Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Gaming Advocates Are Way Off The Mark

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In an upcoming hearing by the Supreme Court of the United States California's video game sales law, the first of many state laws that ban the sales of Mature rated games to minors, will be ether upheld or struck down because it supposedly violates the right to freedom of speech.  Two advocacy groups have sprung up to push the issue beyond the courts and into the legislative spotlight.  The Entertainment Consumers' Association and the Video Game Voters' Network claim that making Mature rated video games is the same as censorship.

One big hole in the arguments that these groups make is that none of these laws dictate to game developers what they can or can't put into games.  These laws make the voluntary guidelines set out by the ESRB that most retailers adhere to the law of the land.  Those who argue that making little Johnny show some photo ID to buy the next Grand Theft Auto is some how unconstitutional,  then that would make denying admission to an R rated move unconstitutional as well.  Striking down any law restricting the sales of Mature rated games would mean that the law requiring TV sets to carry the 'V chip' would have to be struck down as well.

Selling video games at retail, I am required by provincial law to check photo ID to make sure that purchasers of Mature rated games are over the age of 17.  It's no different than when I had to show my ID the first time I went to a R rated movie on my own.  Was my right to freedom of speech violated? Without a doubt it wasn't so what's the big deal about restricting Mature rated games?

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