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Washington State Soon to Pass Game Control Law

Old 04-18-03, 02:23 PM
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Washington State Soon to Pass Game Control Law

From Gamers.com:
Washington State Soon To Pass Game Control Law

By: D. F. Smith April 18, 2003 10:58 AM PDT
The Washington state Senate approved a bill Thursday to make selling M-rated videogames a crime. If the bill is passed into law -- it passed the state House of Representatives on March 18, and will likely cross the desk of governor Gary Locke unhindered -- it will be the first time that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board ratings have been backed by the force of law.
Under the proposed law, selling M-rated games to a minor would be a class 1 civil infraction, punishable by a $500 fine. Gail Markels, counsel to the Interactive Digital Software Association, called the measure "a misguided attempt at video game censorship." However, it received strong support from legislators (it passed 47-7 in the Senate) and impassioned testimony on its behalf from witnesses during Senate committee hearings.

Jack Thompson, a Florida lawyer who testified as an expert witness supporting the measure, claimed that his effort came "on behalf of victims killed by kids who trained on these murder simulators."
to the law. Anything that even gives the perception of keeping M-rate games out of kids hands is a good thing, and takes some fuel out the politicians bitching about the games even existing.

to "murder simulators:
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Old 04-18-03, 02:34 PM
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@ "murder simulators"

I agree with the law, however, since without it the ratings system is pointless (except as a marketing tool to increase demand among the prepubescent boys).
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Old 04-18-03, 02:49 PM
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This was written poorly! The first sentence almost gave me a heart attack!

Of course these M rated games should be out of the hands of kids! Ignorant parents are the most to blame though. I know 8 year olds who own GTA-Vice City! Unbelievable!
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Old 04-18-03, 03:45 PM
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Yay..lets fine video game retail employees because parents can't take care of their kids. One mistake and I could be paying a $500 fine.
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Old 04-18-03, 04:03 PM
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Originally posted by Not A N00b
Yay..lets fine video game retail employees because parents can't take care of their kids. One mistake and I could be paying a $500 fine.
Check ID. Problem solved.
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Old 04-18-03, 04:16 PM
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While they are at it, they should make it a crime to let kids into R-rated movies.

Or the parents could just take responsibility for what their kids are doing with their money.
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Old 04-18-03, 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by Not A N00b
Yay..lets fine video game retail employees because parents can't take care of their kids. One mistake and I could be paying a $500 fine.
Parents can't watch their kids all the time, especially 14-16 year olds.

It's the employees responsibility not to sell it to those under 17, just like it's employee's responsibility not to sell tobacco products to those under 18 and alcohol to those under 21.

If your "Not A N00b" you should understand this.
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Old 04-18-03, 05:04 PM
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Originally posted by juiio
Check ID. Problem solved.
Please. Video game store employees can't waste their time checking ID. They need to get through the transactions quickly so they can get back to their important work: making sarcastic comments about the customers under their breath. "He's buying Kabuki Warriors? Worst game ever!"
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Old 04-18-03, 05:05 PM
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Originally posted by Draven
While they are at it, they should make it a crime to let kids into R-rated movies.
I'm pretty sure most, if not all, states already fine theaters that let people under 17 into movies without parental consent (either being with them, or buying their ticket. Obviously any adult could by tickets for the kids, but it still makes it more difficult.

I have no problem with this. Parents can't watch their kids all the time, especially when they hit their mid teens. Laws like this don't affect those of us above 17 and give any censorship debates little clout.
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Old 04-18-03, 05:30 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Please. Video game store employees can't waste their time checking ID. They need to get through the transactions quickly so they can get back to their important work: making sarcastic comments about the customers under their breath. "He's buying Kabuki Warriors? Worst game ever!"
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Old 04-18-03, 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle
I'm pretty sure most, if not all, states already fine theaters that let people under 17 into movies without parental consent (either being with them, or buying their ticket. Obviously any adult could by tickets for the kids, but it still makes it more difficult.

I have no problem with this. Parents can't watch their kids all the time, especially when they hit their mid teens. Laws like this don't affect those of us above 17 and give any censorship debates little clout.
Not to sound harsh, but that is completely wrong. It is only the POLICY of most theatres to not let children in, not a law.
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Old 04-18-03, 05:45 PM
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I know the theater I went to in WV used to let anyone in, and then they stopped and said they had been fined, so maybe that was just some odd local thing, or just BS from the theater rather than explaining it as a new policy.
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Old 04-18-03, 06:05 PM
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$500 fine? Sounds a little harsh. What about mailorder?

I wonder what affect laws like this will have on the video game industry.


Some game you won't be able to buy if you are under 17:
Doom
Dungeon Keeper
Conker's Bad Fur Day
Fallout Tactics
American McGee's Alice
Eternal Darkness
Dungeon Siege
Deus Ex
Braveheart
Aliens vs. Predator
Diablo
Diablo II
Drakan Order of the Flame
Asheron's Call 2
Fallout 2
Operation Flashpoint Resistance
Crusader: No Regret
Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
Halo
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
Half Life
Thief
Giants: Citizen Kabuto


I can understand banning sale of these games for kids under maybe 13. But 17? What harm can Dungeon Siege cause a 16-year-old?

Do we want our games dumbed-down simply so software companies can sell games to teens?
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Old 04-18-03, 06:35 PM
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I seriously love this law.

I worked at a video rental store (in Washington, even) for quite a while, and renting out MA video games or R rated movies to minors was always a headache. The official company policy was never very clear, and the fact that every member of management had a different policy on things was maddening. It ranged from "Only rent to the kid if it's specifically allowed in the account," to "Rent to the kid unless it's specifically stated they can't rent MA games in the account." Add in that half of the employees were too freaking lazy to cover this stuff with parents when they set up an account and it was flat-out madness.

I'd refuse to rent MA games to obviously underage kids, and get overruled about half the time. And occasionally, if the manager working agreed with me and the kid couldn't rent the game, I'd get to deal with parents who were livid that they had to take time out of their day just so their kid could rent a dumb game (And, for added fun, at least one parent came back to exchange Conker's Bad Fur Day because it was just sooo inappropriate. Duh.)

I would have killed to be able to just say "I'm sorry, it's the law, I can't do anything about it." and go on with my day.
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Old 04-18-03, 08:02 PM
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Take the money away from the spoiled 14-16 year old brats and they wont be able to buy stuff theyre not supposed to. Seems like basic parenting skills to me, little Johnny wants an M rated game, M rated game costs $50, little Johnny has no money, therefore little Johnny cant buy M rated game. It is simple. And dont give me the argument that "they can play it at a friends house" cause we all know they will do everything theyre not supposed to at a friends house. Again, its a parenting thing.
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Old 04-18-03, 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by Jlbkwrm
I seriously love this law....I would have killed to be able to just say "I'm sorry, it's the law, I can't do anything about it." and go on with my day.
b/c your store doesn't have a good policy, you want a law for convenience?

i guess the law is well intentioned... but it's still pretty stoooopid. how well is underaged drinking enforced? underaged cigarette buying?

sounds like overreaction to a very minor problem. (pun intended)
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Old 04-18-03, 09:06 PM
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Underage drinking laws do make a difference though. Sure it's still pretty easy to get beer if you're underage (especially if you're 18-20 and in a college town). But it still not as easy as it would be if there were just "guidelines" not backed up by fines and loss of licenses.

A good example is Morgantown, WV, home of WVU. WVU was the nations #1 party school in 1997 in the princeton review thing that comes out every year. You could drink almost anywhere underage at the time. Since that came out they cracked down, fine bars on a regular basis, shut some down.

WVU fell off the list within 3 years, and it became a lot tougher to drink underage. Luckily I was underage during the "fun" years and of age after the crack down so I never missed a beat.

But any rate the point is these laws can and do make a difference. Are they going to totally solve the problem? Hell no. But they at least reduce it some what and give retailers cause to think twice before selling the product to someone underage.
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Old 04-18-03, 09:44 PM
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my main point was that the laws for a serious problem is difficult to enforce. enforcing a not-as-serious issue will be even more difficult to the point of being losing all credibility. and the last thing we want are people ignoring laws, right? i am a teetotaler but my college basically ignored all drinking age requirements.

who's being prosecuted? the employee or the employer? are they supposed to ask for ID? i guess they can have the "are you over 17" cards on the desk and kids can wear tags that say, "yes, i am over 17". or, are they supposed to make a judgement call (and hope they don't make a $500 mistake...). frankly, if a parent said his kid got an inappropriate video game from some place, i'd place some culpability on the parent.

if you make selling video games a punishable offense, i think bookstores should be liable for selling books w/ murder as its subject (the mystery section is going to take a big hit!). any book outside of the children's section is now banned to kids.

who benefits from this law? are cops going to be happy writing tickets? is our overburdened legal system going to deal w/ these issues instead of more serious crimes? are taxpayers footing the incurred public prosecutory costs? is washington tax rates going to rise? are lawyers going to make more money? i smell a lawsuit! do the lawmakers get to say they passed a "good and decent" law?

of course, the ultimate question: does this law effectively help the problem of kids going wacko? i think you are saying yes, but i'd disagree. there were, is and always will be some whacked kids out there.

(btw, we should make tv shows that promote stoopid behavior also! jackass, south park, jenny something daytime talk show, backyard wrestling, beevis and butthead, etc. frankly, there's enough violence just on foxtv to make me cringe! even major shows like 24, x-files and csi border on glorifying murder and violent behavior - so i hear, since i don't watch any of those shows)

--
this thread's making me mad! ban this thread! (just kidding )

--
note that i am over 17 nor do i have any interests at any video game store so i don't mean to dispute it out of self-interest. i just dislike ineffective laws.

Last edited by young; 04-18-03 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 04-18-03, 09:54 PM
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I don't think games make kids go wacko at all, so no I don't think this law will lessen that at all.

What I think it will do is make politicians fill good and shut up some of the debate about banning/censoring violent games. It won't totally stifle the debate, but it will lessen it. For instance it doesn't seem to me that there's as much made of explicit lyrics since the inception of the Parental Advisory sticker. I mean you still hear people bitch about Eminem and what not, but it doesn't seem to be quite as prevalent IMO. Of course that's a different case because it's just a warning sticker, but you get the idea.

So my answer to "who benefits from this law?" is hopefully us gamers after laws/regulations like this get more widespread and people like Lieberman lose a lot of the steam behind their anti-violent games ("murder simulator") campaigns."

Last edited by Josh Hinkle; 04-18-03 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 04-18-03, 09:55 PM
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ah, got ya! i can see the subversive effect of this law!
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Old 04-18-03, 10:05 PM
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I generally don't agree with over-legislating things but could be convinced in this case.

I don't think that kids should be able to purchase M-rated games. If the parent feels their child at whatever age can handle it then the parent can make the purchase and supply it to the child.
Then the parent will know what their kid is doing, (or at least this should be a tip off to the parent to do some research before just buying it for the kid). I'm not opposed to the parent supplying it to the kid, since the parent should have some handle on the kid's maturity levels.

Take it out of the hands of store mgmt, etc and just check ID.

It should be enforced on new and used games.

There should be a penalty to the individual (i.e. cashier) and the store. This way the store does not advise cashiers to disregard the law to make more sales, and the cashier has some personal responsibility in the matter.

I do not want to see M rated games go away, as I enjoy them. I also don't want these things being sold to my kid without me knowing it. I have a responsibility as a parent, but there is a certain amount of societal responsibility (as Josh states earlier with the underage drinking laws example).
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Old 04-18-03, 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Hinkle


So my answer to "who benefits from this law?" is hopefully us gamers after laws/regulations like this get more widespread and people like Lieberman lose a lot of the steam behind their anti-violent games ("murder simulator") campaigns."
Sometimes you have to watch this mentality though... not to digress into a subject that Geoff likes us to avoid, but current gun laws have never stopped a politician from trying to pass a new one with their name on it.

Again, not saying that we should be stubborn and resist some common sense, but we as gamers should be wary of compromising unless we know the specifics of the proposed law.

In any case, I agree in principle with such a law. Hopefully it will be worded, implemented and prosecuted properly.
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Old 04-19-03, 06:52 AM
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Part of me thinks this is a good idea, but another part of me doesn't want to see this happen. Parents need to take responsability for their kids. Plus - sometimes it's a 16 or 17 year old kid working at best buy or wherever selling these games. Bleh.
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Old 04-19-03, 10:41 PM
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Originally posted by Draven
While they are at it, they should make it a crime to let kids into R-rated movies.

Or the parents could just take responsibility for what their kids are doing with their money.
... exactly!
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Old 04-20-03, 02:01 AM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Please. Video game store employees can't waste their time checking ID. They need to get through the transactions quickly so they can get back to their important work: making sarcastic comments about the customers under their breath. "He's buying Kabuki Warriors? Worst game ever!"
Well aside from making those comments I ALWAYS check I.D and make sure what I'm selling is age appropriate. Granted not everyone does that, but because I do a lot of the regualr customers appreciate it.
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