You'd think that after all of the court cases that have found in favor of the video game industry when it comes to restricting the sale of games with a poorly written, slippery slope of a law that government officials looking to pander to voters would have moved on to a new target. Nevertheless, today brings word that Congressmen Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have proposed the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act that would require all video games rated E-for-Everyone and up to carry a warning label. Game Informer explains:
"The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers — to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products," Baca said, as reported by The Hill. "They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility."
"Just as we warn smokers of the health consequences of tobacco, we should warn parents — and children — about the growing scientific evidence demonstrating a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior," Wolf said. "As a parent and grandparent, I think it is important people know everything they can about the extremely violent nature of some of these games."
If the bill passes, it would require any game with an ESRB rating of E (Everybody) and above to carry a warning label regardless of whether or not it was actually considered "violent." The only games that would not have to carry a label are ones rated EC (Early Childhood). Previous attempts to pass the bill occurred in 2009 and 2011.
All of the usual poor logic and slimy weasel words are in Baca's and Wolf's statements. There's blessed mentions of families, responsibilities, the comparison of video games to tobacco, identifying oneself as a parent and a grandparent, and the usual rhetoric about people having a right to know information. I've grown very tired of legislators dragging games down into the mud just for the sake of attracting the votes of an ill-informed public. Video games are protected free speech. Leave 'em alone.