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Wednesday, August 9, 2000
Developers Stomp Lieberman
11:58 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Our Gamecenter Alliance partner Stomped has put together an interesting collection of developer reactions to Presidential candidate Al Gore's choice for VP, Senator Joseph Lieberman. Although politics and video games rarely mix, Lieberman is the exception -- a vocal critic of video game violence (and violence in all media), he inspired the voluntary rating system that exists today and has introduced legislation that directly addressed video game violence on several occasions.

As you will see from the responses, video game developers are a very conservative lot, in some cases creating a surprising contrast with the actual content of the video games they create. In any case the clear message is that they do not want the government placing any constraints whatsoever on what they create or produce, as an industry. Here's an excerpt from the introduction which outlines Lieberman's background:

Although a Democrat, Lieberman has often taken a conservative approach on a number of issues, particularly on his ideas on violence and morals depicted in the entertainment industry. Along with movies, television and music, Lieberman has also been outspoken with his thoughts on the content of video and computer games. During the early 1990's when games such as Mortal Kombat were gaining attention for their violent content, Lieberman expressed his outrage, saying at one point, "I really wish that we could ban them constitutionally." Pressure from Lieberman and other lawmakers were part of the reason why the industry created a voluntary rating system for games.
Many of the responses, especially those from the Ritual Entertainment team, are quite outspoken and harshly critical of government involvement in general. Some adopt a more wait-and-see tone, as this response from Lee Perry of Ion Storm reveals:
As far as what Lieberman actually wants to achieve... I don't really mind someone putting rating labels on games, I actually think it's a great idea to keep hardcore violence out of the hands of unsupervised 5 year olds. Movies have them, so should we. What I do have a problem with is people wanting to regulate it while trying to get "violent games" out of the marketplace. I am of age to purchase anything I choose. Having someone like Montgomery Wards pulling mature games from their shelves (even though you can purchase R-rated movies there) is a ridiculous display of ignorance trying to force a personal morality on someone. As long as he sticks to the labeling issue, I don't really mind the guy.
Many also joke that the best way to keep Lieberman from further moves on this issue is to make him Vice President. For more developer responses, read the rest of this article, and of course share your own opinion of the would-be VP on our Forums and the Comments page of this article.

Who Watches the Lieberman? on Stomped

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