Monday, March 17, 2008

Banning Video Games in Boston?

There's been a lot of controversial discussion here in Massachusetts - Boston Mayor Menino wants to ban retailers from selling violent video games to people under the age of 18. In an article today describing Menino's proposal, the Boston Herald published a list of some of the most violent games along with brief descriptions:

NARC - Player takes the role of a narcotics agent attempting to take a dangerous drug off the streets and shut down the KRAK cartel while being subject to temptations, including drugs and money. To enhance abilities, players can take drugs, including pot, Quaaludes, ecstasy, LSD and “Liquid Soul” which provides the ability to kick enemies’ heads off.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Player is a young man working with gangs to gain respect. His mission includes murder, theft, and destruction on every imaginable level. Player recovers his health by visiting prostitutes, then recovers funds by beating the prostitutes to death and taking their money. Player can wreak as much havoc as he likes without progressing through the game’s storyline.

Condemned - A creepy first-person shooter where gamers are on the trail of a serial killer. It features ferocious hand-to-hand combat scenes where gamers use an array of blunt objects such as metal pipes, nail-covered 2-by-4s, fire axes, sledgehammers and signposts to elimate a host of deranged enemies.

Resident Evil 4 - The gamer is a special forces agent sent to recover the president’s kidnapped daughter. During the first minutes of play, it’s possible to find the corpse of a woman pinned to a wall by a pitchfork through her face.

50 Cent: Bulletproof - The game is loosely based on the gangster lifestyle of rapper Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson. Player engages in gangster shootouts and loots the bodies of victims to buy new 50 Cent recordings and music videos.

A second Boston Herald article describes how gamers are claiming Menino’s proposal is unconstitutional, citing nine federal court decisions that have rejected similar bids in recent years. Editor of and blogger for the Entertainment Consumers’ Association Dennis McCauley, is also quoted in the second Herald article:

We don’t believe that a 10-year-old should be playing Grand Theft Auto, but it really is the parent’s responsibility to decide what the child should and shouldn’t play.

These are certainly games any parent would not want their young children playing.

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