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-   -   Rampant Games - Video Games: Protected Expression (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14105)

skavenhorde June 30th, 2011 00:04

Rampant Games - Video Games: Protected Expression
I should have posted this yesterday, but Jay Barnson gives his opinion on the landmark decision by the Supreme Court to strike down California's anti-videogame law. His opinion is a bit more unique than a normal gamers due to the fact that these laws would have realworld consequences for the games that he is developing or hope to develop in the future. Here are a few snippets:

I remember the insanity surrounding the “Hot Coffee” scandal, where a lame sex-based mini-game had been disabled from a Grand Theft Auto game but not deleted entirely, and gamers found a way to manipulate the program to re-activate the content. Oh, the uproar! Oh the sudden surge in legislation by politicians looking to capitalize on the scandal to score “family values” points.
And oh, the chilling effect these bills and laws would have had on the industry! Especially on indies, had the laws gained traction.
Now, I’m personally a socially conservative person. I’m a religious guy. I have issues with some of the content in many games. But I don’t consider my mindset to be a political viewpoint, because I feel most of the time it is none of the government’s business. While there are certainly exceptions, in general I feel that this is the role of religion (and philosophy), not the state, brought about by persuasion rather than compulsion. And the ham-handed rules set forth by the attempts at videogame legislation by politicians who didn’t have a clue what they were attempting to regulate universally did for more “collateral damage” than any effect on the games they were specifically targeting.
So I am thrilled by this ruling. Does this mean video games are in the clear? The war is over? A lot of folks are skeptical, and I acknowledge that some people aren’t going to rest until they’ve castrated the medium. Defenders need to remain vigilant. But I think time is on our side.New media and styles inevitably come under attack, and the onslaught against video games is in direct proportion to its growth as a medium. But the longer they survive, the more the culture becomes acclimated to it. I think that most politicians will consider the cost of trying to fight or bypass the Supreme Court decision. As the Nintendo Generation becomes parents and politically active, video games become a harder and harder target. And more of our elected officials have been gamers themselves.
I hope that this decision will have a ripple effect in many other nations. But for here in the U.S., this feels like an incredibly substantial victory, and one less thing to worry about as a gamer or game developer.
*update* As of today Utah state representative Michael Morley has reporedly stopped his efforts to pass a bill targetted against the sale of violent video games.* So he is the first domino to fall. Who's next?
*Gamasutra's Aricle on Utah's Bill
More information.

RampantCoyote June 30th, 2011 00:04

They've been trying to pass that law (or one like it) for YEARS here in Utah - in spite of the fact that our AG (a gamer who has appeared on TV ads for the ESRB - and also picketed a local game company releasing a violent game "as a private citizen") warned them that though he'd do his best to defend it, he expected it to lose on Constitutional grounds.

Political party affiliation doesn't seem to matter - they all want to be a nanny state and tell us how to live our lives, what games we should play, what shows we should watch, etc.

One of the variants of the law they tried to pass would have made me a potential felon just for having non-rated games on my website - and punished under an anti-pornography law. Another would have made me potentially subject to jail time for letting my own daughter play a rated M game that I thought was appropriate.

Sure, by the time these bills made it into law, they may have been worded differently to take care of these problems, but these same idiots who have no clue what they are legislating have a habit of coming in later and amending an existing law with new language with little fanfare.

Oh - and to top it all off. One of these bills passed through committee - after having the retail merchants association telling them just what a chilling effect it would have on both game developers that supply lots of jobs in the state, as well as retail stores which provide even more. Once they were gone, they committee marked a checkbox on the form that said that they were unaware of any economic impact that would result from the bill.

Yeah. Lie, deceive, whatever it takes - all they want is a talking point for "family values" to help them win reelection.

So yeah. Half of these guys are evil, and the other half are just clueless. I'm not sure which is worse, but I'm glad we've got Constitutional limits in place to limit the damage these jokers can do.

I hope other countries with more restrictive videogame laws will follow suit and ease up.

Santos June 30th, 2011 00:37


Originally Posted by RampantCoyote (Post 1061078341)
they all want to be a nanny state and tell us how to live our lives, what games we should play, what shows we should watch, etc.

Which is rather strange, as most of my Mormon friends consider themselves Libertarians (even the ones in Utah).

RampantCoyote June 30th, 2011 03:14

Maybe the people are, but those who choose a career in politics have other ideas. I dunno.

Zloth June 30th, 2011 03:34


A lot of folks are skeptical, and I acknowledge that some people aren’t going to rest until they’ve castrated the medium.
Actually, I bet they will. Rock & Roll, Hollywood, comics, and Dungeons & Dragons all came before. They are hardly mentioned now and then only in extreme cases. Eventually, kids will find another form of entertainment that their parents don't understand and the cycle will start up all over again.

Alrik Fassbauer June 30th, 2011 15:50

This is actually one of the things Germans will never quite understand - and vice versa, I guess.

ChienAboyeur June 30th, 2011 17:22

A valley of illusions. It gave jobs though.

First question: can or can not this kind of regulation happen? After answering that question, the next question is to be: must or must not this kind of regulation happen?

The answer to the first question was in case of the video games industry: yes, it can happen but with a lot of pain. A lot of.

At this point, the second question is biased as the answer "this kind of regulation must happen" is barely practicable as people wont suffer that amount of self inflicted pain.

A comedy show to keep the face. But it gave jobs to people who had to paint the topic so that the outcome 'it must not be regulated' appears as the reasonable answer.

Been the same for ages. Guys coming up with abolishing slavery were great initiators of this kind of show. Yes, it could be abolished but with many, many people taking hair cuts so in the end, it had not to be abolished. The fake discussion gave jobs so what, who cares?

Nothing real but the pretense to be real.

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