Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

November 17, 2009 -

In a recent radio interview, Labour MP Keith Vaz again took videogames to task.

Vaz thinks that rating information on the front of games should be larger, reports GI.biz, and also adopt health warnings currently found on packs of smokes:

If you look to the packaging of an 18-rated videogame, it's [the size of] a tiny 10p coin. What it should be is the same as cigarettes - it should be splashed across the front: 'This has the potential to damage your health' - and that is not happening.

Vaz indicated that he would like to see 18+ rated games sectioned off at retail and put in their own section. Parents who buy games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for their kids who are under the age of 18 are “psychologically damaging” their children added Vaz.

When it comes to keeping violent games out of the hands of children, Vaz put the onus on parents, before noting that he didn’t really know what games his own 14-year old son was playing, “I have a son who is 14 years of age - I don't know what games he looks at, but I shall ensure that in future I will look at the covers, to make sure that these games are not over the age of 18.”

The full interview is available on SubCity’s website.

At least as a partial response to Vaz’s continued anti-game rhetoric, fellow Labour MP Tom Watson recently set up the Facebook group Gamer’s Voice, an advocacy assemblage designed to promote the rights of UK gamers.

Watson recently penned a column for The Guardian, inviting other MPs to play a game with him.  From Watson’s article:

British politicians should stop whingeing and learn to love video games. Whether the political classes like it or not, video games have changed the cultural landscape of the nation.


Thanks Andrew


Comments

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Vaz is just pissed because his position is becoming increasingly unpopular.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Hey Vaz I have a suggestion, how about you watch what your own kid plays before you spout off your ignorant bile about how games can damage kid's health. According to your assinine logic your a darrelect parent, so before you tell everyone else how to raise thier kids, practice what you preach. I'll be you his kid probably got MW2 on the release date and probably has his own copy of GTAIV too.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

It'd be interesting, though.  When an industry applies a health warning to a product, it must be based on scientific facts.  So why Vaz might bluster about "psychological damage" from video games, the research isn't there to back it up.  I don't know how the UK system works, but I would think that an industry could sue the government for forcing untrue and politically movitated labels on their products.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

"it should be splashed across the front: 'This has the potential to damage your health'"

Headline: Labour MP calls for lies to be printed on video game covers. Unless he means by throwing the cd case at someone, but if that was his intent you would need to put labels on...well everything.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

This is why I vote Sinn Fein :P


Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

I doubt that they'd ever complain over the depictions and interactive nature of terrorism within games!

The IRA another terrorist group supported and funded by America, including the Kennedy family.

Re: Labour MP Vazgina: Games Should Have "Health Warnings"

Health warnings? Didn't some brain-dead idiot named Baca already beat him to that trainwreck?

Vaz should get his head out of his ass.

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Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Go bac kto thinking about marshmallows Vaz.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Meh people need intelgent tests so the stupid ones can be labled and made infertile... so then soscity can protect them and treat them like kids untill they die...


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Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

I like how Vaz will go miles out of his constituency to talk to some random student radio station, but won't give the games media- read by the people who might be, oh, I don't know, actually affected by what Vaz is trying to do- the time of day

/b

 

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

So Atkinson flipflops on the issue again (yesterday) and ignores common sense and Vaz today insists on something that failed before and IGNORES common sense. Hey Vaz and Atkinson, see this? It's the world's even smaller violin and we are playing it just for you. EDIT: If G4C is trying to run against Atkinson, why not do the same to Vaz? ---- Veni, vidi, vici, I came, I saw, I conquered.

-------

"WARNING GUARANTEE: This post contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress."

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

because G4C is running for a particular seat in the state elections of an australian state

Vaz is apparently not australian nor of that seat

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

How is this a health warning when the games only let me take out my frustrations & stress on the game!?!?!?!? What an idiot! Watson is right! Games have changed the nation & possibly all over the world! Go Watson!

 

 

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Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

The only thing I'll agree with him on, is that it sounds like the ratings should be bigger (I don't suppose anyone could provide us Yanks with a picture, so we can see for ourselves).  Not slapped across the front, like he suggests, but a decent square in the corner, like the ESRB does.

Still sounds better than the ratings on our movies.  Tiny text found on the back, lost in the middle of a bunch of other information.

On the other hand, there's a big "practice what you preach" I'd like to say to him.  If he's so convinced games are damaging (yet to see anything that really backs that up) then he shouldn't be so ignorant about what his own son is playing.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Pictures aren't a problem, Amazon and other online retailers have lots of cover art. I chose Modern Warfare 2 for the XBox for the sake of comparison, because it's readily available and the boxes are the same size everywhere. The UK ratings label is about the same size as other sensible ratings labels, i.e. about the same size as the current US labels and the old German labels years ago, before they made them ridiculously oversized.

US ESRB rated:
http://www.amazon.com/Call-Duty-Modern-Warfare-Xbox-360/dp/B00269QLI8/re...

UK BBFC rated:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Duty-Modern-Warfare-Xbox/dp/B0021AETNQ/ref=...

European PEGI rated:
http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B002S4BDZW/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p...

Germany USK rated:
http://www.amazon.de/Call-Duty-Modern-Warfare-Deutsch/dp/B002GHB2OI/ref=...

Australia OFLC rated:
http://www.gameswarehouse.com.au/longpage.asp?gameid=17543

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

The rating is the size of a Quarter. So about the same as our ESRB ratings. The 10p coin is the same size as our Quarter.

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

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

The majority of studies will actually go ahead and tell you that videogaming have a great deal of benefitis that far outweight that whole messy gray area of stuff that videogames may-or-may-not-but-likely-don't-actually-cause.

The biggest issue I've seen with these arguments that videogames are bad for your health is that it's far too late to be yelling things kinds of things. We've already got a generation or two who grew up on videogames and went on to be prudctive members of society while continuing to be Gamers.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

For all of us Americans, the 10p coin from the UK is the size of a quarter, not our dime.

Vaz is an idiot.

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

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

And it also makes it noticably larger than the same icons seen on DVDs.

Ratings

Left: Fable 2 (X360) Right: Hot Fuzz (DVD)

/b

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

They increased the size of the age rating which was originally the same as that on a DVD to the much larger size.

Doesn't Vaz understand that age ratings are great marketing tools? Some games make the age rating bigger on purpose to get kids to take even more notice, thus making them want the gamne even more.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Dear Mr Vaz, if we're putting warning labels on anything that is "psychologically damaging", as opposed to those that do so physically like tobacco and alcohol, then please do the same to for mediums such as novels (Stephen King or certain religious texts), movies (The Saw series) and music (Take your pick).

Thanks.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

So about this health warning - how many studies show a causal link between video game playing and violent behaviour, similar to the links that have been found between nicotine and cancer?  None at all?  Oh great - I'm sure the folks who decide such stuff will get right on that, Keith.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Good one.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

But, in my opinion, cigerrettes are not like games, they directly effect you in scientifically proven ways by hurting your health.

Games, at most harm your health indirectly, when gaming, you aren't usually exercising, the simple act of playing alone for reasonable amounts of time does not, in any way proven, directly cause you harm.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

And are these games somehow more psychologically damaging than movies or books which show the same exact content?  A person underage can walk into a bookstore and buy a book of patricide and incest, that is if they go into the mythology section and read up on Oedipus.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

If anything I'd say the movie would be worse than the game

What would be more disturbing, violence that is obviously computer generated, or movies that feature live action people (or at least CGI that looks a hell of a lot more lifelike)?

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

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Heh, and that's a story readi n schools no less.

 

Schools are teaching incest, oh noes

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

"Labour MP Keith Vaz has declared in a radio interview that when it comes to ensuring children can't gain access to adult-rated videogames, there is a huge responsibility on the part of parents - and he then went on to admit that he doesn't actually know which games his own 14 year old son plays at home."

Says it all, really.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

I suppose I should give him credit for being honest enough to stand up and say, "Yes, I want the government to do my job as a parent because I don't feel like doing it myself."

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog, Pointless Side Quest!

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog, Pointless Side Quest! http://pointlesssidequest.blogspot.com/

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

The politician who tries to parent all children does not parent his own.  And that's my zen moment for the month.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Let us all take a moment of silence to reflect on this, and then another moment for a massive simultaneous facepalm.

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Exactly.  His ignorance of the hobby is way too apparent.

www.20sidedwoman.blogspot.com

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

Life is also hazardous to your health.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

You see that picture. He's facepalming himself because how stupid he looks. Not only video games changed the cultural landscape it pretty much defing a generation. People may think gamers are killers but the truth is that we are just hard working people making a living like everybody else. we just have one expenisve hobbie.

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

actually gaming is one of the cheaper hobbies around

for example some other popular hobbies

music

cars

surfing

model airplanes

anime and/or cosplay

 

as far as hobbies that are cheaper goes they would mostly be other forms of media like movies/tv and books

Re: Labour MP Vaz: Games Should Have Health Warnings

By music do you mean playing an instrument or listening to music made by others? I doubt the latter is more expensive than games especially if you have Napster.

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

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.
 
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Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in the journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Not sure what that has to do with anything but yeah, the gender percentages differ depending on how the study defines what a gamer is.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
KronoThe rhetoric pushed by the spearheading articles that the "gamers" complaining about journalist ethics were just angry white male misogynists, insulted a lot of people that were previously fairly neutral. It made it go from a Kotaku problem, to a09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Krono@Andrew I'm not surprised overlap exists. I expect much of it is a rush to jump on the bandwagon, either by reporting on the original articles, or rushing out their own. The point is that was a major flashpoint, much bigger than the reddit mass deletion.09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Sleaker@AE - well the gamer trend was described with stats on Factual Femenist. Only 1 in 7 males plays games 20+ hrs going into college vs 1 in 40 females. So gaming is definitely still male dominated despite fake stats trying to say otherwise.09/18/2014 - 8:30pm
Craig R.Do conspiracies ever make sense? The fact that people are now having to defend themselves against nutjob websites like Breitbart.com shows how far down into the rabbit hole we've all been forcibly dragged.09/18/2014 - 7:05pm
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