Video Game Decency Act

GamePolitics has a report on Senator Upton’s (A Republican from Michigan) new bill. The Video Game Decency Act, it’s called. The act would make it legal for the FCC to fine game companies which hide content of their games in order to gain a lower ESRB rating.
On the surface, this seems fine. The game companies should accept the ratings their games deserve. However, the reason this bill came about was the Hot Coffee mod for GTA: San Andreas. This mod accessed code that was in the game, but was in no way accessible through playing the game. The new bill would require ESRB to completely play through a game before giving it a rating, which means that it misses the purpose completely. There’s no way to account for every single hack, patch, custom map, and easter egg for every game out there. Take Oblivion, for example. The official gameplay alone is enough to keep a softcore gamer like me busy for at least 3 months, and maybe 2 months for a hardcore gamer. Then there are official hacks and patches for the game which would require more time to test, and unofficial patchs and hacks which would make the game virtually unreleasable due to lack of “proper” testing. I think Nightwing sums it up pretty well in a comment on that article:

It wasn’t hidden material that could be accessed through gameplay.

It was unused code that, by design, was supposed to be not part of the game.

Access to the code was NOT made by official patches or upgrades by the company.

Access to the code was NOT made by official unlockable codes provided within the official software.

Access was provided by non publisher, non developer, non official means.

Access was provided by non company personnel and therefore was a modification of said product that was NOT official intended.

I can think of a number of products whose use could be modified or interpreted to allow the product to be used in a manner that the creating company did not intend for the product.

If said products can be modified or interpreted to be used by some individuals in a manner which -I- feel is “indecent”, can I then demand the company who created the product be fined, at the least, because it’s product COULD be used by other individuals for purposes other than what the company claims the product was intended?

If someone can come up with a way to use a product in a way that was not intended to be used by the maker of the product, can we really hold the maker responsible for how the product is used?

nightwng2000
NW2K Software

I hope this bill doesn’t go through, for the sake of all the gamers out there…

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1 Response to “Video Game Decency Act”


  1. 1 darthimperios October 3, 2006 @ ~8 pm at ~8 pm

    Wow… First came the Series of Tubes and now this! This is like watching Star Wars marathon…


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