Massachusetts Considers Videogame Restrictions

Massachusetts Considers Videogame Restrictions

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The state of Massachusetts is holding hearings this week into a bill that would restrict the sale of violent videogames to children.

GamePolitics describes House Bill 1423 as closely resembling a videogame law in Louisiana, drafted with the assistance of Jack Thompson, which was struck down as unconstitutional in late 2006. The bill seeks to have violent videogames legislated as "harmful to minors," which would then prevent their sale in the same fashion as pornography.

The bill would update the "harmful to minors" definition as, "Matter is harmful to minors if it is obscene or, if taken as a whole, it (1) describes or represents nudity, sexual conduct or sexual excitement, so as to appeal predominantly to the prurient interest of minors; (2) depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community, so as to appeal predominantly to the morbid interest in violence of minors; (3) is patently contrary to prevailing standards of adults in the county where the offense was committed as to suitable material for such minors; and (4) lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors."

An aide to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, a strong backer of the bill despite the fact that similar legislation has been struck down in every state in which it's been enacted, told the Boston Herald, "Children aged 17 and under should not be sold this stuff, so they are not getting into the hands of 9- and 10-year-olds. Is it going to be an uphill battle? Sure. But it's absolutely a battle that the mayor feels he should take on."

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This issue is just as easy to abuse as gay marriage bans. They just do it to look productive to the public.

Parents eat it up like it's somehow going to bring in a new era of peace & prosperity, politicians don't have to suffer any major setbacks because their primary voters aren't gamers. It's easier than talking about the economy or proposing gun control.

Counts 2, 3, and 4 of their definition of "harmful to minors" would have made it illegal to sing "George Brown's Body" in the presence of children for much of American history.

I can't see this legislation holding up under appeal either.

-- Steve

This is all redundant anyway, considering anyone related to, or anyone that knows these minors that is over the age of 18 can buy the game and it can still end up in the hands of said minors.

Pointless stupidity, just leave the ratings in and then when parents complain about their kid being subjected to such a violent and rated video-game, they can be told that the game is advertised as having such content, hence the rating.

As such a ban is sure to generate litigation, the big question is: How eager is our Attorney General to repeat his bid for the Governorship?

It's all about the headlines.

L.B. Jeffries:
This issue is just as easy to abuse as gay marriage bans. They just do it to look productive to the public.

Parents eat it up like it's somehow going to bring in a new era of peace & prosperity, politicians don't have to suffer any major setbacks because their primary voters aren't gamers. It's easier than talking about the economy or proposing gun control.

You're right, video games are still one of the weakest (right ahead of the dreaded D&D) whipping boys of the media and the super corruption they cause to every generation of children since the printing press. Parents have no hope of protecting them against with out big brother's aid. It would be impossible for them to use some sort of series of tubes to research any game there child might want to gain a better understanding. It would take a herculean effort worthy of bardic ballads for them to say no to their kids if they thought the game was inappropriate for them. So of course they call in the government to be the bad guys and say no for them so they don't have to do real parenting and take care of the those other families that don't care. Politicians love to say, 'I get rid of those evil video games and bring back the good ol' days you remember.' Of course those fifties black and white days existed only in Leave it to Beaver. It looks like they are trying on these fluff projects allowing the lobbyists to write the more critical legislation that passes under the nose of the average citizen taking their money and ruining their environment for the quick buck. The fortunate thing is we still live in a country that still mostly honors its primary tenets. It does seem we are on the brink of pick and choosing which constitutional rights we do and don't have. This is a pointless waste of taxpayer money that could better spent treating some of the real problems and not chasing false, yet popular, symptoms of what is wrong with society.

I'll give up gaming when violence and hate toward their fellow man of gamers reaches the same level as that of religious followers. I not saying religion is completely bad, but the self-righteousness it lends to allow some one to perform the most monstrous acts in the name of good in appalling and hypocritical.

they do know that children don't buy these games; adults do then give them to the kids

Or they are pirated off the intartubes, as the industry so often reminds us.

It's really the parents decision if the child has the game or not, not the states. Also this just makes the sales clerks life more horrible than it already is.

If i ever sold a M rated game to a minor i would lose my job. The kids arent buying the Games. The parents who cant read or listen are the ones buying them. I dont know how many times ive warned parents not to buy any of the GTA games for their 5 year olds, But they never listen.

 

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