AfterDawn: Tech news

Stephen King blasts plans to ban violent video games

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Apr 2008 3:43 User comments (35)

Stephen King blasts plans to ban violent video games While admitting he has little interest in video games, horror-writer Stephen King has used his Entertainment Weekly column to strike out at those who want to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. King believes that such a move would be undemocratic, and misguided, as, he says, it is up to the parents to monitor their own children's electronic entertainment.
The Shining author's outrage was sparked when he learned a bill in Massachusetts would ban the sale of games deemed violent to individuals under the age of 18. "What makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic," he wrote.

In King's opinion, the violence depicted in many of the most controversial video-game titles is reflected from behavior that already is commonplace in society where it's real and not a game. "What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture as a whipping boy. It's easy for them, even sort of fun, because the pop-cult always hollers nice and loud. Also, it allows legislators to ignore the elephants in the living room," he said.

While there is still no all-around accepted stance on whether or not video games generally incite violence in gamers, the controversy has been alive and well around the world. Last year, British and Irish authorities banned the videogame title "Manhunt 2", and recently it was revealed that Rockstar Games had made some changes to the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV to be able to attain a rating and sell the game in Australia.

King wrote that banning the sale of video-games which are already rated is pointless when minors will always find a way to get their hands on them anyway, as they do with other things. He went on to say that the growing divides in the United States and some of the country's gun laws arguably are more responsible for violent behavior than video games ever will be.

"If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself," wrote King while referencing the inaccurate report that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter in 2007, had been obsessed with "counter-strike". "Parents need to have the guts to forbid material they find objectionable ... and then explain why it's being forbidden. They also need to monitor their children's lives in the pop culture -- which means a lot more than seeing what games they're renting down the street."


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35 user comments

113.4.2008 8:43

Maybe if they actually enforce the 18 year old rule in places but it wouldn't matter you have older friends that's how you are playing RM games anyway.

Your under age for smokes get your friends that are old enough.

You want alcohol get someone you know that does care and you could get a 12 pack or hard liquor for just a little above cost.

Why I wrote this in the first place Stephen king is the man.

213.4.2008 8:50
Craftybox
Inactive

OMG , why are they even thinking about this?

showing wars in iraq on the news, showing people dieing.. and they want to ban games??

theirs so many other things these people can be wasting their time on.

313.4.2008 8:55

Originally posted by Craftybox:
OMG , why are they even thinking about this?

showing wars in iraq on the news, showing people dieing.. and they want to ban games??

theirs so many other things these people can be wasting their time on.
YOU ARE SO RIGHT.

413.4.2008 13:12

The people who are trying to ban these games are older people have never even played a video games in their life and have no idea what they are talking about.

513.4.2008 15:12

ok how old because I am 37 in may is that old and I love video games ever since the first atari came out in 1981

613.4.2008 15:32

When i said old i meant people 20 years older than you before video games came out. like this guy 50 something boston mayor thinks video games should be categorized as porn.

http://kotaku.com/368715/boston-mayor-backs-games-as-porn-bill

713.4.2008 15:34

I know people alot older and play video games.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 14:38

813.4.2008 17:09

Its not the age of the politicians its the angle. Violent videogames are a hot topic these days, its a buzz word and politicians flock around situations that create a buzz. It gets their name out there and the more people who have heard of them, for what ever reason it may be (unless its adultery, gay scandal, etc. etc.), the better their campaigns go. They could care less what they are arguing as long as it gets their name in the paper and their intentions "seem" good.

Its like the network TV stations and reality shows. One reality show did well now each station has at least 5 reality shows. It doesn't mean these shows are good (they're not, most agree that they suck) but reality is the buzz and everyone else is doing it and making money. So apparently it MUST be a good idea.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Apr 2008 @ 17:16

914.4.2008 1:17

Originally posted by Craftybox:
OMG , why are they even thinking about this?

showing wars in iraq on the news, showing people dieing.. and they want to ban games??

theirs so many other things these people can be wasting their time on.
I dont think this issue is a waste of time. Thats like saying drugs and alcohol to minors is an issue. They put ratings on games like restrictions on drugs and alcohol because it is not a good influence on them.

1014.4.2008 5:00

Originally posted by wolf123:
...Why I wrote this in the first place Stephen king is the man.
Yep - I have nothing but respect for the man.

Never mind hi-tech games or even movies of Mr. King's novels. All I have to do is pick up one of his......(oh my god), .... BOOKS (yeah! "low-tech" ink-&-paper *books*!) - to know he is one of the most intelligent, gifted story-tellers I've ever seen.

The man is awesome. World-Class.

1114.4.2008 5:05

Originally posted by Craftybox:
OMG , why are they even thinking about this?

showing wars in iraq on the news, showing people dieing.. and they want to ban games??

theirs so many other things these people can be wasting their time on.
Yep.

In a world where the reality is, that kids can visit a website to watch/download a video of an actual Al-Queda beheading, (I've watched them), legislators seem more worried about make-believe video-games.

Maybe they should get their priorities straight.

1214.4.2008 5:10

Originally posted by wolf123:
well ok but I know some people in there 70's that like them video games and thats before the age of video games.
Yeah ....... <heh-heh> ....

Anyone up for a Rip-Roarin' game of ...... PONG?




Boink..........boink............boink....... LOL ! :-D

1314.4.2008 11:58

Originally posted by Joshewah:
Its not the age of the politicians its the angle. Violent videogames are a hot topic these days, its a buzz word and politicians flock around situations that create a buzz. It gets their name out there and the more people who have heard of them, for what ever reason it may be (unless its adultery, gay scandal, etc. etc.), the better their campaigns go. They could care less what they are arguing as long as it gets their name in the paper and their intentions "seem" good.


Couldn't have said it better myself. Politicians don't care about the people. They care about the votes. If they cared about the people, we would have better health care in the US. The same goes for the energy crisis. The majoriy of people think nuclear energy will melt their face and give their kids extra limbs. So the politicians will cater to those fears just to get into office.

King has it right. It's up to the parents to set the rules and standards. Ratings should be good enough to guide the parents in their decisions.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:00

1414.4.2008 12:14

Quote:
Originally posted by wolf123:
well ok but I know some people in there 70's that like them video games and thats before the age of video games.
Yeah ....... <heh-heh> ....

Anyone up for a Rip-Roarin' game of ...... PONG?




Boink..........boink............boink....... LOL ! :-D

No no Klingy...we can't play Pong. It's too Phallic. You see with those long rods, and the moving ball...you see? It's just too...racy. :-D

Lol.

1514.4.2008 12:37

Pong needs to be banned too. Two big sticks violently bouncing around that poor little ball. Bastards!

1614.4.2008 12:41
goodswipe
Inactive

Yea, when I see pong, I think bong. And that ladies and gentleman makes me wanna smoke pot. And smoking pot leads to other hardcore drugs. So therefore, we must definitely ban pong!

Quote:
Couldn't have said it better myself. Politicians don't care about the people. They care about the votes. If they cared about the people, we would have better health care in the US.
Exactly! Anything these guys do is all about what makes them look better and gets more votes.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:43

1714.4.2008 12:50

I have nothing but respect for Steven King, and most of you have made very good comments, but I don't feel like you're giving the other side enough consideration. When King says, "What makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic," he fails to recognize that there are situations in which a surrogate parent is needed - not every child has parents who are willing to step up and keep objectionable material out of their hands. Also, not all minors will find a way to get their hands on the videogames regardless of how many restrictions are placed on their sale to minors. True, you can never stop it entirely, but the laws are there as a deterrent, and will help keep violent images out of the eyes of some children. Additionally, people are knocking the politicians for focusing so much on the video game issue when there are so many worthier causes at hand. If you look at any news source, you will find that there are people working on those causes. You say it's not the violent videogames that are the issue, but the violence on TV? Good thing there are people working against that. You say we shouldn't be focusing on toy guns, but rather on real guns? Guess what - there are people who are working against those too. And isn't it a good thing that these people are making an effort to start somewhere with all the problems facing our society today?

Mind you, I agree with all of you that violence in video games should not be the major issue people have made of it, what with the inconclusive evidence on how much effect it really does have. However, it seems to me that most people are not considering both sides of the issue, and are just jumping to conclusions. Just thought I'd bring another side of the issue and a hint of conservativism to these comments.

1814.4.2008 12:50

Sorry! Double post.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:57

1914.4.2008 12:58
goodswipe
Inactive

Nah, any way you look at it, politicians are dirty. It's all about what's better for their careers, sorry.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 12:59

2014.4.2008 14:03

Originally posted by flickchik:
I have nothing but respect for Steven King, and most of you have made very good comments, but I don't feel like you're giving the other side enough consideration. When King says, "What makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic," he fails to recognize that there are situations in which a surrogate parent is needed - not every child has parents who are willing to step up and keep objectionable material out of their hands. Also, not all minors will find a way to get their hands on the videogames regardless of how many restrictions are placed on their sale to minors. True, you can never stop it entirely, but the laws are there as a deterrent, and will help keep violent images out of the eyes of some children. Additionally, people are knocking the politicians for focusing so much on the video game issue when there are so many worthier causes at hand. If you look at any news source, you will find that there are people working on those causes. You say it's not the violent videogames that are the issue, but the violence on TV? Good thing there are people working against that. You say we shouldn't be focusing on toy guns, but rather on real guns? Guess what - there are people who are working against those too. And isn't it a good thing that these people are making an effort to start somewhere with all the problems facing our society today?

Mind you, I agree with all of you that violence in video games should not be the major issue people have made of it, what with the inconclusive evidence on how much effect it really does have. However, it seems to me that most people are not considering both sides of the issue, and are just jumping to conclusions. Just thought I'd bring another side of the issue and a hint of conservativism to these comments.
No one considers the other side of the issue because that side is ludicrous. Since there's is a small percentage of unfit parents, the rest of the US's population needs to be censored? No, ridiculous.

2114.4.2008 14:12

Someone posted about better enforcement of the laws in place now instead of creating new ones, and you're totally right. Where I live these ID rules are enforced. I get carded for a video game quicker than I do for tobacco or alcohol. I'm 25 years old and in no way look young. I agree with King. The ban of violent video games would be undemocratic. This is not fair to us adult video game players. If my two children start playing video games I'm going to allow them to have whatever they want as far as rating is concerned once they reach a certain age. You are not going to get rid of violence. You would have to remove books, movies, games, TV programming, certain Internet video sites, sporting events, history class, and many other things. Violence is a part of human history. We are born into a violent world, and as much as politicians like hearing themselves talk about getting rid of it we are all going to die surrounded by violence. This is just human nature.

2214.4.2008 14:26
jony218
Inactive

It's always good to see a celebrity who talks the talk and then actually walk the walk. Violent books,violent movies, violent music, violent games are all one and the same. If you ban one why not the other? It's good that Mr. Stephen King is looking out for other peoples interest and not just his own. Too many other celebritis wouldn't take the risk.

2314.4.2008 15:17

I'm a huge Stephen King fan anyway...this only helps!



2414.4.2008 15:55
goodswipe
Inactive

Originally posted by 7thsinger:
I'm a huge Stephen King fan anyway...this only helps!
He's got a strange look to him. Kinda creeps me out. You get that same feeling?



This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Apr 2008 @ 15:56

2514.4.2008 16:32

Well yeah...the man's creepy lookin' but one the best horror writer's of our generation.



2614.4.2008 18:04

Quote:
Anyone up for a Rip-Roarin' game of ...... PONG?



------
No no Klingy...we can't play Pong. It's too Phallic. You see with those long rods, and the moving ball...you see? It's just too...racy. :-D

Oh my god, I think you're right! (I hadn't noticed that earlier; thank heavens you caught that just in the nick of time, 7thsinger!

Yeah, and those little plastic paddles look a bit loose there - what if a small child should accidentally put one in their mouth and swallow it?

Oh! Oh!..... I'm sorry ...... I can't go on...... I'm too upset right now...... [wringing hands] .... I'm just.....(um), I'm sorry, I cannot......

:-D

2714.4.2008 18:16

Quote:
Yea, when I see pong, I think bong. And that ladies and gentleman makes me wanna smoke pot. And smoking pot leads to other hardcore drugs. So therefore, we must definitely ban pong!
Oh yes, I hear ya! Pong leads many into drug rehabilition centers and half-way houses. Kids wind up mixed-in with all those drug-crazed Aminals and Crinimals, and just think of all the illegal gambling that must go on wherever Pong is played, with people on welfare taking bets on the side and everything! And all the homeless people panhandling on the street - what about them? "Hey buddy, can ya spare a quarter for a game of Pong?"

Oh! It just makes my blood boil!!!!

[Grrrr....stomp, rage, rant, etc. etc.] :-P

2814.4.2008 19:01

Originally posted by goodswipe:
Originally posted by 7thsinger:
I'm a huge Stephen King fan anyway...this only helps!
He's got a strange look to him. Kinda creeps me out. You get that same feeling?



LOL....Kevin Bacon and Christopher Reeve had a love child!

2914.4.2008 22:15

Originally posted by A_Klingon/:

Oh my god, I think you're right! (I hadn't noticed that earlier; thank heavens you caught that just in the nick of time, 7thsinger!

Yeah, and those little plastic paddles look a bit loose there - what if a small child should accidentally put one in their mouth and swallow it?

Oh! Oh!..... I'm sorry ...... I can't go on...... I'm too upset right now...... [wringing hands] .... I'm just.....(um), I'm sorry, I cannot......

:-D
Lol. Just looking out for everyone Klingy. Lol.

Quote:
LOL....Kevin Bacon and Christopher Reeve had a love child!
Lol. Yeah, but i see a little bit of B. Arthur in there too!


3015.4.2008 6:39

Originally posted by 7thsinger:

Quote:
LOL....Kevin Bacon and Christopher Reeve had a love child!
Lol. Yeah, but i see a little bit of B. Arthur in there too!
Really? Would we notice a Familee 'ResemBalance'?





Bea Arthur + Stephen King's Lovechild = .......... dunno, but I don't think I would want to invite it over for dinner!


3120.4.2008 2:44

Originally posted by flickchik:
I have nothing but respect for Steven King, and most of you have made very good comments, but I don't feel like you're giving the other side enough consideration. When King says, "What makes me crazy is when politicians take it upon themselves to play surrogate parents. The results of that are usually disastrous. Not to mention undemocratic," he fails to recognize that there are situations in which a surrogate parent is needed - not every child has parents who are willing to step up and keep objectionable material out of their hands.

While I don't entirely disagree with you, I DO think parents have the right to raise their children exactly how they wish, as long as it isn't directly - physically or emotionally - abusive. While I agree with you that excess exposure to viiolence in various media is probably not good at all, what if the next parent feels that some controlled exposure to the violence present in society is a good thing, helping to ensure the survival of their child?

I know it sounds like I'm stretching the point but I'm not. There is NO - I'll rephrase that; zero, nada, zilch - firm evidence that such exposure is harmful. What's stopping these folks from saying, "Hey, the snacks your kids eat once a day or so are bad for 'em; we're banning cookies!" Think about it; the only reason this sounds crazy compared to banning violence is that, well, everyone likes cookies. There's no denying they're BAD for you; lots of evidence supports this view. So, NO MORE COOKIES! RAWR!

Hmm.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Apr 2008 @ 2:47

3220.4.2008 3:32
varnull
Inactive

Porn, violence, murder and every twisted perversion known to man... where.. In the Bible.. that's where.

Oh and for the record.. I agree with King though I think most of his books and films suck. Understanding the difference between fantasy and reality is the important thing.. Just like those "reality" shows on tv. False attention grabbing self centered people in a simulated environment..
I just finished painting a gate. Think I will sit here and watch it for a few days.. It's more interesting.

3320.4.2008 11:15

Violent games dont make ordinary people go out and start killing everyone, I play (and enjoy) violent games all the time (Manhunt 1 & 2, any GTA game, Kane & Lynch rocks, and most first person shooters), but in everyday life I never even had a proper fist fight before.

The only ones who do kill real people have a screw loose to start with, what about the mental females who stab their husband to death because he always "left the toilet seat up", lol.

Stephen king is right, its the parents who should monitor the kids playing habits, AND next gen consoles have parental controls built in, so even if little timmy gets hold of GTA4 he cant play it cos his parents where responsible enough to restrict his PS3 to only play kiddies games.

3420.4.2008 22:48
foxrider
Inactive

pong leads to spastic paddle rapping (beerfest)


fainted pulse... the fox still lives...
fat psp1=3.71m33-4fat psp2=3.71m33-4fat psp3=3.71m33-4
ice silver slim psp1=3.71m33-4ice silver slim psp2=3.71m33-4

3521.4.2008 7:45

Originally posted by foxrider:
pong leads to spastic paddle rapping (beerfest)
And hopefully more beer! hic!/belch!/buurrrrp....! :-P

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