Conducive Chronicle: Are Violent Video Games Free Speech?

With the Supreme Court about to consider legislation that would make it illegal for retailers to sell so-called "violent games" to minors, Charles Webb asks whether we're attempting to legislate protected speech.


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SlaughterMeister3049d ago

Limiting sales to minors does not limit the right to free "speech" (more accurately, freedom of expression). The person is still permitted to make the game, thus expressing themselves freely. All this does is add a tool to the belt of parents which makes it more likely and easier for them to make an educated, conscious decision about which games they may buy for their children.

Ultimately, it comes down to leverage the game industry can use when they are accused of polluting the minds of children and driving them to violence. We, as gamers, should celebrate laws such as these.

cwebb393049d ago

The intent of the legislation if to restrict to whom the speech can be directed (which is, itself, a form of limiting the speech). It's in turn legislating a thing already done by the industry in a way that sets an uncomfortable precedent not only for games but for other media. To concede (falsely) that games are pollutants devalues the products being created by game developers, and is frankly, a dangerous concession that would allow for games to be further marginalized.

The ESRB ratings act in the same manner as the MPAA ratings in terms of tools for parents: they have been effective during the lifespans of their respective industries and could/should be respected as such. I'm not sure how legislation will be a greater educational tool for consumers - it's more an unnecessarily punitive measure for retailers/renters.

Still, thanks for reading.