Video Games

Do videogames really need to be censored by the United States’ Government? Over the past several years there has been a controversial court case under discussion to censor videogames. This case is trying to get the United States’ Government to prohibit the selling of all videogames that may include graphic violence, virtual sex, violent and gory scenes, partial or full nudity, portrayal of criminal behavior or other provocative and objectionable material (Mears, Para 1). There are numerous arguments why videogames should or should not be censored. Videogames should not be censored because parents should show responsibility in raising their children, it is unconstitutional, videogame companies take enough steps to already censor their products already, and censorship would impact the videogame industry tremendously. During the past years there has been the first ever videogame court case called Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, trying to pass a law against selling or renting violent games to minors (Scholssman, Para 1). This case has been going on for several years and has recently escalated all the way to the Supreme Court. The morning of November 2, 2010, the United States Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments for this case. During the oral arguments; both sides gave their reasons of why they thought the bill should be approved or thrown out. During the oral arguments of the Californian Representative; Justice Scalia brought up the point that even Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a series of German household and children fairy tales, are violent and could these be excluded by the law. This brought up instant argument weather or not could this be broadened to just video games or all sources of entertainment that could be considered violent that minors have access to (Attack of the Show, 2010). This case goes all the way back six years to 2004, with the Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: Hot Coffee scandal where players could download a mod that allowed characters to have sex with each other. This case could result in videogames being classified in the same way as extreme pornographic material. Another game that is used to support the court case it Postal 2. This game is a horrible example to represent the videogaming industry, because of the fact this it is arguably the most violent and intense videogame. Postal 2 is a first person shooter released in 2003, which brought up an enormous amount of controversy. Mears says, “Postal 2 features the adventures of the ‘Postal Dude,’…must confront everyday tasks. But how he handles these errands—with the power to behead girls, shoot police and urinate on victims” (Para 1). Due to the amount of graphic violence in the gameplay Postal 2 has been banned in several countries. The Californian State Senator Leeland Yee targeted the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) for not putting an adult only rating on the game. Yee’s comment on the scandal brought back up the controversial topic of censoring certain videogames. Yee introduced a bill that will criminalize the sale of “ultraviolent” videogames to minors. This bill will result in videogame retailers to keep adult title games separate from other games on the market. The bill would fine retailers as much as one-thousand dollars per-sale for any game they sold to minors. In 2004 Yee’s bill was signed by Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger into law and prohibiting selling games containing adult content to any minor. This law was fought in court and ruled unconstitutional (Ishimoto, Attack of the Show). Banning the rights to a consumer to purchase and play specific types of videogames violates the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. This court case is still ongoing and the Supreme Court can go either way with their final decision. Adam Sessler from Attack of the Show says that the opposing argument of this bill is that this is a very broad law. In the California State Government’s own words,...
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