Following Massachusetts' successful crackdown on Time Crisis and Lethal Enforcers, a New Jersey lawmaker is also looking to make the state's beautiful and historic Turnpike safe from light-gun games no one plays anymore. Except the language of the law she has in mind has a teeny tiny problem that renders it entirely meaningless.
Here it is described in a news release from her office:
Assemblywoman Linda Stender will introduce legislation that prohibits any kind of public accommodation—movie theaters, rest stops, bowling alleys, arcades—from making games rated Mature or Adults Only available to the public for play.
Stender may want to know that, as we speak, there is no arcade cabinet game rated M or AO available to play anywhere in New Jersey. Or in the United States. Or the galaxy. The Entertainment Software Rating Board does not rate coin-operated arcade games. It rates home console and PC games (and some mobile games.) It's one of a few things pointing to the irrelevance and lack of cultural impact of arcade games in the United States in 2013.
Still, under Stender's proposed law, offenders could face fines of up to $10,000 for a first offense and $20,000 each time after for a crime they'd have to try very, very hard to commit, like setting up LAN stations for Call of Duty at the Chuck E. Cheese.
I realize some gaming stores offer LAN parties and some of them let kids play games like Halo (with a parent's signed permission) making them subject to the provisions of this idiot bill. I doubt Stender's thinking is sophisticated enough that this threat is what she really had in mind in drafting her legislation. If it is, fantastic, she's writing a law that affects about nine locations.
Stender's hopeful her useless bill will get traction following a state task force report that recommended adults accompany minors buying M-rated video games. That, too, is a good idea, Assemblywoman Stender. In fact, video game retailers in your state have been practicing it for nearly two decades, and it has been shown, by the Federal Communications Commission, to be more effective at preventing minors from accessing mature video games than the MPAA's rating system is at keeping kids out of R-rated flicks.
Good luck on your re-election, Assemblywoman Stender. The intellectual dishonesty of doing nothing but looking tough while doing it is proven to be a winning strategy. It says a lot about how you view your constituents, too.
N.J. assemblywoman wants to ban violent video games in public places [The Star-Ledger]