For decades the question, “Do violent video games cause violent behaviour” has been tossed around and debated upon by millions. Legal action to limit and restrict sales of violent games has popped up and shut down many times and the reason restrictions are never made law is always the same; video games lay in the field of creative expression and is a valid form of freedom of speech. The ESRB ratings currently being assigned to games based on content makes everything very clear for both gamer and parents alike. This allows parents to control game content their children experience if they so choose which makes perfect sense… But, this wasn’t good enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger who, as governor of California in 2005, signed bill 1179 which proposed to restrict the sale of “violent video games” to minors with the penalty of $1000 to game vendors. The bill also mentions labeling all violet games with a large “18” that can be no smaller than 2″x2″. You can read the bill and all of it’s ridiculous details here.
Luckily the bill was tossed by United States District Court in California in 2007 and the ruling was upheld in 2009 by the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. But, bill 1179 has come back from the dead.
This year on April 26 the US Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments in the appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision. This means a law to force restrictions against the sale of violent video games in the U.S. could still happen. This would likely spread to Canada and perhaps around the world. It may also leak into other forms of entertainment such as music or movies… It’s actually quite a big deal.
Fear not however! There is a group fighting to spread the word that bill 1179 is unconstitutional and do nothing more than take away the rights of individuals to make their own choices. They have a website which everyone should check out: www.videogamevoters.org
Let’s all hope that the growing teenage minds of the future will not be shut out of the experience of surviving a zombie attack on PS5 or XBOX 1080!