Censorship in Videogames
- Posted March 18th, 2008 at 16:39 EDT by
- 36 Comments
Let's face it; as the videogame industry continues to rapidly expand and become an ever-greater recognized medium, uneducated parents and politicians will continue to blindly blame games as the cause of the world's many problems. Typically, this is also the case for the music industry, which tends to attract similar controversy with genres such as Rock, and more recently, Rap and Hip-hop. Providentially, the videogame industry has been able to go untargeted for the simple fact that it always maintained a somewhat innocuous ambiance about it.
However, now that the industry has grown into this USD 17 billion a year market and furthermore, seen an increase in the average age of the gamer, the tides have changed and the innocence that the videogames industry once held has transformed into a battle ground for politicians and lawyers. As a result, this brings us to the topic of videogame censorship.
Censorship could either be good or bad, depending on which side you are on. In the case of videogames, censorship is not necessarily a favored notion for those within the industry, for the simple fact that their career is soley based on the freedom of creative art. Even you, the fans, are affected by what happens on the censorship front as it fundamentally limits what you are allowed to enjoy. As a result, censorship is typically fought against by videogame fans and companies alike; however, there are others out there who believe that a strong regulation of videogames is needed in order for society to progress to greater principles. How much of this will we see in the future? Who and what are protecting videogames? Finally, how do other countries outside of the United States handle videogame censorship? All is now answered.
Videogames are Free Speech:
In particular, the primary reason why the United States Government has been unable to craft a strong grip on the videogame industry is because of the idea that videogames in the United States are classified as “Free Speech”. Thus because of the free speech protection, the government cannot place a ban of any sort on videogames. Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Resistance 2, are all free speech practices by their respective developers and publishers. For the government to say that Konami cannot develop a game such as Metal Gear Solid 4 is to say that you or I are not allowed to wear particular brands of clothes or drive certain cars. It is because of the insight of free speech that the videogame industry has not been crumbled by the government.
Since only a small amount can be done to have any lasting impact on this market, many politicians are grouping together to think of creative ways to damage the industry. In Wisconsin, Senator Jon Erpenbach proposed a 1% sales tax on videogames and consoles to fund rehabilitation programs for juvenile delinquents. In New Mexico, the “Leave No Child Inside Act” proposes a 1% excise tax on videogames, consoles, and TVs to fund outdoor education programs for children. The Bill is currently before the House Business & Industry Committee.
US Government v. Videogames:
The videogame industry and the United States Government have had a nice diminutive history between one another. I would like to describe it as a Tweety Bird vs. Sylvester the Cat or Road Runner vs. the Coyote type relationship where one is constantly trying to take down the other but always seems to fail. This analogy is essentially the videogames industry vs. the US Government. It must be noted that whenever a family values group, parents, or the government has tried to attack the industry, the courts has almost always ruled in favor of the videogames market. This is why I brought up the cartoon examples, because for the most part, Sylvester and the Coyote never really got what they wanted, despite their greatest efforts. Just how long is this immunity going to last? With this year being an election year, all the candidates will try to impress various sides of the coin with their stance on regulation of videogame content. Some are decidedly more lenient than others, but no matter what their stance is, this year’s election holds a ... (continued on next page)
- 12:43pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
interesting.... good read! hey didb't ur name used to be sarad why did u change it?
- 1:00pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
screw clinton she is goin to lose a lot of votes this way. i love my videogames violent. if parents want to buy violent games for their kids then that is their problem. dont screw up games for the rest of us
- 1:15pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
i think when it comes to censoring going that in the future if goes worse gamers get together and propose a new law. im mean it is a 17 billion industry lot of gamers know what im saying guys
- 1:48pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
Idk, im not really worried about censorship. It would be really difficult for any group to win a court case over video games, at least over the obscenity of the games. In Roth v. U.S., the Supreme Court defined obscenity as any material "utterly without redeeming social importance." Any game can be argued to have social importance. Plus, it's a 17 billion dollar industry, there is significance in that. Furthermore, like the article mentioned, games are protected by the first amendment. We always have a choice whether or not to buy the game, and retailers always have a choice on whether or not to sell a game. As long as that choice is still there, it doesnt violate the first amendment. The only real arguement that anyone could propose is for minors. In which case, there is a rating system set up and at this current point, it's up to the parents to understand the rating. Either way, that can't deny anyone older than minors the right to buy the violent video games. I didnt read the full article, so this might have been mentioned.
- 1:51pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
Thats why ive been saying: Barack Obama For President!!!!!! Hillary just wants to screw us out of playing quality games..
VOTE BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!!!! VOTE PRO-GAMING!!!!!!!!
- 1:53pm EDT - March 18th, 2008
amazing how an idiot like Jack thompson can continue to dictate to the masses on how he feels parents like myself are unable to monderate what games we allow are children to play. If this is allowed what next TV,movies, and even radio or music? Come on does he and our goverment really think we need them to parent us? I personaly am insulted by the thought of an idiot like Jack Thompson trying to take my rights to be a good parent because he has a personal problem with a few video games that any parent like myself would not allow any of my children to play.
And as far as those few un resp