Some computer games flunk senators' report card
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
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.
"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
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
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.