As Chicago Sun-Times reports, Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. “wants to amend a 2012 law preventing some video games from being sold to minors”. Earlier, violent video games were prohibited from being sold to minors. The latest amendment aims to expand the scope of this law to issue a complete ban altogether. The latest talking about the game is Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. out of Chicago, who is seeking to amend a law that dates back to 2012 and prevents certain video games from being purchased by minors. Last week, the lawmaker filed HB3531, an amendment that wants to not just ban the sale of games featuring “psychological harm” and carjackings to minors, but to adults as well. According to Evans, these types of games promote criminal activities, which in turn, hurt the community. “The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities,” said Evans.
Adding to this, Early Walker — the founder of Operation Safe Pump, and who has worked with Evans Jr. on the bill — says GTA 5, in particular, has become an issue. “I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum. When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings,” said Walker. The bill explicitly mentions banning games causing “psychological harm,” and“motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present.” The latter has been a pressing issue in the city and puts games like GTA V under the scrutiny of such a law. Furthermore, it also aims to redefine the definition of violent games by including all games that “allows a user or player to control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal.”
Currently, the bill has only been proposed in Chicago, but if it does not end up getting passed and may attract a similar response from other countries. While it is one thing to make games accessible for a wider audience, it is often debated that games with mature tones have a separate target audience. Certain games like The Last of Us 2 have set a benchmark for dark and mature tones in video games. At the same time, they do end up delivering a strong message of ending the vicious cycle of violence. Whether this bill ends up getting passed remains to be seen, but video games will likely be subject to greater scrutiny in the days to come.
In addition to banning the sale of games that fall under the aforementioned criteria, the bill would also change the definition of what a “violent video game” is, or more specifically, to the following:
“control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal.”
For now, it remains to be seen what will come of the bill, but it has video game fans, and especially GTA fans, on alert. That said, this isn’t the first rodeo for either, and so far, both have been largely untouched by government legislation. And of course, if this bill becomes law, more than just GTA will be impacted.