Views clash at Senate game hearing

Psychologists and anti-game activists verbally spar with free-speech advocates, industry reps at Capitol Hill session.

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Yesterday, the United States Senate's Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights held a hearing designed to publicly discuss the issue of laws restricting game sales. Titled "What's in a Game? Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment," the hearing saw two panels of four testify on the impact violent video games have on children and how games are--or aren't--protected as free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

The hearing was called by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), a vocal game-industry critic and cosponsor of Senate bill 1902, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act. Also known as CAMRA, the act was first introduced last fall by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), and it seeks to have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigate the psychological effects of "impact of electronic media use." It is not the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which Lieberman co-introduced last fall with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), which seeks to regulate sales of games the government deems violent.

The first witness before the committee was the Reverend Steve Strickland. Strickland's Police officer brother was murdered in 2003 by a young criminal who claimed to have played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City before committing the killing. As outlined in a civil suit in which Strickland is a co-plaintiff, the now-convicted murderer infamously told police that "life is like a video game--everyone has to die sometime."

During his emotional testimony, Strickland lashed out at games' impact on society. "As I gather more information on the games and the people who call themselves 'gamers,' I could see how someone like Devin, who at one minute did not put up any resistance ... [could take] my brother's gun from him in the police station, shooting him and then killing two other men in a matter of less than two minutes," said Strickland. "A game such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City could and did teach him how to do this."

Strickland also heaped praise on his attorney, anti-game activist Jack Thompson. "As a minister, I deal with a lot of different issues and try to stay up and become educated on them, but Jack opened up a whole other world to me that I did not even know existed," he said. "This is the violent video game world--a world that, as far as I am concerned, is straight from the pits of hell."

Next up was Dr. Elizabeth Carll, chair of the Interactive Media Committee of the Media Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association (APA). After saying that "there are many video games that are very helpful for children to facilitate medical treatment, increase learning, and promote pro-social behavior," she turned her attention to "games that include aggression, violence, and sexualized violence."

Though at first saying that games "may have a negative impact on children," Carll went on to declare that "a comprehensive [APA] analysis of violence in interactive video game research suggests exposure increases aggressive behavior, aggressive thoughts, angry feelings, physiological arousal, and decreases helpful behavior." She then declared the APA's support for CAMRA and asked that the game industry "link violent behaviors with negative social consequences" to promote better social behavior.

Following Carll was Dr. Dmitri Williams, assistant professor of speech communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Unfortunately, the Judiciary Subcommittee had not released a transcript of his comments as of press time.

Williams was followed by Dr. David Bickham, a research scientist at the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston, which is affiliated with Harvard's Medical School. At first, Bickham conceded that "video games are a relatively new form of entertainment media" and that they should be considered "within the broader field of research exploring portrayals of violence in television, film, and other forms of visual media."

After citing several studies that linked violent media to aggressive behavior, Bickham declared, "There are reasons to believe that the influences of violent video games are stronger than those of other forms of screen violence." He pointed out that games are interactive, reward the player for completing tasks, and "require almost complete attention" from the player.

Bickham continued by saying that "video games are designed to be incredibly engaging and 'fun,' often leading children to slip deeply into a 'flow state' in which they may be at increased susceptibility to the messages of the game. Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that children learn what video games teach, and often that lesson is doing violence."

Bickham's testimony was followed by that of the sole member of the game industry at the event, Entertainment Software Ratings Board president Patricia Vance. Vance began her statements by declaring that "the issues being discussed in today's hearing are critically important, especially to parents." She also asserted that the "self-regulatory [ESRB] system offers a valuable, reliable, and credible tool to make the right video game choices for their families."

Vance went on to explain the various ESRB ratings and how they point out on the cover if a game has such content as "violence, language, suggestive or sexual content, gambling, and use of controlled substances." She then went on to break down how 50 percent of the games released in 2005 were rated E for Everyone, 12 percent were rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older, 24 percent were rated T for Teen, and 12 percent were rated M for Mature. She said the remaining two percent were made up of the fringe ratings EC for Early Childhood and AO for Adults Only.

Vance then broke down the rating process, which has "at least three or more raters" view a "videotape capturing all pertinent content [of a game], including the most extreme instances." She said that the raters cross-check said footage with written descriptions of the content of the game and will sometimes play a beta version of the game to ensure further accuracy. She added, "To ensure that all pertinent content was fully disclosed during the rating process, after a game is publicly released, ESRB testers review randomly and hand-selected final product."

Naturally, the subject then turned to the most famous incident regarding the ESRB, last year's so-called "Hot Coffee" scandal regarding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Rather than deem it a failure, Vance asserted the incident "showed how effective and forceful an enforcement system we have at our disposal."

To back up her words, Vance cited the rapid revocation of San Andreas' M rating and its replacement with an AO rating, which led to its being pulled from store shelves. The move cost Take-Two Interactive, parent of GTA publisher Rockstar Games, tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. "I submit that there is no other industry self-regulatory system willing or capable of imposing such sweeping sanctions on its own members, which in this particular case resulted in the removal of a top-selling product from the market, a major loss of sales and a drop in shareholder value," she said.

Next to sit before the committee was Jeff Johnson, the Republican Assistant Majority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Displaying the folksy humor his home state is famous for, Johnson said that he is "the father of two little boys who would play video games 12 hours a day if my wife and I didn't limit them to three hours a week."

However, Johnson took a more serious tone when describing, somewhat inaccurately, a Grand Theft Auto game, presumably San Andreas. "The more creative and brutal you are in killing innocent people, the more respect you gain and the more points you score." He went on to more accurately describe three other games often cited by critics of the industry: Manhunt, Postal 2, and Clock Tower 3.

Johnson went on to outline a bill he is sponsoring in the Minnesota legislature, which would fine children $25 every time they attempted to buy M-rated or AO-rated games. "In our Minnesota bill, we have crafted very narrow language in order to address the constitutional concerns that exist about content-based restrictions of speech," he said. "We are not restricting adults or parents in any way. If a parent is comfortable with their child playing adult video games, we don't interfere with that."

Next up was Paul M. Smith, a partner in the law firm Jenner & Block. Smith has represented the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) in successful challenges to game-restriction laws in several states, including Illinois, Michigan, and California. He also defended a number of publishers--including the late Acclaim, Activision, Capcom, Eidos, Infogrames, Interplay, Nintendo of America, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Square Enix (then SquareSoft)--in a federal lawsuit brought by a Columbine High School massacre victim's family.

Throughout his testimony, Smith cited dozens of legal decisions, many of which were made in cases he personally argued. "In each case I have been involved with, as well as every other to consider the issue, courts have struck down as unconstitutional legal restrictions on minors' access to 'violent' video games," he said.

The crux of Smith's testimony is that, like film or books, games are a form of expression. "Video games feature the artwork of leading graphic artists, as well as music--much of it original--that enhances the game's artistic expression in the same way as movie soundtracks," he said. "These games often contain storylines and character development as detailed as [and sometimes based on] books and movies. These games frequently involve familiar themes such as good versus evil, triumph over adversity, and struggle against corrupt powers."

The attorney went on to explain that "every court to have considered the issue has found 'violent' video game laws would not pass constitutional muster because the government lacks a legitimate and compelling interest in restricting video game content. Under well-settled First Amendment principles, expression may not be censored on the theory that it will cause some recipient to act inappropriately, unless it falls into the narrow category of speech 'directed to inciting' and 'likely' to incite 'imminent' violence."

Smith also pointed out that "courts also have rejected the argument that restrictions on 'violent' video games can be justified as a means to prevent 'psychological harm' to minors. ... The Supreme Court has said that the government cannot suppress minors' speech 'solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them.' "

The last speaker at the hearing was Kevin Saunders, a professor of law at Michigan State University. In his own words, Saunders has "spent the last dozen years studying the constitutional issues surrounding attempts to limit the access of children to depictions of extreme violence and other negative media influences."

In Saunders' opinion, "there are bases on which restrictions may overcome First Amendment limits and protect children from the dangers these products present." The first basis the professor cited "is to argue that sufficiently violent material, particularly when presented to children, may come within the obscenity exception to the First Amendment." After mentioning an Indiana case in which this approach worked, he also mentioned that the Supreme Court has never ruled that violent material cannot be restricted.

Saunders' second legal basis will likely prove the most troubling to gamers. This approach would argue that "video game play, like the play of pinball machines, is not an activity protected by the First Amendment." It would legally differentiate the expression of a game designer, which would be protected, from the playing of games, which would not be protected. As an example, he compared a sexually provocative dancer's movements, which is a performance and therefore expression, to a gamer playing in an arcade, which is not, even though others were watching him.

The last legal basis Saunders cited will be the most familiar--namely, that playing violent games causes "harm" to minors. He said this approach is the easiest, due to the "overwhelming consensus of the health and science community that media violence causes real-world violence." After citing a psychological study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, he then claimed that "the correlation of media violence with real-world violence is as strong as that for secondhand smoke and lung cancer, lead exposure in children and lower IQs, use of the nicotine patch and smoking cessation, and asbestos exposure and cancer of the larynx."

Discussion

356 comments
tim_kkhanna
tim_kkhanna

There are two things I'd like to suggest here in the way of making progress:- 1) Computer/Video game (and movie) packaging could be changed to be more like cigarette packages in the UK. We could put big white labels on the box, taking up half the front, describing EXACTLY what kind of violence is in the production. Labels that say, for example:- "Contains violence depicting the use of slashing, stabbing weapons: sword, knife" "...bludgeoning weapons: lead pipe, baseball bat" "...explosives: C4, home-made bomb" "Contains bodily dismemberment, burning and mutilation" Understand what I'm saying? 2) An organisation that supports development of adult games and realizes the inevitability of those games reaching the hands of young children, could make an educational website or leaflet that teaches children and critics of violent games, just enough about game design. In doing so, these groups (especially the children) could be more aware of the differences between the virtual world and the real world. Most children, playing violent games, and some adults, criticizing violent games, don't even know the meaning of the 3D modelling and animation process or the programming process. The website or leaflet should be deliberately easy to understand, of course, for children and adults who aren't computer literate. A little bit of knowledge on graphics and artificial intelligence could make all the psychological difference. As for my personal experience, I grew up playing violent games from the age of 6. The earliest violent game I can remember playing was Barbarian on the Amiga. That game contained decapitation through the use of swords. The graphics were like what you would expect from a game made in 1988. The thing is, children of today aren't growing up with the graphics of Barbarian. They're growing up with the graphics of GTA: San Andreas and ES4:Oblivion, hence my suggestion that more should be done about their education into the design of these games.

Lord__Darkstorn
Lord__Darkstorn

thejumpinChevy said: "Jack Thompson and buddies obviously have a grudge against the video game industry and gamers; are they really trying to destroy the conservative ideals of the Bill of Rights? Because those damn liberals sure are coming awfully close to doing so...................." You've kind of got it backwards, America was founded on liberalism, both social and economic. Plus, the people who are trying to censor violent video games are all conservatives. Jack Thompson is a hardcore Repub. So is Sam Brownback, so is Dennis Hastert. And Hilary Clinton is a right-of-center Democrat. All of these people are conservatives. Video games are art, and our government does not have the right to take away our art. They have rated them, and it is the fault of overworked, uncaring parents who use video games as "babysitters" for their kids.

Wigster666
Wigster666

How can a game turn someone into a killer? They must already have mental problems to be influenced by a game.

hooperfax006
hooperfax006

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hooperfax006
hooperfax006

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

Cloud737
Cloud737

So, in the end, the hearing was meaningless. Great way to waste your time and out tax money!

starcutter20000
starcutter20000

We are fortunate that congress didn't "Crack down" on gaming like some might of thought would happen when congress discuesed Mortal Kombat. Or the game industry deciding to censore it's own games like what happened to comics. I think just like rock and roll people will have to accept it and the people against game violence or the sale of violent video games outside of pornshops and curtained off areas in stores will have to accept that interactive entertainment is staying like it or not.

hart704
hart704

I have tons of M rated games. Come and arrest me too! Come on! I'm beggin' ya, Thompson! Make me famous!

seanv130
seanv130

I have assassinated tens of politicians and gangsters alike, ruthlessly eliminating anyone in my path. I have fought and wond the most savage blood-sport tournaments in the universe. I have ran round a dark maze collecting white pills, and i have single handedly thwarted several alien invasions. But they were games, and i drew the line there. The basis for these arguments is the theory that violent or otherwise mature video games "corrupt" children and teenagers. I remember playing Red Alert 95, 7 years old, and laughing my ass off when the guy in the yellow jacket got fried by the Tesla Coil (First mission with Allies). Surely an innocent child would be horrified by this? Not so. The fact is, games are going through the "Beta Test" that all forms of media go through, where they face severe opposition until they are gradually phased into society. It happened with movies, its happening with games, and it will happen with whatever comes next. Just think about it, how long will it really be until the people who grew up in the 80's and saw the rise of gaming are taking these positions in politics. With games as big a part of society as they are, its not going to be long until ex-gamers or even real gamers are running for the top spots. All we have to do is hold out until then, when policy will really shift in our favour. The people here who believe that video games are detrimental are very, very wrong. I have been playing and enjoying games for the vast majority of my life, and; I've never shot anyone, never stabbed anyone, never stole a car/bike/bus/plane/dog, never tortured anyone, never tortured myself, never taken any drugs, and i even struggle to remember the last time i threw a punch out of anger. I neither own a firearm/combat knife/ hand grenade/whatever and nor do i ever plan to. Human instinct and logic forces us, at times, to consider the drastic. However, it is very clear to me as a gamer that the violence stays on the disk. Games improve logical reasoning, puzzle solving, spatial awareness and hand-eye co-ordination. I am 100% behind the movement to restrict mature games to minors (And i am 100% against game piracy). These people need a new bandwagon to jump on.

tergeoglou
tergeoglou

1 in 5 children in usa go hungry every nite, and the government is worried about games? usa is truly the new roman empire, i pray the fall is soon.

MetrodPrme
MetrodPrme

There are a few points I want to lay down here. * A fine for parents whose kids tried to buy violent video games is a good idea. However, before that happened, we would have to put out a big campaign to educate parents on the ratings, and send mass mailings out ot all parents telling them when the law comes into effect. Then, if their kids try to buy violent games and the parents get fined, they can't say that they didn't know. After the parents pay for kids' mistakes, they will be much more strict and regulatory on the subject of violent media. * Parents need to take at least some initiative in their childrens' lives. My parents are strict on issues like this, and I love them for it. I feel so blessed to have parents that care about my education, growth, and development into a man. I really admire their firmness on certain issues, and want to be like them when I grow up. If there were more responsible parents like them, we wouldn't have this problem. * The actions of the few demented people who happen to play video games should not incite legal consequences against the rest of us. *Jack Thompson should have been present at these hearings, and he should have been orally read the comments on this GameSpot news message post. When that happened, he would have simply dismissed and raved at even the more reasonable arguments among them, showing the entire courtroom how biased and hate-filled he is. * The Carolina Hurricanes should win the Stanley Cup.

gradius2dx
gradius2dx

While I agree that this game hearing was rather one-sided and that some of the comments made were ridiculous, I'm seeing quite a few unintelligent comments from fellow gamers here. Isn't it funny how we say that video games are protected by the First Amendment, yet we want to silence anyone who speaks out against video games? Isn't it funny how we deny that gamers are idiotic, yet some gamers here have left some rather moronic comments that show that they didn't read the article correctly? Isn't it funny how we say that parents need to keep a close eye on their children, yet we do some things that parents would not approve of? Isn't it funny how we say that games don't cause violence, yet we call these politicans some pretty mean names and tell them to burn in Hell? You're making us look bad. I mean, I don't like anti-game activists who can't defend their views correctly, but I also don't like pro-game people who either show blatant immaturity or poor logic. Just because the war on Iraq is a bigger issue doesn' t mean that we should divert our attention from the video game controversy.

Zaggmeister
Zaggmeister

The thing that gets me is that alot of kids have at least one friend or brother or friends brother that are older, and would be happy to buy the game for the kid. He just gives him the money and the stores can't do anything because it's not the kid buying the game. So even after all of the money and effort, it most likely won't really amount to much.

thumperofvt
thumperofvt

Seriously, the government needs to focus on more important things than video game violence. Yes, some games are extremely violent and should not be allowed in the hands of young children. But if the parents are buying them the violent video games, and the R rated movies, and Parental Advisory CDs, it is certainly not the industries faults, but the parents. Recently a deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested in an online child sex sting, what is the excuse for that? People who work for the government, the people who are trying to ban some video games, are trying to receive sex from minors. I agree that video game violence is an issue, but its an issue for the family and parents to decide on, not the government.

timmy0001
timmy0001

There are too many people in this country who are barely scraping by trying to feed their families, etc. Our government needs to stop wasting my tax dollars on this pointless legislation and help those people find higher paying jobs. The ESRB system has been working fine for a long time and if parents would take a more active roll in their children's lives we wouldn't have these problems.

txrat0
txrat0

oh god no... it's Jack Thompson!!! RUNNNNNN!!!

ndcrewindxtc
ndcrewindxtc

Just don't sell violent games to minors. It should be the parents responsibility to teach their children about what to do and what not to do. Plus it is common sense as well. There may have been many cases where kids, teens, whomever have acted violently because of a 'videogame.' But there are several times more people out there enjoyin videogames. This issue is ridiculous and they should focus their attention on more important matters.

FreakShow2191
FreakShow2191

Stop fighting violence in video games, wasting that money and go after something worth fighting......hmm I dunno how about... REAL VIOLENCE!

imprezahh
imprezahh

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imyoon28
imyoon28

I'm dumbfounded at this entire debate. Why oh why would a child shoot an officer and blame it on a game...hmmmmm...Tommy Vercetti pulled the trigger! NOT ME! Christ. I have a question...I'm sure a lot can help me on this...Why are they criticizing the games that "teach kids how to kill"? AND not mentioning anything about SOCOM, Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell etc. DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I love those games, but...it's odd that it's okay to simulate killing another human being of a different religious background and does not agree with your views...oh wait...wait a minute, isn't that why we kill in the first place? "I hate someone because they don't agree with me (religiously, politically, ethnically) so I'm going to open fire." By god, you can kill a demon-spawn from hell but prostitutes...THAT CROSSES THE LINE DAMMIT! And...in GTA, don't you get shot and arrested and all that if you do kill a cop? Plus, can't you bribe the cops to lower your wanted level...hmmmmm...crooked cops...that never happens in today's world. The government wants to shut down a multi-billion dollar industry...good luck. Riot...that's all I have to say..........after that long rant....

maxerAA
maxerAA

This has all pissed me off I am tempted to become a politician just to set this straight And that 8 myths of video games? When I read that a guy said video games arent an expression (or something along those lines) and dont have 1st amendment rights, that pissed me off the most. Look at the RPG: all Final Fantasies, and mainly all RPGS. The story keeps me going just as much as the gameplay. Its sometimes just as good as a book. dont tell me that isnt expression.

Talldude80
Talldude80

i think the gov't is going to spend WAY TOO much $ trying to "protect children from the horrible violent video games"........ in reality they are trying to keep lobyists happy. The gov't wants the public to believe they are trying to restrict sales just to protect children......... what a joke i dont care if they make it harder for children to buy games made for adults since im well over 18 , but they dont need to destroy companies that make games for people like myself. I would be so mad if all of a sudden games like GTA were only available at places like adult bookstores or online. The prices would then shoot up. We'll just have to wait and see. It will take a while, like everything the gov't does............... i could go on forever....

Corvin
Corvin

Just get it over with. Put violent video games in the same category as porn and treat it the same. Then just start heaping intense, realistic violence in these games, you've already got the AO may as well flaunt it right? Some games ARE violent just for the sake of violence. Show them a game that TRULY IS from the pits of hell. Evil, vile, remorseless, and rated AO and constitutionally protected. Then when the game STILL manages to get into kids hands, we can hear what money sink the polititians trying to protect us will dump taxpayer money into next.

king0512
king0512

And people wonder why I say that I have lost all faith in the American government.

kayne2000
kayne2000

i play violent video games so i dont have to be violent in real life

nss_120
nss_120

Well it really depends on the influence of a game and how much it would affect someone's ideals. People sometimes doesn't know how to balance themselves. These things wouldn't happen in the first place if the parents know how to be strict on their children on buying games. Also that parents should check the ESRB ratings first before they decide if their children could buy it.

nss_120
nss_120

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KrimsonTwilight
KrimsonTwilight

I'm just surprised that the Centers for Disease Control has nothing better to do with its time than messing with some spineless, Senator's desires to acquire voters. You'd think the Bird Flu, Aids, or boi-terrorism might be higher on their things-to-do-list. Also Violent people do violent things regardless of their entertainment preferences some are just more likely than others. I do believe that some people shouldn't be allowed to be around some games but those people are either still under their parents guidance and it is their parents responsibility to handle that, and those who have bad enough mental issues that they need padded rooms.

thejumpinChevy
thejumpinChevy

Why can't they just shut up{Jack Thompson and buddies}? Now they're making up stories about how gaming is related to smoking and lead, and even that its leads to lower IQs? What the flip??????? I was probably not that smart before I played video games, but when I started, I became a total flippin' genius!!!!!!! That's 100% true, I tell you!!!!!!

thejumpinChevy
thejumpinChevy

Jack Thompson and buddies obviously have a grudge against the video game industry and gamers; are they really trying to destroy the conservative ideals of the Bill of Rights? Because those damn liberals sure are coming awfully close to doing so....................

DaEmptyTomb
DaEmptyTomb

Leglislation needs to hop off the sack of video games and keep out of the concerns which are the responsibilities of parents. "Government has single handedly destroyed families by there excessive interference of the American Home" Dr. Morton

Ppatt78
Ppatt78

From the "pits of hell"? Come on...stop with this fundamentalist evangelical nonsense. If you're going to say that the violence of video games effects the mind, then you have to remove almost the entire book of Revelation (filled with graphic depictions of the violence of the end of the world) from the Bible. Much of the violence that is discussed in these types of sessions is taken out of context. In many videogames, the violence is an integral part of a compelling, creative and even beautiful story. In the psychological tests often conducted by these anti-game researchers, only a single screenshot from a game is shown to audiences. But does a picture of Master Chief running over a Grunt in his Scorpion make Halo evil? Does an image of Solid Snake brutally killing an enemy with a knife take away from its amazing story and design? I'm not saying don't try to determine if violent gaming rubs off on kids. What I am saying is that the way these anti-game politicians get their information is questionable. As of right now, I'm not convinced.

Finale_Wanderer
Finale_Wanderer

I've thought long and hard about this case, even though I'm still young. I still see the possibility of violent video games, sports, and movies having an strong negetive impact on children, teens, and even adults like the situation we saw here. I understand this to best of what I know about and think it should be looked on that extremely violent video games and movies should not be made too extensively. Yes, America does have other problems to attend to but when something is in a large sense overly brought to attention the government must consider action. As far as, I'm concerned we all need to watch out for Jack Thompson. Anyone that extreme does need to be dealt with promptly and forcefully no matter what side they're on.

ganon92
ganon92

This is aload of crap. Although i live in the UK and this really doesn't concern me, I find it stupid that the government should be debating about a small matter like this. Especially in America, considering they really should be debating about public safety and security because of the terrorist threats. Why debate about video games? These cases about children killing or hurting other people because of a video game is utter bull-sh**. The reasons why these events happen is either that the child may be under stress, or is being bullied, problems at home, or they might be under the influence of drugs, and just claim it to be the video game. 'Grand Theft Auto Vice City, tought him how to kill'- what the hell?! Yes- 'first lock onto your victim by holding down the R1 button; then use the circle button to fire your weapon; continue this untill victim is dead'- So, this is what goes through a killer's mind is it? How can you be tought how to kill by a video game. The whole point of a video game is that it is virtual, not real, made up, what ever way you want to put it, the idea is that, a video game does not give you an instruction manuel on how to kill people. I am 13 and I have played aload of games which may be considered to be 'violent', like the Grand Theft Auto's, Resident Evil's and Shadow of Rome, which is extensively gorey. And even by playing all these games (and for large periods of time), i have never felt the urge to kill or hurt anymore than anyone else who doesn't play video games. It is the people who are weak-minded that are the people who claim that video games are to blame for what they did. I could go on for hours at the absurdity of this article- it is pointless. Believe what you want to believe, but at the end of the day; video games are not to blame.

sitnik
sitnik

What a bunch of bull****. You wanna see some violence just turn on the TV or go read a newspaper. Leave games alone! And how good is a hearing where 5 people go against games and only 2 were there to defend (one being from the ESRB and the other a lawyer). Where are the game designers? Where are the kids buying the games and where are these kids' parents to say if their kids are getting violent or not.

stcourtney
stcourtney

I think all of you who are worried (or not) about a law coming out of this debate that will affect your ability to buy or get videogames are missing the point. the result of this will be that gaming businesses will not take risks in games for fear of arousing such reactions by congress or lawsuits that cost huge amounts of money to defend. The chilling effect of these developments is already playing out in game studios across the globe. These people are in business to make money, not art. If they can do both, they are fine with it.

jbot666
jbot666

Sure... a video game made me do it. Or, the devil made me do it, or Im sorry officer my cat told me to steal this car. Funny how human nature seeks rationalization for the irrational. In this case, people simply cannot grasp that humans are capable of random acts of violence due to a myriad of pychological issues stemming from all sorts of factors. Society needs a scapegoat in order for their collective puny brains to make sense of an ever changing sped up world. The jokes on them because video games are here to stay. Now if you will excuse me I just got done playing Star Wars KOTR and now I have to hold up a convenience store with a light saber.

crushblade
crushblade

Another thing it's not about the children it's about the parents because it's their decision to let their kids play these games and why are they discussing this if they can simply discuss Video Game PIRACY right?

crushblade
crushblade

I think that this whole can be considered somewhat useless but there is a very small part of it that is important. Sure people are complaining about the games we know what happened. But a lot of you are right the government should discuss more important issues rather than video games cause the most simple thing to do is just like liquor(although you can fake it) is to show your school ID or any ID to the cashier for that reason before buying a game. We have things like Iraq,New Orleans and other VERY important things. Overall, I think the ESRB should find a way to have more control so I think the ESRB should test every single game of a game studio that they release in a certain date . Because sometimes the ESRB might not have tried the expansion or not finish the game.This is not in any way related to National Security or something this is simply something for fun. SO the government should "just like I said before" discuss other IMPORTANT things

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

Reactionary liberal left soap-boxing at its best!

maddog619
maddog619

Also what is so stupid is any one can get rated M games I play them all the time and I am only 16 so then the ESRB does not really do any thing and any of you friends can get the games if they are over 17.

maddog619
maddog619

those fools are wasting their fi**cing time and it is worthless to try to do what ever the hell they are trying to do. They have more important things to think about like war ell eagle immigrants and global warming. The senate was not originally indented to waste time on this but it is in the constitution to bring up what ever they want.

Shadow338
Shadow338

They're just trying to look good, hope they get a vote in the future. Why waste their time on this, when there is more important things to worry about. There's iraq, and people probably starving over in Lousiana, and all they care about is Video Games. This is too sad

yrnehmada
yrnehmada

CAMRA and the FEPA are perfect examples of how Congress is the opposite of progress. Violence and Sex have always existed in human society LONG before the concept of video games.

knn2003
knn2003

"Jack opened up a whole other world to me that I did not even know existed." That gave me a shiver. As stated by Patricia Vance, only 12% of the games released in 2005 were rated M. The majority of the games were rated E. There is no need to "clean up" the video game industry. M rated games are aimed at adult gamers. Don't allow stores to sell M rated games to minors. What else is there to discuss about? Compare these ratios, violent gamers to total gamers - small ratio violent used car salesmen to total used car salesmen - larger ratio Now that's something worth discussing. You people should stop with "what about issues such as Iraq?" We can't ignore some issues because there are more important things to discuss about. I'm not saying this is the case here. I'm just annoyed with people saying that over and over. This is just an attempt by politicians to win votes. The baby boomer generation generally don't play video games, they think games are for children and should not be violent. What's a better way to win their vote with "think about the children"?