NY Politician Compares V-Tech Rampage to GTA IV

May 17, 2007 -


New York State Senator Andrew Lanza (R), who is spearheading efforts to pass video game legislation in the Empire State, has taken note of the V-Tech Rampage controversy.

Lanza told the Staten Island Advance:
There are certain things in life you don't make light of and should not be turning into a game. It's not a game, it's a tremendous loss of life.

Perhaps not grasping the amateur nature of the game, Lanza called on retailers, manufacturers and websites to boycott V-Tech Rampage.  The newspaper also reports that Lanza compared the Flash game, programmed by an unemployed Australian man, to the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV: 
You've got Grand Theft Auto where you murder police officers. To me, I can't imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it's happening.

Comments

How do you boycut something that is free? :-/

We are not gonna get peace until in 20-30 years when most voters have grown up with video games and know about them. Then we will be rid of these loons. I hope. >_

The politician makes himself look ridiculously foolish in his comments, he's using an emotional argument as factual evidence against violent video games. There's no evidence that kids who play VTRampage will go on a V-Tech Rampage in real life. The guy who did the real shootings wasn't even a gamer at all.

If I were a real a-hole, I'd say this Lanza joker was taking lessons from G.W.'s School of Misdirection, like how outrage over 9/11 and the Taliban somehow was parlayed into the U.S. Army going to Iraq for Saddam's totally unrelated head. Please stop finding phantom WMDs everywhere, politicians, you're the ones who're scaring the children (not violent games).

[...] Lanza goes on to say, “You’ve got Grand Theft Auto where you murder police officers … To me, I can’t imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it’s happening.” Of course, Rockstar has already weighed in about how much stock they put into what anybody from Staten Island says by just not inlcluding the landmass in GTA IV. [Via GamePolitics] [...]

This Kinda reminds me of the British judge that was presiding over a terrorism case, and had to ask what a "website" was. If you don't understand something on even the most basic level, please don't try and legislate on it.

At least, the mainstream media makes the difference between amateur Flash games and commercial ESRB-rated video games. It's a progress.

About Lanza's intervention, you can find worse on his website :
http://www.senatorlanza.org/press_archive_story.asp?id=16828
http://www.nyssenate24.com/press_archive_story.asp?id=16828

Read this excerpt, for example :
"The game is rated Mature on the website, but because it can be downloaded onto a personal computer, it can be accessed by anyone. Moreover because the present rating system on video games is voluntary, there is nothing to prevent this and other inappropriately violent games from being sold to children. 'This sick and twisted game which exploits the tragic events at Virginia Tech University further underscores the need to crack down on violent video games, and reduce children’s exposure to violent and inappropriate materials within these games,' said Senator Lanza. 'Although this is an on-line game, I sincerely hope that the video game industry, wholesalers, retailers and web sites refrain from advertising, selling or facilitating this game, or any game which exploits such a devastating tragedy," said Senator Lanza.'"

I wanted to contact him on his website in order to explain him (calmly, in a civilian way) how and why he was wrong. But it seems that only U.S. residents can email him.

I live in New York so I think I might send this guy a letter. I'm not one of his constituents (sp?) but I don't think it can hurt. I'll be very formal.

I think while I'm at it, I might contact one of my (at least) local news stations. Most of them do local op-ed pieces and sometimes they get picked up by the nation-wide network.

Seriously, I can understand how politicians can screw up like this. With all the things they have to legislate, they can't know about everything. That being said, they should at least research and learn about the issues. In the case of things like video games, I think they should have to meet a time requirement for playing, and a lot of reading about things before they can even make public comments in passing.

And by the way, did anyone catch that this isn't the first time that kid tried to capitalize of a tragedy like this?

Wow just when I thought our elected officials couldn't get any stupider on this issue.

This guy really needs to shut up. This isn't even an industry product. It's an online flash game that wasn't even made here in the states.

@ Vinzent

That's very interesting. And by interesting I mean disturbing.

Was your letter offensive or inappropriate in any way? The shouldn't have any reason to remove it if you expressed your opinion and concerns in a mature fashion. Please do provide some details.

I was tempted to write my own letter when time permits... I wonder if mine would meet the same fate.

Why the hell are the men and women representing us in the government such oblivious asses?

@vincent

We should pull a "HD decryption key revolt" on this.

Post your letter en masse on the site and laugh as they truggle to delete it over and over again.

Wow! I posted my letter to Lanza under the comments section of the Staten Island Advance article and it has since been REMOVED!

I love it when newspapers censor the public.

"You’ve got Grand Theft Auto where you murder police officers. To me, I can’t imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it’s happening."

This guy must not have got the memo. GTA is rated M for Mature. Retailers are putting it in the hands of adults, not kids.

Tangent:

@ AnonAmbientLight: "Yea speaking of disturbing internet sites, 4chan is very very distrubing.

I wanted to check it out and my friend told me to go to section B because it was the “cleanest” section on there. Well, let me just say section B has scarred me for life, and that was the “CLEANEST” section."

Assuming that it happened exactly as you describe it, then your friend played you for a fool. /b/ is the, "Anything goes, no hold barred," section of 4chan, where none of the normal rules apply. It's far from the "cleanest" section.

I say sit them down and let them play gta and maybe the will realize it aint a lot to bitch about

To me, I can’t imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it’s happening."

A. It's happening less and less according to studies.
B. The games are not designed for children (one look at all the sexual inneundo in the games should convince anyone of that)
C. It sells like hotcakes everytime a new one is released (well maybe not VCS or LCS).


"Lanza called on retailers, manufacturers and websites to boycott V-Tech Rampage"


Retailers and manufactorers can't do anything about this since it's an online game, no one would pay money to play this game on consoles (and even if they would I don't think the creator is willing to invest that kind of money to make that happen). There are two websites that have it up newgrounds and the guy's own site, as a frequent visitor of newgrounds I can assure you they won't do so and this guy obviously isn't going to remove it from his own site.

@daniel: Worse than /b/? Now this I gotta see...

Seriously though... I think that 'research' might be beyond their capability, so they just automatically assume its another one of those damn vidya games... I mean remember that bit on the Jon Stewart show? I might be misremembering the quote, but since when did that stop politicians?:

"And as I sat there, powerless... I can only wonder, when did we go wrong?"

Awesome point Wardo

You guys and gals do realize that yelling at the new ESA president to step up and do something is only step one of solving this right? Everyone would do well to send Fox News, Senator Lanza, and whomever else misinterprets this game in the national media emails to set them straight. Remember, Senators are in it for the votes, and the media is in it for the ratings. So why not send a nice, tidy email politely pointing out the differences between V-Tech Rampage and the actual gaming market? Help the new ESA prez out a little ya know? :)

"state Sen. Andrew Lanza, chair of the Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry."

I'm not american so I have no clue about this. Is there also a Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and Poverty? How about a Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and Drugs? Or a Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and Gangs?

LOL /b/ isn't that scary. I've seen worse.

Blaming the Industry for stuff it didn't do seems to happen strangely often. Do all these politicians REALLY not know what they're talking about, or are they talking this way in hopes of looking good in front of voters who don't know what they're listening to?

Sure, I like to belive in the good side of humanity and not think that people are lying to me, but geez...

Yea speaking of disturbing internet sites, 4chan is very very distrubing.

I wanted to check it out and my friend told me to go to section B because it was the "cleanest" section on there. Well, let me just say section B has scarred me for life, and that was the "CLEANEST" section. :(

Id love to see our politians shut that down. Hehe, too bad you cant defeat the Anonymous Legion.

If people want the game to be taken down, then all they need is Guns N' Roses or Collective Soul (or their labels) to sue the writer of the game. He uses songs by those bands in the game without permission. Maybe a million dollar lawsuit will change his mind about keeping it up.

I for one don't have a problem with the game, while I think it is in poor taste the guy has every right to post it on the web.

However I am against these politicians who continually step up on their soap box as soon as they hear anything relating to a violent video game; Industry game or not they still have a knack for spreading misinformation about how games create a race of ultra violent killers.

The pure ignorance of these people is enough to induce a 30 min long brain freeze.

"There are certain things in life you don’t make light of and should not be turning into a game. It’s not a game, it’s a tremendous loss of life."

Based on that, I demand reparations from anyone who's ever done a WWII/Holocaust movie. Speilberg, I'm looking at you.

The fact that V-Tech Rampage is in bad taste, or too soon, or whatever is a moot point. This really is a first amendment discussion. Just because what this opportunistic shit head put out as a game is actually a worthless peice of crap doesn't mean he didn't have the right to make it. Absolutely, call it what it is, an atrocity, but it's still his right to make it and try to profit from it, even though his reputation is clearly inexorably tarnished.

"You’ve got Grand Theft Auto where you murder police officers. To me, I can’t imagine people marketing and distributing it, and putting it in the hands of kids, but it’s happening."

Really, where? I want an copy of GTA4 before it comes out too! Damn kids...

tollwutig Says:
Just so you all know it’s happened. Fox News has picked up on the story, and of course is relating it to the Commercial Video Game Industry. ....

When was this? I just hope Fox doesn't call up one of their "experts" again for comment.

@ Xander
You misjudge Ron Paul, he leans more libertarian. Where on earth did comment come from anyway?

I'd like to see this report get released

"Politician compares battle in streets of Fallujah to a session of GTA VI or Counterstrike."

contents of the report:

Thanks to continued training of military personnel using FPS shooters, such as America's Army (TM), endorsed, funded, and supported by the US Government, our soldiers are more than well prepared for urban combat. Congress has decided to not supply ammunition and armor to the soldiers for their mission, as PLENTY should automatically spawn at select locations throughout Iraq. Fear not citizens, for should our soldiers fall, they will reappear after a designated penalty time at a predetermined respawn point.

If only real life were like a game.. we could more easily justify the complete stupidity and ignorance of politicians.

I'd like to call him on his mistakes, but I really don't think it makes any difference. I'm sure he'd be just as happy to knowingly spread misinformation, just so long as his "courageous" stance against evil, evil video games gets him attention and votes.

if presidential candidate Ron Paul was commenting on this v-tech game, he'd be blaming the government i bet...the fact is Senator Lanza is right - its time the game makers are held accountable for there actions.

I think this Lanza guy is right on the money! go get the bastards!

There is something you can do about it. I wrote an email (poosibly useless but the contents of that email are below).

"In regards to your recent interview concerning V-Tech Rampage:

Perhaps you should learn more about the industry your are trying to legislate. Your proposed legislation would not protect children from games like V-Tech Rampage as they are not created by the video game industry, nor are they sold through distributors. This game was made by an unemployed Australian man and is distributed freely on the internet. Either you are uninformed, or you are choosing to distort the facts (ie LIE). I choose to believe the former, so I have taken the time to try and educate you. If you persist in using V-Tech Rampage as an excuse to push your legislation, I will now be certain you are no better than the man who chose to use abuse a national tragedy for his own pathetic ends."

I'm with Jabrwock. Public humiliation for being an uninformed jackass seems an appropriate solution.

[...] [Via GamePolitics] [...]

I find it funny that this clown is going after a game that hasn't even been released yet, if he wants to make an example of GTA, he better also point a finger at Saints Row because that game is just as bad. Overall it is stupid to even have politicians make these comments about games that they clearly have not played.

Because if he had played the games he would know that the missions based in these games are missions that involve the Mob or rival gangs trying to take over these cities/counties.

Yes being able to cops is an option but it is NOT the main objective and that is what Jack Thompson and these politicians are failing to realize. That is my two cents worth.

newgrounds is loving this...

"Daamn better step up quickly JT, some one is close to you in stupidity"

Naw, I think Thompson is barred from saying anything about Rockstar's games, so this idiot has to take his place. Gah, I can't believe this guy is an elected official.

Daamn better step up quickly JT, some one is close to you in stupidity

@ Matthew:

I think that if a game developer takes the trouble to advertise and get the game rated, then they deserve to be called industry. This VTRampage game has done neither of those things, so should not be called industry.

Or if they create it as means of income or profit it could be industry. Even this if they want to be serious, will at least advertise the game.

So to me the original mod version of Counter-Strike is not an industry game but became one as soon as they took measures to advertise and make it a stand alone game.

You know, all this talk about "industry distance" has got me thinking. Consider the following games:

Armadillo Run, Bejewelled, Counter-Strike, Darwinia, Defcon, Desktop Tower Defence, Doom, Garry's Mod, Geometry Wars, N, SCMRPG, Starscape, the VT massacre game

Mentally divide them into "industry" and "not industry," with justifications. It's not so easy, is it? Some points of interest:

Popcap has free demos of its games that you can play in your browser. Are those demos industry?
Doom was distributed as shareware across countless campuses originally. Was it industry back then? Did it become industry?
Garry's Mod and Counter-Strike started as mods and became products for sale. Are they industry now that their names are registered?
Darwinia is available boxed in the shops, but Defcon (the next game by the same people) is not. Does not being in shops make it not industry?

Congrats for doing something like saying a retailer should not sell a homemade YouTube video like a major motion picture!

You know what the ESA should do? They should publicly correct him. Put him in his place, embarrass him before the press, that he mistook a flash game for a commercial product...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

I guess we don't elect public officials to make rational decisions, but to make asshats out of themselves for pure enjoyment.

Is it wrong to enjoy laughing at someone's stupidity? I laugh at darwin award nominees and honorable mentions.

Maybe I should send him an email that he's likely to someday be a darwin award nominee if he keeps up his stupidity.

@Pawsie

The problem lies with that the willfully ignorant, politicians massacre chasers and the like will be using this as ANOTHER example as to why video games need to be legislated. I think it's the only medium they don't yet takes bribes from or control

I guess we'd better not tell him about news ground.com otherwise he'll think their smut peddlers.

... my brain hurts.

@Aniki21: "It’s always bugged me that people specifically point out that you kill cops in Grand Theft Auto. You can kill anybody you like in Grand Theft Auto; some of them just happen to be cops. "

Actually, I've always LIKED GTA on that point, because it's got a pretty clear message on the cop-killing angle: Start killing cops, and you'll end up dead pretty quickly, unless you have the "Lower Police Aggro" powerups nearby... and real life doesn't have powerups.

No one mentions you getting in trouble for killing cops in GTA.

"programmed by an unemployed Australian man"

Why does he get his employment status next to his name every time he's mentioned? "Hey check it out... he's unemployed! See, he really is a bad person."

Newgrounds is on debate on whether to keep V-Tech Rampage on their. Aside from freedom of speach, the only other thing thats holding it back is their 9/11 collection (of which contains a lot of tributes, and one funny).

Fuck Tard Fuck Tard Fuck Tard

this man makes me angry, his incompetence that thinking that v-tech game is in retail stores, and that GTA is marketed for children are reasons why this man (how he ever evolved from apes i don't know) should have been allowed to take office.
 
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