British Labour MP – and serial game critic – Keith Vaz spoke out against violent video game content in Parliament this week:
In a survey published last week, 74 percent of parents said that they were very concerned about the increasing level of violence in video games. Given the fact that there is increasing availability of these games on the internet exhibiting scenes of graphic and gratuitous violence, when is the government proposing to implement the Byron Report in full? This is not about censorship; it is about protecting our children.
In regards to the Byron Report, Vaz appears to be referring to the suggestion that it be unlawful for retailers to sell any video game to a child younger than the age rating on the box. Currently, only the most violent and sexually explicit games are classified by the BBFC. The rest are rated by PEGI whose ratings, like America’s ESRB, are recommendations and not backed by force of law.
Labour MP Harriet Harman, who serves as the Leader of the House of Commons, responded to Vaz in what seemed to be a sympathetic fashion:
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his long-standing campaign on the issue. We need to make sure that we have tough classifications that are properly enforced. We need to make sure that parents have the information that they need. We need to make sure that the industry plays its part. The Government will take action on all those fronts.
It is perhaps worth noting that some of the games which Vaz has raised a fuss about in recent times have been non-industry products such as Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game or obscure foreign titles like RapeLay. Neither game is subject to the rating system currently, nor would they be if Dr. Byron’s recommendations are implemented.
Via: Edge Online
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen