Utah Video Game Bill Fades to a Resolution, Slams “Sordid Progeny” of Violent Games

As expected, the Utah House of Representatives has dropped a Jack Thompson-authored video game bill over constitutional concerns.

The Deseret News reports that Rep. Scott Wyatt, (R, left) sponsor of the failed legislation, will now propose a resolution which calls upon Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to provide support to other states which may become involved in legal battles over game legislation. Such support could include the filing of amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs.

If the resolution, HJR15, is passed as expected, a copy will be sent to every member of Utah’s congressional delegation as well as the attorneys general of the other 49 states. Check out some language from the resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah calls upon the Utah Attorney General to monitor the ongoing development of these laws throughout the nation, both in courts and in legislative halls, with the end design of having Utah’s voice heard in the fight against overly violent video games and their sordid progeny.

The compromise solution was originally suggested by Rep. Kay McIff (R). Of the resolution, Wyatt said:

It will allow us to weigh in on this issue in the courts.

HJR15, which enjoys the support of A.G. Shurtleff now rests with the House Rules Committee.

GP: There’s a yin and yang to Utah’s strategy. One one hand, the resolution avoids a costly, unwinnable constitutional battle while allowing Rep. Wyatt to save a little face and extricate himself from an embarrassing situation highlighted (lowlighted?) by Jack Thompson’s outrageous call for the impeachment of the state’s attorney general, Mark Shurtleff.

On the other hand, the resolution has somewhat of a spineless quality, essentially saying to other states, "Hey, go for it. We’re glad to watch you spend your money."

Ah, politics…

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  1. 0
    fergusmac says:

    before i say anything let me state one thing. i am all for protecting the minds of chidren and i would never see a problem with a law that stops children playing game that where never meant to be played by them(although lets be honest no normal healthy adult has ever playes manhunt for more than a guilty pleasure because that game had some bad contole problems) but when people try to stop the sane majority from having one of the basic human rights (that is to do what ever the hell we want as long as no one gets hurt) then these people can be called with complete convicsion a bunch of narrow minded hipocrits.

    p.s also i would just like to pont out that games are NOT REAL! some people really need to get this in to there heads

  2. 0
    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    While slightly unnerved at the way you displayed it, I can’t help but agree.
    …Mweheh. Gibs. =D
    I feel a need to inform, however. This isn’t about retardedness in politics.
    It’s American culture infiltrating into families and politics. Worse yet, it’s “smart” politics. I’ll explain by laying both out.

    1. Lack of Accountability- no one want to believe that they are irresponsible people. But no one wants to take the time to either disprove the fact by providing excuses or disprove it by improving the way they act- rather, they would focus the blame on something or someone other than themselves to portray themselves as victims. So take a medium that few people who run things understand, as a focal point for pinning the blame on. They use technical terms no one seems to know, and every game, to them, is the same. It’s easier to find a scapegoat to pin societies ills on rather than solving societies ills with actual accountability. Look at Bush. He’d rather not believe he’s wrong. He’d go “Well, my intelligence tells me they were saying there MIGHT be WMD’s in Iraq, so… I’m not to blame.” Yet it was he who ultimately decided “Yeah, let’s roll over some towel heads and call it a day/4 years.” And then, of course, there’s a difference between accountability (i.e. “Okay… the direction we’re going is not working”), and then continuing to do the same thing ( i.e. “… so we’re going to send 20,000 more troops in to make things better, even though my defense secretary says it’s a bad idea”).

    2. “Smart” politics.
    Picture this.
    We live in a nation where we have these things called “amendments”. And these amendments provide us a set of guidelines that we can use as a templte for creating laws within our nation. But somewhere in the 60’s, we lost track of what amendments were, and we started to forget what they were, and it seemed that only politicians and judges knew what each meant.
    Go to a random person. Ask them what the 18th amendment was, and what made it so unique. Most people will give you a blank stare. The 18th Amendment, Prohibition, essentially outlawed alcoholic beverages, with the exception of those used for religious practices. It was later repealed by the 21st amendment. What’s my point?
    My point is that alot of people will look at an amendment and say “…okay? I’m not sure I understand,” and will afterwards dismiss concerns over the constitutional problems on laws prohibiting things they find offensive.

    A “smart” politician will say “Hey! There’s a new visual medium out there that adds in interactive possibilities, and some of them are created for people over 18 because they’re violent or sexual in nature! BUT! Little Jimmy here somehow got his hands on it and played it, and we’re afraid it warped his fragile little mind! And a couple of 18-year-olds just smacked an old lady upside the head with a bat, and you KNOW teenagers LOVE to play video games! We need to prohibit them, even though we don’t do that with movies and books with similar content in them, and even though their parents will probably supply the kids with these games anyway!”
    Most people are going to be too concerned that a kid somehow got a game in his hands that he should not have been allowed to play, and they’re going to do anything they can to: A) not be held accountable for the game falling into the child’s hands by feigning ignorance to the rating and content lable, and B) provide “solutions” in which they don’t have to change the way they run things, deluding themseves into believing that they are NOT responsible for a supposed “failure” in raising their child.

    Meanwhile, you have politicians using scare tactics, guilt-trips, morality claims and Jack Thompson to say “Hey, you should support this. It’s for our kids. This it to protect our kids from living in a violent world- by blatantly ignoring the First Amendment, which keeps us from being Totalitarian book-burners and censoring everything and everyone that we find offensive.” Only they don’t mention the First Amendment or the constitution. To them, they’re essentially saying “there’s something wrong with you if you don’t support this law, which we’re using to protect our children.” When the constitutional problems DO come up, they support their decisions, saying “Look, I’m only doing this to protect kids”, whilc thinking to themselves “this’ll net me alot of votes because of public appeal.” That’s when things come together-

    1. Parents don’t want to believe they’re ignorant, lazy people and start raising their kids correctly, so they find a scapegoat to avoid accountability.

    2. A Politician proposes a law to “protect” children, despite the blatant constitutional concerns surrounding it, and the fact that they’re owe a buttload money afterwards.

    3. Parents and parent-groups support the measure to garner public appeal for their own uses, while politicians use the fact that these people are behind them to further their own personal agenda, which is also garnering public appeal.

    4. Then, when the constitutional concerns come up, the politicians stand by it in order to maintain this is for the protection of their children. Since few people actually remember government classes enough to point out that such a law would fail due to it being unconstitutional, and because most politicians and committees will look at it knowing that their butts are on the line if they DON’T vote for the law, the law will pass.

    5. In swoops the ESA, who points out correctly that the law is unconstitutional. Politicians, adamant on protecting the “law” (and simultaneously garnering even MORE public appeal by protecting an unconstitutional law that would “protect” children) swoop in to defend it. The ESA wins, and there’s a huge legal bill in court costs.

    6. Time goes on, and political elections are coming up. It turns out to be exactly like a fight over the internet- both sides of the issue resort to calling each other names, pointing out stupid things they did, while covering their own asses about the stuff they did with half-truths. Then the video-game law thing comes up again. But while one guy DIDN’T vote on it because it was unconstitutional, the other DID, because it was to protect children. But protecting the children DESPITE constitutional concerns is more appealing to the public than voting against an unconstitutional measure that, if let loose, would supposedly have done so, even though it would not have worked. Since nobody really understands Amendments anyways, they go with the guy who voted yes.

    It falls like that. And sadly…
    … it works.

  3. 0
    Ubernoob says:

    If parents are to retarded to understand the very simple rating system they have in place right now (ie RATED M FOR MATURE 17+ for SEXUAL CONTENT, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, AND DRUG USE) then there is no amount of legislation they can pass to make them intelligent. The politicians are horrible for trying to exploit peoples ignorance and if they really wanted to “protect the children”, they would take all the money they are spending on this pointless piece of crap, and spend it on actually educating the children so that when they go to the store to buy GTA4 they can look at their parents and say “Mother,Father, I believe that this game contains Sexual Content, Graphic Violence, and Drug Use and that my fragile little mind will not be able to comprehend the difference between reality and video games and that i might take this illicit behavior as something to emulate. But I know thats a load of crap since I see far worse on the news and at home since you guys are smoking crack all the time and that daddy hits mommy.” “Protecting the children”, hah! My Dad bought me Doom, Duke Nukem, and GTA3 when I was a kid and you know what learned from those games? Violence is fun. (and if you shoot a cop you’re screwed.) And you know what? I don’t want to go shoot up people in real life. I want to stay at home and shoot a guy from korea, a guy from New York, a guy from the UK, and a guy from Romania. It’s more fun to be able to shoot them from the safety of your own home without actually killing them so you can go do it again the next round.

    And one last thought, if we made a video game about how to write legislature, we would have the best damn politcians in about 3 days. (And they would all be from Korea. And all our politicians would lose their jobs. I think this is the only case where I’m all for outsourcing. I’m so happy I’m about to shed a tear.)

  4. 0
    Gameboy says:

    Hmmm. Well, at least they aren’t trying to legislate this anymore. Guess someone out there has been paying attention, and it seems it only took 9(?) complete and utter failures to make them understand!

    Still, I’d like it much better, IF instead of trying to support other states attempts to legislate this (or at least watch them burn and roast marshmellows), they funded a parental education project with some industry help. They could air commercials, run a weekly/monthly newspaper game information column, or encourage game retailers to enforce game ratings and inform parents. I say encourage on that last one because I’d hate to see them FORCE the game rating enforcement which could include jail-stays or hefty fines on the employe, and we all know how much money they make.

    I don’t think this is unreasonable, afterall they air enough vote for me ‘cuz this guy sux commercials with money that would be better spent trying to inform people. Wouldn’t that money be better spent actually doing something constructive?

    By the way, Protect your kids, not me, I Don’t need it, and didn’t ask for it!

  5. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its a shame they cant all figure out that you cant legislate violence,you can only inform the public about the tools that are in place to ‘self censor’ the media.

  6. 0
    Benji says:

    A translation of what just happened:
    Utah: “We’re so totally going to own you gaming suckers with this badass law of ours.”
    Game Industry: “We can totally beat your law with one arm tied behind our backs!”
    Utah: “Oh, yeah, well… your mom has one arm tied behind her back.”
    Industry: “Well, um, no, she doesn’t… I thought we were talking about laws here.”
    Utah: “Your mom was talking about laws!”
    Industry: “…wait, what?”

    Seriously, the Sordid Progeny line sounds like someone trying to take a cheap shot at the industry but choosing a bizarre and statistically unlikely combination of words to do so.
    But, yeah, props to Utah for stopping short of legislation. If anything I think this shows that someone in the state does have an IQ.

  7. 0
    Ekim1086 says:

    Sordid Progeny?
    Did we all leave the real world and enter the Vampire the Masquerade world? I mean really outside of those games where do you here s— like that?

  8. 0
    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Daniel

    Umm… correct me if I’m wrong, but… this news is basically saying the legislation has backed off and is instead forming a resolution, which isn’t a law, just a thing saying “well… we can’t stop you, and you’re constitutionally protected, but we want to let it be known that we don’t have to like you at all.”

    And the “Raise your I.Q., Utah” comment is unnecessary- you already have Shurtleff saying “look, this thing is unconstitutional and it’s FAILED in other states and costed them money- so can we be SMARTER than those other states and back off? If it’ll make you guys FEEL any better, we’ll make it a resolution, alright? Just as long as we don’t spend taxpayer dollars on something that won’t help OR work.” You might want to actually keep yourself UPDATED by reading the article. -.-

  9. 0
    Daniel says:

    @ hayabusa75

    I know you don’t like me, but thanks for mentioning me before I even got to this thread. On topic, Utah needs to stop with this game legislation. It’s not going to work. They will not win with their propaganda and their conservative garbage that goes against the first amendment. When are they going to stop and realize that they’ve lost? They need to stop being morons and stop listening to anti-game activists. They are losers, who are trying to get rid of something that is here to stay. Raise you I.Q., Utah.

  10. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s been my understanding that Shurtleff has always been against violent games, but he was just being realistic about the survivability of Wyatt’s bill. By “support”, I assume he will try to work with other states to try to draft more constitutionally viable bills.


    Bookmark the GP homepage and just open that whenever you want to go back, that’s what I do.

    @that anonymous guy:

    “Sordid progeny? HAHAHA! Who the heck talks like that?”

    The politicians, of course. Who else has so many of them? ;p


    Holy crap, I just wrote three relevant posts in a row that didn’t start with, “@Daniel”! It’s amazing, I feel like a new man!

  11. 0
    Jotunheim says:

    What are the ”sordid progeny” of violent video games? Are they violent crimes such as rape and murder? Desensitized youth? Other games?

    That sentence really doesn’t make much sense. To do so it would have to mean that video games are capable of reproduction, or their code at least.

  12. 0

    Sordid progeny? HAHAHA!

    Who the heck talks like that? Tycho, maybe. This just sounds silly. These Utah people have no credibility to me, they’re just plain silly. And I laugh.

    But what does it mean? Progeny…ie sordid offspring? WTF?

  13. 0
    Nuiembre ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well at least they’re not spending taxpayer’s money to fight videogames with a law that would have been found unconstitutional.

    Im kind of glad that in Quebec the governement is actually spending money to create videogames. When I play Assassin’s Creed, it will make me smile to know that my tax money helped create the game.

  14. 0
    Beev says:

    I don’t really see what expertise Utah officials have on the subject (at least, for the “video games are Satan” side) that makes them think they should have their “voice heard” in the first place. Emotional arguments and misinformation are a go!

  15. 0
    F**ked up says:

    Waiting for Jack Thompson’s reply….

    Well I can say I m suprised by this move by a politician. This whole thing has been spinned to make Wyatt look better. In the end what will happen is if one violent video game bill or related passes and is not ruled unconstitutional thenn expect it to appear in Utah.

    Kind of echo’s the phrase “well if they did it I why I cant I?”
    and of course u can go jump off the bridge with them.


  16. 0
    Laterose says:

    @ Brokenscope

    It’s only a matter of time. Don’t you know, the games are getting more realistic, and will begin plotting to take over. It will be like Terminator, only in stead of the machines, it’ll be Mario. ;-P

  17. 0
    Gameclucks says:

    It is an amazing testament to the will of the American people, that our nation has managed to rise to such great prominence and prosperity, not because of our political leaders, but depsite them. Go USA!

  18. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I read it to mean that the AG is supposed to visit those states to provide “moral support” to other states drafting laws against games.

    It’s a “save face” move. Wyatt is basically drafting a “feel good” bill to placate those who would charge that he’s “abandoned the children”. It allows him to say he’s doing something (sending support to other states trying to accomplish the same goal), while doing nothing himself (he’s letting them waste their taxpayer dollars in court, while he takes notes in case one of them succeeds..)

  19. 0
    Cecil475 says:

    @ GamePolitics

    (On the other hand, the resolution has somewhat of a gutless character, essentially saying to other states, “Hey, go for it. We’re glad to watch you spend your money.”)

    Funny, I was under the impression that Mark Shurtleff was going to these other cases to tell them that the bills are not contitutional, and will not pass. That The state will have to file a Hefty fine to the Videogame Industry. The fact that 9 states(?) have brought similar bills and all 9(?) have failed. And also to warn them what happens if Jack Thompson drafts the bill for them. especally if they decide to drop it. He’ll call for your impeachment.

    Call me stupid, but that’s the first thing that ran through my head when reading this.

    Posting from home.

    – Warren Lewis

  20. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “overly violent video games and their sordid progeny.”

    I’ll just interpret that to mean media progeny, aka movies, tv, books, comics, plays, operas, roleplaying, etc. Ha! I usurp your comments!

    “Hey, go for it. We’re glad to watch you spend your money.”

    Isn’t that everyday policy for governments? 😉

  21. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It seems a little hipocritical, that an attorney general that had no confidence in a law passing constitutional scrutiny would defend a similar law in another state. It was a smart decision to drop the bill, but a non-sensical one to create this resolution I think.

    I imagine the only reason this resolution was created was so that Wyatt could not be accused by rivals of “failing to protect children from violent Columbine simulators”, thus losing the support of thousands of gullible sheep voters.

  22. 0
    AM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Gutless? I don’t know that we want to be insulting the first state smart enough to back down from what they can’t win. If having brains requires giving up guts, perhaps in this case that’s for the best. I don’t think it does, though. It took guts to admit that this wouldn’t work, and step back down from it. It would’ve been easier, since there’s no personal accountability, to just keep forging along, and blow the taxpayer’s money, then gripe about judges denying the legislature’s attempts to “protect” children.

    Sometimes the braver thing is giving up.

    (Sidenote, GP–your site could REALLY use a link on these pages to go back to the top level. My back button works, don’t get me wrong, but traditionally the site’s banner/logo is linked back to the home page, and it’d make it a bit easier to go from the article page back to the top level. All we currently have are next/previous story links.)

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