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Violent games law: who's really suffering?

Alan Rose

GovernatorThe ignorance and hypocrisy of modern policymakers truly knows no bounds as evidenced in Clive Thompson's analysis of the violent games bill that was recently passed into law in California. While Thompson notes the vagueness in the law's definitions of a game character's "human characteristics" and what it really means to "relish in virtual killing", further inspection of the bill reveals politicians taking additional creative liberties with our liberties. In short, they're attempting to determine for gamers what constitutes art:

"A person may not sell or rent a video game that has been labeled as a violent video game to a minor" if violence depicted in the game "causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors".

The now-shipping And Then There Were None is considered a classic literary work by Agatha Christie and is often read in high school English classes (by minors). While the interactive adaptation of the book is rated "T" for teen, the content and theme of the game (i.e. murder) could have easily garnered an "M" rating regardless of how much violence it depicts - it's certainly implied. How is this game any less likely to encourage the "feelings of aggression" or "psychological harm" that lawmakers feel a game like The Suffering: Ties That Bind is capable of promoting? In both games, you're fighting for your life and in the latter, you're killing mutant monsters (not people, as in the "T" game). Of course, no politician will ever actually play those games, so how would they know in the first place?

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