Video Game Industry Has a Strong Jaw

In Culture, video games on July 16, 2011 at 2:26 am

The title above sums up the premise of my latest article for New America Media. I had a ton of opinions about the Brown vs. EMA decision, but I painted myself in a corner with a strong opening analogy. Violence in video games is written about so much that gamers tend to roll their eyes when yet another Fox News special rolls around or another study comes out. Having said that, as a writer and gamer I am troubled by the lengths to which industry developers push the boundaries of the Fifth Amendment that it hides so comfortably under. My thoughts on Bulletstorm a few months ago alluded to this, but Chris Morris’ op-ed for Gamasutra summarizes my concerns beautifully.

Another thing about this case that I wanted dearly to write about, but could not fit in is the gradual realization that our growing technology is creating (or will soon create) problems for us that our Constitution was not designed to address.

Take, for example, the issue of trying to protect children from adult content. Our television channels traditionally air adult shows after 10 PM because we figure that most parents have their children in bed at that time.  However, with web sites such as YouTube, Hulu, and a slew of other sites that my old self may be unaware of kids can find almost anything online. Sure, these challenges are in large part the responsibility of the parents, but c’mon…. When companies are spending millions of dollars to get as many people as possible to watch their shows (and they’re doing so across so many different forms of new media) how is your average working parent(s) suppose to combat that? Even though I agreed with the Supreme Court ruling, I can sympathize with parents who were disappointed with it. They have to be wondering when the law is going to help them to keep their children…children.

My article didn’t talk about any of that, unfortunately, but I did address one other interesting thing that came out of this court case. I felt the case was akin to a probate. The industry had to prove its worth on the biggest stage of all…the Supreme Court, and it won. In doing so, it kind of grew up.


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