Michigan now has a law that makes it illegal to rent or sell Mature and Adults Only rated games to minors. Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed the law yesterday and it takes effect on December 1st.
“Making sure that our children are protected is an essential function of government,” Granholm said. “This new common-sense law is one more tool we can provide to help parents protect their children from the effects of violence and graphic adult content.”
Except that it won’t likely make much difference seeing as the majority of these games are purchased for children by their parents. It will be interesting to see how many parents suing other parents we get when little Timmy ends up being able to play GTA over at little Bobby’s house as the bills I’d seen proposed weren’t limited to retailers. The bills signed today were the two House bills while the two Senate bills look likely to be passed in the coming weeks.
“The graphic nature and wide availability of these games should disturb all of us, whether or not we are parents,” Granholm said. “I am proud to sign legislation that will protect children from this kind of content.”
None of this legislation will make up for bad parenting. Without parents being more involved in what their kids are consuming and who they’re hanging out with it won’t make a damn bit of difference whether or not they can legally buy mature rated games.
Interestingly enough a couple of weeks back I was at Best Buy with my daughter so she could buy a copy of Dungeon Siege 2 with her birthday money. I didn’t realize it at the time, but apparently DS2 is rated Mature due to “blood and gore violence” which I find to be pretty amusing as it’s nothing compared to many, many other mature rated games out there. There’s certainly no more violence, gore and bloodshed in this game than there was in the Lord of the Rings movies and those only got PG-13 ratings.
Anyway, Courtney’s 15 and the girl at the cash register required that she show some form of valid ID. Courtney does have a State ID card which she showed, though she was very confused because she’d never been carded in order to buy a video game before. The girl at the register looked at the card and then looked at me and I nodded and said, “Don’t worry, I’m her Dad and she has my OK to buy the game.” Still the girl wasn’t sure if she should allow Courtney to pay with her own money or make me pay for it myself. This was before the law was signed. I can only imagine the idiocy that’s going to come from it once it goes into effect. Assuming, of course, that they actually try to enforce it. If it’s enforced as well as the laws against cigarette and alcohol sales to minors is then it’ll have no effect at all. It’ll just be another thing the police can “crack down” on every so often when they need to bump up the PR a bit.