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US considers ciggie-style health warnings for games

'Gameplay can seriously damage your health'

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Proposed US legislation could, if adopted, force some games to carry warnings about links between violent titles and Grand Theft Auto-style behaviour.

The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, put forward by congressman Joe Baca - a California Republican - wants all games awarded a “Teen” rating or higher by the Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to carry a warning that “excessive exposure to violent videogames and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behaviour”.

He reckons there's a direct neurological link between the two.

Baca claimed that the games industry has repeatedly failed to live up to its responsibilities to parents, families and consumers, by failing to inform them of “the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products”.

The congressman may have named several US university studies that he said found a connection between gameplay and physical behaviour. But it’s worth remembering that a trio of psychology reports examining the benefits of games recently concluded unanimously that some titles can have positive effects on their players. ®

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