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Keith Vaz says something about violent games; we get uppity

Keith Vaz says something about violent games; we get uppity

Normally I avoid the politicking side of things on the Play blog, as it would result in either boredom on your part or a sacking on the back of going mental and ranting for 5,000 words. Also it would be giving the idiots talking about things they absolutely do not comprehend a (very slightly) wider audience. But today I just have to break these self-imposed rules to chat about this early day motion from Keith Vaz – MP who has made it his personal crusade to ban evil, destructive, violent videogames. Or at least that’s what it looks like. His early day motion was as follows:

“EDM 907
Vaz, Keith

That this House notes with concern that the recent race shootings in Malmo, Sweden have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike; further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres; recognises the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18 years; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 years is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games.”

See, I had to bring this up as it confuses me. The claims that the Malmo shooter was influenced by CounterStrike come from, apparently, The Times – well known for its open-minded, fair-handed take on gaming*. But that doesn’t bother me, as it’s likely to turn out to be nonsense. Hopefully.

No, what I’m fussed about is Vaz’s cries that sales to under 18s need to be controlled. Because that’s a bloody stupid thing to demand, seeing as they are. Owing to legislative cock-ups, we actually have two ratings boards making sure gamers and those that buy games are clearly warned about the content of games, and those big things on the front of boxes with numbers on them – can you see them, Keith? – they’re put there to say what age you have to be to buy them. It’s a confusing system, of that I’m aware, but it’s pretty simple to understand once you sit down and put some real thought into it.

So here, for the benefit of Keith Vaz MP is the system – make sure you’re sitting comfortably: if a game says ‘7’ on the front, it means it’s recommended for people aged seven-plus. If it says ‘18’, it’s for people who are aged 18 and above.

Take a break now, as it may be a bit confusing.

Let’s continue: ‘16’ means it’s for those aged 14 and above**. We’d hope ‘12’ would be self-explanatory, but for those who aren’t sure – it’s for those aged 12 and above. There is another number, but it’s too confusing even for us, so we’ll leave it at that for now.

So yes, it’s hard to understand and it is thoroughly confusing, but at least we do have a system in place. I mean, I do agree with Vaz they could make it clearer. Sound chips could be glued to the front of game boxes, for example, announcing the age-rating out loud when pressed. Or maybe a credit card strip could be placed on the box, necessitating the swipe of a card – only available to those over the age of 16/18 – before it will open. Thank Christ Keith Vaz is here to remind us all we need to be ever-more vigilant in the fight to make numbers easier to understand.


**Correction: we were originally lead to believe 14 was the case. We have been corrected and it’s been cleared up that ‘16’ is for those aged 16 and above. I apologise for any confusion.

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  • Joey

    I’m of the tender age of seventeen and recently purchased Fallout New Vegas ( 18s ) from my local Gamestop. After few minutes of play several cuss words and acts of violence took place. I felt strange yet continued playing. Now with the game finished I want to massacre my peers and school mates in general.
    Play, is this normal?

  • Mark Marty

    Here in the USA mature games have an age bracket of 17 and up. So you’re good. You won’t go postal.

  • Conor

    I agree with what Joey said, as a fifteen year old being exposed to violence for the first time in the form of Uncharted 2, I felt weird, and then began climbing walls in school, shooting people and making sexually-related remarks about people in my class.
    Mr Vaz is a hero of our time. LONG LIVE THE CENSORSHIP!

  • Eric Shun

    My god, playing games makes you kill real people, i’m shocked and appalled. Better burn my copy of black ops pronto in case i copy that glass/mouth bit in my local greggs tomorrow…..

    If games lead to violence (which they dont) Vaz’s mate Blair must have put a serious shift in on Harrier Attack on his Amstrad 464….

  • Vicky

    … wow. Just … wow.

    Like so many others who have posted here, I, too, started to feel violent urges after purchasing Devil May Cry at the age of twelve. <_< because, you know, it made me think that everyone were demons and had to be killed and stuff.

    Honestly, right-wing politics, and politicians, have their heads too far up their own … well, orifices, shall we say, to actually take a broader view on anything. The Times can go insert sharp objects into said orifices, for several articles I have read recently, not just this, but hey ho.

    I think there is a very large cultural gap, and it is forever widening. Thank goodness that not everyone is so scared ot technology, these days, but it almost seems like there is a definite divide between those who do, and those who actually harbour some kind of phobia of it. Shame.