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Censorship United States Entertainment Games

DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors 578

Posted by timothy
from the they-might-make-mayors-smoke-crack dept.
DeathPooky writes "As a part of an effort to continue a reduction in crime in the nation's former murder capital, DC leaders are trying to pass a law banning the sale of mature video games to minors - along with harsh penalties to enforce the law. According to the article, 'A store that violates the law could lose its business license and face a fine of as much as $10,000.' This law mimics other such bans proposed in Virginia and Maryland. I can already feel the chilling effects from here."
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DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors

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  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:22AM (#11581529)
    The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle.

    And who is defining what is mature content?
    • by Grey Ninja (739021) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:25AM (#11581546) Homepage Journal
      The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle. Ask for ID. There's no internet involved here. And who is defining what is mature content? The ESRB. Same as always. =)
    • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:30AM (#11581564) Homepage Journal
      If it's illegal to buy it, I guess we'll have to just download the games for free.

      If that's what they want, then fine. No qualms here.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:44AM (#11581807)
        If it's illegal to buy it, I guess we'll have to just download the games for free.

        Now SHAME on you. You know that once something is declared illegal, nobody circumvents the law. Why else would the government pass them, huh?

        For instance, when DC banned handguns, all handgun crime disappeared. Rifles and shotguns had been prohibited earlier, so now there are no murders from the use of a gun at all in DC.

        Unfortunately, there still are too many videogames out there and somehow they can be used to kill (myself, I've only gotten an occasional papercut from them, but then I'm certainly not a qualified game killer either. And I've never killed anyone with my Glock 21 either, but I digress). Videogames, butterknifes, sporks, hot-dog skewers and numerous other dangerous killer objects still remain and must be made illegal so the residents of DC can be safe again.

        Must suck to be so helpless...

      • If it's illegal to buy it, I guess we'll have to just download the games for free.

        If its illegal for me to drink I guess I'll just have to go and steal some beer.
    • In Australia it is perfectly well enforced.

      The definition of mature content is done by the "office of film and literature classification" guys. These people screen all movies, and many magazines, books and games, to classify literature. Our movies all say things on them like:
      "drug themes" "sex themes" "sex references" "violence" "drug references"
      Then there's a rating: C G PG M R X

      If you try to sell a violent video game you are likely to get reported and instantly your video game has to be reviewed before it can be sold.

      If it's a bit violent (like Duke Nukem or Doom or whatever the kids play nowadays) it's likely to be slapped with M which means you should be 15 to buy it and in practice, the shopkeep won't sell it to an 8 year old. If it's quite violent (particularly if it has a real aspect to it) then it may be marked R and you have to prove you're 18.

      This isn't particularly hard, and there's no invasion of privacy. Unless you think that showing a proof of age is invasion of privacy, in which case I guess you don't go to many swank bars...?
    • by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:36AM (#11581785) Homepage
      Out of interest, does that mean you would also want minors to be able to wander into shops and buy hard-core porn, and 18-rated horror films (18 being one of the highest ratings over here in the UK, translate as necessary to your country)?

      I'm surprised in this thread so many people seem to think it's fine for minors to buy and watch any film.. or do think that "no game is as bad as most films", which is the problem I used to have every day with parents buying their children whatever game they like when they wouldn't even consider letting them buy 18 rated movies?
    • ... how about banning the sale of guns to idiots/psychopaths/anyone? I'm sure there's a more tangible correlation between guns + murder than computer games and murder.
      • ... how about banning the sale of guns to idiots/psychopaths/anyone? I'm sure there's a more tangible correlation between guns + murder than computer games and murder.

        Dammit, I have mod points, but I can't let this slide..

        How much of an increase in violent crime do you need to see in the UK or Australia before it dawns on you that:

        A) Banning guns is a very, very bad idea

        and

        B) It's impossible

        And you don't want to ban guns. You want to hire people with guns to do it for you.

        Ironic, no?
        • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:45AM (#11582300)
          How much of an increase in violent crime do you need to see in the UK or Australia before it dawns on you that:

          A) Banning guns is a very, very bad idea


          Very bad example. Here's why [nationmaster.com]. The murder rate in the United States is still four times higher than it is in either the UK or Australia, despite a higher overall violent crime rate in those countries. In other words, there is more violent crime in the UK and Australia, but less murder. Why do you think this is?

          It's because of cases like this [go.com]. Cases that would be a simple mugging in other countries pretty frequently turn into murders here with easy access to deadly weapons. This woman - and countless others like her every year - simply would not be dead today if these stupid kids (and the stupid adults supposedly supervising them) did not have access to such weapons. Your position is directly supporting the murder of people like Nicole Dufresne.

          B) It's impossible

          Bullshit. Go to Japan and try to buy a gun. Seriously. If you think gun control doesn't work, then you just don't have a very well-developed world view. It does work and it has been working in various countries for many years. In fact, I just did a quick Google search on gun murder in Japan and quickly came up with some numbers from 1996: 9,390 gun murders in the US vs. 15 in Japan. Japan's murder rate has not increased appreciably since then - they have around 1,300 total per year (about 1/8 the number of gun murders alone in this country) with a population about half that of the United States.

          I would say banning guns would have a far greater effect on reducing the murder rate than banning violent video game sales to minors. But that does not mean I am against such a ban. I don't see why it has to be either/or. There is no reason, for example, that a 12 year old kid should be playing a game like Manhunt. No justifiable reason at all. I would argue that there's no reason for anybody to play that game, but if adults want to play it, that's up to them. Kids, though - I mean adults need to step in and say "no". Yes, it's the parents' responsibility, but a lot of people seem to use that fact as some sort of rationale for abdicating societal responsibility. It is not, for example, legal for 12 year olds to commit murder or even to drive a car simply because it's their parents' responsibility to make sure that they don't. There is still a law saying they cannot do it, as there should be.

          Handguns should be illegal. M-rated game sales to minors should be illegal. End of story. This is not a question of "my rights online", it's a question of living in a free and safe society that does not endorse the sale of devices whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings or the sale of adult content to children who do not yet have the mental maturity to properly process it.

          I realize Slashdot has more than a bit of a libertarian slant, but there is a difference between being a libertarian and being an anarchist. There are plenty of countries in the world that are freer than we are in the United States but nevertheless have successfully implemented these perfectly reasonable regulations regarding public safety.
          • Here is what you will NOT find. You will NOT find an example of a place where gun crime was out of control, people were getting killed left and right (like in south Chicago) and then guns were banned and the crime rate went down. Most of Europe, Japan, and other countries have lower murder rates than the US and stricter gun laws. However, correlation does not equal causality. The crime rates were lower even before the tough gun laws due to a more homogenous population and other factors. There are numerous U
          • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:32PM (#11583434) Homepage Journal

            Bullshit. Go to Japan and try to buy a gun. Seriously.

            I'm confused. Your argument is that if you go to someplace where you don't have connections, and where firearms are illegal, you won't be able to readily get your hands on a gun, and that makes anti-gun laws effective? This is a specious argument at best, and probably simply an unthought one. Or, of course, a troll. That actually seems very likely because usually only the most fervent idiots believe something like "devices whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings". More common is the arrogant belief that children necessarily "do not yet have the mental maturity to properly process" [adult material]. It depends on the children and the material, and no two situations are alike, no matter how dearly you want that to be true so you can apply a simple, narrow world view to all situations.

            The fact is that I can go to Japan and rent an industrial space, put a lathe and a vertical mill in it, buy some steel, and make my own handguns. Making firearms is not really all that difficult, unless you're talking about high-powered, long-range, accurate rifles. Consider the fact that the Colt 1911 was first produced in 1911, and that you have better tools and materials available today, and you may understand what I'm trying to tell you.

            The simple fact is that the more difficult you make it for criminals to get guns, the more those guns will be worth, and the more likely they are to be in the hands only of the most resourceful and/or successful criminals. You cannot eliminate guns! Think about the grease gun, which was an automatic weapon basically made out of a bunch of pipe parts. You simply can't do it. And, barring that, black powder weapons are VERY easy to make, fairly accurate, typically very high caliber so they have a whole lot of stopping power, and you don't even need cartridges, just bullets, powder, and paper. If you think you can't kill someone handily with the Morgan .50 caliber black powder revolver (the first all-steel revolver) you've got another think coming. You barely need machining technology to make those suckers.

            Anyway, back to the issue of mature-rated video games. I am entirely behind not allowing kids to purchase the games. Movie theaters already don't let them in. In my opinion, games should be rated according to entirely objective criteria and their distribution to minors should be controlled. Parents should be involved in the lives of their offspring at least until the point where they are no longer responsible for them. We should provide them with the assistance that they need to be able to do their job, within reason. We wouldn't want to stop kids from being able to purchase sports games because their parents were opposed to football or anything, that's too much - but keeping the sex and violence from them in such a way that their parents can present it to them in a guided way is pretty reasonable. Your belief that themes like sex and violence have no place in the lives of those under the age of 18 is, however, excessively socially retarded - which is exactly what those kids are going to be when they are introduced to them cold and with no parental supervision (to explain the ramifications of such things) at the age of eighteen.

    • by mordors9 (665662) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:21AM (#11581924)
      The real reason it is unenforcable is that the average 12 year old makes mommy buy it at the store for him anyway. She has no clue, "its just a game for heaven's sake."
    • The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle.

      Yes there is. It's called a credit card.

      And who is defining what is mature content?

      The ESRB, as always. They've been doing it for about 15 years now. Get in the loop.
      • "
        Yes there is. It's called a credit card."

        Started getting the snail mail spam for those since I was 15, Finally got one when I was 16.

        Of course my parents wern't the type to prevent me from watching/playing something because a sticker says other people my age might not be able to handle it.
    • Oh please. We already restrict the sale of many products based on age. Porn, beer, firearms, etc. Yes, kids do find ways around each of these restrictions, but that doesn't mean they are useless.
  • Like porn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkRose (820682) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:25AM (#11581544) Homepage
    And how is this different, than say, banning the sale of pornography to minors? Why is sex, a pleasant thing, shunned in favour of violence? I'd say it's a measure of a sick society. This is a logical move, though I think it would make more sense to lower the porn buying age.
    • Re:Like porn. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cliffski (65094)
      I agree this makes sense. If you make a game like GTA 3 where as the protaginist you are killing people and dealing with prostitutes, you shouldnt be suprised when peopl try and stop 8 yo kids playing it.
      If you don't want people to restrict your game to over 18s, try toning down the over-the-top violence and sexuality, although that requires some decent game design which is where most big develoeprs fail.
  • by CGP314 (672613) <.ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC. .ta. .PGC.> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:29AM (#11581559) Homepage
    for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy video games

    Yes we really should apply the same rules to a (fun) poison and a carcinogen that we do to porn and videogames.


    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
    • Use your head (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DLR (18892) <dlrosenthal@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:46AM (#11581624) Journal
      Since porn and video games can adversly affect young and impressionable minds, yes. Much like innappropriate use of alcohol can make the body ill, innappropriate use of porn/violent videos/games can make the mind ill. Applying those rules in certain situations is a good thing.

      And why do people not see that by restricting the sale to minors returns control to the parents, who's job it is to determine which values they want to pass on to their kids anyway? If the parent wants li'l Johny to have GTA3 then they can go buy it for him. But last time I checked children's "rights" where pretty much restricted anyway (with a few exceptions). That's why these things are rated "Adult" or "Mature", because they are NOT appropriate for minors.

      • mind being ill is not measurable though.

        some people do consider just jacking off 'ill'.
        or *Gasp* sexual thoughts.

        but if you need to protect people from seeing some bitches nipple by accident in a dance thats full of sexual hints... well, yes, i suppose then everything makes sense.

    • Of course we shouldn't. There's nothing wrong with allowing us to buy tobacco: at worst, we'd kill ourselves.

      But we shouldn't be allowed to buy violent games. At worst, we'll kill a few others.

      If you agree that tobacco should be banned to us for our own good, why don't you agree that violent games should be banned for everyone else's good?
      • If you agree that tobacco should be banned to us for our own good, why don't you agree that violent games should be banned for everyone else's good?

        I feel that tobacco should not be banned, nor should several other things that are currently illegal, like psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, the inhalation of nitrous oxide, prostitution, gambling... Probably some others but this is getting long-winded.

        In fact, if anything should be illegal, it's alcohol. Not that I advocate trying that little experiment

  • by dabigpaybackski (772131) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:35AM (#11581584) Homepage
    It is fitting that the locality whose residents enjoy the least personal freedom is none other than our nation's capital. Corrupt city officials, extortionate taxes, draconian laws, ubiquitous crime, militarized police--you suck balls, D.C. Only your museums redeem you.

    (flame on)

  • Downloading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mboverload (657893) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:36AM (#11581589) Journal
    Do they think this means ANYTHING? My younger friends just DOWNLOAD the games their mom wont let them play, or I burn a copy for them. I am more than happy to free them from the ignorance of their parents.

    This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

    • This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

      That may be the case, but the other possibility is that lawmakers just aren't very knowledgable about technology. They may not know how simple it is to just download a game and burn it to CD. So, while they go about making laws which wont really have that great an effect, they not only make themselves look good in the eyes of 'concerned' parents, but they allow the 'problem' to carry on behind closed doors. As far as I'm concerned, they're trying to
  • Who decides what counts as "violent" and "mature"?
    If they are accepting the ESRB definitions for Teen and Mature games and stuff, thats great.
    But if they are trying to define a new definition for "violent" and "mature" games that is different (perhaps more restrictive) than what the ESRB and the industry define, then I have a big problem with that.
  • It's about parents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799)
    I can already feel the chilling effects from here.

    What chilling effects? That kids won't be able to buy video games that have too much violence in them? I don't see any issue with this. We should be heralding this as good. The worst thing that will happen is that a kid who wants a game is going to have to run it past mom and dad first. If they don't think he should have it, then so be it. That's what parenting is all about. This is a GOOD thing.

    Which, also is why there are age limits on other thin
    • by EpsCylonB (307640) <eps.epscylonb@com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:34AM (#11581972) Homepage

      Which, also is why there are age limits on other things, for the most part. Parents are supposed to decide what is ok for their kids. If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself. I think this is good.


      If an age restriction is needed to make child and parent communicate then the kid has bigger problems than being corrupted by violent video games.
  • While it's not vey difficult for a minor to get access to a game like Doom 3 (usually via a pirate-, errm, terrorist-homicidal-maniac-copy), it's flat-out illegal to sell him the game or advertise it openly. The law is a good thing actually. Shure we've got 14 years olds playing Doom 3 here too, but it's common ground that these games aren't for kids and grown ups are forced to look at what their children buy if it's a game that only grown ups can legally purchase.
    • While it's not vey difficult for a minor to get access to a game like Doom 3

      True that - you can download the demo version - I haven't looked at the full version, but the demo is fairly graphic. Unreal Tournament is also available in demo versions. Dunno about any others.

  • by m00j (801234) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:45AM (#11581621)
    Here in Australia the office of film and literature does games as well. Unfortunately they can't get it out of their heads that games are played by people other than kids.

    We have a rating system of:
    C - Children
    G - General Exhibition
    PG - Parental Guidance
    M - Mature Audiences Recommended
    MA - Mature Audiences Only (15+ only)
    AV - Adult Violence (mainly used for TV)
    R - 18+ only
    X = 18+, pr0n

    Only problem is there is no R rating (or AV or X for that matter) for games. This means games like Manhunt and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude get banned from Australia! Heck, even GTA3 was banned until they removed the ability to pick up hookers and made it harder to run people over.

    You might think this would not affect you elsewhere in the world, but really the makers want to reach a broad audience, so a lot of games will already be toned down in the rest of the world just so they can get it into the more stringent parts of the world.
  • Reduction in crime? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jim_Callahan (831353)
    What kind of crime can one enact with a video game, exactly? Are they afraid the kids will sharpen the edges of the install cds and slash throats? Beat their girlfirend with a heavy player's guide? Or are they afraid that the use of the games will train the kids in the pressing buttons in a predefined order skills that are so necessary for the successful terrorist, or, worse, stenographer?

    Seriously, though, it can't be the implicit encouragement of the use of violence to solve problems presented in many
  • by payndz (589033)
    This has been how things work in the UK for years with regard to games, just as it does with videos and DVDs, and there's no 'chilling effect' here.

    Games can be rated in two ways - there's the voluntary ELSPA/PEGI code, and the statutory BBFC code (the same as is used for movies). If a game contains subject matter that falls into the BBFC's purview ('realistic' violence, sex, language) then it has by law to go through BBFC certification, and selling a game to someone younger than the age rating (12, 15 or

  • by nahdude812 (88157) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:07AM (#11581689) Homepage
    I don't mean this as a troll (really), but I never understood the fuss over preventing sales of violent video games to minors.

    All it does is provide a tool to parents enabling them to throttle the sort of world their child is exposed to. Whether or not you agree that a parent should do this, it's not your decision on the matter. It's the right of that parent to control what their kid has access to.

    If a parent wants their kid to have access to that stuff, they just need to be present when the sale happens.

    This isn't the government saying what a kid can or can't do, it's only the government helping parents have better control over what their kids can and can't do. It's fundamentally like parental controls on your TV. You want your kid watching the PlayBoy channel, don't lock it. You want your kid playing San Andreas, buy it for him/her.

    Enter typical diatribe about "but Billy will just go to Jimmy's house to play it" or "but Susie will just get Janie (/Janie's parents) to buy it for her." Guess what, Billy and Susie aren't allowed over to Jimmy and Janie's house once I (overprotective parent) find out about it.

    Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction. If my kid can't, I don't want him or her having access to this stuff. Second, even if my kid is capable of making this distinction, it still presents certain things as acceptable, things like beating hookers, shooting random people on the street, or even just stealing cars. Ok, so as a rational adult you can recognize that these are things which are not valid courses of action. You have a fundamental upbringing that tells you as much though.

    Every time the subject of morality comes up on Slashdot (typically someone imposing their morality on someone else), people come out of the woodwork declaring that morality is all just relative. It's environmental. There's no absolute goods, no absolute bads. Please understand what the inevitable conclusion from this is: a child's environment shapes what that child's perception of acceptable behavior is.

    Video games like San Andreas glorify a lifestyle that's not one I want my kids growing up believing is an acceptable life path. Whether or not you believe it, psychologists (folks with degrees on this stuff) understand that a growing child is impressionable. Things that are presented as acceptable to them are accepted as acceptable or perhaps even appropriate to them.

    Maybe some kids would still turn into serial killers when they grow up, even having grown up in a totally sterile environment. Maybe some kids can consume all of the corruption society can throw at them, and still turn into a nun/priest when they grow up. These children are the exception. I, as a parent, have the right to observe my child's reactions to his or her environment, and tailor the environment my child is exposed to in order that he or she grows up to be a productive member of society, and not the kind of kid who smokes / does drugs / carjacks people. This only enables me to do that to a higher degree. I'm not telling you how to raise your child, buy your child all the corruption you can if that's the decision you make, just let me have control over what sort of corruption my kid gets.

    In the end, the only people here who lose any freedom are the under-18 crowd whose parents don't want them having access to this sort of content. This isn't like alcohol where it's illegal to give it to a minor even after purchase, it's just illegal to sell it to a minor.

    This doesn't block anyone's right to free speech. It just filters people's (lack of a) right to direct their free speech at minors through those minors' parents.
    • Parents already have an excellent control over what games their child plays. they own the house. And everything the child posesses. And the computer. If a parent needs a state (or federal, or municipal) law to do their job in the realm of their own home, then they have achieved an unprecedented level of incompetence and should be isolated and studied by the CDC. And then shot, just in case they're contagious.
      • Most parents would rather not have to resort to draconian measures to enforce this kind of rule, though. Suppose my child's friend purchases Grand Theft Auto for my child for a birthday gift (in the absence of this proposed law.) My child, so eager to play the new game, runs home, opens it up, and starts playing it before I get home from work. When I come home and realize that my child has a video game I don't want him to have, my options at this point are few. Chances are, the best option I will have will
      • It's not so much that parents need a law to be able to do their job, it's more that some parents just don't have a clue about the more violent games. Having ratings on games and movies means that parents don't *need* to understand anything about the content, just that *someone* suggests it's not suitable material for younger kids. Any parent who *really* thinks they know best can ignore the rating labels, the others will take notice of them.

        The chilling thing is that once people accept the labels and abid

    • All it does is provide a tool to parents enabling them to throttle the sort of world their child is exposed to. Whether or not you agree that a parent should do this, it's not your decision on the matter. It's the right of that parent to control what their kid has access to.

      Following this logic, why are kids allowed to buy anything by themselves?

      • "Following this logic, why are kids allowed to buy anything by themselves?"

        This is true.
        The fact is the government's not a babysister. They're not there to keep YOUR kids from materials YOU find offensive and unsuitable for them.

        Should religious parents expect the government to restrict their kid's access to Harry Potter books, Heavy Metal music and Dungeons & Dragons? Should Atheist parents expect the government to restrict their kid's access to the Bible and other religious materials? Should health
    • wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IshanCaspian (625325)

      Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction. If my kid can't, I don't want him or her having access to this stuff.

      I caused millions of virtual deaths, jumped on countless enemy's heads, and manouvered countless falling blocks into lines before the age of 15. I, like many other rational people, refuse to be

      • Re:wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nahdude812 (88157)
        I think I speak for a great number of people when I say I would prefer it if you stopped trying to parent my children as well.

        I'm not trying to parent your kids. You can feel free to purchase any sort of video game you want for them.

        You are promoting government regulation of speech. ... Stop trying to throw away MY freedom of expression ...

        The government already controls speech to a significant extent. You can't drop the F-bomb on TV or radio. Janet Jackson can't show her breast on TV. You can't

    • Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction.

      I guess if the kid is under the age of 6 or 8, retarded, or brain damaged you're right. Otherwise all kids have the ability to distinguish between fantasy or reality.

      Every time the subject of morality comes up on Slashdot (typically someone imposing their mora
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:10AM (#11581706) Homepage
    sorry, no chilling effect to be seen, there is a rating system for a reason.
  • I'm shocked that a lot of people here seem to think it's okay to sell violent games to children. A lot of games are extremely violent and offensive, and reward indiscriminant violence.

    Surely people agree that the same type of ratings should be applied to video games as are applied to videos/films?

    In the UK we have the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ [bbfc.co.uk] . If it decides a film/video/game is only suitable for people over a certain age, then it is illegal for a shop to sell i
    • "A lot of games are extremely violent and offensive, and reward indiscriminant violence."

      I remember when I was a kid we used to play games like 'soldiers' and 'cowboys and indians' (today I guess, it would be 'cowboys and oppressed native americans'). Those were both violent and rewarded indiscriminate use of violence... the only difference is that they weren't computer games and we got some exercise instead of a fat ass. And I'm sure that liberals today would not only regard 'cowboys and opressed native a
    • A lot of games are extremely violent and offensive, and reward indiscriminant violence.

      Yeah...and? I get home from school, and it's good to have something to take my accumulated anger out on.

      We're doing fine now, what makes you think stopping us buying games are going to make any difference?
  • Ok wait wait...
    Im missing something here? I don't live in the US so im going to assume that if a gun/hunting/knife shop sells weapons to a minor or some other store sells say fireworks or dangerous chemicals or even just porn to a minor then they loose their license and get fines of over $10,000 right? In fact I know thats right because if it wasn't that would make these people fucking retards?
  • I say we ban the sale of *all* videogames to people under 25. That way, Johnny's soccer coaching mom will have to actually GO WITH HIM and LOOK at the game he is wanting to buy.

    Screw the rest of us. I mean, if we want to engage in sickening antisocial activities like playing GTA or Katamari Damarcy, we should be the ones that have to show ID and promise not to kill anyone. Pinky swear too.

    Now Johnny's mom can feel safe to plop him in front of the TV and he'll get all the proper morals he'll need. No p
  • Cities and states, via their elected representatives, already prohibit selling porn, alcohol, weapons, and tobacco to children. If they decide that "mature" games pose a similar threat, then they're within their rights to do so.

    Those who disagree are also within their rights to rant, without effect, here. If they were interested more in actual change and less in ideological posturing, they might become active in political and legal efforts to convince the DC government to act otherwise.

    And, remember, the
  • It sounds like a damn good idea to me, games with graphic violence and sexual scenes of a explicit nature shouln't be sold to minors.

    Most other countries have copied the laws which regard the sale of videos and movies to computer games, it doesn't stop the problem but it does mean that a 12 yearold can't walk in and buy something like Vampire Bloodlines (one of my favorite games), which depicts graphic acts of violence against humans and includes sexual themes including homosexual themes, and also has a ma
  • Because half the DC gang members are at home playing counterstrike in their mom's basement.
  • by Maljin Jolt (746064) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:43AM (#11582010) Journal
    I think they should ban nethack on the first place. Killing random monsters just for grabbing their magic items is certainly a felony and eating them is disgusting as well.

  • I think one big problem with the proposed law is that (based on the details from the article) the game's ESRB rating is apparently used to determine its legality for being sold to minors.

    But since the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) is a self-governing organization of game developers, what's to stop them from making a gradual shift in their rating standards to evade the law and sell more games?

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:57AM (#11582354)
    The trouble with laws like this is that by being enforced arbitrarily, they amount to extortion... and will be used to destroy small retailers.

    Here is how it works: Every store makes mistakes. There is no doubt about it. No-one is perfect. At some time, someone is going to screw up and sell a game to a minor.

    So given that ALL stores violate the law, this is what happens: Once the law is passed, the politicians need to crack down on someone to show they are tough. They could crack down on the electronics superstore mega-chain, except the mega-chain store has multi-million dollar legal teams ready to do battle in court on a moments notice, and they also probably donate generously to the people in office, and if they were only fined money, they can pay the $10,000 out of their billions of dollars with no problem.

    However, the local neighborhood video game store, probably doesn't have a lawyer, and is probably just scraping by (and a $10,000 fine could put them out of buisness, even if they don't lose their licence). They are going to be the victims of the crackdown, and they will be driven out of buisness.

    And then, that doesn't even account for political extortion. Mr. McCraken is looking for donations and endorsements for his relection. It would be a shame if some government investigators came into your store and shut you down. Perhaps you could help Mr. McCracken's campaign, and he could make sure that there is not any trouble with investigators... understand?

    The law will help huge mega-corporations and crooked polititions... it won't stop kids from getting violent videogames (they will just have a clueless adult buy it for them)... and when all said and done the same "want-to-save-you-from-yourself" rightious liberals who supported the law will be complaining how the "evil corporations" drove the independent stores out of buisness (and ignoring the fact that their beloved government regulation is what did it)... and the rightious "we-must-protect-our-morality" conservatives will be complaining about oppressive government regulation (ignoring the fact that they LOVE government regulation, so long as it involves enforcing their "values" on others).
  • More DC Nonsense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Uhlek (71945) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:06AM (#11582402)
    The District of Columbia has a penchant for making symbolic laws that don't do anything but inconvience law-abiding citizens, and sometimes cause harm.

    For no one that lives around here, DC is very small and surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The subway system extends into both other states. Local laws limiting purchases have a very limited effect.

    Look at the handgun regulations. Neither Maryland or Virginia require licenses to purchase or own handguns, and all stores will readily sell to DC residents. All handgun laws have done in DC is to keep law-abiding citzens from owning them, the criminals have easy access.

    These laws will do the same thing. Drive a few blocks into Maryland and get them there, or take the metro 2-3 stops south to Pentagon City or Crystal City malls and shop there, too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:21AM (#11582475)
    Look, I work in mental health with children, and I can tell you, its not the kids buying the games, its the parents. You have no idea how many parents buy GTA and the like for their kids. Then the parents ask me questions such as "is this game OK for my kid?" and "does this CD have foul language on it?".
    What's wrong with kids these days, whats wrong with the games, the music, society ? the answer is one that no politician will give; its the adults. see, adults vote, so lets not put responsibility where it belongs, lets blame "schools", "games", T.V.", "terrorism", "music", but Oh lord, lets not blame the voters.
    Problems with your kid? Hmm...do you: know the name of your kid's teacher? speak to this teacher every 9 weeks or so (at least), do you check your kids homework nightly? do you speak to your kids about drugs and safe sex? do you preview the music you buy for you child? Same with games? do you make an effort to meet your teen's friends or talk you their friends parents? do you ask you kid how their day was and how they are doing? are you your childs friend? (you shouldn't be, they have friends at school, they need YOU as their parent).
    We need fewer laws in our society and more parents to step up to the plate!
  • by CristalShandaLear (762536) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:48AM (#11583074) Homepage Journal
    ...from simply buying their kids the games.

    Unfortunately for all these watchdog groups, every parent gets to decide when and how much to warp their kids' little minds.

    My kid turned eleven last year. She's been playing Bugs Bunny, Harry Potter and kid-specific crap for four years. She wanted something more challenging and maybe just a bit more grown up. We pulled Resident Evil and Oddworld from our old collection and they seem to suit her just fine.

    I'm sure some parents would object but they don't get to decide what's best for my kid. Likewise, I may not approve of Cletus buying Grand Theft Auto for his five year old, but it's his business not mine. Until his kid kills my kid with his car imitating the game.

    Then I kill Cletus for not monitoring his kid and and I go to jail and later it gets turned into a "Law and Order" episode which me and my new lesbian lover watch together.

    Let the circle be unbroken...
  • by danila (69889) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:25PM (#11584322) Homepage
    When something like this comes up, I rarely hear the most important point. It's as if we already agreed that violent games are bad and are only haggling with the government about how much of our rights they should take away.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that videogames lead to crime. The only "evidence" we have is 3 well-publicised cases - Doom caused Columbine, GTA caused two kids shoot trucks with a rifle and Manhunt caused one guy to kill a friend. Needless to say, all three stories are more or less bogus (95%, 90% and 100% bogus, to be precise).

    I would be very understanding if DC leaders would show us a study demonstrating that 35% of minors playing video games commit crimes as opposed to 5% of minors who do not play video games. As long as there is no such study, the DC leaders are "mistaken" to limit the sale of video games.

    I would even dare suggest that minors who play video games may be less likely to commit crimes (the correlation may be negative). The "criminal" kids probably have less money to spend on games, consoles, computers and Internet.
  • Not Needed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmarx (528279) <dmarx@hushm a i l . c om> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:57PM (#11584576) Homepage Journal
    I'm 20. There were never any limits on what games I could play as a kid, and guess how I turned out-I'm on the Dean's List at college with a 3.5 average. These kinds of laws are not needed. What's needed is for parents (not government) to make sure their kids don't cross the line, like mine did.
    I'm glad I'm getting older. Two parents kept me in line. If the government acted as a third, I'd probably be neurotic

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