Video Games Win in the Supreme Court
Today, the Supreme Court defeated the state of California’s ban on the sale of violent video games to minors citing that video games are no different from books, movies, comics and other forms of art, and are therefore protected under the First Amendment. This comes as great news to all fans and developers of video games ever, as once and for all they can say that their creations are works of art. The vote passed with a motion of 7 to 2.
Judge Antonin Scalia led the argument against the California law state that there was no basis for the state of ban the sale of violent video games to minors because there is not a likewise ban on the sale of violent books, movies, etc. He also stated that there is no real scientific evidence out to support the claim that violent video games are in fact harmful to the mind of a child. There was also an argument stating that the interactive nature of video games is what led to them being so destructive to the mind, but Judge Scalia once again cited novels and other media that fully engage and immerse the reader into the story.
Judge Samuel Alito also ruled against the ban, but for different reasons. He stated that the law was too vague to begin with to have a chance stand up against the scrutiny of the high court. He also stated that in the future as technology moves towards more 3D capability and augmented reality immersion that they may have to be viewed through a different lens than other forms of art and entertainment.
These are both very solid arguments, and I’m not going to go into the arguments for the law, as they pertain more to the safety and protection of children than to video games. I have always been a strong supporter of the fact that games are a form of art, and now it has finally been decided in America’s highest court of law. As time progresses I think some of the problems that Judge Alito beings up may arise, but by then technology as well as society will be much different from today and it may be viewed in a different light. I think you may see more games like Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock that not only make you think, but also bring up philosophical problems and ideas. Video games are headed down a much different path now than in the past. Many of the games of tomorrow will deal with stronger issues and be more immersive than anything we’ve seen before.
Image credit: Kotaku