The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
I'm going to be honest - this is NOT the blog I had planned
for tonight. But after reading something in the news (I really need to quit
doing that) I was fired up again.
The tragic events in Connecticut affected us all differently
and some more than others. With the exception of the media and the politicians
using the heartbreak to push an agenda, the event is little more than a memory
for most. I don't want to diminish the pain and suffering those families must
be going through and I continue to grieve for them and pray for them as I
continue to study anything and everything I can find out about the incident. As
a gun owner, a gamer, a parent and someone who has devoted my entire adult life
to protecting others and the Constitution, I can't let it go...not that I can ever
change what happened, but perhaps I can at least understand it more than I do
But this blog isn't going to be about that incident, not
directly anyways. It is going to be about the continued aftermath as a result
of that incident. You see, when the memory of those tragic days fade, we tend
to not notice the day to day political and media activity that continues on. Not
that we should or not that there is anything necessarily wrong with forgetting about
it, but continuing to follow the findings might at least keep us informed at
how our hobbies are represented (and blamed) in the matter.
Take for example this news article
that was posted weeks after the event.
magazines frequently as he fired his way through the first-grade classrooms of
Lauren Rousseau and Victoria Soto, sometimes shooting as few as 15 shots from a
30-round magazine, sources said. Investigators are aware that frequent
reloading is common in violent video games because an experienced player knows
never to enter a new building or room without a full magazine so as not to risk
running out of bullets. This has led them to speculate privately that this
might be a reason that he replaced magazines frequently...In searching the house,
police discovered that Lanza had thousands of dollars' worth of violent video
games...Before he left the house, Lanza destroyed the hard drive on his computer,
which likely kept some of the records of what games he played and who he played
I'll refrain from commenting on that so you can form your
own opinion on the matter, but next up is the matter of the Video Games Ratings
Enforcement Act, H.R. 287 which you can read the official legislation here.
It's important for us (you + me) to realize who is behind
this legislation and what it will (or won't) accomplish. This official website
from the state of Utah seems to state clearly who is behind reintroducing this
legislation. You can read the story here
if you want to.
D.C.-Congressman Jim Matheson reintroduced legislation, H.R.287, the Video
Games Ratings Enforcement Act, requiring that video games be labeled and that
retailers check identification in order to keep inappropriate video games from
being sold to children.
The Video Game Ratings
Enforcement Act would require all retailers to check identification for any
children attempting to buy or rent M (Mature) rated or AO (Adult Only) rated
games. According to industry data, half
of the top ten best-selling video games in 2012 were rated M. The legislation also requires that an
explanation of the video games ratings system be posted in stores for all
customers to see. Most video games are
labeled with a rating determined by an industry-ratings panel known as the
Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB)."
Again, I don't want to say too much so you can form your own
ideas. My main point is to draw these matters to your attention and provide actual
/ factual links to the references so if you want to do your own fact checking
you can. I'm not promoting my agenda or any agenda for that matter. I'm
encouraging you to be informed, make your own decisions, and respond
If you read the actual bill or if you read the summary above...consider
this point though.
Who does this law
It shall be unlawful
for any person to ship or otherwise distribute in interstate commerce, or to
sell or rent, a video game that does not contain a rating label, in a clear and
conspicuous location on the outside packaging of the video game, containing an
age-based content rating determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings
The law targets the stores that sell the games. Now, I don't
know about you, but I was carded the last time I bought a game from Target (and
I'm old); and I've seen every Game Stop I have ever been in card kids trying to
buy Mature rated games. While the ESRB ratings aren't required by law, it is
essentially used by most publishers and retailers. How does making it a law change
My question is this, where is the legislation that addresses
the parents and legal guardians who aren't supervising their children's
activities? Not that I'm necessarily advocating such legislation, but if the
politicians are seriously trying to fix this problem, I don't understand how
what they have proposed does anything whatsoever. But you should still be aware
of it, especially if you're in Utah and Jim Matheson is your Congressman.
But the final story...this is the one that really spun me up.
In a story posted just yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle, a reporter
named Benny Evangelista posted an article titled, Video Games Drawn Into Violence Debate which included an interview with
State Senator Leland Yee, representing San Francisco and most of San Mateo
"Gamers have got
to just quiet down," Yee, D-San Francisco, said in an interview Tuesday.
"Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust
for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar
industry. This is about their self-interest."
By all means do your own research on Mr. Yee, one of our
elected officials. Perhaps you will come to the same conclusions that I did
when you read about the number of instances where he introduced legislation
designed to regulate video games, or the challenges he's made against the ESRB
for games like Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto.
I'm just going to take a look at this most recent quote and
analyze it for its content.
Gamers have got to
just quiet down...
Ironic, since he passed legislation designed to protect
student free speech and prohibit school administrators from censoring school
newspapers and broadcast journalism. So, it's okay for some people to enjoy
their First Amendment right, but we as gamers should just quiet down.
Gamers have no
credibility in this argument.
Really? Is that so? I wonder how Colleen Lachowicz, the
Democratic Senator from the state of Maine representing the 25th district feels
about that, seeing how she is a well-known World of Warcraft gamer; who was recently
elected even after her opponent tried using the fact that she was a gamer
against her. Does she have no credibility in this argument? Or just the rest of
us lowlife citizens who aren't part of the elite?
This is all about
their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money.
So, the only reason you and I play video games is to quench our
lust for violence. And shame on those developers and publishers who are trying
to make money in this free society...I thought that's what capitalism was all
about but apparently I am wrong.
This is about their
A convenient argument to advocate against something that isn't
important to you - in this case clearly Mr. Yee is not a gamer so it's easy for
him to say that we defend our rights to play video games because we're just worried
about what we want individually. That doesn't sound like the Constitution I've
I've written a number of pieces now on video games, guns and
violence now...and I will continue to do so in the future. I have intentionally
refrained from injecting a lot of my own commentary (except for my bit about
Mr. Yee) into the discussion because I truly would encourage each of you to
read and study the material yourself.
Pick a side, dig in...and prepare for the coming battle. The
video game industry is under attack...
You need to stop reading the news LOL. Honestly I'm to the point where I'm starting to avoid it. Not only because of the grandstanding of state political demagogues like Leland Yee, Darrell Issa or David Dreier, or the media's glorification of sex and violence for ratings supremacy as TOGNick wisely suggests, or the scapegoating that corporate sponsors of both encourage them to use to divert attention from their own malfeasance. Indeed there are plenty of reasons to avoid reports that masquerade as news today. But the main reason I'm more cynical and disillusioned than ever is how shrill and disrespectful public discourse has become. And sorry to beat a dead horse but your spot-on examples are yet another demonstration of the degree to which people at all levels of society are so eager to blame each other and attack one another instead of listen with an open mind and discuss constructively. We have serious issues facing government, business, our institutions and society as a whole but everyone's so defensive, so combative and so intransigent that I see little hope for bridging differences, and little hope for finding solutions to our common problems. At the end of the day, I wholeheartedly endorse your call for people to educate themselves and applaud your efforts in that regard. However, for too many it serves only to reinforce pre-existing beliefs at the expense of respect for each other and appreciation of opposing viewpoints and, then, it's all for naught. Of course I know you, Saint, and many others here won't fall prey to that practice, and it's one reason I love this community. Still, I'm discouraged by the prospects for enlightened public discourse in general and real progress toward a more safe, humane and civil world.
Nice blog as usual.
I just wanted to say that making the ESRB ratings legally binding won't change anything. Every time I go to buy an M rated game I get asked for ID. And the people at my two Gamestops know me! But they still need to see my ID. Also, every place I go to that sells video games have posters hanging that describe the ESRB ratings and what they mean. This law won't do anything in that department. Parents need to actually care about their children and what their children play.
I've read reports saying the video games industry is the best one at enforcing ratings and making sure children don't buy games not meant for them.
Regarding Leland Yee, you can tell he has never played video games and does not like them. We need to be quiet? We have no credibility? What? We have more credibility ion video games than he does. And I am not going to be quiet when ignorant politicians try to do something about an industry/hobby they don't understand.
Wow I um... Wow. I have read this I think a dozen times to really let it all soak in. I'm not going to go off and rant about this it's not my style. What I will say is that you are right. Our industry and very way of life is for the moment at least under attack. I for one am by your side Saint. Thankfully as my generation of gamers grow older and gain postitons in congress and other law making bodies, It'll hopefully be with a bit of understanding as most of us grew up with Video Games in our lives.
I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about everything thats been said after the last few incidents, but I will say this 70+ years ago Hitler made the jews into scapegoats, and that is what the media and politician are doing to gamers now. The only ones to blame for these incidents are the people who commit them. I've always lived my life believing that it isn't our struggles that determine who we are, but how we act.
Hehe I said I wasn't going to rant so I will stop for now since I try not to blog when angry.
Quality blog. I do find rather disgusting how much of the traditional media, and a decent number of politicians, dismiss gamers as being uneducated slobs, when their every waking moment are used to attract those very same sorts of individuals to watch their programs or vote for them....
Hey isn't least if we're playing video games to quench our lust for violence were not doing it in the real world lol. Wasn't tap music the cause of all violence years ago now they moved on to video games? This is why I don't watch the news always negative stuff and just ridiculous claims that have no truth. Nice blog as always saint
I can't make any point that hasn't already been made, so I will just say thank you Saint.
remain vigilant my dear friends and gaming companions. We will see the light on the other side of this battle.
Hold the line!
Why is there a screen from Maplestory at the top of this blog?
"Gamers have no credibility." That makes me feel especially disappointed, but I also want to laugh at the same time. It's ridiculous that politicians can be so misinformed about a topic, yet still are allowed to make decisions that affect so many people.
You've said this to me before, and I'm saying it to you now: Keep fighting the good fight. I appreciate the light you shed on this important issue.
Go Team Saint!
Well spoken as always. Personally, I don't think laws mandating the ESRB rating system would make it worse, but I don't think they'd be improved either. So it may be just a waste of money, in the end.