Sunday Editorial Roundup: Brownback Doesn’t Understand Games

Arch-conservative Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) has proposed the Truth in Video Game Ratings Act which, among other provisions, would require games to be played in their entirety as part of the rating process. A House version has been introduced by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

Shankar Gupta, writing in MediaPost, says that Brownback’s bill shows just how out of touch many elected officials are witht he video game medium:

The bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of old men in the House and Senate – including possible presidential contender Sam Brownback. In all likelihood, none have ever played a modern video game in their lives.  

This kind of moral posturing is to be expected in an election year, and video games are an easy target to score points in the family-values column…The bill fails… because it doesn’t understand how video game content differs from a TV show or a movie… 

Requiring the ESRB to play every game all the way through and punishing it for failing to do so means one of two things: It is either ignorance, or a calculated attempt to destroy the organization.  

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  1. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ignorance is bliss to keep the sheeple from knowing is to protect your station in life…if they cant fane ignorance then how do they stay professorial career politicians …………… we really need to set into place 1 man can not have roe than 2 years in office…that would fix alot of this BS….power corrupts and every one of these bastards are corrupt in some way or another…..

  2. 0
    deathwagon says:

    politics now are so corrupt and hypocritical. sleeping with underaged kids then turning to the gaming industry and saying that the material is to revealing or obscene. well it should fall to the parents to control what their kids are playing not the government and the game industry shouldn’t be aheld accountable for a gamers actions. they were never told directly to kill their parents and step sister. proposing a bill for ersb rating to be decided after the completion of a game is obsurd how is/are someone/people supposed to complete a game that is ment to never be completed for example PLANESCAPE TORMENT seriously the game can be played forever and still never be completed how is the question i have for them people dont play a game to learn how to kill someone they play it for fun it doesnt affect their brain it just passes time politics need to leave the game world alone and if they want to stop video game and simulated violence stop training soldiers using simulation and teach the few that remain after experiencing non simulated violence

  3. 0

    Arch-conservative is hardly unbiased journalistic language.

    It’s an opinion column.

    Are you sure that this bill is still a threat? I mean, so far no other bills (as far as I’ve heard of) have gotten signed into law.

    Like I said in the column, we can all just hope that, like other federal game legislation, the bill just languishes in commitee. But regardless, the bill demonstrates intent–the feds very much want to regulate our games, and just because their first couple of attempts fail doesn’t mean they’ll just call it quits. It pays to be aware about these things.

  4. 0
    Heil Halo says:

    How on on earth do they expect the ESRB to play each game complely through? it’s like making a politician (well, most of them) tell the truth, or having A mountain climber climb every mountain on earth. It’s impossible. Does anyone think anyone can completly play through HUGE games like Elder scrolls IV? It’s impossible!!!
    What a whackjob.

  5. 0
    grls-r-gamers-2 says:

    Water is wet? OMG! @_@

    Okay, I can’t really say much without being redundant, so I’ll just comment on what Bass said…

    Are you sure that this bill is still a threat? I mean, so far no other bills (as far as I’ve heard of) have gotten signed into law. But if you’re really sure… *imagines dark future without games, then curls into the fetal position* There goes my career of choice…

  6. 0
    Shadow2100 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Brownback is just another brainless loser who knows next to nothing about videogames, or anything for that matter. Glad I don’t live in this guy’s state.

  7. 0
    Bass says:

    Brownback is the same senator which created the “Increase FCC fines 10-fold ” bill. That bill passed and was signed by the president. You can look it up on the PTC which he is a member of. So this bill is still a threat.

  8. 0
    Brer says:

    Now that the ESA has a lobbyist (He was in an article here some time ago but his name escapes me), what he needs to do is get together with the ESA and host a one day “symposium” at a local conference center hotel, and just get these politicians to sit down and get A) hands-on experience playing games both controversial and non-, and B) explanations carefully laying out the nature of such occult mysteries as “mods”, “total conversions”, “procedurally-generated content”, “freeware”, “digital distribution”, and “unfinished/unused resources left on the disk”.

  9. 0
    GamePolitics ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ace – why would you say that?   Here’s the ditionary meaning:


    arch·con·ser·va·tive   (ärchkn-sûrv-tv) KEY  


    Highly conservative, especially in political viewpoint.


    Would you disagree that Brownback fits this definition?

  10. 0
    Bissel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    maybe we should just buy a “governmental copy” of certain games. You know… Final Fantasy 6, Metal Gear Solid, World of Warcraft… (although the last may end up with more hot senator-on-teen action…) you know, some of those games with huge playtimes, a bit non-linear…. few hidden things…

  11. 0
    Yukimura sanada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As I’ve said, this bill will fail, as all others have. I could list the reasons, but I don’t wanna be redundant.

    The fact is, this is simply more moral posturing from what I consider an Amoral asshole looking for cheap votes. I’ll tell you this. He’s not getting mine if he runs for Prezident.

    Sam Brownback, You are a pathetic old man scared of change and ingnorant of the media you attack. You will FAIL, as everyone before you has.

  12. 0
    Chalts ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh boy, yet another vain attempt to regulate gaming. When are these politicians going to realize that this isn’t endearing them to their bases, it’s just annoying them?

    I’m glad I don’t live in Kansas… Oh, Geez, I hope Corker isn’t one of these anti-game activists.

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