NY Violent Game Legislation Gains Momentum

By Chris Faylor, Jun 22, 2007 1:06pm PDT The New York State Senate and Assembly have agreed on the terms of a bill that would classify the sale of video games containing "depraved violence and indecent images" to minors as a class E felony, GamePolitics reports. However, lawmakers were unable to pass the proposal before the legislative session ended, postponing the bill's official approval until the next session in July, at which point New York governor Eliot Spitzer is expected to sign it into state law.

Introduced late last month by New York assemblyman Joseph Lentol (pictured left), the proposed legislation also calls for console manufactuers to allow parents to restrict content playback based off ESRB ratings--a feature already present in the current generation of home consoles--and the formation of an advisory council. Known as the Advisory Council on Interactive Media and Youth Violence, the committee would look into the effectiveness of the ESRB's current rating system and investigate the effects of violent video game.

Lentol's proposal drew criticism from many within the video game industry, including executives from the New York-based development studio Vicarious Visions. CEO and CCO Karthik Bala and president Guha Bala penned an open letter to New York legislators following the details of the proposed legislation, labeling it unconstitutional and unnecessary.

"We know many in our state may not like the content of some video games, and, to be frank, we do not like some of it either," they wrote. "However, a better way to spend our much-needed state resources would be to support public-private statewide partnerships to encourage use of video game ratings and parental controls."

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  • New York taxpayers could have been saved millions of dollars if they had simply brought one EB Games clerk onto the senate floor.

    Senator: Do you sell violent games to children?
    EBguy: No, sir.
    Senator: To whom do you sell violent games, then?
    EBguy: You know, guys... moms...
    (mumurs amongst the committee)
    Senator: You sell violent games to parents?
    EBguy: Hell yeah, all the time.
    Senator: And you advise the parent of the content of the game?
    EBguy: Well, I try. I tell'em, "Look, this game lets your kid steal a car, drive over pedestrians, shoot a cop, pay a hooker, have sex with a hooker, then shoot the hooker." And the kid's like, eight. And then she starts screaming, like really screaming, about how all his friends have it and how her little angel is NOT going to be the only one who doesn't have the latest game, and she just needs something to shut him up for five minutes, and she screams for my manager, and she yells that she's going to sue us, and we end up just bagging up the damn game and pushing her out the door.
    (mumurs continue)
    Senator: Yes, well... (clears throat) I see. When was the last time you had a customer like this?
    EBguy: Six times yesterday.
    (murmurs get louder)
    EBguy: ... I had a short shift.
    (more murmuring)
    EBguy: ... one of them was your wife.
    (voices reach crecendo, senator bangs gavel, etc.)