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Censorship

BC Scraps Mandatory Video Game Ratings 193

Posted by chrisd
from the as-tipper-steams-in-anger dept.
antarctican writes: "In their first intelligent move, the new government of British Columbia has scrapped the mandatory video game rating system which was brought into effect last year. At last some sanity in this attempt to rid youth of these e-v-i-l influences.... *smirk* We can only hope others in positions of authority come to their senses too." But we must protect the children!
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BC Scraps Mandatory Video Game Ratings

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2001 @01:02AM (#2577685)
    Oh? So you think that violent video games = violent behavior at school?

    Have you checked in any other factors, like what kinds of friends he has at school, what kind of behavior he normally has?

    This is merely little more than anecdotal evidence. Prove some real facts.
  • by DickPhallus (472621) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @01:05AM (#2577689)
    I see no need for ratings, simply just look at the games you are purchasing your son. Obviously you can tell the difference between a violent game and a non violent game simply by picking up the game and reading it's back. Use common sense, it's not that difficult. I still don't see the need to waste taxpayers money on paying someone to sit around and play games and decided whether they are violent or not.
  • by jfunk (33224) <jfunk@roadrunner.nf.net> on Saturday November 17, 2001 @01:17AM (#2577710) Homepage
    I applaud you.

    It's not the ratings that I take offense to, it's the parents who rely on them completely who create a bad situation.

    Parents should have an active involvement in what their kids are doing, and you are doing just that. You made your *own* decision.

    Most parents I've seen are content to let pop culture raise their children. They're lazy. I think that's much more sick than any kind of violence in the media. It creates a bad dependence on others. When someone else takes offense to something you think your kid *should* be exposed to... Well, you know the rest.

    Personally, I think that you should not let ratings define your decisions. I think you should keep making the decisions yourself.

    This is exactly what the opposition to ratings is all about.

    I say to you: Bravo.
  • by guru_steve (205501) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @01:20AM (#2577718)
    I live in BC, Canada, and as far as i understood the law, it prohibited the sale of violent video games to minors. By scrapping the law, now it is the exclusive responsability of the industry to police itself.

    BUT i've never quite understood how banning the sale of video games to minors would prevent them from playing the game. Wasen't that the original intent of the law -- to stop kids from playing violent games?

    Yes, we only sell tobacco products to those of age. Does that prevent kids from smoking anyways? Hell no. More often then not it's in the early teens that kids start smoking.

    Take it one step further - you can pirate any game online with minimal hassle. Now it's no longer a tangable, physical object to buy (like cigarettes,) but rather pirated software.

    Get real. This law wouldn't stop kids from playing games. If anything, it would probably cost the game companies sales. Since little Billy Bob can't buy the game from Future Shop (now Best Buy, i guess,) his only option is to pirate it online.
  • Isn't it ironic? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Stardo (465325) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @02:06AM (#2577787) Homepage
    I find it fascinating that I'm usually the oldest person playing on my favorite Counterstrike server and I'm 19. Most of the people playing are between 12 and 16. Ratings don't seem to matter to them very much, as they didn't matter much to me when I played Wolfenstein the first time in 3rd grade (or Doom in 6th grade).

    Now, what I find ironic is the Counterstrike servers that don't allow swearing or porn sprays. So on these servers, you can watch a lifelike character's head getting blown away in full 3-d detail, but you can't express your disgust at the wall-hack cheater who capped you when you weren't looking, or show the newest fake nude photo of Britney Spears you found on the net by typing Britney into Google's image browser. I say if you're going to desensitize today's youth to death and violence, we might as well desensitize them to swearing and porn.

    I mean, there is sort of a double standard with violence. When I worked at Blockbuster, a lady came in with her kids and they got the Matrix. She asked why it was rated R and checked the back to make sure there was no nudity in it. She was perfectly comfortable letting her kids see the graphic scenes of pure violence, but heaven forbid they see the semblence of a nude figure at such an age.

    I dunno. I think we just all live in a very crazy world. I'm glad I'm too much of a nerd to ever get a girl and have kids.
  • by psxndc (105904) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @03:31AM (#2577808) Journal
    Ratings != Censorship. Rating Systems = (hopefully) informed consumers.

    If I make a game that has psychos drowning kittens, should the government deny me that right to publish my game? No, of course not. But the government should force me to put some sort of labeling on my product so that consumers are made aware of its contents. Think FDA and stuff you buy at the grocery store. You may not know what half the crap in your Velveeta is, but they tell you so if you want to become informed, you can.

    psxndc

    someday I'll get educatedparents.com up and we can all be done with this...

  • by DarkZero (516460) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @03:34AM (#2577812)
    Video games can be just as addictive as nicotine

    Wow. That's just... dumb. Really dumb. How can you possibly equate the addictive effects of nicotine, which has strong biological addictive qualities, with playing a video game? By the results of many studies, nicotine has actually been found to more addictive than both crack and heroin. That's really, really far from the addictive qualities of playing a game that has no direct effect on your bodily functions, bodily organs, or brain chemistry.

    As for the rest of mind numbing post, you should learn that video games are not solely a children's medium. This is something that they've learn to grasp in Japan, but not in America. Much like the stereotypes Americans have of animation. According to recent statistics, the age of the average gamer is actually closer to the late teens and early twenties than to the average six year old. Should all of those gamers be forced to play only what is fit for a six year old? That's been the main question in censorship for many years. Should everyone only be able to watch, play, and read what is fit for a six year old? I say no. I happen to err on the side of freedom. You, however, seem to err mostly in the realm of FACTS.

    "Video games are just as addictive as nicotine". I swear, some of my brain cells are committing suicide right now just so they won't have to process that piece of ignorant crap again.

  • by else...if (100943) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @04:26AM (#2577856)
    The problem with rating systems, as we have them now, is that they don't try to provide information. Instead they provide value judgements. They say "in the opinion of a faceless beaurocrat who you've never met, this is appropriate for kids over ten."

    Providing information is a little mark saying "this is violent," or even better "has simulated bloodshed" or "realistic bloodshed" or "disembowled kitty cats" and so on. Yes, there's some judgement involved, but the information provided should be as factual as possible. Then parents can actually make an informed decision, rather than relying on some government-imposed generic opinion about how old kids need to be for it to be appropriate-as if every kid matured at the same rate.
  • Wrong logical step (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aepervius (535155) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @05:19AM (#2577927)
    Addictiveness is not defined by isolated incident but by the way a population react to a product. Most people will react addictively (more or less depeding on their biology) but they will all react addictevly within set parameter. OTOH you are speaking of isolated incident from people which *had* particular weakness. Which is not a real indicator of addictiveness of video game. A real study would involve a big population of gamer. And seeing how those rare isolated incident are, I would guess that it would prove that video game are as addictive as reading, or other old fashioned gaming.
  • by DarkZero (516460) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @05:33AM (#2577937)
    Actually, I live in a world where a couple of anecdotes that subscribe to neither science nor logic do not consistute such a broad statement as "Video games are just as addictive as nicotine".

    You present a few anecdotes about the "danger of video games" to me. This does not stand up to the millions of deaths in America alone due to lung cancer in people that are too addicted to nicotine to quit smoking. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an umbrella term used to describe chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is the fourth leading cause of human death in the world. 90% of COPD deaths are caused by cigarette smoking [cnn.com], and sixteen million people are diagnosed with COPD each year in the United States alone. This is in addition to the studies I mentioned in my original reply about nicotine being more addictive than crack and heroin [economist.com].

    Millions of people of varying ages play video games on a regular basis, but yet, deaths directly related to video games or found to be psychologically caused by video games are few and far between. This puts the addiction rate among users of video games firmly in the less than one percent margin, and pales in comparison to the 80% addiction rate among nicotine users [economist.com] (yes, that is a repeat link for the purpose of proving my point). In fact, the vast majority of non-biological addictions are firmly in the 1% or less percentage of addicts among users. This includes gambling, gaming, surfing, volleyball, and yes, even ping-pong, as well as all other human activities.

    So, to sum it up, not only did you compare a non-biological addiction to a biological one in terms of the ratio between users and addicts, which is a massive piece of bull shit in any discussion in and of itself, but you described a non-biological addiction to what appears to be one of the most addictive drugs out there right now. If that's not ignorant, I wonder what is.

    A few anecdotes do not equal a massive addict-to-user ratio. If these stories were examples of how addictive video games are, then there would be MILLIONS of such examples of video game addiction. To be as addictive as nicotene, these examples would have to be repeated among over 80% of players. They are not. These are rare, sensationalized instances. I honestly don't mean to be offensive when I say this, but I think you need to do some reading on the subjects of addiction, statistics, and ESPECIALLY media literacy. The kind of media illiteracy you have shown in your posts is exactly the sort of thing that has given rise to anti-video-game legislation, parents going absolutely ape shit over video games, and a general call for censorship in all sorts of media. Very large numbers of people have been duped into thinking that incidents such as those at the Columbine High School are commonplace among teenagers and video game players, under the assumption that because it is getting so much media attention, it must be a common phenomenon. The truth, however, is that there was such a media frenzy over Columbine because of how RARE the incident was. If more people understood the way the news media worked, they would not have been so easily duped by all of the "experts" that tried to rush in and make a quick buck by selling books and producing TV specials that tell people how evil video games are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2001 @08:20AM (#2578046)
    Yet all of this simply illustrates the point that PARENTS are the only ones who will control what kind of games their kids play. Laws aren't going to do it for you.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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