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Supreme Court Hears Violent Video Game Case Tomorrow

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the i-bet-scalia-plays-quake dept.

Censorship 342

SkinnyGuy writes that with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments tomorrow for California's controversial law aimed at keeping violent games away from minors, support for gamers and the games industry is coming from all corners. Writing for PCMag, Lance Ulanoff says the decision should rest in parents' hands: "If I have real concerns, it's up to me to argue it out with my son and take away the games or not buy them for him when he asks." Game developer Daniel Greenberg wants to know "how government bureaucrats are supposed to divine the artistic value that a video game has for a 17-year-old," adding that he's "disheartened and a little perplexed to see [his] art and passion lumped in with cigarettes and booze." The expectation within the legal community is that the statute should be found unconstitutional, and the Atlantic's Garrett Epps points out the irony of Gov. Schwarzenegger's involvement with the legislation.

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Look, honestly, this is getting old! (4, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 4 years ago | (#34095718)

We are DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN. Why can't you all just get it through your thick heads?

Re:Look, honestly, this is getting old! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096156)

Even more deconstructed:

"We are advocating the initiation of force against retailers because we think this will benefit society."

That is the root appeal: Effect. The argument is that morality and practicality are separate, and that we shouldn't worry about things like violating peoples private property if the net effect is perceived to be beneficial to society. I suppose there could be another group who do think that morality and practicality are one and the same but think it is moral to use violent coercion against innocent people too, it just seems even more contradictory so I try giving people the benefit of the doubt and assume they fall into the first incorrect category.

Re:Look, honestly, this is getting old! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096598)

We are DOING THE CHILDREN. Why can't you all just get it through your thick heads?

Fixed.

I must be missing the point here (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about 4 years ago | (#34095752)

How exactly is this any different from restricting the sale of R rated movies to minors, or is that legal in California?

Re:I must be missing the point here (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#34095792)

I'm not aware of any law that restricts the sale of 'R' rated movies. I am aware of several corporate policies that restrict such sales. Wal-Mart is notorious for this -- I've watched the Wally World drones card people for 'R' rated movies while letting the next person buy beer without being carded.

Is there an actual law on the books somewhere that restricts the sale of 'R' rated movies?

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34095840)

Don't shop at Wal-Mart

Re:I must be missing the point here (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#34096008)

Exactly.

You should shop Smart... shop S-Mart.

Re:I must be missing the point here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34097088)

Oh c'mon, that's gotta be at least a +1 oBscure Movie Reference!

Re:I must be missing the point here (4, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 4 years ago | (#34096656)

An interesting aside to this is that due to the power of the big retailers (Walmart and the like), and their refusal to stock NC-17 movies or AO games, means that it's considered commercial suicide to release a title that hits these marks. Although I don't support the government stepping in on principle, the practical upshot in countries like the UK where there is a legally enforced rating system is that 18 rated games and movies are a big part of the market, thus they are sold by all major retailers without argument - in principle it's more restrictive, but in practise the publishers don't have to spend their time worrying about getting the highest rating out of the black box that is the MPAA.

Re:I must be missing the point here (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34097146)

The net effect is this means there is tremendous incentive for companies to sneak in as much as possible into an R or M rated title. Meaning those two ratings end up being distorted to including far more than they really should. Eventually, the R and M ratings will become equivalent to the NC-17 and AO ratings.
The irony of course is by refusing to carry NC-17/AO titles, the big retailers are being family unfriendly, not family friendly.

Re:I must be missing the point here (0)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096840)

Unfortunately, they're a big enough buyer that they distort the market for other stores. A bit like Texas and school books. Sure you can buy from other sources, but it's a pretty good bet that they've impacted what's available elsewhere as many times people won't or can't recut the album to be acceptable to Walmart.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 4 years ago | (#34096042)

Is there an actual law on the books somewhere that restricts the sale of 'R' rated movies?

Of course not. That would be unconstitutional. Besides the free speech issues, how can you let a private organization like the MPAA decide what is and isn't legal?

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

ExtremePhobia (1326407) | about 4 years ago | (#34096420)

If there wasn't and kids were buying R rated movies, would you support both laws or neither?

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#34096506)

Neither. Kids buying 'R' rated movies are a problem for parents, not Washington and/or Sacramento.

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34097058)

"Kids buying 'R' rated movies are a problem for parents"

Since movies or games don't cause violence, it's a problem for no one. No need for parents to censor harmless things.

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#34096608)

My opinion is irrelevant.

I can not lay my hand on any part of the constitution which gives the US Government power to overrule the First Amendment. Can you? On the contrary the constitution reserves that power to the 50 Member States, whenever they meet in convention to amend/modify the supreme law. So whatever the US Court decides is irrelevant. Free Speech may not be curtailed for adults.

Re:I must be missing the point here (0)

postbigbang (761081) | about 4 years ago | (#34096936)

There are dozens of stipulations to how the freedom of speech works. SCOTA has direct and pertinent domain over deciding what free speech is, and what it is not.

IMHO, the entire post is pure flamebait, as this issue has been covered in dozens and dozens of /. posts. The general sentiment says: keep your hands off deciding what I can buy, although it's posted by people whose age is sufficient enough that it doesn't matter to them, rather only to their sense of 'don't tell me what I can buy and not buy' in this particular form of entertainment.

As a parent, I would prefer that I have the final discretion over what my children buy, but they're all above 18 years old now, so it doesn't matter to me. To them, anything M or R or X has to be cool, because they can't buy it-- not that they probably don't already understand the content, rather, i don't like them to be fixated over certain adult themes until they're adults.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34095808)

One has the force of law if this passes, the other does not?

Maybe you weren't aware the movie rating system is 100% voluntary, just like the ESRB rating system is currently. The ESRB system also sees more success than the movie/music versions, and improved about 50% in the last year in compliance.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#34095940)

The ESRB only sees more success because if you want to get a game on the Xbox/Wii/PS3/DS/PSP/etc. you pretty much have to get it rated before they will accept it. Plus, there has been a growth in commercial iPhone games which many of them get certified too.

Plus, most people don't really want porn games compared to things like porn movies and even "indie" games have ESRB ratings and "indie" records usually don't bother to get certified by anyone.

It has nothing to do with the strength of the ESRB and everything to do with the state of gaming in 2010.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34096388)

How exactly do you measure "success" for a rating system?

Re:I must be missing the point here (4, Informative)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 4 years ago | (#34096484)

How exactly do you measure "success" for a rating system?

By surveying parental and retailer/exhibitor awareness and performing "secret shopper" trials to test enforcement.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34096604)

Which may or may not be related to any societal benefit. A rating system with 100% compliance which causes no decrease in violence can not be accurately described as successful.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#34096770)

Real world violence is dropping, as shown by murder rates. If you want less violence in games in general, I would ask why?

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Interesting)

interactive_civilian (205158) | about 4 years ago | (#34096816)

Which may or may not be related to any societal benefit. A rating system with 100% compliance which causes no decrease in violence can not be accurately described as successful.

Wouldn't that be a reasonable indicator that whatever it is you are rating is quite possibly not the cause of the violence?

Hypothesis: We have X% of violence in children because Y is unregulated by age-restriction ratings.
Experiment: Regulate Y by age-restriction ratings.
Result: We still have X% of violence.
Conclusion: Hypothesis is rejected.

Tentative interpretation: Y is not the (most significant) cause of violence in children. Further study along these lines recommended.

If you don't automatically accept that violent video games lead to violent behavior, then a rating system with 100% compliance can be successful by simply allowing parents to have a reasonable, standardized assessment of whether or not the content of a game is age-appropriate for their child. It can also be argued to be successful, because it may show that access to violent content or not in games does not significantly correlate to violent behavior.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34096916)

If you don't automatically accept that violent video games lead to violent behavior, then a rating system with 100% compliance can be successful by simply allowing parents to have a reasonable, standardized assessment of whether or not the content of a game is age-appropriate for their child

If allowing parents to have a reasonable, standardized assessment of whether or not the content of a game is age appropriate for their children does not lead to a drop in anti-social behavior, then it's pointless not successful.

Re:I must be missing the point here (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096874)

That's the biggest problem with the rating systems, they're a joke, and definitely not enough to make a reasonable decision on. Best case you see a movie advertised that's got an R rating you know that you probably shouldn't take your 10 year old. Realistically you probably already knew that from the advertising materials.

They're fine as a basic guideline, but in terms of actually enforcing it, not going to work. So much of it is subjective. Ever notice how most programming on TV is TV-13 or so? It's not all of similar level of sophistication.

Re:I must be missing the point here (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#34095900)

That's legal everywhere (or at least as far as I know) - there is no Law saying that your movie has to be rated, you can choose to go and have your movie unrated if you want - but certain theatrical companies may not want to air your film, or they'll give it their own rating. Basically, when someone says you can't see an R rated movie - its the company policy, not law. No body of the government is responsible for upholding that law.

This being said - its the same way video games are right now. Places like Gamestop are not legally binded to uphold the ESRB ratings system, it's just their company policy to do so.

Now other things, like cigarettes and alchohol, ARE bound by law. This court case is about making video games part of those groups - where distributors can be held accountable for selling video games to people younger than the rating system allows, like selling or giving cigarettes to under-aged smokers.

Right now - if a kid wanted a video game and he did not meet the requirements he could ask his parents to buy it for him, that way they know what he's purchasing and they can check the ESRB rating and look at the box and all that nice stuff. Basically the law being proposed would take that out of the equation - as in the reseller or parent can be liable for letting them acquire that game, just like if your parents were to buy you smokes or if the 711 let you buy smokes underaged.

Now - thats the way it is where I am - in other places of the states, perhaps no company is imposing any restrictions based on the ESRB ratings. If thats the case, I can see where the people are coming from - but they should be lobbying their distributors to impose the restrictions, not the Government.

Re:I must be missing the point here (2, Insightful)

BaronHethorSamedi (970820) | about 4 years ago | (#34096118)

It is legal to sell R rated movies to minors, or to allow minors to see such films in theaters. Some theaters may have internal rules disallowing it, but private policies like this have never had the force of law.

That's the difference with the video game legislation at issue. The ESRB was originally intended to be a private ratings group like the MPAA--just an organization to give suggestions on content to conscientious parents. It was never intended to be a government watchdog. Now California wants games and ESRB ratings treated differently--more like the restrictions in place on providing pornography to minors. It'll be an interesting case--several courts have found that games count as speech, though the issue hasn't reached the Supreme Court until now.

As a side note, I don't find it at all ironic that an icon of the film industry wants games treated differently from film. Hollywood can't be too fond of the gaming industry competing for youth entertainment dollars, and you can bet the film studio lobbyists have the governor's ear on this issue. It makes perfect economic sense; from the MPAA perspective, if Timmy can't buy Halo, he can still go see Hostel.

Does anyone on the court play video games? (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#34095758)

Somehow I can't imagine Scalia doing drug runs in GTA 4, but you never know.

Re:Does anyone on the court play video games? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#34095832)

Scalia is more partial to Duck Hunt, particularly when he hangs out with Dick Cheney ;)

Re:Does anyone on the court play video games? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 4 years ago | (#34096240)

Scalia is more partial to Duck Hunt, particularly when he hangs out with Dick Cheney ;)

Ahhh, in that case I hope Scalia understands THACO and how to properly equip himself. Also, understanding that just going out with Dick Cheney requires you to roll a 16/20 or greater on saving throw or have your alignment permanently changed.

Re:Does anyone on the court play video games? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#34096574)

Scalia is more partial to Duck Hunt

Yes, when talking about Scalia, I have often referred to him as "Duck Hunt".

Re:Does anyone on the court play video games? (3, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096896)

Dick Cheney brings new meaning to the term "duck hunter."

this case has big1st amendment parts to it as if y (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#34095888)

this case has big1st amendment parts to it as if you can ban violent parts of works of art (games) then it makes it that much easier to ban parts of free speech.

May not matter (0)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#34096370)

The SC justices are pretty good at being able to understand the details of a case and apply the law to it in a theoretical way, even if they themselves have no experience. Remember they have to deal with that kind of thing all the time. Doesn't mean you'll necessarily agree with their opinions on an issue, but they are pretty good at getting informed and making informed rulings. In fact some of the least tech savvy court members often seem to write the best opinions on tech rulings.

Re:May not matter (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34096468)

The SC justices are pretty good at being able to understand the details of a case and apply the law to it in a theoretical way, even if they themselves have no experience.

Didn't we just have a story last week [slashdot.org] that showed how false that is? If they can't accurately predict the consequences of their decisions on the field of politics, which they should be experts at, how can you expect them to make good judgments about anything?

I fully expect the Supreme Court to declare software as mechanical, not speech, which would allow it to be banned just like realistic toy guns. Obviously the wrong decision, but you can't count on the Supreme Court to make the obviously right ruling. Remember, these are the best lawyers in the country. They can find a way to twist the law (and reality) to fit their argument, instead of the other way around.

Re:Does anyone on the court play video games? (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#34096564)

Somehow I can't imagine Scalia doing drug runs in GTA 4, but you never know.

Oh how 'bout this? We'll stop playing violent video games when Clarence Thomas stops watching videos of white women having sex with donkeys? Maybe some of you are too young to remember Anita Hill's (corroborated) testimony, but this is a guy who's got a serious porn addiction, in addition to being a serial sexual harasser.

The only reason he was confirmed by the Senate is because the Senate judiciary committee was an all-boys' club back then, and when a woman would bring sexual harassment charges, she was told "well, you must have been asking for it" (which is pretty much exactly what the Senators said to Anita Hill).

I must be a threat to public safety then! (4, Interesting)

magsol (1406749) | about 4 years ago | (#34095798)

There's a noticeable trend: as the graphics in video games have become "more realistic" over the last decade, homicide rates among 14-25 year-olds (arguably the most potent age demographic in the gaming industry) has dropped over the last decade.

No, correlation does not imply causation, nor would that make in this particular case. Furthermore, homicides can't be construed as an end-all, be-all indicator of any culturally-induced violent behavior. But saying that kids who play Counterstrike and then leave their house with their dad's shotgun and blow holes in their neighbors' heads were inspired to do so from playing video games is ludicrous.

Video games may nudge already-unstable mental states of individuals in a certain direction, but it's nothing that a certain environment wouldn't have done on its own anyway. They don't turn "normal" human beings into mindless rampaging murderers.

Re:I must be a threat to public safety then! (2, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 4 years ago | (#34095936)

When I was in your 14 to 25 age group, (Admittedly a long time ago.) violent video games probably saved a few lives.
Without the release of playing a game and blowing a few things up after school I have little doubt I would have snapped and tried to go on a killing rampage.

Re:I must be a threat to public safety then! (4, Informative)

Afforess (1310263) | about 4 years ago | (#34096056)

There is research that shows that when a particularly violent new movie debuts in Theaters, violent crimes have a huge downward trend for the next few days.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/business/media/07violence.html

Re:I must be a threat to public safety then! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096524)

...and sports *cause* violence after the games...clearly we need a law against live sporting events!

Re:I must be a threat to public safety then! (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#34096062)

All I know is that if I didn't have an outlet for my anger at home, I would have let it out at school. Does that mean I would have brought a gun in and shot someone? Likely not, but I probably would have shouted and hit a bully or two, which means I'd get detention, which means I'd become a problem kid, and a decade down the road I could have shot someone.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case for many other people here. It's not that a video game would normally make me a violent person, and it's not like I'm a violent person who needs to have some kind of murder take place just to satiate me. It's that they are a regular outlet to let off some steam, whereas without video games it tends to build up, which will only blow at the wrong times at the wrong person and get you in trouble which is where all the bad influences are anyways. Seriously, taking all your "trouble" kids, having them stick around after class, in the same room... it's a silly idea. That means when they go home from school, the only other people to talk to are other trouble kids. Does someone who yells at a teacher need to be sitting around the kid who got caught smoking?

Oh it gets better (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#34096308)

Violent crime as a whole has been dropping fairly steadily for about 2-3 decades. Despite the "We are less safe," hysteria from the media we are actually more safe. Violent crime levels have trended downward. Not every year, not every place, but you look at the over all trend and it has been on a decline for a good bit. Well guess what? That neatly maps with the rise in videogame popularity. In 2-3 decades they went from things only geeks played to something everyone does. As their popularity has risen, crime has fallen.

There you go! Clear correlation! Games cause crime to go down!

Or course Steven Levitt has some pretty compelling evidence that legalized abortion was one of the major factors, not games, but then the kind of people who say "OMG games cause crime!" aren't in to good evidence.

Re:Oh it gets better (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 4 years ago | (#34096718)

So you're saying that video games cause abortions? They are far worse than we thought!

and likewise (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | about 4 years ago | (#34096912)

there were just as many nut bars before computers and there will be just as many aftr the human race has long since left earth billions of years form now. if your a nut your gonna be one.

Server Rules (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 4 years ago | (#34095846)

[cosm] Look. The Supreme Court is admin. Don't **** with admin. Sign in, read the MOTD, stfu and play. LegalHacks will be permabanned. This includes you, Lawyer4Life_Blazin3.
[server] Next map is dm_MarijaunaFields.
[cosm] Sweet ****!
[server] cosm (1072558) was permabanned for language.

Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#34095872)

A bunch of blah blah blah and then "...I'm glad to have you on our side, 'cause I agree with you. Leave your game alone. The people that put together these video games are artists in their own right. If you're gonna start saying that video games are raunchy, then how the hell do you leave cable television alone?"

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_102910/content/01125113.guest.html [rushlimbaugh.com]
http://kotaku.com/5677274/rush-limbaugh-defends-video-games-free-speech-says-this-is-where-the-battle-is [kotaku.com]

Re:Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 4 years ago | (#34096184)

I guess he's arguing that many liberals find violence offensive, by the same token that many conservatives find naked boobs offensive. There are enough politicians from both sides demanding unconstitutional artistic censorship of video games and other media that it doesn't really deserve to be spun as a partisan issue as Limbaugh did.

By the same token, though, it's important to have support from free speech from across the political spectrum as well, so I hope Slashdotters won't laugh this off just because many of them happen to disagree with Limbaugh on nearly every other topic he discusses.

Re:Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 4 years ago | (#34096236)

While I understand Rush panders to the fringe right and the scared conservative moderates, I don't think he really is that fringy himself. He is acting and spinning people up as part of his job.

So yea, he'll hammer on the left about this, but really he is saying its an art like film, TV, writing and we can't censor it if we aren't going to go after the "untouchable" mediums. And it's extra hypocritical for California to do it when they are the center for sex and violence in film and TV in the US, at least in Limbaugh's mind.

I don't care for Rush Limbaugh but I agree with him on this stance.

Re:Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096954)

If you take enough stances on enough issues eventually you'll run out of unreasonable ones to take or otherwise end up with a reasonable one. Remember this is the same Rush that when called out about his drug abuse asserted a right to privacy. After having used however many other people's drug problems for material.

Re:Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (1)

Danse (1026) | about 4 years ago | (#34096356)

A bunch of blah blah blah and then "...I'm glad to have you on our side, 'cause I agree with you. Leave your game alone. The people that put together these video games are artists in their own right. If you're gonna start saying that video games are raunchy, then how the hell do you leave cable television alone?"

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_102910/content/01125113.guest.html [rushlimbaugh.com] http://kotaku.com/5677274/rush-limbaugh-defends-video-games-free-speech-says-this-is-where-the-battle-is [kotaku.com]

While I agree when it comes to just speech, I don't agree with him when it comes to actions. By his logic, it should be fine for companies to dump tons of pollution into rivers with no legal consequence, because then the market will take care of it, right? Except that that river really only matters to the people who depend on it, and even if every one of them boycotted that company, they could still do just fine selling to the rest of the country and the world. It also implies that there's a way for people to get accurate and timely information about what companies are polluting, and that doesn't happen. Then multiply this by the number of other possible transgressions a company can make, and it quickly becomes obvious that the market will not be able to handle it, because there's too much information and no good way to get it to the people who need it in a way they can easily understand. Which is why we need agencies specifically tasked with monitoring and handling these issues. Even then they have a hard time keeping up, but at least something gets done most of the time. We just need to make sure these agencies do their job and don't get overzealous and overstep their bounds, and that they don't get co-opted by those who they're overseeing, a-la the Minerals Management Service.

Re:Rush Limbaugh is against California's law (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 years ago | (#34096628)

I've got something that's even -more- interesting than Rush Limbaugh's opinion: my cat just farted, and it sounded like "The wording of the bill is also terrible, 'appeals to a deviant or morbid interest' and has no 'serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value' can be interpreted as every single videogame or alternatively no videogames whatsoever."

I mean, not only is my cat's asshole just as credible as Rush Limbaugh's mouth, but it also has better analysis as to why the law is a bad idea.

Welp, it was a good run, (1, Flamebait)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#34095926)

We all know how SCOTUS feels about things like "rights" and "human dignity." Oh well. We're fucked.

Re:Welp, it was a good run, (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#34095990)

We all know how SCOTUS feels about things like "rights" and "human dignity."

I dunno, the last two years have been pretty good for the 1st and 2nd amendments at SCOTUS. They aren't perfect and they get it wrong some of the time but I'm not sure I can share your pessimism.

Re:Welp, it was a good run, (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 4 years ago | (#34096048)

Well, I hope you're right. I don't expect them to get it right but once a decade, though, and I doubt they want to blow their wad this early...

Parenting (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34095930)

Leave it to the parents. There is no need for regulation however, being from the first gaming-gen myself... I don't think these shooters or gta that I love myself so much for the pure fun of it are actually good. If anything they do promote violence, even reward you for it. I think my own kids will have to put up with dad reviewing their games. At least in the early ages. And depending on how they develop somewhere between 12-16 I'll let them free to play what they want. Just as long daddy can kick their asses with it.

Re:Parenting (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#34096068)

Yes, that is the thing, governments should stay out of morality, its best for everyone. First off, think about your own morals, the Christian right really needs to look at trends in Europe and stand up against government regulation of morality, because, perhaps in 20 years they might not be the majority and another (anti)religious group will take their place.

Free speech should be free speech. So long as it doesn't interfere with your rights and your property rights it should be perfectly allowed no matter what it is.

Re:Parenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096146)

If your kids are anything like I was, they'll listen politely to your lecture and then go to their friends house to play violent video games and watch pornos. I know it is not a popular opinion to have around here, but the honest truth is that "let the parents decide" and "we need education not regulation" are code words for "i want to sell (something) to (someone) and I will make up any argument that sounds politically correct to make sure I can continue to do so".

Fuck morals. It's all about the money. As it should be.

Re:Parenting (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34096190)

No I do honestly believe this is stuff for parents. And I have nothing to sell to you. I feel this way because like the other person said here, it's about moral. Morals differ. That is what makes us all unique, for good and worst. Upon the basic things like: thou shall not kill/steal/murder/rape/vote Republic, government involvement should restricted to things like roads. Things we actually get better from. You're right with one thing without a doubt. If they look anything like dad, they have a hidden truecrypt container somewhere in an .iso lol.

Re:Parenting (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#34096302)

I'm sure the nanny types would have a fit but I let my boys play games like DOOM when they were 12 with NO worries. Why? Because I sat down with them and showed them how it worked instead of using the machine as a baby sitter, that's why. I showed them how to edit DOOM wads, and how the changes they made were reflected on the screen. I showed them how the characters may act like they were 'reacting" to them, but it was all a script that could be easily changed. By doing so I showed them the truth behind the magic curtain, and therefor didn't worry about them confusing anything on the screen with IRL. of course it made for some funny "cursing" by my oldest, things like "Who designed this game? Look at all the tearing! And could they rehash the textures any more? And what about the AI, DUCK YOU DUMMY!"

Now the oldest has just started pre-med and the youngest is deciding whether to go into graphic arts or become a chef. Neither has EVER raised a hand in anger to anyone else, in fact the local pastor just recently told me "I wanted to let you know what a fine young man you have in your oldest. I went to ask him about some volunteer work and watched as he went out of his way to make sure nobody in the cafeteria had to eat alone for felt left out. He is gonna make a great doctor and probably a leader in the community" which made me feel great. In the end it comes down to simply doing the right thing and caring about your kids, instead of using tech as baby sitters. You can't baby proof the world, nor can the government be "big mommy" to the nation's kids.

So I agree with you completely, well except for the "kicking their asses" part. I hate to break the news to ya, but after about 35 your reaction time just sucks ass compared to a teen. If you are gonna play with them you better make sure that age and treachery overcome youth and skill, because on skill alone they'll mop the floor with you.

Re:Parenting (0)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096966)

To be honest modern games are a bit different. And whereas I'd let my kids play doom, Wolfenstein 3D or possibly Quake without a whole lot of concern. I'm not sure that today's games are in the same category. Back then there was little in the way of realism and you'd be hard pressed to forget that it wasn't real.

Re:Parenting (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#34096520)

Leave it to the parents.

Thats exactly what video game regulation would do, making it easier for parents to control what their children would consume, as children would have a harder time obtaining the games.

Re:Parenting (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34096614)

That's one way to look at it. Didn't think about it, but here we know what our children possess and buy. But I am sure that's not in every part of the world or town/city. It's a valid viewpoint, but it would really need an age on it. It would be freaking weird to let a 16 y/o with guns and a car in a heavy traffic city drive around but deny him the right to buy GTA. Then again, common sense has and will never be an issue in politics.

Re:Parenting (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096852)

If by that you mean more pointless censorship, then yes. That is exactly what it would do. Why not just leave the decision in the hands of the player, and not parents or government? I mean, if the parents already believe that video games don't cause violence (or if they do but don't have evidence) and are willing to buy a game, why would they refuse to buy a violence one? It's simply pointless.

Re:Parenting (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 4 years ago | (#34096894)

To be honest, I'm not necessarily against this sort of regulation so long as the provision exists for parents to override the decision. If they make it illegal for minors to play violent video games then that's a problem, but requiring them to have an adult present in order to purchase it isn't really a problem. It gives the parents a bit of help in dealing with these sorts of things before the money has been spent.

That said, I wasn't aware that the ESRB rating system was really having that many problems. I certainly remember a time when it wasn't enforced all that well, but I remember not being able to buy certain games when I was under 18 and that was a while back. Has they gotten slack again since then?

arnold has what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096004)

Hell if I am going to click a link that contains the text "arnold-has-no-clothes".

"Artistic" shouldn't matter (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#34096016)

It shouldn't matter what the game is like. Free speech is free speech. I don't know where people got the illusion that the only thing free speech should be for is saying how great the government is and how great things are now.

Free speech, so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else and their property rights should be 100% legal.

Re:"Artistic" shouldn't matter (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | about 4 years ago | (#34096666)

There are only a few foundational rules in modern Western society. Kids having different rights than adults is certainly one very few would argue with in principle (perhaps in practice!). We censor stuff to kids all the time because we believe that every parent should have the right to restrict what their child does and sees.

Right now we've got a system that works, and I frankly don't care whether the private economy or the public economy enforces this restriction. What does matter to me as a parent and gamer is that games get the same treatment as all other forms of media.

Re:"Artistic" shouldn't matter (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096838)

"We censor stuff to kids all the time because we believe that every parent should have the right to restrict what their child does and sees."

Where do people get this idea? Oh, wait. This is a great opportunity for personal indoctrination! You can make your child become whatever you want them to, even a replica of yourself! Embody within them your exact beliefs and censor out everything else! What a great idea to create people with minds of their own. No, that is fiction. In reality, censorship is an obscenity in and of itself.

"Right now we've got a system that works"

Really? I disagree. Video games don't cause violence, yet the only ones who claim that they do are people who are themselves detached from reality. Anyone can differentiate between a video game and reality.

As such, there is no point leaving the decision of what games a child can and can't buy in the hands of the parents. Why would there be? If you believe that video games don't cause violence, there isn't, and you're an idiot. If you believe that they do and have no evidence, you're also an idiot. Again, the decision should be in the hands of the player because it's pointless to have it otherwise.

Re:"Artistic" shouldn't matter (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34096996)

Sure it does. The reason why we have free speech at all is to ensure that ideas are freely exchanged. Artists tend to push the boundaries of acceptable communication to get the audience to think.

It's really the only way to separate that from inciting violence and other forms of speech which are harmful to society as a whole. Unlimited free speech is just about as dangerous to the individual as no free speech is. Certain things just don't qualify in any sane society regardless of culture.

Hunter S Thompson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096084)

Isn't appropriate for any age group... That's kinda the point of his writing.

And Dante might just fall into the same category.

Fuck politicians, that's why private industry funds art and they can have their state funded art programs that are "hard" art.

Beer (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#34096148)

In civilized conservative parts of the US, children can drink alcohol with parents perimision. This reflects the norm in the civilized world. Of course well meaning liberals and fake conservatives wants the big government that results from controlling every minutia of the citizenry. What we can read, what we eat, what we can drink.

This does not mean there are not consequences. I don't believe in requiring helmets, but I would hate to be in the insurance pool with a person who rides a motorcycle and does not wear a helment. Such a person is stealing from me. Likewise, if a parent is not serving a child appropriate amounts of alcohol, that parent is libel for the resulting damage. This consequence based model makes much more sense than the big government telling us what games we can play in our own houses.

So I would say if someone is offended by beer and cigs, then it is perfectly acceptable for other people to be offended by video games with gratuitous violence. If however we realize that everyone is going be be offended by something, and will tend to group all those things under one umbrella, then we can reach a point where we are confortable letting other people doing things that we find offended without getting offended by that fact that other think differently that we do.

The damage, of course, comes when one person thinks what they do is protected speech, maybe even art, and what other people do is simply random acts of terrorism.

Re:Beer (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#34097020)

Children shouldn't be drinking alcohol period. Just because civilized countries allow it does not make it a good idea. Unfortunately alcohol screws with the body's chemistry worse than pretty much anything else and it does do damage. Now in reasonable quantities the harm is negligible to overshadowed by benefits, but the body does adapt to handle it and you really don't want kids developing tolerance before they know how to handle it safely.

And really, kids and young adults ought to be really careful about what they put in their bodies up until their late 20s, because the brain is still developing and those things can still have a significant impact. What adults do is really their own business, but the negative effects of alcohol are very real.

Leaving it up to the parent works both ways.... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#34096170)

A parent who is capable of confiscating a game that he doesn't want his kids playing should be just as capable of going out and buying a game for his kid that the kid can't buy for himself, right?

Not every parent wants to run their household like a freakin' gestapo camp (forgive me Godwin)... if the retailers face fines for not checking ID before selling a game with a mature or adult rating, there's at least a minimal level of assurance for parents who have problems with these sorts of things that the number of times they are going to have to bring down the banhammer on their kids' activities for stuff like this is few and far enough between that it doesn't end up creating more household conflict than what could easily already exist just because teenagers think that their parents can't possibly understand them. Meanwhile, parents who don't have a problem with this sort of thing should be perfectly free to go out and buy their kids these sorts of games as they wish. I have no problem with legislation in this department, and I would suggest that parents who might think I want to be a lazy parent simply because I don't want to fight with my kids may be guilty of being lazy themselves... for reasons I cannot even begin to imagine.

Of course, if video console makers actually made halfway decent parental controls that allowed things like blacklisting and whitelisting, in addition to using the general guideline of the video game rating, and said parental controls were not easily bypassed by any remotely bright kid who bothered to google how to get around them, I probably wouldn't care one way or the other. If he wants to waste his money on stuff he can't play under my roof, that's his own problem.

Re:Leaving it up to the parent works both ways.... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 years ago | (#34096764)

The problem with this legislation is that even your child has a right to free speech that may not be infringed upon by the government. Parents can infringe that right, but the government can't. If you really want this sort of law, you're going to have to amend the constitution to make it legal. (or pull one over on a gullible elderly Supreme Court, which is what they're trying to do here.)

BTW, if you want the government to fight your battles for you, then yes you are a lazy parent.

Re:Leaving it up to the parent works both ways.... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096778)

The only people detached from reality are those that truly believe that people can't differentiate between reality and a video game. That is something anyone can do.

"Leaving it up to the parent works both ways"

I don't understand this line of thinking. Usually people such as this acknowledge that video games don't make people violent (which they don't), yet they still say a parent should be able to control what video games their children buy (I know it is their money, but it still makes no sense). Why would the parent need to disallow their child from buying a violent video game if they already acknowledge that they don't cause violence? It makes no sense beyond indoctrination and control. The same goes for people spouting this garbage and yet provide no evidence.

The decision should be in the hands of the player, not parents, and certainly not the government. It's completely pointless to have it any other way, and censorship is absolutely disgusting.

Ya know what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096258)

If it means that more developers put focus on solid gameplay over graphics and realism, you won't hear me complain. I hate to say it, but it's true.

Silence of the Lambs (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 years ago | (#34096348)

It is completely legal for any child of any age to go out and buy the movie "Silence of the Lambs" and watch Hannibal lector cut the face off of someone and use it as a mask. For some reason Music and Video games are considered to have more influence with children. It's a silly distinction.
3 Million children are treated for sports related injuries every year:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1112/mainpageS1112P0.html

If you want to protect your children, lets start with the place they are most likely to be hurt. School sports programs.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34096432)

I hope you can see the difference between a sporting-accident and the potential to create a complete generation of serial-killers. (I don't think it will, but some people do think this.)

Re:Silence of the Lambs (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096750)

"I don't think it will, but some people do think this."

Where is their evidence of this? Oh, wait, they have none! They want to ban something that many, many people enjoy when they don't even have any evidence. Funny, that. The law shouldn't be made up of worthless opinions, but facts.

The only people truly detached from reality are those that believe that people can't differentiate between reality and a video game (something anyone is able to do). As such, it doesn't need to be in the hands of parents, as this article suggests. It should be in the hands of the player. If video games don't do any harm, then why does it suggest that it be in the hands of the parent? What is the point of that beyond indoctrination and control? Nothing. If they would refuse to buy violent video games for their child yet would still buy games that aren't labeled as violent and still acknowledge that video games don't cause violence, they're idiots.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34096796)

Parenting = indoctrination. If not they would call it feeding.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096856)

Or at least, that is what bad parents believe. There seems to be an overabundance of those.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34096904)

A kid needs a certain set of rules to develop in. Those rules are set by parents, based upon their own experiences in life. If that is to hard to understand, you're probably still a teenager. In that case, no worries, you'll understand later. If that's not the case, then please do explain to everyone once and for all how to raise a kid?

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34097032)

"A kid needs a certain set of rules to develop in."

To keep them safe from physical harm, yes. Running with sharp objects increases your chances of getting severely injured, etc.

"Those rules are set by parents, based upon their own experiences in life."

Yet many parents choose to indoctrinate their children with their own religion, beliefs, and as I said before, pointlessly disallowing them from consuming certain media.

"you're probably still a teenager"

Nope.

"In that case, no worries, you'll understand later."

Even if I was a teenager, the entire "you'll understand when you're older" argument is both unnecessary and idiotic. You claim that the opposing side is being stubborn and is therefore immature when you yourself have not changed your views. Such a statement is merely an easy way out of an argument and nothing more. If you can't peer into the future, I would suggest not using it.

"If that's not the case, then please do explain to everyone once and for all how to raise a kid?"

Attempting to protect them from physical harm is fine. Helping them protect themselves from physical harm is fine as well. However, censoring information and indoctrinating them is what I am against. It seems to be so abundant because they are so easy to take advantage of.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#34097134)

And how do you gonna bring that in practice? Let them view porn at 4 because you don't to censor the information that is given to the child? A child cannot comprehend everything like adults can. That's what learning and teaching is all about. And parents may want to raise their kids to never use violence, while others would chose to put their kids on karate to learn to protect theirself. It's these choices that is parenting. There is no perfect recipe like: no censor. Offcourse you're gonna censor things for your kid. I'll be damned the day that I let my 4 year old go watch a car accident. Wanna know why? She would get very bad nightmares. You just chose to take a really extreme point that is totally unrealistic from a real world perspective.

Re:Silence of the Lambs (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34097178)

"Let them view porn at 4 because you don't to censor the information that is given to the child?"

Let them view pornography at four? I don't see what harm that would do, but it's vastly useless to them. At most they would likely think "wow, that's gross."

"A child cannot comprehend everything like adults can."

Adults are not somehow special. They've merely lived slightly longer than a child. Depending on the rate at which a child can memorize new information, they could out perform an adult who has lived in this world longer. That's besides the point, however. The answer is obviously education, not indoctrination or censorship. That is not what education is about.

"And parents may want to raise their kids to never use violence"

That's great. Violence is a means of the weak-minded to censor the opposing view. However, they should merely opt against it and explain the consequences of doing the opposite.

"I'll be damned the day that I let my 4 year old go watch a car accident."

Some people can handle such things, others can't. Obviously if they can't, you should explain to them what will happen if they proceed with watching the accident. Beyond that, however, it is their own fault.

About Child Bullying (2, Interesting)

Neptunes_Trident (1452997) | about 4 years ago | (#34096386)

Video Games are a reflection of our STRUCTURED SOCIAL SYSTEM. Same with a child's behavior. It is a reflection of our SOCIAL STRUCTURE. And it is NOT the child fault, it is our own fault as adults. Here is a video about Bullying by a gentleman who holds degrees in History and Philosphy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KxUkRdjD3k [youtube.com]

Game censorship infringes on Corporate rights! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 years ago | (#34096434)

Obviously, the activist neocon Supreme Court will rule on the side of Corporations, since they are People, and we "citizens" are only their serfs and must be subjugated to their iron-clad rule.

Resistance is Useless.

Now, pass me my +5 sword of Undead Strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the real irony (1)

Animaether (411575) | about 4 years ago | (#34096478)

Arnold's success at entrancing 12-year-old boys by shooting huge guns has vaulted him to a position of power from which he will blandly urge the Court to create a new exception to the First Amendment: violent entertainment aimed at 12-year-old boys.

The huge guns that he shot in movies which were all rated PG-13 or well above?
PG-13: The 6th Day, Last Action Hero
R: T1, T2, T3, Collateral Damage, End of Days, Eraser, True Lies, Total Recall (secondary rating), Red Heat, Running Man, Predator, Raw Deal, Commando, Conan the Barbarian*
X: Total Recall (original rating)
* Conan the Barbarian wasn't guns.. but what the hey.

There is no particular irony here on the part of Arnold Schwarzenegger even if he would have had a say about the ratings of these movies and whether or not legislation would be allowed to prevent the sale of these movies to 12-year olds.

The real irony is that despite these clear ratings that have been on the boxes since VHS and in many instances even included prior to the movie's starting, these 12-year olds and younger end up watching them anyway.

What that says about ratings and the proposed 'violent video game' legislation I'll leave to those who care. I just wish news sites would quit suggesting it's ironic that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be putting a signature under this thing and go back to watching Alanis Morisette videos unless they dig up a statement from him in which he encourages 12-year olds to watch the aforementioned movies.

Re:Arnold Schwarzenegger and the real irony (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#34096572)

The real irony is that despite these clear ratings that have been on the boxes since VHS and in many instances even included prior to the movie's starting, these 12-year olds and younger end up watching them anyway.

Heaven forbid that some people mature faster than others and can easily separate reality from fiction.

Re:Arnold Schwarzenegger and the real irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096698)

If you think he's anything but a Hollywood sock puppet, you're overthinking it.

Re:Arnold Schwarzenegger and the real irony (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | about 4 years ago | (#34097046)

Arnold is from the competing industry - movies and games are both competing for the same audience. So NO irony here, and I am not at all surprised that he is taking a stab on the rival media.

There's a case? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34096704)

I didn't know that they had a case to begin with! I guess I was foolish to assume that you needed some sort of evidence before you, you know, ban something that many people enjoy.

"Lance Ulanoff says the decision should rest in parents' hands"

No, the decision (unless the parent is the one paying, but even then, it's pointless to not buy violent video games if they would buy another game for them anyway) should be in the hands of the person who wants to play the game. If you truly believe that video games have no effect, then why say it should be in the hands of someone other than the player? In reality, the only people who are 'detached' from reality are the ones who believe that people can't differentiate between reality and a video game.

There is no need for parents to censor what their children play, either. They are just games. Even a five year old knows this. No harm comes from playing a game.

I don't get the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#34096808)

I don't see why so many people have a problem with this law.
But first, let me explain a few things about violence in media:

Violent games or movies do not have an effect on people past a certain age (around late teenage years, so 16-17). If you have heard "It's never been proven that violent movies make people violent", that claim is correct. But only for adults.
It has been proven that young children replicate violence they witness. Albert Bandura, a researcher in psychology, did an experiment where children were shown a video of an adult physically abusing a toy doll. Children were then left alone in a room full of objects. Those who saw the video abused the same toy, and replicated the same violent actions as in the video. Children who did not see the video came up with their own form of violent acts, chose different toys, and overall were less violent (Google "Bandura Bobo doll" for videos).

Now obviously, there is an age when children won't replicate violence they witness anymore. I guess that limit is around 8-10. But at age 10, violence in games and movies can still have negative effects on children. First, witnessing much violence can desensitize them to violence. This means they will think violence is more acceptable than it is (or should be). A teenager desensitized to violence may, for example, not report a student physically attacking another student, because that won't seem to be such a big deal to him. At worse, a teenager desensitized to violence may be more likely to resort to violence. Not because games made him hungry for violence, but simply because he does not think punching someone he is angry at is an excessive reaction.
Second, violent scenes can be shocking to children and teenagers (even to adults, but children have more trouble coping with something that shocked them than adults). Even children who handle violence well can be shocked by a violent scene. Usually it's not general violence that shocks them, but a specific form of violence (for example: a woman or child dying, someone tortured, someone being eaten (even if the scene is not very graphic), someone dying in a specific manner (burned, cut to pieces...). So some kids can play a violent game without problems for hours, until they finally see a child die or a man burned with a flame-thrower and it shocks them (which is not pleasant at all, in fact it can be very distressing for a child - I've been shocked by some scenes in movies I saw as a child (in fact most people have), so I know how it feels).

Back to the law:
The law does not make it illegal to make violent games. These games will still be out there. The law also does not affect adults, who are supposed to be able to make their own decisions, so no problem there.
What the law does however, is prevent kids from buying violent games without consent from their parents. I think this is great, for several reasons:

1) It will help parents decide what games their children can play. Without the law, children can buy a violent game without their parents knowing, which either forces parents to play CIA at home or parents simply quit bothering what their kids play/watch because parents can't win that fight.
I should add that as a parent, I do not want somebody selling a violent game to my children if I feel they should not play that game. Just like I don't want someone selling them (or giving for free) cigarettes or liquor.
So the law will help parents control what games their children play, and it will also help remove the idea from parents that taking your children's education seriously is hopeless.

2) Parents will have no choice but to go to the store with their kids if they want to buy them a violent game. Once at the store, I'm sure many parents will look at the game before buying it, because if you tell people "This game is so violent we won't sell it to you kid if you're not present", they'll be curious. So it will force parents to be a bit more serious about their children. We all complain about people who let TV educate their children, well this law should make parents think twice before letting video games educate their children.

3) Don't we all hate the controversies every time a new GTA comes out? Every time we worry the game may be banned somehow, or some content will be removed before the release due to pressure from parent groups. With a law like this, developers can make any game, and if parents believe it's too violent, they don't have to worry about it unless they buy it to their children themselves. So it will take some pressure of from developers and we'll get games that don't feel like they want to be about violence but are too shy to actually be about violence.

4) Sex. There is little sex in video games. Not that I want games to look like porn movies, but sometimes you really feel that there should be a bit of sexuality here and there, maybe even some nudity. Sometimes it just kills the atmosphere of a game (such as those pathetic censored "sex scenes" in Fallout 3. It would had been much better if the developers had simply removed the concept of prostitution and sexual intercourse from the game entirely, it was hard taking the game seriously afterward).
Now, without laws to make selling some games to minors illegal, there is no way we'll ever see a sexually explicit game. It would just be banned right away (without laws allowing sales to adults but not to minors, the only options are to make games available to all or to none).

Unless you're 15 and your parents won't buy you the games you like, you should not have a problem with that law. Gamers should like it because this will give room to developers to go further with violence and sex. Parents should like it because they don't have to worry about their kids buying violent games. And kids... Well you'll have to wait until your older, or convince your parents to let you buy violent games.

Re:I don't get the problem... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34097086)

"Violent games or movies do not have an effect on people past a certain age"

I must be a murderer, then, because I began watching violent movies and played violent video games at no older than the age of five.

"It has been proven that young children replicate violence they witness."

But they don't grab a gun and slaughter an entire building full of people when they know the media is not real, as even a five year old would.

"Those who saw the video abused the same toy"

The video likely gave them an idea that sounded fun to them. An idea which would only damage an inanimate object which was okay to damage.

The people who are detached from reality are those that believe that people can't differentiate between reality and a video game.

Is this really about protecting children? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 4 years ago | (#34097052)

Or is it about a bunch of people that are basically terrified over pretty much anything that might be dangerous?
I don't mean for this to be partisan or inflamitory, so please bear with me.

Look at say-- Gun control. Study after study has shown that gun control measures do not positively effect the rate of violent crimes involving guns. (in fact, several studies have contraindicated this assertion.) This is because gun control laws only impact law abiding citizens, who, being law abiding to begin with, do not engage in violent crime with their guns. Why is there such an impetus against people owning guns then? Could it be because at least some demographic in the population feels unreasonable fear, if not outright terror, over the idea that somebody else "MIGHT" be carrying a gun? If so, why does this fear exist, and is it really justified to indulge it?

You can find this same apparent pattern at work in the public school system as well, as the institution more and more resembles a cross between a concentration camp goulag, and a prison complex for children- complete with guard dogs, random searches, and systemic abuses of basic rights. Have these measures actually made schools "safer" for children, or do they instead make school administrators feel more secure themselves? (From the students.) What is the REAL motivation for such a trend?

As for the primary topic of violent video games, the only possible corroberating study I can think of that might indicated that exposure to violence can induce violence in young people is the infamous "Bobo doll" study. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobo_doll_experiment [wikipedia.org] which showed that there was a positive correlation, but the scope of the study was with the EXTREMELY young, and not with the typically implicated target audience of teenagers and young adults that this particular ban is intended for. As such, I would tend to think that it would be more apples and oranges. Sorry, don't have any studies off the top of my head that were performed on teens, so I can't really be certain.

Still, you cannot escape the question of weather or not this is really to benefit CHILDREN, so much as it is to benefit the current administrative officials (at all levels; Government, school, religious, etc-- that would stand to 'feel' more secure in their positions should such a motion pass.)

It has been my experience that the overly paranoid in power are more apt to impose draconian measures "For our own good", than are those that already feel secure in their positions, and that they are never truly satisfied, even when they have managed to wrangle society into the equivilent of a straight jacket and face mask, a-la hannibal lecter. --they continue to try to find ever more repressive ways to further satiate their unreasonable fear of the people they govern or administer over, and as their oppressions increase, it seems their fears of that population also increases; a viscious circle rapidly ensues.

It seems reasonable to me therefor to denounce such "Unreasonable, purely emotional, and fear inspired" policies, simply out of principle. I really cannot see any positive side to allowing them to be implemented, since they do not satisfy the 'need for safety' that such people harbor, but rather seem to only inflame them. (You can find this behavior trend repeated many times by despots and dictators throughout history.)

For this reason, I would assert that the government is under no obligation to may anyone "FEEL" safe, but only to ensure that people actually ARE safe-- which is a really big distinction. The first one puts society into a straight jacket-- the latter passes laws to protect rights and property, and ensures a police force. When the two are confused, the dreaded nanny state is soon to follow.

Re:Is this really about protecting children? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#34097136)

"which showed that there was a positive correlation"

Not really. Imagine being in a room (especially at a very young age) and someone shows you an activity that appears to be fun and will damage nothing more than an inanimate object that is fine to damage. They didn't go out and shoot people with guns, they replicated an activity that appeared to be fun (or at least one that would pass the time). An activity that hurt no one.

"Not buy them *for him* when he asks"? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 4 years ago | (#34097068)

Writing for PCMag, Lance Ulanoff says the decision should rest in parents' hands: "If I have real concerns, it's up to me to argue it out with my son and take away the games or not buy them for him when he asks." If you're already buying the game for your kid, then a prohibition on sale directly to minors would be irrelevant. If anything, this law supports Ulanoff's point - that the decision should rest in parents' hands, and that they can freely buy the game if they want.

Not that there aren't other arguments, actually based on the Constitution, but that argument shoots itself in the foot from the get-go.

Funny... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 4 years ago | (#34097112)

The Supremes already ruled that they're not going to create a new category of "unprotected speech" (the common ones that already exist include incitement, AKA "fighting words/fire in a theater"-- which has become weak sauce in the face of moneyed media corporations-- and defamation), so the Court watchers are scratching their heads, saying "if the current interpretation of the First Amendment was correctly rendered by the lower court, why did the SCOTUS bother to grant certiorari?"

In any case, we should expect to see a Jack Thompson clone (with a few aggression inhibitors installed) trotting out tired old "kids are programmed by what they see" studies without any sort of nuance whatsoever arguing for California, so any arguments we make here will get modded up, but won't reach the justices' ears or eyes. Thankfully, there are amicus briefs with the common viewpoint here filed (the idea that violent games directly cause kids to be violent is disputable at best), so it's not like the CA counsel will get a slam-dunk.

On the other hand, the legal system in this country as a whole has been trending towards the heavy prosecutorial power of the police state for decades now, so I wouldn't be surprised if former prosecutors like Sotomayor side with California on this.

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