You've heard all the arguments before: violent video games
are corroding our youth, Grand Theft Auto makes kids want to beat up pedestrians, Doom and other first person shooters corrupt young minds into going on shooting sprees, and so forth and so on. The Supreme Court will hear these same arguments and decide whether a California ban on the sale of violent games to minors is unconstitutional.
Why now? You can thank California's governator, otherwise known as Mr. Universe, Conan the Barbarian, and The Terminator, to name just a few of Arnold Schwarzenegger's more popular alter-egos. At heart of the issue is a 2005 ban in California on the sale and rental of violent video games to children under 18, which also ordered game makers to post explicit warnings on game boxes. The law would later be overturned by a lower federal court and then again on appeal in February 2009. At the request of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Supreme Court next month will step in and offer a definitive ruling in a case dubbed "Schwarznegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association."
In filings with the court, attorneys for the state of California argue that the ban was based on medical and sociological studies that "establish a correlation between violent video game play and increased automatic aggressiveness, aggressive thoughts and behavior, antisocial behavior, and desensitization to violence in minors and adults." These are the very arguments you hear every time a new study comes out criticizing violent video games, which is usually followed by a counter-study suggesting otherwise.
Stay tuned folks, this one's going to get awfully interesting.