Why you should sign The Gamer Petition

We here at Bethesda have some experience with fighting Terminators. Now the Terminator is back, Bennett, and he doesn’t want your clothes, your boots or your motorcycle — he wants your video games.

In November, the Supreme Court will hear Schwarzenegger v. EMA, an important case you may have heard something about. The state of California will argue in support of legislation that would make it illegal to sell violent games to minors there. Think that has nothing to do with you? Wrong! Here’s what’s got the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) so spooked:

Agreeing [with the EMA] would mean that [the Supreme Court justices] believe that video games are, and should continue to be, First Amendment protected speech; just like books, movies and music. The court disagreeing would mean that they think video games should be treated differently. This could lead to new bills and laws curtailing video game access in states across the country.

It’s not just about violent games and minors — it’s about protecting the medium as an art form like any other.

So no more games; do it! Do it now! Come on! Do it! Come on! Consider supporting the EMA by visiting http://www.gamerpetition.org/ and petitioning the Supreme Court. Because while you may not live in Cauliflornia, every gamer could be in a world of hurt if the EMA loses.

Reader Comments

  1. well correct me if im wrong, as a parent i think this is a good thing. when and IF new bills come up that hurt the m rated games that i love, then thats when our voting power should work. i do live in cali.

  2. let me explain more.

    i stand behind the rating system of entertainment. if something is going to be restricted or mature, why not have something in place to prevent my child from obtaining it? as a parent, i can only do so much and most kids will do things behind thier parents back and hide things. in no way am i saying that video games are not an art form. to me thats beside the point. if its not made for a child, then there should be consequences when a retailers sell to children. unless of course you people (as much as i love you bethesda) only care about the money and not where it comes from.

  3. People under 17 already can’t purchase a game that is Mature rated, The only thing this amounts to is the legalization of taking away the rights of the producers of video games, and of those who consume them. It is the job of parents to make sure that if a child has somehow managed to get a hold of a Mature rated game, that they don’t play it, just as it is with any other age restricted product.

  4. @joe

    ‘other age restricted products’? if thats the case then why are there penalties when alcohol or smokes are sold to minors? wouldnt it be the parents fault? and people under the age of 17 can and do buy mature rated games. i see it all the time at stores. thats why some people want this. is it the parents fault if kids use drugs? is it really entirely on the parent? parents can only do so much. a lot of kids can and do whatever the heck they want regardless of what thier parents say. this has nothing to do with the rights of those who make games only with those that sell them. kids are not going to be showing off thier ‘adult’ goods while thier parents are looking. so how are they going to know. theyre either going to put it away when thier parents get home or keep it at a friends house whos parents dont care. while this will limit ‘sales’ to only those that should have the games, the developers can still make whatever game they want.

  5. From what I understand of this, it would be changing the “M” rating from 17+ to 18+, but it could also bump a lot of “T” games up to an “M” rating.

    While this does negatively impact a constitutional right, it isn’t actually unconstitutional. I just think it’s wrong to place these restrictions on video games and not on television programs.

    Loony Tunes would be restricted if it was subject to these regulations.

  6. As far as Im concerned movies and game should have the same restrictions….but then I also live in Australia where all 18+ games are completely banned from everyone, despite 18+ movies being allowed.

    The problem I can see with this is games like Oblivion which is ‘M’ for volience (well that the rating here, dunno what the equivilant is over there) would require an adult to buy it simply because it has volience, even though at the the moment a teenager can buy it buy themselves.

  7. Funny coming from Arnold tbh, since most of his movies has been bloody action flick. Still stuff like this is BS if kids really want stuff like ciggs, (violent videogames *laughs*) etc they will find ways to get em anyway, even if there are restictions. I can just picture myself teens going up do a drunk guy giving him 10 bucks to buy som vodka so he can purchase a video ame for them haha.

  8. I think the whole system is ridiculous there. In the UK, the classification system is currently legally binding, and covers DVDs and games. It is illegal to sell someone under the age of 18 an 18-rated game. The reason the system works is because mainstream retailers still stock 18-rated games and they are enjoyed by adults without a second thought. How many millions of copies did GTA IV and Bioshock sell? Fallout 3 is an 18-rated game here – and I DON’T think it should be played by youngsters. Oblivion, Mass Effect 2 and Half-Life 2 are, fairly, 15-rated – and also enjoyed great popularity.

    What you need there is for ordinary retailers to accept that not every piece of entertainment is suitable for everybody, but that it’s OK. I can walk into my local supermarket and buy the 18-rated Modern Warfare 2 just as easily as I can put the 18-rated Die Hard boxed set in my shopping basket. Obtaining age-classified entertainment should be no stranger or more difficult than picking up a bottle of wine.

  9. Seriously comparing games to alcohol and tobacco. What on earth are you thinking?
    Here in DK we see the age “restrictions” as guidelines and they are not legally binding. We have no problems assosiated to youngsters playing games. It’s not dangeres and they will not get scars on their souls. Stop fussing and focus on real problems.

  10. An M rating by the ESRB is private sector self-regulation like the MPAA for movies. Those exist specifically to prevent the government from stepping in.

    An even worse case scenario is that a legal precedent is set, and that fiction could be legally curtailed by the government, and as a writer I find that unforgivable.

    Aside from which, it is the responsibility of parents to check the ratings on a video game, and of store employees (as a former Gamestop employee, they take the “respect the ratings” mantra very seriously) to ensure no video games are sold to people younger than the rating allows for without parental consent. So asking the government to step in is both insulting as well as bad for constitutional freedom of speech.

    I signed it months ago, and I urge anyone and everyone else to do the same, ASAP.

  11. other age restricted products’? if thats the case then why are there penalties when alcohol or smokes are sold to minors? wouldnt it be the parents fault? and people under the age of 17 can and do buy mature rated games

    Unless your kid intends on melting down that copy of GTA: IV and smoking the toxic fumes I wouldn’t worry about it. Ultimately it’s the parents call with these sorts of things. Now is it their fault if the games get into the children’s hands? No, it’s not. Games should be sold by rating, and they are for a reason.

    As a person who was raised on rated T and M games (Turok: Dinosaur Hunter through Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion on the N64, to Carmageddon 2, to Soldier of Fortune, to DOOM, to GTA3) I have to say that the public reaction to such titles is quite overdone. You will see things much worse than this on the evening news -and that’s real! The only serious effect of such games (on normal children without series social and mental problems, who should be monitored anyways) is desensitization from violence, and it’s not like violence and war is anything new to the world…

    I think the root of these problems are in the parents themselves. They know what they tried to get away with growing up, they know what they DID get away with growing up, and they are horrified that their children (as though they are any different from the parents) might experience what they had. In the eyes of a parent to let your child play a ‘Mature’ rated game is wrong, simply because if the parent isn’t going to oppose it -nobody else will. It’s a matter of responsibility that influences such legal actions. The same is the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger who built his life off of such violent entertainment. Now in a position of professionalism and seriousness he wants to make the public declaration that “Violence in entertainment is wrong”, not because he believes it -but because it’s his responsibility to do that. It’s about public face, about self respect, and about doing what ‘they think’ is right; albeit on a more subconscious level.

    @DanishMIKI: You’re right on.

    I think this announcement is a secret confirmation that Bethesda’s next project is the long awaited SkyNET 2! I can smell it!

  12. I think there needs to be a new rating system altogether in the US. It doesn’t make sense to put Oblivion and something like Gears of War in the same category. Then the govt. could try to regulate it a little better.

  13. The simple fact of the matter is that this country already has too many laws on the books that we can’t enforce and are totally pointless anyway. Also I agree with Joe in that it is not the governments responsibility to protect children from things their parents don’t feel they should see, that is the sole responsibility of the parents. At the request of parents you’ll notice the government has increased censorship, parents need to start excepting responsibility for their own children and the choices they make, not the government. I’m sorry to be so cold about this but parents in this country have gotten lazy about making sure their children don’t do things they’re not supposed to do or they don’t want them to see. It’s time to start taking responsibility for your own children, YOU brought them into this world YOU raise them, it’s not my responsibility or anyone else’s.