Michigan on track to pass laws restricting video game sales.

The folks over at the GamePolitics blog have an entry up on a couple of bills here in Michigan that would criminalize the sale of Mature rated video games to minors under the age of 17 which appear likely to pass:

Hal Halpin, president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) contacted GamePolitics late yesterday with an update on the pending video game legislation in Michigan.

Hal advises that a pair of bills under consideration by the Michigan House of Representatives were overwhelmingly passed yesterday. SB 416 and 464 will now be returned to the Michigan Senate for concurrence with the House version. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the bills earlier this year.

Both the IEMA and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) lobbied against the measures without success. State Representative Leon Drolet (R-Clinton) was one of only three legislators who voted against the bills. Drolet (seen at upper left) additionally read his objections and explanation into the House record.

A pair of House bills, HB 4702 and 4703 were also sent to the desk of Governor Jennifer Granholm.

It seems likely that Michigan will adopt its own video game legislation very soon, joining Illinois as the only two states with game sales restrictions empowered with the force of law.

Wow, a Republican here in my own state that I actually agree with.

Anyway, one of the two bills is actually an amendment to Senate Bill No. 416 which deals with allowing minors to be exposed to sexually explicit material. The amendment adds “Ultra Violent Video Games” as a punishable offense. It doesn’t bother to state what the standards for an ultra violent video game happens to be, but it potentially means that I could be prosecuted if I decide to allow my 15 year old daughter to play Grand Theft Auto. Hell, for that matter, I could be charged just for letting her see the game at all. Yep, it’s not just about selling the games to minors, but allowing them to be exposed to them.

Update: Looking at the bills further it turns out that they do define ultra violent video games as follows “aggressive acts of real or simulated realistic graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings, including actions causing death, inflicting cruelty, dismemberment, decapitation, maiming, disfigurement, or other mutilation of body parts, murder, criminal sexual conduct, or torture in a manner that is especially heinous or atrocious.” Also it appears that the penalties for facilitating a minor acquiring these materials only applies if you’re not the legal parent or guardian, though I’m not entirely positive on that point as it seems to contradict parts of the other bill. I wonder how long it’ll be before we see lawsuits where one set of parents sues another because little Johnie’s best friend let him play GTA?

6 thoughts on “Michigan on track to pass laws restricting video game sales.

  1. What stupid reasoning made the senate overwhelmingly pass this bill? I mean, come on. What is the worst a game has ever been? There are no games I can think of that are realistic enough to qualify under this law. Not to mention do they really think they will stop kids playing these games? And if they do that why are kids allowed to watch “R” rated movies with their parents consent. A movie with lots of gruesom scenes is FAR more realistic than any game now adays.

    Cheers BunBun

  2. What stupid reasoning made the senate overwhelmingly pass this bill? I mean, come on. What is the worst a game has ever been? There are no games I can think of that are realistic enough to qualify under this law. Not to mention do they really think they will stop kids playing these games? And if they do that why are kids allowed to watch “R

  3. Yesterday, I was playing “Tony Hawk” with my child, and one of my skateboarders did a spectacular splat, landing on his head and leaving a blood splatter on the ramp, before he got up and went back to skating.

    Clearly an act

    of…simulated realistic graphic depictions of physical injuries…against parties who realistically appear to be human beings

    Is this the sort of thing they meant to protect us from? Who cares! It’s what they said.

    A few other illegal games include:
    The Sims, in which people burn up.
    Prince of Persia in which people fall on swords and get cut in half.

    Now in fact, I am very careful about allowing my child to play The Sims to do much but design houses, and haven’t let her play Prince of Persia at all, but I’m not sure that somebody should go to jail and/or pay fines for giving them the opportunity.

  4. It is a game. I mean, really. If the government is worried about violence then why are they not preventing the showing of bloody movies. They are generally far worse than a game because a movie can actually look real. Games are limited to their rather pixilated bit maps. And what do they think they are preventing? The kids who play violent games are gonna become murderers? Well, what ever they say.

    Cheers BunBun

  5. Games are limited to their rather pixilated bit maps.

    This is changing day by day, until we will have games will all the realism of reality in 5-15 years at the latest (visual and audio only, so far, its true).

    Also, in a game YOU are the acting person. I do believe there is a distinction because YOU are involved – you decide to shoot/kill etc… someone else. And I do believe that games have a lot more potential to adversely affect someone than movies.

    So, even if once again I seem to be the only one here, I don’t see this as a shadow fight. It may not be as real as Iraq, or the US budget, or the woeful state of US emergency and health services. But it is a valid issue.

  6. Thank god I’m almost 18.

    Whenever I beat down a cop, steal a car, or run over a prostitue in Grand Theft Auto, I do not feel any remores at all, but I almost cry at the glance of hurricane, terrorist, and civil attacks daily on CNN.

    Look at Cartoons in the old days… I’m pretty sure that Coyote should be dead by now.

    Also, if we couldnt sit here watching violence on tv and movies, or sitting for hours on the couch playing video games, we would be in gangs (just kidding of course)

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