Virginia Representative Frank Wolf and California rep Joe Baca recently co-authored the "Violence in Video Games Labeling Act," a bipartisan bill that, if passed, would require all video games rated "E" and up to bear a warning label similar to those found on a pack of cigarettes. The proposed label would read "Warning: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior." Wolf and Baca proposed a similar bill back in 2009 which would have seen a warning label attached to all video games rated "T" and up.
It may come as a shock that I, too, am in favor of labeling video games in such a manner. Rather than take broad strokes like Wolf and Baca, however, I believe the warnings should be far more specific to the individual games. Following are a handful of examples for the types of warning labels I would like to see utilized. It should be noted that the research I've conducted is likely far more thorough than that backing Wolf and Baca's latest bill.
Warning: Playing Journey has been linked to pretentious behavior. Players will swear by indie games, mock AAA titles and spread the word of Journey to anyone willing to listen. Journey is good. Journey is the light. You must accept Journey into your heart of hearts.
Warning: The Silent Hill series has been linked to poopy pants, a fear-based condition in which the afflicted poops into his or her pants or, lacking pants, directly onto the ground.
Warning: Mass Effect 3 has been linked to behavior that ravaged the gaming community for a solid three weeks. Fifty percent of all content on the internet has been published in the past year and 98 percent of that is from people whining about/defending the ending to Bioware's Sci-Fi epic.
Warning: Street Fighter X Tekken is for boys. No girls allowed. This goes for all games in the fighting genre. You ladies should be making us hunky men sandwiches and washing the dishes. To argue otherwise would be "morally wrong."
Warning: Prolonged exposure to Ninja Gaiden 3 has been linked to kidney failure and cardiac arrest. You should not play Ninja Gaiden 3 if you are or may become pregnant. Other side effects include runny nose, itchy eyes, partial loss of hearing and bleeding beneath the fingernails. Some who experience Ninja Gaiden 3 have reported an absolute lack of fun, followed by complete loss of bladder control. If Ninja Gaiden 3 results in an erection lasting more than four hours, you should seek additional medical help, followed by an extensive psychological evaluation.
Infinite Ammo is a weekly column by Ryan Winslett about video games, the industry that make them and the people who play them. His blog can be found at staticechoes.com and followed on twitter @RyanWinslett.