back to article Governator revives anti-violent video game crusade

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking America's top court to restart his campaign of criminalizing the sale of violent video games to children. Legislation banning sale or rental of mature-themed video games to Californians under 18 was first penned by Democrat senator Leland Yee and signed into law by the …


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  1. Gabriel Vistica
    Thumb Down

    Free speech?

    What the heck does free SPEECH have to do with playing video games, of any rating?

  2. Steven Raith

    Does't matter

    his econimic policy is a farce that will have him out of office PDQ anyway - has anyone checked the employment and income figures in California compared to the last couple of years - never mind the tax revenue....?

    For the record, one of my [utterly delicious, at the moment, for the record] farts has more chance of getting this legislation through than Arnie - because it will last longer....

    Steven R

  3. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    Amendments my ass

    Quite what the federal court is doing blocking state laws from being passed is beyond me. Never mind the 1st amendment, what about the blinking 10th? The 1st amendment in no way prohibits California as a *state* from gassing people for saying the word "knickers", never mind fining them for selling video games to minors. It's up to them.

    2-inch white stickers saying "18 only" is only going to add to the allure of GTA anyway. They'd be better off putting stickers on that said "Warning: This game looks great, but actually it's really boring. Try Mario instead. You can see his ball sack on level 3 :lol:"

  4. Andy Bright
    Thumb Up

    Damn straight

    I regularly steal cars, waste coppers, rail gun government conspirators into pieces and that's all before I get home for nice bit of pimping. I blame it all on video games.

    But the real problem isn't this. It's the football and planet saving. I mean I'm literally dreading the phone call that comes and having to choose between either being the manager of England or play as it's entire team. It must be true, because if video games have turned me into a psychotic killer then by the same logic I'll be picked for England.

    And then there's the continual planet saving as previously mentioned. Where am I going to get time to save Earth, Azgeroth and the literally dozens of planets I practice defending on a regular basis via space fighter. When the marines recruit me to dispatch alien invaders, will this conflict with my duty to kill demon gods in fantasy dungeons?

    So damn right. Ban all video games because clearly they're going to ruin my life and give me no time to spend watching people being murdered by deranged robots from the future. Or family night as we call it in America.

    "Here ya go kids, have some popcorn while you watch that man being sawed in half by a genetic mutation from a nuclear test zone on prime time TV. Thank god this form of violence isn't dangerous, we know it can't be because there's no way the Governator would do something as contradictory as ban kids playing violent video games if it did."

    And remember. I'm just a parent. I don't have the means to prevent my kids from playing video games with obscure, meaningless ratings like Teen and Mature. I ask you, what on earth does that mean? So seeing as I don't understand basic English words, and there's obviously no way I can think of that would prevent my kids from owning the games they can't afford to buy without my credit card, I need a law to make criminals out of shop owners.

    And while we're at it can you make a law that criminalizes my ISP for distributing pornography over the internet? I'm not sure how it ended up on my kids computer, but then I respect their privacy as any good parent would, and never take any notice of what they do on the internet or question them when they ask for my credit cards.

    Cool parents rock don't they?

  5. Pablo
    Paris Hilton


    You're right, "freedom of speech" was obviously only intended to apply to literal talking. Censoring games or the internet or movies or books is perfectly fine.

  6. Matthew Barker
    Thumb Up

    More info...

    This guy has some credibility and a long history.

    He'd probably agree with the causation.

    I saw a child, first exposed to the violence in a Disney movie screaming with anger and threatening to hurt people.

  7. Darling Petunia


    The American Psychological association did extensive studies and concluded: "Repeated media violence exposure increases aggression across the lifespan because of several related factors. 1. It creates more positive attitudes, beliefs, and expectations regarding use of aggressive solutions. 2. It creates aggressive behavioral scripts and makes them more cognitively accessible. 3. It decreases the accessibility of nonviolent scripts. 4. It decreases the normal negative emotional reactions to conflict, aggression, and violence.

    This is not rocket-science, but the game-makers have lots of money.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Umm ok

    Dear Governator:

    We the people of California have a request. Quit dicking around with crap like this and do what you were hired to do. I know that's a tall order for you and all, given the roids have rotted your brain but do try and keep up. kthnxbai

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ Darling Petunia

    or - there are a few hundred million people in the world by now, that played pretty extensively in their childhood. including myself. stuff like Doom (then Public Enemy #1 of course), and all the other cool games. action, violence, bring them on.

    so anyways, these few hundred million people, mostly, look quite OK, don't you think? I mean if there was such a direct connection there that you suggest, I think there'd be a helluva lot more people taking their shutguns to their office, especially these days.

    but they don't. and while game makers have lots of money (really??), some people just don't have any braincells. and not because of playing games - in fact, that would probably help them understand wtf they're talking about in the first place.

    Off to do another round in Q4....

  10. Paul

    Arnie and violent stuff

    Seriously, this *is* the same guy who played starring role in some of the most violent body-count-a-palooza movies in the '80s. You know, child-friendly stuff like Terminator and Predator and Commando. I sure as hell wasn't an adult when I saw those movies for the first time. So much for the "18" certificate. Lucky for you, Arnie, the notion that violent moves, games and TV make people more violent is a bunch of crap.

    Yeah, some people do go postal, and maybe they played a violent game or watched a violent movie beforehand, but these are the people who weren't mentally stable in the first place and they could just as easily have been set off by seeing one too many cat pictures on Flickr, or because someone looked at them "funny", or because "God told them to do it".

  11. Chris C

    Here we go again

    I'm so sick of this whole argument brought about by people who have no clue what they're talking about. There is literally no way to prove causation. Let me repeat that, There is LITERALLY NO WAY to prove that experiencing violent media causes aggression or violent tendencies. The human brain is extremely complex, and we (society) have absolutely no idea how it works. In addition to this, life is not a computer simulation. In life, there is no way to stop your experiment and reset it to a known state. In life, there is also no way to eliminate all other external factors (such as whether the child is from a wealthy family or a low-income family, genetic predispositions, etc). Thousands of other external factors will be completely disregarded (did all of the "violent" children drink milk, for example, or were instances of violence precipitated by an emotional event such as the ending of a relationship?). There are too many factors, and far too many unknown variables, to prove any causation between violence in media and aggression/violent tendencies.

    Also, I notice that when these "researchers" try to "prove" that violence in media causes aggression and/or violent tendencies, they never say how all human beings have a predisposition to violence and/or aggression. But I guess that little tidbit might not help their "findings" too much, would it? Newsflash: most people ARE aggressive and/or have violent tendencies. You don't see it because they keep it in check and don't show you that part of themselves. Are these "researchers" trying to say that all boxers, football/rugby players, murderers, assaulters, etc have played violent video games?

    As for Eddie "Amendments my ass" Edwards, it's the first amendment that allows you to speak freely and grace us with your ignorance. The federal court has every right to block a state law if said law is determined to be unconstitutional. When the founding fathers crafted the Bill of Rights, it was done so as a list of the minimum rights afforded to every US citizen, rights which cannot be taken away by the federal government, or any state or local government. I cannot even begun to understand why you think the Bill of Rights should not be honored in the state of California.

  12. Andrew


    Video games, bad. Mindless slaughter movies, better. Pointless desert wars, featuring honest and wholesome death, best. Can we please get back to humble scientists thwarting interdimensional invasion already?

    Mine's the one with the crowbar in the pocket.

  13. Charles

    Evidence for harm through violence.

    The state could counter-counterargue that if violence regulation requires evidence of its deliterious effects or that it's "patently obscene", then so must pornography and any other speech that is denied First Amendment protection. It'll create a Pandora's Box "all or nothing" case unless they have the evidence at hand, which (like violence) may be tricky--there's Europe and Japan, after all, where attitudes toward sexuality have historically been looser than in America with no patently deleterious effects to show as a result.

  14. Kane

    Re @ Andy Bright

    You Sir, owe me a new monitor!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Arnie....


    I saw Conan when I was about 10

    I saw Terminator & Conan the destroyer when I was about 12 or 13

    As well as Raw Deal and Predator before I was 18.

    As you are the star in these films, should I deicded to go on a mass murder spree, my parents and my victims will hold you responsible. As you have already stated, there is a direct link between on screen violence and real violence, therefore I belive that makes you an accessory.


    Anon "The machine gunning, sword wielding, invisible, time traveling alien" coward

  16. michael

    it is not computer games falt

    it is fun to shoot pepol

  17. Sooty

    this would be...

    ... the same person who based his entire career on appearences in violent films. Slightly hippocritical isn't it?

  18. Benjamino
    Thumb Up


    Seriously. All they are avocation is a system similar to the BBFC in the UK.

    I can't remember any game being told to cut content without justification by the BBFC.

  19. Tony


    Am I missing something here? Why is this a problem?

    Most people don't object to an 'adults only' rating on violent movies or those with sexual content. Why is having the same on games an issue?

    If they were wanting to censor the content for adults that would be a different matter, but not sure how classifying games in this way and restricting sale to minors is a 'freedom of speech' issue.

  20. DutchOven

    WHen he lost the first time...

    .... did he tell the judge "eye'll be beck"?

  21. Chris

    @ Darling Petunia

    I've been playing violent video games and watching violent movies for as long as I can remember. Yet I've rarely had any violent encounters - once or twice to defend myself but that's it. Some people are just bad, they're either born that way or made that way by a poor upbringing.

    For you, video games appear to provide an easy way to explain away violent behaviour. I disagree - a violent person would still be violent, even if they'd never seen a violent game or movie.

    Humans have been hurting eachother for millennia - it's terrible but that's life.

  22. Winkypop Silver badge

    Hang on a minute....

    ....didn't ole Arnie himself make millions from ultra-violent movies?

    Seems a bit odd.

    Or is it just those meddling sky-daddy believers again?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    If you want to ban violent video games ...

    ... then at least be honest about it.

    Stop crying foul that it damages the still developing minds of the young un's and just say "We don't want kids playing these games, because they are kids".

    And for all those parents who say "We're the parents and we'll decide whats right for our kids", thats fine. Just as long as minors are prevented from purchasing the games, there is nothing to stop you going out and getting the game for your kid.


    Summer Glau

  24. Schultz
    Thumb Up

    Clearly I am antisocial...

    after my Doomed years. But ast least I know how to rip through a portal if it comes down to saving the world for my kids.

    Are you with us, or against us on this one, Mr. Terminator?

  25. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    Terminator Movies

    "We're sure no child under 17 has ever seen a Terminator movie."

    No problem. T2 was a 15 and T3 was a 12. They were both made to be more "child-friendly" than the first (and best!) in order to flog more Terminator-badged tat like action figures.

  26. michael

    @ summer glau

    first off big fan of yours sorry to see your show cancelled AGAIN :)

    second that point is fine but only as long as it gose the only 2 problems I see with a law as you describes

    1. if the law makes perents who buy a 18 rated game for there kids a crimal

    2. perents who do not understand the law and let there kids play the games and then kick up a fuss in the papers and the we end up witrh violent games being banned completely (cos the papers relay rule the country

  27. Anonymous Coward


    Sometimes I wish the commentards would bother to read the articles before jumping in with their anti daily mail propagander.

    They are not lobbying to ban the violent games only to control the sale of violent games to children. If any of you ever get to have sex and somehow manage to spawn your own offspring you will notice that children are a little impressionable. They will copy things they see on tele, play in video games and even see you yourself do. Its a preprgramed genic disposition essential for survival known as mimicry.

    Sure some of ti is fantasy, but not all of it is. Last thing I'd want is to catch my kids trying to recreate is resident evil 5, shooting enthic minorities, no matter how entertaining in video games, is a big no no.

    I'm not saying all kids would do it, but I think better control might wake parents up a little so they can at least take more responsabiliity for what they willingly expose their children to. If its illeagal to sell an 18 rated movie to children it should be also the same for computer games. Its then the responsability of the parent for being a douch bag not the shop, not the game companies but the ass hat trying to pass the buck.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ summer glau or...

    possibly an XKCD fan or even the man himself.. Randal Munro (my bets is on XKCD fan)...

    Anyway, the responsibility is of the parents to allow their children to play these rated games or not. Fair enough the retailer will have some degree of responsibility with relation to sales. However at the end of the day its the parents who give their kids these consoles, allow them to play the games, watch movies etc etc.

    "They say that video games influence our lives. If that were true, then if we were subjected to Pac-Man as children, we'd be sitting in dark rooms, eating magic pills, and listening to repetitive electronic music."

    --Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

  29. Lottie

    Am I missing something?

    Surely all he's doing is asking for an age rating to be applied to games (like the BBFC do over here) as with videos?

    I reckon that's a good idea because if people were punished more over here for selling games to underage kids we wouldn't get so many "My little seven year old kiddie got a copy of GTA and hit his sister with my dildo.... ban all videogames" type stories.

  30. Robert Grant


    No, you're not missing anything. All the people who are reacting angrily to this are the ones who like violent video games and so come on forums and shout about how games don't make people angry.

    @the ultra-calm shouters

    1) Arnie's not saying violent games are intrinsically bad, so him making violent films is not contradictory. Please understand this before another of you writes an idiotic comment "pointing this out".

    2) Seeing violence as the cool/only solution to problems /can/ encourage violent solutions in real life, or /can/ make people feel inferior if they use a nonviolent solution to a problem (e.g. letting a mugger take your stuff rather than knocking them out with a punch).

    3) The ratings system - which is all Arnie is in favour of reinforcing here - is there to help parents, not usurp them. If this isn't obvious to you, then I suppose no reasoning will help.

    4) Watching violence is not the same as participating in it in a game. That's the point of a game - it's cool because it's like you're doing it.

    5) I play violent games (latest one: Madworld). None of what I've said above is relevant to this fact. Try and untangle things in your mind that tie together unrelated things; they create the illusion of hypocrisy where none is present, and when you crow about said "hypocrisy" then you just look silly.

  31. Robert Harrison

    Computer games?

    Never mind the computer games, violent films, gory books and so on.. The thing that really brings the red mist down is watching MPs with their snouts in the troughs, bankers taking huge bonuses whilst pissing the economy away and any special privilege granted to the political and social elite.

    And yes, young people are smart enough to realise this also which probably helps explain why the youth of today[1] are so angry.

    [1] ok, ok, youth have always been angry.

  32. Rodrigo Andrade

    I shall rebel against titles.

    Conan has gone soft.

    Too much wine and woman, methinks.

  33. SamS

    Or you know....

    Parents could be parents and actually control what their kids buy or play...

  34. Frumious Bandersnatch
    Thumb Down

    @Robert Grant

    > 3) The ratings system - which is all Arnie is in favour of reinforcing here - is there to help parents, not usurp them. If this isn't obvious to you, then I suppose no reasoning will help.

    No, RTFA. This is about criminalising the sale of certain titles to people under the notional age. It says that it's not the parent's decision whether or not they want their precious playing Diorama of Debbie Does Dallas or whatever--it's up to the government. If that ain't usurping, I think one of us needs to get a new dictionary.

  35. Andy Bright

    Re: not a ban on violent games

    And Robert Grant for that matter.

    There already is a rating system that works perfectly well. Also we have something called priced beyond the reach of those that don't work and therefore are at the very least 14 or 15 years old. And after they reach that age I couldn't care less what they watch or play. Naked bimbos shooting rockets out of their vaginas decapitating puppies for all I care.

    As a parent I understand perfectly what a Mature game is, because it tells me on the box. I can read and once took the time to do so. I did this so I could be informed about the purchase I have to make if my kid is going to own the game. That was actually my main point, carefully wrapped up in crap humour.

    As a parent I got to choose what my kids can play. While they were growing up I restricted their access to certain types of game. I did this through the power of information and money. I didn't give my kids the kind of money necessary to buy video games, because they were kids.

    If they did find one in a bargain bin, as a parent I got to chuck it in the bin at home. I found these things out by doing something else every parent has the power to do. Watching what they're playing and looking at their game boxes.

    What I don't need though is some holier than thou government imposing their dysfunctional morality on me and my family. I also don't appreciate that the store owner I rely on for my own entertainment can become a criminal at the whim of a useless parent, an overzealous cop or a government bureaucrat.

    When these people stop kidnapping innocent people and sending them to foreign countries to be tortured or killed, they can start lecturing the rest of us on morality.

    And that is what this is about. It's about criminalizing shop owners because parents are fucking useless and can't say no, and it's about interfering in something that's absolutely none of the government's business.

    The existing rating system would work splendidly without any need for any new laws, all it takes is for a parent to learn how to read and to fucking do so the next time their kid asks for a game.

    I understand where you guys are coming from, that this isn't an attempt to ban games outright. But it is an attempt to interfere with the way I raise my kids and it is an attempt to impose that same religious extremist morality and make criminals out of store owners and parents.

    Buying a game for my teenager rated mature is not the same thing as buying him a bottle or whiskey or a packet of cigarettes. It's a fucking game and after over 30 years of playing them, I have absolutely zero desire to be violent towards any single person, even those that propose over-moralistic laws for no reason. That's my proof that these games do no harm, I have my own 30 year study that proves it.

  36. Jeffrey Nonken


    No child under 18... like my daughters, for example. Oh, wait. :)

    @Matthew Barker

    "I saw a child, first exposed to the violence in a Disney movie screaming with anger and threatening to hurt people."

    1) One point does not make a curve. Sorry, I cannot consider your sample to be statistically significant.

    2) What other factors did you eliminate before coming to any conclusions? For example, is it even remotely possible that the child had existing violence issues that were triggered by something in the movie?

    3) How many other children reacted thus?

    "This guy has some credibility and a long history.


    "He'd probably agree with the causation."

    1) Argument by authority?

    2) I don't care what his credentials are. Doesn't make him right. Doesn't make him wrong, either, but being an expert is not a guarantee. They've been debunked before.

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