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Old 05-09-2002, 07:50 AM   #1
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By Margaret Kane
Staff Writer, CNET
May 6, 2002, 7:10 AM PT

A bill introduced in Congress last week would make it a federal crime to sell or rent violent video games to minors.

The Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act of 2002, introduced by Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., would apply to games that feature decapitation, amputation, killing of humans with lethal weapons or through hand-to-hand combat, rape, car-jackings, aggravated assault and other violent felonies. Twenty-one other representatives co-sponsored the bill, which was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

That list would place a slew of popular titles out of the reach of teenagers, some of the biggest consumers of the games. The top-selling video game in 2001, according to research firm NPD Group, was "Grand Theft Auto 3," in which players steal and wreck cars, commit contract killings and carry out other crimes. It has been banned in Australia.

"When kids play video games, they assume the identity of the characters in the game, and some of these characters are murderers, thieves, rapists, drug addicts and prostitutes," Baca said in a press release. "Do you really want your kids assuming the role of a mass murderer or a car-jacker while you are away at work?"

Violators of the act would be subject to fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense and up to $5,000, plus 90 days in jail, for multiple offenses.

Other branches of the government are looking into the issue of minors and video games. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expected to release a report in June about sales and advertising to minors of games that have mature themes.

The issue hasn't gone unnoticed by video game creators. At a recent developers' conference, attendees agreed that the industry needs to do a better job of informing parents about the violent or mature content of games, although the issue of rating systems is still controversial. The Entertainment Software Rating Board assigns ratings for software titles, Web sites and online games, but participation by both game makers and stores is voluntary. An FTC study released in December found that 78 percent of stores allowed unaccompanied minors to purchase games that were rated for mature audiences only.

And state lawmakers in Georgia recently introduced legislation that makes it a crime to sell games depicting graphic violence to minors.

Courts have had mixed opinions about such laws. Baca's bill was introduced just days after a U.S. District Court in Missouri refused to invalidate a St. Louis ordinance that required parental consent to sell violent or sexually explicit games to minors. The St. Louis law was challenged by the Interactive Digital Software Association. A similar ordinance passed in Indianapolis was later overturned by a federal appeals court.
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Old 05-09-2002, 02:18 PM   #2
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who cares, i'm 21+ so It won't affect me =P
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Old 05-09-2002, 03:40 PM   #3
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Old 05-09-2002, 04:27 PM   #4
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"Do you really want your kids assuming the role of a mass murderer or a car-jacker while you are away at work?"

Well, no. But it's only a game. It's not like they're REALLY assuming the role of a murderer or car-jacker. And that "while you are away at work" is a pretty tasteless attempt at scaring the public to support it.
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Old 05-09-2002, 04:30 PM   #5
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You know what I just realised? Nintendo is going to sweep the console industry. PS2 and XBox have a lot of considered violent games, but almost ALL of Nintendos games are rated E ("for everyone!"). Hnh.

Of course, the other consoles will move to the black market, I'm sure.
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Old 05-10-2002, 07:32 AM   #6
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Uhh.... No. Let's check on PS2 sales, compared to Gamecube... No. At any rate, I think the bill would be good, but it really excuses bad parenting. It gives parents an excuse to play no part in the lives of their children, and how they buy/play video games. I hate to rant, but when I was a kid (Up until I was 17), my parents had to approve everything I wanted to buy, let alone just video games. I borrowed a lot of nitendo games from my aunt, and as such, my parents didn't worry. There's also another factor in my childhood that isn't present today, and that is the realism of the games being presented. I has playing 8-bit games. It's *REALLY* hard to think you're Solid Snake when he's a 3 centimetre tall 8-bit pixel person. Now a days, the graphics are so advanced that individual hairs can be rendered and you can see exactly what each character looks like, what they wear, what type of gun they're using, etc. So yes, I do believe there has to be some sort of governmental support for limiting this advanced realism from taking over the minds of the young. No, I don't believe that playing video games will make you a mail-bomber, or a rapist, whatever. I do believe, however, that playing video games that are realistic *DO* induce you to becoming one with a character, even if you don't conciously realise it. So yes, I can see kids wanting to be the guy from GTA 3, or maybe the Doom guy, maybe only as a Halloween costume. But that's where the parents should be coming in and setting an example. I fear that parents are relying on Video games more and more and more to amuse their children, as opposed to taking an interactive and dynamic role in their lives. I'm not branding every parent who has a Video Game system. God, if my parents haden't let me play video games at all, I would have become violent. But no. They forced me to play outside with friends, and to go on picnics and camping trips and visiting trips, all without video games. We played board games, cards, we talked, we went out bowling, whatever. So if it takes a bill to force American (and I include the US's northern buddies in this, as it is a western world issue) parents to realise how out of sync they are with their kids, then I'm for it, and hope the Federal Legislature adopts a similar motion.

Sorry for the long post... I wrote it in the quick post, without realising it was going to be long.

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