Correcting the record on New York's proposed game laws

Kyle Orland
K. Orland|01.21.07

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Kyle Orland
January 21st, 2007
Correcting the record on New York's proposed game laws
When the Inquirer erroneously claimed that New York was planning a "video game ban for under 30s," we just added another mark on our "wacky Inquirer story" tally sheet. When the error started spreading to sites like 1up, PlanetXbox360 and Yahoo! Tech, we figured some sort of clarification was in order.

So let's be perfectly clear. Neither of the two bills currently being proposed by the New York state legislature will stop adults 18 and over from buying any video games. The confusion seems to stem from a section appearing in both New York Bill A00547 and New York Bill A02024 which says that access to a mandated "adult" video game section of stores will require customers to show ID unless the customer "reasonably appears to be at least thirty years of age."

In other words, if you look like you're under 30, they'll ask to see some ID. If the ID says you're over 18, you'll still be allowed to enter the section and buy the games. As both bills say in their texts, stores that sell or rent games "shall store and display such [violent] video games ... in a location designated for persons over the age of eighteen, in a manner which restricts access to such games."

If this system sounds familiar, it's probably because it's similar to the ID check system set up in most states to regulate tobacco and alcohol sales. Whether or not video games should be similarly classified is definitely worthy of debate (personally, we think not), but let's make sure we're arguing about the right thing here.
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