Keith Vaz renews attack on violent games

Keith Vaz renews attack on violent games

Keith Vaz renews attack on violent games

UK MP Keith Vaz has again hit out at games, calling on government to "provide for closer scrutiny of aggressive firstperson shooter videogames."

Vaz, MP for Leicester East and a frequent critic of videogames, tabled an early-day motion on April 24 titled, simply, "violent videogames." The source of his inspiration is Anders Behring Breivik, the man currently on trial for the murders of 76 people in Norway last year.

Breivik's testimony has referenced both World Of Warcraft and Call Of Duty, and it is the latter which has prompted Vaz to renew calls for tighter control of violent games, saying the PEGI ratings system is ineffective as it does not restrict content – merely the age of those who can access it.

The motion calls on fellow members of the House to be "reminded of the consequences of the innefectual PEGI classification system for videogames following the testimony of Anders Breivik about the tragic events in Norway in July 2011," adding that PEGI "can only ever provide an age-rating, and not restrict ultraviolent content."

It continues, going on to say that "in an era of ever-more sophisticated and realistic gameplay, more robust precautions must be taken before videogames are published, and [the House] calls on government to provide for closer scrutiny of aggressive firstperson shooter videogames."

Vaz has, of course, done this before. He campaigned against Rockstar's Manhunt after it was (incorrectly) connected to the 2004 murder of 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah, and criticised another Rockstar game, Bully, in the House Of Commons. In 2010 he attempted to link a series of racially motivated shootings in Malmo, Sweden, to Valve's Counter-Strike.

His most recent attack on games came last November, when he completely misrepresented the London-set level in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, saying in another early day motion that players "engage in gratuitous acts of violence against the public" and comparing a chemical attack to the London bombings of July 7, 2005.

His pro-videogame Labour colleague Tom Watson proposed an amendment to the motion, changing it from the third word onwards to praise the way the game "challenges gamers' dexterity as well as collaborative skills", adding that "adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk of harm."