Trade Your Violent Games in for Ice Cream in California

In Marin County next month, people can trade in their violent games in exchange for Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Marin County
Marin County

People in northern California's Marin County will soon have the option of either trading their violent video games in at GameStop for cash, or to the county itself cream. The Marin County Independent Journal reports that district attorney Ed Berberian is launching a new buyback program where people can turn in toy guns and violent video games in exchange for delicious Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Berberian, who held a similar buyback program last year for firearms, is partnering with the Center for Domestic Peace and Vermont-based ice cream purveyor Ben & Jerry's for the campaign. On Saturdays in October, anyone can turn in toy guns and violent video games at various Marin County locations to receive their free ice cream (though we don't know what flavor(s) will be offered or how many scoops you'll get). A full list of buyback locations is available here.

Sorry, we don't know if this flavor will be offered
Sorry, we don't know if this flavor will be offered

Center for Domestic Peace development and community relations manager, Marla Hedlund, said the buyback program is an effort to "inspire people to become part of the movement to creative peace in a violence-free environment."

For his part, Berberian said getting rid of toy guns and violent video games could have a major impact on a child's development. Decreasing a person's exposure to violent video games could "alter how one later addresses conflict situations," he said.

There was no mention in the report about how Marin County will determine if a video game is "violent," but M-rated games are likely going to be targeted. It also is unclear what Marin County will do with the games and toy guns it collects.

A handful of prominent game developers are either based in Marin County or have an office there, including Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us), 2K Marin (BioShock), Visual Concepts (NBA 2K series), and Deep Silver (Saints Row, Dead Island).

Marin County is not the first to take aim at violent video games for such a buyback program. Last year, a town just outside of Boston offered coupons to people who gave away their violent games (and movies and toys). Before that, in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, a Connecticut town announced plans to collect and destroy violent video games. However, the town scrapped these plans in the 11th hour.

The effect violent video games have on gamers has been divisively debated. Some claim there is a definite link between playing violent games and increased levels of aggression, while others, including a former FBI profiler, argue that games do not cause violence. It's also interesting to note that it was California's own violent video game bill that ended up being struck down in the Supreme Court.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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