Court hears arguments on violent video games

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people, reports the Associated Press. But justices seemed closely split on whether the restrictions are constitutional. The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban on videos showing graphic violence to animals earlier this year. California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors’ ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause to the mental development of children. Some justices appeared to agree.

“We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they’ll beg with mercy, being merciless and decapitating them, shooting people in the leg so they fall down,” Chief Justice John Roberts said.

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Supreme Court to hear violent video game case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday about the federal court’s decision to throw out California’s ban on violent games, marking the first time a case involving the interactive medium itself has gone before the Supreme Court, reports the Associated Press. It’s another sign that the $20 billion-a-year industry, long considered to be just child’s play, is now all grown up.

California’s measure would have regulated games more like pornography than movies, prohibiting the sale or rental of games that give players the option of “killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being” to anyone under the age of 18. Only retailers would be punished with fines of up to $1,000 for each infraction. The federal court said the law violated minors’ constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments and the state lacked enough evidence to prove violent games cause physical and psychological harm to minors. Courts in six other states, including Michigan and Illinois, have reached similar conclusions, striking down parallel violent game bans. Under California’s law, only adults would be able to purchase games like “Postal 2,” the first-person shooter by developer Running With Scissors that features the ability to light unarmed bystanders on fire, and “Grand Theft Auto IV,” the popular third-person shoot-’em-up from Rockstar Games that allows gamers to portray carjacking, gun-toting gangsters…

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