Apparently, there's an easy way to get Democrats and Republicans to work together: just give them both a mutual target. In this case, it's video games--again.
Congressmen Joe Baca (D-California, pictured) and Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) have proposed H.R. 4204, the "Violence in Video Games Labeling Act," which would place a warning label on all video games. Not just extremely violent games, and not just violent video games in general. Yep, on that copy of Cooking Mama that you're about to crack into and enjoy the hell out of, there would be a warning label reading "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior."
Congressman Baca takes a very strong stance on this. "The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers--to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products," he said. "They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility."
Congressman Wolf continued explaining the bill: "Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents--and children--about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior. As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games."
Never mind that the average age of people who buy video games is 37--meaning that people know what they're getting into--and that in most retail jobs, you can get in serious trouble for not carding people when they buy or rent M-rated games. In case you're curious, here's the entire bill:
To require certain warning labels to be placed on video games that are given certain ratings due to violent content.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION REGULATION.
a) REGULATION.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the warning label described in subsection (b) to be placed on the packaging of any video game that is rated ‘‘E’’ (Everyone), ‘‘Everyone 10+’’ (Everyone 10 and older), ‘‘T’’ (Teen), ‘‘M’’ (Mature), or ‘‘A’’ (Adult) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.
(b) WARNING LABEL CONTENT.—The warning label required under a regulation issued under subsection (a) shall be placed in a clear and conspicuous location on the packaging of the applicable video game and shall state: ‘‘WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.’’.
(c) VIDEO GAME DEFINED.—As used in this Act, the term ‘‘video game’’ means any product, whether distributed electronically or through a tangible device, consisting of data, programs, routines, instructions, applications, symbolic languages, or similar electronic information (collectively referred to as ‘‘software’’) that controls the operation of a computer or telecommunication device and that enables a user to interact with a computer controlled virtual environment for entertainment purposes.
I'm not that worried about this, to be honest. So far, any research done to connect violent video games to aggressive behavior has been circumstantial at best, and I can tell you exactly how many people I've beaten unconscious with my bare hands after reviewing Asura's Wrath, and how much wild, immoral sex I've had after reviewing Mass Effect 3 (the answer to both of those is "none").
What about you? Do you think that Baca and Wolf are on to something, and labeling games will make people more aware of their content? Or is this the usual political grandstanding, taking aim at an easy target that the general public isn't as knowledgeable about?