Tag Archives: rants

Protection of Minors for Dummies

Today I went to a nearby supermarket to buy some bread. At the checkout the line was stalled by a group of 10 years old boys trying to purchase Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I know that they were 10 year old because one of them said “he’s 10 years old, I’m 10 years old, so together we’re 20 years old”, probably because that’s the sort of argument that is likely to work in children media that are more appropriate for 10 years olds than GTA, which over here is rated 16+. But, of course, the 10+10=20 was not their main pitch. It was “my father has allowed it”. To which the cashier, who looked to be in his twenties and generally somewhat shy and awkwardly taken by the situation, at first correctly replied that it doesn’t work that way and the father needs to be personally present for that. And so the little boy produces his cell phone, dials his father and tells the cashier to ask him. The cashier, understandably weirded out by the entire situation, talks to the alleged father (maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, who knows), explicitly asks and receives permission and sells a game with good reason rated 16+ to a handful of 10 years old boys who proceed to behave exactly like a bunch of kids who just successfully stole a lollipop.

The following is what I wish I’d told the cashier when it was my turn in line, except most of it – as usual – formed in my head when I was walking back home already.

Selling the game that way was against the law. Let us, for a moment, leave aside my own personal moral reservations I always felt towards the GTA franchise. Let’s leave aside that this, if any, is probably one of the games least suited to be in the hands of children not even old enough to be called “teenagers”. Let’s just look at the legal part.

The person on the phone may or may not have been the father. Even assuming it was, he may or may not also be a legal guardian. Assuming he was, he may or may not be aware of the nature and content of the game in question. He may or may not be drunk, on drugs, or generally give a fucking shit.

The attentive reader may at this point be objecting that most of these points do not really change with the physical presence of the father in the store. In fact, the only thing that changes is that the father receives the opportunity to actually personally inspect and evaluate at least the information printed on the cover – about the content and the proposed age restrictions, for example. But while this is a very, very, very important factor, the other possible factors still remain uncertain. It’s not like the cashier is going to ask for a birth certificate and a written brief essay on why the father considers GTA to be an appropriate medium for his son – and, importantly, for several other children whose parents now get effectively bypassed in their right to allow or disallow their child to consume that content.

What’s the difference? The difference is crucial. Not understanding the difference led the cashier to making the wrong decision. When a game (film, book, beverage, whatever) is purchased by a minor in the presence of an adult, it is not the minor purchasing the game, but the adult. It is a huge difference in legal responsibility that renders the above questions moot.

The law forbids anyone but the legal guardian(s) to grant minors access to rated media. Even after having received permission via phone, the cashier still sold the game directly to a minor, thus granting him access to a rated game, thus committing a felony. If, on the other hand, an adult – any adult – who accompanies the boy purchases the game, the responsibility passes on to that adult. If he is not actually the father, then it is him – and not the store – who is committing a felony by passing the game to the boys. If he is the father and grants access to the other boys without consulting their legal guardians, it is, again, him who is breaking the law.

By selling the game to an adult – and this is what is taking place when a child purchases something in the company of their parent(s) – the store passes the legal responsibility on to the purchasing adult. By selling the game to a child – which is what you do when you play along to a “permission via phone” – the store breaks the law.

The sad thing is that mishandled events like this make you understand a little bit more where those people are coming from who claim that rating is not enough but everything needs to be censored and forbidden. In the end it’s always the irresponsible actions of adults.


In which we call out bullshit

Not in the mood for a lengthy rant, so I’ll just add my voice to the many and point out that this guest post on World of Matticus is complete and utter bullshit, from the first to the last sentence. Shame on you, Matticus, for even allowing it to be posted on your portal. As for the author, he is either an idiot with a very limited and tunnel-visioned grasp of the game (yes, I just publicly called someone an idiot – for calling members of his team “meat in the room”, “a dime a dozen” and so on. Deal with it), or cunningly sparking controversy for the sake of clicks to his own blog. For my part, I decided to never again click on a link leading to We Fly Spitfires. Sir, you are blacklisted.

Kind regards,

a tank

Your number was selected randomly

By a number generator, which just randomly spills out digits and then this number is called. And we’re not even going to pay attention to how bad the odds of getting a valid number this way are. We’re just going to be amused, that the very moment I hang up, the other phone, upstairs, connected to a different provider starts ringing. Of course I don’t bother running to pick it up, but drink a glass of water instead. And the moment it falls silent, the downstairs-phone wakes up again, however, through the other line connected to it, and the same mechanic voice is attempting to sell me their clearvoyance services. Oh, so that‘s how they got all my 3 numbers, all differing in far more than a few digits. I’ll label this a rant, but I’m not even ranting. I’m observing. And not even being surprised, because I’m coming out of computer science and having a rough idea where we’re headed. I think there’s a century-old book on it. I believe it has digits in the title, too.

Grief Online?

Why is it, that nearly every time someone gets all excited about EVE Online, I can’t help but feel the game in long term pretty much boils down to “Bullies in Space”? I may be a little harsh here, and I understand there might be much more to EVE, but stuff like this (and it seems to be regarded as the ultimate apex of EVE gameplay) appears to me as the gaming equivalent of getting your buddies together to beat up the unpopular kid, steal his lunch money, screenshot it film it on your cell phone and send it to a gaming site upload it on YouTube. So, your top achievement in the game was to gank some guys, who were trying to establish a foothold of their own without joining your zerg, together with your 500 homies? Uh, grats, I guess.

PS: Yeah, I totally miss the point of the game and just don’t understand it. So, sue me.

I told you

This is not directed at those who read this blog, but those who do, know whom it’s directed at.

I told you. I didn’t, admittedly, do it in the most diplomatic or clever way, but rather in the form of an emotional outburst. But I told you there are issues, there are problems. You told me I’m the problem. You told me to take it or leave it. And I left. Others left with me. Only the problems, the issues, they didn’t leave with us, they remained with you. Now you’re stuck with the under-performers and the ride-hitchers, whose equality rights you were so eager to protect. Those who sleep through the raid and only wake up when it’s /roll time. Who don’t want to bring a character as soon as they’re geared, but to have their next alt geared instead. Who laugh when you bring the topic up, because they don’t understand why you suddenly have an issue with it. Because you failed to make a stand when you could have had. You cannot now, and thus you’re stuck with the split mentality, which you failed to acknowledge for too long. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

And yes, I bath in gloating. Because I told you. And you didn’t want to listen.

Nerdrage – will contain profanity

So, now the media is discussing, whether Michael Jackson’s children should or should not have attended his funeral (considering their young age and his always having been highly protective of them), should or should not his daughter have spoken, why they did it, who, what, where and so on. And by “media” I mean mostly people who earn their living as “high society experts”, i.e. detractors and gossipers who have never accomplished anything on their own. These people, who never were good at anything but turning other people’s dirty underwear, are now in the underwear of Michael Jackson’s children. Yes, I am making this sound doubly reprobate on purpose.

Children. Kids. As in, sons and daughter. Sons and daughter of a father. A father who died two weeks ago. Do you even know what that means? Do you retarded media-morons even know how much that hurts? At least when you’re still human, rather than a social atrocity making a living and cheap fame off sniffing other people’s farts? Children, for crying out loud! A little boy who saw his father die while they were playing and thought he’s just acting at first. This is, what, the single most terrifying, terrible, painful, shocking, awful thing that can possibly happen to a human being (again, referring to human beings here) in their entire life? Okay, probably second to having it the other way round and losing a child that way (hey everyone, let’s make fun of John Travolta! His son died! Isn’t that hilarious? Idiots). But a close second. By a wide margin ahead of the third, which would probably be the loss of a spouse, but that’s already debatable.

And now you even dare talking about them? Gossiping about them? Sullying their names with your dirty, worthless mouths? I would appeal to your respect and conscience, but you obviously do not possess either. I would call to dignity and humanity, but you probably don’t even know what that means. You – all the countless society reports and reporters, star magazines and gossip channels, as well as what became of most newscasts – have been pushing the borders of the tolerable for years now. I can’t tell you exactly when you overstepped it, but right now, you’re clearly beyond it, by far and wide. Just shut up. Shut the fuck up and go to hell. And leave the children alone!