Stephen King Defends Video Games, Labels Violent Game Legislation as 'Surrogate Parenting'

BOOM widget 117163 A proposal to restrict the sale of violent video games in Massachusetts has caused famed horror author Stephen King (pictured left), who admits he is no fan of video games, to speak out against what he refers to as the government's surrogate parenting.

"According to the proposed bill, violent video games are pornographic and have no redeeming social merit," he wrote in an Entertainment Weekly column. "What makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic."

Designated HB 1423, the state legislation would limit the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. "Which means, by the way, that a 17-year-old who can get in to see Hostel: Part II would be forbidden by law from buying (or renting, one supposes) the violent but less graphic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," King pointed out. "If there's violence to be had, the kids are gonna find a way to get it."

Instead of a state-mandated restriction on violent game sales--many of which have been found to be unconstitutional in the past--King suggested that parents make an effort to take a more active role in raising their children as video games are not the only readily available source of violence in America.

"There's a lot more to America's culture of violence than Resident Evil 4," he explained. "Parents need to have the guts to forbid material they find objectionable...and then explain why it's being forbidden. They also need to monitor their children's lives in the pop culture--which means a lot more than seeing what games they're renting down the street."