British Politician Calls for Parliamentary Debate on Videogames

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British Politician Calls for Parliamentary Debate on Videogames

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Serial game-worrier Keith Vaz MP would like the British Parliament to hold a pre-Christmas debate about children and videogames.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for East Leicester, has long been trying to wake a sleepy Britain to the many "dangers" of videogames. His last target was Modern Warfare 3, which he attempted to link with the terrorist attacks in London on July 7 2005. However, not content with restricting his winter crusade to just one title, Vaz has now called for Parliament to hold a proper debate on games because parents might be considering buying them as Christmas presents for children.

Addressing the House of Commons, Vaz said, "At a time when parents are thinking of purchasing video games for Christmas, does the Right Hon. Gentleman not think that it is important to hold a debate on this matter?"

To ensure clarity, he added, "This is not about censorship - it is about protecting our children."

Vaz supported his motion with research from the University of Indiana which suggested that violent videogames increase activity in certain parts of the player's brain, parts which some claim are connected to violent behavior. The report was an opportunity for much in the way of anti-games hyperbole but had little real impact.

Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons, responded to Vaz's appeal by saying, "I am grateful to the Right Hon. Gentleman, and I know that this is an issue that he has pursued with vigor for some time. I cannot promise a debate next week...but in the meantime I will draw his concern to the attention of the Home Secretary." (My British Parliament-speak isn't as good as it used to be, but as far as I can tell, that's a really, really polite "probably not").

As is well known, the UK has a fairly well-built age restriction policy in place for the purchase of games. If Vaz wants this debate to better educate parents on which games are suitable for their children (bearing in mind the age restriction advice which appears on all games and the law used to enforce those restrictions) then good luck to him. But if he's only out to try and further prove that there's some kind of link between games and aggressive behavior, then prepare yourselves, British readers, for yet more eye-rolling, link-finding and hilarious Daily Mail headlines.

Source: Eurogamer

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Only if John Stewart is allowed to show humorous clips of the debate on the Daily Show.

Based on his theory I'm currently going to into the city and beating the hell out of the local crime syndicate because I was bought Streets of Rage as a child.

Hey I been playing batman alot. Before you know it I'll be a Vigilante.

I don't understand what all the hate is for video games.
Religions are violent.
Books are violent.
Music is violent.
Art is violent.
Film/Television is violent.

Why is it that everyone wants to pony up on games? Makes no sense. I will be glad in 10 -15 years half these people will be dead and we won't have to deal with their bullshit anymore. Than maybe we can move on to hating something else, probably hologram sex sims or something newage like that.

Keith Vaz is a moron and to put as politely as possible he wants to fuck off.

IceStar100:
Hey I been playing batman alot. Before you know it I'll be a Vigilante.

Or you'll go around wearing a catsuit with a plunging neckline and robbing people with a whip.

arkwright:
Keith Vaz is a moron and to put as politely as possible he wants to fuck off.

I read that in Arkwright's voice.

Stutters and all.

Well done.

OT: The man's a prat.

If I were a British citizen living in his riding I'd be writing to him asking him to stop trying to waste tax payer money on a silly debate and deal with some issues that are actually important, and proven problems, instead.

Scars Unseen:

IceStar100:
Hey I been playing batman alot. Before you know it I'll be a Vigilante.

Or you'll go around wearing a catsuit with a plunging neckline and robbing people with a whip.

Uh...yeah. That's what I have the whip for...

There's a number on the fucking box showing an age limit, and studies have proven that retailers are, for the most part, very good at enforcing age ratings.

END OF THE FUCKING PROBLEM.

Hevva:
To ensure clarity, he added, "This is not about censorship - it is about protecting our children."

That's a real politician's comment, clarity through vague self contradictory statements. It's protecting children BY sensoring, you idiot.

Besides, no one is being protected. Look at what happens when you restrict drink and drugs... which demographic are the first to abuse those substances? The young, because they are told they can't have them. Do the maths.

Hows about instead of bickering over games they debate the fact that they are opposing the current Economic plan for the Euro zone? Is this seriously something that must be discussed right now?

Hows about Parliament gets together and discusses the current economic affairs of the Euro zone, then give some BS accusation of how in some way video games are linked to fucking terrorist attacks.

What the fuck is going through his head right now to call to such a minor issue when there is much more disastrous matters to attend to. I'm not to keen on British politics, granted, but I am sure they have bigger things to debate other than "Video games might hurt our kids!!!!".

Woodsey:
There's a number on the fucking box showing an age limit, and studies have proven that retailers are, for the most part, very good at enforcing age ratings.

END OF THE FUCKING PROBLEM.

Pretty much. What is there to discuss? If he's truthful about this being about children there is already a system in place saying that children shouldn't be playing those games in the first place. Problem solved.

Oh good, it would seem that the British people have solved all of lives problems, such as crime, decease, lack of jobs and all that kind of stuff.

......... What?

No you say? Huh... then why does this guy want to go after video games?
Those are some odd priorities.

Hevva:
Keith Vaz MP

And I can stop reading here. Especially after the last Escapist article on Vaz. The guy didn't even have the common decency to send me a template-reply to my e-mail after the MW3 thing.

robert01:
I don't understand what all the hate is for video games.
Religions are violent.
Books are violent.
Music is violent.
Art is violent.
Film/Television is violent.

Why is it that everyone wants to pony up on games? Makes no sense. I will be glad in 10 -15 years half these people will be dead and we won't have to deal with their bullshit anymore. Than maybe we can move on to hating something else, probably hologram sex sims or something newage like that.

True dat and hell a majority of people are waiting for those said hologram sex sims. That most likely our kids / grandkids are gonna put us unto debt because they hack our credit accounts so they can get upgrades to their holo-system.

SonicWaffle:

Scars Unseen:

IceStar100:
Hey I been playing batman alot. Before you know it I'll be a Vigilante.

Or you'll go around wearing a catsuit with a plunging neckline and robbing people with a whip.

Uh...yeah. That's what I have the whip for...

Your just jealous I have a great ass. Sadly all I can think of is this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catman_(comics)

SirBryghtside:
Wait...

Us English people actually say Right Hon. Gentleman?!

Oh, and something about videogames too. But really?

It's actually a politician thing. You have to call MPs that if you are in the house of commons.

Fun Politics Fact; You cannot call someone an "idiot" in the House of Commons, but you can call them a hamster =D

As a serious point, Keith Vaz needs to be sat down with some industry pundits and veterans and spoken to about games. I'd love to see a televised debate about video games some day with Mps and other prominent figures.

British politics and its views can go and fuck itself after last nights/todays events. I dont listen to anthing this sad excuse for a government says anymore than I listen to the weird guy dances in his own piss in the park.

Keith Vaz is the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. It'd be funny if it weren't for all the tax money being wasted on watching this stupid prat make an ass of himself.

wooty:
British politics and its views can go and fuck itself after last nights/todays events. I dont listen to anthing this sad excuse for a government says anymore than I listen to the weird guy dances in his own piss in the park.

I've not been following the news too much, what happened last night/today?

OT: Meh really, I think that the government will knock this down. We've got enough problems now as it is, I hardly think anyone is gonna care about some MP trying to fix something that isn't broken.

Woodsey:
There's a number on the fucking box showing an age limit, and studies have proven that retailers are, for the most part, very good at enforcing age ratings.

END OF THE FUCKING PROBLEM.

You do realise that if we stop banging on about it, he's gonna have nothing to make irrational leaps about, right?
Seriously though, what a moron.

robert01:
I don't understand what all the hate is for video games.
Religions are violent.
Books are violent.
Music is violent.
Art is violent.
Film/Television is violent.

Why is it that everyone wants to pony up on games? Makes no sense. I will be glad in 10 -15 years half these people will be dead and we won't have to deal with their bullshit anymore. Than maybe we can move on to hating something else, probably hologram sex sims or something newage like that.

Because games are an easy target, and a lot of people still don't understand them. And it's not really that those things are violent, people are violent. I think people need to realise that. None of these things are inherently violent. They are made and interpreted by humans. They are just catalysts that funnel our nature. People need to stop blaming scapegoats and realise that it's us that are the problem. And to be honest, games are more catharsis than catalyst anyway. There's plenty of other things that are far worse that people don't even dare criticise. I have one in particular in mind which is particularly bad. I won't say it but let's just say you already listed it there.

Oh I almost forgot what I was going to say in regard to the article! Thankfully I don't think that guy is much of a threat. I live in the UK and I've never actually heard about him before the last article the Escapist ran on him. Most people here don't pay attention to him.

robert01:
I don't understand what all the hate is for video games.
Religions are violent.
Books are violent.
Music is violent.
Art is violent.
Film/Television is violent.

Why is it that everyone wants to pony up on games? Makes no sense. I will be glad in 10 -15 years half these people will be dead and we won't have to deal with their bullshit anymore. Than maybe we can move on to hating something else, probably hologram sex sims or something newage like that.

Though I don't agree with "there" reasoning, it's said videogames are targeted because they are marketed towards kids and they are interactive. Surprising how choose your own adventure books never got the condemnation video games have.

Economy is in the shitter, quality of life is set to go down, we're being fucked over by a bunch of Eton College cash-monkeys who have never been disadvantaged in their entire lives who are in the pockets of the people who caused this crash, while the political "left" has been a crashing, flailing disappointment for so long that their supporters have mostly forgotten what it's like to not be sold down the river. Something like 10% of the British population owns 87% of the nation's wealth, people on the bottom rung have been violently lashing out while nobody thinks to ask "maybe it's US who are the problem, maybe we should be working on building a somewhat less fucked-up society!" because the current government is too busy failing to fix the economy and there has been an abundance of strikes and protests. We have it good but we could have it so much better, and there is still crushing unfairness in Britian, along with the western world as a whole. And we have no excuse for it.

A corrupt MP trying to repeatedly tell us that adults shouldn't have access to adult entertainment because of a link that mostly exists within his own head at our fucking expense is either the least of our worries or a means of adding insult to injury. Depends on how you look at it, really.

Either way, the fact that such a man can maintain a successful career in British Politics is a fairly clear indicator that we maintain low standards for our politicians. These men indirectly hold the health and livelihoods of everyone in the country in their hands, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that things aren't getting better for us just now.

wooty:
British politics and its views can go and fuck itself after last nights/todays events. I dont listen to anthing this sad excuse for a government says anymore than I listen to the weird guy dances in his own piss in the park.

Not even after Cameron finally got some balls and told the EU to f**k off?

This is just Keith Vaz, he's not even a member of the government.

However, there is probably a cross-party authoritarian consensus which will make a parliamentary debate on games quite troubling...

A Social Reject:
Based on his theory I'm currently going to into the city and beating the hell out of the local crime syndicate because I was bought Streets of Rage as a child.

I'll join you! (I always wanted to do that in real life)

Damnit all, this guys Labour, so I'm gonna have to be more creative in responding to this than usual, I can't just pull out the old, "Conservatives huh, what you gonna do?"

Okay, now I admire the way Britain handles violent videogames. Ratings are enforced by law, and PEGI seems to be pretty fair as far as I see (though PEGI is European, not just British of course). And to be honest, there isn't much else you can do about videogames that wouldn't end up infringing majorly on freedom of speech and potentially freedom of the press (since it's all media). The only argument in their favour is that videogames might be dangerous, but that's pretty bullshit.

You know what? I'm willing to concede that some videogames (obvious exceptions being stuff like Flower) make people more aggressive in the short term, but so do action movies, Eye of the Tiger and a bit of vigorous exercise.

I am not however willing to concede that videogames desensitise you to violence. When playing a videogame, I let go of morals and common sense because I'm suspending my disbelief and rolling with the game, when I stop playing the videogame, I return to reality and act like I would do in reality.

Once I had a dream, in which I could control water (make it bend to my will and stuff). When I woke up in the morning I immediately ran over to the tap and attempted to control the water because I didn't realise it was a dream (and I was really tired). After a few seconds I snapped out of it. If I can (eventually) distinguish between reality and a dream (albeit a very convincing dream) then I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference between reality and a game.

the problem with People like him is that instead of focusing on the billions of non-violent gamers he focuses on the tiny percentage of stupid criminals, who have at one point in their life played a video game, and then make a 100ft leap to the conclusion that they are not only linked, but direct consequences, I swear to God, stop trying to blame societies problems on something that you have no relation to, if unemployment wasn't partially the Governments problem, he'd blame that, and if he had a games console of his own, he wouldn't complain about them, or go on violent rampages for that matter.

A Social Reject:
Based on his theory I'm currently going to into the city and beating the hell out of the local crime syndicate because I was bought Streets of Rage as a child.

I used to play serious sam. How the hell am I going to do that in real life?

He's using the same arguments people in the US have been using for years. Well, britain, it's your turn. The US has won it's video game freedom with it's supreme court decision. Now let's win one in parliament, eh?

Octogunspunk:

wooty:
British politics and its views can go and fuck itself after last nights/todays events. I dont listen to anthing this sad excuse for a government says anymore than I listen to the weird guy dances in his own piss in the park.

Not even after Cameron finally got some balls and told the EU to f**k off?

...

Its not just that which has me raging but the fact that my mates returned from Afghanistan a week ago and hes one of the lucky ones that gets to know hes was essentially fired 2 months ago while on duty, same shit happened to me a year ago too.

All these game witchhunts just sound like an excuse to avoid discussing real issues and problems. Nothing better than a good media crusade to distract the xfactor masses.

This guy isn't very smart is he? There is no evidence that video games cause violence or aggressiveness. He tries to link crimes to video games with the fact that the perpetrator played a shooter game. And tries to use a study that was funded by an anti-games group as evidence too.

How popular/well known is this guy anyway? (im american and know nothing about british politics)

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