Anti-censorship group angered at MA's removal of games from rest stops

National Coalition Against Censorship takes issue with Massachusetts Department of Transportation's removal of "violent" games this month.

The National Coalition Against Censorship has fired back at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for removing a string of "violent" games from rest stops earlier this month. The games--including Time Crisis and Beach Head 2000--were removed following complaints by parents and just a month after the deadly shooting in Connecticut.

Executive director Joan Bertin's letter to the Massachusetts D.O.T. points out that games are protected free speech under the First Amendment and therefore cannot be regulated or restricted by state officials. She specifically mentioned the 2011 high-profile Supreme Court ruling as evidence.

"The Department's action in removing certain games because some people object to their message or content is equally constitutionally problematic. There is no legitimate state interest that could be asserted to justify removing specific games to appease the sensibilities of certain motorists."

Bertin added that by removing the games from rest stops, the Department is treading a slippery slope that could lead to other complaints. She said it is no stretch to imagine a person demanding certain DVDs, magazines, or books be banned.

"It is no more acceptable for the Department to remove certain kinds of video games than it would be to selectively remove other materials in rest stops and concessions because some motorists find something in them objectionable," she said.

Bertin concluded her statement saying it is unfair to single out video games, noting that no one is forcing anyone to play the games at rest stops.

"Video games, like other forms of media and entertainment, do not appeal to every individual. What some may feel is perfectly fine may not be right for all," she said. "Those who do not wish to play video games at rest-stops do not have to, just as those who do not. wish to read a particular book or magazine do not have to."

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76 comments
91210user
91210user

I never thought I'll see a photograph of a motorway/speedway on Gamespot. It does come across a bit extreme removing video games from stops, like they're the new items being label as a drug.

tim1935
tim1935

I don't see what the big deal is.  If people want to play those sort of games, they can get them somewhere else quite easily.  If the State doesn't want to be responsible for such content they shouldn't have bought them in the first place.

Vodoo
Vodoo

These are the same parents that don't let their kids watch ANY television at all.

metalgrinch
metalgrinch

Removed because of parental complaints? Bleh, bunch of dumbass stuck up old people with nothing else better to do. I can picture the type already. They don't have to let little Johnney or little Mary Sue play the stupid games, but i guess just the thought of having those precious little brats SEE the games may cause them to morph into serial killers with no regard for life in the future. Can we please stop treating our kids like they're mindless idiots?? And then we're surprised when they grow up to be mindless idiots who can't make any decisions of their own.

RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

Welcome to the nanny state. You voted for it. Enjoy it!

nikolajrhgamer
nikolajrhgamer

I totally agree with Joan Bertin. Nuff said... You go girl!! Wuhuu!!!! ... ahem... I mean: Keep up the good work Executive director of The National Coalition Against Censorship; Joan Bertin.

icebox98
icebox98

i agree with her.... honestly, i think the idea of singling out videogames is because some backward individuals (probably the old fashioned no brainers ) still think a Rated +18 game was designed for her 10 year old boy....

. i think the world needs to start taking the meaning of age rating seriously

Jedi4ce28
Jedi4ce28

I'm more shocked that there are even arcade machines still out there lol. Seriously though, censorship is pure bs. It should be up to the individual to select what they wish to, or wish not to see. I dunno why people feel they need to extend their own views onto everyone else.

tightwad34
tightwad34

I had no idea there was an anti censorship  group. I hate censoring, or any form of control for that matter, so I suppose I can give you some moral support. Stick it to the control freaks.

julgamespot1
julgamespot1

Ugh.. Parents and politicians using games as scapegoats to explain violence is annoying. The U.S. isn't the only western country where kids play violent games or watch violent movies. You can't attribute the higher occurrence of violent crime in this country relative to other developed countries to video games. Keep trying...

leeko_link
leeko_link

The idiotic parents in Massachusetts: We don't like violent videogames in rest stops so we demand them removed.

The Officials in MA: Okay, done!

Joan Bertin: Hey idiots, if you don't like it, don't play it. Period! We live in a free country, don't try to take that away from us or the ppl otherwise you're not helping.

The Officials in MA: Ummm you're right bring em back.

The idiotic parents in MA: Why? We hate violent videogames, we demand this country to be a videogame-free country.

The Officials in MA: Umm Ms. Bertin, how do we shut them up, they kept yapping about removing videogames.

Bertin: Tell them to either get use to it or moved to China. THE END.

kozakon
kozakon

finally someone is taking a stand for video games, the next president.

SiLenTWarrior29
SiLenTWarrior29

Finally someone fighting for the good guys and not those judgmental so called "do gooders" who think they are righteous. They got their rights and wrongs twisted.

Chainsofstrife
Chainsofstrife

If i said it once I said it a million times while there has been no concrete evidence that supports violent video games leading to violent behavior, this article does point out the real problem in the United States,and that is the one group who absolutly refuses to share any blame or change anything and that is the parents of these children. Parents in the U.S. (i am a U.S. citizen and live in MA)would rather Ban something for everyone so they don't have to tell thier children no,they would rather the government do thier jobs for them. The case in point if the arcade machine was violent and violent video games are bad for children then tell your children they can't play it. After you say that the statement that I have always heard was, I am too busy to monitor him, I should'nt have too, All his friends parents let him I don't want him to hate me. Amazingly every politician has crucified violent video games (even though they are clearly labeled for 17 and up with detailed descriptions of the content inside) not one politician asked why are kids playing these games for hours on end in the first place.

N4o7A
N4o7A

Im glad there's a person like her

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

So the same government that wants to take our guns and video games away, used our tax payer dollars to put them in rest stops? 

This is why I don't vote for liberals.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Good.  More people should speak up against this Commie bullshit! 

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

There's a National Coalition Against Censorship?  Now that's a group I can get behind!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

What is with these New England states?  Are they competing to see which of them can be the dumbest?

fivezerothree
fivezerothree

WTF ?

You dont like ''Violent'' Games ? 

Fine dont buy'em ! Go  Nintendo ;)

But dont try to stop me from playin those games , i'm not sick or weak or anything !

I played Duke Nukem 3d When i was 6 years old , and i respect women , i ddnt kill anyone.

Assemblent
Assemblent

And the NRA won it again, lol. This shit is pathetic. They are experts in provoking witch hunts, but now in the XXI. And the people falls unto it like blind-dumb cattle.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

This is the first article that has named any of the games removed from these gas stations.

And look at that, they don't even come close to anything like GTA or some of the things I saw in Iraq.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I wish I could disagree with this tbh. I really do, but I feel like this is necessary. I know there are bigger problems to worry about, but it's time gamers aim back and fight...although apparently our third party science isnt enough to dissuade people from making needless judgements so I have no idea how to fight back logically... Screw it, what would Jesus do you ask? Play time crisis on his highway pee break!

jayjay444
jayjay444

It's about time we fought back, u go girl u got bigger balls than most of the men u show them how its done:)

Dareitus
Dareitus

While it does suck that these games are gone, I commented on the original article about how much I enjoyed playing Big Buck Hunter on the I-90 Lee Rest Stop, but what Ms. Burton fails to realize is that the machines were owned, operated and maintained by the State. These weren't games that a private company installed, or that the gas station attendant or the McDonald's employees tended too, these were machines the State Government bought (or rented I don't know) and installed themselves. For that reason, they ARE NOT stomping on the First Amendment, rather they are exercising they're rights, as the operators of the establishment, to display (or not display) whatever games they personally wish to display. Violent Arcade Games are still found at Dave and Busters, The Charlie Horse, and other Boston arcades, they haven't been banned. The State simply chose to remove the games from their line up as they felt they didn't fit with the market they were trying to address. This is no different than Chuck E Cheese's not having Uber-Violent games as the Arcade is geared for children not adults, and the owners choose to operate their Arcade that way. State's Arcade - State's Rules.

Ducez_III
Ducez_III

Standing applause for reason.

Hurvl
Hurvl

For once, someone other than gamers in comment sections gets angry about these kinds of things and protests about it. I don't know what they might be able to do, but it sure helps more than us shaking our fists, because no one with the power to change this reads gamer sites' comment sections.

tgwolf
tgwolf

Where's this group on supporting games on the BIG battle field, the one that counts and not just making sissy-slaps at MA and one minor incident? We need some voices against this new anti-game campaign, and lobbyists are better than nothing...

xwestsdeaznx
xwestsdeaznx

Instead of blaming games, blame yourselves; the parents. Any good parent will know what his or her child plays or watches. It's called parenting, that's what you do when you have kids. To blame video games is quite ridiculous! And why are video games always the center of the "oh it's must be the video games that caused my kid to be a crazy maniac"? Where were video games during WWI and WWII? 

Simply put, people are looking for a scapegoat for this issue instead of focusing on the real problem; the lack (or horrible way) of parenting and the lack of appropriate mental health facilities/help in this country.

Hutcheh
Hutcheh

@metalgrinch I'm just picturing RE5 in the play area of a McDonalds. In that i agree with the article. Like in Beach head, a little too violent for a 5 year old. But in some cases I agree with you. Like please stop bickering about violent games and if you dont want your kids to see the game sit on the opposite end of the restaurant.

cjf187x
cjf187x

@icebox98 Agreed.  But in reality this all falls on the parents who can buy these games if they believe their child is "mature" enough.  No different than buying a ticket for an R-rated movie.

icebox98
icebox98

@julgamespot1 I bet the US just needs more Parent Training programs than this....... honestly, almost all blockbuster movie ads are more offensive than most game ads. but its just like humans,'defend the bad things u love and criticize the equally bad thing that someone is doing'   

suhinho
suhinho

@Chainsofstrife Totally agree that it is becoming a common practice of lazy or "work busy" parents placing responsibility of parenting elsewhere when ultimately it should have been their job in the first place. They should have used a god damn condom if they thought all they needed to do was feed them.

RageSet
RageSet

@ItchyIsVegeta  Err, no. The state placed a ban on "violent" video games in rest stops, but it was the ownership that placed these games in their establishments. What's funny is I'm technically defending liberals and I'm a Republican, but more so I am a defender of truth.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@Assemblent It's much easier for NRA since guns are central to US culture (The country was built on them). Games are a new medium and makes for an easy target since most parents & political figures aren't/never were gamers.

zerooo0
zerooo0

@---Cipher--- We can do what NY is doing with Civil Disobedience if the Government tries to do anything stupid.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@Dareitus But, the state IS taking the people's money to fund these rest stops. So the real question is not whether the state has the "right" to select which video games it buys with the people's money; it's whether the state should be spending their money on video games at all. And the answer is "no."

MusclesJAM
MusclesJAM

@Dareitus I agree.  In addition, the difference between this and other censorship is that they were out in public, where there is no one to monitor who's playing them.  A 7 year old could easily walk up to it with a few quarters and play while his parents eat.  They don't put rated R movies on national TV or anywhere in public, and Gamestop doesn't sell games to kids.  These were in an area that was not age-restricted (I assume).  That's the issue.

SilenceLasting
SilenceLasting

@Dareitus While I agree that they have all rights to remove the violent games if they wish, it is kindof sad that everyone is being forced to do these things due to something like a shooting. I bet no parents ever complained before this and now they have complaints after these shootings. It's kind of hypocritical, the way that Americans are now trying to show that they give a damn in the eyes of everyone else. Everyone keeps forgetting that games and media do not create bad people. Sure they desensitize kids and adults to violence, but they will not turn a good kid bad.

wgerardi
wgerardi

@Dareitus It's also a waste of time and, to me, a little patronizing to those dealing with Sandy Hook aftermath. "We got rid of the violent video games at rest stops! See! Look at us making a difference and keeping your children safe! Look how much we care!"

reincarnator07
reincarnator07

@xwestsdeaznx People are too afraid to point out flaws in others. Too scared to risk offending people. They can blame games all they want, these incidents won't go away. Not until people are prepared to make some large changes and able to notice their flaws.

Vodoo
Vodoo

@Hutcheh @metalgrinch We're talking Time Crisis here. I don't even think it has blood. It's a T rated game I believe. These are older arcade machines. at truck stops. Who stops at those??? Truckers mostly.

d_kell411
d_kell411

@RageSet @ItchyIsVegeta

Great statement Rage. The greatest leader we've ever had was an educated British officer. It is said he could not tell a lie. Do you know what he said when the Federalists and Anti-Federalists argued about making branches and parties to differ in opinion about how to run the country? 

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty."

-George Washington

The true patriots of this country are neither Republican nor Democrat. They do not care about parties. Instead, they seek to compromise. That is the foundation of this country. Speaking as an independent, but even that's a party now. I've hated every president we've had for the last 20 years. Can't we hire someone who's not a complete idiot? Oh wait...they all hate the job.

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

@RageSet @ItchyIsVegeta Wait, rest stops are not government property?  The government banned something from someones private property?  Now I am even more pissed.