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Censorship The Courts United States Games

Supreme Court Hears Violent Video Game Case Tomorrow 342

SkinnyGuy writes that with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments tomorrow for California's controversial law aimed at keeping violent games away from minors, support for gamers and the games industry is coming from all corners. Writing for PCMag, Lance Ulanoff says the decision should rest in parents' hands: "If I have real concerns, it's up to me to argue it out with my son and take away the games or not buy them for him when he asks." Game developer Daniel Greenberg wants to know "how government bureaucrats are supposed to divine the artistic value that a video game has for a 17-year-old," adding that he's "disheartened and a little perplexed to see [his] art and passion lumped in with cigarettes and booze." The expectation within the legal community is that the statute should be found unconstitutional, and the Atlantic's Garrett Epps points out the irony of Gov. Schwarzenegger's involvement with the legislation.
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Supreme Court Hears Violent Video Game Case Tomorrow

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  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday November 01, 2010 @06:32PM (#34095792) Journal

    I'm not aware of any law that restricts the sale of 'R' rated movies. I am aware of several corporate policies that restrict such sales. Wal-Mart is notorious for this -- I've watched the Wally World drones card people for 'R' rated movies while letting the next person buy beer without being carded.

    Is there an actual law on the books somewhere that restricts the sale of 'R' rated movies?

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Monday November 01, 2010 @06:39PM (#34095872)

    A bunch of blah blah blah and then "...I'm glad to have you on our side, 'cause I agree with you. Leave your game alone. The people that put together these video games are artists in their own right. If you're gonna start saying that video games are raunchy, then how the hell do you leave cable television alone?" [] []

  • by Afforess ( 1310263 ) <> on Monday November 01, 2010 @06:57PM (#34096056) Journal
    There is research that shows that when a particularly violent new movie debuts in Theaters, violent crimes have a huge downward trend for the next few days.

  • by Purity Of Essence ( 1007601 ) on Monday November 01, 2010 @07:41PM (#34096484)

    How exactly do you measure "success" for a rating system?

    By surveying parental and retailer/exhibitor awareness and performing "secret shopper" trials to test enforcement.

  • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Monday November 01, 2010 @08:05PM (#34096656) Journal

    An interesting aside to this is that due to the power of the big retailers (Walmart and the like), and their refusal to stock NC-17 movies or AO games, means that it's considered commercial suicide to release a title that hits these marks. Although I don't support the government stepping in on principle, the practical upshot in countries like the UK where there is a legally enforced rating system is that 18 rated games and movies are a big part of the market, thus they are sold by all major retailers without argument - in principle it's more restrictive, but in practise the publishers don't have to spend their time worrying about getting the highest rating out of the black box that is the MPAA.

  • See Bobo Doll study (Score:3, Informative)

    by lavagolemking ( 1352431 ) on Monday November 01, 2010 @10:14PM (#34097416)

    All I know is that if I didn't have an outlet for my anger at home, I would have let it out at school.

    Not to say one way or another - it's really hard to prove causality in media/violence cases especially in video games - but I'd like to refer you to Albert Bandura's famous Bobo Doll study [] (video []). The belief that an outlet for violence (particularly violent television) was good for satiating people's natural aggressive tendencies was widely believed up until this study was published in 1961. I am shocked nobody else here bothered to cite this study.

  • Re:Oh it gets better (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @12:02AM (#34097938)

    Violent crime as a whole has been dropping fairly steadily for about 2-3 decades. Despite the "We are less safe," hysteria from the media we are actually more safe. Violent crime levels have trended downward. Not every year, not every place, but you look at the over all trend and it has been on a decline for a good bit. Well guess what? That neatly maps with the rise in videogame popularity. In 2-3 decades they went from things only geeks played to something everyone does.

    Oddly enough, firearm ownership has also increased pretty steadily (not every year, not every place) in the USA during that period.

    And, as you say, the violent crime rate has been dropping....

  • by catbertscousin ( 770186 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @09:24AM (#34099938)
    Yep. I've known families who've had their kids taken away for anonymous tips over things that never even happened. It's sad how many times good families get smacked down for minor differences in childrearing while families where there's real abuse and danger to the kids don't get found out for years.
  • by zeroshade ( 1801584 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @11:32AM (#34101238)

    Except the parental controls, for most consoles, are more than adequate. They simply blacklist every game with a rating above what you deem is ok for your child. You also put a password on the parental controls and viola you're fine...that is until your child goes to his friend's house.

    Truth be told I agree with you that it's ridiculous to assume that a parent will be able to supervise their child every minute that their child has leisure time. That's why you need good parenting. It's called trust and talking to your child. If you talk to them about the games, you know they know it's not real, you enforce no games before schoolwork is done, etc, and you have trust in them, then you don't NEED to supervise them every minute to know that they will be fine.

    PS. If you can't trust your kid, then you have larger problems than violent video games. :)

  • Re:Parenting (Score:2, Informative)

    by purplepolecat ( 1108483 ) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:58PM (#34104156)

    Yes, that is the thing, governments should stay out of morality, its best for everyone.

    So, you are saying that murder should not be illegal? Theft? All laws are about morals, it is just a question of which morals are important enough to be enforced by law.

    No, laws are about protecting people's rights. If someone is murdered or stolen from, their rights have clearly been violated. If a minor murders an imaginary person in a game, or sees a nipple on TV, no rights have been violated.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.