GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

March 6, 2009 -

The Children and Youth Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives held a hearing on video game violence today at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Rep. Ronald Waters (D, left) appeared to be the point person for the hearing, although Rep. Louise Bishop, who chairs the committee, was also on hand. As GamePolitics has previously reported, Rep. Waters has been questioning the role of violent video games in real-world violence for some time. Since Philly is his home turf, so it's not surprising that he took the lead.

GamePolitics was on hand for most of the hearing and supplied a live feed via Twitter. We also secured some video of the proceedings which we will get uploaded to YouTube over the weekend.

Four witnesses testified:

  • a project manager from the Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police
  • Prof. Patrick Markey of nearby Villanova University
  • Two members of the Legislature's research organization
     

Here are the actual GP posts to Twitter. They are original, except that we've added endings that Twitter truncated in a few cases:

  1. I am heading out to cover video game violence hearings in Philly today. A state legislator is chairing. I will be tweeting from the hearing... 
  2. Just arrived at philly city council... Witness not well informed. Said that law on books in PA to prevent minors from buying m-rated games. But that's incorrect...
  3. Dr. Patrick Markey now testifying as to difference between correlation and causation. Markey has done research, generally favorable to games in past...
  4. Markey says violent games have a small, but consistent effect, but only on certain kids with pre-dispositions...
  5. Rep. Waters spends about 7 mins criticizing violent games with police shooting. This is a big issue in Philly lately as we have lost a lot of cops...
  6. Rep. Waters said that the industry pulled 25 to Life off shelves. That is not correct...
  7. Poor Prof. Markey seems to be serving as a proxy for the game biz. The reps. Are directing their anger about games at him...
  8. ESA apparently mailed in their testimony. The reps mentioned written testimony from ESA VP Sally Jefferson.
  9. Prof. Markey still getting follow-ups. Rep now wants to clarify Markey's suggested correlation numbers...
  10. Rep. is bringing up that military uses games to train personnel, so it must be an effective way to train people to do things.
  11. 2 guys up now from PA Joint State Govt Commission, research wing of PA legislature. They were asked to look into violent games. GP reported on this in late 2008.
  12. These guys are not telling the reps what they want to hear... Letting them know that game laws invariably unconstitutional...
  13. Wow, one of the reps just raised the idea of a five per cent tax on violent games to fund public education on game ratings...
  14. Rep. Samuelson suggests no public funds should be allocated to violent game developers - the Texas model (although he is unaware of that, clearly)...
  15. Rep. Murphy suggests that the state should mandate parental controls.... Guess he doesn't realize that they are already built in...
  16. Reps are upset over line in state report that players can get some benefits from violent games. 3 [Reps.] have now have objected.
  17. I've taken some shaky cam video here, but just found a nice, steady place to put my camera... Will post vids on YouTube tonite or tomorrow
  18. Rep. Waters again said that the game biz pulled 25 to Life off market, which is not true. Plus, he keeps calling it 21 to Life
  19. Rep. Waters asking what are penalties for selling violent games to minors.
  20. Rep. Cox (?) asking why games are so bad compared to violent movies, music, etc. High praise for ESRB, talks about parental responsibility...
  21. Chairwoman is asking about parental control features. Rep. Samuelson back again complaining about that phrase "violent games can have beneficial effects"
  22. Rep. Youngblood asks if violent games desensitize kids to death.
  23. Hearing now over.

GP: Although the representatives seemed quite frustrated with violent games during the earlier part of the hearing, by its end they had calmed down a good bit. In particular, the testimony of Dr. Markey and the two gentlemen from the PA Joint State Government Commission seemed to allay many of their concerns with information about research, parental controls and the ESRB ratings, as well as past failures of video game legislation. Of course, that's not to say that the issue was decided today.

Both Markey and the Joint Commission employees who testified were part of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Violent Interactive Video Games, which, as GamePolitics reported in December, recommended against legislating games.


Comments

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

It's too bad there are no laws in place preventing people from passing legislation on topics they know NOTHING about.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

UGH

seriously the games industry needs to grow some balls. im SICK OF THIS.

How can politicians get away with saying absolutely 100% totally incorrect things like this? In some cases it isnt even misunderstanding its just lies.

DAILY we hear about people (particularly politicians) saying new deceitful things. And does anyone with any real position of authority stand up to correct them.... no.

And then people wonder why this keeps on happening. Geez. Its going to keep on happening too. Until politicians learn that when they lie, somebody will quickly stand up and call them out, in a way that their constituents will hear about, and make them look like a lyinbg scumbag. Then they will stop. Simple.

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

I'm pretty sure 25 to Life was not pulled off the market. I bet its because new copies are not being made any more so you can only find used copies. If it was pulled off then I have a game that was so grusome and offensive It had to be pulled off shelves. :P

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

25 to life would have died off had peopel shut up about it.

And when you break it down, 25 to life wasn othing but cops'n'robbers taken digital.

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

WOW! What an absolute waste of taxpayer's money this is. If i was a resident of Pennsylvania i'd be complaining about this. It is sickening that in this economic depression the representatives that we pay for through our taxes are wasting time and money debating this useless shit.

 

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

lol, Youngblood...

Anyway, a lot of these people seem pretty stupid. They came into the hearing with their minds made up about the effects of video games, despite not having any reliable information. Then again, what did I expect from a bunch of old politicians. I really wish people like this would hurry up and die so that videogames can enter the phase where they aren't endlessly used as scapegoats.

---------------------------------

Internet troll > internet paladin

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

You've really got a guy named "Youngblood?"  Did anyone point out the ironic coincidence that he was asking about kids getting desensitized?

---
The Mammon Industry

---
Fangamer

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

*sigh* I wish there were a way to publicly call people on their falst testimony.

Outside that.. attaching games to philly police shooting annoys me specificly.  Philly has a LONG history of distrust between the population and the police.  Police are being shot partly because many residents do NOT see them as a positive presence in the community and the police have not done nearly enough to correct the perception over the years.

But of course it couldn't be their fault.. it MUST BE GAMES!

Re: GP's Live Coverage of Philly Game Violence Hearing

Rabble! Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

Re: Text of Live Twitter Feed From Philly Game Violence Hearing

Conclusion: They're idiots without actual knowledge of reality?

Re: Text of Live Twitter Feed From Philly Game Violence Hearing

I just joined twitter so Could read it. Oh well, at least it will be fun to follow.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Text of Live Twitter Feed From Philly Game Violence Hearing

 No surprise that it was a witch hunt.

Re: Text of Live Twitter Feed From Philly Game Violence ...

So we(as in all of PA) may have to worry about a video game Law now

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

 
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