Two members of the US House of Representatives have introduced a bill aimed at putting health warnings on violent video games. The Violence in Video Games Labelling Act would require manufacturers to add the label “WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior” to all games except those rated Early Childhood (EC). This includes games rated Everyone (E) and Everyone over 10 (E10+). The labels would be required regardless of the games’ content.
Unfortunately, those penning the proposal seem to have forgotten three quite important points:
1) The jury is still out on video game violence, with some studies suggesting negative effects, some finding no effects, and others finding beneficial effects from games.
2) Games publishers already use a voluntary classification code which has worked well for over a decade. That “18” on the front of your Grand Theft Auto case isn’t there for fun: it’s not designed for children, but for grown ups who understand that you shouldn’t do these things in real life.
3) Most importantly – the Supreme Court has already classified video games as protected speech under the First Amendment, making proposals such as these clearly unconstitutional. Tsk.
My favourite violent game was always IK+.