New York pols agree on game bill

Author of legislation hopes to see it passed when lawmakers reconvene next month; proposed law would make it illegal to sell or rent overly violent games to minors.

Last month, New York state lawmakers introduced a number of different bills to keep violent games out of children's hands. While the bills' authors agreed that something had to be done, they were split on the language of the proposed laws.

The legislature's regular session ended yesterday with nothing to send before the governor, but a representative of State Senator Andrew Lanza--author of several of the proposed bills--confirmed for GameSpot today that senators and assemblymen had come to an agreement on which bill they would pursue.

The agreed-upon bill, S6401, would make it illegal for someone to sell or rent to minors a game with "depraved violence and indecent images." According to the bill, "depraved violence" is any visual representation "depicting the rape, dismemberment, physical torture, mutilation or evisceration of a human being." An indecent image would be any image that qualifies as pornographic, or falls under the state's definition of "harmful to minors."

In addition, the law would require gaming consoles (PCs and handhelds excluded) to include a parental control system that allows owners to prohibit the playing of games "containing certain content or having certain ratings." Finally, the bill would establish an advisory council on interactive media and youth violence that would provide its own recommendations to legislators and independently assess the job done by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Lanza's representative told GameSpot that the legislature is expected to reconvene for a special session next month, and the Senator is hoping the gaming legislation is among the measures passed then.

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Discussion

234 comments
Scorpion16
Scorpion16

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Spanky551
Spanky551

...cause laws like this have really put a stop to selling to minors...like underage drinking...

tycoonmike
tycoonmike

As if this is going to stop kids from getting their hands on mature games: Kid: "Dad, I really want to get this game (some M-rated game, say GTA)" Dad: "OK, but give it to me so I can buy it for you." The only way that mature games will stay out of the hands of minors is if the government bans them outright, which will result in, at least, massive protests.

Scorpion16
Scorpion16

Wow, just when I thought some politicians were starting to get it, I get proven wrong. This guy who runs NY is an idiot. They are all idiots who don't have a clue what they are talking. Children don't need to be protected by the government unless we are talking about harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco. Besides who are they to decide what is suitable for all the kids in NY? What right do they have to say to someone's else's kid: "This isn't suitable for you". Parents are responsible for thier kids. Not retailers and not the government. Retailers have no responsibility to check ages of customers and the government has no authority to make them. And don't give me this bull**** about parents being too busy to monitor thier kids. All next gen consoles have parental controls on them. Try using them if you are worried about your kid bringing home something that you don't approve of.

bigstokes
bigstokes

All this is not going to help if the parents dont step up. I worked for best buy and I have heard just about every line that kids use to get parents to buy games like GTA from you can turn the bad stuff off to it not as bad as they say it is. The simple fact is the rating is on the box read it it tells you whats in the game its sad that parents dont care or are that lazy.

merch
merch

movies are fake 2 even if there based on a true story they still change things but it doesnt matter because i just turned 17 so i can buy any game except for AO games but i just have to wait one year oh well.

maxdlax
maxdlax

...wow... hey how about they ban all violent movies? i hate how video games get owned while everything else is allowed to slip by

snax13
snax13

this is just retarded. video games, freakin video games...they aren't real, its fake people. there goes freedom out the door. parents should have alittle more responablity. this is way i want to move out of the US because of sh*t like this.

Blood7863
Blood7863

Y don't they just take all of our systems away and all the games and throw them into a huge bonfire, maybe then they can have some peace. When all those soldiers and civilians get killed with bombs and there body parts fly everywhere , nobody thinks thats violent, but as soon as we shoot someone in a video game, the whole damn government suddenly has diarrhea

trancecontrol
trancecontrol

I can't help but find the humor in the legislation proposal: Selling violent and obscene video games to minors would become punishable as a Class E felony. From an observation at Gamestop and Walmart I've seen parents purchase mature titles such as Resident Evil 4, Mortal Kombat: Deception and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater for their 8 year-old child. Another instance of carelessness was the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas at Gamestop. As I stood in line it occurred to me I was the only adult in the store. All the people standing in line were children accompanied by their parents to "okay" the sale of the mature title. In my opinion, if this bill was signed into law how do police expect to enforce it? Based on the severity of the offense, police would be more likely to respond to a robbery than respond to a call of an underage sale of a mature rated game. The only way this could be enforced would be to catch a sales representative in the act of selling a game to a minor. Still it’s a flawed concept, which could easily be bypassed. A child could pick out an ‘M’ rated title show their ID to fool the camera while their buddy cashier checks out the order. Employing adults could deter the sale of ‘M’ rated titles, but children could seek out the internet to make a purchase too. Which brings me to the following predicament: If a child purchases a mature rated game online, whose jurisdiction does it fall under? The state in which the child resides or the state where the company is located? Console manufacturers would be required to include parental-control devices in their systems. This idea has already been implemented: Playstation 2 contained parental control for movies, Xbox contain parental controls for games and movies. Gamecube on the other hand featured a lackluster of ‘M’ titles. All next generation consoles feature parental controls. Retailers would have to adhere to product labeling guidelines. The ESRB rating system was adopted in 1996, after Senator Joe Lieberman was quick to scrutinize videogames for being murder simulators. A state-established committee would be formed to oversee and study the issue. Bottom line, children could purchase games online or drive to a neighboring state to purchase a mature rated game.

falconclan
falconclan

Define "overly violent"? Overly violent in the real world might be stomping on turtles, but this isn't the real world and no one should dictate over it .Overly Violent is too vague and this will never be passable till they just say rated M or T or E or whatever can't be sold to kids. Thats not vague, and it might work, still, GTFO my videogames.

mega324386
mega324386

I think that the some of the worst polticians are in New York, Texas, Michigan, and a few other big states but most other states will probably not get this bill remember NY has had many of these bills passed before then revoked so the same will probably happen again but never has a bill been passed like that in smaller states (to the extent of my knowledge) So move to California, with most of the companies based there and silicon valley being there, I doubt such a law would be passed.

boobush
boobush

Some kids are more mature than adults.

Protocol_5
Protocol_5

What about any of the minors mature enough to know that you shouldn't cut someone's head off or beat up a hooker. Sure some kids don't know that you shouldn't do that, but what about the kids who are taught better by the PARENTS. It ruins it for the kids who know not to kill people. The parents should at least know what the kids are playing, instead of turning a blind eye and waiting for the Government to step in.

greenshark31489
greenshark31489

Have we forgotten the role of parents in our society?

MysticDynamite
MysticDynamite

The parents should be deciding what their kids play, NOT the government. Besides, even with this video game crackdown in NY, I bet that kids will still be able to buy them.

horioricorious
horioricorious

seriously, you've got money spent on a war that NO ONE with a sence of justice or logic agrees with, and then u've got money spent on precious things like this. i know that keeping the populace stupid is a part of controlling them, but we should actually be extending our framework of education, through wahtever means, instead of negating it. if you let these tools govern you the way they want, well... u're **** bye.

ktseymour
ktseymour

It's not the law that's the problem, it's the big brother factor, or government trying to regulate my life. We don't need more useless bills, people need more commonsense. Soon they will be telling us we can't have kids because we don't know how to raise them.

serieus
serieus

Samhain_, ask yourself this, why is it ok for an adult to view or play all these things, but not minors. Over 200,000 alcohol related deaths a year, or 300,000 cigarette related deaths a year. If this is supposed to be restricted to adults only, then adults are very responsible for what they do, if you are for this bill, then ask them to stop the companies not the people. Instead just let people do what they please, let people be, don't create prohibition of my videogames or else i'll be the first to bootleg them in my speakeasy whose front is a pet store.

serieus
serieus

Freedom of speech my butt.................in America? Come on samhain_ i live in the US and I know for a fact there ain't no freedom of speech. Can't talk religion or politics in the workplace, can't say "bong hits for Jesus" (check out the news for that one) on school grounds, can't joke about a bomb in the airports, and you surely can't state your opinions on your government publicly or else as we've seen you get fired (search the news for that one too). So please, wake up, open your eyes, your freedom's been long gone. Maybe it's time you join my underground lair and realize that freedom can be found as long as you bypass as the stupid laws that infringe on our freedom.

SonicUSMC
SonicUSMC

We would not be going throught this if parents watch what there kids play

samhain_
samhain_

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

serieus
serieus

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ktseymour
ktseymour

On a side note publishers should take head on what's acceptable also. A game like Manhunt (hey, if ya like that sorta thing) should not be published. It's one thing to play a game like Doom and realize it's just a game, not a murder simulator, but games like Manhunt cross the line in more ways than one!?! Eeecckk

ktseymour
ktseymour

Lawmakers need to stay out of peoples lives!! It is not their place to tell us how to live or what to buy or if I own something or not, if I wanted to live in China I'd move there! If parents are to freaking lazy to check what their kids are playing or buying,smokin',screwing or whatever they're not parents. Maybe there should be a parenting bill, or how about a common sense bill. How about a bill to stop stupid bills like this. If I wanted to be spoon fed S**T and told it was pudding I'd move to a socialist country.

InvaderGrim
InvaderGrim

I really think game bills should be established to draw the line between kids games and adult games. It will continue to be problematic for the industry if no one defines what an adult genre\game is.

mier2003
mier2003

Looks like I had a bad first impression of you darkdragonmage, and for that I apologize. Seems like we agree on some things here. Yes the government does have too much control over how kids are raised. They shouldn't govern how parents raise their kids, to a certain point of course.

maxsteel86
maxsteel86

dont worry about it folks, we've had a law like this in the UK for ages now. didn't really affect anyone except for kids trying to buy 15 or 18 rated games themselves

darkdragonmage9
darkdragonmage9

i'd be 20 mier and i'd also believe as you do the goverment have to much control over what we do with our kids but you seem to think the solution is to give them more control people aren't allowed to spank their kids no more thanks to the goverment that has caused more bad then good sounds like the same thing doesn't it

mier2003
mier2003

Well we can see who the kids are here. I don't have kids. Mainly because I don't want the responsibility of the brats doing something wrong and me getting the blame for it. There used to be a time when you could backhand your kid when they did something wrong. Kids knew better then. Now that we have pansies running the show our hands are tied in what we CAN do. So like I said don't blame the parents, kid.

darkdragonmage9
darkdragonmage9

mier2003 hey if you can't take care of the brats maybe you should have kept it in your pants it's not the goverments jobs to raise said kids it's the parents no way shape or form should the goverment have a hand in that at all if you can't afford it tough crap shouldn't have had kids TleeBlue read what you said again the parents are buying the kids tthe game then this law doesn't work at all and there is no point in it and i said and you said it's the parents responsibility not the goverments so it's kinda odd how your arguing the other side with the same points isn't it

mier2003
mier2003

I love how everyone keeps saying "If the parent's would get involved with their kids" blah blah friggin blah. Ever stop to think that most parents have to work all the time and sometimes even bring their work home to pay for their snot nosed kids' expensive spending habits? If parents did take time off of work to spend time with them then everyone would be griping about not being able to afford all the stuff little Johnny next door has.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

How many times do judges have to rule this unconstitutional!

svpaladin
svpaladin

Before all of us scream about lost freedoms, the only freedom I see being taken away is the freedom that a minor has to sneak behind their parent's back and procure M-rated games. And many stores already attempt to curb this, I know the store I work at has a policy prohibiting M-rated sales to anyone under the age of 17. The questionable part of this future law is the separate NY body that will review the ESRB and/or add limits to other games based on their decisions.

darth-revan
darth-revan

I aws introduced to doom when i was 3 years old and duke nukem 3d not too long after that. I play GTA now, and am 16 years old. My grades include colledge courses and i have straight As and am hoping to get to an ivy league school. Last time i checked, i didnt murder anyone, i didnt steal cars, beat hookers, or rape anyone as the lawmakers would suggest. I had a stint where i pirated music and tv shows, but in this day and age who hasnt? These lawmakers should stfu when it comes to this. The day the government controls art is the day that freedom dies.

serieus
serieus

Remember these people trying to ban children from playing violent video games are the same people at your kids' high school trying to recruit them for the army. Go figure how that works out to your kids' advantage!

sieg6529
sieg6529

If a list were created of the top 50 problems facing the USA, this would not be on it. We pay their salaries, folks!

Thornscar
Thornscar

Can't they focus there time in real issues? This country is falling apart.

THEMOD3158
THEMOD3158

dont all the current consoles already have parental control systems? In addition, that last line "harmful to minors" can pretty much be anything they want it to be. Lawmakers need to spell out exactly what kids are not allowed to play, and not allow someone to make a judgment call on what "harmful to minors" is.

SpruceCaboose
SpruceCaboose

How would your average clerk at Blockbuster know that a game has "depraved violence"? It is not exactly a bulletpoint on the ESRB ratings label. If they want and just said M rated games or above, that would make sense, but to make it something that is that vague, its just asking to nail an employee who does not know what every game contains.

Dantes_Monkey
Dantes_Monkey

surely this makes sense? shouldn't this sort of thing affect all media in the states not just games?

LordLeckie
LordLeckie

i thought the 360 already had parental controls....dosent sound too bad.

Irve
Irve

Ah , the debate runs on .... and the foolish continue to believe the state has no right to help parents by preventing kids from buying unsuitable material. ... whatever, these sort of bills will eventually pass .. the industry has to decide if it gets behind them and stop it from going too far , or blindly say everythnig is fine as it is and get stuck with legistlation that is too restrictive.

Casper3141
Casper3141

Im only 17 everything Deinarsh said is right on the money if parents these days would actually take INTEREST in what their kids are doing alot of **** could be avoided hell my Dad at the age of 7-8 Introduced me to Duke Nukem 3D. Video games are nothing but good fun to enjoy either by yourself or with a friend, its nothing more than a movie where your the star and control what happens, all the drama is disgusting does anyone remember the days where FPS and Politics were NOT in the same sentance cmon

deinarsh
deinarsh

As a person who recently turned 18, i still think this bill is ridiculous. Parents of kids past the age of 12-13 should realize that their kid is probably looking up worse stuff on the internet everyday than their kid is ever gonna see in a game. Ontop of that america needs to learn a game is a game and thats it, ive played all the gta's and alot of fps's when i was younger and im not gonna be some crazed gunman on a college campus. Just talk to you kids if ur worried.

Poshkidney
Poshkidney

i think its more of the parents fault not the retailers or the deveolpers or publishiers.

TleeBlue
TleeBlue

I don't think this is a big deal. Sure this is gonna piss off kids under 18 but is that really a bad things to keep these kinds of game from them? You talk about FREEDOM but you need to realize that many parents just buy whatever their child ask for ( thus lacking RESPONSIBILITY). It is a fact that parents don't really pay attention to this kind of stuff. They are busy and don't really have time to research games and such to see if they are suitable for their children. Sure there are ratings but parents tend to listen to their kids who would claim its not really bad or they are mature enough and etc, and buy the game anyway. So, in the end, a law that prohibiting such games to be sold to minors becomes necessary. You can claim that parent should pay more attention but that's not gonna work realistically. It's sad but true. This is the easiest way to get those games out of children's hands. I don't know violent video game makes children violent or not. However, I am sure it certainly doesn't help the children. Therefore I think this law is not a bad idea. And kids.. You may not believe me but you are not entitled to enjoy same kind of freedom as adults. Because responsibility form your actions falls onto your parents. That's why your parents are your bosses until you are at least 18 years old. So suck it up.