Mock Trial Calls Violent Games Case For California

A panel comprised of some of the nation's pre-eminent jurists, legal scholars and court observers pondered California's violent video games statute, which goes before the Supreme Court on November 2 and concluded the high court will decide 6-3 for California.

Details are sparse, provided to Game Politics by an attendee of the moot court this weekend at the College of William & Mary's Law School. The panellists included Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Beth Brinkman, a deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice, Erwin Cherminsky, dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine; and journalists Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, and Joan Biskupic of USA Today.

A participant attending the mock trial told Game Politics that few of the panellists had much understanding of the ESRB rating system.

"The only game brought up during the proceedings was Postal, which was mentioned several times," Game Politics wrote, "with an emphasis placed on the game's ability to let players kill children and pee on corpses, 'with the implication that other video games have similar content.'"

Given that, it was hardly surprising that the moot court called it 6-3 for California. Let's hope the actual justices do their homework better.

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    I still find it hilarious that a man who only got to where he is by portraying some of the most violent characters in entertainments history (see T1, conan, commando etc heck see the last action hero, if any form of entertainment makes violence and killing light hearted that film is a no.1 offender) now comes out to condemn another form of media just trying to spread its wings.

    All great movements and institutions start in a very violent and/or questionable place, its human nature and our history reflects that quite clearly. These people just dont seem to see that gaming is only just coming into this stage of its life, and it will, nay already has, started to mature in so many ways that its no longer meaningless violence in many cases

    I agree with most of what you're saying piat, but I also don't support selling of the most violent and confronting media (sex, violence, even disturbing fear etc) to young children. Whether a law is the right way to control that is debatable, but I think it is a fair suggestion to say that kids probably shouldn't be playing games like GTA4, as a mainstream example. That cannot mean that no one should be able to play it though... Children have funny rights--they are people and citizens, so yes they have rights, but they don't have the right to vote, drive cars, buy alcohol etc. So, do they by default have the right to buy adult-oriented media?

    agreed whole heartedly adam, children shouldnt be given access to this sort of content, but banning it is far from the correct solution, and still there isnt a human right to buy anything, the only rights issue at hand is the right to produce this media and have it seen by the intended audience, developers and gamers are campaigning for the rights to stick this content in front of the wrong audience.

    Im from Australia where there isnt even an R classification on games and the banning of highly violent and restricted content matter games are a hot issue right now, and like here its the same case as what is going on over there, its a matter for the parents, tighter control by the government just drives these things underground and the more the government says this is bad for you the more people want to look at it.

      The thing is, they aren't talking about banning the games, just making it illegal to sell adult rated games. It's actually what we've already got here. For example, an 8 year old is legally not allowed walk up toa counter by themselves and be sold GTA4. They can do so with their parents, but can't do it solo. I think as far as laws go, it's a fairly safe one.

        yes but the problem is, you sneak 1 law like this through then it starts opening the door for much more extreme laws on the industry, and it still wont change anything, there needs to be more focus on education and holding parents responsible then just blanket laws that make bad parents worse and lazier then they already are

          That's exactly what this law does, though. By preventing the sale of games to minors, parents then have greater control over what their kids play. Without these laws a kid can buy whatever game he likes no matter how violent. With these laws, adults are still free to choose what games they play, but kids are then dependent on a parent or some other (hopefully responsible) adult to make the decision on whether they can have it or not. Thus giving the parents some control over, and therefore responsibility for, what their kids play.

          There's absolutely nothing unreasonable about these laws as long as they don't infringe upon adults' right to make their own decisions.

            the only kids this protect is particularly young children who rely on their parents to give them money for the game or buy it for them, and if they are already getting these games it wont stop them, because the parents dont care, they obviously dont look at what they are buying the kids or pay attention to what they play and hence will still buy the games for their kids.

            Any kid in their teens knows a multitude of people to make purchases for them, they do it already. Take alcohol for example, its against the law for anyone under 21 in the US (18 here) to buy it, but have you seen the figures on teenage drinking these days? so whats putting a similar law on games gonna do? This law changes nothing and as ive stated just opens up precedence for harsher more infringing laws.

    *are not campaigning for the rights to stick this content in front of the wrong audience.

    All this focus on the violence of video games is privy to the real problem. Children are being taught any form of morality and parents are parenting their children well enough if they are getting their hands on violent video games.
    Those children who are able to get their hands on violent video games should already know that games and reality are different and the wrong in the actions alowed to you in a video game.

    As much as this is possibly inflating the issue. Religion served the purpose of teaching children right from wrong (to an extent) and now as we move away from religious beleiefs (or are not as influenced/care as much) their has been a noticable increase in violence. I was never religious and I still am not but as a child I was always taught right from wrong and even when playing/seeing violent video games (or any media for tat matter) I was always aware that the violence was fake, should not be imitated or seen as a good thing.

    Overall in general their seems to be a real negative outlook on games and how they cause violence but you dont blame the gun for shooting someone you blame the person wielding it. If you remove the gun theirs still going to be a violent person around. Video games in the right hands is what it has always been, a form of entertainment, and this constant demonization of them is wrong and avoids the main issues.

    PS. I am aware that this law is aimed at the rating system of games.

    I don't get why people are getting so angry over this. It's not like violent games are banned you're just not allowed to sell them to minors. What's the point of having a rating if people aren't even allowed to follow it and stop someone under 15 buying an MA15+ game?

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