Videogame bloodbaths may have met their match overseas as Switzerland’s National Council passed two new resolutions — not yet laws — that will ban violent video games. This sweep of censorship awaits only the Swiss government’s definition of inappropriate amounts of violence. Once they become laws, this could disembowel gory franchises like Grand Theft Auto, God of War, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
The first resolution comes from the Socialist Party, which wants to “stop the manufacture, advertisement, importation and sale of any game that promotes as a means of advancement or ‘success’ acts of violence against humans or ‘human-like’ creatures,” according to Kotaku. This passed by a margin of 19 to 12.
The second resolution, pushed by the Christian Democratic Party, delves into specificity, seeking to “restrict the sale of violent shooters to children.” It passed by a margin of 27 to 1.
Europe game ratings are based on the PEGI system, and industry experts say games with either a 16+ or 18+ rating will be stricken. These types of digital joyrides contain “dismemberment, torture, massive blood and gore, sadism and other types of gross violence” — all very popular themes in modern gaming.
Don’t fret too much: Kotaku points out that “under Swiss law, any petition that can gather over 100,000 signatures must go to a national referendum.” So if the government gets too trigger-happy with its banishment, a signature campaign could reverse some effects of the yet-undefined laws.
Anyone who has been paying attention to games politics for the past, oh, 20 years or so knows this hot button has been pressed thousands of times. California fought back against video game violence, the Pope said no-no, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez called PlayStation games “poison,” columnists have called for outright rejection of violent games, and much more. Not to mention the studies purporting that brutal games make us more aggressive.
It’s almost preposterous to prophesize that U.S. laws would come close to mirroring that of the Swiss, but even if such censorship won’t hit U.S. soil, the news is worrisome to those who prize freedom . . . or simply just like blowing off the heads of baddies with sawed-off shotguns.