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Monday, March 12, 2001
Adrenaline Vault Editorial on Video Game Regulation
9:56 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Adrenaline Vault's Jonathan Houghton recently posted an editorial, entitled The Price of Protection,
addressing his thoughts towards the debate over video game violence, focusing primarily on the government's
proposed regulations (both enacted and deposed) and their possible repercussions.

Concerning the ESRB system currently in place (a system that requires games to carry
a rating, much like that of movies), Houghton goes the extra mile and interviews an anonymous
Electronics Boutique employee to better gauge the effectiveness of a rating system:

I was informed in relatively uncertain terms that if the government so desired, they could
make a good attempt at enforcing video game legislation in much the same way that alcohol is currently regulated. "We'd probably end up
checking ID's, like alcohol in a grocery store," was the comment given when the EB employee was asked about potential procedure that could
arise if sales to minors are ever prohibited. This worker did admit that enforcing these regulations would be a copious prospect at best, with
illegal sales occurring frequently; and a high degree of probability that banned games would be driven into some of the more unpleasant areas
of the Internet.

Predictably, as the employee notes, using a "carding system" to enforce the ratings
would be dissolute at best, with "illegal sales occurring frequently." Granted, this is only
one person's opinion, but still raises the possibility of an almost complete failure of the ratings system.
Regardless of whether or not violent games cause aberrant behavior, Houghton
notes that the amount of money the government throws into such an ineffectual operation
is patently ridiculous.

Also worthy of note is Houghton's take on the government's "all bark, no bite" attitude
towards regulation of video game violence. Right now, the issue seems to be more of a vote-gathering
stance used by politicians rather than a relevant issue that deserves more attention.
As Houghton notes:

Someone in the Senate will probably pick up the crusade against the evils of Quake and Soldier of Fortune when their constituency approval rating dips below a certain point. Perhaps
we will begin to see the new, "Anti-gaming," agenda of Senator Clinton in a
few weeks.

For anyone even remotely interested in the issue, Houghton's editorial is a worthwhile read. Be sure to check it out, then head to IMG's forums and share your own thoughts on the issue.

"The Price of Protection" at The Adrenaline Vault
IMG Forum Thread - Regulation of violent video games?

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