Swiss Target Violent Games

March 25, 2010 -

A bit late to the party on this one, but it appears the Swiss are taking aim at violent games and have passed a couple of resolutions that could seriously impact franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.

The Swiss National Council's resolutions, passed a few days ago, are not law yet as the government must determine what constitutes inappropriate amounts of violence. According to Kotaku, the Socialist Party's resolution seeks to "stop the manufacture, advertisement, importation and sale of any game that promotes as a means of advancement or 'success' acts of violence against humans or 'human-like' creatures." The resolution passed 19-12.

The second, by the Christian Democratic Party, wants to restrict the sale of violent shooters to children, and passed 27-1. 

But the article also points out a ray of sunshine:

Before you cry foul, please note that under Swiss law, any petition that can gather over 100,000 signatures must go to a national referendum. So if the government starts banning games willy-nilly, all it would take would be the signatures of 100,000 gamers (or, just as important, 100,000 opponents of government censorship) to have it publicly challenged.

We'll be following this more to see if this censorship makes it through. It would be interesting to see the court challenge if this did become law. 


Comments

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games


Before you cry foul, please note that under Swiss law, any petition that can gather over 100,000 signatures must go to a national referendum. So if the government starts banning games willy-nilly, all it would take would be the signatures of 100,000 gamers (or, just as important, 100,000 opponents of government censorship) to have it publicly challenged.

To Swiss Gamers: What are you waiting for, gamers in Switzerland.  Start signing those petition.  You want to keep playing and defend those title from being ban.  Start signing those petition.  Don't let the government decide which game you can play.  They have no right to control you.  There should be more then 100,000 of you gamers.  DO IT NOW!!!!

Deutsch: Worauf warten Sie denn Spieler in der Schweiz. Start der Unterzeichnung dieser Petition. Sie wollen spielen zu halten und den Titel zu verteidigen entfernt, zu verbieten. Start der Unterzeichnung dieser Petition. Lassen Sie sich nicht die Regierung entscheiden, welches Spiel Sie spielen können. Sie haben kein Recht, Ihnen zu kontrollieren. Es sollte mehr als 100.000 Spieler von euch. DO IT NOW!!

Italiano: Cosa stai aspettando, i giocatori in Svizzera. Start firma quelle petizione. Si vuole continuare a giocare e difendere coloro titolo dal divieto di essere. Start firma quelle petizione. Non lasciare che il governo di decidere quale gioco si può giocare. Non hanno alcun diritto di controllare voi. Non ci dovrebbero essere più di 100.000 di voi giocatori. DO IT NOW!!

Francais: Qu'est-ce que tu attends, les joueurs en Suisse. Commencer les signer la pétition. Vous voulez continuer à jouer et défendre ces Titre de l'interdiction en cours. Commencer les signer la pétition. Ne pas laisser le gouvernement décider quel jeu vous pouvez jouer. Ils n'ont aucun droit de vous contrôler. Il devrait y avoir plus de 100.000 d'entre vous les joueurs. DO IT NOW!!

Reason for the three language, Switzerland speak three languages. German, Italian, and French.  It depend on what region you are in Switzerland, Hence why the three language translations.  Yes I use Google Translate to do this, I'm not fluent in all three language (although I know some).

 

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

So let me get this straight. The Swiss outlawed Return to Castle Wolfenstein? So far for that neutrality claim.

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

I think it's sad that much information concerning this topic from the German speaking world is not availiable in English. For French-speaking readers I strongly recommend this website: http://gamingsince198x.fr/ which is covering many aspects of the "Killerspiel" debate in Germany, and the "Killergames" debate in Switzerland

There is also an article about Malte Lehming, chief of "opinion" from the major German newspaper "Tagesspiegel": http://gamingsince198x.fr/?p=3235

Lehming recently compared violence in gaming (even not video game addiction!) in a very aggressive tone with heroin addiction and the use of needles in the use of this opiate drug. It's also quite usual lately, especially in Switzerland, to compare gaming with child pornography, which points down to the crime of raping children: the Swiss orgainzation "Vereinigung gegen mediale Gewalt" (VGMG) is even stating this comparison on its homepage: http://www.vgmg.ch/artikel_presse/killergames_warum_verbieten.pdf

For example only one translated sentence from this document: "... Like child pornography it won't be totally successful to ban killer games from screens..."

http://www.vgmg.ch/artikel_presse/artik_presse.htm "Die VGMG ist der Meinung, dass der Konsum von grausamer Gewalt in Games ebenso wie jener von Kinderpornographie stark eingeschränkt werden muss. Niemand braucht solche Darstellungen."

Translated text: "The VGMG is of the opinon that the consumption of cruel violence in games has to be heavily limited like the consumption of child pornography. Nobody needs such depictions."

Evi Allemann, mentioned by Kotaku, and Roland Näf are the two most important representatives of the VGMG.

As the source of this "killer games" is often considered to be the US army. Like in this translated article by Renate and "Rudi" Hänsel: "Send Back US-Army Killer Games to Where They Came From" http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=776

Bastian Birke recently published connections between the VGMG, this Swiss publication "Current Concerns" ("Zeit-Fragen" in German, "Horizons et débats" in French, "Discorso libero" in Italian and "Horizontes y Debates" in Spanish http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/links/) and the abandoned psycho group "Verein zur Förderung der psychologischen Menschenkenntnis" (VPM): http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/32/32238/1.html (in German)

There was also an article in the Swiss newspaper "Tagesanzeiger" concerning the political connections between a ban of violent games in Switzerland and the succession of the VPM-cult: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz/standard/VPMAnhaenger-mischen-mit/story/19639529

-

My real name is Juergen Mayer. I'm an academic historian and currently researching this topic for the University of Graz here in Austria;

There is a strong Anti-American tone at present. Video games dealing traditionally with issues like war or violence are considered to be a malevolent invention by the US military and a form of hate speech

 

 

humanity +love

humanity +love

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Thanks for all the info, it's nice to know the type of rhetoric the anti games crowd resort to. Now in case they stumble on here.

There's only one commercially available game made by the US army (that I know of) and that's America's Army. America isn't the only one making violent games, Japan makes some too and the makers of grand theft auto (rockstar north) are located in Europe.

Child porn has the despicable feature of molesting/scarring children to make it. You can't say the same thing about games. So to compare the two just cheapens the impact of molesting kids for wank material.

I don't see how games are hate speech, most of the infamous examples either simulate war, let you kill anyone (so it's not targeted at any specific group), involve killing fictional creatures, or involve you killing bad guys (i.e. criminals).

Edit: Also calling them killer games is kind of funny because to an American audience it sounds like they're saying the games will literally come alive and kill you.

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

A very common view is that games are destroying compassion - like in this reasonably translated article here: http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=577

It is also tried to give this views a scientific grounding. For example by measuring compassion.

On "Current Concerns" there are currently ten to fifteen (translated) articles availiable in English - by searching only for the keywords "killer" and "games". In German language "Zeit-Fragen" there are much more.

Usually depictions of violence are not only treated as images of violence but as violence themselves: therefore I used the term hate speech to describe in short certain views regarding this matter. The term itself is not often used in German speaking countries but the overall negative views on games and gaming suggest similiar sentiments like when in the English-speaking world the term "hate speech" is used. Regarding violent games the two most often heard negative attributes are "gewaltverherrlichend" and "verrohend". While "gewaltverherrlichend" assumes a (general) glorfication of violence regarding the intentions of creatives, "verrohend" tends to a brutalisation of its recipients. "Roh" is also a piece of meat before its cooked properly. The general assumption regarding the intention of depictions of violence in games is the possibility to act out (personal) violent fantasies and short-comings in personal lives. Video games are therefore also often not seen as a form of expression but as a mere toy.

Something further that leads me back to the term "hate speech" is that in German speaking countries a difference between "expression" and "opinion" is seldomly made: for example media that portrays violence explicitly is also assumed to "want" violence (in the real world). Therefore depictions of violence are deeply mistrusted and often rejected also outside of gaming. In difference to neighbour France explicit horror movies from Germany are few and usually produced underground. With Crytek (Far Cry, Crysis) there is also really only one successful German company that produces openly violent games.

 

It's perhaps difficult to understand, but another aspect of the whole discussion here in German-speaking countries is that depicitions of violence are often considered to be a sign of immaturity. Therefore it's also difficult to promote a violent game as a mature one.

Even members of the German gaming press tend to agree with that. When "Modern Warfare 2" came out, there was hardly anyone in the German press who really defended Infinity Wards right to produce scenes involving violence against civilians like in the "No Russian" mission. Members of Infinity Ward were accused of being immature because of such violent depictions and whole editorial offices made a stand against these scenes.

On the contrary to let's say Australia, there is also hardly any opposition against the three-decades-long practice of censoring games for the German market and even banning them (Criminal Code)

 

humanity +love

humanity +love

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Anyone else a bit surprised that the less restrictive act came from the Christian Party?

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Not suprised by the Christian Party and CERTAINLY not suprised by the Socialist party.  To hell with both.

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Not really.  Religious groups are more strategic in their efforts to supress Freedom of Expression.  Especially at the government level.

"Community Standards" is one such example.  Create law, policy, and/or procedure that SEEMS more justifiable and reasonable, then if and when such becomes active, slowly grind down what is ACTUALLY covered, making more broad to block anything and everything, over time, what THEY do not approve of.  If any level of foothold fails, then condemn the blocking, claim those blocking their limitations are out to "harm the children", and then garner support against that which they claim to be "evil" and "harmful".  And since more and more Anti-Freedom politicians, primarily religious in nature, are being voted in, then support for Anti-Freedom laws, policies, and procedures have a greater chance of passing or at least higher authority pushing condemnation if it doesn't.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Correction: For a facultative referendum (which is what you do if you'd like to object to a law) you only need 50’000 signatures. 100’000 signatures is for the obligatory referendum, i.e. when changing the constitution.

Also, actually, there might be an obligatory referendum automatically, because the Bundesrat might need to change the constitution – it depends on how exactly they're going to realise the motions. Protection of minors is currently a task of the cantons (states) according to the constitution, therefore, for a national solution, this might need to be changed. If they're going to simply ban violent games, they can just make the law and that’s it (=> facultative referendum), but the motions were passed to the Bundesrat with the comment that a ban isn’t what they want (so why did they accept those motions in the first place? :/), but rather to install some game rating system. But a national game rating system isn’t possible with the current constitution.

The motion is clear: Completely ban violent video games. But there’s also this comment … I guess, we'll have to wait and see what the Bundesrat is going to do with this … it’ll take some time, Switzerland has much more serious issues currently.

Re: Swiss Target Violent Games

Much more important issues than Freedom of Expression, one of the most basic Human Rights?

It's beginning to look like the same Anti-Freedom forces that have begun to subvert the UN's Human Rights sections and begun to alter the meaning of Freedom of Expression and Human Rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are working to undermine Human Rights in indivdiual countries as well.  Some of the very founders of the UDHR are beginning to succumb to Anti-Freedom ideals within their own countries.

Freedom of Expression is being eroded daily at various government levels based on intentional false and misleading information, and citizens are buying into it and supporting it, using the argument to sway others from recognizing such by mere arguments of "we have more important issues to deal with".

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl
 
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