Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is attempting to have passed legislation that would make it illegal for anyone younger than eighteen to buy violent or sexually explicitly games. Titles mentioned specifically by Blagojevich include the Grand Theft Auto
series, Halo 2
and Mortal Kombat
Blagojevich has criticised the $7 billion video game industry for failing to find better ways to keep "adult material out of the hands of minors", and cited evidence that many publishers marketed violent games to boys younger than seventeen.
"This is all about protecting our children until they are old enough to protect themselves," said Blagojevich in a written statement. "There's a reason why we don't let kids smoke or drink alcohol or drive a car until they reach a certain age and level of maturity." Blagojevich said the legislation would define "violent" games as those in which characters physically hurt one another. "Sexually explicit" games would be those featuring nudity that "predominantly appeals to the prurient interest of the player."
The former seems incredibly wide in scope, since even titles such as Spyro the Dragon
and Super Mario Bros.
feature characters hurting each other.
In response, Hal Halpin of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association has released a statement arguing: "Time and again, parents have vocalized their interest in retaining responsibility for monitoring their children's entertainment consumption, and simply wish to be armed with appropriate education to that end. Similarly, each and every attempt at government intervention in this issue has failed due to the fact that industry self-regulation is working and the IEMA is committed to seeing it through."