U.K. Parliament "Debates" Modern Warfare 2

| 10 Nov 2009 12:26

U.K. Member of Parliament Keith Vaz followed through on his promise to bring up Modern Warfare 2 for discussion but was challenged by another MP who pointed out that Vaz's strident outburst was little more than unfounded fear-mongering.

Vaz, an outspoken videogame critic, said he was "absolutely shocked" by the realistic violence in Modern Warfare 2 and intended to ask about the game, and videogames in general, in Parliament. True to his word, he brought the game up in a question to Sion Simon, the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport, saying, "It contains such scenes of brutality that even the manufacturers have put in warnings within the game telling people how they can skip particular scenes."

"Given the recommendations of the Byron Review, specifically paragraphs 32 and 33, what steps is the government proposing to take in order to ensure these violent games do not fall into the hands of children and young people?" Vaz asked. "It's not about censorship, it's about protecting our children."

Simon pointed out that the "clearest recommendation" of the Byron Review is that games unsuitable for children should be labeled as such and only sold to adults - which is already being done. "This game the honorable gentleman refers to is a certificate 18 game, it should not be sold to children and the government's job is to make sure that adults, clearly labeled, can get what adults should be able to, and that children are not in danger of being subjected to adult content," he said.

Tom Watson, meanwhile, another Member from Vaz's own Labour Party, took the opportunity to express his support for the videogame industry and criticized Vaz for his comments. "I've seen the content in this videogame, it is unpleasant, though no worse than in many films and books, it is an 18-plus game and carries the BBFC 18-plus rating as well," he said. "Does the Minister agree that it would be better for this House to support the many thousands of games designers and coders and the many millions of games users, rather than collaborating with the Daily Mail to create moral panic over the use of videogames?"

Watson has also created a Facebook group, Gamers' Voice, an "unabashedly pro-videogame" group which the BBC says will "coordinate responses to articles in the media which, gamers claim, do not give a fair view of their hobby."

Source: Eurogamer

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