Video games are protected speech.

By Ryan  //  NinjaBee  //  No Comments

The United States Supreme Court






After years of legal fun, the Supreme Court ruled against California’s law to restrict sale of violent video games to minors yesterday. While I am glad that this was the outcome, I don’t think that the ruling itself is the most interesting thing to come out of the case. What I found most interesting is that video games were given an equal place with books, plays and movies. I think that Brian Crecente from Kotaku summed it up really well in his article yesterday:

“The basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary’ with a new and different communication medium…” Justice Antonin Scalia

In writing the opinion for the 7-2 ruling, Scalia likened video games to the mediums that came before it. He cited a variety of classic literature from Dante’s Inferno, to Homer’s Odysseus to Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

“Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional.” —Justice Antonin Scalia

It raises the question, what video games live up to that legacy of great literary works? And why aren’t there more of them?

This is an excellent question. I do strongly believe that there are games that live up to that legacy and I think that most of us in the industry have that as a goal. Of course, for one reason or another, we don’t always hit that mark. This could lead us into a discussion about modern technology, the ability of literally anyone to create books, movies and other media and have it seen by literally thousands–if not millions of people. I don’t think I want to get into that right now, but I may return to this topic if the mood strikes some other time.

Back on the subject of the Supreme court, another of Kotaku’s writers had a great article titled The Supreme Court’s Best Arguments For and Against Violent Video Games. I highly suggest reading it since it does give a very balanced view of the case.

Also, as a side note, the local Channel 4 News was out here at NinjaBee yesterday to interview Brent, our Art Director and an owner of the company, on our reaction to the ruling. You can find the whole article on their website or you can watch the video below.

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