Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Video game regulations

Congress and videogames: A bad mix - Glenn Reynolds - MSNBC.com

Ever since I saw some congresspeople on a PBS show years ago talking with William F. Buckley about the need to regulate computers, I've been pretty much against it. My main reason for being against it isn't a legal one, though there are certainly legal arguments to be made, as Reynolds points out, such as the violation of free speech. No, my main reason for being against it is that these people so obviously don't understand what they're regulating. The congresspeople on the PBS show mispronounced DOS and showed a lack of understanding about the basic functioning of a computer. I'm not saying you have to understand the technology intimately, but you need to understand the basics. You need to know, for example, that a web site does not exist on your own computer (usually) and that you don't have to have a screen name to get on the internet (something my mom thinks) and that Google is not AOL, though it now owns part of it. Reynolds is right in saying that the people proposing the regulations on violent video games have probably not played a game since Pong. Now, I wouldn't let my kids play Doom (the new version of which looks really cool, but very bloody). But I've let them play SIMS 2 even though there's a little bit of sexual content. And they're playing all kinds of games right now--Spiderman, Tony Hawk, Mario Kart. Yeah, I'm thinking it might be good to have a "no screens" day soon. I'd love to see SIM congress, as Reynolds suggests. But unless it can be like Homer Simpson's version of "Mr. Smith goes to Washington," it probably won't sell.