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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Clinton, Yee, Demuzio and You

Today it seems the Illinois law fining clerks and store owners for the sale of "adult" video games to minors will go into effect. Somewhere else, certain other politicians will be beating the podium decrying similar issues and coming up with the same basic ideas. Course, as I pointed out in "Seriously, let's think of the children", it's not going to change a thing because parents will just keep buying the games anyway.

The problem isn't an epidemic of kids buying mature games, it's parents buying mature games for their kids. Why? I think Jeff said it best:

But the parents aren't even listening to this debate. Kids still play rated-M games. Somehow they're able to play for hours and hours and hours without their parents knowing about it. And what, the store clerk should have stopped them? (Like, "I can't stop my little children from playing 37 hours a week of Baby-Killer 3, because I don't understand this little letter on the box it came in!").

I get the feeling that a big part of the problem is that the parents do hear the "video game violence is bad" side of the argument, but they don't believe it. They're probably the ones who bought the game to begin with, and they still will.
-- Jeff Freeman, SOE Developer and Parent

Now I see the fight from the other side going basically like this:

1. Hear about new laws
2. Assume new laws violate First Amendment
3. Stops worrying about new laws

Problem is, the pro-gaming side isn't paying enough attention. These new laws aren't concerned with free speech, they're going after public safety. In case you haven't had the "is it OK to yell FIRE in a crowded theater" test lately, public safety usually trumps free speech. So it's high time to stop being complacent about it (or worse, as a certain very well known game writer replied ... "the gaming industry deserves it") and start paying attention.

The problem is that this is a pretty dangerous foundation the witchburners are setting up. Video games, to them, are a violent and dangerous and cause public harm. Unless the pro-gaming side of things remind people that games and nicotine are really quite different, most people will simply not care.

In other words, the same reason why parents keep buying Grand Theft Auto is the same one why most parents won't care that it could be classified as a health risk.

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