NY Pols Reach Agreement on Game Bill; Passage Delayed Until July

June 22, 2007 -

Details are few at this point as New York State legislators worked late last night to wrap up the current session.

As expected, the Senate and Assembly reached agreement on video game legislation. However, time ran out before the measure could be passed in both houses. Legislators expect to formally pass the bill when they return in July. At that point the video game bill will go to Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

WXXA-DT/TV (Albany) reports:

Republican Senator Andrew Lanza (left) who represents Staten Island describes the type of video games his legislation is trying to label for parents:  "Games that, for instance, reward you for shooting and murdering New York City police officers."

[Senate Minority Leader James] Tedisco says, "Nobody walks up to me on the streets and says, 'Because there's violent video games, I'm leaving the state of New York.'  They say, 'I'm leaving the state of New York because I can't afford to live here.'"

Meanwhile, Lower Hudson Online has this:

Two agreements were announced yesterday.

One would place limits on who can see violent video games. It would make it a felony to sell violent and obscene video games to minors. In addition, manufacturers would have to equip game consoles with parental-control devices, retailers would have to label games that are violent and obscene, and the state would establish a committee to study the problem.

"We were all always on the same page in protecting children. We just had to come up with ways to compromise," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, co-chairman of the joint conference committee.

GP: Based on an inaccurate news account, we originally listed this bill as passed. In checking with Sen. Lanza's office, we learned that it has been agreed upon but not yet officially passed.



Manufacturers already include parental controls.

I know, because I'm a game tester and we have to check every game to make sure the rating syncs correctly with the level allowed on the console.

The GameCube, PS2, Xbox, Wii, PS3 and Xbox360 all have parental controls built in already (but only for the North America units).

PS2, PS3, Xbox, and Xbox360 also have parental controls for movies, as these consoles play DVDs.

I think it's pretty ridiculous they are trying to pass a law like this. The game industry already does everything in the bill, and then some.

Consoles already have parental controls; video games already include ratings on the box, and more in-depth ratings can be found at the ESRB website; stores already do not permit anyone under 18 to buy an M rated game.

I went to GameStop with a friend of mine to get 'Zone of the Enders'. It's a somewhat older PS2 title where you are a giant robot fighting other giant robots in space. There's no blood, no sex, just fighting robots, and it still got an 'M' rating. I went to pay for it and they asked for my ID. I'm 24 and I shop there all the time, but they still needed my ID. Then they wanted my friend's ID. I explained that he's a year older than me, and that it didn't matter anyway, because I was buying the game, and the bastard simply would not sell me the game.

I don't know why anyone needs a bill when you've already got the whole industry dancing along to the politician's tune already.

[...] Credit: GamePolitics [...]

Now I just need a reasonably-sized island to begin my liberal utopia.

@ redegvainl

I've had success. My U.S. Congresswoman replied with a personalized response. Now, I'm not saying it was actually her, but it was purely about the issue I wrote to her about, which was a Net Radio bill that would have taxed and essentially bankrupted most small net radio stations. So I take comfort in the fact that my personal thoughts were considered by at least one politician.

Ugh... What a crappy week for the game industry.

“Games that, for instance, reward you for shooting and murdering New York City police officers.”

Eh, what?

They are reffering to GTA. I guess getting a police officer's gun is a reward and cool wanted star that just happens to make the game more difficult(they have it backwards, shooting police in GTA doesn't reward you in any way).

For some reason I can picture 4 or 5 lawyers saddling up horses..


Oh yeah, i forgot that they always get what happens when you kill a cop in GTA the wrong way round.

I'm glad those in power have their priorities straight. I mean who will protect us from ourselves? Isn't their enough crap that needs to be fixed, monitored, or upheld in society that those in office can create laws for common good.

If something as insignificant as video games are these people's top priority what does that say for all the other issues that are happing in their fine state?

I suggest that if they legislate laws such as these that they most show their opportunity cost. "Yes, ma'am we passed the video game law to protect your children from going to Wal-Mart and buying mature games. However, we had to pass up on legislation to further keep pedophiles from school zones and family neighborhoods."

"Legislation that would require warnings on violent video games is also on its way to the governor’s office."

What about, oh I don't know....the BIG FUCKING M ON THE FRONT OF THE GAME THAT SAYS MATURE 17+?! There is your fucking warning! Or how about the back that also tells you what the game contains, like blood and gore, language, etc. Stop bitching at the gaming industry and take responsibility for yourselves as parents or even just the dick heads you are and get a God damned clue. Assholes!

Also, to quote George Carlin, fuck the children! I'm sick of seeing this same lying bullshit every god damn time. "We are protecting the children." Bullshit! Has nothing to do with the children, because if it did then you need to, as already stated, take responsibility as parents and make sure they don't play the games that you feel with "harm" them in some way. Don't make bullshit laws and/or attempt to ban shit in order to "protect the children", because then you're just pissing on the rights of every single other person for the sake of your own delusional expression of "protection".

"Censorship is telling a man that he can't have a steak simply because a baby can't chew it." -- Mark Twain

Does anyone have a link to the wording of the law in question? Does it require the game to be BOTH violent and obscene or does it bar both violent and obscene video games. If it's the former then well, this law is uesless as laws already exist barring obscene unprotected speech to minors. If it's the latter then it is definetly unconstitutional when it comes to the violence part.

Does it require the game to be BOTH violent and obscene or does it bar both violent and obscene video games.

That second "both" (the one that's not bold shouldn't be in there.

What a worst thing for New York, much worse than zombies invading New York I mean.

"They say, ‘I’m leaving the state of New York because I can’t afford to live here.’”"

Can't afford to live there because of the exhorbitant taxes resulting from the legislature wasting time and funds on blatantly unconstitutional laws. It's a vicious cycle eh?

@Kat Ingersoll:

Twain may have lived well before the digital age, but a hell of a lot of his writings are still accurate.

Ironically, some of Mark Twain's works have come under the censorship hammer in the past.

If you live in New York, expect your taxes to go up.

the only thing in that blurb that doesn't currently exist is the the making the sell a felony. why is it when i listen to politicians i feel my iq drop a few levels. don't these people realize that there are more important things hurting their kids lives then this? you have school systems in shambles, people without health care, over crowded prisons and sentences not fitting the crime, ppl past retirement age re-entering the workforce because social security didnt cover them and people losing jobs and entire life savings because of corporate scandal and crimes. do they think that if they can effectively control what ppl see they can control what they think and how they act? or is it just easier to keep your job without having to do it if you go after things like this? i'm sure new york has plenty of other problems that they could be working on then passing a bill that will most then likely get shot down. if anyone has a link for what the law entails i would like to read it. if all it essentially does is make it illegal to sell a game to minors, they really haven't accomplished anything. who are they going to pin it on? i see them going after mom and pop outfits to try and set precedence because they know the majors could fight them and win with no problem. at most all they'll do is hand out fines like they do to convince stores who sell cigarettes to minors. i don't see them going after the workers themselves, and so it leads me to believe they know it will get shot down and their only trying this to be a scare tactic.

With all of the precedent proving these bills are unconstitutional, I think it's about time the penalties for intentionally ignoring the constitutional rights should be much, much larger. I also think the people of NY should file a class-action against the individuals who passed it as it clearly isn't a legislative process that went on. The ESA alone has enough information readily available for lawmakers that it is clearly negligent on their part.

My question is where the hell is the ESA.

@hidys: "My question is where the hell is the ESA."

Booting up and defragging their lawyers, I would imagine.

Oh, this is going to end badly... we don't know if the new ESA boss has a wait and see attitude towards this.

“Nobody walks up to me on the streets and says, ‘Because there’s violent video games, I’m leaving the state of New York.’ They say, ‘I’m leaving the state of New York because I can’t afford to live here.’”

That quote just wins on epic proportions.

@Terrible Tom(first post):
More like.... What a crappy year for the game industry.

"“We were all always on the same page in protecting children. We just had to come up with ways to compromise,” said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, co-chairman of the joint conference committee."
...and NONE of you thought labeled retailers FELONS was extreme? Good to know my calls/letters/emails got through to you morons.

That whole paragraph jumped out at me. I realize the author is just summarizing the bill, but failing to mention the redundancy (parental controls, labeling, etc) makes the bill actually sound like it's accomplishing something.

On the flip side, this gives another month for the lawyers to find ammo to shoot it down. I'm sure the paperwork was drafted weeks ago.

Given the costs of fighting this in NY I think we are going to see the judgment to recoup costs over a million, perhaps two. You've got first amendment issues on the whole, compelled speech (retailers would have to label games that are violent and obscene and no word if the ESRB ratings would be enough) general equality (just games). Good thing they didn't pass all those other spending bills listed in the link. They wouldn't be able to afford it.

The most disgusting set of words I ever hear out of a politicians mouth is "Protecting the Children." The fine state of New York has NO BUSINESS doing the jobs that parents should be doing ON THEIR OWN. Jerks. -.-

Since when do video games reward you for killing cops?

I assume they're looking at the GTA series, But I know for a fact you do NOT get rewarded for killing cops... Actually I recall that raises your wanted level more than killing some random bystander...Which is technically a punishment.

Last time I checked, having a "high wanted level" in the real world isn't very rewarding...

There is always that excuse (blame it on the video games)
when if the kids were not being tought different that video games are for fun, enjoyment, relaxation there would be a whole different effect. Its not the video games, its the violence around the world. So I guess if I buy an R rated movie and my son watches it thats wrong huh. I guess I shouldn't let my son watch or go to school to learn about history either. Alot of violence is in that.

There is always somewhere to put the blame expect in the right place.

The ignorance of these politicians is astounding. Honestly, I wonder myself how such incompetent idiots get support for such bills when there is clearly a precedent of failure for such bills. Not to mention, half of the bill is irrelevant and redundant, as they are calling for things that are currently standards in the videogame industry(Ratings/Parental Controls, ect.). The other half is just idiotic. How can it be a felony to sell a violent video-game to a minor, meanwhile selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors don't even hold such harsh consequences? I suppose the only way these politicians get elected is to promise diversion based BS such as "protecting children". It's all about image to them, never about solving the real problems. It's quite sad that the prospect of gaining more votes by portraying a false image outweighs confronting the real problems.

I want to make a game where all you do is kill children and cops, and the final mission/battle is to assassinate the President.

It's called free-speech. If you don't like it, don't play it. Just like movies, tv, music, etc.

I also love how these politicians are attempting to regulate a medium that they clearly don't understand. I'm willing to bet money on the fact that these people never actually played the games that they attack. In fact, you don't get a "reward" for killing NYC cops in the GTA games. If anything, the game punishes for you by raising the difficulty. In order to in any way reasonably regulate an industry, you should at least retain some sort of comprehension of it. I live in NY, so this really hits close to home. I usually hear of such bills being introduced in Louisiana and other far away states. I never really considered that my own state was as blind and ignorant, but I suppose I've been proven wrong. It's really going to suck when this bill inevitably gets shot down and the taxpayers are left with a debt that should have never existed in the first place.

LOL, Require consoles to come with parental controls. I've had that since PS2 of course but are they requiring it on handhelds at well?

@Law of the Game

"§ 120.01 Reckless assault of a child by a child day care provider.
§ 120.03 Vehicular assault in the second degree.
§ 120.30 Promoting a suicide attempt.
§ 125.10 Criminally negligent homicide.
§ 125.40 Abortion in the second degree.
§ 130.25 Rape in the third degree. ("Statutory Rape")
§ 130.40 Criminal sexual act in the third degree.
§ 135.10 Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree.
§ 150.05 Arson in the fourth degree.
§ 230.05 Patronizing a prostitute in the second degree. (A person over 18 patronizes a prostitute who is under 14.)
§ 176.15 Insurance fraud in the fourth degree."

All of these are the equivalent of selling a violent game to a minor? :Q

I wasn't aware that it was as bad as arson and rape.

Wait a sec, I hate legislature that limits myself because of irresponsible parents just as the next gamer, but I have to ask this, Has anybody here actually gone to the government to defend their rights instead of just bitching about it here or in other posts/forums? I think we as a people have to unite to actually defend our fucking selves. Whos with me, my email is nighthawk3729@gmail.com for anyone who wants dtand up for them selves and take their thumbs out of their ass's.
-Kevin C.

Ignoring the fact the obscene game are covered by existing obsecenity law and it is unconstitutional to restrict games based on violence, a class E Felony? What the hell?

What happened to the days when "parental control" meant your parents telling you not to do something, and then keeping an eye on things to make sure you didn't?

I'm curious as to what James Tedisco's view is. From the quote of his, it seems like he might have thought that the Senate was wasting time on video games, and should have been focused on other issues. Hard to say for sure though, but that seems to be what he was driving at.

So does he oppose the law? Or does he actually think it's a good thing, just not something they should spend time on right now?

Hmmmm....so Movies which after portray exceptional violence and nudity as well as some very dangerous stunts is less dangerous to our kids than videogames? Most kids can tell you the difference between pretend and real...and thats fairly easy to do with a videogame...however in the theater, actuall people apear to be doing the dangerous things and commiting extreme violence...Yet a child going into an R rated movie is a misdemeanor at most...how do videogames receive a felony penalty in light of this? I can help but wonder which lobiest is behind this move.

Actually, in the US, I don't think a child going to a R-rated movie in the theatre is even a misdemeanor. It could probably cost someone their job, but that's because of the theatre's own policies, not because the US government says so.

Offtopic, I know, but I love how there's that incredible bias in this country. Violence is okay as long as it's not too nasty, but a nipple gets a game AO. What is wrong with this picture?

[...] Deals elude governor, lawmakers [Lower Hudson Online, via Game Politics] [...]

[...] Though two pieces of video game legislation passed in New York — one in the Senate and one in the Assembly — a compromise was not reached in time for a vote before the current session ended yesterday, reports Game Politics. The compromise was reached, however, and a unified bill is expected to pass when the legislature reconvenes in July. [...]

//Offtopic, I know, but I love how there’s that incredible bias in this country. Violence is okay as long as it’s not too nasty, but a nipple gets a game AO. What is wrong with this picture? //

Not true. God of War wasn't rated AO, and there were plenty of boobies.

I just wanted to make a quick comment about my home state here. I'm sorry if I'm saying anything anyone else already said, but I didn't have time to go through the comments today.

So yeah, I live in New York and I've been following this issue and writing my state representatives. Did anyone else here see anything about the other bills proposed in the NY Assembly? There were two that would keep retailers from displaying violent games where minors would see them. So if they want to display them, they'll have to have a separate area off limits to minors, or just not let minors in the store. And then another bill would require retailers to keep game copies present and playable for "authorities" (which from what I could tell, were unspecified) to play as spot checks.

I'm just becoming more and more floored here. This state is so screwy some times. It's like living in a place where everyone has senile dementia and is struggling to understand a changing world. They try to understand, fail, and then act on things anyway. I seriously think I'm starting my own country somehow. Kind of like the guy with the abandoned oil platform in international waters. Anyone know how he went about all of that?

I merely wish to say that no one should be surprised by the politicians tactics. They have always been doing this and always will. They don't care about you or your freedoms. They only care about their precious fucking money and their votes, that's it. They don't want to solve the real problems because that's not what the rich and powerful want. It wouldn't benefit them. Do you all honestly believe that they will EVER fix the education system? NO. As for NY making this ridiculous law, big surprise. Lets not forget who is in charge of that state.
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