Sessler's Soapbox: Video Games in the Supreme Court

Posted: May 4, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Video Games in the Supreme Court
Adam discusses the supreme court case where the justices will decide if video games are a protected form of free speech.

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  • a_sereph

    Arizona is the first state to actually DO something. This bill has NOTHING to do with race; its just a correlation and FACT that illegal mexicans are in this country and they DO increase violence and illegal drugs and sex trafficking. We're just trying to PROTECT our country. The federal government and the protesters are extremely hypocritical in their reaction to this bill, A) states rights...yeah remember the last time this was an issue...our country spilt in 2. B) They were saying how VIOLENT and SCarryy Tea Party Protesters were at the passing of the health care bill legislation, but nont I MEAN NO recorded accounts of violence or people jailed from vandalism was accounted for... IN RETROSPECT mexicans/ and those that are against this law have vandalized, attempted to kill and harm arazona policemen, and they are out of control and not using peaceful protests. C) This is OUR country, we are fighting to take it back, if you are here illegally GET OUT or get into our country the legal way. ITS CALLED THE LAW. The arizona law is being passed because THEY ARE TRYING TO PROTECT THE LAW. This is NOT granting unreasonable search and seizure, think of this. It is more like you get pulled over for running a stop sign and a cop smells pot in your car and he has a reasonable duty to search your car WITHOUT a warrent. The cop MUST have a lawful reason to pull you over, there is NO racial profiling. Why should anyone be concerned about this bill? Its just trying to protect our borders when the federal government wants nothing to do with it.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:37 PM
  • InvertPancake

    I believe that most of the absurd laws and regulations thrown at videogames is because of the "older" generation's lack of understanding of the continualy expanding technology feild. People are just naturaly afraid of things they don't know about or see. Its is the evolution of that fear and hate against video games when they were first becoming popular with kids. The parents didn't understand it and they thought of it as "the devil". In these days with the older generations (which alot of politicians fall in this generation) still have some unease and slight fear of these games so they try to start making laws about it and before you know it they are more restricted than beer. Games are obviously a form of speech and that is protected under the Bill of Rights. If the law goes against any part of the constitution it should be struck down immediately. They have turned out country into the super power it is and if we follow them we will continue to grow.

    And thats my argument (hope its not to big)

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:22 PM
  • Vexation

    Honestly, this is one of the reasons that Games should be considered art. It's not because it matters to the gamer, but because it matters to the "outside world" and shapes their opinions about what games are actually trying to accomplish with their imagery. Literature (something that has been around for centuries) is not questioned when it comes to content. Sure there's a banned books list, but that doesn't mean you can't buy them. Romance novels can be bought with anyone (I accidentally bought one when I was 11 because it looked like a fantasy novel (and was for the first 100 pages)). This is because literature is thought to be an artistic expression of the author, whether or not they have some sort of agenda (looking at you, Glenn Beck). Films are protected as well, being able to police themselves and prevent children from seeing movies they aren't supposed to see alone. This is a moral solution that allows for freedom at least on the parents part. The reason we are able to have this freedom is because film is also thought of as an art form (can't say so much about recently) and an expression of the director to be viewed by all. You choose to see the movie or take your son or daughter to the movie. If you're disturbed it's your fault. Games, as of now, have the exact same system going or them. Maybe a few young teens can get an M game if they wish, just like they could probably also get into an R movie. But because, for some reason, that status of artistry means something to the world. It's almost like a safe word for parents. like it's not just violence without purpose. Sex for no reason. Surely a game similar to Bioshock can be held up to a book like Animal Farm in political "review"?
    Some may agree, some may disagree, but this "repression" of freedom in game selection directly intervenes with the rights of the parents to buy something for their child. I used to work in an unnamed game retail store *cough* and I had a parent once buy GTA San Andreas for an 8 year old. But I told her exactly what was in it and she told me "well he's played it before at a friends house." I didn't like it, but I respect the parent's right to do what they think is right for their child. We need games to be art for this reason. We don't need some kind of Hollywood blacklist (if you don't know what that is read up on McCarthyism) for studios that make violent games.
    This is why this issue is important and this is why we need to prove some points and show some proof to back it up. I don't play a game like Flower for the gameplay. Or a game like Braid for the pretty 2-D graphics. I play each game because those qualities combined with the rest of the game form an experience that is unique to me and sometimes, when the game is just right, I will become so immersed that I may play for weeks. I could watch Donnie Darko 50 times and never get bored just the same as I can play through Final Fantasy X or Oblivion at least that many times and not be bored still.
    Games are art. No, games NEED to be art to survive and it's the only way we're going to last.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:21 PM
  • Fex_Anderson

    You made some great points here Adam. But reading is better than games? Okay... I realize you were an english major. Litirature needs much less defense than games right now.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:14 PM
  • Tomkat75

    The law in Arizona is a good law i am so sick of people saying that it is unconstitutional it is not. The constitution and the bill of rights are contracts and are substitute to changes. The bill that arizona has is to keep the illegal imagrants out.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:14 PM
  • Gaius Marius

    I'm really glad to see Adam taking a stand and voicing his opinion on the Arizona matter. It's like G4 is slowly growing up into a responsible, socially conscious new organization... Ok, maybe that's a little exaggerated, but there's no benefit to a video game journalist voicing his/her opinion on a national political matter. If anything, I would imagine it simply opens him/her to a plethora of criticism. I'm impressed by the fortitude of your character sir.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:12 PM
  • knlghterrant

    Love you Adam and for the first time i found something i disagree with. While I understand your direction with the fourth amend. worry, it only guards against "unreasonable" search. As Arizona makes it clear to only be targeting anyone "suspicious" I don't think I would personally agree that it violates it. You are just immediately moving to the point where you assume law enforcement would abuse it, without the least trust in your own law enforcement officials. Any officer trying to stop every single person just based on racial looks, wouldn't make it a mile down the street with an eight hour work day. As every other law, it has the potential to be abused or circumvented by those determined to do so, what works will stay, and it will be refined and rewritten to suit the states needs as they figure the situation out. You and many others are forgetting a states rights, seeing it on tv might give us all an opinion, but its the people that live there that need to decide.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 7:08 PM

    man you guys have no shame, this is america and people are allowed to their views

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:56 PM
  • FearlessJDK

    Hey Adam,

    Here's a thought. It's illegal to sell adult magazines/DVD's to people under the age of 18 is it not?

    so, why is restricting the sale of video games which may contain nudity, sex, and/or blood and gore?

    I'm a gamer, and i personally know all about the ESRB so i won't let my little guy bring home Grand Theft Auto or Mass Effect (a game i personally love!) until i think he's old enough. But i don't have a problem with fining Gamestop or Walmart or what have you if they sell to my son, or to someone else's either.

    Also, go to back to my point about porn. There's nothing stopping people from making and selling porn, they just can't sell it to minors.

    So, as i understand it, should the Supreme Court uphold the law, then there's nothing saying that Rockstar Games can't make more Grand Theft Auto games, it's simply that those selling the games will be penalized for selling them to minors.

    I'm pro free-speech in a huge way, but i don't see how this hurts us.

    And, Adam if you do think it hurts us, then please tell me how.

    As it stands right now, the porn isn't hurting, so i'm sure the video game industry will solider on just fine.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:44 PM
  • Nightshade386

    As someone who lives in AZ I must say that these morons in the state house don't represent my voice. That's somewhat to be expected when you belong to the minority party. But when we start throwing away the Constitution whenever it becomes convenient, we stop being a nation of laws. But hey, these folks here in AZ are of the same political persuasion as the folks who thought Guantanamo was a good idea and use divisiveness and fear to score political points.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:39 PM
  • Canid117

    If two girls one cup is protected speech then so is GTAIV

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:38 PM
  • g4fan247

    Congrats on another great Soapbox Adam. I'm looking foward to next week's episode.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:37 PM
  • scottalott

    It's not possible to make something without offending someone. A lot of people think that if something they see or hear in the media offends them that it absolutely has to be banned. So they write their congressman instead of just turning it off or changing the channel. I personally hated Transformers 2, but I don't want it banned I just won't see the next one.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:31 PM
  • southstorm3

    Great Soapbox mr Adam!!! i totally agree and understand your point u were makn.....u really shld consider writing a book or makn a documentary of the inside and outside works of the video game industry.....both wld be best sellers......
    if only u were a member of the supreme court then we wld have someone on the inside who understands us........supreme judge Sessler.....

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:20 PM

    Yes people reading is important, pick up a novel that strikes your fancy, you won't regret it.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:14 PM
  • mrhammoman

    I agree with everything you said except the Arizona Bill. They are not breaking or bending an amendment but rather enforcing the law. If you like reading so much why don't you do more of it?,,,,

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:07 PM
  • theplaga

    Good to see Adam is against that *%$#@ law in Arizona. Thanks Adam

    Posted: May 4, 2010 6:01 PM
  • starclassics

    Um, illegal immigrants don't pay into social security, wtf?

    As far as the games go...should fall under the category of books and movies, duh. It's that simple, really.

    The Arizona law is basically a rehash of the federal law....but ohhh no, a state is going to enforce it? Ahhhhh noo, no mr. state. You CAN'T do what you want.

    Now....how crazy is that? Nation built on freedom....but hey you, mr. state there....you can't keep those illegal immigrants out of this country.

    It's worth too many votes to keep them out. I think we know which group of political idiots would like to keep them in this country.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 5:51 PM
  • San_Pato

    Why stop the courts from banning video games. Let's make it OK to sell porn to kids too. Sorry, some things are not meant for the kiddies and some parents are too busy working to feed their kid and can't always invade their kid's privacy to make sure he isn't helping Kratos have sex in God of War. And parents don't always buy the games. As soon as I got a job I bought my own games. A couple of which I know my parents wouldn't have allowed if they known I had bought them. Games like Halo are fine for kids and shouldn't be restricted even though it's rated M, but a game like GTA is made for adults, so why is this the end of the world if we help out parents a little and restrict it by law.
    Now the Arizona law, that is the government going to far. I've been preaching to anyone who would listen that the states need to take authority back from the federal government for years and Arizona had decided to mess all that up, by passing this law. By banning the sell of adult only media, I don't think 10 years from now, it will be anything beyond just that. By giving the police the authority to search on just suspicion of being illegal, that can lead to far worse in 10 years. Don't think it isn't just Mexicans they are gonna search. This isn't a racist law. All races get to be accused of being illegal and searched by an officer that abuses his power. So, now the federal courts are gonna step in to change this law and take away more power from the state. Thanks Arizona, you guys are awesome, because you decided to be extreme, you give the federal government an excuse to take more away from all of the states. Next time just put some more national guardsmen on the boarder to help patrol instead of making it easier for the government to search whomever they want, whenever they want.

    Posted: May 4, 2010 5:50 PM
  • SyCoDEVIL13

    really, I am so sick and tired of people trying to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. laws are being passed, is the ESRB just not enough? its ridiculous! seeing how i am nearly the age where i can buy any video game i want without my parents, this doesn't affect me as much, but i am still pissed off about this. i am being reminded of a quote, i think it was from a zero punctuation review but i forget, and in that video, i heard that if you restrict someone from something, in this case, violent video games, it only makes them want it more. honestly, the way to take care of the problem is the parents just have to make sure what they are buying for their kids, look at its rating, ask the store employees about the game, whatever, just dont come up with complete bull---- laws that try and do your job for you!

    Posted: May 4, 2010 5:48 PM