California Videogame Law Under Review

My home state of California has been having legal misadventures with videogames lately.  Specifically, the case of Schwarzenegger v. Video Software Dealers Association, 08-1448 has been making headl

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My home state of California has been having legal misadventures with videogames lately.  Specifically, the case of Schwarzenegger v. Video Software Dealers Association, 08-1448 has been making headlines. Most videogame sites have been misrepresenting the situation, saying that California is an oppressive state, we hate videogames and are trying to ban them forever, and only a complete idiot would elect an actor as his governor.

I think they’re just in a bad mood because our governor is in better shape than they are.

arnold
Proof that you can be in good shape without the help of Wii Fit.


So here’s the real story. The Governator signed a law that makes it illegal for videogame stores to sell M-rated games to kids without their parents’ permission. Just like how kids can’t go to R-rated movies without their parents’ permission. That’s kind of the point of having the ERSB system to begin with, right? Making sure kids won’t play games that are inappropriate for them?

Well, videogame companies immediately protested the law, saying that it is super-oppressive to tell them who they can and can’t sell videogames to, by jingo. If GameStop wants to sell a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV to a toddler, then they should be able to! Businesses generally care more about being profitable than being moral, as some cynics say. So they hired Manfred von Karma and sued the state.

The law has never gone into effect due to these legal issues. Right now, the case is still bouncing around in the court system, because whenever any decision is reached, an appeal is immediately filed. Which brings me to this joke:

Q: Why is a lawyer like a banana?
A: Because they’re always appealing.

Perhaps someday in the future, a final ruling will be made on this case, but for now, not much is happening because the state has more important things to worry about.

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About the Contributor


From 2007 to 2016

Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.

4 Comments

  1. Arnold was sent back in time to protect John Connor from playing Doom 2.

    Gamestop already cards people when they go to buy an R rated game. I guess this is meant to target mom and pop stores like Wal-Mart, eh? Save more, live better, kill hookers… Wal-Mart.

  2. Yeah, I don’t know…I think I’m supposed to hate the idea, but carding kids before letting them buy M-rated games sounds great to me. Clearly they shouldn’t be playing these games, and if we make it more difficult for them to do so, stupid people have less firepower when they’re whining about the ill effects of violent games on The Children.

  3. Over here it’s been illegal to sell an adult game to a minor since, like, forever.

    True that parents still buy these games for their kids, but at least a kid can’t just stroll into a Gamestation or Game or HMV over here and get served an adult video game.

    I think it was since Evil Dead and the video-nasties that the law has been so strict – and I think it’s good that the laws are this way. Everyone should follow suit.

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