New York Senate passes game bill

Proposed law would require all games sold within state to carry ratings, establish advisory council to assess ESRB performance.

Last month New York state Senators Andrew Lanza and Martin Golden promised that they would be introducing legislation that would "crackdown" on violent games. That bill surfaced last week, breezing through the Senate in just four days. Now it moves on to the state Assembly, where it must again be approved before it can go before the governor to be signed into law.

As expected, the bill would establish an advisory council to appraise the effectiveness and accuracy of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system, as well as parent-teacher antiviolence awareness program. While Lanza and Golden originally said the parent-teacher program would be formed to work on issues related to violence in games, the text of the bill makes no mention of games in that program's duties. According to the bill, the parent-teacher program is being established "in order to recognize and appropriately respond to students at risk for developing a propensity toward violent conduct."

The bill would also make rating labels mandatory on all games sold in the state, with punishments established for anyone selling or renting a game at retail "in contravention of the rating affixed thereto." On the mandatory labeling part of the law, no exception is specifically made for digitally distributed games or used games that predate the ESRB.

If passed, the ratings restrictions would take effect January 1, 2008, while the advisory council and parent-teacher program would be created immediately.

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Discussion

308 comments
theKSMM
theKSMM

And it begins again...

spelledarn
spelledarn

Politicians should stay out of people's lives. At least it isn't as bad as in Germany where they are considering banning ALL violent games, but it's getting there. People need to speak up against this sort of busy-body fascism!

octopi8
octopi8

Muffhunter, yeah sometimes us in the U.S. think our nation is a really messed up place, right as of now I heard over the news that 25% of muslims living in the US, that are under 30, think suicide bombings are okay and would do it themselves. (Oh dandy now I have to worry about 1 of every 4 muslims under thirty carrying an explosive belt under their shirt) But that's what makes the US special, sometimes it's good, other times it's bad. Oh well, we should be proud inspite of our diversity, not despite it. Now, this bill, has some good points, it will at least ease the stupidity of oh so-many-parents willing to buy mature-adult rated games for under-aged kids. (No offense to any parents who MIGHT be present). But it may cause some trouble if these parent-teacher organizations become to powerful. We might eventually end up playing "Pillows of War: Barny Cronicles 2" and Hawo Fow: Telletuby picnic, if we don't stand up for ourselves. Also, New York may eventually turn into a haven for the rich,so on and so forth, middle class decay, morale decay, indentured servant poor, french revolution. So on, everything gets messed up.

Proman84
Proman84

What a waste of time. And how the heck are they going to enforce it for online games? Ever heard about ESRB having layoffs even at the most difficult times for the industry? Me neither! Sometimes I wonder if ESRB has their own people at the senate.

usedtype
usedtype

While I generally oppose anti-game legislature, I must say that this bill sounds okay. It sounds like this is designed to help educate parents unlike many of the anti-game bills which seem to be designed to replace the role of parents. However, there are definitely some problems with the bill (digital distribution, old games, independent game makers, the cost for the ESRB advisory council). In addition, I'm really not sure the bill will accomplish anything and will certainly cost taxpayers money. So, while I certainly don't support this bill, I also am not as opposed to it as I have some other bills. At least this one seems (on the surface) not meant to restrict freedom of speech the way other anti-gaming legislature has.

omegabyte
omegabyte

"Look at it this way if GTA:SA was R rated who could have complained about the Hot coffee mod. I hope it passes .. i hope it spreads to other states and the games industry can be more like the film industry with more age appropriate content" Ummm... M for Mature is the equivalent of an R rating (18+ in Canada), restricting the sale to people over the age of 17 (both are voluntary on the part of the retailer, but any respectable retailer does it). Below that is T for Teen and PG-13 (14A in Canada), then E10+ for Everyone 10+ and PG, and then E for Everyone and G. Technically, by rerating San Andreas Adult's Only, they gave it an NC-17 movie rating (R in Canada), which is pretty much reserved for pornographic films and excessively violent special editions of certain movies. In any case - program to educate parents about violent video games: Good freaking idea, and about god damn time. Program that forcibly restricts the sale of video games: this will only end badly, and pretty much guarantees the bill to be thrown out in court before it ever sees effect, wasting huge sums of money and guaranteeing even more huge sums of money wasted when the ESA sues for the cost of their legal defenses. Glad I live in Canada where I don't have to deal with that kind of stupidity from the government - we get to deal with a whole different kind of stupidity, but at least it's not game-related.

mattgm
mattgm

This is just dumb why do people try too stop kids seeing "mature" content is just dumb why are children not allowd to see stuff like this whats going to happen to them i find this insulting to my inteligents i'm sick of everyone over 25 thinking that any one under 15 is a retard that cant think for themselves quite frankly most 12 year olds i know are smarter the the mojoity (all) of the adults in amercia why does the gouvernment always need a scape goat and why do people from older generrations hate things they don't understand violent games dont do any thing to children you want proof? I know kids like 8 years old that play GTA. are thay shooting rondom people in the head? are thay violent people at all? OF CORSE NOT Kids can can see thats its just a game kids know that its not a smart idea to shoot people. Its all facists runing this world that are try to keep us scered, silent, and stupid and it kills me inside END RANT

mattgm
mattgm

Crackdown on Violent games..more like crack down on freedom of speech the bunch fascists. Violent games dont make Violent people.... Hard game do

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

I saw some more good points here that I didn't even think of at first. Like the fact that this will irreversably damage the indy game market. This is not surprising though. Since Guliani and Pataki took over the NY government, this place has become a haven for the rich and a hell for the poor; and a no mans land for the middle class, we get sucked into the poor category by default. Most recently Mayor Bloomberg (of NYC) wants to make people pay extra, just to drive in the city. Of course this will not affect the upper classat all. I'm assuming that he's just tired of seeing older rattier cars driving around. According to him, you should either be in a Mercedes or stuffed in the subway. The same with indy game makers. Being forced to rate games is an expensive proposition which will put these hard working developers completely out of the market but won't affect the bigger game businesses who can afford to retain offices and pay the taxes on them. They think they're going to make this city a place exclusively for rich people (where the poor are only indentured servants; like the good ol' dark ages) but I don't think they're counting on the information age changing the way everybody does business. It's all going to be very different in several years. They could turn around one day and find a city empty of their serfs, or worse, they could re-create the French revolution.

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

And THIS is why we pay such high taxes in NY: all the politicians (on the left and right) only work together when they want to frivilously spend taxpayer dollars (which we really can't spare to begin with) on stupid crap like this. They stuff 50 kids in a high school class, but this will actually help the chidren? The thing is, politicians have friends who can get paid lots of money for sitting on comitties like this, but none of their friends wants (or could) to teach in the inner city for a fraction of the pay or even the same pay for that matter. Politicians are so frikin worthless. Before they could blame video games for violent kids, they blamed D&D games, then heavy metal, then comic books, then Jazz music. They have to give voters a way to not blame themselves for their children's faults so rather than doing something usefull for the quality of life for teens in this country, they find a scapegoat like games. It's allot easier than actually improving things like education (or at least updating it for the information age; kids are getting the same education their grandparents got to work in factories), giving them public places to go and hang out, and basically treating them they way they need to be treated rather than patronizing them in such a transparent way such as this. The only bright side I can see to this is that it might no longer be equitable for Nintendo to throw every old piece of crap they can find onto the Wii's VC if they have to have it rated first. "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -Henry Louis Mencken "On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920

Wryze
Wryze

I have to agree with chrisdojo, but I think that its just a combination of things. Mental illness, ignorance, lack of time due to work (on job stress) and just don't care.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

dumb. the biggest reason under aged kids play M rated games is because they have parrents with poor judgment.

Irve
Irve

WGR_Darrin it's all about the enforcability of the ratings .. currently if i want to sell cigarettes , booze, or movies to a minor i could get fined .. if i sell a game nothing happens in the UK and Austrailia the films rating board rates the mature games.

WGR_Darrin
WGR_Darrin

I guess I understand the advisory council, but don't all games ALREADY come with ratings? Isn't that part of the bill moot?

Irve
Irve

you know .. this is a GOOD thing people harp on about the state taking over parental responsibility .. are you 'kin serious ! there is nothing stopping you giving your 4yr old Manhunt 2 .. just stops them going into their local game store and buying it for themselves .... anyone who doesn't think that's a good idea is a 'kin moron ! I can understand people who think that it'll open the door to banning games but to wholey reject enforcable age restrictions is madness. Look at it this way if GTA:SA was R rated who could have complained about the Hot coffee mod. I hope it passes .. i hope it spreads to other states and the games industry can be more like the film industry with more age appropriate content

Decibyte
Decibyte

lilburtonboy748 haha, this is disgusting, since when did government regulation replace parental responsibilities? ---------- Since many parents became too arrogant and lazy to do it themselves.

feanorkms
feanorkms

I just love that the VT Shooter didn't play video games.... I wonder if the government will think to put the same amount of restriction on movies and music, since more people are exposed to those. Well, they are politiians, so I can understand the stupidity.

satefrec
satefrec

idiotssssssssssssss!!!!!

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

I hope this doesn't mean larger rating icons obstructing the the box art. And I know this may sound cold, but I don't really give a crap if someone I don't even know dies as a "result of playing video games." In fact, I don't care about most humans in general.

BLaZe462
BLaZe462

I for one welcome our new ESRB overlords

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

did any one think to notice that the ESRB is stricter than the movie rating much less the music rating system.... and i in Canada and i still know...

Maxer9
Maxer9

If, by some strange twisted backwards ass chance it saves one life: I'm all for it.

lilburtonboy748
lilburtonboy748

haha, this is disgusting, since when did government regulation replace parental responsibilities?

Dreski83
Dreski83

Seriously... I find any involvement in what kids are exposed to nothing but a positive thing, but this is a joke. All these politics who don't do enough in other areas of office decide to pick up on the lingering issues such as violence in young society and videogames becomes a prime target in the generic conquest. WOW!! Not impressed, but I suppose everybody has to have something to do at the job *_*

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

*Watches the GameSpotters overreact as a bill comes along that'll get savaged in the worst way by the courts*

bgres077
bgres077

Oh how I remember that constitution video from 8th grade History!!! "I'm only a bill!"

coollizy
coollizy

Hurray! Kill the indie game market! :(

Micheal21
Micheal21

this law will not see light of day the supreme court will stop it .

Maniac000
Maniac000

people are going to get thier hands on the games anyway....weither it be get some1 else to buy it or buy it of a friend....they will get it...all this bill is doing is making this gov't REALLY unpopular with gamers.

Praetorian25
Praetorian25

This reminds me of buying booze underage in Ontario.

solideagle13
solideagle13

What's the difference between having a parent buy your game and then you play it than a kid buy it? I'm alright with more investigation on the ESRB since a lot of the games ratings aren't what they are. As long as they don't make every game that has blood or a disembodied limb an M rated game. And what's the difference between some sexual themes and kids that search for pornography on the web? Are they gonna ban the internet too?

bliechty
bliechty

Speaking purely as a non-psychiatrist in training to be a REAL doctor, I'd like to stand up and point out the fact that surgeons who play video games make significantly fewer mistakes. It's not my fault that violent video games require greater skill and are more fun to play. A law against violent gaming is a law against sick people in need of procedures. Please... think of the Gomers.

trickazzmark
trickazzmark

....i'm callin shananagins on this bill.

Dreamachine536
Dreamachine536

Well well well, looks like a revolution is in order... BOYCOTT TC WILLIAMS

L-5-R
L-5-R

I agree Subrosian. If there are so called parent-teacher's who are concerned about violence then they should try placing the blame for it were it belongs, squarely on there own shoulders. Its not the gaming industry job to raise your child, just as its not the TV's job. All there doing is using so called violent games as a scape goat for there own guilty conscience. It sickens me to see the freedoms of others being so callously tread on by these idiots. I wish they'd at least act grown up and do what adults do, that is take responsibility for there actions, or inactions. Cheers

Hitman_Agent47
Hitman_Agent47

**** them all games are games, violent or not they do not makes killers or anything they give peaple a way of expressing themselfs and doing things without braking the law... the peaple that commite crimes are just losers.. What about peaple that has never played a video game in the life but went and killed for no reason? maybe someone should blaim the air they breath

imortiferus
imortiferus

Hillary must be stopped NOW!!! VOTE her down!!!

ek11sx
ek11sx

i thought the united states wasn't socialist. my bad.... petition time

kaito2
kaito2

The ESRB is not a government entity, it is a private organization. There is no need for a government body to determine the effectiveness the ESRB's ratings. Parents should be the only ones who ultimately determine if the ratings are acurate or not.

subrosian
subrosian

Buzz off New York - creating a council with the free reign to ban any game it feels from sale "oh, it deserves an Adult Only rating..." and levy fines, is nothing short of anti-capitalist. Anyone who supports this legislation is an anti-american, a communist, and a traitor to America. The government is supposed to protect the minority against the majority stripping them of their rights, instead, they're passing moralist legislature telling us what we can and cannot buy. This isn't about keeping violent games out of kids hands - what it is, at heart, is an attempt to scare stores into not carrying violent games, destroying the economy for material they feel is "immoral". What's worse is the wording that implies videogame violence leads to real world violence - despite - every - single - study ever done on the subject actually demonstrating otherwise. Violence has gone *down*, not up, since violent games came into existance - strange, no? Bleck -if New York passes this law, I'm making sure no one I know ever spends a tourism dollar in the state again - this legislature is anti-business, anti-freedom, anti-American drivel. Get out and vote gamers, get these mindless morons out of office, and never forget, when you support legislation that "protects" you, what you're doing is saying "I want the government to take away all of my rights". It's a slippery slope to the government being able to ban material, in the same way the church burned "heretic writings" in something we called the Dark Ages.

Ioden
Ioden

Videogames don't turn people into violent lunatics or idiotic morons. This whole society does. Games are just a really easy scapegoat.

dybbuk
dybbuk

Whenever I see stuff like this it ticks me off. Not at the government but at the people who call themselves parents and don't really care what their children see or play. Its because of delinquent parents like these that makes the government create mandates for all of us. I have 3 kids and a full time job, and make it a point to monitor everything they see and play under my roof. If so called parents are not going to care what their kids do then they shouldn't have them!!

DeltaSpirit
DeltaSpirit

What a great way to waste more money hey it's a me MARIO!

darth-revan
darth-revan

If they do this then they will be killing indy games in the state of NY. i was an indy game maker who made reasonably good RPG's for a while but stopped because i decided modding was a lot more easy. I didnt have the money to send to the ESRB to rate my game, and still dont. I have no problem with this bill IF the ESRB becamse governement funded and could give ratings to games for free.

END3R330
END3R330

just another thing proving that its the parents fault. I specifically remember being in an EB games and this mom and her kid walk in. He goes looking for GTA and im watching them at the counter. the clerk says "you are aware that this game is rated M for mature" the mom says "yes" and the clerk goes on to describe what's in the game. She doesnt care. The clerk just rolls his eyes and puts in in the bag. i was on the edge of laughing out loud in her face

famguyrulz
famguyrulz

yea after the vt shooting it took them about five seconds to link that to video games. video games are just the newest scapegoats just wait for the new marilyn manson cd then all this will blow over.

camac223
camac223

Long island does not own. its just a over population of ginny's who all think they're tough guys