Video Games

Brownback to Run on the Tetris Ticket?

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Tetris

It's nice to know that when senators start to get wrapped in possible runs for the presidency, they still manage to stop and smell the roses–to savor the little things that make being a national legislator worthwhile:

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) on Tuesday reintroduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, first proposed last September. It calls for requiring video game rating organizations to play all games "in their entirety" before issuing labels and prohibiting game developers from withholding any "hidden" game content from raters. It would also punish ratings groups that "grossly mischaracterize" any game's content.

The real fear: Will overzealous game rating agencies delay the game approval process? "No, wait, I gotta play one more time, I think there might be some porn in level 47."

For more on the Grand Theft Auto porn scandal that sparked "bipartisan outcry from Capitol Hill and a federal investigation" check out Reason's coverage here.

NEXT: Adventures in Jew-Baiting

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  1. Who cares about Brownback…I just heard Franken’s running for the senate.

  2. I hope all of Brownback’s kids “accidentally” fill his harddrive, magazine rack, and Senate desk with gay porn. Gay midget porn. Animated gay midget porn.

  3. If this were ever to pass, say goodbye to expansive, free gaming worlds like the Grand Theft Auto series and Elder Scrolls IV. There’s way too many optional missions and random content everywhere for a rating board to be sure they’ve played the entire game. Even if they did, it would take a ridiculously long time to document it.

  4. I’m playing Final Fantasy XII now and I’m about 100 hours in. It’ll probably take another 100 to the “finish.”

    If the designer’s wanted to entice me with pixillated boobies, my guess is that I would have already seen them by now.

  5. Micromanaging the activities of ratings boards is silly, but Brownback aside, there’s a legitimate government interest in preventing game-makers from duping rating agencies on whom retailers depend. Not that it would necessarily be prudent for government to spend too much attention to this issue, but it’s not a cut-and-dried case of govt. oppression.

  6. How would they ever rate things like Everquest or World of Warcraft where the content is dependant upon the players?

  7. What is the a legitimate government interest?

  8. No there isn’t, the private market has already shown it can respond to “dupes”.

    Even if the case recalled wasn’t actually a dupe.

  9. Some of this is unbelievably silly.

    Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion got re-rated as M because someone made a mod that you could download that made some of the NPCs naked. That someone was not the designer / publisher; just some random folks.

  10. Can we have a blog ratings agency? Because sometimes I feel like there’s not enough snark* here, and I want Somebody In Charge to make sure that we get our minimum daily dose of snark.

    *Side effects may include laughter or high blood pressure. Do not take snark supplements if you lack a sense of humor. People who enjoy Fox News should consult a psychiatrist. Not valid in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or Guam.

  11. FUCK YOU, I’M GOING TO GUAM!

  12. Damn, Hilary Clinton has set the agenda.

    Are elections really won and lost based on who is tougher on video games?

    I understand guns, abortion, taxes, national security etc……but video games?

    Further eveidence we really effed up with the 19th amendment to the Constitution.

  13. How would they ever rate things like Everquest or World of Warcraft where the content is dependant upon the players?

    They already have that. It’s called “Game experience may change with online play.” That’s lawyerese for “Don’t sue us because your 12-year-old saw night elves cybering”

  14. Who cares? I want to know when they will outlaw introducing extra money into a Monopoly game by one’s kid brother.

  15. If the designer’s wanted to entice me with pixillated boobies, my guess is that I would have already seen them by now.

    If I remember, in Metroid it wasn’t untill the very end that Samus strips down to a thong tha thong thong thong. 🙂

  16. Sure, why not?

  17. This is why people who don’t understand a technology should be forbidden from making laws about it until they can pass a basic skills test to the satisfaction of the technology’s stakeholders.

    Because anyone with half a fucking clue knows that user-made mods can make any damn game pornographic. I could take a Sesame Street game and, given Photoshop and an afternoon, retexture Big Bird with photographs of Peter North. And I could release my changes as a downloadable patch to the internet.

    So if the intent is to catch user mods, better just rate *everything* AO and be done with it.

  18. RE the image.

    Rotate once clockwise and move right two.

  19. I hope all of Brownback’s kids “accidentally” fill his harddrive, magazine rack, and Senate desk with gay porn. Gay midget porn. Animated gay midget porn.

    With simulated minors?

  20. Forget video games! When is the government going to get around to rating BOOKS! I mean, I just finished read a sci-fi novel that featured a chapter that featured an unmarried couple IN BED, and even mentioning “BREASTS!” Because there was no comprehensive rating system to tell me, I thought this was going to be some cool sci-fi story with spaceships and ray guns. Instead, I’m forced to read SMUT! I mean a child could have come across this book and read that chapter!

    WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

    When is the government going make the publishing industry inform their readers about the contents of their books? I mean, what do they expect us to do? Shed our reactionary and superstitious, yet cherished, notions of sexuality? I think not!

  21. Lunchstealer: No, I want it to be perfectly legal.

  22. So what’s funnier – the hysterics of people who think video games are going to ruin the country, or the hysterics of people who think video game ratings requirements are going to ruin the country?

  23. Isildur- Do it. Seriously. That would be a perfect demonstration of the stupidity of these laws.

  24. Isildur: Dude, totally!

  25. Why is it every time I hear the name “Brownback” I think of Brownshirt? Maybe it’s because he spends most of his political career acting like one! Maybe he needs to remember which country he lives in and which side won World War II.

  26. obvious,

    Godwins law in the house.

  27. Godwin’s law is refuge for thugs and criminals. You are emboldening the thugs and tyrants when you hide behind Godwin’s Law instead of calling the thugs and tyrants for what they are and precisely how they act.

  28. So what’s funnier – the hysterics of people who think video games are going to ruin the country, or the hysterics of people who think video game ratings requirements are going to ruin the country?

    I’m not aware of anyone who’s arguing that video game ratings requirements are ruining the country. People argue that video game rating requirements are evidence of a larger trend that’s ruining the country. They argue that video game rating requirements are unnecessary and foolish. They argue that video game rating requirements will ruin video games. But not that rating requirements will ruin the country.

  29. obvious,

    Is it safe to say that if a poster invokes Godwin’s law, the terrorists have won?

  30. Sounds almost like the Read The Bills Act.

  31. “They argue that video game rating requirements will ruin video games.”

    Why you ungrateful whippersnapper! When I was your age we didn’t have no PS3 or Wii or xBox 3… what-whos-it. We had plenty of fun playing Pitfall and Combat on our Atari 2600!

    If Strawberry Shortcake: Musical Match-ups was good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!

  32. Seems like it would be a whole lot simpler to have the game’s designers fill out a checklist.

    1. Does anyone get killed?
    2. Does anyone get lucky?
    etc.

    Issue the rating from that, and if gameplay of the original product reveals that the designers lied, prosecute them.

  33. Larry:

    Seems like it would be simpler for Congress to STFU and let us play or damned video games. Hell, I’ve been playing violent games since I was a tiny child and aside from the overwhelming urge to kill I’m totally fine.

  34. lol I am a homosexual and think that homosexual is an insult.

    I enjoy man penis lol.

  35. Grand Theft Auto porn scandal

    They are just going after the producers, not the uncredited voices, right?

  36. Someone really needs to invite Brownback in for some “coffee.”

  37. Larry A:

    You have a good point, but there is a huge difference between American heroes smiting the enemy and non-American non-heroes killing anything.

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