Play A Violent Video Game… Go To Jail?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme... dept

We had already mentioned the fact that German politicians seemed to be overreacting to a recent school shooting. There was talk about outlawing violent video games and other activities like paintball. Wired’s Chris Kohler has some more details on the legislation that has actually been proposed and apparently it isn’t just about banning the games, but would potentially send all sorts of people to jail for just about any association with a violent video game — including playing one. The report claims: “developers, retailers and players of videos featuring ‘cruel violence’ could face up to a year in jail.” Players? Can you just imagine that opening conversation between cellmates when someone explains that he’s been thrown in jail for playing Grand Theft Auto rather than committing grand theft auto?

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Comments on “Play A Violent Video Game… Go To Jail?”

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Sanguine Dream says:


Making it a crime to play, develop, and/or selling parts and services pertaining to violent games and other activities?

First question: What definition of violent is used in the wording of this proposal.

After seeing all the patent/trademark/copyright nonsense in the last few years we all know that wording is very crucial these days.

The infamous Joe says:

Mein Kampf

The best way to make something really popular is to outlaw it.

Plus, right now, those who make these games have to keep in within the bounds of whatever rating they’re aiming for (Your mom is rated E for everyone! Ha!) but if you make it flat out illegal, people will still make/sell/play these games, except they’ll have no rules to go by, no limits or ratings to stay within– I predict if this law passes, some of the most violent and gruesome video games ever will spring forth from Germany.

Just an idea.

Philip says:

I can imagin the conversations...

dude1: “So, what are you in for?”
dude2: “Grand theft auto”
dude1: “Oh yeah? What’d you steal”
dude2: “A corvette, then blew it up. Porsche, but trashed that into a building. But I think they got a bit pissed when I took a tank down main street running over all the cops and blasting the buildings.”
dude 1: “…”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hrmmmm

Yeah, I would. Because the entire purpose of a game rating system is to let people know what the content of the game is. People have made horrible games like that before. They just generally don’t do well because they’re terribly made because there’s no money because there’s no market.

Video games are a self regulating industry – people won’t buy lots of a crappy game that they don’t want to play.

Politicians are just mad because people want to play games they don’t approve of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hrmmmm

Nay, politicians are merely responding to the opportunity presented to pander to the electorate’s craving variously to stop people from being turned into criminals which prey on their children (sane, even if unforgivably authoritarian and in this case specious), and to persecute people they dont like by banning activities they dont see any value in or find somewhat disgusting anyway (such as they might do to gays)

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Hrmmmm

Ah, my bumbling old friend, you are getting close to the only correct answer to this overzealous reaction by our german friends.

It is not for the government to decide, but instead the parents should regulate what their kids are doing. These kids aren’t going out and buying these games, their parents are. I doubt some mom is going to buy her impressional, clay-like son “Please not again, Daddy 3” (not to mention I can’t imagine that ever maing it past any corporate office thinktank) but if someone did buy it for their kid, who’s to blame? The person who made it, to make money (presuably) or the person who BUYS it? (for the afforementioned claylike child, no less)

So, to answer your question, sir or ma’am: Yes, I feel the same way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hrmmmm

Yes, parents are frequently ignorant to what their kids are doing but I don’t know that they always buy the “M” rated games for their kids. It’s been my observation that kids buy those games for themselves all the time with no hassle or ID’s requested. Do you think all teenagers who smoke get their parents to buy their cigarettes, too? Please…

Anyone who profits from society has an obligation to not contribute to it’s decline. I’m not sure the developers of say, GTA, can live up to that but either way, THEY are responsible for what they create and sell AHEAD of lazy parents and impressionable and apparently rather soft-headed kids/teens

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: Hrmmmm

I had to stop and think about it for a moment but in the end yes I would feel the same. Playing a pedophile RPG didn’t make the middle aged man/lady down the street molest those kids, they already had it (and some horrible thoughts) in mind. But rest assured the if something like that came about in the US the politicians would walk barefoot through hell to get on the “protect the children” wagon that would result.

"cruel and violent" video game player says:


Bottom line is it’s not the game’s fault. If some guy went out one day, stole seven cars, killed 42 people and in short raised hell on earth it wouldn’t be because he did it in a game first and thats where he got the idea. No, people that do these things (granted I exaggerated, but you get the point) already had some plan formed, otherwise they wouldn’t have bought the game, right? I agree, I don’t want some rape and murder fantasizing, crazed guy living next to me either, but games don’t turn you into to that. I’ve played GTA and games like it, and I know first hand that high speed pursuits and “raising hell on earth” isn’t part of the game’s story line. If you want to then great, but GTA is an open-environment game (meaning: you’re here, here’s the city, do whatever you want, when you’re done messing around you can find the main game missions here) and unless you want to go on a killing rampage the game won’t make you. In comparison to Please, not again Daddy 3 or a pedophile RPG where that kind of weird stuff is the core of the game.

So here’s my point. Games are what you make of them. Games do not make a person act of feel differently. I think people blame video games for acting a certain way because, I guess, they feel that if they blame the game they’ll get off the hook for the 103 people they killed.

Playing GTA is harsh and not a way to end school violence and the like.

And GTA is not banned in America.

The infamous Joe says:

Picture of a picture?

Well, let’s look at it another way, then. Let’s say they decide what is considered a ‘violent’ game– and this silly law passes, and all violent games are gone.

What about violent movies? Yeah, they’re more ‘realistic’ because they usually use real, flesh and blood people. Movies are gone too.

Oh, a book can be pretty violent, and descriptive enough to make the reader actually IMAGINE the violent things. Yep, books are out.

Well, after scrubbing the violent reminders out of our lives, all that’s left are the violent people who think these things up, then act on them. We should just shoot all the people who have commited a violent crime.

Wait! But now we have just had someone kill the violent people! Who’s gonna get rid of them? And those people? And those?

In times of peace (assuming they exist), maybe all the people all the nations have *trained* to kill should be wiped out. Thanks for defending our rights, but you’ve done violent things, we have to eliminate you.

Ya get my beating-a-dead-horse point yet? Just removing reminders of violence won’t prevent violence.

Yeah, we don’t need more rules and regulations– we need a refresher course on values.

Raider says:

Facts vs. Politics

In fact, there’s no absolute proof that violent and antisocial media actually cause anyone to do anything. There’s lots of debate about it, but so far no proof – not even in our own US court system, which has systematically thrown out the arguments made by researchers that prove nothing.

On the other hand, politicians care nothing for facts or real research. If it hits the fear button hard enough, they are all over it. So it goes. Pootaweet.

Bioman says:

Re: Failure to learn from history.

What failure!? It has nothing to do with the German history. Consequently, their intention is not to distract from it. The prohibition of these games is rather a German-internal matter. They just want to distract from the real social problems in our country, such as, they do not want to spend more money on new teacher jobs and step-back from employing school-psychologists. The recent school shooting could have been averted if someone listened to this poor guy (who comitted sucide).

Politicians want to to be reelected. So they try to score with these popular issues. Here they esspecially try to win over the older generation which did not grow up with computer games.

Another point: The two politicians who are pushing that “killer-games-prohibition–law” forward, are both members of gun clubs. So I ask: Would you want your freetime-activity to be forbidden? I guess. no! So it seems that they are working for their very own lobby and, again, try to distract from the real problems.

just my thoughts on this

Paynesmanor says:

none needed.

People need to realize that banning “cruel violence” in video games is not the answer. In a way I hope they do ban those types of video games just so people will see that it’s not the video games making people act them out, No matter how violent the games are, they in no way make people act them out… There is a deeper problem with society thats causing people to seek revenge, against those that have caused them hardships. Useually its out of frustration of not having control of a situtation. The games are just pandoras box of ideas. So stop blaiming them for making people act them out..

If the games in some way made people act them out there would probably be some epidemic of people jumping on turtle shells, bashing dragons, or even worse having a sword fight with there friends and someone with a deep voice saying “FINISH HIM”? as one of them tosses the other in the air and shiskabobs them with there sword….. Duh people get it together,,,,,,,,,, I know lets make a law banning stupid people from being able to make pollitical laws..

Anonymous Coward says:

Take this issue from a broader perspective. What we are witnessing is an entropy of law; so many laws get passed that every aspect of your life becomes the subject of regulation and as a result it becomes meaningless whether or not you are in compliance. Do we really think that our Western governments are competent enough to set out bureaucracies large and efficient to the degree needed to actually carry out the laws that are put on the books every day?

We are talking about hundreds of thousands of new statutes, rules, regulations, codes, laws that are added every month and every year. It is really a pathetic attempt by the public sector to remain relevant in a world that is far too complex and too sophisticated to be governed and in reality, always has been, that is why you get the periodic fear mongering (Greenhouse gasses! trans fats! botulism!) and violent shows of force to reinforce the illusion of control.

In reality, society exist due to the millions of calculations done every moment of every day in what we call trade and the price mechanism. Unfortunately for the public sector, it is impossible to duplicate or substitute this with any alternatives that don’t cause massive poverty, pain, suffering and the destruction of the bonds of society. The public sector only has the blunt force of coercion to achieve its ends, but no means to contribute (one example of where nearly everyone assumes the public sector contributes, but they have in fact made much worse

Don’t let these idiots scare you. I game and mod with Germans on a daily basis who play a game (Quake) that was banned in Germany in 1996. My friends scoff at these lawmongers.

Nuisance law makers should be banned because there is really only a small set of laws that are useful to maintain a society, and they were well defined by Blackwell over two hundred years ago.

misanthropic humanist says:

Re: Re: Bioman

“Do not mix up past and present…”

That’s exactly the point you are so ironically missing.

If anything the Germans should be playing “Concentration Camp Commader III” and suchlike to constantly remind them of the horrors of their past.

Similarly, how many American games revolve around the basic premise of killing swarthy Arabs who talk in comedy terroist voices? Isn’t that just embarrasing? I think it is. When I’ve played gung-ho American “counterterroist” games my pants are wet rolling around laughing at the naivity and sillyness of it all.

You see, if a games company from the Middle East released a decent FPS where the goal was to kill as many Americans as possible it would be banned in the USA as “promoting terrorism” or some nonsense, even though it would be a best seller in Europe.

The point is that the people who want to “ban” these thigs are so hopelessly out of touch of with current reality they can’t see the contradictions and moral absurdities that come with the whole thing.

People play violent or sexual games for the same reason they read crime novels and pornography, because usually they are hard working normal people who want a bit of fantastical relief from the drudgery of their lives. The real serial killers and rapists are too busy out there doing it to waste time playing games.

Pretending these human drives don’t exist, living in denial and trying to erase history because it’s not politically correct to a load of loony lefty (or raving rightwing) nutters is not a sensible course.

Can you imagine a future where the American flag is banned as an image because of “the horrors and warcrimes of the early 21st Century Bush regime”?

Gutteral emotions make smart people say stupid and contradictory things. How many Jewish people do you imagine would answer that they think “Concentration Camp Commader” is a sick game that should be banned, while at the same time asserting that Holocaust denial should be a crime? Both these positions can’t be defended with integrity. In the same way, those who are most shrill calling for violent shooting games to be banned in America are probably the most vocal in calling for conscription of the youth to go and die behind a rock in Iraq.

Bioman says:

Re: Re: Re: to

Well, I guess, you got my point wrong or at least I put myself not clear enough 🙂

I totally agree with your post.

My thoughts are:
I for myself appreciate the gift of free speech and free expression, which also includes my own concious decision whether I want to play a “problematic” game, or not. If the law says I’m adult, I want to take that decision for *myself*.
I’ve been playing killer-games since I’m 12 years old and I don’t think that I’m a danger for my society. In fact, the problem of amok-runs is multi-causal and cannot be directly related to computer games.
Even though, in these days, politicians are trying to benfit from a hysteria which is being proliferated by themselves.

“Don’t mix up past and present”:
By this statement, I originally tried to avoid a discussion about German politicians “who simply want to distract from crimes on humanity comitted during WW2”.

I might remind you of Post No. 3:

“The Germans look to be doing just about ANYTHING they can do, to distance themselves from their Nazi history.”

Sorry, but this is complete bullshit. I’m German and the overwhelming majority of my peoples definitely does NOT want to distance themselves from what has happened in WW2. I guess, we have pretty much done everything to think and reflect on our past. Other countries, such as Turkey (and the genocide on the Armenians during WW1) still don’t want to face their past. I guess, we have a more elaborate way of dealing with it than constantly playing “Concentration Camp Commander III”.
I’m from a post-WW2 generation and I’m personally not feeling “guilty” for anything – why should I? Instead, I can reflect on it, learn from it and create a better world (I’m serious). Moreover, it is very difficult for a young individual in Germany to avoid a confrontation with our history. At school, on television etc., we are being constantly reminded of our past. And that is good and it should last “forever”.

I just want to put clear, that it is simply ridiculous to bring up “Nazi-associations” everytime Germans/Germany are/is involved in a discussion. We are aware of our historic responsibility and do not need to be bantered about these stupid stereotypes.

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