New York Guv's Game Scare Presentation Cites Hoax Site as "Resource"

December 19, 2007 -

In New York, efforts to legislate video game sales have bogged down in the wake of bitter political infighting between Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R).

While the legislative effort remains stalled, the New York Department of Criminal Justice (!) has produced a 20-minute slide show which, in addition to offering some good advice to parents, dredges up a number of sensationalized stories, presents at least one outright fallacy, and cites a well-known Internet hoax site as a parental resource. 

As reported by the Staten Island Advance, Gov. Spitzer unveiled Video Games and Children: Virtual Playground vs. Danger Zone yesterday, accompanied by representatives from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Said Spitzer of the 20-minute presentation:
 

Protecting our children from violent video games that contain adult themes is a key priority for my administration. I commend the staff of the DCJS and Commissioner Denise O'Donnell for taking a leadership role in this effort by reaching out to parents and educators to engage them in this important dialogue. This presentation gives parents and educators the information they need to make smart decisions about the games their children play.


While the presentation offers some wothwhile - if standard - advice about ratings and other parental issues, it quickly devolves into sensationalism. V-Tech Rampage, for example, gets prominent mention early in the presentation. For those who may not recall that sorry episode, V-Tech Rampage was a crude, non-commercial game created and posted online by an apparently troubled young man from Australia who gained his 15 minutes of fame by exploiting the Virginia Tech massacre. What does it have to do with parents making video game choices for their children?

The presentation also includes clips from a well-known Australian TV video of a supposed teenage World of Warcraft addict. There is also an ominous mention of an unnamed 13-year-old Chinese lad who is said to have thrown himself from the roof of a building in an effort to join his video game heroes.

We were also troubled by the somewhat random selection of games presented as bad examples. For instance, the video makes much of Soldier of Fortune's realistic body damage model. SoF, however, was released seven years ago. Relevance, please?

The presentation also mentions that Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho was reportedly a player of Counter-strike. However, the Virginia Tech Review Panel's report clearly states that no such evidence was found. The only game mentioned by the blue ribbon panel in relation to Cho is Sonic the Hedgehog.

First-person shooters are referred to as "killographic" games. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is misstated as "Grand Theft San Andreas." How does one botch what is probably - thanks to Hot Coffee - the most infamous game title of all time?

And, as the presentation ends, a resource page lists Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence as one of several places where parents can go for additional information. 

Oops!

MAVAV is a well-documented hoax site, created, ironically, by a student from a New York City design school.

In the end, poor research makes Gov. Spitzer's well-intentioned video look amateurish and out of touch.

UPDATE: Albany's WNYT-13 has a report on the release of the New York video.

NY Pols Reach Agreement on Game Bill; Passage Delayed Until July

June 22, 2007 -

Details are few at this point as New York State legislators worked late last night to wrap up the current session.

As expected, the Senate and Assembly reached agreement on video game legislation. However, time ran out before the measure could be passed in both houses. Legislators expect to formally pass the bill when they return in July. At that point the video game bill will go to Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

WXXA-DT/TV (Albany) reports:
 

Republican Senator Andrew Lanza (left) who represents Staten Island describes the type of video games his legislation is trying to label for parents:  "Games that, for instance, reward you for shooting and murdering New York City police officers."

[Senate Minority Leader James] Tedisco says, "Nobody walks up to me on the streets and says, 'Because there's violent video games, I'm leaving the state of New York.'  They say, 'I'm leaving the state of New York because I can't afford to live here.'"


Meanwhile, Lower Hudson Online has this:
 

Two agreements were announced yesterday.

One would place limits on who can see violent video games. It would make it a felony to sell violent and obscene video games to minors. In addition, manufacturers would have to equip game consoles with parental-control devices, retailers would have to label games that are violent and obscene, and the state would establish a committee to study the problem.

"We were all always on the same page in protecting children. We just had to come up with ways to compromise," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, co-chairman of the joint conference committee.


GP: Based on an inaccurate news account, we originally listed this bill as passed. In checking with Sen. Lanza's office, we learned that it has been agreed upon but not yet officially passed.

64 comments

NY Lawmakers Almost Come to Blows Over Violent Video Game Bill, Says News Report

June 5, 2007 -

A pair of New York State Senators, debating legislation aimed at violent video games, nearly came to blows themselves, reports the Statewide News Service.

According to the story, bill sponsor Sen. Andrew Lanza (R, left) and Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) got into a dust-up about the wording of A8696, Go. Eliot Spitzer's bill which would make selling games featuring "depraved violence" to a minor a felony offense.

From the transcript:
 

Lanza: The cases that have been struck down have been struck down on the principle that states have attempted to prohibit the sale of video games based upon the speech content, that being violence.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the case. You’re misreading them. I don’t know whether you’re doing it deliberately or what. It’s frustrating me.

Lanza: I’m not misreading the cases. Those are the cases.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the cases.

Lanza: Absolutely not Senator. We can agree to disagree on that point.

Hassell-Thompson: You got a battery of attorneys sitting behind you. I’m telling you I wrangled with them 3 out of 5 meetings.

Lanza: Maybe you’re missing something.

Hassell-Thompson: Well, we’re paying them. We should fire them.

Lanza: Let’s just be clear. It makes it a felony to sell video games based upon the speech contained therein. That’s what it does. Now it may pass constitutional muster because the speech that is being regulated therein is pornography, which I might add is already regulated and is already prohibited with its distribution to minors. So you might say the governor’s version accomplishes nothing. I’m not saying that but you might say it.


UPDATE: GP has heard from a source who was present and says that while it was clear that no love was lost between Lanza and Hassell-Thompson, the idea that blows were imminent is overstated.

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NY Politician Happy Staten Island Left Out of GTA IV

May 13, 2007 -

Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series are eagerly awaiting GTA IV, due out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later this year.

The latest installment in the controversial game franchise is set in Liberty City, a vitualized representation of the Big Apple.

But as today's New York Times reports, the borough of Staten Island has been left out of the game. And while some gamers are upset, at least one New York politician is pleased:
 

Not everyone, however, is bemoaning the exclusion of the city’s most bucolic borough. The Grand Theft Auto series has been widely pilloried by parents and elected officials. The State Senate recently formed a task force on video game violence and appointed Senator Andrew Lanza [left], Republican of Staten Island, to lead it.


 

“I’m glad Staten Island is left out, frankly,” Mr. Lanza said. Describing the game as “poisonous,” he reflected on the real reason his borough did not make the cut.


 

“Perhaps it’s because they know Staten Island is the safest place in the entire city,” he said.

 

NY Legislation Gains Momentum: Guv to Detail Video Game Proposal to Al Sharpton Group Today

April 20, 2007 -

Suddenly, video game legislation is a very hot topic in New York state.

As reported earlier this week by GamePolitics, first-year New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) will fulfill a 2006 campaign promise by pressing ahead with efforts to legislate violent and sexually-explicit video games. Spitzer hopes to pass a law restricting sales of such games to underage buyers.

According to the New York Daily News, Spitzer will detail his video game proposal today in a breakfast speech before Rev. Al Sharpton's organization, the National Action Network.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Andrew Lanza has been appointed to head a legislative task force on the video game issue. The Staten Island Advance reports that Lanza made reference to Monday's Virginia Tech rampage in discussing the issue of video game legislation. Lanza's senate web page contains the following quote:
 

The Virginia Tech massacre is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which has severe and tragic consequences on our youth and for our society... It is imperative that we find a way to prevent these virtual realities from continuing to fuel and to teach the violent behavior which is corrupting or youth.


With bi-partisan support for the issue and the end of the assembly session drawing near, expect New York's video game legislation situation to heat up quickly.

55 comments

NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer Readies Violent Video Game Legislation

April 18, 2007 -

A campaign promise made by almost a year ago by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resurfaced.

Last April GamePolitics reported on candidate Spitzer's plan to legislate sales of violent video games. The former State Attorney General also called for a universal rating system for games, movies and music. At the time, Spitzer said:
 

Self-regulation doesn't always work... when self-regulation fails, government must step in... New York State must take matters into its own hands. We should follow the lead of states like California, Illinois and Michigan and pass 'Safe Games' legislation...


 

The (ESRB) does have a rating system... but it's often ignored. Laws protecting underage kids from harmful products are nothing new... But currently, nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying a game labeled 'Adult Only' - a game like 'Grand Theft Auto...'

Democrats and Republicans both have bills that would address these problems, but they have gone nowhere. It is time to make this a priority.


Now, Spitzer is apparently making good on his promise. As reported by Business Week:

34 comments | Read more

 
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WonderkarpActual Thing, Never Proven :P We All Know That You Dont Need Evidence For Something To Be Real, Huh.01/25/2015 - 9:40am
ConsterAh, that explains it - since the second thing you named is an actual thing, I wasn't sure if you were being sarcastic.01/25/2015 - 7:39am
WonderkarpConster, I was quoting Anita Sarkeesian01/24/2015 - 10:39pm
ZippyDSMleeodd its not wanting to post half the time 0-o01/24/2015 - 10:21pm
ZippyDSMleetest01/24/2015 - 10:21pm
ConsterWonderkarp: did the US actually bomb Japan back to traditional values? My history lessons were eurocentric, so I wouldn't know.01/24/2015 - 9:39pm
ZippyDSMleeeffect like confusion,ect. QTEs are a gimmick that can easily be shallow because you are looking to mess with conditioned responses and nothing messes with them more than random gameplay changes..01/24/2015 - 7:58pm
ZippyDSMleeWonderkarp: They tried to be natural with God Of Wars QTE’s, sometimes it felt random which I hate the most in QTEs. The way you interface with gameplay (press X to get X result) should never rely on randomly generated mechanics unless it’s a status01/24/2015 - 7:57pm
Andrew EisenI've passed your comment on.01/24/2015 - 5:45pm
Neo_DrKefkaHey GamePolitics staff can you guys work out the way the ads are delivered via mobile? Sometimes any attempt to do anything on this site automatically forwards you to download "Flappy bird" on a shady site or another thing. It just hijacks my Safari01/24/2015 - 3:47pm
WonderkarpI feel like the only good QTEs were the ones in the God of War series. I dont know why though.. maybe its the visceral carnage01/24/2015 - 1:13pm
ZippyDSMleeprh99: QTEs are dumb I ever understood the need for them outside being cheap and wanting to pad mechanics with scripted events that use only a few buttons.01/24/2015 - 12:58pm
InfophileAnd a more detailed breakdown of expenses here: http://imgur.com/L46SUMw01/24/2015 - 12:42pm
InfophileFor anyone still complaining about where the funding for Tropes vs. Women went: https://www.dropbox.com/s/q4z6qa561roidh5/femfreq_annualreport2014.pdf?dl=0 (page 16) Not that this will actually stop claims of fraud, but it's good to have a counter.01/24/2015 - 12:38pm
prh99Linux kernel patch breaks Witcher 2. Apparently it was a wrapped Windows version instead of native port. http://m.slashdot.org/story/21270301/24/2015 - 11:12am
prh99I am not a fan of QTEs. Toggle joystick to break away from an enemy is ok...01/24/2015 - 12:26am
Goth_Skunk@WonderKarp: *fistbump*01/24/2015 - 12:00am
ZippyDSMleeIts like they took the fiction from soemthing else and tried to impose it on the Turok IP 0-o01/23/2015 - 10:14pm
ZippyDSMleeuhg I mean they did not need the dumb story and needed more unreal crazy combat.01/23/2015 - 10:13pm
ZippyDSMleestyle gameplay not generic shooter stuff.01/23/2015 - 10:11pm
 

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