Add New York State Senator Chuck Schumer to the list of politicians who are against M-rated video games. You've probably heard of or read about Senator Schumer's recent remarks involving the upcoming game 25 To Life, an M-rated title for the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2, and PC in which players take on the role of either police offices or gang members in order to gun down each other. Here's a summary of the game's theme courtesy of GameDaily:
[T]he game portrays some of the worst elements of gang violence, such as using human beings as shields, killing police officers, attacking people with a variety of lethal and non-lethal weapons.
Based on this description I'd say that this is not a game I would want to play. However, there will undoubtedly be gamers out there old enough to purchase M-rated games who will be interested in picking this game up when it's released in August. That's one of the great things about living in a free market: buy what you want, don't buy what you don't want, and base your decision regarding this on the final product offered on the shelf.
What makes Senator Schumer's comments unusual from most government anti-game crusaders is that Senator Schumer is seeking a ban on a video game that has not even finished development yet, let alone been released to stores. He has said that he wants to see Microsoft and Sony cancel licensing agreements with the game's publisher, Eidos Interactive, and that stores should not stock the game when it is released. Basically, because the senator believes that children - children who shouldn't be playing the game without adult permission anyway because it is rated M - will be adversely affected by this game, then nobody should be able to play it.
Furthermore, 25 To Life only exists on development workstations and as a beta version at this point. The finished product does not exist, yet here we have Senator Schumer up in arms against it. He wants to ban a nonproduct, and since this game does not yet exist in a finished format, the senator cannot possibly know enough information about it to call for a ban. Should a politician seek action without knowing all of the relevant facts? I think not.
As long as we're banning products that don't exist in a working final format, I'd like to seek a ban on the economical hydrogen-powered automobile, the cure for cancer, and the flux capacitor. Sure, these items don't 100% exist today, but they may exist sometime in the future and would cause irreparable harm to the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the space-time continuum. We must outlaw these items without knowing more information about them. For the children, of course.
Sarcastic snarking aside, this final paragraph from the article quoted above makes an excellent point, one that should be driven home to all politicians seeking game-related legislation:
Nevertheless, what it comes down to is that games such as [Grand Theft Auto] or 25 to Life are rated "Mature" for a reason. With the average gamer nowadays in his/her late 20s, politicians should no longer make the assumption that every game on the market is targeted at today's youth.