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Schumer Has the Right Idea, But the Wrong Plan

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A lot of people have been asking me about my opinion on the recent issue of the ultra-violent videogame 25 to Life and whether or not I agree with New York Senator Charles Schumer’s individual campaign to have the game banned.

Schumer’s heart is in the right place, but I feel that he is going about it all wrong. You cannot ban a videogame because of its content, regardless of how unethical or immoral it is. You can, however, strictly enforce which individuals are allowed to play it and which are not. A videogame ratings system (ESRB) has been around for some while now but it is very rarely enforced. I cannot count the number of times I’ve witnessed young children purchasing “M” rated games such as Grand Theft Auto with absolutely no obstruction.

There are plenty of violent films that come out (and rightly so) that depict real life violence and gore using real life actors. These films are not banned because it is socially acceptable for someone young to be denied entrance to one of these “R” rated films. When the time comes in our culture that it is acceptable for a younger gamer to be denied the purchasing of a violent “M” rated videogame there will be nothing left to argue about.

It is not a surprise that Mr. Schumer is alone in his public campaign against the game. It would shock me however if he were alone in a campaign that sought to enforce laws that prevented the sales of “M” rated videogames to minors.

In the end, parents are the ones that should monitor their child’s gaming. Children will get their hands on the games regardless of the law (they surely know how to sneak into “R” rated films). It’s one thing to sell a violent game to a minor; but to be in charge of one who is playing a violent game unknowingly to the parent is simply ignorant.

The game will most likely come out on schedule as it should, but with the new generation of consoles and games on the horizon, laws need to be set into motion now to prepare for games that will look even more authentic. If you thought games looked violent now, you are in for a rude awakening come 2006.

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About Jeff Bakalar

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Good – it’s available for the XBox:D

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    He’s not trying to ban it technically. He’s urging retailers not to stock it. Same thing? Yeah.

    Few things to note as I was just about to post something on the same thing. Ah, the genius of politicians. What this guy fails to realize (or didn’t want to mention for fear of looking stupid) is that you can play either a cop or drug dealer (player’s choice), multiple games (dating back to the NES era) featured human hostages, and GTA lets you do far worse. He also probably didn’t epect the game to jump over 400% in Amazon in Amazon’s movers and shakers (as found by a cheapassgamer member) after his statement. Yes Schumer, you just made every kid in America want it even more, not the game maker like you seem to think. Brilliant.

    These idiots need to do something constructive with their time and deal with actual important issues. This is not one of them.

    And a parent is responsible for what games their children are playing, not a game retailer or the game maker.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan The Man

    Seriously, once you tell people not to buy things, their first instinct is to go buy it. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if people didn’t make it such. Although that statement is a really loose one.