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Escapist Publisher Says Banning Games Is Slippery Slope

| 6 Oct 2010 18:23
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If we ban game sales to minors simply because videogames are interactive, then bans of TV shows like American Idol or websites like Wikipedia can follow.

The First Amendment protects all forms of media from censorship based on content, CEO and Publisher of The Escapist, Alexander Macris, said in an op-ed piece printed in Raleigh's News Observer. The California state law that will be under review of the Supreme Court on November 2 has been struck down by all previous courts because the proof that playing violent videogames causes violent behavior was not compelling enough for the judges. But Macris argues that beyond the violence question, subjecting videogames to a different standard than other media is dangerous.

"The 9th Circuit [Court of Appeals] rejected the state's attempts to link games and real-world violence because the argument was 'based on correlation, not evidence of causation' and because expert conclusions were drawn using 'significant, admitted flaws in methodology,'" Macris writes. "There is no consensus of scientific evidence showing that games are harmful to children."

Macris points out that "interactivity" is everywhere, which is a core value of the The Escapist. To regulate interactive media more stringently than passive entertainment is wrong, as Macris writes, "Videogames are merely the spearhead of an interactive revolution that is transforming our world. Interactivity is coming to us everywhere - on the websites that we visit, the television we watch, even the radio stations we listen to. American Idol is interactive content. So is the online encyclopedia Wikipedia."

If the Supreme Court upholds the California law, then the precedent is set to limit the sale of all interactive media. "The same reasoning that lets a state regulate a violent video game would also give the government power to control who can access Wikipedia or a TV show that invites its audience to vote online," Macris writes.

"Allowing regulation for interactive media will invite censorship into our lives."

And that is a scary thought.

Source: News Observer

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