May 30th, 2006

Louisiana Senate Considers Game Bill Passed By House

Louisiana continues to move closer to adopting video game legislation today as the State Senate considers HB1381. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Roy Burrell (D, seen at left), passed the Louisiana House unanimously on May 16th.

Controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson drafted Burrell's bill and will testify on its behalf before the Louisiana Senate's Judiciary "A" Committee this morning at 10:00.

Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously passed its own video game bill on May 22nd. SB 340, sponsored by Sen. James David Cain (R), has been sent to the House for consideration and has been placed before that body's Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.

Burrell's bill addresses violence in games, using a variation of the Miller obscenity standard to define which games would be "harmful to minors." Under HB1381, a judge would be required to determine whether or not a game:

1. violates "contemporary community standards" and appeals to a minor's "morbid interest" in violence

2. "depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors."

3. "taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors."

SB340 was amended prior to Senate passage earlier this month and sections related to violence removed at the urging of the video game industry. As it now stands, the bill prohibits the sale of sexually explicit game content to minors.

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Iranian Vaporware Game Draws Wide Coverage

There are no screen shots. No video trailers. No official website or bulletin board. No list of features. No developer bios. Nothing about the game engine, or whether it is an original design or a mod. Not even a title.

Despite that, a Reuters story outlining only sketchy details on an apparent Iranian war game, received wide play over the past couple of days, thanks to a single word:

Nukes.

Iran's developing nuclear program, of course, has become an international concern.

As reported by Reuters, the purported PC game lets players step into the boots of "Commander Bahman," an elite Iranian special forces operative. The game's hero must undertake an eight-level mission to rescue "Doctor Kousha," an Iranian atomic scientist seized by U.S. troops during a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Kerbala in Iraq.

Reuters cites Iran's semi-official Fars New Agency as its source on the story. According to Fars, the game was designed by Iranian school children who are members of the Union of Islamic Student Societies. Fars added that the game would be available before next March (welcome to crunch time, kids).

Iranian officials apparently view the game as a retort to Assault on Iran, a downloadable mission for Kuma Reality's Kuma Wars game. Kuma Wars is a first-person shooter which offers users episodic mission content. In addition to the Iran scenario, Kuma offers numerous missions in Iraq, as well as others portraying realistic combat in Afghanistan, Korea, and along the U.S.-Mexican border.

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