Violent Video Games

In yet another slap to the lefties who want to control our lives, the US Supreme Court has struck down a law in California that banned the sale of violent video games to minors. In a 7-2 decision, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, it was determined that video games enjoy first amendment protections like any other art form. For those of us who are gamers and who have seen said art first hand (my gallery is filled with it) this seems like a no brainer. Then again, it's California. The land of no brainers. See what I did there?

Justice Antonin Scalia said:

Video games qualify for First Amendment protection, like protected books, plays and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. The State wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children. That is unprecedented and mistaken.


Yes, as you might expect, one of California's nanny state laws aimed at "protecting the children". The law, passed in 2005, was designed to keep violent games out of the hands of children. Because apparently parents all had broken arms and legs and were incapable of preventing their children from spending their money on them. Or something. Naturally the nanny state folks concocted some ridiculous studies about how violent games turn kids into serial killers. Maybe. They couldn't prove it, but the California legislature NEVER lets an opportunity to invade our lives go untapped.

Oddly, the one agency that benefits from the nanny state system the most, the ESRB - famous for actually being serious about Oblivion receiving an M rating because there was a boobie in one of the resource files - thinks that this ruling was actually a good thing, despite the fact that this law was the only thing making it even worth having a rating system. Go ask your local Gamestop employees how often they refused to sell a game to a minor with cash in hand, at least in states where there were no such laws on the books. Then ask the ones here in California how often they obeyed this law and you'll probably find the results to be the same. Most retailers looked the other way.

Bottom line, common sense prevailed at SCOTUS. It is becoming increasingly clear that we'll be thanking Bush for years to come for getting level headed Justices on the bench who rule based on Constitutional principles and not their emotions. Game on folks!

PS: Doom pic FTW. How cool is it that one can still find those in 2011?
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July 1776 - November 2012.

       
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Posted on Jun 28, 2011 1:34 am by Samson in: , | 20 comment(s) [Closed]
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Scalia, much as I may disagree with the man on many a thing, was on fire in this one.

And I quote:

Justice Scalia said:


Justice Alito has done considerable independent re-search to identify, see post , at 14–15, nn. 13–18, video games in which “the violence is astounding,” post , at 14. “Victims are dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, set on fire, and chopped into little pieces. . . . Blood gushes, splatters, and pools.” Ibid. <font scaps="1">Justice Alito recounts all these disgusting video games in order to disgust us—but disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression. And the same is true of Justice Alito ’s description, post , at 14–15, of those video games he has discovered that have a racial or ethnic motive for their violence—“ ‘ethnic cleansing’ [of] . . . African Americans, Latinos, or Jews.” To what end does he relate this? Does it somehow increase the “aggressiveness” that California wishes to suppress? Who knows? But it does arouse the reader’s ire, and the reader’s desire to put an end to this horrible message. Thus, ironically, Justice Alito ’s argument highlights the precise danger posed by the California Act: that the ideas expressed by speech—whether it be violence, or gore, or racism—and not its objective effects, may be the real reason for governmental proscription.


Ladies and gentlemen, your Bush appointee. Scalia, for the record, the last of the Reagan appointees. For your entirely epic takedowns of appointees by the first Bush, see Footnote 3, which ought to put paid to the whole "seen but not heard" thing for a while.

       
I don't disagree with this decision in any way, however, it sounds like a 'Family Values Crusade' movement, which I was under the impression had more of a right wing angle.

Anyhoo though, Australia doesn't even have an R rating for video games. Now thats BULLSHIT. But we've got a stupid law that means that governer generals of all the states have to agree on the 18+ rating, and every single time its held the one from South Australia disagrees (fuckwit).

       
Definitely not a family values thing. This was purely the assholes in the California legislature doing what liberals always do. Push stupid legislation and then make the public think it was the right wingers who wanted it.

I know you and Dwip will probably never believe it but conservatives in general tend to view this sort of thing as an invasion of privacy and an interference in parental control rather than something useful. Nanny state laws don't sit well with us.

       
Actually, it was a "family values" thing. I was present at several sermons where Pastor Colson (one of the leaders of the "family values" movement was preaching on this subject. Ironically, at the time (circa 1998), Oblivion was the specific game he mentioned as "not suitable for Christians". (Which is why I bought it)

This time, liberals in California agreed.

Anyway, hooray constitution.

       
The big, no... huge difference here is that your pastor told the congregation that Oblivion is not suitable for Christians. He didn't legislate his will over the people of California, merely did what his 1st Amendment rights allow him to to - advocate a really ignorant position.

( BTW - you might want to think about your statement there, Oblivion didn't come out until 2006 which was after this law had passed )

The fact that the liberals of California did so despite the fact that it would make them look like religious nutbags ultimately changes nothing - they still turned that advocacy into stupid legislation that the ESA had to fight for 6 years to overturn.

Oh, and for God sake, stop lumping conservatives in as Christians. Not all of them are. That's about as daft as saying all liberals are atheists.

       
Edited by Samson on Jun 29, 2011 12:10 am
prettyfly [Anon] said:
Comment #6 Jun 29, 2011 12:00 am
The Family Values Crusade and the Nanny State issue are really just movements trying to achieve the same thing (although the issues can sometimes be different) but coming from different sides of politics. That and the Nanny state is less of a movement and more a political method, but anyway.

Though assuming the California is mostly liberal, Samson is probably right here. Though I think its funny that out of all the games that pastor could have specified he chose Oblivion. Something tells me he does not know a terrible lot about video games. :tongue:

       
Dallen said:

Oblivion was the specific game he mentioned as "not suitable for Christians". (Which is why I bought it)


You know Dallen, that's my kind of outworking of Christianity right there. Nothing like someone telling me you cannot, to get me doing it. Around the time that i started to see a huge difference between what my bible was telling me and what the church was telling me, the head pastor of the church i was affiliated with ran a series of sermons that a bunch of us have since nicknamed the WHY CAN'T I series, which for a rebellious soul like me, kind of became FUCK YEAH I CAN, JUST WATCH ME.

I can still see the looks on the old ladies faces when i turned up at church with 2 Mohawks, one green one red, wearing knee high cut off jeans with about 30 zippers in them, 24 hole Dr Martins and a Dead Kennedy's shirt. After the pastor gave me a serve over the pulpit, calling me a backslider etc, i stood up, yelled out something like God is only interested about whats on the inside you bunch of Pharisees, walked out and have never been back to a church since.

Now back to the topic, i can understand Samsons view that its the parents role to decide what games their kids can play and at what age. If parents now days took the time that our parents did with us and theirs with them, then i would have no problem with this sort of ethical position, the trouble is tho, parents today have no freaken idea what their kids are up to, let alone take the time needed and put the effort into their kids to develop moral frameworks for them.

I also cant see any need for the law that they tried to pass either, there is more than enough state level protection for games in the ratings system. If a game is so horrific that it is going to scar the poor children, then I highly doubt that i would like it either and so refuse it clasification, if not give it an 18+ and be done with it, so adults can decide what they do and what they dont.

       
Edited by The_Fury on Jun 29, 2011 6:27 am
Actually, I don't have a big problem with calling the CA law a product of left-wing nanny statism. I'm not wildly familiar with its passage, but it's the sort of thing CA left-wing types would do. OTOH, and I think this depends on what state you're in, it's also true that your right-wing Christian types are also behind a lot of this stuff. And then you get guys like Jack Thompson. Go back far enough, and you get tragic crazy people, which is to say that so far as I can tell, this sort of bullshit has reasonably strong non-partisan support.

Which is to say, I had a look at things, and as best I can tell, the bill passed the CA legislature in 2005 on a 22-9 Senate vote and a 66-7 Assembly vote. Wikipedia notes a 25-15 D-R Senate membership split and a 48-32 D-R Assembly split. While the author is totally a Democrat, it would seem that apparently some Republicans somewhere, dare I say a lot of Republicans somewhere, thought this thing was a good idea.

All that said, I don't think Samson and I particularly disagree that this law (and dare I say most nanny state protect the children BS laws of the type) are bullshit. I'd go so far as to call the ESRB in general kind of bullshit as well that doesn't do a particularly good job of doing the thing it's supposed to do, and for that really what are the parents doing in all this.

       
Edited by Dwip on Jun 29, 2011 10:45 am
Because I am bored, tired, and curious:

2005 CA Senate:

25 Democrats (18 for, 7 not voting or abstaining)
15 Republicans (4 for, 9 against, 2 not voting or abstaining)

2005 CA Assembly:

48 Democrats (44 for, 2 against, 2 not voting or abstaining)
32 Republicans (23 for, 5 against, 4 not voting or abstaining)

Per previously cited voting records above, names cross-referenced with the Wikipedia page to get party affiliation. Make of those numbers what you will.

       
Also, wildly OT, but I figured you'd appreciate this.

       
I might have made a mistake with the date. I also do not disagree with Samson's point. My point was people in the family values movement have either advocated for or supported this legislation; so it's not "just" a leftist liberal thing (well, mostly, but...)

Of course, Conservative =! Christian.

       
One must also keep in mind that in California, being listed as a Republican means jack shit as well. Most of them are RINOs rather than actual conservatives.

       
Gormican [Anon] said:
Comment #13 Jun 30, 2011 8:29 pm
While the family values crowd always jumps in somewhat when this gets brought up. it's the "Guns are the root of all evil" crowd thats really the primary force behind these bans. The fact that it goes against all sorts of violence tends to obscure that it's the anti gun'ers that really hate games where a kid runs around shooting people.

       
prettyfly [Anon] said:
Comment #14 Jun 30, 2011 9:36 pm
I see those as two distinctly separate movements. Remember Columbine? The family values group were the ones who blamed video games and Manson, while the anti-gunners blamed lax gun laws. As for the guns themselves, as stupid as I think laws that allow any man and his dog to walk down the street with a thirty round pistol are, I'm not convinced that they're the source of America's high death rate for guns. My rationale being that Australia used to have really lax guns laws but when they were tightened heavily it made no difference to the rate of gun caused deaths among the population. Both before and after it was one fifteenth of that of America's :tongue: (after being adjusted for population).

       
I think this issue had quite a bit of support among the family values crowd, but contrary to what the media force-feeds you down there, they're not routinely going around shoving it down everyone's throats. Unlike the uber-left anti-gun lobby that thinks the 2nd Amendment was written by crazy people on drugs. I don't quite get how the two sides managed to keep from killing each other while the uber-lefties were suppressing 1st Amendment freedoms.

       
Unlike the uber-left anti-gun lobby that thinks the 2nd Amendment was written by crazy people on drugs.


It was, they drank too much tea.

       
Well that explains why they threw it into the harbor then :P

       
'Scuse me while I just say..

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM !!!!!

Omg, remember when those graphics were badass? :lol:

       
Yes, there's a reason I went with a Doom graphic :P

They'd still hold up fairly well today too if you could actually get it to run on a modern system.

       
Speaking of old games, I'm about to have a LAN party of sorts using Counterstrike, since its the best FPS we can all install of the same disk (we're all fairly cheap bastards). I'm not sure about how well its graphics really hold up today but the gameplay certainly holds up damn well still today.

       
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