CNN logo

Infoseek/Big Yellow

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

Tech banner

Some computer games flunk senators' report card

Drivers try to hit pedestrians
   One game encourages drivers to hit pedestrians

In this story:

November 26, 1997
Web posted at: 12:35 a.m. EST (0535 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Computer and video games figure to be popular gifts this holiday season, but two U.S. senators are concerned that some of them are too gory and violent to fall into the hands of children.

With warriors ripping the hearts out of victims in "War Gods" and violence against women portrayed in "Duke Nukem's 3D," this year's crop of computer and video games contains plenty of violence.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, singled out a game called "Postal," in which innocent citizens are shot, bombed and terrorized, as indicative of the kind of game that should not be available to children.

CNN's Steve Baxter reports

"These games are not harmless fun, as some suggest," Lieberman said Tuesday. "They are, in fact, digital poison."

Lieberman spoke at a news conference held by the National Institute on Media and the Family to announce the results of the third annual Video Game Report Card.

Lieberman and Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat from Wisconsin, say the rating system that they encouraged the electronic game industry to create in 1994 is working very well.

Too violent, too graphic

Liebman & Kohl
   Lieberman (left) and Kohl

"Virtually every new video and computer game released this year carries a rating that is both informative and easy to understand," Lieberman said.

But there is concern that many children still have access, through the Internet or in arcades, to games that are inappropriate. The senators said tougher enforcement is needed at retail and rental counters.

They also complained that violent games, which represent anywhere from 12 percent to 25 percent of sales, had become even more gory and graphic.

"I think the concern is that some of these violent, inappropriate games ... contribute to a kind of overall culture of disrespect that I think is increasingly of concern among young people in the United States," said the institute's David Walsh.

The Interactive Digital Software Association, which represents the industry, said nearly 80 percent of the games rated in the past 3 1/2 years were deemed suitable for all ages.

But Doug Lowenstein of the IDSA agreed that not every game is appropriate for children.

A nod to 'Crash Bandicoot'

"Some games are not intended for children and that's absolutely correct," he said. "The senators have identified a small -- by their own admission, a very small -- minority of products on the market that fall into that category."

The IDSA offers its own "Consumer's Guide to Holiday Hits" to help game-players find the titles for holiday gift-giving.

And Kohl and Lieberman praised the game industry for producing a majority of titles that not only are "kid friendly" but are "mentally stimulating" as well.

Among the games they praised were "Crash Bandicoot," "Gettysburg" and "American Girls."

Correspondent Steve Baxter and Reuters contributed to this report.


Related story:

Related sites:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Infoseek search  


Watch these shows on CNN for more sci-tech stories:

CNN Computer Connection | Future Watch | Science & Technology Week

Message Boards Sound off on our
message boards

You said it...
To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.