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Gamers Unite Today: Join the VGVN

Rich Taylor's Avatar + Posted by Rich Taylor on Sep 20, 2010 // Entertainment Software Association

No doubt, most gamers are aware that this fall the United States Supreme Court will be taking up the legal challenge to California’s law that would limit the sale of computer and video games and chill the creative freedoms of our industry’s artists.

Video_Game_Voters_Network

The issue at hand is whether a state can limit access to video game based on their content. If the California succeeds at the Supreme Court, then states across America could begin limiting access to video games and stores could stop selling games because they won’t know what titles fall under a particular state’s laws and which don’t. How does that affect you? Imagine walking into your local game retailer and finding out they don’t sell games you want because they’re worried about government intervention. This isn’t hyperbole; it’s a very real scenario that could happen if California succeeds.

This month, the industry achieved a milestone in fighting for video games. The ESA filed with the U.S. Supreme Court a legal brief that strongly defends the rights of gamers, video games, and the artists who work so hard to create those games.

Others recognize the seriousness of this situation and have stepped up to defend video games, the First Amendment and promote education about parental controls and the video game industry’s rating system. No less than renowned comic book creator, Stan Lee, who brought to life such iconic figures as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Hulk, has encouraged gamers to organize and take action. Stan highlighted the video game industry’s great work in helping parents by providing a leading rating system and parental controls—which, when taken together, help ensure that the games kids enjoy are parent-approved. His open letter encouraged everyone to join the Video Game Voters Network, which is the grassroots coalition of voting-aged gamers who want to be kept updated on legislative threats to computer and video games.

Following Stan’s lead, I’m writing today to encourage you to join the VGVN. Politicians will listen when their constituents weigh in on issues and we need gather an army to fight for games. Please consider joining the VGVN to aid in the defense of video games. And, tell three of your friends to do the same! Joining is free and easy to do. Go to www.vgvn.org and sign up!

We’ll keep doing our part in the Supreme Court, but we need you to do your part, too.

Thanks for joining!

//Add Your Own

71 Comments   5 Replies

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1

+ PuppetShoJustice on September 20th, 2010 at 10:03 am said:

Surprised to see this here.


2

+ THE_MR_PENGUIN on September 20th, 2010 at 10:06 am said:

did my part.

encourage all of us to do theres


3

+ SamuraiKyo18 on September 20th, 2010 at 10:14 am said:

*shakes head* Dang government trying to control us


4

+ colstripcapn on September 20th, 2010 at 10:18 am said:

*rolls eyes*

I remember the last post about this a few months ago, and whoever wrote that post had a whole load of false information in it. Makes it hard to believe anything.


5

+ LgnGmr on September 20th, 2010 at 10:20 am said:

This is great! Just joined and sending folks this link.


6

+ Gogo_ZvC on September 20th, 2010 at 10:24 am said:

As a Canadian is there anything I could do aside from spread the word?


7

+ Jobocan on September 20th, 2010 at 10:26 am said:

Sadly I can’t join since I live in Canada, but I’m at least spreading the word, and I urge everyone who can join to do so.


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+ SpyDudeFX on September 20th, 2010 at 10:26 am said:

What does involving your politicians achieve? This challenge is before the Supreme Court of the United States. There’s nothing anyone can do about it, not your Senators or even the President. The ruling will be final and binding precedent.


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+ PuppetShoJustice on September 20th, 2010 at 10:33 am said:

I kind of lol’d at the line about “imagine walking into your local game retailer.”

The entire weight of this bill is based around games ending up being sold by retailers to minors. Proving one’s self to be an adult by using a credit card to order something online (say, via Amazon) pretty much nips that problem in the bud directly.

I couldn’t care less what happens to the game retail stores. At worst we’ll end up with a need to shop online and a stronger push for digital distribution.

The industry as a whole can and will survive this no matter the outcome.


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+ Xanthene on September 20th, 2010 at 10:34 am said:

i’m for this if we can start getting some more ‘mature’ games. sexy beach 4 for ps3? heheh… i feel dirty now.


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+ Jeigh on September 20th, 2010 at 10:34 am said:

Yeah… Scare tactics, eh? Not hyperbole? I find that EVERY political debate involves a disgusting level of hyperbole on all sides. Funny that nowhere did you mention the group the law is targeted at or why. Just “gamers”.

“Lazy parents”, right? Because no child ever balks at being monitored 24/7.


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+ Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 10:37 am said:

Hey, this is Rich. Thanks, everyone, for reading and commenting. Just wanted to jump in and provide more information. @SpyDudeFX, you’re right, you can’t lobby the Supreme Court. The Justices make their decisions irrespective of public opinion and solely are focused on the law. However, that isn’t to say that rogue legislators in state capitals around the county won’t introduce similar legislation. Now’s the time when we need to organize and be prepared to take action. In the last year, thousands of VGVN members wrote their legislators and affected real change. We hope you’ll consider doing the same!


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+ TJknight on September 20th, 2010 at 10:38 am said:

i would rather the government contorls the raies then sony do to your fear of someone hacking your crap removing the otheros feature sorry sony can be trusted i bought my ps3 and if i want to turn the whole thing in to a walffe makker i will becuse i bought the thing i want it opened and hacked


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+ Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 10:39 am said:

Follow up…and by “county” I meant “country.” Sticky fingers from lunch!


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+ PuppetShoJustice on September 20th, 2010 at 10:40 am said:

Less children cursing at me on their mics when I headshot them isn’t something I have a problem with.


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+ SpyDudeFX on September 20th, 2010 at 10:43 am said:

@Rich you should contact Jeff to get your blog replies to show up as official replies. Thanks for the response, that’s true and some Senator would likely introduce federal legislation if the Court upholds the law.


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+ jimmy903 on September 20th, 2010 at 10:54 am said:

I would love to join the fight, but I’m not a U.S. citizen. Don’t worry I have my green card ;)


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+ yazter on September 20th, 2010 at 10:56 am said:

If it stops annoying kids from playing and squealing through their mics in M-rated games, then I support whatever California does.

Not signing.


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+ Jobocan on September 20th, 2010 at 11:02 am said:

All the idiots saying “lol I don’t like kids screaming in their mics in mp games” should actually inform themselves on this a bit beyond that.


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+ Rene_Led on September 20th, 2010 at 11:08 am said:

All I can say is blame the parents for letting 10 year olds playing Call of Duty.
And now dam Templars want to control Gaming.
Sounds like a job to do hehe… ;)


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+ Dzero247 on September 20th, 2010 at 11:10 am said:

i think lazy parents just need to monitor their kids as to justt not doing anything bout lil twerps playing violent games that are clearly mature. i call them twerps because one they could be anywhere from 9-14 playing games like metal gear online or something because unlike us adults they dont have to work a job or anything remotely responible. of course again this is because of lazy parents. with out these people there would be one huge less reason for games being slammed. u dont see a 12 year old kid buying gta4 why cause they are too young for the subject matter in it plus most parents would be like yea u wish kiddo maybe when ur 18 lol. that part makes me laugh but anyway point made


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+ Powie on September 20th, 2010 at 11:15 am said:

Meh the only way to get people in government to do anything, is by stuffing their wallets with campaign contributions. Sony, MS, and Nintendo as well as game development companies just need to start bribing them like every other corporation.


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+ jpbslayer on September 20th, 2010 at 11:17 am said:

i agree with 18 – dont get ne wrng i love violent games; but im 36 years old also – if this bill passes games will be like movies – with ratings whats wrong with that? the op sounds very paranoid to me – retailers wont know what to do -how stupid – thats like saying blockbuster cant sell movies because they cant differnatie between pg and R.all this means is some less sales becasue a 13 year old cant buy a M game – GOOD – keep them off the online games -


24

+ Dogofthunder on September 20th, 2010 at 11:28 am said:

Does anyone know how this law is any different than the laws governing the sale of R-Rated movies to minors?


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    + Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 12:19 pm said:

    Hey, Dogofthunder. Thanks for the question. There is actually no law in the entire country that restricts a minors’ access to R-rated movies…it’s all industry self-regulation on the part of theater owners. And, that’s what we’re talking about here. There’s a system in place (with ESRB ratings, retailer restrictions, and parental controls) that ensures the games kids play are parent-approved. A law is not only unconstitutional, but unnecessary.


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+ jpbslayer on September 20th, 2010 at 11:36 am said:

there is no diffrence – they are just afraid to lose sales – personaly i would like better restrictions – then more hardcore games can come out


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+ STORMPOOPER33 on September 20th, 2010 at 11:52 am said:

omg enough with the scare tactics already. this is just a ploy for the esa to gain lobbying credibility by swelling their supporters numbers through fear mongering… Seriously folks should there have to be a law for this…. no , parents should be involved in what their kids are watching/listening/ playing with at or to but in the big scope of things is a law that makes it harder for little kids to be exposed to any adult themes /content that bad? I am old enough to remember the USC also hearing cases on pornography and legal consent, it seems to me there are near 10 bazillion different nudie mags at most local quickie marts after their decisions (with no passed individual secret legislation in the wake) ….. so I tend to think no matter the outcome of the vote we are not gonna see any bans of anything………


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    + Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 12:26 pm said:

    Hmmm, thanks for the thoughts, Storm…Should there be a law that makes it harder for little kids to be exposed to adult themes? Well, “adult themes” is subjective. And, so is California’s definition of what video games would be affected. They say it’s only for “ultra-violent” games. But, the problem is when someone tries to define what that is–nobody can agree. My ideas of what’s “ultra-violent” might be different than yours, which, again, might be different than someone else’s. Laws can’t work that way and be subjective–especially when you’re talking about First Amendment speech, which is what numerous courts have ruled that they are.


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+ LCaruana on September 20th, 2010 at 11:56 am said:

@Dogofthunder it’s not illegal to sell R-Rate movies to minors. The MPAA rating is a voluntary system similar to the ESRB ratings. I’m pretty sure that members of the system (Major Studios) may be fined by the MPAA for not enforcing the rules.


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+ Frazz on September 20th, 2010 at 12:06 pm said:

I’m going to sacrifice a small animal in order to provide awareness for our cause. I am a Canadian so the animal will probably be a raccoon or a porcupine. I’ll wright a letter stating that I did it because I am crazy and not because I play video games.

Honestly if my games get censored because of a few sticks in the mud then it will probably jump to other forums of medium too.

I guess we will have to wait for the older generation to pass on before this “violent video games make children more violent” notion goes away.

IMO


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+ Victoryismine52 on September 20th, 2010 at 12:06 pm said:

@9
I’m with you the whole ton of this article is too dramatic to be taken seriously… Do people on here not understand that this is about money and NOT your rights. All they are looking to do is have this be government regulated offering fines to those that disobay. It’s the same thing that is already in place for Alcohol and it’s not like alcohol can’t be sold. All this means is that when you go in to your favorite game retailer you’ll have to show them your ID if you look under 30 or something and they’ll have that stupid little sign up that says we card for anyone under 30. This is just about money cause a lot of money is made in the games market off of minors. Now they’ll still be able to play the game it’s just that a parent or gaurdian would have to buy it. The industries just worried that if a minor comes into a store with their parent to purchase “GTA5 : sleeping with whores” and the store clerk asks for an ID from the parent that it might make them question the purchase cause parents will start seeing games in a different light.


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    + Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 12:22 pm said:

    I appreciate your thoughts, Victory. But let me point out one thing, 182 national organizations, associations, First Amendment experts, artists, directors, producers…all types of creative industries…submitted amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. They’re concerned that if the California statute stands, similar legislation affecting movies, books, music will be introduced. It’s not just the video game folks saying this, it’s other creators who are concerned about infringements on the rights of not only ordinary gamers, but also artists.


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+ Libintia on September 20th, 2010 at 12:16 pm said:

I get ID’d more thoroughly at Gamestop than I do the liquor store and I’m 27 years old. I presumed there was already a law in place that would cause that? How exactly will this law change that? I don’t care if its illegal for minors to buy M rated games. Truly. If it reduces the amount of squeaky voiced demon spawn spouting off derogatory remarks when I pwn them on COD, GOOD.


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+ duchebagel on September 20th, 2010 at 12:17 pm said:

it sounds to me like the media is once again scrambling the truth to get people interested in their messed up stories. i cant even tell what the law really does cause everyone has different info. if the sale of m rated games is restricted by law to be sold to miners in a similar fashion as movies, then wont kids still get their parents to buy it for them? and if the law restricts minors from owning the game in general, then its the same stupid bologna as smoking and drinking. even though it would be illegal, minors would still get ahold of the games and play them and it invalidates the law completely. people that want to rule the lives of others need to move to socialist countries and leave us free people alone cause im tired of having a bunch of control freak hitlers saying whats good and whats bad for all 300,000,000 or so americans in the U.S. its we the people and if we say we want our games a certain way then we will get it that way. the government serves us not the other way around, and america needs to remember that


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+ bbonds_007 on September 20th, 2010 at 12:25 pm said:

Unfortunately all the nay-sayers who think this does not effect them are sadly mistaken, if they did some more research they would see the bigger picture and its a grim one…

+1 on the sign up.


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+ megalodonshark on September 20th, 2010 at 12:38 pm said:

there are so many things out there that are wrong it is not even funny.with that said just think of some of the god awful things we as consumers have to deal with on a regular basis:
porn sites on the internet, and some are entirely free to get into, all you have to do is lie about your age.
using a well crafted fake i.d. card can get you many things that would otherwise be illegal to underage persons.
but why would people want to make video games of all things illegal? this all stems back to mortal kombat back during the 90s when some kids wound up killing another kid, or something along those lines. not only would this law be completely unconstitutional, but it would take the rights of people like me who are parents, and the last thing i want is for the government to say i am not allowed to buy this game or that game for either myself or for my children. i play adult ranked games, and do so after my children are either asleep, or when they are not at home, for instance, i own heavy rain, which has very questionable content very unworthy of children, and yet there are plenty of games out there for children, that i would never play as an adult, my son who is 6 loves any game pertaining to racing.


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+ megalodonshark on September 20th, 2010 at 12:42 pm said:

yet i would never allow him to play any game along the lines of a grand theft auto, or twisted metal. i believe judgment always has been, and always should be left up to the discretion of the parents. this to me falls under the freedom markers in the bill of rights, and for government to try to usurp these rights we hold so dearly as freedoms, then we might as well become a state very much like many third world countries.
i do not know about the rest of you, but i take parenting very seriously, as does my wife, and we both want to be able to choose for ourselves what types of games both of our children will be allowed to partake in until they become of legal age 18.


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+ megalodonshark on September 20th, 2010 at 12:44 pm said:

with this in mind, i always call my representatives in government to hassle them on areas that do pertain to myself and my family. if we let government control whatever they want, then we might as well call ourselves afghanistan, the way they have been for so long, by only allowing certain things within their country, or better yet north korea where only government approved items only make it to the consumers.


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+ Dogofthunder on September 20th, 2010 at 12:48 pm said:

Thank you for your response, Rich. That has changed my mind, slightly. I definitely don’t think that video games should be treated differently than movies or music.


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+ Kchow23 on September 20th, 2010 at 12:54 pm said:

Well, when you buy M rated games in Canada you have to show id… what is the big deal about that? we seem to be doing just fine. If a kid wants an M rated game he can ask his parents for it


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+ Thrasher20 on September 20th, 2010 at 1:30 pm said:

I just want my freedom to play any kind of game


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+ Kid_Fleetfoot on September 20th, 2010 at 1:30 pm said:

As I best recall, the voluntary ratings for music came about as a result at least in part because of a Congressional hearings which involved Tipper Gore. It’s my belief that voluntary ratings are the way to go for the most part. Exceptions would be showing X rated material to minors for example.

I don’t care for the idea of enforced ratings on video games as I believe that the rating system used now is fine.
If a game comes out with an alleged wrong rating, that can be discussed at the time.

I was going to say I don’t believe in censorship however it occurred to me that we do have censorship on this forum and the Playstation forum. Now it seems I’m looking at and posting about a double standard? But Ido supposrt the game rating system as it is.


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+ King0fHearts2007 on September 20th, 2010 at 1:33 pm said:

I don’t get this? There are way to many kid’s these days buying ADULTS ONLY games. Why should we fight to make this problem bigger?

I use to work at a Bestbuy and you use to see kids 12 and under buying ADULTS ONLY games all the time. No one try’s to stop them and the problem just keeps getting bigger.

Democrats what’s our Government to run everything. This is just one more thing they want to take control over. This is most likely the only thing I agree with the Democrats with.


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    + Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 1:51 pm said:

    Hey, King. Great question. Couple facts though. First, major retailers (like Best Buy, Target, Walmart) have policies that explicitly forbid sales of AO-rated games at all. Also, companies like Best Buy have strong policies that prohibit the sale of M-rated games to anyone under 17. Are these policies working? Absolutely. According to the latest stats from the Federal Trade Commission, 80% of M-rated games sales to minor were prevented. 80% that’s a great figure that’s higher than children who were prevented from getting into an R-rated movie and kids trying to buy music with parental advisory labels. So, at the end of the day, the California statute is a solution in search of a problem. And remember the words of Marge Simpson, “When someone says there outta be a law, there probably shouldn’t be.”


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+ SilverPR on September 20th, 2010 at 1:41 pm said:

I don’t get how this law will come to pass if:

1. movies cost 30$ to 10$ to have access to see in theaters, digital or physical media.

2. music with explicit content cost 15$ – 99cents on digital or physical media

3. Pornographic content from 40$ to free (if you look for the internet.

This will make no sense, I hope whatever the ISA filed to the US Supreme Court also point out this things is some way or shape. A minor having legit access to M Rated games is one of the most expensive form of media today over music or porn, US supreme court should remember what happened back in the day with music censorship was attack and it’s what it is today. And still N words are publish on albums and even more stuff and for more accessible price than 60 dollar games.


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+ mikedo2007 on September 20th, 2010 at 1:46 pm said:

Well nice to see ESA getting involved on the PS Blog. I do support them and seeing the stupid California game bill being turn down.


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    + Rich Taylor on September 20th, 2010 at 1:58 pm said:

    Thanks, Mike! Really do appreciate the support.


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+ zekececil14 on September 20th, 2010 at 2:21 pm said:

This is dumb. The whole thing. I am 15 and I have NEVER been able to buy an M-rated game without a parent. One store wouldn’t even let me hand them the money, my parent had to do it! There is protection enforced now! Video game DO NOT harm children. I am living proof. I was five and watched my dad play games like Resident Evil. I have been playing games with “Extreme violence” for years and i’m fine. I am a straight-A kid who is athletic and loves to play sports. Seriously, video games are over half my life. The only thing they do is provide a fun, interactive, and AWESOME hobby for kids and adults alike. (the only law we need is to ban 12 and under kids from screaming into their mics in MW2 = D)


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+ NEJI64 on September 20th, 2010 at 2:28 pm said:

Its funny how most of these people saying,”if this law pass nothing will change”.

When our country end up like Australia banning games. Going to be the same people whining saying its not right.


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+ blacK_jack1 on September 20th, 2010 at 3:26 pm said:

Time to Import M-Rated games from Mexico and japan.

The problem are the parents they just buy their kids what they want blindly.They make no big deal with R rated movies because the theaters do a descent job of keeping the kids out but also parents could take there kids to R movies to and that’s where it gets ugly in this debate of why do you pick on violent games and not violent movies.


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+ bonemandust on September 20th, 2010 at 3:32 pm said:

Isn’t the governor of Cali the Terminator?, thats very family friendly


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+ Kagenish on September 20th, 2010 at 3:54 pm said:

i have work for ToysRus and GameStop both company’s lets their employees know exactly what happen to you if you sell a M-rated game to a minor. if anything it should be the parent getting in trouble thats why we have the ESRB to let parents know, but some don’t even care what games their kids play and their be the first ones make a big deal about the game.


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+ marlyt on September 20th, 2010 at 3:56 pm said:

Funny how liberals are anything but liberal in the government. They always seem to be the first to try and limit this or shut that person up. Freedom is under attak in all areas of life. Live free or die!!!!


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+ Zee_009 on September 20th, 2010 at 3:58 pm said:

That is craaaaazy. I’m Canadian but i would love to help!


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+ ClassicSpyroFan on September 20th, 2010 at 4:09 pm said:

Why would people want to stop video games!?!?!? Don’t they have better things to do, like hunting down bad guys? Or signing bills that GIVE us rights, and not take the ones we already have?!?!? I could under stand making a law that dose not let under aged kids play M rated video games!! But you can’t take away the right to play video games, there not bad for you!! Ive played video games ten years straight and nothing at all is wrong with me!! You got my vote!! Together we are big and they are small!! LONG LIVE VIDEO GAMES!! XBOX, PLAYSTATION, AND NINTENDO ALIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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