June 29, 2011

Opening door for video games

Yay a day off work!  Now I can talk about something that happened a couple days ago.

If you haven't heard, the United States' Supreme Court overturned a law in California banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.  Under what grounds?  Free speech.

We can think of this as a big step in the video game industry.  First of all, one of the three branches of the U.S. government recognizes video games as free speech.  This is akin to broadcasting, journalism, and art.  ART people!  It helps in that argument, that video games are an expression of ideals and feelings, not just a mindless entertainment box (thought there's nothing wrong with those either).

Also, although for certain things there will be appeals and ignorance to the law, there will be some arguments stifled by this.  There is nothing illegal about a violent video game, no matter how you feel about how immoral they can be.  It's not akin to committing murder or rape, it's a medium that is experienced as a cerebral experience.  Consumers must protective themselves from mediums they don't like to view, not the government doing constant surveillance or monitoring.

This doesn't mean that video games are home free.  We do need to have more games that are thoughtful, artful, and make the players engaged intellectually.  Because even if the Supreme Court says something is protected by freedom of speech doesn't mean that people will take it one hundred percent seriously.  Hopefully, developers, big and small, can produce something that will captivate people with something more substantial and lasting than overworked spectacle.  Prove it, industry!


  1. This should be old news - didn't a case about violent video games go to the USSC about 10-years ago?