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Stephen King makes a stand

1 min read

By Nick de Bruyne

imageIt’s really great to hear that there are some celebrities in the world willing to stand up for gaming and the controversy that consistently surrounds it.

World famous horror writer Stephen King, who is by no means a stranger to the subject of controversy, has taken a stand this week on the legislations with an article that he wrote for Entertainment Weekly. His article attacks HB 1423, a pending bill that would restrict or outright ban the sale of violent videogames to anyone under the age of 18.

If this is passed, the ratings will no longer work as a guideline for parents, but actually seek to enforce restrictions on gamers who are under the age rating. In his article he writes:

“…Now, what does and doesn’t have social merit is always an interesting question. But what makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous.”

“…The most effective bar against what was called ‘the seduction of the innocent’ when this hot-button issue centered on violent comic books 60 years ago is still parents who know and care not just about what their kids are watching and reading, but what they’re doing and who they’re hanging with. Parents need to have the guts to forbid material they find objectionable… and then explain why it’s being forbidden. They also need to monitor their children’s lives in the pop culture ?which means a lot more than seeing what games they’re renting down the street.

“…Could Massachusetts legislators find better ways to watch out for the kiddies? Man, I sure hope so, because there’s a lot more to America’s culture of violence than Resident Evil 4.”

The truth is that parents are getting lazy. By pointing the finger at everyone else, they are able to happily ignore their responsibilities and let somebody else take the fall. I’d really like to see more campaigns that seek to inform and educate parents on what is appropriate for their children and where they need to draw the line.

Last Updated: April 9, 2008


  1. Milesh Bhana ZA

    April 9, 2008 at 10:04

    I understand the state wanting to take a stand. Yes it’s the parent’s fault, and 99% percent of the time games can’t be blamed, but it’s always these really high profile crimes that get linked to games.

    Kids shooting in schools and stuff. It’s easy to say “It’s the parents fault” let them deal with it. But at the end of the day there are 20 other dead kids as a result of that. They want to prevent that sorta thing from happening, but there are no laws dictating who can and can’t have kids. Any idiot can have kids and relying on stupid parents to prevent such things from happening isn’t always possible.

    Policing games is not the answer, but i do understand why the state feels they need to intervene somewhere.


  2. koldFU5iON

    April 9, 2008 at 10:13

    I think the idea is to make game harder to obtain for younger youths… much like the way they control alcohol being served to minors.

    It’s kinda of extreme but seems to be needed and a “better” way to control the system..

    little johnny: “I’ll take Condemned 2 please! I just love all the blood and gore”
    shop attendant: “ID please!”

    Chances are little johnny has a fake id.


  3. SlippyMadFrog

    April 9, 2008 at 10:24

    I realy don’t know why Stephen King is opposing this bill. I think it will be great if kids can’t buy violent video games. I know its the parents responsibility to educate their kids but extra help won’t hurt. All that I’m afraid of is that this will have a negative impact on adults like stores stop stocking violent video games and so fourth.
    There will always be kids that sidestep this new law but at least it will help.


  4. Abe

    April 9, 2008 at 10:34

    I dont see the problems with these laws. They are not made to take the fun out of the kids lives. Its the same with movies, movies are given ratings so that youth can be protected from material that they might not be mature enough for, why should it not be the same for video games?


  5. Milesh Bhana ZA

    April 9, 2008 at 10:38

    abe, the thing is, lots of us played Doom, Quake, UT, Leisuresuit Larry growing up. There’s soem sex and violence and stuff. And we all turned out fine (i think).

    So i say it’s fine that they have ratings and enforce them.

    What’s not fine is saying you must be 18 to play Gears of War and COD4.


  6. SlippyMadFrog

    April 9, 2008 at 11:12

    [re=11017]Milesh Bhana ZA[/re]:
    With this law it’s the parents choice if kids can play GeOW or COD4, not the kids, which I agree with. If you think there is nothing wrong with these games, go buy it for your kid. If you think these games will impact kids negatively, then the law will help you enforce your point of view.

    Personally I think video games have no negative psychological effects on kids since I also grew up in the Doom, Wolfenstein, Larry era. Personaly, I wouldn’t want my kid to play Saints Row because the language in that game is FOUL! I’m afraid he might think its cool and start swearing as well. On the other hand he can pick up swearing from movies too.

    Anywho, I’m for the bill


  7. doobiwan

    April 9, 2008 at 11:22

    I don’t have an issue with a state enforcing sale restriction laws, like tabacco, but not censorship.

    Otherwise I’m in agreement with Slippy. Violence, even sex in games is something that I don’t particularly worry about in games, but games that glorify criminal activity and anti-social behaviour are definitely out.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..’08 exclusives, the other side.


  8. Ognipode

    April 9, 2008 at 11:29

    Everyone is different, take Live for instance, there are some very decent sixteen year olds that I have played with before, that are mature and respectful, but at the same time that are a chunck of years older and they behave like immature little sh*ts.

    I believe that the system should be in place for parents to decide whether or not their child is mature enough to handle the content of the game.

    As Milesh said earlier, we all turned out pretty decent, unless any of us are posting to the site from a laptop that they hide under their prison cell bed. If I think of the experiences that I would have missed out as a young gamer (Duke Nukem, Mortal Kombat, Diablo, Doom), it would be sad as they are the games that really started to get me into gaming and I was mature enough to handle them.

    As much as I am against the bill, I am all for parents making decisions on whether or not their child can handle the games content.


  9. Lupus

    April 9, 2008 at 13:49

    Just make the shops realize the ESRB rating is there for a reason.


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