Dear Joe Baca: You Are Really Embarrassing Yourself
The fact that these people have any power whatsoever is confusing and depressing.
For the record, I was one of the few gamers who supported the idea of ratings for video games and therefore, I have no issue with the ESRB. I think those ratings are necessary and make perfect sense; we've got ratings for movies, don't we? And I believe it's absolutely true that certain forms of media and entertainment should be kept away from our developing children.
But of course, the lawmakers are never happy with such a victory. Of course not. It's too reasonable. It's not radical enough. So now, we need to single out video games by putting warning labels on the packages, alongside the ratings we already have. The only games that would be exempt from this law would be the ones rated EC (Early Childhood). Every other game would have to carry a warning label of some kind, so parents can fully understand the potential ramifications.
The press release at Congressman Joe Baca's website should tell you everything you need to know. Firstly, it proves even supposedly intelligent people, those we have elected into a position of power, are allowed to let personal bias supersede science and fact. By not citing the numerous studies that prove or at least suggest the positive effects of gaming, your position has an automatic slant. And the "facts" that are stated have been refuted again and again.
The official reply from the Entertainment Software Association can be found at GameSpot:
"Unfortunately, Representative Baca's facially unconstitutional bill--which has been introduced to no avail in each of six successive Congressional sessions, beginning in 2002--needlessly concerns parents with flawed research and junk science. Numerous medical experts, research authorities, and courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, exhaustively reviewed the research Representative Baca uses to base his bill and found it lacking and unpersuasive. Independent scientific researchers found no causal connection between video games and real life violence."
I'm waiting for the law that says warning labels should be placed on movies sold in stores. I'm waiting for the warning label on books. We've got one for music albums but obviously, it's not enough. Do all that, and then, perhaps only for the sake of absurd symmetry, I'll go with the warnings on video games. At least then the public will have already started to dismiss such warnings as needless and downright inaccurate. And last but not least is the single most glaring issue that is just downright laughable-
Baca and every last one of his like-minded cronies continue to think that all video games are for kids. That's the shame and irony of it all. They actually believe violent games are made to be sold to kids. They think nobody over the age of 18 plays them, despite any statistics that say the average age of a gamer is at least 35 (and rising with every passing day). The only reason to single out video games for warning labels is due to this outdated, nay, archaic belief. "Natural Born Killers" resulted in quite the backlash; I never saw a proposed law requesting warning labels for movies. Why? Because "Natural Born Killers" wasn't for kids. But obviously, Twisted Metal is.
It really is embarrassing. These people are in power. They're proposing laws to govern an industry that is completely alien to them. I can't decide if that's massive ego running rampant, or some special form of blindness unique to politicians. Whatever it is, one would hope that after decades of lawmakers embarrassing themselves when it comes to video games, the lawmakers themselves would be tired of looking foolish.
3/20/2012 8:24:21 PM Ben Dutka