This week, GamePolitics has been tracking public outrage over Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game, a no-budget affair created by an amateur and posted online.
While the game is admittedly in very poor taste, there's not a lot to be done about it. As a non-commercial offering, Kaboom is not subject to any content rating requirements. And, since it is hosted outside the U.K., it would seem to be beyond the reach of English law.
But such logic has never been known to stop British Labour MP Keith Vaz, who has now taken his objections to Parliament. Vaz had the following exchange yesterday with MP Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons:
Vaz: Has my right hon. and learned Friend had the opportunity to look at early-day motion 2416? (quoted):
[That this House condemns the creation of the online computer game Kaboom which asks the player to replicate the actions of suicide bombers; believes that this game is offensive to the families of those killed by suicide bombers and devalues all human life; further believes that this game depicts an unnecessary level of violence; is deeply concerned that vulnerable people under the age of 18 are able to access and play this game; calls upon the game's creator to show sensitivity and responsibility by removing it from the internet; welcomes the findings of a new study from Iowa State University which recognises the link between violent video games and aggressive behaviour; and calls on the Government to revise its regulation of violent video games.]
[The motion] refers to an online computer game called "Kaboom", which asks players to replicate the actions of a suicide bomber. Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that that is offensive to the families of the victims of suicide bombings and that it devalues human life? I have raised this matter on several occasions at business questions and in other debates. What action are the Government taking to remove such material from the internet or, at the very least, to approach service providers to ensure that they take appropriate action? Children and young people will be able to have access to those games. Could we have a debate on this important matter?
Harman: The Government are concerned about the effect on children of violent internet and video games, which is why we commissioned the Byron review. That set out how we need action from parents, from the industry itself and from the Government to ensure that there is proper control of content and clear labelling to protect young children. I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend's long-standing interest in these issues, which he had even before he became Chair of the Select Committee on Home Affairs. Under his leadership, the Committee has taken a strong interest in such matters. I bring to his attention the fact that on Thursday 13 November, in Westminster Hall, there will be a debate on the question of harmful content on the internet and in video games.
GP: Vaz is referring to the game violence study published by Dr. Craig Anderson earlier this week. Anderson's work has been challenged by Dr. Chris Ferguson of Texas A&M
GamePolitics will be tracking Parliament's game violence debate on Nov. 13th.