Sessler's Soapbox: Gaming is Not a Crime!

Posted: September 21, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Gaming is Not a Crime!
Adam discusses the current Supreme Court case, deciding if it's constitutional to outlaw the sale of mature games to minors.

Comments are Closed

  • D10078

    If the clerk sold a game that was rated M to the parent or guardian of a minor it doen't make that person or the place they work for the threat. So many things are getting out of hand. It's a matter of choice people rhat's why we have brains use them or loose them "Unless you're a drone!". There are far worse things out there than a fictionalized world.

    Posted: September 24, 2010 8:07 AM
  • keyonte0

    All you are doing is inconveniencing parents. Few parents REALLY give a crap. And that law makes it so that kids have to drag their parents to the store with them to buy all of their games.

    Posted: September 24, 2010 3:46 AM
  • Ghost_Slayer666

    By the way you can see more dang violence, which is not fictional but real!, on your local news channel which anyone including minors have complete access to.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 8:53 PM
  • Ghost_Slayer666

    Stuff like this is bothersome, because they have the information on the box of the game with the description of the aspects in the game that may be unsuitable for minors. Not to mention the ESRB has additional information online from what i've heard. But that aside every person can choose what they get when it comes to video games, if you think its too mature for your child then do not get it for them its that simple. And if you are too lazy to read the box then complain about the content of a game you deserved to be hit in the head with a tack hammer. The information is out there and not hiding unlike the nutrition fact boards of a fast food joint. All you need is to read them.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 8:49 PM
  • mountaindude07

    Really the main problem is the penalty for clerks. I'm pretty sure when Halo Reach launched the registers in kansas walmarts did prompt for age verification. Yeah i'm not Pro giving my 7 year old cousin a copy of even a T game, mostly for language. But If a parent is there and buying their child a T game who looks young, or even of age i ask the parent if they are aware of what's in the game. If the parents are ok buying their kids GTA then i'm not going to stop them. but i'm not selling it to a 7 year old. I see another problem that i don't think Adam touched on though. If the law were to pass, Walmart would probably still carry the M games, just because of how well most do. would you miss out on some halo money really, no! But i could see charging an extra five bucks to keep them on shelves or more. and that would not be cool.

    All of these comments have too many M games.
    makes me think these games are extra tasty, mmmm

    Posted: September 23, 2010 8:05 PM
  • mountaindude07

    Really the main problem is the penalty for clerks. I'm pretty sure when Halo Reach launched the registers in kansas walmarts did prompt for age verification. Yeah i'm not Pro giving my 7 year old cousin a copy of even a T game, mostly for language. But If a parent is there and buying their child a T game who looks young, or even of age i ask the parent if they are aware of what's in the game. If the parents are ok buying their kids GTA then i'm not going to stop them. but i'm not selling it to a 7 year old. I see another problem that i don't think Adam touched on though. If the law were to pass, Walmart would probably still carry the M games, just because of how well most do. would you miss out on some halo money really, no! But i could see charging an extra five bucks to keep them on shelves or more. and that would not be cool.

    All of these comments have too many M games.
    makes me think these games are extra tasty, mmmm

    Posted: September 23, 2010 7:46 PM
  • metawanderer

    Great soapbox as always Adam! Hopefully the law won't come to pass.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 6:35 PM
  • JMason1984

    I can write a lengthy paragraph explaining the history of new media being vilified as tools of corruption but this has happened before and it is happening again with video games. Rather, I'm just going to say, "Boo, you suck Leland Yee you ignorant boob, you suck." What? I know a man my age shouldn't drop down to such puerile behavior but this is clearly a simple and fundamental issue. An issue of first amendment rights in which video games are clearly protected as free speech but a senator is using this law/case for his own political machinations.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 6:05 PM
  • gvdhsg

    I have read books far worse than any video game I have ever played. Ones that go into so much detail you feel sick and I bought it my self. Also I have seen many paintings on public display of these topics for anyone of any age to view at any time. Also who can enforce who plays the game? That is all up to the responsibility of the parents, and for those of you who say parents don't have the time to glance in for one minuet to see what their kid is playing does not deserve to be a parent. This whole thing reminds me of the Salem Witch trials. In the trials this girl and her cousin learned about magic and witch craft from their slave and their parents did not do anything because they did not pay attention to them. So the girls got their all of their friends and they just blew up (acted like dogs, screamed, and flailed around). Then they listed off names of the people who supposedly did it to them. Out of fear the people were put on trial and killed. All of this from a little misunderstanding and fear.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 4:26 PM
  • MartiansfromUranus

    Some M rated games are less adultish than others. You can't compare the maturity of Halo 3 to the insane maturity of the leisure suite larry series, yet they are both rated M. Maybe they should ban specific games instead of everything rated M.

    But what's probably gonna happen is the industry is going to try to make games as violent and awesome as possible but still make it rated T so a lot of M rated franchise are all of a sudden rated T.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 1:40 PM
  • SaviourInTheDark

    I don't think this is quite as big a deal as you make it out to be Adam. You can't sell alcohol to minors either, but minors are still able to obtain it through various means, and it's never traced back to the source. People will still sell M rated games even with this potential threat because it is profitable and the chances of getting caught aren't any greater than selling alcohol.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 12:34 PM
  • ghetto2u

    okay some of you guys are getting are weird about this hey if someone under the age 18 cant buy a game thats fine i dont care cant stand hearing 11yr olds going on racist rants....
    if it passes it wont happen to other forms of media they already tried it its why you cant get into an r rated movie unless youre 17(but you still can) you cant buy explict albums (but you still can) this happens because most americans are repressed in a number of instances. so every few years something comes up that causes the radical christian arm of america to get upset and they argue for a awhile and in time calmly gets pushed under the rug when politicians get re-elected ....so calm down cause this isnt going to happen. if it makes billions of dollars a year and pays the government its annual fees it wont be banned. lets be honest for a second this is all about taking blame and no one wants to take that blame, so they twist it to force it down the throat so you can be quiet that is the cornerstone of america as a whole really think about.

    do you still believe that paul revere rode a horse all the way to boston, or the whole "the world is flat" story from queen of spain to columbus you learn in school as a child that never ever happened. these two so called events are from books written by famous authors less than 200 years ago. but thats what we teach children.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 12:07 PM
  • Hiro05

    Actually, for someone who isn't from America, Darkpuppy's argument isn't that far off.

    The point to be made is that America is one giant contradiction. We have freedom of speech but most media entertainment is severely censored or edited. That being said we allow nearly any verbal view to be shown on television, which in context is freedom of speech on full display.
    This law is part of another growing contradiction among American parents that even though nearly everything in America's mainstream media world teaches children about various..not so grand things. They choose to deem that video games somehow teach children in a manner that actually causes them to become violent.
    If anything video games are the proverbial stress ball psychologically speaking. It allows minors to take out their stress,anger, and frustrations out on something harmless. People think of Columbine as being the standard kid twisted by video games. A poor,poor stigma with no factual backing.
    Parents are being proactive in all the wrong ways. If you can't take the time and effort required to monitor what you child is watching,playing,and doing. Then you are held accountable, not the store clerks,game companies and so forth.
    On a last note to Mandy: America's socially acceptable norms are all fudged up. Video games have always, ALWAYS kept in line with the mainstream media. If gore is prominent, you'll find more and more gorey games imo. Things get thrown out of whack when you add in censorship. And the assumptions made by parents and the politicians trying to pass the bill that playing a violent video game provides an aesthetic quality that can make you copycat what you see. As MANY have stated(including you) this is a fact-less,baseless worry. Made even more so when I rather have my son or daughter play videogames then watch most things on tv! The worst thing I've dealt with on a video game came from the online community, NOT the game itself.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 11:42 AM
  • KilledFirst


    One more quick note. Ask yourself why your government would petition to be released from British rule and to become a protectorate or state of the United States of America, if not to possibly protect the people from the effects of excessive censorship? Exposure is an unwaivering learning tool in the development of young minds. If you censor everyone till they are at an age that is considered mature enough for material that is considered harmful, how long till those mature individuals become educated on the material they were censored from? If anything censorship impedes upon your education and only forges some else's ideology upon you, and makes you a robot within your society. Nothing wrong with robots/zombies, they are easy to control.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 11:40 AM
  • mandythegamergirl


    You are way off base with just about everything you said. You are forgetting the most important issue here.
    Comparatively, America hasn't even hit puberty yet.
    You will not find a public nude beach and our police walking around with guns does not qualify as a "bad day."
    Our moral codes and laws are completely different. As American's we try (I said TRY) to strike a balance between rights and crimes. And it is not easily done but Adam is right. This issue is more about the possible scarring of children when in reality none of these laws should even be an issue. Parents (everywhere) just want phone it in and are using the government to do what they should be doing. All of these groups that say movies and video games are too violent are full of B.S. They are no more violent than the movies from the "golden era of Stallone and Van Dam," the real difference is in parents. They are too "busy" to do their jobs as parents.
    And if you ask me parents seem busier than they are. If they can lobby to get out their responsibilities as parents then they can montior what games their kids are buying and playing.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 11:00 AM
  • NeoCTKM

    I think one of the major factors that this law do is open the opportunity for far outfield laws to come into play banning all games going against the first amendment. Look at how many things we gain from the gaming community as far as technology goes. Is this something we really want to hamper. If we drop down on the gaming market we hurt ourselves as far as technological advancements go. Which in turn hurts our economy even further.

    I think this should just be thrown out. It is for the best of our culture, our economy, and our technological standpoint with the rest of the world.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 10:55 AM
  • AMDFreak

    You know i think i know where this whole thing went wrong. When we started labeling video games with the catch phrase "interactive".

    People who don't understand gaming saw the word "interactive" and jumped to the conclusion that you are somehow actively participating in the activity depicted in the game. Participating? Only to a very limited extent. That extent is pushing buttons.

    Now while i admit freely I've never killed anyone but i am sure it is a lot more involved process then pushing the A button, but we have labeled games as "interactive" so all the law makers and parents that just don't understand can point to this and say "A ha! this is what makes children violent this interactive sin is teaching them how to kill people!" If killing someone really only consisted of pushing a button there would be no one left. Adults would latch onto that and wipe out the whole planet i guarantee.

    Games are more interactive then books or movies yes, but interactive as a whole, no. My father teaching me how to change a tire is an interactive activity. Hell shopping for groceries is an interactive activity. Video games interactions are no more then changing channels on your remote control. Your pushing buttons to impact what you see on a screen.

    Also a fact the plaintiffs love to ignore in this case is that there is no tangible evidence to suggest violent video games make violent children. That is a fact. So all you parents who say it is so are wrong plain and simple. The responsibility to protect your children from what you deem inappropriate falls on YOU, the parent, no one else. Certainly not the government.

    Alot of Fascism going on in a country based on Freedom.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 10:53 AM
  • KilledFirst


    Your argument is good and bad. Our countries have two completely different governing bodies, and you neglected the idea that Australia does NOT carry a one-for-one comparison of game titles outside of your 4 sentence note at the end of your post. Your government has processes in place that disallow games from being sold in your country, or even shipped to Australia. The R 18+ rating still does not mean that some of those game will still become available on the store shelves.

    Censorship is not an answer to ill fated fears. Fearing what you don't understand doesn't make anyone smart on the message. Censorship is a tool for governments and media to control your thinking to a manner that best suits the desire of those governments and media outlets. If you only know one side of the story, how could you possible consider yourself educated on the material presented to you? The Freedom of speech gives us the ability to publicly distribute our thoughts to our peers without fear of prosecution from the government.

    To answer you idiotic/childish question you posted about how rape, abuse, and so on.
    THE AMENDMENT DOES NOT PROTECT SPEECH THAT INFRINGES UPON THE RIGHTS OF ANOTHER BEING. Oh and yes we can talk about it, but it is not a socially accepted conversation, and would raise concerns about you as a person.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 10:39 AM
  • Tman88


    One of the main differences between games and alcohol/cigarettes is that one, games are a form of speech like I mentioned before, and two, games don't have a potential to cause harmful physical health hazards like alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are not forms of free speech or anything like it. My main point was before that game stores also have policies in place that restrict the sales of M-rated games to minors, thus another reason why the law that's trying to get passed has no merit. When someone sells an R-rated movie to a kid they don't get jail time for it so why should it not be the same for games, especially since like I said stores have policies that they, themselves go by. Like I said, parents need to be more educated about M-rated games, but creating a law that clearly violates the 1st Amendment is not the right way to do it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. Meaning just because parents see an M-rated game doesn't mean they'll look ont he back of the box for the game's contents. I wish parents would take more responsibility but they won't and likely never will because they're going to depend on the government to parent their kids for them, which is completely ridiculous. Point is, is that stores already have policies in place, so we don't need a law that'll put people in jail if someone working in the store sells an M-rated game to a kid because then even if it's an employee that makes the mistake it isn't just him/her that gets in hot water, it's also the store owner/manager. Do you think Walmart, Best buy, Gametop, etc. would want that kind of publicity? Of course not, and with good reason. Simply put, parents need to be parents and stop relying on outside sources for parenting, and also like I've mentioned at least 2 or 3 times, the law has no merit and it does violate the 1st Amendment. Video games are a a form of entertainment, which is a form of free speech, which last time I checked was constitutionally protected by the 1st Amendment.

    Posted: September 23, 2010 9:04 AM
  • Darkpuppy

    Sorry Adam but this time your pretty full off it.

    Have a look at a country that has the laws in place. I have worked for many years in EB and other game stores in Australia where we have had the laws that make it illegal to sell some games to minors. This NEVER stopped us from stocking the games and never hurt our sales of these games. To say that people will stop selling the games in fear that they will get fined for selling to the restricted party is pretty much fear mongering, tell me why your stores still sell cigarettes or alcohol??? are these items not illegal to sell to minors? would you not get fined for selling these to minors? so your argument that they wont stock the games because of the fines is pretty mute when the stores know that they will still sell tones of the titles to people over the age limit. In Aus the rating is "MA15+ Mature Accompanied (Restricted): Material classified MA15+ is considered unsuitable for people under 15 years of age. It is a legally restricted category. People under the age of 15 are not allowed to purchase or hire unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian." so there is still the ability for an adult to buy the game for a minor. I see no reason for there not to be a full classification range for games that is fully backed up by a legal penalties. What this does it makes it so that the people/stores have to take responsibility for the items they sell to minors.

    I have never really understood how America can sit there and say free speech and then have any restrictions on anything, rape, child pornography, bestiality, hate crimes, sorry I just don't get it. You should be able to TALK about ANYTHING, not SHOW or enact ANYTHING.. Isn't it Freedom of SPEECH, not actions. Showing dog fights is not speech, stating that you think dog fighting is speech! Isn't it more likely that your founders meant it as a protection of your RIGHT to state YOUR OPINION about a matter without fear of persecution, BUT not your RIGHT to enact or act on that opinion.

    I understand that creating laws that restrict peoples freedom of choice is a slippy slope but in this case there not restricting your choice they are creating a system that protects minors from easy access to things that they might not be fully prepared for. NO store that wants to stay in business would EVER not stock "HALO 15 the KILLING (rated 15+)" because every person over the age of 15 wants a copy....... TRUST ME I HAVE SOLD SO MANY MANY COPIES!!!!!!!!!!

    I understand your fear of the slow slide into censorship but your reasons here are not founded in fact, sorry Adam.

    I Hate the fact that at this time Australia does not have a R 18+ rating. (THIS IS BEING AMENDED TO ALLOW FOR THE RATTING OF GAMES THE SAME AS OUR MOVIES). We currently do miss out on some games coming into the country completely and then others are significantly altered to fit down to the MA 15+. To this end there should be a enforceable rating system that allows for all levels of content .

    Posted: September 23, 2010 12:56 AM