NY Senate Okays Violent Game Legislation

BOOM widget 113837The New York State Senate has approved legislation designed to limit the sale and availability of violent video games to children. With the bill approved by the New York State Senate, it will now be passed on to the State Assembly. If the bill is cleared by the Assembly, governor Eliot Spitzer will then decide whether to sign it into state law.

Introduced by New York senator Andrew Lanza (pictured left), the bill mandates that all video games carry a rating label on their cover, an effort voluntarily standardized through the Entertainment Software Ratings Board's popular and widely accepted rating system. In fact, most major retailers refuse to stock a game unless it carries an ESRB rating label. Any retailer caught selling unrated video games would be fined, with those fees funding a Parent Teacher Anti-Violence Awareness Program meant to promote the awareness of video game ratings.

The bill also calls for the formation of an Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence, which would investigate the effectiveness of the ESRB's rating system and make suggestions to better it--something the Federal Trade Commission already does.

"The recent release of 'V-Tech Massacre,' a sick game which exploits the Virginia Tech University tragedy, is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which has severe consequences on our youth and society," claimed Lanza. Actually titled V-Tech Rampage, the free Flash game was created by Ryan Lambourn of Sydney, Australia and is available solely on the internet. It has drawn almost universal criticism for its tasteless recreation of the recent Virginia Tech shootings. Lanza previously grouped the game with Grand Theft Auto IV, calling the subject matter of the two games off-limits. V-Tech Rampage was not submitted to the ESRB for rating.

"The emotions and behaviors of our children are far too often shaped by the virtual reality of violent movies and video games," Lanza continued. "It is imperative that we find a way to prevent these virtual realities from continuing to fuel and teach the violent behavior which is corrupting our youth. My bill will provide parents with important information about violent video games so they are better able to make informed decisions."