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New Bill Calls for Mandatory Video Game ID Checks

PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Games and Technology
From Gamasutra:
Republican Lee Terry and Democrat Jim Matheson have introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives which would require all video game retailers to make identification checks on those buying video games intended for adults.

According to a Variety report, the proposed Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act would require ID checks for any game rated M for mature or AO (adults only) and would also require stores to prominently display explanations of the existing ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) ratings system. Failure to comply in either case would result in a $5,000 fine.

Terry is optimistic that the act will not fall foul of first amendment concerns because it does not attempt to rate or define the content itself, but instead legally enforce the existing age ratings. The bill has already gained support from the Parents Television Council.

“The images and themes in some video games are shocking and troublesome. In some games, high scores are often earned by players who commit ‘virtual’ murder, assault and rape,” said Terry.

“Many young children are walking into stores and are able to buy or rent these games without their parents even knowing about it. Many retailers have tried to develop voluntary policies to make sure mature games do not end up in the hands of young kids, but we need to do more to protect our children,” he added.

I've seen a lot of gamers say they support this, and I don't understand why. I couldn't be more against it. It's such a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. I mean, it's not like the 1st Amendment has unclear wording, or a gray area or something. It's perfectly, brilliantly clear:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can't restrict speech! Ever! In any way! If you do support this, please tell me how morally you can possibly think it's a good thing to have government deciding what speech may be consumed by individuals, and how you think it's constitutional in light of the 1st Amendment.

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Posts

  • HtownHtown Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Never will happen. Just some election year shenanigans to drum up votes.

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  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I think it's telling that there aren't mandatory age checks for movie theaters.

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  • fragglefartfragglefart Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Sounds like a good idea, to a bitter old man like me.

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  • TubeTube Says some shit Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited May 2008
    Should have happened ten years ago.

  • GyralGyral Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Htown wrote: »
    Never will happen. Just some election year shenanigans to drum up votes.

    This. Seriously, even other year we get this kind of crap from one politician or another to pander to the "concerned yet too stupid to parent their own children" crowd.

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  • Regulat0rRegulat0r Registered User
    edited May 2008
    It's about time.

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  • lessmorelessmore Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I like the idea. Saves from having dumb parents blame the game companies for their bad parenting. It will be like carding for booze, or porn. Things have age limits for a reason.

  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I see nothing wrong with this. It's like asking for ID when buying porno mags or cigarettes. If you want your kid to play M rated game you could still do so. Just tag along with him for the purchase.

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  • DirtyDirty Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Rape? Has anyone ever played a game where you, the player, have the option to physically rape another character?

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I support this, and it doesn't violate our Goddamn first amendment. Use your head instead of trying to find things that you claim the government are oppressing us on. People who don't meet the requirements for a game's rating shouldn't play it. We're not talking about something unreasonable here. If a parent doesn't mind their kid seeing GTA, the parent will buy it. Problem solved. You have your "damn the man" loophole already.

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  • jeddy leejeddy lee Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Isn't this already happening?

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  • interceptintercept Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I think when our forefathers wrote the Constitution, they expected that it would be guidelines for grown men and not children. Correct me if I'm wrong OP, but that's what I'm inferring in your post -- that information, rights and benefits should be given freely to anyone regardless of age.

    Well, basically that would mean parents wouldn't be able to control or tell their kids what they can or can't watch... Which I'm sure wasn't the intended use of the First Amendment. Either way, I don't see the big deal with it. There are mandatory age checks for R-rated movies in the theaters in my area. Maybe that differs on a state by state basis?

  • BursarBursar 16 tons of #9 coleslaw Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I am for the practice of businesses willingly instating ID-checking methods for what they feel to be restricted material. I am not in favor of the government mandating that such a practice be enforced.

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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Dirty wrote: »
    Rape? Has anyone ever played a game where you, the player, have the option to physically rape another character?

    Well... There are those Hentai games...

    No. No I haven't.

  • interceptintercept Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Dirty wrote: »
    Rape? Has anyone ever played a game where you, the player, have the option to physically rape another character?

    There's a game where your player character almost GETS raped..

    Anyone remember which Phantasmagoria that was? The one about the couple that moves into the house haunted by the ghost of the loony magician.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Bursar wrote: »
    I am for the practice of businesses willingly instating ID-checking methods for what they feel to be restricted material. I am not in favor of the government mandating that such a practice be enforced.

    Okay, two questions: Why? and Who is it hurting?

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  • PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    intercept wrote: »
    I think when our forefathers wrote the Constitution, they expected that it would be guidelines for grown men and not children. Correct me if I'm wrong OP, but that's what I'm inferring in your post -- that information, rights and benefits should be given freely to anyone regardless of age.

    Well, basically that would mean parents wouldn't be able to control or tell their kids what they can or can't watch... Which I'm sure wasn't the intended use of the First Amendment. Either way, I don't see the big deal with it. There are mandatory age checks for R-rated movies in the theaters in my area. Maybe that differs on a state by state basis?

    No, it wouldn't restrict parents. The 1st Amendment prevents the government from restricting speech, it doesn't prevent anyone else, including parents, from doing so. Parents can prevent their kids from doing anything they want, except for eating I guess...

    There are no government-enforced age checks for movies, movie theaters voluntarily check ID, just like many retailers do now for video games.

  • RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yeah, its pretty much common law at this point that children don't intrinsically get the rights in the constitution/bill of rights.

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  • Regicid3Regicid3 Registered User
    edited May 2008
    This is good. Don't fight it.

  • RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    There are no government-enforced age checks for movies,

    Just driving, smoking, drinking, buying pornographic material, voting, and signing contracts.

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  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Raslin wrote: »
    Yeah, its pretty much common law at this point that children don't intrinsically get the rights in the constitution/bill of rights.

    Supreme court disagrees with you:
    Wiki wrote:
    Justice Abe Fortas wrote, "schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students...are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State."

    Anyways I don't see how this applies to the rights of a minor - their speech isn't being restricted. It's the game that is being restricted, the sale of it at least. How is that not a form of artistic expression like film? There is a test that applies here:
    Wiki wrote:
    The Roth test was expanded when the Court decided Miller v. California in 1973. Under the Miller test, a work is obscene if it would be found appealing to the prurient interest by an average person applying contemporary community standards, depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Note that "community" standards—not national standards—are applied whether the material appeals to the prurient interest; thus, material may be deemed obscene in one locality but not in another. National standards, however, are applied whether the material is of value.

    How many copies of GTA sold so far? Do we really think a game that's made, what, $500 million in the first week after release is viewed as obscene by a reasonable person?

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  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I seriously thought this was already enforced. Maybe it's just best buy or maybe it's just Colorado, but I know here Best Buy has ESRB posters at the entrance to the video game isles of the store. That and I was carded when I bought Bio Shock and I'm 24.

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  • BarneyLBarneyL Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Bursar wrote: »
    I am for the practice of businesses willingly instating ID-checking methods for what they feel to be restricted material. I am not in favor of the government mandating that such a practice be enforced.

    Stop me if I'm wrong but the reason why a law is being considered is because the games industry has failed to regulate itself and instead concentrated on selling violent games clearly designed for children *cough* manhunt *cough*.
    Seriously, I'm all for adult games and perhaps if adult games can only be sold to adults we'll start seeing adult violence as in Goodfellas in games rather than "adult" violence as in Itchy and Scratchy.

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    So would this actually require that the games not be sold, or could retailers check IDs and then sell the game anyway because the ratings aren't actually binding in any way?

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I support it.

    Think about it, all the bad press video games get is because this or that little kid is playing a game rated older than them. At least this way it's their parents' or older siblins' fault for buying them a game they shouldn't be playing. Get some of the heat off the industry and onto parents who should be taking care of their kids in the first place.

    I see it the same as buying porn or cigarettes or R-rated movies (when the ticket person is paying attention) where you show your ID. I don't mind it, and I sometimes still get carded at movies despite being 26.

    The only people who should be complaining about this are those who are under 18 and can't sneak a purchase of a M rated game from inattentive store clerks anymore.

    Does it stink that the govt needs to regulate this? Yes. But apparently the retail game business can't regulate themselves, so it's up to the next person in line, the govt, to do it. If GameStop, WalMart, and all the other stores that sold games had policed themselves and put this into policy years ago, we wouldn't be seeing this today.

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    There are no government-enforced age checks for movies, movie theaters voluntarily check ID, just like many retailers do now for video games.

    And yet not all of them do. Almost all movie theatres check ID, and are actually allowed to keep people out. The reason why the government hasn't stepped in there is because they don't have to.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think video games are the sole cause of kids becoming fuckwits. But I don't see the harm in them enforcing carding for games (seriously, most everyone on this board is old enough to get whatever the hell they want), and it'll also give us all a chance to see if the lobbyists are right in that games are being sold to the wrong people.

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  • fragglefartfragglefart Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Dirty wrote: »
    Rape? Has anyone ever played a game where you, the player, have the option to physically rape another character?
    Regicid3 wrote: »
    This is good. Don't fight it.

    I saw these posts and thought one was a response to the other.

    And didn't something dodgy happen in that Custer's Revenge game way back when?

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  • PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Raslin wrote: »
    There are no government-enforced age checks for movies,

    Just driving, smoking, drinking, buying pornographic material, voting, and signing contracts.

    Driving is restricted because children lack the maturity to make informed decisions on the road, and may pose a risk to others. Smoking and drinking are restricted because they post significant, proven health risks which children are not mature enough to make objective decisions about. Pornographic material has been made an exception for in the speech area because, IIRC, it is seen as "content-free" in that it has no intended message as such, and is intended only to titillate (if you've played GTA4 and think it's only purpose is to titillate, you're a moron). I'm not a constitutional scholar, but that's my recollection of the justification there. Voting is restricted because of the need for a mature voting populous.

    I don't see how any of this applies to video games. There are no health risks, they are clearly pieces of art that do not fall under the pornography exception (though there are many that would contend they do), etc.

  • Lord YodLord Yod Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    BarneyL wrote: »
    Bursar wrote: »
    I am for the practice of businesses willingly instating ID-checking methods for what they feel to be restricted material. I am not in favor of the government mandating that such a practice be enforced.

    Stop me if I'm wrong but the reason why a law is being considered is because the games industry has failed to regulate itself and instead concentrated on selling violent games clearly designed for children *cough* manhunt *cough*.

    So when you buy GTA, do you buy it directly from Rockstar, or do you maybe go to a store like Target or Best Buy? And maybe the store, not the publisher, is at fault for not following ESRB guidelines?

    And who the fuck thinks that Manhunt is designed for kids?

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  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    This thread should go into D&D, or have a replica there. I'd love to see more informed folk discuss this.

    Edit - I myself am really uninformed of things, for the record.

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  • PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Raslin wrote: »
    Yeah, its pretty much common law at this point that children don't intrinsically get the rights in the constitution/bill of rights.

    Supreme court disagrees with you:
    Wiki wrote:
    Justice Abe Fortas wrote, "schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students...are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State."

    Anyways I don't see how this applies to the rights of a minor - their speech isn't being restricted. It's the game that is being restricted, the sale of it at least. How is that not a form of artistic expression like film? There is a test that applies here:
    Wiki wrote:
    The Roth test was expanded when the Court decided Miller v. California in 1973. Under the Miller test, a work is obscene if it would be found appealing to the prurient interest by an average person applying contemporary community standards, depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Note that "community" standards—not national standards—are applied whether the material appeals to the prurient interest; thus, material may be deemed obscene in one locality but not in another. National standards, however, are applied whether the material is of value.

    How many copies of GTA sold so far? Do we really think a game that's made, what, $500 million in the first week after release is viewed as obscene by a reasonable person?

    Thank you for doing the research I was too lazy to do.

  • AshendarkAshendark Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I'm all for it. There are simular laws restricting sale of rated R movies to minors right? The same should apply for games especially since the medium is so popular among them.

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  • badpoetbadpoet Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I wholeheartedly support this idea. That won't stop shitty parents from buying the games for their kids, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

  • CaedereCaedere S'no regrets BIRDIESRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Ashendark wrote: »
    I'm all for it. There are simular laws restricting sale of rated R movies to minors right? The same should apply for games especially since the medium is so popular among them.

    No, there are not. It's voluntary.

    The government has no place regulating content that is protected under the First Amendment. At all.

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  • PuddingSenatorPuddingSenator Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Ashendark wrote: »
    I'm all for it. There are simular laws restricting sale of rated R movies to minors right? The same should apply for games especially since the medium is so popular among them.

    No. There aren't.

    edit: beat'd

  • Nova_CNova_C Sniff Sniff Snorf Beyond The WallRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    intercept wrote: »
    Anyone remember which Phantasmagoria that was? The one about the couple that moves into the house haunted by the ghost of the loony magician.

    That was the first one. And yes, she gets raped by her husband in one scene near the end.

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  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Dirty wrote: »
    Rape? Has anyone ever played a game where you, the player, have the option to physically rape another character?

    I dont think anyone has consented to a good clean corpse hump. But thats necrophilia really.

    scarab you have mental problems
  • EmperorSethEmperorSeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Caedere wrote: »
    Ashendark wrote: »
    I'm all for it. There are simular laws restricting sale of rated R movies to minors right? The same should apply for games especially since the medium is so popular among them.

    No, there are not. It's voluntary.

    The government has no place regulating content that is protected under the First Amendment. At all.

    Exactly, and that's why this is a terrible, terrible bill. Saying "oh, it's just like cigarettes and porn" is to classify video games as cigarettes or porn, and not a valid form of art and expression. At any rate, yes, this is just election year wankery and will be struck down by the courts, just like every single other version of this law.

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  • RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Lord Yod wrote: »
    Raslin wrote: »
    Yeah, its pretty much common law at this point that children don't intrinsically get the rights in the constitution/bill of rights.

    Supreme court disagrees with you:
    Wiki wrote:
    Justice Abe Fortas wrote, "schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students...are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State."

    Just on this issue: its a different ballpark. Yes, students(read:children in this case) have fundamental rights, but not constitutional rights.

    Anyways, I seriously think the people who argue about this issue just want something to argue about. The government wants to enforce a non-governmental agency's ratings on video games. Are you really that concerned that people won't get to buy certain video games until 17/18? Honestly, while I agree some games are art, I have to same the majority aren't. But thats me.

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  • RaslinRaslin Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Caedere wrote: »
    Ashendark wrote: »
    I'm all for it. There are simular laws restricting sale of rated R movies to minors right? The same should apply for games especially since the medium is so popular among them.

    No, there are not. It's voluntary.

    The government has no place regulating content that is protected under the First Amendment. At all.

    I have to pay tax on my newspaper.

    A bloo bloo bloo.

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