In 2005 California passed a law to prevent the sale of violent video games to children under 18. This law however has as been blocked by a federal appeals court, which says the ban is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The law itself is slowly working its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in which they will make a final ruling on if video games are a form of speech like movies or books. Yet this hasn’t stopped organizations like MAVAV(Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence) from attempting to get the sale of violent video games banned in other states. So lets take a closer look as to why we as gamers want video games to be classified as a form of speech.
For one, when someone tells us to turn off the game we can say that we’re just asserting our 1st amendment rights. But more importantly if video games become classified as a form of speech then they can’t be banned. It will also allow game developers to be protected from lawsuits such as the ones that claim that the game is responsible for the child‘s behavior. John Hinckley Jr. didn’t shoot President Regan because “Catcher in the Rye” told him too. He did it because he was mentally unstable and felt that doing it was the best way he could get the attention of Jodie Foster and his family.
Now some of you may be thinking well if video games are like movies then they can prohibit the sell of them like they do with “R” rated movies. Well here’s the thing, it’s not illegal for someone under the age of 17 to buy a R rated movie that’s just the stores policy. The MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) isn’t a regulatory body. They’re a non-profit business and trade association that provide a voluntary rating system that companies choose to follow. Most retail stores follow the ESRB, ACB, or PEGI rating system for the sale of video games.
Now for those of you that don’t live in the states it’s a bit of a good news bad news situation. The good news is that the “Western” countries like to have a unified or similar classification of goods. This makes it much easier for foreign trade and 90% of all law passed is about trade or business. The bad news however, right now there are a lot of people in power that don’t understand video games and base their opinion off the opinions of people who donate money to their campaigns. Like how Hillary Clinton has the exact same opinion as MAVAV.
Editorial by Ninth Batter the author/creator of Nobody Like You.
Any opinions expressed in posts on Polygamerous are not necessarily the opinions of Polygamerous or the other Authors/Editors/Podcasters of Polygamerous.