Bloomberg to limit game play of video games sold in NYC

Mayor Bloomberg’s restrictions on game play would extend to any reissues of classic video games, like Final Fantasy VII. At 16 hours, Bloomberg aides envision a scenario where New York’s gamers would witness Sephiroth slay Aerith. The game would then abruptly end.

Fresh off his announcement to ban sodas, sweetened ice tea and energy drinks above 16 ounces, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has found a new target — the video game industry. Taking a cue from Reps. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Frank Wolf’s (R-VA), Violence in Video Games Labeling Act (which seeks to put violence warning labels on all video games, regardless of content), Bloomberg has taken it a step further: Starting next March, all video games sold in New York City will have built-in endings that will bring the storyline to a halt after 16 hours of game play.

A press release from Bloomberg’s office went out late Sunday night. Reuters reports:

It has long been established that there is a correlation between violence and video games. There is also a strong correlation between soda consumption and gamers. Both of these vices have long-term costs to the nation’s health, in terms of obesity and crime rates. While the nation waits, I will act. New Yorkers want me to “do something,” and so I will. Starting next March, I will find a way to force Big Apple gamers to understand that sitting for hours while playing video games — particularly RPGs — is unhealthy and will no longer be tolerated. I am working with the video game industry to ensure that at 16 hours ALL video games sold in New York will cut to an ending that will force gamers to either put down the controller or to keep playing a game that has, for all intents and purposes, been completed.

Conservative and libertarian groups have already voiced opposition to the power grab, calling it more evidence of the liberal urge to control every aspect of an individual’s life, now down to their PS3 and XBox controllers. Bloomberg’s liberal advocates say that the mayor is not taking away a gamer’s right to play video games per se, but merely forcing them make the conscious decision to continue playing after a “healthy portion” of entertainment has been reached.

As the news cycle begins, it will be interesting to see if gamers — generally a liberal bunch — see how the soft tyranny of Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban could be applied to many aspects of everyday life, including the games they love.