Proposed New York Law Would Block Sale of Violent Games to Minors

January 16, 2007 -
Yesterday GamePolitics reported on a New York State bill designed to block minors from purchasing games with racist or religious violence. Now comes word of a second video game proposal before the legislature in Albany. 

The measure, A02024, is sponsored by Rep. Aurelia Greene (D) and seeks to prevent underage players from buying violent games. The bill would also require that mature-themed games sold at retail be kept in an area beyond the access of minors.

Rep. Greene's bill has been referred to the Assembly's Committe on Consumer Affairs and Protection.


These politicians should really leave the U.S and go live in North Korea if they hate democracy so much. It amazes me that they are even in the position they are in. They propose laws with no logic and don't have any regard for the constitution. If someone knows the reason that they hate democracy so much, please say so.

Doesn't anybody actually look it up?

It doesn't say "30" anywhere - just "18"

Also, status:
01/11/2007 referred to consumer affairs and protection

This is ridiculous. I don't even have a problem with this rule for minors, but under 30? When was the last time that 29 year old went to his school shooting. If they can have legal access to drugs and porn (which are arguably far more destructive than a video game) than they shouldn't be banned from a video game. I don't like porn or alchohol, but HALO rocks.

Oh loving joy, another stupid legislation. Jimmy, how many does this one make

"I dunno, I lost count after 53"

I... am speechless that someone else would try THIS again. I mean... does anyone, ANYONE, care about the precedent set by the OTHER failed video game legislations, or do they think that they'll make it constitutional by broadening the definition of violence?

Aurelia Greene, should really understand that she is not only wasting time and effort into fathoming this. This is a cheap trick by an even cheaper politician who has no confidence in herself or her supporting party to get her reelected.

The American (New York) public knows better, and should kick her out of office as quickly as possible. She is obviously not doing her job and is wasting time and blatantly lying to every single person who voted for her. She is not tackling important issues. She is attempting to strong arm an industry to make it fit her personal values. She might as well attack the adult entertainment industry for even existing... let alone actually selling stuff.

The woman is a complete and utter disgrace to her family and to her supporting party. It's people like her that are dillydallying around with a thumb up their ass and screaming hysterically in a lunatic tongue that resembles some form of fathomable and language derived solely from biasness and personal beliefs that is why our government is so sloppy. The government is no longer 'of the people for the people' but 'of the votes for the votes' and thusly, the best liar wins. Point in case - Aurelia Greene.

Money needs to be spent where it is important instead of trying to force useless bills -like the above- onto the public.

Even if either bill gets passed by the legislature, they still need to be signed by the governor before becoming law (as far as I know). And if governor Eliot Spitzer (former NY Attorney General) actually signs either one, I'll lose all respect for him. He should know (more than anyone) that a law like this will be challenged and struck down right away.

Ah, democracy. All this crap is all the result of a system where the only thing more important than success is image.

Should we laugh because we've seen this before or should we cry because we've seen this before?

Another guaranteed victory for the game industry.

Dead in water....waste of cant legislate this,you could form a committee to create something that would educate parents over ratings and such but that would be.... effectuate...

First one to say it: Break out the "Unconstitutional" stamp!


Not sure if you're new here, but this stuff has been discussed half to death already. But for the sake of exposition, I'll lay it out for you anyway :).

"People under 18 are not allowed to purchase lottery tickets, Playboy, cigerettes, alcohol, tickets to rated R movies, etc."

I hear this argument a lot, but the truth is that these things simply aren't comparable to video games.

Concerning alcohol and cigarettes, those things have been prove to have a detrimental effect on young people. In the case of video games, the closest that "experts" have is some poorly done, biased, short-term studies whose results are blown completly out of proportion. Furthermore, neither of those things are free speech, they cannot convey ideas or messages, while video games can (hence you hear the whole "1st Amendment" argument a lot). Lottery tickets-which are a form a gambling, which is shown to often cause addiction and is not a form of free speech either-also falls under this.

As for porn, yes, that is restricted to minors, but only if it falls under the Miller Test, which only deals with pornography, not violence. Many bills similar to this one have tried to copy-and-paste the Miller Test to apply to violence, but each time, that approach is shot down by the courts. This is largely because violence is much harder to define than porn. While porn always entails the same mature theme (sexual intercourse), violence in games could mean anything from jumping on Goombas' heads to blowing off the heads of terriosts with an M4. Additionally, while porn usually does not offer much in the way of artistic or liteary merit, some violent games, like Rainbow Six: Vegas or Halo, have excellent storylines on par with virtually anything you might find in a book or movie. So you see, you just can't use the same definitions for the two. They are completly different things.

Dealing with your argument with movies, your reasoning would only work if minors were, in fact, LEGALLY blocked from seeing R-rated movies. However (contrary to popular belief), the MPAA is 100% voluntary, just like the ESRB. There is no movie equivalent to this bill on the books. Thus, we are not asking for games to be exempt from "restrictions" placed on movies, but for the games industry to not be treated unfairly and be given restrictions that are not applied to movies. This is where the "equal treatmeant under the law" argument comes in.

One more thing, the reason many of us are opposed to these bills is not because we want to take parents out of the decision-making process of content for their children, but for these two reasons:

1: These laws accomplish virtually nothing, because in most cases, the parents ARE the ones buying these games for their kids (From the "pulled it out of my ass" department, but the stats are out there, I assure you). The reason for this is that these laws don't adress the key problem here: Education. Countless parents still don't understand games, and will often buy M-rated titles for their kids just to keep them happy. This bill (and those like it) won't help this situation at all, because-as you said-it doesn't adress the "parents" part of the equation. Many thousands of dollars are the taxpayers' money is being wasted defending these bills (The highest amount is Illinois' bill, totaling at about $500,000), money that these politicians should KNOW will be wasted (If the recent defeats of almost identical legislation is any indication). Don't you think that money might be better spent on trying to educate parents which games may or may not be appropiate for their kids, instead of on futile attempts to try and legislate the problem away?

2: This was a especially a biggie when these bills first started popping up: It's called the chilling effect. As you may know, most of these bills will fine any retailer who sells so much as ONE M-rated game to a minor. Unfortunately, this means that selling GTA to a 10-year old and selling Halo 2 to a 16-year old will be treated the same, although you seem to believe that this issue is mostly about GTA. Anyway, this means that some major retailers (like Wal-Mart) may refuse to carry M-rated games at all, for fear that they may face fines and government scrutiny. This will force game developers to water down their content-and, most-likely, their stories and artistic merit too-in order to get enough sales to make ends meet. This will have a devestating effect on the creativity of a medium that has been shown by the courts to enjoy free-speech protection.

I understand where you're coming from. Even the remote possibilty of a minor accessing controvesial content can worry many of us. However, these bills are not the way to address the issue. We need education, not regulation, so that we will both get what we want. I the only one who doesn't see a problem with this? I could be wrong, but I swear that says, "seeks to prevent underage players from buying violent games...," not "seeks to prevent players from buying violent games."

All these bills are doing is forcing retailers to enforce the ratings system. If you are under 17 and attempt to go into a rated R movie alone, you get turned away. If you go to the same movie and have a parent around, you get in. It is the EXACT same thing, except with video games, that they are attempting to enforce. That rated M game says right on it that it isn't recommended for those under 17. If you feel you are mature enough and your parents agree, just have them come with you.

And John, what do you mean, "Equal protection under the laws anyone?" The ONLY people this would effect is those under 18. People under 18 are not allowed to purchase lottery tickets, Playboy, cigerettes, alcohol, tickets to rated R movies, etc. We restrict the purchase of certain items because young people, generally, aren't mature enough to enjoy certain items responsibly.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Suffice to say, if you feel that you are mature enough to be playing GTA, talk to your parents and work something out. Those people that are twice your age actually know a thing or two and it's probably in your best interest to listen to what they have to say. It's not that big a deal to have to get your parents to purchase the thing.

I agree that the media’s coverage of people committing violent acts as a result of the violent video games they’ve played reflects poorly on the video game industry as a whole. I also agree, and many research studies have shown, that mental illness is the primary cause of people committing such despicable acts. I believe that the media doesn’t focus on this fact as much as they could, instead deferring to the more sensationalistic idea that “the video games influenced the murderer.” However, when determining who should be able to purchase violent video games, we must consider the fact that there ARE troubled young people who might be affected by a game that allows them to systematically destroy life. There have not been any research studies showing, for example, that depressed teenagers aren’t affected by exposure to interactive violence. We restrict the purchase of certain items (pornography, alcohol, and so forth) under the assumption that young people, generally, aren’t mature enough to enjoy them responsibly. While I agree that adults should have unrestricted access to these materials, this bill only restricts access to teenagers. Considering the possible implications of selling violent material to young people who may not be able to process and enjoy it responsibly, the sale of video games with mature themes should be restricted to adults.

30 plz its not like we are building a weapon of mass destuction

it should be the parents job not the states to prevent kids to play these games

To block sales of rascist or religious violence...

because regular violence is ok? These are the same politicans who are in support of charging criminals with hate crimes... because murder isn't just murder if you do it to someone of another race.

Seriously, stuff like this make me sick to my stomach. This bill is nothing but another attempt to skirt the issue at hand and make old parents happy.

Equal protection under the laws anyone?

I live in Michigan where we already have something like this passed, barring the sale of Rated M games to anyone under the age of 17 without an adult present. I used to work at a Gamestop and trust me, the laws are a waste of time. I forget who it was, but you who said that the parents are the ones buying the games you are absolutely right. Even when we would reject the sale of those games to kids they would just come back with their parents and get it. But the kicker is when the PARENTS come back to the store and yell at US for allowing them to buy it! I lost count of how many angry parents I had to deal with after they bought their 12 year old GTA without reading the box, just to get their stupid kid to shut up. I think we need laws about good parenting, not violence in video games. That's my two cents. Those laws are a huge waste of resources.

Wow.... And they expect to SELL video games? Your average 14 year old would probably just download it, thus instilling good values such as 'its not right to download software' and 'always buy what you use to support the software devolopment'.... unless they won't let you pay for I guess its ok to download it for free.


Won't happen. We need better input from the actual gamers on these bills...

so.........then............Beer......24......and smoking 22! Why Not?

As a 12 Year old gamer. I say that this is stupid. Any 18 year old here will be able to drink, drive, smoke, do anything they want. And they wont be able to buy a video game?

Anyways If this law goes on to Canada. I know I have my share of violent video games and they can't take that away from me. And if you can't buy violent video games. then steal em. The internet is a great place to download copies of a video game.

Hi there...Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts ! it was a great Wednesday .

Hi there...Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..what a nice Wednesday
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