Today marks the end of California’s long-running quest to keep violent videogames out of the hands of minors by way of force. This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision on Brown v. The Entertainment Merchants Association, and now GameStop definitely can’t be arrested for selling pre-orders of Saints Row: The Third to Little Jimmy. To quote Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion:
Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional ones. Crudely violent videogames, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less forms of speech than The Divine Comedy, and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny. (source)
I’m still not sure what side of the fence I fall on this story—whether I agree that videogames shouldn’t be singled out while the government doesn’t interfere with violent films, or whether, since I’m an adult, I’m totally OK with keeping kids away from games they shouldn’t be playing in the first place—but my understanding is that people are pretty stoked about this. So, hurrah! We should all celebrate by playing Call of Duty online with some 14 year olds.