Game Update

|

Though my article on video games and moral panics appeared on Reason's website today, it was first published in our print edition a couple of months ago. There have been two developments since then that should be noted. On the down side, Washington Gov. Gary "Not John" Locke did indeed sign Mary Lou Dickerson's anti-game bill into law. On the up side, Judge Stephen Limbaugh's ruling that video games are not protected speech has been reversed.

Unfortunately, the second event doesn't mean Washington's law is doomed. Dickerson's legislation targets minors, not general audiences, and thus gets much more leeway under current First Amendment law.

Update: I spoke too soon. Reader Venkat Balasubramani informs me that Judge Robert Lasnik issued a preliminary injunction last month enjoining enforcement of the law, citing a series of free-speech concerns.

Advertisement

NEXT: Increase Your Candidacy 2 to 4 Inches In LENGTH and MASS

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Doesn’t the video game industry try to self-regulate with their own rating system?

    I don’t understand the hub bub. What young, red-blooded American child HASN’T dreamed of blowing his entire class away?

    And who are we to stand in the way of our children’s dreams?

  2. Seeing Steve Limbaugh’s name reminds me of a time about 30 years ago in Cape Girardeau, MO. An annual event was to watch porn movies outdoors on the 18th hole of the local Jaycee golf course. There were about 40 of us drinking beer and having a good time when a neighbor called the cops. Steve, the local Prosecutor at the time, had a chat with them, gave them a few beers and we then moved it indoors and carried on. No problem.

    The good old days.

  3. You left-wing commie pornographer!

  4. Refresh my memory… Steve is Rush’s brother, correct?

  5. “video games containing graphic violence against law enforcement officers”

    I’m pretty sure this law was written with grand Theft Auto versions 1, 2, and 3 and vice city in mind, but dos GTA really contain graphic violence against law enforcement officers? Sure, it contains cars and guns and fists, all of which can be used against any character in the game, including cops. But the video game itself contains no violence towards cops of any kind. The player would have to commit the violent acts, they are not built into the game. I wonder if this is a distinction that could be pursued (with positive outcome) by a future defendant. And what about the term “graphic”, the definition of which is “vividly effective and detailed”? If no blood is shown or the scenes are not realistic, it could be argued the violence is not “graphic”, eh? Also, according to the linked article, the law will “prohibit retailers from selling or renting any video game to children under 17 that THEY KNOW graphically depicts…” Is there any reason to think a retailer knows what any of his or her games depict, and whether they do so “graphically”? From the article at least, it seems ignorance (of the violence, not the law) IS a valid excuse.

    FYI, Gary Locke is a Democrat.

    http://issues2002.org/Gary_Locke.htm

  6. Steve is Rush’s cousin. The Limbaugh’s are a family of very well connected attorneys.

  7. Dickerson’s a Democrat, too.

  8. The funny thing is that GTA: Vice City is an outright homage to “Scarface” by the developers’ own admission–not to mention it carries that MA17 warning right there on the box. But that’s not the issue. Games didn’t just suddenly become mature because GTA:VC came out (and on a sidenote, it’s not that great of a game; the car physics are good, but other than that the control is pretty crappy and the missions are repetitive and sometimes pretty cheap). The RPG genre especially has been “mature” for more than a decade whether some stuffy college professor realized it or not. I still remember teen parents Duane and Katarin, Celes’ suicide attempt and the world’s spookiest blood-thirsty clown in FFVI back in 1994. Lunar: The Silver Star was tackling the whole Hobbes vs. Locke conflict at the same time (basically, Lunar’s goddess decides that humanity won’t advance unless she becomes human and lets humanity guide its own future without a deity to guide them; the villain tries to forcibly reinstate the goddess-turned-15-year-old girl, only to have a group of free-thinkers shoot him down). We have Xenogears in 1998, which definitely challenged a few Western religious concepts (and more recently its psuedo-prequel, Xenosaga). That’s just the tip of the iceberg, really.

  9. It’s funny that these legislators have such an unhealthy obsession with young people.

    They seem to have a downright addiction to passing policy. They have so much legislative energy (if you will) but they know that they may be voted out of office if they expend too much of it towards adults who can vote.
    Their way of getting the high they so desperately crave is to aim more and more policy at teenager who can’t vote.

    Perhaps we should begin treating these policymakers as the addicts that they are. They obsess over teenagers and seek newer and greater laws with the same fury that some persons undergoing heroin withdrawl seek dealers,

    As video games have gotten cheaper, more accessible, more violent, and more intense, the youth crime rate has been dropping to all new lows. Using the “correlation equals casusation” that so many people apply to teenagers, I could suggest mandating violent video games for teens to further drop their already low crime rate.

    They quote a teenager, under arrest for a crime, as saying that he was influenced by video games. This is the same thing that adults do when arrested, they say they were drunk or on drugs as a way to try to mitigate their sentence.

    A teenager who goes out and kills someone, cop or otherwise, will be tried as an adult and will face the same level of accountability that I would (I’m 22). This is despite the fact that earlier in the day, he was a “child” too young to buy a violent video game.

  10. I fucking love GTA: Vice City. Best game ever. Any moron parent who buys it for a kid under the age of 15, or buys it without checking out the contents first, should be smacked with a flying Xbox. Shocking, how games depicting organized crime also contain violence. Even more shocking how parents use the Playstation as a babysitter.

  11. “It’s funny that these legislators have such an unhealthy obsession with young people. ”

    Yeah, well, being a politican pays better than being a priest.

  12. I have to say, GTA:VC is actually a really fun game.Personally, the violence is but an accident to me, i usuall just let him drive around and i just get amazed at the graphics. The violence is just a pep the creators of the game placed in the plot. I dont’ recommend sucah a game of this leve obe distrubuted to children. I mean i sortsaplay it around my 2 yr old bro and well now all i have to say is that he knows what a punch is. So basically, parents, read the label , and if you dont, then kids, be responsible with such a game, technically, our generation has been blessed with the ability to improve motor skills through vide gaming, take theses storylines as just a cartoon watching experience, the violence only something that you should be smart ebough to separate from the reality of our world.

  13. I have to say, GTA:VC is actually a really fun game.Personally, the violence is but an accident to me, i usuall just let him drive around and i just get amazed at the graphics. The violence is just a pep the creators of the game placed in the plot. I dont’ recommend sucah a game of this leve obe distrubuted to children. I mean i sortsaplay it around my 2 yr old bro and well now all i have to say is that he knows what a punch is. So basically, parents, read the label , and if you dont, then kids, be responsible with such a game, technically, our generation has been blessed with the ability to improve motor skills through vide gaming, take theses storylines as just a cartoon watching experience, the violence only something that you should be smart ebough to separate from the reality of our world.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.