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Video game ratings legislation

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by BJPalmer85, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. BJPalmer85

    BJPalmer85 Well-Known Member

    In the wake of such tragedies as the Newton school shootings, Colorado theater shootings and a handful of mall shootings it is not a surprise that the media is pointing the finger at media especially video games.

    However we have seen this before, in the wake of the Columbine shootings and the Heath High school shooting in my home state of Kentucky, the media pointed the finger at music. Artists like Eminem and Marilyn Manson were put under fire for the messages in their songs.

    With this being such a hot button issue and now that the 113th US congress has just been sworn in, I fully expect for there to be an increase in debates and laws/bills trying to be pushed through. This article over at IGN.com highlights how one Utah senator is proposing to make the ESRB the governing force when rating video games.

    But wait a minute...the ESRB already rates video games so what is the point? Well this law would make it mandatory for manufactures to compile a rating for their game and then picture the rating clearly on the front of the packaging. Which again is already done, but the imposed fines would be the new feature. $5000 to any person found in violation of the restrictions.

    Most companies like Target and Game Stop will generally check ID's before selling a game to someone that may appear to be younger that 18, this would almost force them to do so.

    My questions:

    Should the government get involved and back the ESRB?

    Should there be age restrictions to buying video games and should stores be forced to ask their patrons to present ID?

    Should they go as far as to make proof of age a requirement for all video games over a certain rating?

    Is this constitutional?

    Any additional thoughts?

    I DO NOT want this to deteriorate into a debate about how video game/TV/Movie violence affects people or children. Whether it does or does not, that is not what is up for debate. I simply want to know your thoughts on the article and on the idea of a government back ratings system and fines for video games.


    EDIT: While I still want to avoid this thread turning into a debate about whether violent movies/games/music causes people to commit violent acts, I do however have a hypothetical question.

    Lets say, HYPOTHETICALLY, that scientists do discover a correlation between violent media and (school) shootings. If this were to happen, would the First Amendment still hold? would changes be made? In your opinion how would this affect this industry?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  2. Steelrush

    Steelrush Banned

    The purpose of the United States government attempting to impose laws on video games is for the purpose of making money and gaining leverage for gun control.

    How they make money on this is either by forcing extra taxes on the sales of M-rated games, or as suggested in the OP, the addition of fines.

    Ultimately, it's all about money and power. And as for the media's role in this, it's to aid the government in seizing more power.

    The government has more important things to focus on, and it's not their place to regulate forms of entertainment. They have plenty of power as it is.

    It's the right of the retailer to decide this, not the government's. I would say to them that they should deny selling kids adulterated games, but it's ultimately the parent's responsibility for this, not the government.

    The stores can do whatever they want. I'd suggest that they ask for ID's, but the government has no right to force them to.

    Speaking of the government, the constitution means absolutely nothing to them now, and is no longer a factor in how this country is run in this day and age.

    Just a few;

    1. It shouldn't be a surprise that the United States government is attempting to force its way into regulating video games. This is a common practice in fascist countries.

    2. Things like this have happened before video games have existed. Corrupt governments always want to find a way to gain more money and power.

    In this case, they and their lackeys in the media are trying to take advantage of the atrociously ignorant and impressionable public's stupidity to convince them that video games somehow turn humans into law-breaking psychopaths.

    3. Don't expect that more things like this won't happen, because this gold-digging government will try to regulate video games and everything else that can be considered to effect us until they have enough cash to buy their own continents.

    Yep, it's irritating, but that's the United States government today. Look at the politicians, and you'll see men and women that are more desperate for money than those in poverty (though they do their best not to show it).

    Sad, annoying, but true. But I'm sure we can all agree that the government regulating video games and placing unfair bans is unacceptable.
  3. Smoke Monster

    Smoke Monster Well-Known Member

    What I hope doesn't end up happening is the banning of games the government believes to be too violent, i.e. GTA. While i'm all for stores checking ID's of customers they believe are underage, I don't think it's Big Brothers job to make them do so.
  4. The Admiral

    The Admiral solid state survivor

    Video games are considered protected speech. Technically, they can't ban them.
  5. Smoke Monster

    Smoke Monster Well-Known Member

    Well good i'm glad to hear that. Here's hoping they don't change the constitution to allow them to do so. Not saying that's possible, just a thought.
  6. TheWatersGreatGuardian

    TheWatersGreatGuardian Legendary Trainer

    While questions 1-3 should be done, and 2 and 3 are being done, it still doesn't solve the problem of irresponsible parents. I worked at gamestop for a while, and I lost count of the number of times a parent brought their elementary kid in and bought them Call of Duty or some other M rated game. The kids would often walk out excitedly talking about how they were going to get the most kills or something.

    It isn't the games themselves that are the real issue, its the parents who allow their underage children to play them
  7. BJPalmer85

    BJPalmer85 Well-Known Member

    This is a good point. I worked at Gamestop as well (actually I worked there when it was called Electronics Boutique...LOL). It was the same way there, parents coming in and purchasing games like GTA for kids. Our manager made it mandatory that we explain the game rating and the nature of the game. We were also told to refuse the game to anyone that looked under the age of 18 (we werent allowed to "ask" for ID's for some odd reason), so we had to make a judgement call. I got yelled at quite a few times. Ultimately it did nothing, but there were a few rare occasions when the parent was shocked at the nature of the game and refused to buy it for their kid.

    Correct! Also this is the basis behind the argument that the government cannot impose regulations like these on video games.

    You make some very good point and I completely agree with you.

    Just to play devil's advocate, what about people equating this to rated-R movies or alcohol or tobacco? There are age restrictions on those and proof of age is required to purchase those items. Why should they not be forced to show proof of age to purchase violent video games, which in some cases are worse that a lot of movies?

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  8. Steampunk

    Steampunk One Truth Prevails

    It doesnt sound like they are doing anything worthwhile so who cares?

    Well, this would depend on the topic that you dont want to go into, if it could be proven that it effects the minds of young children, then yes.

    again, if it was proven that children under a certiaan age would be at risk of being effected.

    do they care anymore?

    as you said the already have age restrictions on things that can effect younger people. I just see this as an extention of that.
    Side note: the gamestop where i live will sell a M game to someone if they are 17+ not 18+, i dont know if the guy is just being loose, or if the age is lower. *shrugs* just saying.
  9. Ludwig

    Ludwig Well-Known Member

    There is no proved relation between violent video games and (school) shootings. Well, except that both are violent. Because of that, (school) shootings are not a valid argument for imposing restrictions on violent video games.

    In Sweden, the ratings are recommendations, not restrictions. Anyone is allowed to play a game rated 18+, but it's not recommended to do so if you are not 18+. Meaning that the parents decide if their kid can handle the contents of the game, which seems reasonable as people develop at different rates (which is an argument against age restrictions). Maybe it's different in USA and in that case, a debate about restrictions versus recommendations might be recommended.
  10. darkjigglypuff

    darkjigglypuff Borderline Troll

    The First Amendment guarantees that the American government does NOT have the right to ban or censor ANYTHING because of its content.
  11. EonDragonFTW

    EonDragonFTW Well-Known Member

    If video games make me violent?
    Then why didn't monopoly make me a millionaire?
    You can't link that violent tragedy in Newtown to video games. In most cases, is the parents fault for not being responsible and letting their kid have games like Cod. As someone mentioned before, the employees should explain the nature of those m games to parents who are blindly buying the games there kids want. (Gamestop already forces you to have an adult present when buying an m-rated rated game if you're Under 18)
  12. BJPalmer85

    BJPalmer85 Well-Known Member

    Who imposes the age restriction on viewing R-rated movies? Or renting R-rated or NC-17 movies? What about pornography? You have to 18 sometimes 21 in every state to rent, buy or purchase access to a site. Is this government controlled?

    While I understand what you are saying and I am sure we could argue this point until the sun stops burning, I would like to avoid this topic.

    This thread is not about whether or not video games make people violent.

    However, you raise an interesting point. I am changing the OP to reflect this.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  13. WizardTrubbish

    WizardTrubbish Enough of that

    This is spot on. In my opinion, it's the parents, not the video game companies, who are at fault. Seriously, what kind of parent buy their elementary kids games intended for ages 18 and up?
  14. TheWatersGreatGuardian

    TheWatersGreatGuardian Legendary Trainer

    Well, when you look at how desensitized to violence in entertainment our society (seems like every other movie coming out now is some grotesque horror film) is these days, I don't think its that surprising that many parents don't see something wrong with it
  15. Steelrush

    Steelrush Banned

    The majority of parents in today's United States of America. I don't want to get that off-topic here, so I'll give you a quick summary of what happened.

    After the 1950's, American society went downhill. The adults raising the children of that time were too occupied with substance abuse, therefore triggering the cycle that slowly bred parents that became lazier with each passing decade.

    It was never the responsibility of the schools (and other education sources outside of home) to teach moral values, how to behave, politics, and ethical ideology. That relies on the adults at home, and the trend that created parents who overlooked this, worsened over the years.

    So basically, these days, they stopped caring. The parents of little kids these days don't give a damn about what their kids watch, learn, do, where they go, what games they play, what internet sites they visit, etc...

    Of course they're going to exhibit absurd behavior! Besides, schools are only required to teach basic knowledge and skills that are needed for occupations in the future, not to train the students how to be good people when they're older.

    And that's why the kids these days are so messed up, their parents don't care about them. THAT'S why they're able to get these games, no rules, no household standards, no enforcement of any sort. Overall, if a kid has an irresponsible mom and dad, it shouldn't be a shocker that he gets his hands on a game that can give adults nightmares.

    Basically, if you get a good look at today's parents, you find that almost all of them will buy their elementary kids games meant for ages 18 and up.
  16. ParaChomp

    ParaChomp be your own guru


    Knowing what I usually play (fantasy based games, RPGs, platformers, Nintendo exclusives), I doubt it will affect me that much. Either way though, I'm all for it. Going into the game store, the clerks know the age rating and get the young ones to get their parents who allow them to buy it, it doesn't feel right. The stores are doing their best but the best way to fix this is at the source. Still, I'm certain a lot of fans will be infuriated at the news if a bill that increases the age restrictions for violent video games.
  17. Rezzo

    Rezzo Donkey Kong is here

    A very large portion of the controversy that video game violence has gathered recently is down to finger-pointing and looking for an underlying meaning behind a violent situation that has occured. Being English, I am not familiar with gun violence statistics in the US and the relationship between that and shootings, but recently a story appeared here where a teenager hanged himself after an argument with his mother, and she was quick to point the finger at video game violence from Call of Duty being the influence. I find this almost impossible to understand, as the violence seen in Call of Duty comes in the form of shooting and stabbing, so it would make no sense for him to hang himself.
  18. Grimer

    Grimer Pokemon #088

    Lots of people are disagreeing because they play video games, but I defend it because it's true that video games make most people aggressive, when I see people playing War Games (especially like CoD, etc.) they become very aggressive and start cussing at everything and you say something to them and they start getting physical for no reason.
  19. Ludwig

    Ludwig Well-Known Member

    There are also a lot of people who play war games and do not get aggressive from them (I think you intended to use the word many, rather than most, because that would make the statement true). I have actually not met a single person irl that got aggressive from playing such games. Maybe that's a cultural difference, as I don't live in USA. If that is the case, however, the culture is at fault rather than the games.
  20. Rezzo

    Rezzo Donkey Kong is here

    If the culture is at fault (which it clearly isn't in this situation, but for argument's sake), then by standard, the culture is not what needs to be changed. It is not culture's fault that animals are farmed and killed for food. It is not culture's fault that gay people cannot marry. It is not culture's fault x&y = z. But I digress.

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