Tuesday Top 5: Reasons to Oppose California’s Anti-Game Bill

It seems there always someone out for video games. Be it Jack Thompson, Cooper Lawrence, or Fox News there’s always someone with an opinion. Who’d a thunk it would be Arnold Swharzennegar, the greatest symbol of violent entertainment ever to grace the film industry, that would be the most legitimate threat to gaming? In case you’re unaware, a bill passed by California is about to go up before the Supreme Court. If it passes, the consequences to gaming as a whole could be dire. Not sure why you should oppose it? Read on good sir (or miss)!

5. It’s Yet Another Unnecessary Law
Reading the basic outline of the bill itself, it doesn’t seem altogether too bad. It basically stipulates that it is illegal in the state of California for minors to purchase Mature rated games. The thing is, even before people were pushing for a law of this sort you’d have been hard pressed to find a retailer that would sell a M-rated game to a minor.

The only reason so many kids do play games innappropriate for their age is because their parents buy them anways. I cannot even begin to count all the times I’ve watched some poor GameStop clerk run try to warn a parent with an eager ten year old that “Blood n Tits 5” is chock full of naught stuff, just to see said parent roll their eyes and buy it any ways. Now granted, my parents bought me all sorts of virtual violence when I was kid. By the time I was six I knew every line of Terminator 2 by heart (best action movie EVER). But they never complained about it!

Watching these nimrods you can always tell that they’re the type who, one day when little Nimrod Jr. smacks his sister ,will blame the video game. “How dare they market this to children!” Never mind the big black “M for Mature” on the front of the package.

The point is, this law is only going to force what most stores are already doing, while leaving the same loophole that kids keep exploiting. Parents by and large are lazy morons too stupid to read a box. No amount of legislation is going to change that.

4. What Makes Video Games So Special?
Let’s say for a moment that this was just video games conforming to a common standard for entertainment. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if films, books and music were regulated similarly then maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal. But they aren’t.

Again, while most retailers will not sell certain content to a minor, there is no legal precedent stating they can’t. In short, this means that if it would legally be more heinous to sell a minor a copy of Heavy Rain than it would be to sell them a DVD of Wild Things.

Let us weigh that comparison for a moment. There’s what, a few brief scenes of optional sexuality in Heavy Rain? The state of California is more worried about that than a minor watching Matt Dillon motorboat Denise Richards’ champagne covered breasts? They could legally watch Caligula! It boggles the freaking mind!

Now granted, violence seemed to be more the focus of the California bill than sex, but the point stands. For every bit of sex, gore, and profanity present in video games film, literature, and music can easily match it.

No other medium of entertainment is required by law to subject to a rating. If this bill is found constitutional, video games could easily be required to do so in short, it’s bad….


3. Politicians Know Jack About Video Games
When has a politician ever been right about video games? The industry has become something of a go to whipping boy for politicos trying to look more moral and concerned with today’s youth. Just looking at a cross section of the Congress and Senate, I don’t think it would be unfair to say few of them have even played a Wii. They’re a bunch of old fogeys either scared of something new, or latching on to other’s fear out of the hopes it will get them more votes in those pesky midterm elections.

2. Free Speech
I love America. For all its many problems I couldn’t picture living anywhere else. Above all I love our right to free speech.

Point in case, just last week a man was threatening to burn certain holy books. This threat incited riots and could have cost people their lives. Did the government tell him to stop? Nope, they asked. The Secretary of Defense actually called him up and asked him to stop. A man, who with a push of button could nuke us all, asked a nobody internet-ordained pastor not to light a match. And if the pastor decided to say no, to burn those books any ways there was nothing the government could legally do.

Terry Jones is a douche, but that’s still kind of cool to think about.

This bill would essentially destroy video games as protected speech. How can we allow that when gaming is just now coming to a point where it is experimenting like never before with the art of narrative? Where it can create works of cinematic splendor to match anything that the best Hollywood director has created? Would you cut a sapling down just as it’s to become a tree?

1. We’re Gamers Damn It
We’re gamers. By definition we love gaming. For many of us they are a huge part of our life. It goes to reason that when the industry, for all its flaws, has given us so much that we would be there to defend it in its time of need. Forget the Activisions. Forget Electronics Arts, DRM, and crappy DLC not worth the seven bucks I spent last weekend. This could be are moment of truth! Our High Noon!

So one just has to ask. Are we going to puss out like so many have in similar fights before, or are you going to sign this damn petition and let your name stand beside those others who want to tell the state of Calinfornia to kiss your couch anchored ass?

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