SCOTUS Gives Gamers A Win. Now What?
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed gamers a huge victory by voting in favor of the EMA (Entertainment Merchants Association) in a case that began six years ago in the state of California. Introduced by the honorable Leland Yee and signed into law by Arnold Scharzenegger (the case was originally called Scharzenegger Vs EMA), the law made the renting and selling of violent video games to minors a crime. The law was immediately challenged by the video games industry, which stated that video games were protected by the first amendment. In an overwhelming 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court agreed, and the law was repealed yesterday.
So we won. Now what?
Let me first state that I don’t think kids should be playing games like Call of Duty and Resident Evil. I think the rating system exists for a reason, and as the first generation of gamers approaches middle-age, we can sometimes take for granted that not everyone knows what we do about our favorite pastime.
I don’t like the idea of the government (or anyone else) telling me what I can or cannot do. If we had lost this battle at the Supreme Court, I was afraid of our government overriding the ESRB and dictating what we could or could not publish as developers. Think about it. If a law states that violent video games cannot be sold to children, and the powers that be decide your title is too violent to be sold to children, how does that affect your bottom line? Or even worse, your ability to create?
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; WE NEED TO ENFORCE THE RATING SYSTEM. We need to take responsibility ourselves for what our kids are playing.
Figure 2 Super Smash Brothers, by Nintendo, is a great family title.
Figure 3 Ninja Gaiden 2, by Team Ninja, most definitely not fit for children.
I don’t believe, nor have I ever believed, that violent video games are at the root of our children’s problems. I could believe that violent video games create more aggressive tendencies, and again, I’ll scream it from the mountaintop; IT’S A PARENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE WHAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE EXPOSED TOO.
Before we go running, screaming into the street to celebrate this victory, we need to realize that an opportunity, maybe our last opportunity, has presented itself. We need to show the government that can police ourselves when it comes to our gaming, and our kids. The ESRB serves no purpose if no one is paying attention to it. The ratings exist for a reason. Now the Supreme Court has decided to stay out of the sale and development of our content, we should now prove we were worthy of the decision.
Thanks for reading.
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
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