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Author Topic: Cutting through the Bullshit  (Read 1161 times)
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Knightshade Dragon
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« on: September 22, 2004, 06:37:34 PM »

The IEMA has issued this statement that debunks most of what The Governator is using to justify the newly passed gaming law mentioned on the front page.  Makes me wish I wasn't a member of the media...

__________________________________________________

REACTION STATEMENT RE: CA AB1793
The following is a statement from Hal Halpin, President, Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association

The IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association), the non-profit trade association which represents the nation's leading retailers of computer and video games, was disappointed with Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to sign in to law California Assembly Bill 1793.

Thousands of retailers in California are now faced with the inevitability of being hit with frivolous lawsuits through the state's 17200 Unfair Business Practices statute. This law will have a devastating impact on California businesses, particularly small businesses whose livelihood depends on the sale of video games.

Inaccuracies and misrepresentations surround the issue of violent video games and continue even in Representative Leland Yee's press release today:

* The IEMA members have committed to voluntarily regulate the sale of Mature-rated games to minors and are in the process of implementing carding systems through each member company which shall be in place by this Christmas. Signage is already in place throughout all IEMA member stores, legislation was wholly unnecessary and an example of a waste of taxpayer's money and government resources. Adding legislative pressure to a self-regulated system will likely have a chilling effect on business and place an undue burden on California's retail community with no tangible upside.

* The issue of violent video games is a serious matter which requires serious study. To-date there has been no conclusive research to prove a causal linkage between playing videogames and asocial behavior.

* The statistics which are quoted repeatedly include wide-ranging types of software including educational and early childhood games, which bolster the figures and make them look more encompassing than they are. It would be both prudent and honest to explain to Mr. Yee's constituents that the vast majority of games are rated "E" by the industry's ratings board, and in fact only 11.9% of all games sold last year were rated Mature for adults (rather than the forty percent which was misrepresented).

* Mr. Yee's assertion that, "a 17-year old boy repeatedly stabbed a 14-year old to death in England while mimicking a game called "Manhunt," in which players score points for violent killing," too is a blatant falsehood - an outright fabrication of the facts. The British press uncovered long ago that it was in fact the victim who played videogames, not the assailant. The 17 year old never owned nor played "Manhunt" and therefore could not be "mimicking" anything.

* And finally, the Mature-rated games to which Mr. Yee refers in saying that players are rewarded "for killing police officers, maiming elderly persons, running over pedestrians and committing despicable acts of murder and torture upon women and racial minorities" is yet again a misrepresentation of the facts, too numerous to mention in this brief response.

While we are sure that Leland Yee's impetus in claiming to help parents was originally honorable, the facts have been distorted and twisted with willful disregard for the truth, and we fear at the detriment to business in the State of California. IEMA retailers have already committed to the placement of in-store signage which will empower parents to make informed purchasing decisions, and have gone beyond the movie and music businesses' commitment in also voluntarily committing to inhibiting the sale of Mature rated games to minors through comprehensive carding policies which are being put in to place. That Governor Schwarzenegger was unwilling or unable to make those distinctions is an injustice to the citizens of the state.
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2004, 06:50:18 PM »

Meh, ratings exist for a reason just as they do for movies.  The problem is that they're still not really enforced, and I'm all for any legislation that strengthens it.  'm not familar enough with the bill to know exactly how much teeth it really does have, but most of that counterargument is extremely lame.  Voluntary signs/enforcement if fundamentally flawed, because there's always going to be stores that don't do it.  Hell, I saw a 10 year old walk out of Target with Manhunt the other day.

While agree that the whole violence & videogames link is BS, there still needs to be something in place to force retailers to actually be responsible.  There's a reason why my kid can't go to R-rated movies, and the same reason should apply to games as well.
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2004, 07:36:35 PM »

Oh I completely concur, there needs to be something enforced.  When I ran an EB I wouldn't sell M to kids under age 14-ish (didn't have the district manager's support on this, so I could only weed out the little ones).  What bothers me is that the legislation is based and built on lies.  ON the other hand, It is also requiring a level of enforcement that most District Managers will not back up unless there is a law that will cost them money.  They have their bottom line at heart, so once the first lawsuit hits there we'll see it curbed.
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2004, 07:53:43 PM »

If it helps curb the sale of excessive crap like Manhunt to minors, I'm fine with that. While I disagree that a game like that should ever be made, the fact that it carries the M stamp on it should be enforced. What I can't stand are ignorant parents viewing it as just another game and buying it for their 10-year-olds. Kinda like when parents took their small kids to see "The Passion" because it "was based on Christ and dammit you should watch!". The film was rated R for extreme gore and violence, people, wake up! Ditto the M-rated games - they're rated that for a reason.

As the IEMA stated, 40+% of games sold were meant for Everyone. Mature games aren't near as popular as they are made out to be, but you better believe they're a lightning rod because the young people get it, the older people (i.e. the ones who run the show) don't get it.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2004, 09:22:49 PM »

I think many parents don't take the "M" rating on a game all that seriously.  Maybe the ESRB should have used a movie rating of G, PG, and R like the film industry to carry more weight.  

One of my co-workers said his eight year old son wanted GTA:Vice City.  When I told him it had drugs, swearing and lots of violence he just laughed and said his son kept bugging him to get it.  He comes back the day after he bought it, said he watched his son play and took the game away after he saw what was in it.  I gave him a "I hate to say I told you so..." speech.  His reply was, "I didn't think it was going to be that bad."

Are these people locked into thinking games are the same as they were 10 years ago?  I'm sitting here telling this guy to his face what to expect and he still buys it for his kid.  It's good there will be some kind of system in place to regulate who buys "M" rated games.  Hopefully some of those parents will wake up and take the rating seriously.
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2004, 02:06:36 AM »

I guesss most parents think, "It's a videogame, how bad can it be?"  Well, I'd hate to point this one out, but if they were to say the same thing about cartoons they would be in for a shock.  Hentai, anybody?  One good thing about this kind of legislation being in the spotlight is that parents might realize that it's not all Pac Man.  I don't necessarily like the legislation, but I like the discussion.  As long as both sides are well-informed and avoid the usual rhetoric.  Oh, but I do love referring to the GTA series as a "murder simulator."  Sweet, I've got to run out and preorder San Andreas!
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