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LA Times responds to California Game Law

LA Times responds to California Game Law

The LA Times has sided with gamers over the proposed California game law, supported by The Governator.

Arnold 'The Governator' Schwarzenegger has earned himself quite a lot of scorn from gamers lately after supporting a California law to treat games as adult material. However, opposition has mainly been stemming from within the games industry and the law has proven popular with some parents and anti-game groups.

The LA Times has recently leant its weight to the argument, surprisingly siding with gamers and opposing The Governator for his refusal to let the issue drop after the law was thrown out by American courts.

The law, which would impose $1000 fines on retailers selling fuzzily-defined 'violent' games to minors, was thrown out of court as it would violate the first amendment. Arnie has responded by pledging to appeal the dismissal.

In a recent editorial piece, the LA Times has given its opinion;

"Of course parents should screen the games their kids play. Parents should also limit the amount of time their kids watch TV, and shield them from all sorts of content they may be too young to process critically. But those are parental duties, not governmental ones. And the more lawmakers try to take over for parents on these issues, the more they run afoul of the Constitution."

The article also touches on Arnie's previous line of business - as a time-travelling robot bent on destroying the future of mankind in both violent movies and games. No newspaper article is complete without time-travelling robots, you know.

Who do you think should monitor game sales and ratings and what punishments and guidelines should be in place to guide parents and retailers? Post your thoughts in the forums and let the world know.

17 Comments

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DougEdey 14th August 2007, 11:38 Quote
So movies can be rated, and games can't?
CardJoe 14th August 2007, 12:08 Quote
Not all violent movies can be labelled AO so, no, games can't be rated that way.
DougEdey 14th August 2007, 12:14 Quote
We were just discussing it on IRC, and apparantly US movie ratings aren't ratings, they're just guidelines. Is this true?

and also:
Quote:
[11:56] <+ DougEdey> | the thing is, parents blame video games and the media and say something should be done, but when someone tries to do something they scream censorship
completemadness 14th August 2007, 13:13 Quote
Quote:
But those are parental duties, not governmental ones. And the more lawmakers try to take over for parents on these issues, the more they run afoul of the Constitution.
So hes now doing a 360 ? he first supports a bill to remove your rights, and now hes saying he doesn't support it ?
DXR_13KE 14th August 2007, 13:59 Quote
parents SHOULD be responsible for their kids.... not the gov.
mmorgue 14th August 2007, 14:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
parents SHOULD be responsible for their kids.... not the gov.

Exactly. If a couple choose to have children, it's *their* responsiblity to ensure said children grow up right and learn <whatever> morals and values - not the govt.

I don't have a problem with a rating system, but I do with parents that scream for things to be banned and blaming destructive attitudes of some young people on video games, while continually omitting the impact of movies, culture and plain television.
skpstr 14th August 2007, 14:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
parents SHOULD be responsible for their kids.... not the gov.

As a parent I agree. It's far to easy for parents to turn a blind eye because they "don't understand these computery things", but this is no excuse they should be making a effort to understand. I always make sure that I know what my son,who is 7, is playing (either on his DS, my Xbox or PC) and I make sure that he understands that there are limitations on how long he can play. Not just in terms of time, but also if I can see he is starting to get frustrated and aggravated by a game I tell him to turn it off and do something else instead.

The rating system is just one tool that the parent can use in helping them to decide what is appropriate for their children, for example, if you want to find out a bit more about a game (or film or book), apart from what is on the box, google it and you'll have any number of reviews to read through.
Bluephoenix 14th August 2007, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
We were just discussing it on IRC, and apparantly US movie ratings aren't ratings, they're just guidelines. Is this true?

and also:

it is indeed true, though most movie theaters won't let anyone under 18 into an R rated movie, and if you look underage they WILL request ID.

I think that most people overrate the immersion levels of current games. to me, F.E.A.R. (first one that came to mind) while somewhat immersive, was only as bad in that respect as a good movie, not even close to blurring the lines between game and reality. I think most of the uproar is caused by parents who fear games because they're something new that they have no personal experience with, and that they don't understand. most of the parents I know who actually play PC/Console games are much more reasonable about them, and will often play a game themselves to judge it's content (and if they find it unsuitable but like it themselves they lock it in a separate cabinet)
Regenesis 14th August 2007, 19:43 Quote
I say it's acceptable to a point. We all know that many parents don't do squat in taking recognition to what their children are involved with. Skpstr is right that "It's far to easy for parents to turn a blind eye". Thus some type of control has to be implemented. If a kid is forced to ask a parent to buy a "serious" game for them then it forces the parent to actually take action and consideration into what their kid buys. Too many times do I see a kid just chuck a game into a shopping cart and the parent usually just casually letting the sales clerk just swipe it through the price scanner with no regard to what the game is at all. With such a fine in place people will "have to care" about what's being sold and bought and consideration and analytical thought can then actually take place. However it still has be reasonable as in it's not too constrictive on availability. Games to me are an art form and I believe that art should be open to all ages for enjoyment. It's just that there has to be some median that governs the in between of purchase control. There's a hole there and it has to be filled.
E.E.L. Ambiense 14th August 2007, 20:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmorgue
Exactly. If a couple choose to have children, it's *their* responsiblity to ensure said children grow up right and learn <whatever> morals and values - not the govt.

I don't have a problem with a rating system, but I do with parents that scream for things to be banned and blaming destructive attitudes of some young people on video games, while continually omitting the impact of movies, culture and plain television.

Ditto. It's easy...really easy...to be a mother & father. Now, they should try being a mom & dad. Leave the rest of us that enjoy those things they want to omit from life alone. And if you don't enjoy it personally, respect the rights of someone who does.
yodasarmpit 14th August 2007, 20:21 Quote
Although parents should be responsible for looking after their kids, not all parents (some being mere children themselves) are capable or willing to act responsibly.
I firmly believe in a ratings system that is enforcible by law, with those selling adult rated games to children should be fined.
themax 14th August 2007, 22:01 Quote
I don't see an enforced ratings system changing much. I know it doesn't speak for all stores but most big store chains already don't sell games to children based on ratings. If you walk into a Best Buy and pick up Gears of War, GTA: San Andreas or something of the like the cashier computer prompts for an ID the minute the game rings up. With such stores being proactive all this hooha over enforced ratings is just people trying to "look" the part in politics. There is no enforced raitings for movies and yet with a much higher volume of truly adult content, violence, and other suggestive themes you don't see legislation to change it either. So what exactly sets video games apart when the same stores that card you for a rated R movie cards you for a Mature rated game?
Mister_X 15th August 2007, 09:50 Quote
It seems some parents of aggressive/problem kids are quick to blame everyone but themselves and the chance to sue a games developer/ favoured rock band / direction of wind is there way of shifting blame away from there own negelct and onto someone else. Obviously the chance to make a buck doesn't hurt.

Most ( if not all) consoles have a content protection system for the parents to use. Theres no excuse for letting little johnny play Manhunt and feigning ignorance.
wolff000 15th August 2007, 15:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regenesis
I say it's acceptable to a point. We all know that many parents don't do squat in taking recognition to what their children are involved with. Skpstr is right that "It's far to easy for parents to turn a blind eye". Thus some type of control has to be implemented. If a kid is forced to ask a parent to buy a "serious" game for them then it forces the parent to actually take action and consideration into what their kid buys. Too many times do I see a kid just chuck a game into a shopping cart and the parent usually just casually letting the sales clerk just swipe it through the price scanner with no regard to what the game is at all. With such a fine in place people will "have to care" about what's being sold and bought and consideration and analytical thought can then actually take place. However it still has be reasonable as in it's not too constrictive on availability. Games to me are an art form and I believe that art should be open to all ages for enjoyment. It's just that there has to be some median that governs the in between of purchase control. There's a hole there and it has to be filled.

This post is why things like this happen! The only hole that needs to be filled is parents actually being involved in the kids life. Also the scenario you described has nothing to do with the law. In that scenario the parent was there and made the purchase there for it wasn't sold to a minor but an adult. The government does not need to block purchases of violent video games because ,this may be a shock, they don't turn kids in to violent criminals. I know someone who is not a great parent. The kids are taken care of but have little supervision. They are allowed to play whatever game they want for as long as they want. Neither of these kids are violent, they haven't tried to rob, shoot or kill anyone. They may not be doing great in school but they haven't turned into psychotic criminals. Of all people Arnold should really not be saying anything about violence considering he made millions off of violent movies and games. Not to mention his checkered past of possibly beating women.
supermonkey 15th August 2007, 16:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
We were just discussing it on IRC, and apparantly US movie ratings aren't ratings, they're just guidelines. Is this true?
That's pretty much true. The American movie rating system is not law, it is a set of arbitrary guidelines that the MPAA uses to tag films so that parents can hand over their responsibility to movie studios.

A producer does not have to submit his or her film to the MPAA for rating. However, any film not submitted to the MPAA is tagged as "NR" (Not Rated). No theater is going to show an unrated film, because the largest filmgoing demographic (and therefore the one bringing in the most money) can't watch it. Instead, a producer will cut enough content to get a PG-13 rating, thus ensuring that the kids on Summer break can spend money at the theater. Basically, the MPAA decides what the general public can or can't see in the theater.

The rating guidelines are nonsensical. You can kill as many people as you want. You can show blood and gore aplenty. Show a boob and your done. Sexual content has its own nonsensical levels as well. You can show a man's face when he climaxes and still maintain an R rating. A woman's face during climax will earn the dreaded NC-17.

This is the reason so many DVD releases now are "The special unrated version you couldn't see in theaters!!OMG"

If you want to see how completely ridiculous the current film rating system is, check out the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated." It's brilliant, and it highlights exactly why the ratings system is pretty much useless when determining what a child should or should not see. In the end, nothing beats good old parental responsibility

-monkey
DougEdey 15th August 2007, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey

The rating guidelines are nonsensical. You can kill as many people as you want. You can show blood and gore aplenty. Show a boob and your done. Sexual content has its own nonsensical levels as well. You can show a man's face when he climaxes and still maintain an R rating. A woman's face during climax will earn the dreaded NC-17.

I remember the whole Boob-gate with Janet Jackson. You could have probably killed someone on stage and people would have loved it. But show natural stuff, and it's wrong.
E.E.L. Ambiense 15th August 2007, 17:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
I remember the whole Boob-gate with Janet Jackson. You could have probably killed someone on stage and people would have loved it. But show natural stuff, and it's wrong.

Or possibly fake stuff, in regards to Jackson. :)
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