U.S. Senator Introduces Video Game Rating Legislation

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) yesterday introduced a bill in the United States Senate which would:

…prohibit the distribution or sale of video games that do not have age-based content rating labels [and]  prohibit the sale or rental of video games with adult content ratings to minors…

The full text of the bill, S.3315 is not yet available on the Senate’s legislative website. Thus far the bill has no co-sponsers. The measure has been referred to the Senate’s Committe on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

GamePolitics has received unconfirmed word that Wicker’s bill is the Senate version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act introduced in the House by Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Lee Terry (R-KS) earlier this year.

Wicker, a longtime Congressman, was appointed to his Senate seat by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on New Year’s Eve to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Sen. Trent Lott. Perhaps not surprisingly, Wicker is running for election. He must face Mississippi voters in November in a special election to fill out the rest of Trent Lott’s term.

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  1. 0
    ankaranakliyat133 says:

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  2. 0
    Meggie says:

    I think what Dave was trying to say was a bill that restricts a citizen’s rights is something he shouldn’t expect from a Republican, as in, he believes that this goes against the ideals of the party. He’s not speaking ill of Republicans in general, just this one.

  3. 0
    Voligne the Archon says:

    The NY bill kinda frightens me, if that can go through without so much as a peep, what about this one? We NEED the monetary musclepower of the gaming businesses behind us otherwise no one may step up to challenge the law, and if no one challenges it, it will never be found unconstitutional.

  4. 0
    Ace ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m against anything that limits the distribution and sale of something that in and of itself is not illegal. A game focused around romancing half clad ballerinas as you smash through a nightmarish caricature world of socialist Russia may not be for me…but I want it to be available for those that like that kind of stuff.

    Same goes for porn. I may not like "Kidneyscrapers XVII: The Reckoning" but should it be banned?

    If someone says "Ban" we must go medieval on their ass and lynch him/her ASAP, then hang the beaten carcass proudly from our gates.

  5. 0
    Daspion says:

    Anonymous, while I agree with you that there are more important issues and the GOP has failed at being true conservatives, Democrats have introduced a similar bill in the House. The "video game issue" transcends party lines, which is why it is so easily attacked and passed in states like NY.

  6. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Doesnt surprise me, a republican is sponsoring this.  Seems these days, if it will screw around with the USA, the US Constitution, or the American people, republicans are all for it.  Show not surprise anyone, that the GOP is having a tough time doing anything correctly.  Maybe if they did THEIR JOB back in 2000-2004, instead of F*CKING around, they wouldnt be in this mess.

    In my state, the senators are reasonablly minded.  They want and like high tech companies.  It makes JOBS, and those jobs create….*gasp*…..MORE JOBS.  And these jobs, create stable, thriving communities.  Isnt that how one gets OUT OF A RECESSION? 

    You know what, lets let these republicans drown in their own ignorance.  Then be proven unconstitional.  Cus every F*CK up by the GOP, is one more voter to Obama.


  7. 0
    Anonymous says:

    What are you talking about? They stopped wasting taxpayer money long ago. Now they’re wasting our KIDS money and wasting even NON-TAXPAYER’s money by using the federal reserve to use inflation as a tax.


    These people need to shut their whore mouths and follow the constitution.

  8. 0
    Anonymous says:

    There’s only one conservative in the Congress, and that’s Ron Paul. It’s all lefties from there. Whether they want leftist communism or a leftist theocracy, they’re still doing shit the founders never ever wanted.

  9. 0
    J R says:

    To all those people that commented about how the NY bill changes nothing and refused to beleive that the NY bill couldnt possibly lead to worse ones…. I have 4 words.


    I told you so.

  10. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Because they tried (and failed) with movies, and music isn’t nearly as big of an impact as games and movies are

  11. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I did like that Anonymous was saying we should organize a protest…but I agree. If we could set up a full-sized protest, in front of the Capital Building or something, it would definatly make an impact. Problem is, I don’t know how to get to Washington D.C….


    Hey GP, if there was going to be a protest/march at DC, and it looked big, would you post it as a story? I’d really like to know if one is ever set up or something

  12. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    w00t that would be a good ad

    but then…do the soccer moms and stupid voters of today even know what the Constitution is? Many don’t know who our first president was even… (George Washington)  =)

  13. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey, whoa. I’m a bit of a conservative…and conservatives are generally much more in favor of retaining their rights than liberals. These "Republicans" are being blinded by power and the wish to keep it using any sleezy methods as necessary.


    Might I interest you in this article?



    Other than the completely biased "especially Republicans" statement, I agree with the whole thing

  14. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Anonymous walks down a New York alley with a hat and trenchcoat, three blocks from a middle school, matching the suspicious stares of the local young thugs. They approach Anonymous, making various noises, perhaps to inquire, perhaps to rob. Anonymous wards off the latter by showing the handle of the gun in his pocket, then opens up the left side of his trenchcoat, showing off the contraband strapped to the inside.

    "Fifty bucks.", he grates.

    A couple of the kids have the money and pay him immediately. Another couple agree to meet with him tomorrow.

    "Five-Oh.", one of the kids pipes up.

    He is in the shadows immediately; the cops give the kids a few looks before moving on. A few of the kids call after him, but he is gone; after all, he wouldn’t want to be caught selling GTA IV to kids.

  15. 0
    metroidprimegmr says:

    I believe this calls for an email campaign…BREAK OUT THE WELL-WORDED ARGUEMENTS!!!!



    Whaaaaaat?!?! It got Psychonauts on the 360 Backwards-Compatable list, didn’t it!

  16. 0
    TheEdge ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Damn tradtional values Republicans!

    Instead of focusing on vidja gamez,why not try and get Queen Bee Pelosi to call a vote for offshore drilling?No?Oh well,at least I tried.

  17. 0
    I_Kerotan_I says:

    Hey if they provide the cash to get the games rated I wouldn’t be peeved.

    I am so glad that in the UK we have a system where it only needs a BBFC rating if the developers think its needs one, since almost every game gets a PEGI rating, but this is down solely by the creators.

  18. 0
    Are'el says:

    Ok, unlike the New York bill, this one IS unconstitutional.  The industry will definitely jump on this one.  And since we know their track record, I can already assume that this bill is dead.

  19. 0
    Uh... ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap*

    *Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap*

    *Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap*

    It is time to start writing your representatives and congressmen GP readers.

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

    Because politicans don’t know how to solve those problems so instead they go for minor non-important issues like video games or other useless shit instead. Pathetic.

  21. 0
    Orange Soda says:

    So how much longer until politicians aren’t trying to score re-election brownie points?

    Eh, who am I kidding. There’s always a new election coming up soon enough at some level.

  22. 0
    Garret says:

    for gods sakes, how many state level laws stating almost the EXACT same thing have been shot down as unconstitutional? 9? 10? that should be enough of a rock solid legal precedent for the fedral courts to rule similary, and hopefully this time the national status of the bill will finally ram the bills unconstitutionality down the throats of the ignorent dolts that bring them up.



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

    OK, correct me if i’m wrong, but wasn’t there a ruling from some Supreme Court at some level ALREADY saying this was unconstitutional? I think? lol?

  24. 0
    mogbert says:

    I don’t know who is running against him in this election, but for once I would like to see a mud slinging campeign about how this guy is wasting taxpayers money proposing laws that have already been ruled against free speech.

    "Do you want your tax money to go to Free Speech hating, unconstitutional laws? Of course you don’t. That’s why you should vote for XXXXX in the upcoming special election. XXXXX will make sure your money goes to actualy changes, not thrown in the garbage with failed bills."

  25. 0
    Saladin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    1. We already have a WORKING Ratings System.

    2. Your "law" is unconstitutional.

    3. You’ve just wasted MORE tax-payer money.

    < Repeat ad nauseum in a few months time. >

    Why don’t they EVER get it through to their thick skulls!? Why do we repeat this idiotic dance time and time again!?

  26. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I highly doubt that this piece of shit legislation is going anywhere as the U.S. Congress and Senate has tried this for the past 5 or 6 years with different bills and they have all gone nowhere.

    They just introduce the bill, say they are "protecting the children" so they look good to the moralist prudes and "raise my children for me" parents and then go nowhere with it because they know it’s unconstitutional and will never get through the courts.

    So anyways how much taxpayer’s money has been wasted on these bills? Something like 4 or 5 million between all the state laws that have been passed and struck down.

  27. 0
    SS says:

    He is standing for election so this isn’t surprising.  Even if it fails he can boast about how he wants to save all the children.  It’s definately gonna fail but it benefits him as he gets more ammo for his reelection.

  28. 0
    Shih Tzu says:

    Note that Roger Wicker is not just running for reelection, he is in a surprisingly tight race against Democrat Ronnie Musgrove.  You would think that a Republican senator would be a shoo-in for reelection in Mississippi, but all the polls so far show this as a toss-up, and with the incredible Democratic momentum this year nationwide, Wicker’s right to be scared.  Maybe this is part of his attempt to garner positive headlines in Mississippi?

  29. 0
    Dave ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Senator,

    This is precisely the sort of thing that Congress, and especially Republicans, should NOT be doing.

    In other years, this kind of thing might mean more votes.  I can appreciate that.  Votes mean you get to keep your job.  This year, however,  you might notice that there are far more pressing concerns.

    This legislation is what we used to call "a complete waste of time and taxpayer money".  Handle the far more pressing concerns of high energy prices, the Iraq situation, and border control before you attempt to cozy up to whichever lobby is behind this.

    Your Pal,

  30. 0
    Diskoboy says:

    I think it’s time to ready the pitchforks and torches.

    Getting a little tired of these laws against video games. Wasting taxpayers money on stupid, unconstitutional laws that end up getting chucked by the court.

    Congress – give it up, already…. There’s a reason why your approval rating is 9%.



  31. 0
    Anonymous says:

    i wonder how many times this law will try to get enacted.  It gets shot down every time, why do they bother?


    Also, why do they always seem to ignore movies and music?

  32. 0
    vellocet says:

    The site wouldn’t even have to charge a fee.  The law seems to say "DISTRIBUTION or sale".  So it would be illegal to have any flash games at all on your website (if minors had access to it).

  33. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey, if this gets passed, I think the ESA, ECA, EVERYBODY will put everything on hold and take this to the supreme court. They’ve tried it with movies, right? And it was shown that the MPAA is doing a good enough job. Surely the same will be done with this. I bet there will be other rights groups besides game-related ones that’ll want this shut down, and it WILL be shut down. If it isn’t…well….maybe we can get all the gamers (or really, anyone that CARES about their rights) to move to a certain area and secede from the U.S.

  34. 0
    wandererwillow says:

    You’re right, I completely missed that.  This makes this even worse.  Dear god…the video game industry needs to really band together and combat this immediately…

  35. 0
    nighstalker160 says:

    Ah but no law in unconstitutional until declared so by an appropriate court.

    The courts do not issue "advisory opinions" so there is no way to tell if a law in unconstitutional until it is signed into law, enforced, and challenged.  Even though this law APPEARS unconstitutional, something as small as a single word change could convince the right judge (or justices as the case may be) that it is distinguished from a previous, invalid law.

    Plus, members of Congress are protected by the Constitutional "Speech and debate" clause.  Actions and words stated on the floor cannot be used as the basis of private suits or impeachment.


  36. 0
    Anonymous says:

    They should just summarily lose their jobs when they suggest blatantly illegal laws.

    If I proposed a design change at work that was clearly illegal, I’d lose my job. If I tried to push my illegal design change through, I’d lose my job and my professional license, and probably my freedom.

    Why are lawmakers held to a lesser standard than engineers?

  37. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    You’re right, of course.

    I intended my comment as a tongue-in-cheek statement, but I do think it’s a shame that congresscriters can get away with this sort of thing. People such as these have no respect for the Bill of Rights. They make laws restricting freeedom of speech, some because they’re shopping for votes, others because they honestly wish to prohibit certain kinds of speech and will do their best to draft their laws in such a way that it accomplishes their goals of censorship without technically being found unconstitutional.

  38. 0
    infect999 says:

    hooray for more useless rating enforcement laws?

    the only games i can think of that would "break" this law are the ones distributed for free on the internet…but these idiots probably don’t even know they exist

  39. 0
    Linenoise says:

    If the one-line description of the law in the article is accurate, then you’re missing something important – there can be no homebrew video games sold anymore.  It would be illegal for an individual to make a dumb little cell phone game and sell it as shareware for $1 unless you shell out the cash to get it rated by the ESRB.

    Of course, then you get into the argument of what, exactly, constitutes a "video game"?  Would be illegal to host flash-based games on a site that charges member fees, even if the games themselves are free?

  40. 0
    wandererwillow says:

    Oh my god…


    Ok, someone needs to sit these people down, show them what the ESRB does (and how EVERY game released by a major company has a game rating) and how every rental place requires you to be 17 or have a parent present to rent a mature rated game, and then show them a picture of money on fire, as that’s what they may as well be doing.


    First New York passes a bill that I still am shocked by…the video game industry is worldwide, ran by hundreds of different businesses throughout many different countries.  Who the hell is New York to tell every last one of them what they can and can’t do?  Parental controls exist in every system already, every retailed game has an ESRB rating very prominently displayed on it, and most places with somewhat educated employees do not sell M rated games to minors.


    Seriously, what is this?  Is there some scare like they had with Anthrax that video games are going to be the bane of our existence?  A handful die from anthrax and the entire US went into a frenzy for no reason.  People are up in arms over video games yet they still are nowhere near something to take caution of.  Now we have people wasting MORE money to try to get something passed…THATS ALREADY BEING DONE.  Ugh.  The ESRB does what it does voluntarily, and yet almost every company that releases games in the US goes through them.  It’s become an unspoken standard, pretty much.  Yet here we sit with geriatrics, extremists, and ignorant fill-in-the-blanks with a degree in knowing what’s "best for the people".


    If I had any right and ability to debate these people, I wouldn’t hesitate one second.  I’ve gathered more than enough information in my time of researching this and it’s just disappointing to see what seems like a one sided arguement.  Why haven’t the ESRB and the video game companies pushed back…said "look, we’re already doing this for christ’s sake, now sit down and shut up"?  Watch, I’ll call the next one.  There’s going to be a person trying to pass a law that game retailers, as well as the creators of a game, can be fined if a juvenile commits a crime and has a game that is rated Mature, as that surely has something to do with it.  I don’t want it, but I call it.  Just watch.

  41. 0
    Cheater87 says:

    Remember unrated games BAD, unrated movies GOOD. *Rolls eyes* We do NOT need legislation we need people to tell parents about the ratings. THE PARENTS ARE THE PROBLEM!!!!!!

  42. 0
    Arad says:


    Can we please get someone into the legislation with a copy of various video games, to SHOW THEM that WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO LEGISLATE IS ALREADY BEING DONE!?

    If showing them the easily understandable ESRB ratings doesn’t work, can we beat them to death with the DVD cases because they’re too stupid to hold office?

  43. 0
    M. Carusi says:

    The legal precedent has already ruled that you can’t governmentally regulate the sales of gaming, as it is protected under the First Amendment.  Nice try.

    M. Carusi

    Capitol Gaming


  44. 0
    A-wel Cruiz ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So under this law, you couldn’t sell a used copy of an old NES game, because they don’t have ratings. Even if that game was something like "Sesame Street: Big Bird’s Hide & Speak".

    Excuse me while I eye roll.

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