Earlier this morning, an historic decision was made by the supreme court, in the Brown Vs. Electronic Merchants Association appeal. As a quick primer, Brown Vs. EMA (originally Schwarzenegger Vs. EMA) is a response to a 2005 California Law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. The law was deemed unconstitutional on grounds of violating first amendment rights.
Fast forward to today - where that decision was put under scrutiny. Do the same protections afforded under the freedom of speech also apply to video games? Furthermore, does restricting the sale of violent video games actually impede free speech?
I am happy to report, that according to the Supreme Court’s ruling today, the answer to both questions is a resounding YES. Putting things into perspective, this is huge news, and a decision that, as gamers, we can all stand behind.
What does this mean for gamers?
Games Are A Constitutionally Protected Form Of Expression
The decision to extend the same constitutional protections granted under the first amendment to video games is a HUGE step forward, both today, and in future precedent. Because of today’s ruling, games are now constitutionally recognized as a form of expression, meaning the freedom of speech now can - and will - be applied to video games.
If you’re reading this, then you’ve somehow managed to stumble across my so new it doesn’t even have a final theme yet tumblr. For that, I don’t know whether to congratulate you, or to wonder exactly what brought you here. That said, since you’re here, I guess a quick introduction to your humble narrator is in order, yes?
My name is Chris, and I currently reside in the quiet little town (officially a city now, but snowball’s chance in hell I’m actually going to start calling it that) of Greenfield, MA. You may remember seeing me either writing, or doing community work for a number of different websites at some point. That now-infamous GameCritics/Gladriel Cheesecake Social last year at PAX? The guy who had the grapes to write a Duke Nukem Forever review that actually spoke highly of the game’s old-school sensibilities? Guilty as charged, on both accounts.
Of course, what I do doesn’t define me as a person, but I’m hoping if you were smart/clever/(un)lucky enough to make it to this tumblr, then you’re already well aware of that. At my most basic, I’m a geek with the shirt to prove it - and I’m not being facetious here - I actually have a shirt, which I picked up years ago at the Microsoft Company Store, with the word “geek” on the front, and the definition of the word, from Webster’s dictionary on the back. What’s that, you ask? Does having apparel from the MSCS mean I’m employed by Microsoft? Sadly, no. While I would absolutely love to work for Microsoft, and have been to the Microsoft Campus in Redmond no less than 3 times (partly at their expense), and to the Windows 7 NYC launch, I’m currently (surprise!) just a retail lackey working customer service by day.