The Escapist reports that Connecticut State Representative Debralee Hovey (R-112th District) has introduced H.B. No. 5735, or "an act establishing a sales tax on certain video games." The bill would add a ten percent tax in Connecticut on video games rated "Mature" by the ESRB, which would then be redirected to the State's department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
This week's show focuses on indie developers and an excellent editorial on various bills aimed at video game violence. This week hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about an indie game that got a Canadian gentleman fired from his day job, another indie developer calling Kickstarter stretch goals "bullsh*t," and a discussion on this Popcults.com editorial. All this and the latest GamePolitics poll results await in Episode 39.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) went to Washington D.C last week to talk to members of Congress and their staff about the connection between video games and violence, and their conclusion was that Congress does not have the best interests of the millions of gamers in America in mind. The ECA says that when they tried to talk to lawmakers about the connection between video games and real-world violence they came away from those meetings feeling like lawmakers were not interested in the facts and instead were relying on their own biases and preferences about the video games.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about SimCity's EULA fiasco, all the stupid things said about video game violence by various politicians, and the latest GamePolitics poll. Download it now: SuperPAC Episode 38 (1 hour, 4 minutes) 58.4 MB.
The brutal murder of a 31-year-old woman is being attributed to the tenuous association of the killer's time playing Final Fantasy XIV. These conclusions are being drawn by two German tabloids, according to this Kotaku report. The 31-year-old woman, Katrin M. (the last names of both the victim and the killer are being withheld) was reportedly murdered by 18- or 19-year old Marco F, who stabbed the victim 18 times using a katana.
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) gave a speech (which you can watch for yourself to your left) during Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D- CA) press conference introducing a new bill that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Murphy said that if Feinstein's bill had been law many of the children that died during the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut might still be alive. Senator Murphy also blamed video games for their part in influencing the shooter, though proof that video games had anything to do with influencing him has yet to be produced.
Today members of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) are heading to Washington, D.C. to talk to lawmakers about a recent spate of bills that call for new research, add government mandated labels to video games, and add fines for selling mature games. If you feel a sense of déjà vu, it is because these kinds of bills have been proposed before and they have always managed to fail to be passed or enforced because they are unconstitutional or trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
It has been a week since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut but the country has no more answers for what caused the horrific tragedy than it did last week. In the weeks ahead you can expect the media and politicians to talk about violent media, guns, and metal health care in this country, but one analyst believes that all of this media attention won't have much of an effect on what entertainment consumers will buy (thanks to The Escapist).
In a segment that aired during Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto's show this week, Daniel Greenberg joined in to discuss Senator Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) bill to study the effects of violent video games on children. Greenberg is the IGDA Anti-Censorship Committee Chairman and game developer at Washington D.C.-based Media Rez.
Last night 24-year-old James Holmes used four guns (a rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, according police), and tear gas to shoot, disorientate, and trap theater goers attending the opening of The Dark Knight Rising movie at a theater in Aurora, Colorado. The attack left 12 people dead and
38 59 injured. He was arrested outside the theater by police shortly thereafter.
In the old days, Supreme Court Justices had very little information to turn to outside of legal briefs presented by combatants and case law when making a ruling, but a new study by William & Mary law professor Allison Orr Larsen finds that justice are increasingly turning to information on the Internet to shore up their opinions. According to research from Larsen, there were more than 100 instances where justices used information on the Internet in their opinions.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian parliament has decided that an enquiry is necessary to investigate the "imbalance in pricing" for online content and services in the country compared to other global territories.
Two UK tabloids - The Sun and The Daily Mail - are highlighting comments from a neuroscientist who claims that video games can cause dementia in children. Neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield told a gathering at the science centre (part of the Sherbourne Girls' School) in Dorset this week that online gaming and activities such as Facebook can "disable connections in the brain" - and in extreme circumstances - cause dementia in children. She also said that, on average, children spend around 2,000 hours a year either playing games or doing other things online.
I'm all for letters to the editor, but one written by one Tina L. Bechtel, is particularly over the top and needs to be read to be believed. The Marysville, California mother of at least one son (at least the one she mentions in her letter) delivers what she calls her "long-overdue reaction to the 'supreme sellout' of our children," referring to the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year in the Brown v. EMA case.
Some early research from Brock University in Canada seems to indicate that playing highly competitive video games may lead to aggressive behavior faster than playing games with more violent content. Competitiveness, says a new study published by the American Psychological Association, may be "the main video game characteristic" that influences or causes aggression.
UK publication Express turns to guest columnist Jo Frost (better known as the star of the TV show Super Nanny), for answers to what caused last week's riots in London. And a good thing too, because apparently Jo has a "plan to save" those out-of-control youngsters who burned, looted, and committed acts of violence (thanks to C&VG by way of our own Magic). But first, Jo describes the riots as she saw them:
Former Oasis front man and now solo artist Noel Gallagher says that video games and TV violence are to blame for the civil unrest in London.
"We live in this age of violence—and I don't care what other people say: Brutal TV and brutal videogames are a reason for this pointless violence as well," Gallagher is quoted as saying in Bang Showbiz. "The people are immune to violence, they are used to it. And if they get caught they aren't punished the right way. The prisons are already full? Then build new ones!"
Some police in Switzerland hate fun. A Swiss police association has called for a ban on The Darkness II because the game depicts scenes where police are shot at and killed. And in other news, police have also called for the ban of every television crime drama ever made in the entire world.
"Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation," read a statement from the Swiss Christian Police Association."
The Australian Christian Lobby has called for games to be banned if they contain violence that is "excessive or gratuitous." The call came as the world digests the bizarre rambling of a 1500-page manifesto written by Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik and released online shortly before he killed 76 people in and around Oslo, Norway.
The Australian federal government said yesterday that Breivik committed his crimes because there is "something clearly intrinsically wrong with him", not because he played violent video games.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge did say that Modern Warfare 2 should be reviewed to have a more restrictive R18+ rating in the country. It is currently rated MA15+.
An open letter by Mrs. O. Babiuk of New Westminster, British Columbia - written on behalf of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International - urges (with dramatic flair) Premier Christy Clark to "keep sexually explicit video games away from kids." The letter appeared this week in the Royal City Record newspaper. The group she represents is a professional honorary Society devoted to women educators in British Columbia. In her letter Babiuk asks Clark to take steps to limit the availability of violent and sexually explicit video games as part of the premier's "caring for children and families initiatives."
NBC's Today Show featured a segment this morning called "The Other View: Getting A Guy's Perspective On Love." Along with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, TV personality Donny Deutsch was asked to address several questions about relationships from a man's perspective. Deutsch is the host of the relationship show "The Big Idea" where he doles out advice to men and women on a variety of topics.
But the most important part of the segment, and relevant to our readership, is Deutsch's answer to the question: "Is it normal for men to play games in their 40s?"
According to the male equivalent of Dear Abby, "When you're 30, there should be something more on your mind than video games, that's it," Deutsch said.
The hosts agreed, calling it "weird."
In a July 1 opinion piece in First Things, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California video game violence law (Brown v. EMA) is "wrong," and will add "poison" the country's future.
Chaput also wrote that the court's ruling "extends and elevates the individual’s right to free expression – or in this case, a corporation’s right to make a healthy profit - at the expense of family sovereignty, the natural rights of parents and the intent of the Constitution’s authors."
Chaput went on to write that the ruling overlooked the government's duty to protect "human dignity and the common good."
"A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that," he wrote.
While Leland Yee maybe disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Brown v. EMA, he says that he isn't done with the fight against violent videogames, according to multiple reports. One story from ABC station KGO and another from newspaper The San Francisco Appeal report says that Yee was heartened by the dissenting opinions of Thomas and Breyer, and that comments from Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have left the door open for future legislation.
"Even with the existing court, there may be, if we craft the bill differently, there may be a basis for trying to get another hearing within the Supreme Court on this critical matter," Yee said.
An Early Day Motion tabled by UK Labour MP Keith Vaz, an outspoken critic of video games, has managed to garner 11 signatures. The Early Day Motion calls for better control of video game sales to customers under the age of 18, and encourages parents to limit the screen time of children. Eight signatures are from Labour MPs, with one from the Liberal Democrats, one from the Conservatives and another from the DUP. The petition was tabled last Friday, May 13th.
Develop points out that these signatories have basically agreed that video games are addictive, and that game playing should be combined with a variety of extra-curricular activities (preferably outdoors) to ensure that "children flourish." The motion also highlights the "Hungarian EU Presidency priority of protecting minors from harmful audiovisual media content in media legislation.”
A North Carolina father has gotten his 5 - 10 minutes of fame by complaining about adoption jokes in Portal 2. Charlotte news channel WBTV indulges the complaining parent in a story that goes out of its way to malign one of the best games of 2011. According to the report, Neal Stapel was playing Portal 2 with his adopted daughter and enjoying it until jokes started to fly about one of the characters being adopted. Stapel found himself utterly offended. None of the other jokes and occasionally crude humor bothered him, apparently.
"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room," he said. "It says it's rated "E" for everybody and I'm thinking maybe it's rated "E" for everybody except for orphans."
In 1982 the south coastal Massachusetts town of Marshfield banned arcade games in public businesses. The town wanted to maintain the town's image as an authentic "Massachusetts seaside" destination. Though the fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the town prevailed and the ban has remained for 29 years. Now a new effort hopes to let the residents of the town overturn that decision and allow games in businesses that want them. At the time the ban was passed, parents were worried about the effects of coin-operated Donkey Kong and Pac-Man on their children.
"People wanna come in, it's another form of entertainment," Stephen Drosopoulos, owner of the Venus II Restaurant. "(They) wanna come in, have a couple drinks, play some video games in the bar."
But some residents are holding on to the ban, saying that it will change the image of the town:
UK game player advocacy group Gamers' Voice has filed a formal complaint with Channel 5 over an episode of The Wright Stuff in which violent video games were the topic of discussion. During the show playing violent video games were linked to the shooting of Agnes Sina-Inakoju by Leon Dunkley and Mohammed Smoured. The two have already been convicted for the crime. The pair are members of the London Fields gang, who were responsible for a number of violent acts including the stabbing of 14 year old Shaquille Smith in 2009.
During the show, the host and panel members discussed whether violent games were a significant factor in the boys' behavior. Anne Diamond, who is known for anti-video game rhetoric, was one of those panelists. The show also aired footage of 18-rated Modern Warfare 2's infamous "No Russian" level.
Pennsylvania State representative Lawrence Curry (D- Montgomery/Philadelphia County) is warning parents about " a violent video game" called School Shooter: World Tour 2012. He apparently doesn't know that it's a modification for Half-Life 2, or that it will be free to download if its creators actually ever finish it, but we won't split hairs.
"The game is modeled after the Columbine incident, or Northern Illinois or the Virginia episode. It is a real concern to me," said Curry to News station CBS 21.
"I think it's definitely in poor taste," adds Dr. Kathleen Doherty, the chair of psychology at Harrisburg Area Community College.
She tells them during the interview that she believes all the studies she has seen that link violent media to aggressive behavior in children.