If you’ve been keeping up with video games in politics, you may or may not already know about HB1423, a bill being proposed in Massachusetts that would block the sale of violent games to minors. While there has been much debate amongst politicians since its introduction, best-selling author Stephen King cast his own personal vote on the matter in his latest Entertainment Weekly column.
King, who prefaced the article by stating that he was not a fan of video games at all, went on to blast the Massachusetts legislature, noting the hypocrisy of the 17-year-old who could legally get in to see a graphically violent movie such as Hostel: Part II in theaters but would be unable to purchase the significantly tamer Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. While King does not necessarily find much merit in the violence found in some games, he also believes that politicians should not play the surrogate parent. He goes on to comment that video games do have a ratings system and that the games intended for more mature audiences should be treated as such by adults that care for younger players. King believes that it is up to parents to take a stand and forbid objectionable material.
What truly seems to irk King, however, is the effect of legislature similar to HB1423 on media entertainment and pop culture as a whole. Being able to use video games, television, movies, and even books as a scapegoat for what King believes are deeper-rooted political and social problems, is much easier to do than address the issues themselves.