This Gaming Life: MK vs. CA Legislature

There are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to life and gaming.  I’m by no means short on ideas.  However, there is something very much at the forefront of my mind.  Something that I’m frankly tired of thinking about.  Currently, the State of California is fighting the Entertainment Merchants Association and Entertainment Software Association over the regulation of violent video games to the sale of minors.  In the Supreme Court.  Over the course of five years worth in court, it is now sitting at the highest court in the country.  I cannot even begin to describe how irritating that this is still an issue.

I remember writing a letter to Clinton when he was president.  I was just a kid, but he had made some anti-video game remarks on account of the violence represented in Mortal Kombat.  Even at the ripe age of 8, I was ablaze with fury that someone was actively seeking to ban or limit the scope of my favorite pastime.  I think that I cited Mario smashing goombas as an inherent form of violence in the venerable franchise.  My words weren’t quiet so sophisticated, but the basic ideas were there.  Clearly, as an adult I can distinguish the difference between tiers of violence.  However, even as a child, I never lost sight of the fact that a game is a game.  It annoyed me to no end listening to the half baked ideas of Joe Lieberman and company made about games as I got older.  I feel a consistent theme of the portrayal of games in the media is how grossly misrepresented they are.

It hearkens me back to things like the Mass Effect sex scene hooplah generated by the amazingly accurate Fox News. It never ceases to amaze me how people are completely fine on weighing in on an issue they know little or nothing about it. Personally, when people start talking about cars (a subject that I know practically nothing about), I usually just smile and nod. In discussing politics, if I am ignorant of the issue, I am not ashamed to say as much or reserve my opinion until it seems pertinent. I exercise a level of restraint. I am also not a member of the mass media. Essentially, we have those who don’t know details perpetuating that cycle of misinformation.  My favorite (which was taken down from its original site and I was unable to find in its entirety) was called “The Sex-Box Race for President”. It’s an uroboros of idiocy.

These things jumped to mind quite frequently while I was reading the highlights of today’s case over on Kotaku. Though I think that the justices are doing an awesome job at getting to the heart of the matter, it strikes me as scary that the parties involved aren’t even informed or educated on the material they are discussing. When CA’s attorney starts to talk about the level of torturous violence and sexual assault found in the games he seeks to prohibit, I get confused. Which games are these? I’ve played a lot of games in my time and never once I have ever digitally sodomized anyone. Teabagging in Halo doesn’t count.

The games they are citing or mentioning also give me a headache. If we are talking about the sale of mature games to minors, let’s try talking about something that these kids might actually want to play. Kids these days are not begging mom and dad to play Postal 2, old MK, or the original Doom. That’s not to say that I’m completely opposed to the regulation of mature content to minors. It is not the government’s job to parent. Parents should have an active role in the games their children are playing. Lil’ Johnny wants to play Call of Duty: Franchise Machine. Tough. Parents have the spending power and control over mobility for the most part. In most cases, they are there to do the driving and buying themselves.  Legislation is a poor substitute for a parent giving a damn about what their child gets exposed to.

Thankfully, it seems that the court is siding against the law. The tone and paces they are putting CA’s arguments through are a relief. The power of precedent is frightens me a bit though. I’ll feel a lot better in June when they reach a decision.

I guess this week is more of rant. Not exactly what I originally had in mind.  Now that that is out of my system…


Currently playing:  Darksiders, Cloudy with a Chance…, Triggerheart Exellica


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