Attorney: NY Game Law Could Mean a Lifetime Behind Bars for Retailers

Mark Methenitis, attorney and pen behind the Law of the Game blog, weighs in on the New York legislation about which GamePolitics has been reporting this week. The IGDA member raises a scary scenario which, admittedly, pertains to a very few potential victims.

Methenitis’ concern addresses New York’s 3 Strikes Rule – three felony convictions can send a person to jail for life. Well guess what?  The proposed New York law makes selling violent games to minors a class E felony. Methenitis writes:

While the law does give some leeway for the sentencing court, it theoretically allows a judge to put someone away for life for selling a copy of, say, Gears of War to a 16 year old who looks 18. Yes, selling a game could come with a life sentence under the new law.

Methenitis also points out that providing alcohol or cigarettes to a minor is generally only a misdemeanor usually resulting in a fine.  And selling a DVD copy of violent films like Saw or Hostel to children?  No fine whatsoever.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    Daniel says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Attorney: NY Game Law Could Mean a Lifetime Behind Bars for Retailers, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  2. 0
    gamer1001 says:

    go clyde wyman 28 weeks later rocked the house!!!!. but still newyork should chill we outnumber them a billion to one wht are they going to do….what i think is that they should all go stick their heads into a big bucket of water and think about it.

  3. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    *sigh* It doesn’t get any stupider than this. But good news is, our favorite movies like Saw or Hostel (as Dennis has pointed out) and 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later never get affected by retardation of these people.

  4. 0
    Gameboy says:

    Wow! That makes this even worse then we feared. Even though it only effects a small percentage of the population, that shouldn’t make it OK in the least. We don’t allow laws to pass just because they will effect a few people. This is a travesty. Almost makes Orwell’s future look nice.

    Wonder if they thought of that when they drafted the law. Or did they put it in there to draw all the attention to that particular portion of the law, so that the rest would go through, which would explain the Salvage Claus. Sort of a Trojan Horse.

    @ Clyde Wyman

    Actually, Andrew Eisen wrote this article.

  5. 0
    Gameboy says:

    @ Andrew Eisen

    LOL. I wasn’t trying to be an ass. Just pointing out that Andrew was the poster. It is Dennis’ site, but I’m sure Andrew would like to be given some credit for his work.

  6. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Gameboy,

    “Actually, Andrew Eisen wrote this article.”

    Oh, my bad, please accept my sincere apologies and forgive my ignorance. Guess I have to pay more close attention to the article after all.

  7. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Gameboy,

    Never mind, it’s not your fault though, it’s my fault of being that ignorant and not paying close attention to the article being presented.

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

    Wow, this makes no sense whatsoever.

    When (not if) this gets struck down, let’s hope NY gets stuffed with the bill, as have many others. Anybody know what the total figure is for the amount the various states have had to pay out as a result of these stupid laws?

  9. 0
    Robespierre says:

    Under the hypothetical situation that this does not get shot down, it will then possibly open up the door to more such legislation which could be very bad. While the whole thing is unconstitutional, it is becoming a bit unnerving to see how much this proposed law has snow-balled and gained so much support.

    I’m afraid that if this were to become a law that it would set a precedent for other states to follow.

    On a side note, it’s difficult to imagine how the politicians that are backing this law-proposal don’t find this at all unlawful, unconstitutional, and just plain unfair. The proposed law itself is ridiculous and poorly written to boot, but it’s becoming a threat because it has gained so much support in such a short amount of time.

  10. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    at least it’s not Texas, or somewhere that has the death penalty… I’d hate to see a video games bill this severe THERE.

  11. 0
    Dan says:

    I love it! Not only does it illustrate the stupidity of anti-video-game legislation, it shows how idiotic the three-strikes law is! Brilliant!

    @ Robespierre

    It’s getting support because politicians want votes, not this law on the books. Basically, the politicians know they can vote for this law, it will be struck down, the state foots a relatively minor bill, and they can say “Hey, I’m trying to protect the children.”

    Now, if somebody went out of their way to document what they said about the bill before voting for it, and brought it up during their elections? We might not see so many of these bills. The governor of Illnois is being held accountable, let’s see if Ray Burrell and the authors of this legislation will also be. The ideal scenario is they have to pay the bill out of their own pockets.

  12. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    And I fear that this could be the end of the billion dollar video game industry and this could be very bad as us, gamers can also be effected as well and who knows what horrors may be in store for us? These legislators will then turn to target the movie industry, oh! I can’t bear to continue thinking any of the dangers that we entertainment-lovers may face in the uncertain future.

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


    All the more reason the Game Industry needs to seriously look at an embargo on NY for the duration of the proposed law’s existance. I’m convinced this is the way to go as the backlash from voters will claim more than a few casualties in the next election, and THAT will make the politicians sit up and take notice.

  14. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Belgarion89: “This also makes the NY law a violation of the 8th amendment. “Cruel and unusual” and all that.”

    Indeed. They may as well add a provision about quartering troops in jailed retailers’ houses and wipe out the rest of the Bill of Rights while they’re at it..

  15. 0
    Jotun says:

    To Daniel,

    I agree with you Daniel sir, this legislation is definitely too harsh and cruel. Oh, how could they!!!! These monstrous people!

  16. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    Most voters care about “saving the kids.” Few voters pay attention to line-by-line accounting for the state budget. Sadly, I don’t think it matters why or how this legislation will be shot down, because by the time it happens, most people will have forgotten it.

    We are currently way over budget in my home state of Michigan. Our economy really sucks right now, compared to most other states. “Economic crisis” is the headline here lately, more often than not.

    Yet the story of the half-million Michigan tax dollars lost to ESA legal fee payments didn’t get any play on local news, despite our allegedly “desperate” need of more money. Certainly, it didn’t receive anywhere near as much news coverage as the bill itself got when it was first proposed.

    And so, despicable as it may seems to some of us, I can see the Machiavellian logic behind the “lightning-quick” passage of the legislation in New York. The positive reaction politicians receive from supporting any legislation labeled as “protecting the children from games” is sure to outweigh any negative reaction they might get a year or so later, once the legislation is shot down and forgotten, and the only evidence of error is another little line in the debit column of the state budget.

    If you take ethics out of the equation, supporting this bill is a great political move for any elected New York rep. I don’t think it makes any difference at all whether or not it’s a good bill, and I doubt many of its supporters honestly expect it to stand up to judicial review (or even want it to!). It’s essentially just an opportunity to use tax dollars to pay for a publicity stunt.

  17. 0
    Jack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As must as we all like to brag when a bill is shot down, I think we must admit that we’re not looking so hot at the moment.

    All and all this sucks. Are they any New Yorkers here? If there is, will there be any letter writing on your part??

  18. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    Saving the kids is good (if it is saving the teens, I am going to kill myself with a revolver), but not in this cruelest way by punishing the video game sellers. Wanna “save the kids”? Then start being responsible and stop blaming entertainment for the ills of those sick teenagers then!

    And as the parents of the victims of Paducah massacre who sued Capcom, Sony and the video game industry, here is a good quote for them,

    “It is better for you to take responsibility for your life as it is, instead of blaming others, or circumstances, for your predicament. As your eyes open, you’ll see that your state of health, happiness, and every circumstance of your life has been, in large part, arranged by you — consciously or unconsciously.”- Dan Millman, Source: Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives, Page: 28

  19. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I love the picture from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”

    As for the article, I find it a very good point. Why should I have to go to jail for life and some guy who sells booze and smokes to a kid just has to pay a fine.

    With the last clause at the end of the bill, they basically want the review board to go through, but don’t care about the rest. I don’t know why they just don’t propose the review board on its own. I gues they need a just cause for one and with out the rest it will not pass.

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

    Excuse the double post, but I’m not trying to make it seem like this is just NEW YORK’s problem. In reality it is all of our problems. Sooner or later, depending on New York’s success of course, this could be a nationwide fad:

    Making gamers look like felons.

  21. 0
    Benji says:

    I’m wondering if all the video game legislation is just a symptom of a very, very sick government system. One in which legislators put the interests of their political careers ahead of those of the country. There’s probably a lot of other symptoms one could pick out as well, though I don’t feel like brainstorming them right now. But until the way in which the country is run changes dramatically, I don’t think there will be any end to these cheap publicity stunts.
    Personally, I’m wondering if we’re going to change at all before some massive crisis hits and forces us to rethink how we choose our representatives. I think we’re on the brink of a civil war of idealogies. There won’t be any blood, but it’ll still be extremely tense, messy, and will result in the country being dramatically different in a few years. But between the fear of that scenario and the fact that I’m becoming more and more dissatisfied with the country, I’ve almost considered having a Plan B that involves fleeing to Canada.
    Anyhow, enough of my personal politics – the articles points out the many absurdities with this law, and hopefully that’ll help in preventing it from passing a court challenge.

  22. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    One of the worst things about this law is that if it sticks I can see anti gamers abusing it, REALLY abusing it. What I mean is driving local game retailers out of business by filing false reports and staging their own sting operations to get all their employees jailed.

    @Stinking Kevin

    Eheh, the politicians don’t give two shits about the citizens, it’s not their money they’re spending. My family had been massively in debt, we can hardly even keep up with the bills. I’ve been trying to find a job to help with that, but have I been able to? No, because there’s hardly anything in my area, and they’re building more strip malls than they can fill.

  23. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So has anyone, uh, you know, contacted NY Assembly? Or are we all too content to sit and “complain” (I wanted to use a more colorful word, but I’m keeping it PG) about the potential outcome without doing anything to attempt to fix that potential outcome.

    Like contacting them, expressing dissatisfaction, talking about the unconstitutionality of the bill, etc?

  24. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To kurisu7885,

    “One of the worst things about this law is that if it sticks I can see anti gamers abusing it, REALLY abusing it. What I mean is driving local game retailers out of business by filing false reports and staging their own sting operations to get all their employees jailed.”

    Of course, too much of a good things can make people take it for granted, just like Law. I mean really, Law is being used for justice on sinful people, but just like you said, these anti-game activists just trying to pollute it and turning it into a bomb for the billion dollar game industry.

    Oh please! Someone, just someone! SAVE THE GAME INDUSTRY!

  25. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Serrenity

    If I lived in NY I would. I suspect that many of the GP readers in NY have already blasted them with emails. That was one of the first things I di when I heard about Oklahoma video game legeslation.

  26. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Xlorep DarkHelm,

    “Considering I want to be part of that industry, yeah, I want to have it be saved, so there’s an industry for me to go to. :P”

    Right you are, my friend.

    I wonder if Jack Thompson will know about this, imagine the fun it will be! To see a escaped mental patient in a lawyer’s suit yelling and blabbering about violence of video games.

  27. 0
    Timmay! says:

    Only more proof that no thought what so ever was put into that bill, and it was all done to court favor with the voting public. I hope they all get voted out of office by a horrible loss in the next elections.

  28. 0

    @Clyde Wyman:

    Considering I want to be part of that industry, yeah, I want to have it be saved, so there’s an industry for me to go to. 😛

    Honestly, this bill probably fails so much, on so many different levels, extending beyond the mere First Amendment violations, it has moved to violate other parts of the Constitution as well. I don’t think that the industry will have *any* problems in showing that this law is unconstitutional.

  29. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To E. Zachary Knight

    Yes, but someone must save the game industry, because these legislators making these anti-game legislations is just like sending a small but cause massive damage atomic bomb in a mail and sending it to the video game industry. And oh! It will be bombed into a heap of garbage just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki being bombed! Oh, I am just afraid that this will happen.

  30. 0
    John ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I did. I am a resident of MD. New york doesn’t give a shit about my oppinion because I can’t vote for them. Try calling the office of a representative in a different state, or writing, you will see what i mean.

  31. 0
    Jim F. says:

    For those who don’t remember what prompted this bill: it’s the VTech massacre game. You know the game made out of the REAL-LIFE tragedy.

    “Psychological experts have concluded that violent video games can desensitize players to the real-life consequences of violent actions. This legislation will protect our youngsters from being exposed to the detrimental impact of violent video games that promote depraved violence and brutalize and demean human beings, said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)

    You are probably desensitized… as the experts say!

    Wow, I’m impress by the the lack of memory of you guys, the “gamers”.

    Cruel legislation, I’ll have a tear for you guys.

  32. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    The problem here is, most prisons in the U.S. are already overcrowded, and I’m positive NY is no different. Where are they going to put these game retailers. Will there be any room left for REAL criminals?

  33. 0
    Koichan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @# Jim F. Says:

    >For those who don’t remember what prompted this bill: it’s the VTech >massacre game. You know the game made out of the REAL-LIFE tragedy.
    Yes the ‘game’ made by some bored attention seeking person on the internet. The exact kind of game that has absolutely nothing at all to do with game companies, retailers, this bill and even most gamers

    >“Psychological experts have concluded that violent video games can >desensitize players to the real-life consequences of violent actions. This >legislation will protect our youngsters from being exposed to the >detrimental impact of violent video games that promote depraved >violence and brutalize and demean human beings, said Assembly Speaker >Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)

    >You are probably desensitized… as the experts say!

    I seem to recall similar things being said about every single new form of media in the past:
    movies, music, comic books, books and so on. Please tell us what is different here.

    Add to this the simple fact that there has never been a single proven link of media ‘causing’ any bad effects in teenagers, only vague correlations that mean nothing*

    *eg. 99.99% of violent crime is caused by people that have watched TV! Therefore it’s TV’s fault, we must now ban TV!

  34. 0
    somerguy says:

    I thought all the previous attempt at laws were silly…this is just beyond belief. The three strikes thing came to mind when i first read it….How can the people beyond this be so stupid? Beyond that I have no clue what to even say about this insanity.

  35. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To Koichan,

    “Add to this the simple fact that there has never been a single proven link of media ‘causing’ any bad effects in teenagers, only vague correlations that mean nothing”

    Of course media didn’t cause any bad effects on people, only teenagers themselves choose to make parents think that entertainment is like garbage being fed to our generations. How I wish that children can just grow to become better people or better adults without having to become teenagers.

  36. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To somerguy,

    It’s all in the classics, you just can’t beat them all at once. Of course, if people does not want to help themselves, nobody can help them. Just like as for this, if these people can’t get help for their insanity, nobody will. Except we put these old bats out of their misery.

  37. 0
    Scoops says:

    @ Jim F.

    Nice troll… I guess. I mean, I’m answering, so it must have been okay.

    Anyway, your grasp of the facts in this situation is poor. Almost as poor as the legislators in New York. The V-Tech massacre game was the impetus for this legislation? The unsold, unregulatable game made by a guy in Australia? This bill won’t prevent that game. Or were you meaning to imply that the shooter at V-Tech was a gamer? We’ve seen no evidence of that, at least since he was in high school.

    As to the whole “psychological experts” thing. Most studies in the field have, thus far, seen games as corollary – falling into violent people like violent things. The famous “Anderson noise blast” study offers an interesting conclusion, but makes what some consider strange leaps to get there. How does blasting someone with a millisecond more of white noise make one more aggressive? How long does this “aggression” last? How does the study account for it finding women to be more aggressive than men?

    Then there’s your poorly spelled ad-hominem attacks. I can’t really address those.

    I’d put this out there, for all the anti-gaming people (who won’t read it). Stop and think for a minute. Maybe over-regulation is, in itself, a bad thing. Maybe you like legislation like this. You won’t when some nutter on a crusade convinces someone to pass legislation that makes you a felon for something stupidly trivial.

    “And now bills were passed, not only for national objects but for individual cases, and laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt.”Tacitus, Annals, ca. 117 AD

  38. 0
    nightwng2000 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    (1) Well, just track down some of my prior posts regarding politicians, among others, attempting to dictate their personal, religious, and/or political beliefs upon others as well as attempting to violate Parental Rights by dictating to Parents what is or is not appropriate for their children.
    (2) Tack on old posts about how Parents have the Right to expose their children to a variety of things (books, TV, movies, games, religion, etc) that another Parent may not agree with or deem appropriate and it doesn’t necessarily make them a bad Parent.

    Wow, saves a lot of posting space. Ahem.

    Here’s a question for NY legal eagles though:
    DVD movies containing violence were mentioned in the article. While a retailer may or may not have a policy as to who to sell to, it’s stated that it isn’t against the law.
    What about unrated “Adult vidoes”? I’m talking about those “in between” videos, such as the Playboy Centerfolds video magazine, which can be bought here in Wilmington, NC in a couple of video stores (like Suncoast). They don’t carry an actual rating, either by MPAA or, to my knowledge, even by the adult film industry. To my knowledge, while stores here have a policy, I’m not sure whether it would be against the law (civil or criminal) to sell those “in between” videos to minors or not. After all, which is more of an “adult video”? “The Last American Virgin” or a Playboy Video Centerfold video?
    Anyway, is it criminal, or even against civil law, to sell such a video to a minor?

    NW2K Software

  39. 0
    Benji says:

    Seconding Koichan – JT’s Louisiana law was supposedly backed by research and the judge there said the research wasn’t sufficient to warrant legislation – it did not demonstrate that the state had a proven interest in keeping M-rated games out of the hands of minors. Research has proven correlation but not causation, so based on the existing body of evidence it’s just as likely that violent people are drawn to violent games, rather than violent games create violent people. For that matter, it’s equally likely that orbital mind control lasers cause random people to make violent games and other random people to play them and then go kill people.

  40. 0
    Tye the Czar says:

    If this actually becomes law, oy(they could find a loophole maybe). I hope Rockstar gets “revenge” on them by making blatant mockery of the politicians in NY by putting them in Liberty City AND killable, oy. And they call themselves DEMOCRATS! Uguu~ Republican fakers.

  41. 0
    Dexee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I agree with Mortium that if this passes, all the industries move themselves far away from New York and refuse to commit any commerce in, through or out of that state. Aside from actually challenging it with First and 8th amendment right issues.


    Great quote by Tacitus. It is showing exactly what is happening in our days, aside from writings in the Bible.

  42. 0
    beacon80 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And also, lest we forget, being desensetised to violence is not a crime nor does it a criminal make.
    Good point. If we’re banning things that cause people to become desensitized, how about police and doctors?

  43. 0
    Miraba says:


    The comment was made on-air as an assumption and everyone else ran with it. There’s zero evidence that he played Counterstrike etc any time after high school. His warning was in his disturbing writings.

    Oh no, we’d better ban all forms of fiction!

  44. 0
    Miraba says:

    @Tye the Czar

    Republicans do it under the guise of Saving Our Great Land from the godless sodomites.

    Democrats do it under the guise of Saving Our Children from anything that isn’t fluffy kittens.

  45. 0
    jer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ all mentioning v-tech
    Was it actually ever confirmed that the v-tech attacker play video games in high school? or was it just a brief mention from a third party?

  46. 0
    Matthew says:

    Actually, for everybody who says that this is cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court had actually decided in 2003 that 3 strikes laws did not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” even in cases such as when the third strike was felony petty theft, such golf clubs, video tapes, or chocolate chip cookies.

    So not much hope for this to be struck down on those grounds.

  47. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “For those who don’t remember what prompted this bill: it’s the VTech massacre game.”

    You give that jackass too much credit. These bills have been attempted long before Lambourne decided to troll the intertubes.

    This bill was rushed through so that nobody would have the time to realize how ridiculous it was. There’s no way it will ever stick.

  48. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Matthew

    It is not the 3 Strike law that is cruel and unusual, it is the fact that they make selling a game to a minor a felony, while selling alcohol and tobacco to a kid is a misdemeaner and selling an R rated movie is not even fineable. So they are making something with no proven harm to kids worse than something with proven and direct harm to kids. That is the cruel and unusual punishment.

  49. 0
    emontanez88 says:

    “Methenitis also points out that providing alcohol or cigarettes to a minor is generally only a misdemeanor usually resulting in a fine. And selling a DVD copy of violent films like Saw or Hostel to children? No fine whatsoever.”

    Giving kids smokes and beer is not a felony.
    Giving kids gory and disturbing movies not a felony.
    But giving violent video games to kids is a felony.

    Oh yeah, your doing one hell of a job, New York government.
    Bravo for your hypocritical double standards!

  50. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Regardless of the outcome of the bill, I have to admit the whole idea makes me squirm; both that something like this even has the potential to get past those who are supposed to uphold the Constitution? When even the layman can see it’s unconstitutionality; the prospect that they can put this through with a clear conscious is daunting, and thats not even considered the potential for copy-cat with the legislature and the legislative process.

    It’s one of those: “If they are capable of this kind of travesty of government, what else might they be capable of …” kind of thoughts that is truly chilling, even if the bill gets struck down.

  51. 0
    F**KED UP says:


    yeah this bill is really saving the children. think about it, teens getting a part time job at the local video game retail store because they play video games as a hobby. He is told to ID people who want to buy M rated games. Low and behold a person underage goes to buy an M rated gate and gets stopped. Then the parent comes in and buy the game with cash and leaves. then returns 3 hours later saying this game was inapproiate for the child. Now the teenager is up for felony charges because the parent says the he sold the game to the child and there is no way to prove otherwise.

    Senario 2: Teenage gets a job at local video game store. everyone in the school knows it. However, there are people that just plain out hate him. So they get the older brother to buy a video game then come back with their parent saying u sold this to underage son. now the teen is up for felony charges because there is no way to prove otherwise.

    Senario 3: the person uses a fake ID like they do when people buy cigarrettes and alcohol. teen is up for felony charges but the fake ID was really well forged.



  52. 0
    Sourceress ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The part that bothers me; in fact, the part that has always bothered me about discussions regarding what content is appropriate for “children”, is that those who wish to promote repressive content laws shamelessly raise the specter of “children” being exposed to objectionable content without defining clearly what they mean by “children”, and the definition changes.

    Do I think 6-year-olds should be watching R-rated movies or looking at naughty pictures on the Internet or playing extremely violent video games? No! Of course not. And I do not allow my own children to watch said movies or look at said pictures or play said games. (Not that we really play a lot of violent first-person games anyway – we’re more strategy types. (i.e. we wipe out whole Civilizations, not just individual people 😉 ))

    And that’s the picture they’re painting when they’re pushing these “Protect the children” laws. The problem is, 6-year-olds accessing these kinds of media are not really the problem. Most 6-year-olds don’t access these kinds of media, either because their parents won’t permit it, or because it simply hasn’t occurred to them to try, or both.

    The “children” in question for most of these laws….aren’t really children. They’re teenagers. And it doesn’t take a degree in psychology to figure out that there is a world of difference between teenagers and actual children. Things that are not appropriate for a 6 year old may well be appropriate for a 16 year old, and I think our society makes a grave mistake by lumping them all into the same category and trying to impose one-size-fits-all rules. It just doesn’t work.

    And raising the spectre of children accessing certain forms of media by implying that you’re talking about 6 year olds, when you’re really talking about 16 year olds is the worst kind of demagougery.

    In short: If we want to start fighting stuff like this, 1) we need to demand that people define their terms. Are we actually talking about children? Or are we talking about teens? and 2) We all need to act like grownups, even (especially!) the teenagers. If you come across as rude, whiny teenagers, no one is going to take you seriously. If you come across as mature, thoughtful, intelligent people with logical, well-reasoned arguments (as opposed to “That’s so unfair! I want to play that game! Wah!) you are far more likely to be taken seriously. At the same time, you will be demonstrating that all of this media has not, in fact, had a deleterious effect on your ability to be a reasonable, productive member of society.

  53. 0
    Jim F. says:

    Indeed, television has an effect on you:

    “Since 1960, a body of evidence coming from both laboratory research and survey studies based on real life experience has confirmed that there is a causative relation between the observation of aggression and violence on television and subsequent aggressive and violent behavior on the part of the observer. This is especially true for young children, and for them, the effect is not just temporary, but is sustained over the years. For example, one study conducted by my colleagues and me in 1960 in Columbia County, New York, shows that the amount of violence youngsters watch on television at age 8 is related to their aggressiveness 10 years later…” Leonard D. Eron, Ph.D.

    Look it up:

    Now, you’re going to say: “He only worked on this for 40 years, that’s not a proof!”

    That a good hint though, don’t you think?

    N.B. The subject is not the video games per se, but what’s the content of them. So far….lot’s of garbage. Is it useful for any society to be entertained by violence and be living in a virtual reality, as a lot of gamers do?

  54. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    @Tye, Miraba…
    Anti-game legislation is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. It is a Populist issue (which, in my opinion, is far worse).

    Well said.

  55. 0
    Tye the Czar says:

    I didn’t know Democrats were that way before, oy. I know about the Lieberman and Clinton cases, yeah, but to me they seemed like exceptions.
    Uguu~ William Blake’s poems of innocence and experience strike again, oy.

  56. 0
    Majestic_12_x ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Does anyone know what the average penalty for selling harmful materials to a minor is (pornograpy, sexual materials)?

    I’m actually finding this whole merchant law just a bit humorous because I can see the New York media having a blast when some unfortunate retailer is sentenced to life in prison (under the three strikes program) for selling Grand Theft Auto IV to a minor…….assuming for a second that A08698 doesn’t have the legalchallengehammer taken to it.

  57. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Similarly, (sorry, I hit submit before I was done heh) What evidence do you have that states:

    Is it useful for any society to be entertained by violence and be living in a virtual reality, as a lot of gamers do?

    A lot of gamers live in a virtual reality? Where did you determine that? What manner of exploration did you use to arrive at that said conclusion? Where there polls involved? Interviews? Discussions with “gamers?” If you have any of that to back up the fact that “a lot” of gamers enjoy violence and enjoy living in a virtual reality, I would love to see it.

  58. 0
    Tye the Czar says:

    Try another facade, Jacko! If that’s true, then how come violent crime rates have decreased dramatically since the 50’s. It seems that you’re the one who does not distinguish games from reality, oy. Just show us your face on the news so you can be a good marked bounty of pranks. Besides, what did they do to you?! If GTA and Doom sold millions, then how come only so few are claimed to be affected?! Face it. Games will never die. And if someone manages to do so, there shall be vengance by the people hopefully in the style of “When they Cry Higurashi” or the severly overlooked anime Code Geass. You just make these comments because YOU don’t play them and don’t know anything except the news media puts up. Oh, yeah and doesn’t the BIBLE have things considered garbage. Now go sit in a corner and think about it, oy. I am very ashamed that another filthy puritan troll has started to disturb the peace, oy.

    Remember, say NO to reactionists!

  59. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Jim F.

    Jimbo, it’s clear to me here that need to do some research on video games. You seem to be slapping around platitudes about games without doing any sort of research into games. This is best stated here:

    So far….lot’s of garbage

    If you continue reading in the hearing you sent, you would see on page 3, paragraph 3 that the good Dr. Eron says:

    “Of course, media violence alone cannot account for the development of all serious antisocial
    behavior. It is, however, a potential contributor to the learning environment of children
    who eventually go on to develop aggressive and violent behavior.”

    Even Dr. Eron shies away from deliberately saying media violence is the only factor, and he even won’t give definitive terms of what the contribution is, only that it is potential.

    Also on pg. 3, Dr. Eron states:
    “The best estimate of these meta analyses is that 10% of all youth violence
    can be attributed to violent television.”

    At best, violent television influences 10% of the all youth violence. That implies that the other studies found less conclusive results.

    We run into the same issues when dealing with aggression and violence: how did they determine increased violence? What kind of violence were they exposed to, etc. The hearing gives virtually no information about the study, and therefore we are unable to evaluate its veracity.

    Also, nota bene, that this hearing was originally held in 2000. It can easily be argued that things have changed since then.

    Also, ; States clearly and definitely that violent crime has been on the decline since 1994, which would stand to reason that media violence has an unknown or palty effect on overall violent behavior.

  60. 0
    VendettaUF ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “N.B. The subject is not the video games per se, but what’s the content of them. So far….lot’s of garbage. Is it useful for any society to be entertained by violence and be living in a virtual reality, as a lot of gamers do? “

    Welcome to America, where we are free to be entertained the way we want to be. Not the way big brother says we should be.

  61. 0
    Scoops says:

    No, I’m going to say, “If TV is so bad for you, and we’ve known it for 40 plus years, then why don’t parents step up? Don’t let your kids watch it. The government is not raising your child.”

    I’d then follow on by saying, “Aggressiveness doesn’t automatically equal crime. In fact, the author of that report very carefully tiptoes around saying that. He says that violent TV makes you more aggressive. he also says that a clear causal relationship is established, yet I know of many researchers who disagree with that statement.”

    I’d conclude by saying, “In fact, crime statistics in the US show that violent crime among juveniles is at a 30 year low. People who view violent media may commit a more serious crime, but they commit less crime as well.”

    Were I in the mood, I’d also say something like, “I also note that the report contains very broad, poorly defined statements. It’s also written as an opinion piece by someone pushing his agenda.”

    I might also note that, “You seem to lack the knowledge of game content to sufficiently judge their overall artistic merit. From what you say, you seem to be judging the entire industry from outliers like Manhunt. Virtually every society since the dawn of man has been entertained by violence – see modern sports like football, hockey rugby and even NASCAR. Virtual reality, as in imagination, is also one of the primary forms of human entertainment. What is used to stimulate imagination has evolved over millennia. Video games are part of that evolution. If you think stimulating one’s imagination is useless, I shudder to think how boring your world is. No games. No TV. No movies. No theatre. No books. No music.”

    By the by, here’s a study that concludes in that viewing violent movies creates a short term decline in violent criminal tendencies:

    Here’s a report from Henry Jenkins, a noted gaming advocate and MIT professor, discussing several commonly held myths:

  62. 0
    Timmay! says:


    The Illinois government spent about $1,000,000 total to come up with and pass the bill, pay their own legal fees, then pay the ESA’s legal fees. I’m going to bet that it’s not going to come cheap for New York to fail to defend their bill. Once the total cost to pass, defend, and eventually paying the legal fees of the ESA (and anyone else involved in the defense) gets out to the public, I doubt the “we’re trying to protect your children” defense will work.

  63. 0
    Tallika ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    When voting on these kinds of bills, the lawmakers have a good idea what will and what won’t pass a constitutional challenge. But they pass them reguardless so that during the runup to the NEXT election they can tout voting stats that show that they voted for controlls on violent game access to minors, glossing of the small detail that it got struck down a year later and never actually did anything. In reality they dont know or care about the issue. They just know that its getting a load of buzz in the media and like flies to dung they zero in on any issue that will generate soundbytes that will get airtime.

    You might think i’m over cynical but its the pattern i see.

  64. 0
    Timmay! says:

    @Jim F

    The answer here is the simplest thing that can ever be said, but nobody wants to say it, “Parents, limit what your children are watching/reading/playing/listening to”.

    Politicians are affraid to tell parents to take responsibility because it’s not what they get paid to do, they get paid to write legislation to make up for everyone’s lack of responsibility. Same goes for parental controls on the TV and videogame systems. What did real parents do before the V-chip? They told their kids what they could and couldn’t watch, and if they caught them watching something they weren’t suppose to, the kid got punished.

    You want a good example of the way things really are now, Jim? Look at all the “in depth” investigations from 60 Minutes and Dateline and such about the sales of Mature rated games. In every show I’ve seen them do, they have the kid (who’s been playing the game for months already) sit down in front of the parents and show them why it was rated Mature. They parent’s reactions? “I never knew this was in the game!”

    So, after the kid having the game for months (sometimes year or more), you never asked your child what the game was like, or peeked in to watch them play? Even when I was 16, with my Playstation in my own room, my parent’s wanted to see what the games I was playing were like.

    This kind of legislation won’t prevent young kids from getting their hands on games they shouldn’t be playing, they’ll get someone who can buy them to get the games for them. If you REALLY want to keep those games out of kids hands, make the parents be parents.

  65. 0
    Devr says:

    This law is looking more and more like the next big blunder after the Illinois fiasco. The punishment is way ridiculous, and there still isn’t any concrete evidence of videogames causing RL violence. 😐


    Lol, that’s messed up o_O

  66. 0
    Scoops says:


    I dunno about killing someone, but…

    If you’re over 21 and sold a 16 year old girl a copy of Grand Theft Auto, you could receive the same punishment as you would if you had sex with her. Third degree rape (which includes statutory rape) is also a Class E felony in New York.

  67. 0
    ooftygoofty says:

    Why do I have the sick feeling that, at least in theory, you could receive a lighter punishment for actually killing someone than for selling an M rated game to a 16 year old under this law?

    Even then, as far as I remember, there were no concrete terms like “M rated” in the phrasing, just vague terms like “depraved violence.” I’m guessing this was done intentionally. If this law were to make it into the books, it could potentially be used against the sale of basically ANY game.

  68. 0
    MachShot says:

    Jesus Christ! Not even I would want to watch the movie Hostel. Sure, I’ll play GTA, Gears of War, and any other game but the full length version of the Hostel II movie makes me shiver.

    So, now I am sure this law will be shot down by the supreme court with the simple argument that the state of New York has labled selling videogames to someone a year or two under the age rating as worse that giving a minor Alcohol, Cigarets, or Films containing brutal torture.

    Sorry to anyone here that may be a resident of that state but New York is Fail. I can’t even bother to grammer check this post.

  69. 0
    MachShot says:


    So basically, GTA is forbidden sex… wow. Now I’m confidend that the Supreme Court is going to (pun intended) rear end the NY legislators.

  70. 0
    Barakku says:

    My question is, under the three strikes crap, would selling three M rated games to 16 year olds be grounds for life imprisonment? If so, does that mean these politicians think selling a kid the GTA Trilogy (GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas) is just as bad as first degree murder or rape?
    Even if you think these games are the most horrific things ever, a ‘Felony’ should be reserved for things like treason, murder, ect–things that actually harm someone, aren’t subjective, and are provable in court.

  71. 0
    LOL says:

    ok now people who made this law listen to me if u need help making laws just email me and i will send u some ideas ok !!! but plz takes this law out or is this a joke i dont know it just seems so stupid ok cya !!!

  72. 0
    LOL says:

    some of the games made my friend stop smoking !!!!!!!! because he didnt have time to smoke and after 2 weeks he did even wanted to smoke lol

  73. 0
    Rennie Davis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ooftygoofty and @scoops

    It’s even more ridiculous than that. In NY, if you have “sexual contact” (non-intercourse touching of the genitals for gratification) with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14, it’s only a Class A misdemeanor, which is

  74. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmm I wonder if this qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment, let’s see it’s definitely cruel but jail time isn’t really unusual . . . unless it’s unusual in the sense that it’s very unusual for someone to be jailed/executed for selling games to a minor. Hmmm.

    Oh and to all people offering up situations on what might happen . . . most of you are overblowing it. They will still carry the same games they usually carry, they just won’t sell ANY games (except for obviously kiddie games) to minor, if they’re over 18 they’ll still sale anything they ask for to them. Oh and there is no way that the same rule will apply to adults later, that hasn’t been true for tobacco and alcohol (well Ok maybe for alcohol but it won’t happen again since every historian will tell you it was a disaster). Also I can forsee a black market style way of selling games to kids in New York City (in fact I’d only be partially surprised if there wasn’t a small one already).

  75. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh and sorry for the double post, but I just wanted to say this.

    I no longer feel sorry for New York City being eventually sued by the ESA.

    Also on another note what is the punishment for selling porn to minors in New York City?

  76. 0
    LOL says:

    what kind of sick joke is this ??? i want to kill them who made this law !!!
    ok when people make laws like this they should be life sentenced to a prison or something like that!!!!! if u think i’m mad or angry u are wrong i just write what i think !!! LOL !!! when i was 15 i was able to buy grand theft auto san andreas and now i cant and i have some other games that are 18 + !!!! by the way older people will still buy for smaller children games what they want !!!! THIS HAS TO BE SICKEST JOKE EVER because i just cant believe a law like this so why people waste time doing this do they have nothing better do i guess not !!!! i feel sorry to people who made this law they are just (STUPID FAT AND FAT AND SICK)

  77. 0
    Scottland89 says:

    Thank god I’m no newyorker, or even an American where most of this stuff happens. But still, it’s pretty sh!t that a wee minor thing like that could probably get a worse punishment than say something a hell of alot more serious like rape (I don’t know the US laws but I assume rape doesn’t come with a life sentance on its own)

  78. 0
    Mad_Scientist ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How does the NY 3 strikes law work? I know in California, 2 of the 3 strikes have to be violent felonies at least. It’s only because of a quirk in the way the law is written that people can be sent to jail for life for less violent things. Basically, only violent felonies count as strikes, but once you have a strike or 2, the increased punishment applies to ALL future felonies, not just violent ones. It wasn’t really the way the law was intended, but that’s the way it is, unfortunately, and attempts to change it in California have so far failed. (Last time it might have worked if they didn’t add some other things to the bill. I at least would have voted for it.)

    So how’s New York’s law? Does ANY felony count as a strike? Or is it like California?

  79. 0
    Mad_Scientist ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I should clarify, the California 3-strikes law also goes into effect if you have committed “serious” felonies, which aren’t always violent. If I recall correctly, the latest attempt to change the 3 strikes law here so that the increased punishment would only apply to violent or serious felonies, also redefined some of the things that classify as serious felonies, which is why I didn’t like it.

  80. 0
    Miraba says:

    @Stinking Kevin

    Good way of putting it.
    While republicans and democrats have different logic paths to explain to their constituents why they voted the way they did, they ultimately do it for the same reason: votes.

    (Obviously, some lawmakers feel that they really are doing the right thing, but at least one has admitted that he did it for his campaign.)

  81. 0
    chadachada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    hm… What i see happening is just like during Probation in the 20’s. All i need to do is find somebody thats 18+ and have them buy me the game, no sweat. I’m sure that even if this law, and others, get passed, kids (about 98% of which are teens over 14) will still be able to get almost any game they want. i’ve read alot of these posts, and i agree with most of you guys.

    In michigan though, 16 is legal age for sex, and statatory is more than a class E i’m fairly certain.

    wow, there is so much i want to say, but now that i’ve actually taken the time to type it, i’ve forgotten most of it. In my opinion, video games make me get violent much less often, a way to blow off steam, but when i do get violent, it’s worse than it would be without games. make any sense?

  82. 0
    Benji says:

    I thought a post somewhere commented on how, during the (brief) debate over the bill, legislators questioned the constitutionality and enforceability of the bill, doubting that it’d stick, BUT VOTED FOR IT ANYWAY. I know that happened to a large extent in Louisiana – people saying it’s a bad law but voting for it anyway just to be on the bandwagon.

  83. 0

    […] NY legislators taking crazy pills Link > gamepolitics. “While the law does give some leeway for the sentencing court, it theoretically allows a judge to put someone away for life for selling a copy of, say, Gears of War to a 16 year old who looks 18. Yes, selling a game could come with a life sentence under the new law.” […]

  84. 0
    Thefremen says:


    The bill was proposed on one day, passed the next. Even with the legion that move-on commands that’s hardly enough time to organize a letter writing campaign. They wanted the bill passed, they didn’t care what the people wanted, they didn’t care if it went against the constitution they are supposed to protect.

  85. 0
    hyperforce says:

    no no sir, I did not sell that 15 year old a 18+ video game, no really it was a hard core porn tape, yes thats what it was….

    how stupid can American politicians get, All they wanted was to get this bill passed, not even THINKING about the possible effects…

    that says “bad politician” to me…

  86. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    To hyperforce,

    “how stupid can American politicians get, All they wanted was to get this bill passed, not even THINKING about the possible effects…

    that says “bad politician” to me…”

    Of course, such simpletons like them only think of themselves but not of others, they said that they are thinking of the children, but question is are they really thinking of the children? No, I think these nincompoops only think of themselves or to make themselves gods of laws so that they can kick anyone else’s arse for nothing.

  87. 0
    Clyde Wyman says:

    One thing is for sure, I bet Jack Thompson will be jumping and yapping in excitement after hearing this. And one thing is for sure, he will definitely join in the debate.

    But don’t worry folks, having a debate with Jack Thompson is like taking a candy from a baby, because in some debates, he doesn’t even answer questions people ask him, he just keeps blabbering and nagging about the same idiotic thing: “VID30 GAM35 CAU53 VIOL3NC3 !n CHILDRIN!!! K33P 0UT!!!”

  88. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Father Time: “Hmm I wonder if this qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment, let’s see it’s definitely cruel but jail time isn’t really unusual . . . unless it’s unusual in the sense that it’s very unusual for someone to be jailed/executed for selling games to a minor. Hmmm.”

    Don’t quit your day job… you’re not cut out to analyze law.

    First, look up the 8th Amendment. Then look at the laws that have used the 8th Amendment, and the court rulings that have set the precedent. I’ll even make it easy for you:

    Look at the annotation for [i][b]Proportionality[/b][/i]. The essence is that the 8th Amendment prohibits punishment that is grossly disproportionate to the crime committed. It can reasonably be argued that the closest comparable crime is a misdemeanor; labeling this one as a felony is disproportionate, as a Felony conviction can cause severe, dramatic harm to a person’s life and lifestyle.

  89. 0
    Flak the Fox ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Everyone in New York! GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE! If I was living in New York, I’d catch the next plan out to a place where the game bill got the big ol’ ‘F you’.

  90. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To be honest, I’ve been trying to decide whether to even bother posting a comment, this bill is so obviously going to go down in flames at the first judicial challenge that it’s not even funny, it’ll give the politicians a ‘feelgood’ feeling for spending other peoples money on self-promotion, as usual, and then it’ll die and everyone will forget it happened until the next attempt at legislation comes up.

    Remember, just because a bill got passed quickly or even unanimously doesn’t mean that it’s sound, look at the drubbing that Louisiana got for their attempts, and that was passed unanimously.

    The Anti-Game crowd will have you believe that there is no choice but compromise else a law WILL get through at some point, especially with the Anti-Gamers deliberately mis-quoting or downright lying about research. I say ‘B*llocks’, the game industry, as has been pointed out on numerous occasions, is more than capable of defending itself, and this law is no exception, there isn’t any need to compromise or really get worked up about all these laws until an ESA challenege fails, which I don’t see happening, time and again this ‘research’ has failed muster in court.

    So, whilst I can understand why this is being reported, I still don’t think it is anything to be really concerned about, if anything, it will end up as more evidence as to why there’s no point trying to censor peoples right of expression in a country protected by the First Amendment.

  91. 0
    Jon Brown says:

    It amazes me that a state that is famous for being free-thinking, artistic, and wonderful with Broadway and museums and everything like that could have such an ass backwards state government.

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