Geek and Alternative Pop Culture

Help Stop the Assault on Video Games by Lawmakers

The ECA is fighting to protect gamers' rights.

The ECA is fighting to protect gamers’ rights.

As a supporter of the Entertainment Consumers Association (The ECA), I have followed closely just how far some politicians and advocacy groups will go to in order to vilify video game and hold video games and gamers responsible for unspeakable tragedies that have occurred over the years. Ever since the Legislative branch of the government took aim at Mortal Kombat for violence in video games, members of local, state and federal legislative offices have tried in some way to regulate and even sometimes ban the sale of video games. They want to find a tangible item to blame to skirt around the real issues of inadequate mental health reform, lack of parental supervision and responsibilities, unenforced gun laws and background checks, and members of the community who still see video games as a primarily child’s hobby.

A while back, I wrote an article (actually more of a rant) talking about how certain parents support these kinds of legal ploys to avoid taking responsibilities for their children and how they lacked raising them responsibly. Sadly, there was one comment on the article that stated that my argument had to validity and my opinion was baseless. Then Newtown happened a few days later and the same point I was trying to make in my piece came to light as immediately members of the media and legislative branches tried to blame video gaming in part for the tragedy. And since that day, the voices of those who would blame video games and regulate who they are sold to and how they are made has grown louder and louder. Now even the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has been lending his voice to this movement.

Joe Biden is leading the attack and blaming video gaming for real-life violence.

Joe Biden is leading the attack and blaming video gaming for real-life violence.

Recently, leaders and members of The ECA traveled to Washington, DC to discuss this very topic with Biden and several Senators and House members to see how they could cooperate in trying to solve or question as to whether video games lead to real life violence. And despite being presented with studies supporting the fact that there is no direct correlation between violence in video games and violence in real-life, the members of Congress and the VP himself dismissed them and preferred to continue with the rhetoric and fear mongering making video games a primary villain in these recent events. Biden himself even made the statement to The ECA delegation that they “shouldn’t be afraid of the facts” about a correlation while continuing to ignore facts presented to them in the contrary.

The ECA members presented numbers, studies and facts that disprove the sentiment that violence in video games leads to real world violence. They were told that violent crimes in the US have steadily decreased since 1980, while video game sales have substantially increased in the same amount of time. They were presented with facts and studies that show that other nations which consume more video games than the United States don’t see the same level of violence. The ECA presented study after study showing that there was no connection between fantasy violence and real violence. But none of that seemed to even faze a majority of these people.

These lawmakers are convinced that there’s a connection between video games and violence despite being shown repeatedly that there isn’t. One member even said that a proposed study is “laying the groundwork for new regulations on video games.” So no matter if facts are presented to them, they are going to continue to push for regulating the video game industry – an industry that has been self-regulating its products since the formation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, known then as the Interactive Digital Software Association.

The self-regulatory board that most video game producers adhere to.

The self-regulatory board that most video game producers adhere to.

 

The ESRB was formed to make the video game industry responsible for the products they manufacture and assign a clear and understandable rating to each game they review alerting consumers of possible situations and scenarios within a game that may not be appropriate for gamers of particular age groups. The ESRB has often been criticized for overrating certain games more harshly than equivalent rating boards have in other countries. And while certain hidden content has slipped past the ESRB in past instances, the board has been quick to react to these issues and is widely seen as a respected and fair rating system that serves the video game industry, consumers and opponents in an efficient manner.

Yet this is not enough for these lawmakers. They want a villain, they want someone or something to blame and they are adamant that video games are a major cause. Some of these lawmakers have even expressed disagreement and disdain for a recent US Supreme Court decision that video games are free speech and are protected by the same rights that protect books, art, film and music.

So where before I talked about this situation with you, our readers, this time I am asking you… begging you to ACT to protect our rights as gamers from the threats and advances of these lawmakers who would legislate our preferred form of entertainment just to quell their uneasiness and fears and a made up connection between video games and violence. Join me, join The ECA in making these Senators, House members and even the Vice President himself that we are united, we are responsible law-abiding citizens and we are aware that they are doing this because they are afraid to tackle the real problems that are underlying factors in tragedies such as Newtown and Aurora. Write to your representing lawmakers on the local, state and federal level and tell them that video games are not the cause. Tell them that we will not stand for them interfering in our business and vilify what we love. Join in in speaking with one voice that we will not take their bullying lying down.

The system works! Tell lawmakers to leave video game alone.

The system works! Tell lawmakers to leave the video game industry alone.

Join The ECA! Join your fellow gamers and together we will make a difference on this issue. Believe you me, I have three kids of my own and I wish I could protect them from all the evils out there. I just don’t see how video games make someone violent. I grew up playing video game and I would like to think that I am a well-adjusted member of society. I obey the laws, I pay my taxes and I have worked with the LAPD for 12 years. And most gamers would be more in line with my mentality than that of someone willing to hurt others. And I believe that is because there is no real connection between violence and video games. We must stop these lawmakers from placing the blame for these tragedies on video game. Should these lawmakers have their way, I fear for what the future of the video game industry in the US will be, not to mention how they would have gotten away with trampling on our rights. We cannot let that happen. Join today.

About Richard Cardenas


Created in a lab in Tijuana, Mexico, or cloned in a test tube in Torrance, CA, depending on which story you think is a better origin story, Richard is, if such a thing exist, a second generation nerd. The son of a man who loved sci-fi, comic books and horror, and a woman who loved making costumes, reading sci-fi novels and watching cartoons, Richard was exposed to all this and more since a very young age.

4 comments

  1. Erinn_Velez /

    Extremely well said. It’s disgusting, it really is. Kudos for calling them on it. This is the government and their media puppets, using video games as scapegoat for their own shortcomings and irresponsibility to its citizens and the law. They’re little better than gossip columns and rag mags these days, with their lack of fact checking.

    If anything, I would imagine that video games have prevented many individuals from snapping to a point of violence by giving them release and an outlet for stress that harms no one. I personally turn to video games when I need to unwind.

    I don’t understand how they can waste their time trying to blame the video game industry for media influence that isn’t there, when the effects of advertising, a very real and dangerous media influence, continue to be ignored. As usual, the government body is looking in the wrong direction.

    • They want someone, something to blame. After Columbine it was music and movies, now they turn to video games. They couldn’t do a damn thing then because there was no link and the same will be proven with games. 

      Even as far back as the 50s and 60s, the government wanted someone to blame for the ills of youth. Anyone remember how effective the Comics Code Authority was at stopping youth transgressions? That’s right, it didn’t!

  2. Isw42 /

    I just joined the ECA. 

    • Awesome. The ECA has some great links and starters on how to write to your local officials to show them that video games are not the culprit here. Way to stand up for your rights as a gamer.

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