishable by law like this guy wants is going to do nothing but hurt everyone from stores to game developers and publishers.

Also captcha - no dice, how fitting

It's very simple: the law uses the rule of "Would a normal person be able to see it" when using things like exclusion clauses, rating labels and anything that you'd need to read on something you're buying.

This man is not a normal person, is too stupid to find the current labels and is asking the law to do the work for him.

2 things.

1) games already HAVE a ratings system, with a high rate of compliance from retailers then the one used by movies.

2) doesn't change the fact it's not the kids buying these games, but the parents.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to ship or otherwise distribute in interstate commerce, or to sell or rent, a video game that does not contain a rating label, in a clear and conspicuous location on the outside packaging of the video game, containing an age-based content rating determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board,"

Doesn't this mean that anyone that sells games that were made before the ESRB rating system was created would be arrested for trying to sell games from older consoles?

Vivi22:
The guys question was already answered on the first page. And answered correctly I might add.

Fuck'n sue me for misinterpreting a question worded with a negative. As for the history lesson, yes, I'm well aware that movies used have their own knee-jerk lemons. Note my usage of the present tense in my answer, because as you yourself said, very few (if any) people will bang-on about how movies will corrupt our youth.

Video game ratings because letting parents decide what their kids play would be totally insane.

HappyCastor:
Uhh, we already did this, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of games, and a Supreme court decision is pretty much impossible to overturn.

Ah, but he can still attempt to put a bill on the floor because he's part of the House. It's entirely possible that this bill can get passed and made law before the court has a chance to strike it down (which, if it comes to that, it will, wasting both the court's time and taxpayer money). Meanwhile, he gets to look good for his constituents as a moral crusader, striking out against the evil videogame industry that poisons the American culture and encourages children to kill.

At least, that's how his re-election campaign will put it the next time he runs for office. Mr. Matheson is playing the long game, hoping to undercut any opposition later on. Mind you, this dolt has been in office since 2001, so he's well acquainted with the game and probably won't have any competition to speak of. Among the other stellar bills he's proposed: a resolution "Congratulating the staff, community, and patrons of the Utah Shakespeare Festival on the festival's 50th anniversary" and a bill to prevent scalping of show tickets (if you really want the details, head to congress.gov and search for his name).

Hooray, democracy.

WhiteTigerShiro:

Zen Toombs:
Serious question: Why is it okay for a movie theatre to not allow minors to watch R rated movies, but not okay for minors to be prevented from buying M rating games?

Because there aren't any knee-jerk lemons running around spewing bullshit about how movies are ruining our children*. No that's... that's really the only reason. Stop looking at me like that, I didn't say it was a good reason, it's just why. People are idiots.

*Edit: In fact, I would wager that some of those knee-jerk lemons will spew about violent video games corrupting their children one moment, then taking their kids to the latest action flick the next.

Also there are legal reasons. I could explain them in full, but I'll just quote the charismatic stallion who recently Lawyer'd me:

Andy Chalk:
It's a commonly-held misconception that minors are legally barred from seeing R-rated movies in the US. They aren't. The MPAA rating system, like the ESRB system (and all others) is entirely voluntary. A theater can refuse admittance to a minor, but it is not liable for any legal penalties if a minor is admitted. That's why it's the ESRB that levies rating-related fines rather than municipal, state or federal governments - because the government is constitutionally barred from doing so.

As for your comment: I agree that there is likely some amount of hypocrisy amongst some critics of videogame violence, and would find such hypocrisy very amusing.

No. Not my congressman, no. I voted for you, asshole!

The ESBR labels have done enough harm already, why this stupidity?

How is this bad? All he's doing is making it so if you're under 17 you can't buy a 17 without your parent there. This means that the whole "publishers are selling mature games to kids!!111!" wouldn't have an argument any more. From now on.... responsibility would rest with the parents, and parents alone. This way, if they start bitching, we can just turn around and say "Well you bought it for him, it's your fault."

the whole notion of labeling something inappropriate for certain ages should be what is fought against, not enforcement of it.

If anything, this is waaaay better than the rest of them, he's not trying to ban, censor or invent new ratings or anything, he just doesn't want under age kids buying stuff. That's how it is here in the UK, and we still have everything you have on sale, and we generally have less ruckus about publishers pushing smack and conditioning to rise up on rampages on our kids.

how is "you wont be allowed to buy it legally" not baning, or censoring? Oh, maybe you think people bellow an artificial 18 year old limit is somehow lesser human and thus does not have their rights granted to them?

This has always made perfect sense to me. If the parent thinks their kids are mature enough to play mature video games, they can buy it for them. This is the way it should be.

chadachada123:

Sniper Team 4:
Are there any AO games made in the U.S. that can be bought through a brick and motor store? Because I've never seen any. And as far as I know, retailers refuse to sell M rated games to kids. The parent has to be present, and even then the retailer tends to warn the parent exactly what they're buying. At Target, where I work, we have to scan your driver's license to sell a M rated game. If you're not old enough, the computer literally will not allow the sale to go through. All the things this law wants to do are already in affect as far as I can tell. You need to start passing laws on parents if you want any more regulation, and we all know that's not going to happen.

As for the rating system, there are two types as far as I'm concerned. There's the one on the box, sure, which explains what content is in the game and what age it should be played out, but then there's the common sense rating. If the box art has a zombie on it with blood dripping from it's mouth, or a marine fighting monsters everywhere with a smile on his face, or a weapon dripping with blood, do you REALLY think you should be buying that game for little Crystal for her eighth birthday?

Other than PC games, there are no AO games that would be able to be sold in the US, since Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo have some licensing stuff related to their consoles, such that only games that these companies "okay" are able to be sold on their respective consoles. All AO games are forbidden by the Big Three.

So, other than the VERY rare PC game, there ARE no AO games to sell, since few developers would want to spend several thousand dollars just to get an Adults Only rating (a death sentence for any console game), when they could just sell it online on PC without any rating at all. Every console developer that gets an AO rating at first will make changes and resubmit until it is an M.

Theoretically, though, if there WAS an AO game that Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo allowed on their console, the vast majority of retailers also have their own separate policies forbidding the sale of them.

It's funny you mention Target, though, since they're massive hypocrites when it comes to violent media. I used to work there, and have seen it first-hand. Five year old kid walks up alone with an R-rated movie? Perfectly legit. M-rated game? Nope, not allowed. It's disgusting.

Oh, but that's the point isn't it? Violence in movies, books, and T.V. is perfectly fine and acceptable. I'm sitting here right now listening to a T.V. show, on regular cable, where they're using words like "shit" and "pussy," which I thought was rather frowned upon on cable. However, video game violence is totally unacceptable and must be stomped out. Believe me, I understand exactly what you mean.
I think we tried to enforce an R-rated no-child policy once. It lasted for about a month before people started complaining.

Damn near every video game on store shelves these days are already rated and a law of this nature was declared unconstitutional, so why even attempt this.

Captcha is really scaring me on this site. I go to type a brilliantly written opinion, but captcha beats me to it with ...

'no brainer'

Eh, that'll do.

Zen Toombs:
Serious question: Why is it okay for a movie theatre to not allow minors to watch R rated movies, but not okay for minors to be prevented from buying M rating games?

Seriously. I have that Californian law about requiring ID for M-rated games, or parental permission. Why is this bad? Every other day I see you people complain about the little kids on COD and Halo, and worst case scenario it requires the idiot parent to give permission for their kids to play things that are way out of their age range.
I understand that some parents believe their kids to be mature enough for these games when they are not actually 'of age', and I respect that, Californian law respects that, why is it a problem?

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