Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Videogames

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The law itself was written poorly, the case transcript is awesome to read. Some gems like, Whats ok for someon 18years and 1 days to play but not for 17years 364days to play?

Happy Gamer Is Happy!!!!

Can you feel a brand new day...

Also, because a video game song is mandatory.

Eat it California, now go home and be a family man!

Reflectively, I finally get to witness a end of an era; legally, the end of meaningless babel and useless "Save the Childrens" activist propaganda (propaganda that later became the basis for programs that targeted young adults like me in my school system).
While I do not doubt that these activists will continue their campaign, this decision is a legal deathblow for their movement; statistically, it will likely be decades before they can even attempt an appeal and it will be an uphill battle for them with this ruling as a foundation.

On a more personal note: If you were part of said activist groups, then I believe you deserve every ounce of spite, hate, humiliation, shame and baseless scapegoating you forced upon me and my demographic. Because of activists like you, I had to put up with my high school faculty treating me like the next potential Columbine shooter just because of the games I played and discussed with my friends (based on correlations made between the Columbine case and gaming).
I was forced into therapy I did not need and obstructed from attending class on two occasions until a shrink said I could otherwise (even the shrink found these mandates absurd). You have no idea what it feels like to be used as political chum for a "feel-good" or "better-safe-than-sorry" agenda; I do and it's neither fair, nor pleasant.

So today, I happily celebrate the legal death of the basis for your profoundly stupid arguments and ugly holier-than-thou politicking, and I hope that someday this decision will enable my generation to use video games to create a cultural milestone just to further prove how fucking wrong you were all those years.

Cheerio.
*toasts*

Yes! They've postponed our transformation into becoming like Australia.

Thank you, SCOTUS. This seemed like the obvious find to most of us over here, but you never know.

dochmbi:

SteelStallion:
I don't fully understand the case, could someone explain to me what's wrong here?

I mean, they're voting for a law that prohibits the sale of adult rated games to minors. Isn't that how movies work as well? What's the issue here?

Sorry I'm not American so I don't really get it, just curious lol.

Same here, I don't understand this either. On the surface it doesn't seem bad to prohibit the sale of R rated videogames to minors, what would have been the effect to the video game industry had the decicion been different?

There are a number of takes on offer here, but let me offer my own two cents.

As it currently stands, the video game industry in the U.S. is self-regulating. This isn't perfect, by any means, but it works reasonably well, and more to the point, it works very similarly to how movies in the U.S. work. I'd actually argue that there's probably greater enforcement of ESRB guidelines at most major electronics retailers than there is of MPAA guidelines at most movie theaters. The ESRB has actually been praised for how well it works by Congress. So there's that at the start- there's already a system in place, and it works fairly well.

Mind you, that doesn't help if some adult decides to buy their six-year-old God of War 3, but the same applies for some idiot taking that six-year-old to Watchmen.

The California law was incredibly badly written and over-reaching. There's real suggestion that the people responsible for it just hated video games; the law mandated enormous labels on violent games, not unlike those on cigarettes (note the ESRB already labels games clearly.) More to the point, it would have put an over-18 limit on any game featuring "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being." There are plenty of games currently rated T or even E-10 that feature relatively bloodless killing of human beings; Sotomayor also pointed out early in discussions that a strict reading of that wording wouldn't prohibit explicit violence to, say, a Vulcan.

The law threatened fines easily capable of wiping out a retailer's profits for the entire video game section on the basis of a couple of mistakes. It had the potential to do real harm to the industry and the medium, and create a precedent for a patchwork of badly-written and over-reaching laws throughout the United States (potentially with each of those states having its own law) that could be crippling.

I can hardly express how glad I am that this decision was reached. It was a bad, bad law, and it needed to die.

Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Falseprophet:
A victory for gamers and free speech advocates everywhere!

King Toasty:
Sweet. Now if Canada could get on this, I'd be a happy platypus.

Ontario decided a few years ago that ESRB ratings have the force of law here. Not sure how it works in the rest of Canada.

I have problems with that policy, because I think you can either let an industry self-regulate, or impose government regulation with an appeal process. You might have issues with one or the other, but they both have legitimate points on their side. However Ontario's half-measure where they're basically outsourcing government regulation to the industry itself doesn't sit right with me at all. Private industry should not have the power to create (or enforce) the law. But that's the state of affairs here in Ontario.

Here in BC, at least, it's the same thing. I'm not against individual stores or chains enforcing the ESRB ratings (which really kinda suck), but when the government steps in to make it law, it's too much.

Optional Opinion:

Games should be treated equal to films in my opinion.

And now, by Supreme Court ruling, they are.

fierydemise:
A nice takeaway from Scalia

Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas-and even social messages-through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player's interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.

Does anyone else think that this sounds like Scalia has been watching Extra Credits?

Really, read it to yourself in the EC voice. It fits perfectly.

Good. I expected this to be the outcome, but I'm glad to know it did finally happen.

Yay for games, I especially love this one line "Crudely violent video games, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy" Oh, snap son!

If the human centipede can be saved from being burned by fire 'cos it falls under the category of "art" then so can games like Bioshock.

(yes, I have been waiting years to use that vid)

Frehls:

Optional Opinion:
So children can now get their hands on violent games legally?
How is this a good thing?

I thought it would be better to establish better boundaries not demolish them.

Games should be treated equal to films in my opinion.

Some films are made for adults and shouldn't be viewed by children legally.

Please read the thread.
There are no laws in the US forbidding minors from viewing 17+ films, or indeed reading smutty romance novels. And, as has been said again and again and again, retailers refuse to sell mature rated games to minors. If this law had passed, games would not receive equal first amendment treatment with other forms of media.

I agree, read the thread AND read what Scalia wrote. He addressed -- and demolished -- the idea that violent media can or should be legally banned from minors.

If you think that simulated violence is so bad that it's up to the government to spend millions of dollars, create enormous financial and legal hassles for an entire industry, and send people to jail just to make it a little harder for minors to get violent games (like it would really stop most of them), then I suggest you sit down a minute and think about what you're really proposing, because it's ludicrous.

It's beyond clear that the current self-regulatory system works fairly well, and even if it didn't this law would still be unconstitutional, misguided, and overkill.

Is there something else on the bill that was bad? Because kids not getting on violent video games and spamming the N word doesn't sound like a bad thing to me.

You can always trust the Supreme Court in cases like this. It's just the ones that have an impact on corporate influence that I never like.

Check out this totally awesome Steam screenshot showing the exaltation of the industry!

image

Very pleased! I shall be reading the entire opinion myself to see what I make of it but great news indeed!

hue

lol, @ the word 'oral'.
tis the simple things in life


VICTORY

I tried talking to the commenters on the CNN article about why this was a good thing, but...ugh, they just frustrated me too much. Far too many people in this country are just throwing logic out the window so they can stick with what was alright in the 1970's.

But yes, this was the landmark victory we needed. It's amazing to see video games' legitimacy finally realized by the government.

But...wouldn't said ban have (at least on paper) led to a severe reduction in the amount of obnoxious 15 year olds that help make online MP games a wretched hive of scum and villainy? Isn't this a phyrric victory? Perhaps I'm misguided...

shadowmagus:

fierydemise:
My thoughts from another thread
Heres the decision, I suggest you read that if you really want to get a sense of how good of a result this is. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf

Scalia's majority decision declares video games as non-unique with regards to regulation (at least with the current state of scholarly debate on the subject), that is you can't single out video games without hitting cartoons or movies. That is the absolute best result we could have hoped for. A nice takeaway from Scalia

Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas-and even social messages-through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player's interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.

Also interesting is how much of a bullet we dodged with regards to the Alito concurrence. Had Chief Justice Roberts wanted to throw his weight around that concurrence or something quite similar to it could have been the majority decision and that would have been almost as bad as a loss.

I enjoyed this part...

Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively. Any demonstrated effects are both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media.

Suck it Fox!

I read somewhere that playing violent video games won't make you a violent person, but violent people enjoy playing violent video games. ergo, playing violent video games is a risk factor, like how if you smoke cigerates or eat McDonalds often enough is a risk factor for heart desiea. but you can still smoke and eat unhealthy and never have a heart attack.

hooray so why was california trying to impose this rule

At the age of 16 you can Hunt with a REAL GUN in california(by yourself).
You can hunt with a parent at 12 with a REAL GUN.
Real guns good Fake guns bad.

I'm very glad it got shot down it doesn't make sense.

coldasicedrummer:
But...wouldn't said ban have (at least on paper) led to a severe reduction in the amount of obnoxious 15 year olds that help make online MP games a wretched hive of scum and villainy? Isn't this a phyrric victory? Perhaps I'm misguided...

I know you're joking, but that's like saying since minors can't buy porn, none of them have any...right.

This law wouldn't have done dick. And unlike porn, parents would have still been allowed to give their kids "violent" games, stores just wouldn't be legally allowed to sell them to kids.

YAY!!!

I gave a little cheer when I saw this article, to the surprise of everyone in my house (since I almost never get even slightly loud). Good to see I was right to maintain my faith in SCOTUS!

That'll do SCOTUS, that'll do.

This is not only a great day for the video game medium, but also for free speech.

Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas-and even social messages-through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player's interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection. Under our Constitution, "esthetic and moral judgments about art and literature . . . are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority." United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 529 U. S. 803, 818 (2000).

YEEAAAAHHHH!!! Never say Hue Hefner hasn't ever done anything for you!

Woooooooooooohoooooooo! :D
Awesome, freaking awesome. So can we have it stick this time? We have the "the Supreme Court already ruled on it, you can shut up about it now" argument now, right? :)

Greg Tito:
"Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat.

*raises eyebrow* Yeah, and playing Mass Effect 2 is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than watching Jackass: The Movie, but we don't compare the two as they're completely different fucking categories.

Jordi:
So, does this mean that a 10-year-old can now go out and buy Duke Nukem or any other R rated game?

I highly doubt it will happen unless the person ringing the kid up is totally brain dead and/or doesn't care, if that is the case it would also fall under the responsibility of the parent. I know when I was ten years old, my parents were always around when I made a purchase of any kind. So if a kid does get a game like that, it isn't the fault of the games industry, it is the fault of the game store worker and/or the parent.

Heck, I'm 25 and have a fuzzy beard and when I bought Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition a few days ago, I got carded. Though I don't think it was on the account that I somehow looked like I was under 17. The guy said, "Sorry, it is policy." So I highly doubt that guy is going to sell such games to the youngster.

I understand not all stores are manned by such upstanding workers, but the industry shouldn't be blamed for slip ups like that or harshly regulated because of such things. I don't even get what they were trying to accomplish in the first place, because the majority if not all stores have the policy to not sell such games to minors.

This is a good day for gaming. This should be a call to all big name industry influences to make games truly deserving of this protection such as the ones that were probably used to defend gaming, the titles that are argued as proof that gaming is art, which it has always been but now more than ever is it evident to those who would say nay.

bombadilillo:
The law itself was written poorly, the case transcript is awesome to read. Some gems like, Whats ok for someon 18years and 1 days to play but not for 17years 364days to play?

It needs to have a structure of some sort. I guess anyone in that 17 364 category will just have to put on their pouty pants and wait a day.

Huzzah! Tis a victory for our side!!!

Only one thing to do now: http://youtu.be/jSZB0NjRqzc

CELEBRATE! And make some great games.

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