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The Supreme Court is getting set to revisit a proposed California law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors, a process that sees a major milestone today as the state submits its written argument in favor of the measure.

It's spearheaded by California Senator Leland Yee, the original author of the law, whose support -- along with that of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- has brought it again to the court's attention, despite the fact that such measures have repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional on free speech grounds.

  • Posted by Matt
  • http://videogam.in/s2038
Sblogs / 2010 / July / 13

California Submits Arguments For Violent Game Law

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  1. We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder

    In California, parents apparently need to be told by the government that the videogames their children are playing are violent. In the other 49 states, parents can take an interest in what their children are doing and decide for themselves what is and isn't appropriate.

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  2. So I don't understand why this sort of law in so controversial. We all ready do it with movies. And even though pretty much everyone in the film business thinks the MPAA is broken, they do believe that a rating system and restrictions for minors not accompanied by a parent is appropriate. Why should video games be any different?

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  3. For someone that lives in a country where all forms of media are essentially controlled by the government I cannot see why this is an issue. Sure, I don't know much about US law so I'm going to put that aside.

    What I don't understand from this is why does it matter? In other states where the kids can buy these games how is that encouraging parents to take an interest in what their children do? Surely making violent games restricted to over a certain age bracket forces (in theory) children to see permission from their parent before being able to play the latest Grand Theft Auto title.

    My personal view is that some degree of censorship is essential, at least restricting content from those too young for it. Horribly violent games are best kept away from 12 year old children with some birthday cash unless their parents are happy for them to mow down cops in a truck.

    Also, if kids can't (in theory) buy films or explict pornography I don't see why the law has to exclude explicit video game sales to minors.

    Edit: Reminder that I not only don't know US law pretty much at all, but I can't claim I'm in the know about US society either, this all comes from my own background.

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  4. @Alex

    some degree of censorship is essential, at least restricting content from those too young for it. Horribly violent games are best kept away from 12 year old children with some birthday cash unless their parents are happy for them to mow down cops in a truck.

    I don't advocate censorship or regulation in most instances, but I strongly believe it's not the government's place to regulate anything at all we, as free men, can or can't do so long as it doesn't have an adverse effect on the quality of life of other free men.

    The reason is because regulation is essentially restriction. No government in the history of man, as far as I'm concerned, has ever demonstrated an ability to assert a moral imperative that is greater than my own. I am my own man and, as such, what right does another man or group of men have that make them more suitable to restrict my actions?

    As far as minors are concerned, however, who has the responsibility to restrict their actions...?

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  5. @Matt I think it's been pretty well established that the government can restrict the actions of minors. After all, minors can't vote.

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  6. @Nels The governemnt can restrict all they want, but kids will still find a way to get their hands on violent games or anything else you tell them they're not suppose to have.

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  7. @Matt

    The problem, unfortunately, is that especially in America, while you may have the ability to assert a strong moral imperative, most people here simply don't.

    Frankly, as anti-censorship as I am, in some instances, I'm very pro-regulation.

    I was all set to be up in arms when I read the headline, but actually I agree with it wholeheartedly.

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  8. @Son_Gara totally, it's a forbidden fruit kinda thing.

    @ the article itself, What is a "minor" in this context anyway? Haven't been into a big games shop in a while, but last I checked most of them refuse the sale of 'M' games to under-17s already. I get carded like crazy. Would we really be changing much?

    I was kind of afraid the headline too, it makes it sound like devs could get locked up for going "too far." But instead this seems like a natural extension of the media regulation we've already got in place - Nels is spot on.

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  9. @Son_Gara I'm not sure your point. I could use that same logic on every law in existence for any demographic and I'd get the exact same conclusion. Of course kids will still find a way. But not as many and that's the point.

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  10. @Nels That point is mute though. Sure, it probably will stop more kids from buying the games, but how long do you really think that will last? Maybe one or two months at the most?

    Kids are eventually gonna wise-up and find ways around this new law to get want they want. Its like what Kanji said, it a forbidden fruit kinda thing. The more you tell someone they can't have something, the more they are going to want it. That goes for everybody, not just kids. If they can't get their parents to get it, then they'll ask older siblings or relatives, or something like that. Hell, if they want it bad enough they'll just steal the fucking thing. If all else fails, I'm sure they'll have friends that do own the games, and just spend all their time playing it over there.

    And what if, by some chance, the debate over this law gets so big, that it catches the attention of kids, who had no interest in playing violent games in the first place, playing them just out of curiosity? You say this law will prevent more kids from getting ahold of these types of games, but the reality is, that the only thing this law is going to do is make the number of kids who play violent games grow and grow.

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  11. @Son_Gara I'm sure those things you describe will happen because they happen now without the law when parents won't let their kids have games. Kids all ready know what to do that really want it.

    If a child has to go to a friend's house to play the game the parent has successfully limited the interaction their child will said game. Relatives and many siblings are actually quite respectful of parents' wishes, especially when the child is much younger than 18. Also, the games all ready have a M rating on them (in the US) which should be providing the bulk of the mystique you describe all ready.

    Besides, the law doesn't make it illegal for children to play the games, it makes it illegal for them to buy the games. That's a big difference. It's not like beer or cigarettes where a kid can feel dangerous every time they take a puff or sip.

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