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#1 Posted by MAST (734 posts) -

I'm sure most of you have heard about this thing, and the fact that it's about to go to the Supreme Court. Everyone is definitely acting like this is some huge threat to the video game industry. I'll admit, I haven't read a ton about it. I have a loose understanding that the only thing it is for, is making it illegal to sale M rated games to minors. So I guess my question is, why does that matter so much, and why should I care?
 
I'm an adult, so this won't effect me at all, right? I won't have any issues buying games. In addition, minors (people under 17) shouldn't be able to buy Mature games. I don't see why making it illegal for them to buy those games is a bad thing. When I was 17, and under, the video game store I went to wouldn't sell me Mature games. The movie theater in our town wouldn't let me in to see rated R movies. I couldn't do those things without my parent there saying it was ok. It was a self enforced store policy. I don't see why taking it a step further, and attaching a legal punishment to this type of thing is such a big deal? Maybe someone can spell it out for me?
 
Actually, I almost think this will be a good thing. Because hopefully it would mean less annoying kiddies on Xbox Live, or PSN.

#2 Posted by MAN_FLANNEL (2462 posts) -

If that is what it is, then I support it.  Kids shouldn't be able to buy M rated games. 

#3 Posted by TekZero (2672 posts) -

There's controversy because it forces the law to limit our freedom.  I'm 31 years old and this doesn't affect me in any way.  But I can see why some adults would be upset about it.  The same way it is illegal to drive a car without a seat belt.  If I want to be reckless and drive without one, I should be able to.  The law has no right telling me that I can or can't wear a seat belt.

#4 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

Even if it's illegal for a minor to buy M rated games. Parents will still buy them for the kid. Which is what happens most of the time right now anyway.

#5 Edited by Turtlemayor333 (510 posts) -

I haven't really bothered to read it either but the controversy certainly has to be theoretical. In practice game retailers are mostly straight shooting, as you say. People are probably looking into it further than they should and trying to discover some degradation of our freedoms, when really it only affects minors. 
 
I could also see some talking head like Pachter trying to scare people into that M rated games will go the way of AO rated games, but the fact that most gamers are adults should be enough evidence to say otherwise.
 
EDIT: Also I doubt you even see a decrease in Xbox Live kids. Parents are still just as uneducated as before.

#6 Edited by Fjordson (2448 posts) -

I think part of the problem is the whole "slippery slope" paranoia. I've seen people propose the idea that this is the government getting their foot in the proverbial door that is video game censorship.
 
My issue is with it is that it's extremely inconsistent. Buying a CD labeled with parental advisory, with language and content worse than any video game I know of, is easy as shit for kids. Same goes for explicit comics, graphic novels etc.
 
And while the ticket booth might not sell rated-R movies to kids, sneaking into one after getting your ticket for a random PG-13 film is the easiest thing in the world. Doesn't seem right to me that video games should be put under the microscope. Also, like CL60 said, this may put a dent in the number of kids playing M-rated games, but it sure as hell won't eliminate the occurrence completely. Most instances I know of where kids are playing those games are a result of their parents buying for them. This law won't change that.
 
When I think of all the problems in the world at the moment, and all the problems facing the U.S., the idea of the government worrying so much about video games seems incredibly trivial.

#7 Posted by Yummylee (21652 posts) -
@MAN_FLANNEL said:
" If that is what it is, then I support it.  Kids shouldn't be able to buy M rated games.  "
#8 Edited by OmegaChosen (645 posts) -

The MPAA rating system is completely voluntary, as is the ESRB rating system. You won't go to jail for selling a kid an R-rated movie ticket though the theater may reprimand you. This bill would make it so it is actually illegal to sell games to minors, incurring fees and possible jail time. That heaps the blame on the seller when its not entirely his fault. Any responsible employee selling games that are rated M would make sure to ask the customer for their ID. Of course there are those who could care less just as there are theater ticket sellers who could care less. However much they care, the fact of the matter is that they are not to blame.
 
 If anything, the fault lies in the parent who doesn't care that the kid is playing violent video games and stands there blankly as the employee tries to explain to them that the game that allows you to rip people in two may not be suitable for little Johnny. It is completely legal for a kid to buy and watch an R-rated movie. Saying that video games do not have that same legality is a double standard that must not be perpetuated. 
 
The MPAA, ESRB, and the companies that use their systems are in no way responsible for making sure what your child sees fits into the standards you've set in your mind. They only set these ratings as a courtesy and mildly enforce them to give the parent a chance to choose for themselves. It is up to the parent to make sure what their child sees is acceptable for them.

#9 Posted by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

It's funny how he is creating a bill for that, considering that he does nothing else except really violent movies in the past. I get it, ppl under 17 can't buy these games and ppl will be punished for it, however that's taking it a bit far and suggesting that these videogames are bad for you and his violent movies aren't? He's going to create momentum against the videogame industry and that's not good. I hate hypocrites, they do something similar yet tell others to do things differently.

#10 Posted by Muttinus_Rump (814 posts) -

Nice avatar. But anyway, I agree. M rated games should not be sold to underage children. End of story. Of course that's extremely hypocritical of me because I played Grand Theft Auto 3 when I was 13, back when I thought I knew what was best for me. But I realise now that I didn't, that I was a fucking annoying kid just like all the others. I think my parents only let me play it because they didn't really understand that videogames can be as mature as say, a movie. I'm not going to let my kids play games like that at a young age.

#11 Posted by Apathylad (3066 posts) -

It's not the government's job to regulate your entertainment for you, and that's why people are against it. Stephen King wrote a piece about a similar law Massachusetts wanted to pass some years ago, which you can read here. If you believe video games are protected by the First Amendment, you will have a problem for this law, because it restricts the way games can be sold. Do you honestly think stores like Toys R' Us, Wal Marts, and other family places will carry titles that have the same restrictions as pornography? 

#12 Posted by MAST (734 posts) -
@Fjordson: @OmegaChosen: 
 
I can understand what you're saying. Sounds reasonable. 
 
I guess the whole reason I created this thread was because up to this point, all I had heard was random "bro" raging about this bill. People yelling ignorant statements like "Down with the government! Video games rule!" I had seen literally zero arguments against this bill that were coherent, and/or reasonable. So I figured it was just typical internet raging against something that really wasn't that big of a deal.
 
I thought for sure that there had to be more to it that I just wasn't hearing, or understanding.
#13 Posted by TheHBK (5485 posts) -
@TekZero said:
"There's controversy because it forces the law to limit our freedom.  I'm 31 years old and this doesn't affect me in any way.  But I can see why some adults would be upset about it.  The same way it is illegal to drive a car without a seat belt.  If I want to be reckless and drive without one, I should be able to.  The law has no right telling me that I can or can't wear a seat belt. "

Actually the law does have the right to tell you to wear a seatbelt, considering that you need to be licensed to drive a car.  You could make the argument that you should be able to drive drunk or drive without a license since it is your freedom.  Incorrect son.  You are using your vehicle on state owned streets and highways, so the government can tell you how to act on them.  Nothing in the constitution guarantees you the right to drive.  So if you want to drive, you have to follow the rules. 
 
As for video games, they are considered a form of free speech, which is protected by the constittution.  And I dont see how M rated games hurt the children and therefore require a law.
#14 Posted by Choi (540 posts) -

What I want to know is, if a parent decides that it's OK for their 16 year old kid to play an M rated game, because he is mature and grown up enough to handle that content, and buys the game for his kid, is he breaking the law? Wasn't that the thing about the bill that the GB crew talked about a few months back? 
 
 I think that future parents will be more aware about what their kids are playing, at least I know I will. I grew up on Doom's, Heretic, Hexen, Quake's, GTA's. 
Games are not the problem, it's parents not giving much attention, time and love to kids, which ends up them being raised by TV and video games, and that can't end up good, not in these times, not 30 years ago. Bill's like this cover up the real problem, and that's quality parenting, not violence in games. 

#15 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Its a useless law that won't change anything.  Better just take the money this will cost and write each parent a letter explaining the ESRB ratings and how they should watch out what they buy their kids, that would do more good probably.

#16 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@TekZero: Driving without a seatbelt doesn't only effect you. What if someone hits you, and it should be minor, but you end up dead because you didn't wear a seatbelt? But thats just an extream situation, I can't believe that you'd be against a law that saves lives every day.
#17 Edited by Gaff (1758 posts) -

If this is the same Leland Yee bill that was bandied around a while back:   
   

 1. California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the Act) prohibit the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors under 18. The Act defines a "violent video game" as one that depicts "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in a manner that meets all of the following requirements: (1) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find that it appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors; (2) it is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors, and; (3) it causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. The Act does not prohibit a minor's parent or guardian from purchasing or renting such games for the minor. Pet. App. 96a.    


Hmmm, I get warm, fuzzy feelings from this, not in the least because it is scattershot at best: the act of jaywalking is easily defined, so is drunk driving and selling of alcohol to underage children. What exactly "a reasonable person", "deviant", "patently offensive", and here's the zinger: "to  lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors." I don't even think I need to point out the hypocrisy in the last sentence: Of course, the game might be violent, offensive etc, but if the parent or guardian buys or rents it for the underage child it's fine!
 
Of course, music, film, TV and books all have the same restrictions applied to them, so, as a medium, games shouldn't be exempt from it, right?
#18 Posted by TekZero (2672 posts) -
@Feanor said:
" @TekZero: Driving without a seatbelt doesn't only effect you. What if someone hits you, and it should be minor, but you end up dead because you didn't wear a seatbelt? But thats just an extream situation, I can't believe that you'd be against a law that saves lives every day. "
That's a good point tho.  The government shouldn't have a say whether or not I choose to wear a seat belt.  It should be a personal choice.  If I want to risk my life every time I get in the car, it should be my choice.  If I die over some minor accident, then so be it, I made a bad decision.  Think of it like smoking cigarettes.  Those things kill people, but it isn't illegal to smoke them....yet.  it all comes down to personal choice and if I am only hurting myself, the government has no right to stop me. 
 
 
That said, I saw one too many disgusting videos in my highschool health class to make me WANT to wear a seat belt everyday.  This of course was before the law went into effect. 
#19 Edited by Goldanas (546 posts) -

The law has no more of a right to tell my child what is good for him/her than the ESRB does. The law can make suggestions, but, ultimately, it is up to me as to how I raise my kid. If I'm capable of informing my child of the implications of what is being depicted on screen and allowing him/her to form an opinion from there, then there's no reason video games should be blamed for violence in youths. 
 
Violent outbreaks from children are a direct result of bad parenting and the mental state of the child. Did they ban Helter Skelter when Charles Manson formed his murder cult? No. 
 
Banning the sale of the games is a half-step from making it illegal for minors to even play them.

#20 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@TekZero: I think what it really comes down to is the effect on other people. If it only effects you the government really doesn't give a shit.
#21 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@Goldanas: The government isn't telling how to raise your child, they just wont sell the games to him. If you think its ok for your kid to play those games nobody is stopping you from buying it, and giving it to him. This isn't a big deal, its already done with movies.
#22 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6992 posts) -

....I can't buy M rated games without parent consent anyway, most stores restrict that, so I don't see how this law is any different.

#23 Posted by sagesebas (2003 posts) -
@MAN_FLANNEL: Let me ask you this how often do minor's buy M rated games? Never Gamespot is very good about checking id's, and practically every where else as well. There are no shady dark places where a kid can go into some hole in wall, whisper a secret password, wait half an hour next to a junkie and then get his game. This law just proves how out of touch the government is, don't waste time and tax payer dollars getting some stupid bill to the supreme court, that effectively will do nothing. But you know what it will do? M games will get a bad rap, and they will possibly have to put them behind the counters, nothing good comes from this.
#24 Edited by Goldanas (546 posts) -
@Feanor said:

" @Goldanas: The government isn't telling how to raise your child, they just wont sell the games to him. If you think its ok for your kid to play those games nobody is stopping you from buying it, and giving it to him. This isn't a big deal, its already done with movies. "

Actually, there is no law preventing movie theaters from selling tickets for R-rated movies to minors. The act they perform is voluntary, just like most retailers perform a voluntary ID check for video games. If that's how they want to run their business, that's fine. It's their business, but the law doesn't have a right to tell anyone's child what they should and should not have when in relation to media. 
 
An actual law is very close to saying that it is illegal for children to play m-rated video games.
#25 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@Goldanas: So kids should be able to buy beer an cigarettes? Hey lets send them off to war at 14 instead of 18, and instead of putting on Sesame Street. they should play hardcore porn. The Law will only say it is illegal to buy them, and pretty much all retailers have this policy. And tbh I think laws like this are fine, some kids need protection. There are a lot of shitty parents out there. A Law can't be very close to saying something, it has to be absolute. Your argument holds no water unless there is a line in that law saying no child can play an M rated game with or without parental consent.
#26 Posted by chstupid (806 posts) -

Schwarzenegger know that the less video games sold the movie tickets are sold and seeing as the was a movie star he would want to help Hollywood and California. This is all part of his plan to destroy the game industry and save California.  
 
 
Now we have to stop him. 
#27 Edited by Gooddoggy (411 posts) -

It's a bad law.  It'll never make it past the federal courts, and the budget in California is so screwed up right now that we (as a state) shouldn't be throwing away money on a lost cause.  I don't get the people who are saying they support this bill and then turn around and argue that parents will still buy M-rated games for their kids - if the law is going to be ineffective, why bother passing it?
 
As many other posters have pointed out, it's completely inconsistent with the way other forms of media are sold/regulated, and it strays too close to outright censorship.  It is not the government's job to decide what information it is "safe" for citizens to have access to (barring some material that has a direct impact on national security), regardless of whether or not those citizens are minors.

#28 Posted by Gaff (1758 posts) -
@Feanor: I don't think he meant it that way... 
 
@Goldanas: The only problem is that books, music and film don't have such government stipulations. The ESA objects that video games are singled out in this law, and rightfully so. The average gamer is 35 and the average game purchaser is 40. Under 17s make up only 25% of the gaming population and only 17% of all games sold are mature. Also, the link between violent video games and violent behaviour is tenuous at best.
#29 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -
@MAN_FLANNEL said:
" If that is what it is, then I support it.  Kids shouldn't be able to buy M rated games.  "
QFT
#30 Posted by Goldanas (546 posts) -
@Feanor:   
 
I certainly disagree with the laws limitations on cigarettes and alcohol. Restricting those items makes them seem grand and desirable in spite how detrimental to one's health they are in excess. Better education is the way to counteract this, not putting them on a pedestal. 
 
I don't know why you brought up enlistment into the discussion, it has nothing to do with media, similarly to how cigarettes and alcohol have nothing to do with media either. I made it very clear that the law should have no bearing over media. A 14 year old likely wouldn't meet the army/military/navy's physical requirements anyhow. 
 
Hardcore porn also has no bearing as the comparison is between R-rated movies and M-rated games, both of which set the restriction at 17. However, I doubt there are many people here who have killed someone because they saw hardcore pornography at the half the age deemed appropriate. 
 
Laws are indeed absolute, but when I say close, I mean they pave the way for other laws to pass. If a law restricts the sale of something, many will think that it may as well restrict the use--as in the case with cigarettes and alcohol--and soon the bill will be up, and it will easily pass, as the one that set it up in the first place was already enacted. I can understand if this wasn't clear when I wrote it the first time.
 
I can understand the restriction of something that will hurt others, certainly, but the examples posted here have only detrimental effects on the user if they have any detrimental effects at all.
#31 Posted by CaptainCody (1506 posts) -

I hate Xbox Kiddies as much as anyone else, but do NOT go off being a fucking hypocrite in this thread, you all played M-rated games when you were younger whether through someone who doesnt give a shit about ratings or from your parents. On a side note, videogames have reoccuringly proved to have no negative affects on the human psyche.
#32 Posted by Gmanall (1683 posts) -

  I speaking as a "minor" think the way it is now is fine, you have to let your parent know and get M rated games and give them the chance to see if they want their kid playing this M-rated game.  But I think even if they pass the bill it would be silly considering I can get a points card at gamestop go back turn on my 360 and get GTA on games on demand (I know the parental controls have to be off, but like any parent turns them on)   

#33 Posted by ComradeKritstov (693 posts) -
@Feanor said:
" @Goldanas: So kids should be able to buy beer an cigarettes?"
Did you just compare M-rated video games to beer and cigarettes?
#34 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -
@ComradeKritstov: Yes, they both have age restrictions. 
#35 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11025 posts) -
@CL60 said:
" Even if it's illegal for a minor to buy M rated games. Parents will still buy them for the kid. Which is what happens most of the time right now anyway. "
No, I think what the law is that it's illegal for the minors to play the games at all, and that the adults could be fined for buying the game for a minor. I'm not sure though. 
Moderator
#36 Posted by bartok (2481 posts) -

California is in horrible financial shape and Arnold Schwarzenegger is concerned about video game violence. Dude needs to get his priorities straight.  

#37 Posted by Gaff (1758 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan: Directly from the text: 
   
1746.1.  (a) A person may not sell or rent a video game that has been labeled as a violent video game to a minor.[...]
 
(c) This section shall not apply if the violent video game is sold or rented to a minor by the minor's parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or legal guardian. 
   
Source: http://law.justia.com/california/codes/2009/civ/1746-1746.5.html
#38 Posted by joey (984 posts) -

I turn 17 in a week so I don't give a fuck.

#39 Posted by Belonpopo (1823 posts) -

I ma fifteen years old and here is me buying a M rated game: 
 
 Gamestop clerk: I need to let you know that this is rated M for violence language and alcohol reference. 
 My Mom: No sex, no nudity? 
 Gamestop clerk: Nope. 
 My Mom: Ok. 
 Gamestop clerk: Here you go, have a nice day. 
 
 That is as far as this needs to go.

#40 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:
" @CL60 said:
" Even if it's illegal for a minor to buy M rated games. Parents will still buy them for the kid. Which is what happens most of the time right now anyway. "
No, I think what the law is that it's illegal for the minors to play the games at all, and that the adults could be fined for buying the game for a minor. I'm not sure though.  "
Nope, the law is about not letting kids buy these games alone.  Basically same as R rating in movies.  Same reason CA can't ban you from smoking at home but can ban you from smoking in public parks.
#41 Posted by Eric_Buck (1289 posts) -
@TekZero: That's obviously different as you're putting other people in harms way by driving  without a seatbelt, you're not doing so when you buy an M rated game...
#42 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1118 posts) -

Laws like this open the doors to more restrictive laws.  This same bill had literature in it at one time to ban retailers from selling titles deemed too content heavy period. 
 
Laws like these are dangerous.  The numbers do not lie, the ESRB is doing its job.

#43 Posted by TekZero (2672 posts) -
@Eric_Buck said:
" @TekZero: That's obviously different as you're putting other people in harms way by driving  without a seatbelt, you're not doing so when you buy an M rated game... "
How am I putting anyone but myself in danger by not wearing my seat belt?  My dismembered corpse flying through their windshield?  i'm not making other people not wear seatbelts. 
#44 Posted by Jared (557 posts) -
@TekZero said:
" There's controversy because it forces the law to limit our freedom.  I'm 31 years old and this doesn't affect me in any way.  But I can see why some adults would be upset about it.  The same way it is illegal to drive a car without a seat belt.  If I want to be reckless and drive without one, I should be able to.  The law has no right telling me that I can or can't wear a seat belt. "
I disagree, if you want to be reckless then you can easily kill someone that is innocent, that's wrong. Putting on a seat belt takes 5 seconds, it will save your life in the event of an accident and enforce the idea that driving is a serious thing and you can easily kill someone with your car. 
#45 Posted by Faint (833 posts) -
@TekZero said:
" There's controversy because it forces the law to limit our freedom.  I'm 31 years old and this doesn't affect me in any way.  But I can see why some adults would be upset about it.  The same way it is illegal to drive a car without a seat belt.  If I want to be reckless and drive without one, I should be able to.  The law has no right telling me that I can or can't wear a seat belt. "
im sure the seat belt law has more to it than your safety, such as ensuring you are positioned in the car for travel as correctly as possible to not endanger those around you, as some dumb asses would find a way to exploit it if they didn't have to wear one.
 
im not quite familiar with your age ratings in america. i figure this law would make it you have to be 18 or 21 or something in order to buy mature games? in australia we have m for mature (not restricted), ma15 (obviously you must be 15) etc. im against all forms of censorship so ill probably have to go with a disagreeing view on this one :)
#46 Posted by macandcheese (223 posts) -

The problem is that while it stops minors from buying the games it also establishes that games are different from other mediums protected under freedom of speech. This can create a possibility of harsher laws against games, its a slippery slope once they deem that they are not proteced under freedom of speech.
so anyway you should all sign the ECA's petition that will be used in the case.
 http://action.theeca.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1781

#47 Posted by 234r2we232 (3181 posts) -

 
@Goldanas said:

"Banning the sale of the games is a half-step from making it illegal for minors to even play them. "
If the parents can't take control then someone should be trying to.
#48 Posted by Goldanas (546 posts) -
@sofacitysweetheart said:
"If the parents can't take control then someone should be trying to. "
You think it should be illegal for children to play video games?
#49 Edited by Dantekiller (206 posts) -

all if have to say about this  

Schwarzenegger's is a sell out 

#50 Edited by 234r2we232 (3181 posts) -
@Goldanas said:

" @sofacitysweetheart said:

"If the parents can't take control then someone should be trying to. "

You think it should be illegal for children to play video games? "
Well. If you want to argue in extremes, then yes, I think many children would be far better off not playing them, same with television. But that's not the argument here. My issue is that I question the moral values of a parent who allows their 7 year old to play Gears of War. These things should be kept mature because, hey, guess what, they're complicated and violent. I don't care if you think your little Timmy is special, or ahead for his age, he's still limited in his understanding of the world, despite how easy something like a video game may make it seem.
 
But yeah, if a game has an age rating, it should kinda be adhered to. Sadly, I don't believe making anything illegal would stop irresponsible people doing dumb things :/. Besides, if these kids want violent fiction that bad, they could buy a book. But hey. You don't control a character in a book, and many books require average comprehension to appreciate them. Boo that. What crazy person wants to think about stuff?