I just read an infuriating take on the recent violent video game law passed in California:
Wired News: The Tortured Language of the Law
Interestingly, the one moment of genuine clarity in the California law is when it frets about games where you can “torture” someone. The legislators define torture as when you intentionally cause someone else suffering — “mental as well as physical” — that is quite apart from the cut-and-thrust of battle. The language is suddenly much crisper here, and I wondered why.
Then it hit me: Because this is the one area of law where our governments have deep, recent experience. Three years ago, the federal government was painstakingly crafting legal memos about torture — not so they could ban it, but so they could perform it. Who could forget White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ intricately crafted prose, saying that torture “must cause pain equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death”?
Consider that your final irony: Politicians work hard to ban virtual torture — while working just as hard to allow it in real life.
This goes to earlier cynical observations that I made about politicians like Hillary Clinton demonizing video games while in the same breath demanding that more kids be sent to fight the war in Iraq.
Seriously, what it is about these people and their inability to separate real world violence from video game violence? They claim their fear is that kids will become more violent in the real world as a result of video games, and yet… they support policies that actively put kids in harm’s way. Isn’t this the pot acting like the kettle?
More and more I think that video gamers need the equivalent of MoveOn.org – A place where gamers can rally around non-partisan issues that impact their culture and primary form of entertainment. Something like… GamerVoter.com The whole enterprise could be financed through donations and sales of merchandise like “I’m a gamer and I vote” bumper stickers or “You don’t (image of classic game controller) me.” t-shirts.
Isn’t it about time gamers stood together against the increasingly nonsensical and biased hatred that is being directed at them by a clueless and vindictive elder class of politicians? This is still a democracy right?
Btw, I think it is interesting to note that under this law a game like The Sims would be banned for sale to minors. Within the â€œdollhouseâ€ confines of its world the player can perform actions that actively â€œtortureâ€ the Sim characters, ultimately leading to them urinating on themselves, going insane, and starving to death. Take note casual gamers, this law isnâ€™t just about â€œmurder simulatorsâ€ aka first-person-shooters.