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Washington state bans sale of violent games to minors

Makes sense. So why the fuss?

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gamesindustry.biz logo Gary Locke, governor of the state of Washington in the USA, has signed into law a bill banning the sale of certain violent videogames to minors - including Enter the Matrix and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, both of which depict violence against law enforcement officials.

According to US law, a minor is anyone under the age of 17, so this isn't even on the same level as applying an 18 certificate to a videogame here in the UK (although admittedly a lot of UK retailers aren't exactly stringent in their enforcement of the age certificates on games).

However, the Interactive Digital Software Association has thrown all its toys out of the pram over this issue, with president Doug Lowenstein slamming the bill as "patently unconstitutional" and the organisation taking the state to court over the bill.

"We're confident that our position will be affirmed in court," according to Lowenstein, who goes on to criticise the state for diverting "critical funds" to defend the bill at a time when the state apparently faces a "massive budget deficit."

Obviously Lowenstein has the moral high ground here - after all, he's only using IDSA funds to defend the right of publishers to sell incredibly violent and mature content to children, which is clearly a far more worthwhile endeavour than a state attempting to protect kids from this kind of content without impairing the ability of adults to enjoy it.

With the industry apparently prepared to go to court in order to defend this "right", is it any wonder that politicians and many parents regard videogames as such a negative influence on society?

© gamesindustry.biz

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