IN Senate to Consider Game Restriction Bill

By Chris Remo, Feb 20, 2007 1:39pm PST Indiana's Senate Economic Development and Technology Committee has approved a bill aiming to legally restrict sales of video games featuring explicit content, the Indianapolis Star reported today. Authored by Republican state senator David C. Ford and Democratic state senator Vi Simpson, the bill was passed 5-2 in committee by three Democrats and two Republicans. It would impose a $1000 fine on those who sell or rent M-rated video games to minors.

"You become the character, for better or for worse," said Simpson on video games, pointing out the seemingly age-old video game tradition of "kicking (a prostitute) out of a car and then beating her to death." She added, "If you think (children) are not playing these games because there's an 'M' on the box, you're badly mistaken."

Industry trade organizations such as the Entertainment Software Association and Entertainment Merchants Association opposed the bill.

Currently, ESRB content ratings are voluntarily enforced by retailers, similarly to MPAA ratings in the film industry. Various attempts have been made to enforce the ratings by law, though such measures have typically been struck down on constitutional grounds. This current bill is currently on track to continue on to the full Indiana Senate for voting.

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16 Threads | 30 Comments

  • Im not surprised. Typical gamer responses. First let me state that Im not on their side. I've been gaming since the 70s and have seen the changes in the gaming industry first hand unlike the youngins who post here. So I do try to keep an open mind and consider the reasonings of both sides. Games graphics and subject matter have come a very long way to to point where it does bother me on occasion seeing the extreme violence in some games. These games while fun assualt my moral base and the way I was raised. I automatically think kids should not be playing this type of game and I don't let mine. A lot of you believe violent games/movies do not desensitise young minds. Can you prove it or are you just spouting your biased opinion? Just because you think (key word is think) it didn't affect you. How do you know for sure? Just because you played GTA# and didn't beat down the cat how do you know the kid in the next neighborhood won't?

    GTA3 didn't bother me as much as GTA2 so have I not myself been desensitised by this type of gameplay/violense? I'd say definately yes.

    Can you also 100% say these boys wheren't affected at all by violent games and what possibly resulted in the vile crime they commited? I can't.

    Teen/early twenties violence to the best of my knowledge appears to be higher than the seventies, eighties and early nineties. Am I wrong? I don't know and not interested enough to research it.

    I don't know the fix or even if one is needed. Just wanted to give a rare opposing viewpoint in these types of threads.

  • We have this problem in the US that there is no such thing as a mistake. SOMEONE is responsible for everything that happens around us. I won't go into the details of the religious/socio ties that brought us to this stance, but it is quite obvious that you can sue and be sued for almost anything because of this very reason. In other words, there is no such thing as stupidity, bad parenting, escapism, weakness, (or even just an oops! I slipped!) etc. It's really all due to your environment and it seems best if we find something around us to blame our situation on!

    What if I buy the video game for my child and he beats a hooker in game AND in real life? Who is to blame? Me, the government, the publisher, the developer, the store, my culture/school/advertising/TV? BTW, my kid may be able to kill someone in Iraq but not drink alcohol legally? My kid can pilot a vehicle at 75 MPH and kill someone with the twitch of a steering wheel at age 16 but can't watch Scarface? hmmmm

    100 billion a year on the war, not to mention the TV coverage at 5:00, and you wonder why kids want to play cops and robbers?

  • Let's do a little experiment.

    * Take Oblivion, GTA, Crackdown, or any sandbox game you're familiar with.
    * Remove all (or nearly all) of the NPCs who attack the player on sight, and thus require the player fight back (forced violence) or run away (no fun).
    * Change the inventory so it's not all guns/swords. Most usable items should not be weapons by design. It's okay for any item to be usable as a weapon (see Dead Rising) but make sure most items have a nonviolent use.
    * Let the player interact with NPCs other than killing them. Let me trade inventory items with them, barter, persuade them to follow me, get into car/horse races, whatever. Just allow NPCs to provide a form of positive feedback other than their own death.
    * Either strip the plot entirely or rewrite it so that it doesn't inherently require violent action.

    Once you're done... plop your young kid down in front of that game and see what they choose to do.

    My theory here is that one tends to play violent in these games because, honestly, it's the most feedback-rewarding thing to do while playing. How would kids play a game where other actions can be just as entertaining? Most, I suspect, will try as many things as possible, to see what the rewards and (more importantly) repercussions are for their choices.

    Of course, assuming that all options are equally entertaining, my theory is that a percentage of kids will still choose the violent action. To turn this experiment on its ear, I hold that theory even if you put a violent option into an existing E-rated game, one that is less fun than the "normal" gameplay. Some kids will skip the more engaging conventional gameplay and choose violence instead.

    My core point is that people who don't want their kids to be exposed to violent play should watch their children play more closely. Kids often include pretend violence in their play. The important thing is to make sure that they know the fantasy/reality line, and that they understand the consequences of real violence.

    (Disclaimer: I'm not a parent, teacher, child psychologist, nor a lawyer.)