The Master

The assault on video games

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Unless something changes in the next 48 hours, I will be recording a "radio editorial" on Monday which will be broadcast Tuesday evening. I will be criticizing Senator Evan Bayh's attempt to further regulate the video game industry. I'm working on the editorial now.

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Unless something changes in the next 48 hours, I will be recording a "radio editorial" on Monday which will be broadcast Tuesday evening. I will be criticizing Senator Evan Bayh's attempt to further regulate the video game industry. I'm working on the editorial now.

If you send this recording to me, I'll play it on the show.

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Ill. Governor to Appeal Video Game Ruling

By CHRISTOPHER WILLS

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gov. Rod Blagojevich vowed to appeal a federal judge's ruling that shot down a new Illinois law banning the sale of violent or sexual video games to minors.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly ruled Friday that Illinois' restrictions are unconstitutional and barred the state from enforcing the law.

The Democratic governor and other supporters of the measure have argued that children were being harmed by exposure to games in which characters go on killing sprees or sexual escapades.

"This battle is not over," Blagojevich said in a statement. "Parents should be able to expect that their kids will not have access to excessively violent and sexually explicit video games without their permission."

Kennelly said state officials came "nowhere near" demonstrating that the law passes constitutional muster.

Opponents had declared the law a restriction on free speech and pointed out that similar laws had been struck down in other states.

"It's unfortunate that the state of Illinois spent taxpayer money defending this statute. This is precisely what we told them would happen," said David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, one of the groups that sued over the law.

Blagojevich proposed the ban late last year after hearing about the video game "JFK Reloaded," which puts the player in the role of President Kennedy's assassin.

The measure, which was to go into effect Jan. 1, would have barred stores from selling or renting extremely violent or sexual games to minors and allowed $1,000 fines for violators.

The judge said that it would interfere with the First Amendment and that there was not a compelling enough reason, such as preventing imminent violence, to allow that.

"In this country, the state lacks the authority to ban protected speech on the ground that it affects the listener's or observer's thoughts and attitudes," Kennelly wrote.

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This can't be real. Can it...?

You may have seen the story on shoutwire a few days ago about the depressed gamer who announced his suicide to the world on an forum at metalgearsolid.org.

Following this tragic news several sites, including the original metalgearsolid.org, have reported that famous anti-games campaigner Jack Thompson has sent a letter to the owners of metalgearsolid.org, being less than sympathetic to the situation. The letter reads:

"Your 'gamer friend' will find peace through the Lord, Jesus Christ, but sadly it's too late for that.

There is a void in every heart. You can fill it up with the things of God, or the things not of God. This unfortunate soul chose to fill it up with combat games. The playing of these video games is masturbatory activity, meaning senseless self-stimulation. If you gamers could use a dictionary you would know that that term is not necessarily a sexual one.

The real tragedy here extends beyond the life and death of this one fellow. There are literally millions of young people and young adults whose despair is deepend by turning to the things of this world and then finding them meaningless.

All of you gamers need to put down the controllers and get a life. The utter inanity of the vast majority of postings here shows how vapid 'gaming' really is.

You are one of the cheerleaders for this wasting of time and the wasting of lives. Do you feel any remorse for having contributed to this 'culture of death?' Of course not. Hey, let's all play MORE games, and ignore all the really productive things to do with our lives.

Let's pretend to be shocked that a gamer might descend into deeper depression, as his gamer 'buds,' knowing he was killing himself, couldn't figure out how to call 911 themselves for him. That would have involved leaving their computers I guess.

Sad. Sad for all of you."

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Attorney Sues 'Grand Theft Auto' Makers

LOS ANGELES - The city attorney's office has sued the makers of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for allegedly hiding pornographic material inside the video game, officials said.

Rocky Delgadillo said his office sued Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., for making misleading statements in marketing the game and engaging in unfair competition.

A telephone call made after business hours to a Take-Two spokesman in New York was not returned.

The game, released in October 2004, features characters that commit crimes such as murder, drug dealing and pimping. The game also had an embedded "mini game" in which characters could engage in explicit sexual acts.

The industry board that rates video games gave it a mature rating but would have given it an adults-only rating if it knew of the explicit content, Delgadillo said.

The game's rating was later changed and retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co., pulled copies from their store shelves.

But the game was re-rated only after more than 12 million units had been sold, generating about $600 million in retail sales. The city attorney's office estimated that more than 200,000 units have been sold to date in California, generating more than $10 million in retail sales.

"Businesses have an obligation to truthfully disclose the content of their products — whether in the food we eat or the entertainment we consume," Delgadillo said.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, was part of an ongoing investigation into the marketing of video games, authorities said. The game also spurred several states to crack down on sales of mature-rated games to minors.

Delgadillo is seeking civil penalties from Rockstar Games Take-Two Interactive. He also is requesting that Take-Two and Rockstar take action to ensure full disclosure to consumers about the content of their video games.

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So that's what that was all about...

Yeah, that MGS2 Sucide this was really weird. He also posted it on the Gamefaqs boards. I got MGS2 for the past Christmas and went to Gamefaqs for help and ended up finding, like, all the threads about suicide. It was quite confusing, and bizarre, so I just got the hell out of there.

Oh, and fuck Jack Thompson, but that goes without saying.

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Its terrible that he would send this letter out to people that are grieving over the loss of somebody. I saw it on the news postings on ctrlaltdel-online.com the other day and it's even worse than just this.

off of gaminghorizon.com...

Gamer Commits Suicide, Media Misreports

Earlier this month, gamer named Mitchell S. with the online screenname "Kuja105" who posts on a few online videogame forums (including GameFaqs.com and MetalGearSolid.org) committed suicide. On January 2 he posted a message in both forums detailing his intent to end his own life, citing overwhelming complications with school and finances.

A very brief period of initial disbelief was followed by a barrage of replies from fellow forum members pleading that he not take his life, trying to talk him out of it.

For days, no word was heard from Mitchell. Fearing the worst, members and administration from metalgearsolid.org began searching for contact information, spending hours on the phone trying to get in touch with him. Finally on January 4, Ryan K., an administrator at metalgearsolid.org, got him on the phone and spent hours desperately trying to talk him out of it.

Sadly, Mitchell soon ended his own life by consuming antifreeze and painkillers.

Later, members from the site contacted Mitchell's family to find out the grave news. They reported it to their online community, and posted a tribute to their passed friend on the front page of metalgearsolid.org.

This is where the story turns.

The story was picked up by AFP, an international newswire service and has been carried by Yahoo!, CNN, and more. The story reported by AFP is almost completely erroneous to a sad and morbid degree.

The story authored by the AFP writer stated:

" ...[T]he gamer switched on his web cam and swallowed a large amount of motor antifreeze and pills [...]

Other forum members thought the man nicknamed "Kudjo" was joking even though he rambled for six hours about the effects of the substances and disappeared from view several times."

This is untrue. Firstly, his nickname was Kuja, not Kudjo; but more seriously, Mitchell did not broadcast himself over the internet via a webcam. No forum members thinking he was joking, no rambling for six hours. This is a complete fabrication.

The article also claims that the site was Bulgarian, which it isn't. The company that designed the website is based on Bulgaria, but it is hosted and maintained in the US.

The story also claims "After he failed to appear at regular meeting spots, gamers went to his home and learnt he died in hospital on January 7." There were no "regular meeting spots", and gamers never went to his home - they contacted his family over the phone.

Because of the allegations that the suicide was prompted by and broadcast by metalgearsolid.org, it has been pulled offline by the web host at the request of an unspecified Government agency.

"Our organization is being smeared," Ryan K, an administrator from MetalGearSolid.org told Gaming Horizon. "Truthfully, we are all saddened over this loss and offer our sincerest condolences towards his family. We do not, however, appreciate having our reputation slammed across the internet by news organizations that have clearly failed in their journalistic duties. We would greatly appreciate it if they would solve this matter."

[update: We've just learned that Boyan Georgiev, the man quoted in the AFP story as a "forum administrator" doesn't even work for metalgearsolid.org; he is a web designer that works at the same design studio as the designer of metalgearsolid.org.]

It is terrible that this gamer has ended his life, but this kind of misreporting does nothing but make things worse. Gamers do not appreciate being cast as unstable or the type of person who would taunt a fellow human being who obviously was in the middle of some serious trauma. This dedicated group of friends tried so hard to save this young man's life and they're made out to be cruel savages by the media. We at Gaming Horizon are very saddened by this death, and offer our prayers and condolences to the boy's family and loved ones.

A request to the AFP to correct these errors has been filed by metalgearsolid.org administration, and no reply has yet been heard.

Another case of a tragic event being twisted into an attack. And at the top it says he took his life due to complications with school and finance. Shouldn't Jack Thompson be attacking those much larger "cultures of death" instead of video games?

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More on Grand Theft Auto.

CNN reports that the city attorney's office in Los Angeles is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas". Once again, Rockstar Games is being accused of misleading people due to the infamous hidden sex scene in GTA. But was Rockstar games really misleading anyone when GTA was released?

The following is the description under the rating for GTA: "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs." This was for the "M" rated version, which is comparable to an "R" rating in movies. GTA has since been upgraded to an "AO", which is comparable to NC-17.

Following is the rating for "Monster's Ball", which features a graphic sex scene involving Halle Berry: "Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence."

Notice any similar phrases?

What is the point? Video games often get a bad rap, while movies and television do not get as much scrutiny for the content of their product. Democrats are especially guilty of focusing on video games while having blinders to what is coming out of Hollywood, As I said in my radio editorial on WFHB last month, I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with significant campaign contributions to Democrats from Hollywood.

Often, our public servants do not even have the complete facts about the video games they seek to restrict. Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson (D-Bloomington) issued a statement in which she said that "Right now, kids can walk into just about any store and get their hands on a video game in which they can... rape women". While I do not deny that video games are much more violent and have much more sexual content than during the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, I do not know of any modern game that allows the player to engage in sexual assault. I questioned Senator Simpson about this via electronic mail and her legislative aide was unable to provide the name of one video game that allows the player to do that. The aide suggested that Sen. Simpson was misquoted.

There are a lot of video games that are not appropriate for minors, just as there are a lot of movies that are not appropriate for minors. That is why the MPAA and the ESRB have ratings systems for their respective products. I do not see Senator Simpson proposing legislation to mandate that stores not sell R or NC-17 movies to people under 18, so why the focus on video games? Many stores such as Best Buy already strictly enforce the video game ratings system.

Ultimately, parents are responsible for what the games their children play, the movies their children watch, and the music their children listen to. Passing more laws and expanding government not only will not solve the problem, but may actually make it worse by encouraging people to shift more responsibility for raising their children to the government. We have seen over the last several decades the devastating effect that has had on society.

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http://www.theindychannel.com/news/7163161/detail.html

Indy Officials Call '25 To Life' Game Dangerous

POSTED: 4:58 pm EST February 17, 2006

UPDATED: 7:54 pm EST February 17, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis public officials are speaking out against a video game they say promotes violence against law enforcement.

The game "25 To Life" features graphic scenes of shooting at police officers and taking civilians as human shields. Despite a push to keep the game off store shelves, it is readily available at area retailers after it was released last month, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.

Indianapolis police want parents to be aware of the game and to know the game is not appropriate for children.

**SNIP**

The game sells for $39.99. Some local stores told 6News it is already being traded by many gamers, but not because of the violence. Gamers don't think it's a very good game.

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Ha.

This isn't the first time stuff like this has happened in Indianapolis. The city once tried to enforce strict age requirements at arcades, and was struck down by a court ruling.

I love how they say that people don't think it's a good game. People decide that stuff. So, if people don't think it's good, it isn't.

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I had a long rant about this but decided against posting it. It all comes down to the parents don't know/care about what their kids are doing. I work with kids every day from 5 to 19 and if their parents knew as much about their lives as I do, they would never let them leave the house. The current rating system works, but the parents in this country don't care enough to use it, and that's part of a far bigger problem than any video game.

Jmarv I like your quote but lets update it

"The first thing we do, let's shoot all the lawyers." - Dick Cheney.

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Wow. I like how she assumes a head shot gets more points, and that the only thing that you're allowed to do in Grand Theft Auto is steal cars and shoot police without reprocussion. I wonder why the so-called adults in this nation cannot seem to form a valid opinion of something they deem as bad. I mean, I can understand people getting upset about the violence and the foul language and getting rid of it in their homes. But to make sweeping generalizations about the game industry on the whole, and ignoring evidence that counters their argument is just ignorant and not helpful.

The exception to the rule is always always always overblown here. Violent murders or other incidents caused by video games have some ridiculous ratio like 8 for 20+ years of existence, which trumps alcohol and porn, the two things that a Mature rated game are often times compared with.

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Good Lord, if they freak out over that, imagine what they'd do if they were the boxes from Metal Gear Solid. :ph34r:

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Didn't you guys ever play The Lost Levels? There could have been poison mushrooms in those boxes for all we know. :ph34r:

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They say what they did, but don't tell us the web site where they learned how to make these boxes.

That makes me sad.... :cry:

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