Supreme Court Justice: Video Game Laws Might Be Constitutional

February 20, 2008 -
In a remarkable coup for a game-oriented site, Laws of Play's Anthony Prestia had the opportunity to hang out with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia - and used the time to ask Scalia how he might regard video game legislation, should it ever come before the Court.

Scalia, the second most senior member of the Court, is a noted conservative. Prestia writes:
I asked [Justice Scalia] whether... he believed that state laws banning the sale of mature-rated video games to minors ran afoul of the First Amendment...

Justice Scalia replied that he did believe such legislation was constitutional. He began by explaining his belief that sound constitutional precedent holds that minors may be subjected to prohibitions that adults are not – he instantly drew the parallel to regulation of pornography sales...

Justice Scalia did not suggest that violent and/or sexual content in games rises to the level of unprotected speech. In fact, he did not even suggest that video games themselves are not protected by the First Amendment...

Scalia's remarks are especially noteworthy given the dismal track record of state-level video game laws in lower federal courts. To date, all nine laws to have gotten that far have failed. Prestia continues:
The implications of Justice Scalia’s answers are multi-dimensional. First, he suggests that upon appeal to the Supreme Court at least one of the nine justices [himself] would affirm state laws that ban the sale of mature-rated games to minors. Second, his remarks suggest Justice Scalia believes that video games not qualifying as obscenity... are protected by the First Amendment.

Essentially, this means that one of nine Supreme Court justices believes the sale of mature games to minors can be regulated, but that the overall regulation of the medium would most likely be unconstitutional...

Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying mature games for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the games on their own and would leave parents to be parents...

Comments

Scalia is the second most senior Associate Justice. The Chief justice is more senior, making Scalia the third-most senior member of the Court.

I have no problem with regulating the sales of M games to people under the age of 17 (although parents will still keep buying GTA for their little darlings), but I do not know that there should be a law about it when there are not laws for other forms of media with the exact same content.

A ten year old can walk into any Borders and legally purchase any movie, cd, or book in there regardless of content (unless that particular Borders enforces a store policy against such sales) and there are no laws in place to limit that, so why should games be different? \

If you want to put laws in place then they need to be placed fairly. Video games should not be singled out, you need to place the same rules on music, movies, and books. If you find laws limiting the sales of those forms of media offensive, then maybe you should review your thoughts about limiting the sales of games as well.

This is scary being being a full supporter of First Amendment rights for young people (especially older children and teenagers). I always thought Scalia was pro-first amendment.

The major problem i see in Scalia's reasoning is that fact that Pornagraphy is judged as an "unprotected" form of speech and THAT is the reason why they are able to regulate it. Porn is declare obscene and obscene material is seen as being unconstitutional. Because it is not free speech they could completely ban it if they really wanted to; they just chose to let adults have the porn and regulate it to minors.

To use Scalia's reasoning against video games, the ONLY way they could be regulated just like Porn is, is if video games were deemed an unprotected form of speech; just like porn. However, it has already been deemed that video games ARE free speech, so Scalia's logic for precedent falls flat on it's face... in a sense, it sounds like he's contradicting himself

@Bedlambob
i'm not sure, but i think it was said that one of the amendments to our constitution (14th?) prevents giving an independent organization the power of law. Because it is not controlled by the gov't and thus completely out of the hands of the people, an independent organization could take on many actions that the people would not support and there isn't much that can be done; as opposed to gov't organizations, where the gov't can kick out anyone who is not doing what they are supposed to do

Take the Manhunt 2 fiasco going on in the UK for instance. Right now, the BBFC is pushing to let the game go unrated and as such BANNED in the UK (which they have done to a few other movies and games). The People did not elect the BBFC members, and the gov't did not appoint them, and yet the fate of Manhunt 2 is subject to their PERSONAL opinion. Does that sound right? i mean atleast when a poltican does something based on law he has the right to do it based on the fact that he was elected by over 50% of the poeple in which he represents; so he in some sense reflects their opinion... and if the poeple don't like it, they can always vote him out. Really, if the wrong people got put on to the BBFC rating board, it's entirely possible that they could raise their standards on Media and you could see more bans

Hell, and let us not forget that the UK prime minister is apparently preparing for some kind of crack down on violent video games once that video game report is released... that sounds like it could be troublesome

@Monte

Pornography is not considered "obscene" and IS protected by the First Amendment. Only pornography that meets the Miller Test is considered obscene and unprotected.

I am one of those people who believes that treating any form of speech as obscenity is an end run around the constitution -- an excuse for the government to legally violate our free-speech protections. It's the same BS excuse the US government has employed in trying to regulate porn on the Internet, so far unsuccessfully.

It's such a shame that, even in the 21st century, people still subscribe to the notion that obscene speech is particularly harmful to minors. There is no scientific basis for such a conclusion, and it's little more than the secular implementation of faith-based morality.

I'm sick and tired of governments defending "family values" above those of its individual citizens. The purchase of video games is a private and voluntary act, and should not be regulated by the government.

As for Scalia's comments, I'm hoping he's misunderstood the question and wasn't talking specifically about "M-rated games". Few things would be worse for America in matters of free speech than for the ESRB, a private entity, to be granted the power to hand out legally-binding ratings. Sure, regulating games based on their rating is unambiguous with regard to the rating, but it's far too ambiguous with regard to content. No private organization should ever have such power.

@Canary Wundaboy
Another thing i should throw out, is that even though something might work in one country it does not mean it will work in another... in the case of video games, we have take in the fact that the US has A LOT more critics than the UK and plenty of politicans that like to pander the "protect the children" line; whether they actually mean it, or just want votes. it is easy to expect that our gov't will probably be more harsh than the UK is; hell we've already seen some examples with failed legislations that would have called for selling an M rated game as a CRIMINAL offense, aswell as legislation that would make in a VERY high fines; high than the fines for alcohol and such. Give them a leg to stand on and they are likely to go run with it...

Hell, an it's likely they would... regulation of any kind is subject ot the human factor (the store clerk). if they don't want follow the law or just plain don't care, then they won't and nothing can be done unless they are caught redhanded...As such, regulation will NEVER be at 100% and there will always exists a fail rate for minors being able to get their hands on such things. Not to mention when the anti-game critics hear about a minor palyign an M-rated game, whether they realize it or not, 10 to 1 says they are probably hear about a minor who got the game with parental permission. and these minors will STILL get their hands on games... combine that with the non-100% regulation rate and you got politicans identifying "minors getting their hands on M-rated games STILL a problem"... and i just know their are plenty of politicans that would love to take that to the next step; whether out of wellmeaning but ignorant misguided ideals (soccer moms and their like), or out of vote-pandering politicans.

@Anon
That's pretty much what i meant, though i did not clarify

Correction:

"It’s the same BS excuse the US government has employed in trying to regulate porn on the Internet, so far unsuccessfully."

Although the government has so far failed to prohibit online speech that is "indecent", which some people call "obscene for minors", legal challenges against online obscenity prohibitions have failed thus far.

@ Anonymous

You can't even lump M rated games in the same level of regulation as porn. It can't happen.

Porn is not something that is rated to be so by some ratings agency. The technical term is obscene. The government determines what is obscene and what is not. So they could determine that one R rated movie is obscene and bar its sale to minors. They could determine that one M rated game is obscene and bar its sale.

But to try to regulate all R rated movies or all M rated games is where they are getting into trouble.

Media needs to pass through very narrow review to be determined obscene. If it does not pass that very narrow definition of obscene, they cannot regulate it.

The problem with most legislation on games is that it is not very well defined.

For one, they are trying to create a new definition for obscene that only applies to games. That is obscene violence. There is currently no regulation on violence in any other media. Sexuality and excretory funtions are the only things that are regulated. You could make the most violent movie ever and the government could not say a thing.

So why are they trying to define violent obscenity for games and not movies or books?

That leads to the next problem. The definition of obscene. They are trying to change that definition to fit onto games rather than apply the current definition to games. They don't want to do that as there is no problem with overly sexual games. They aren't made and sold through mainstream stores. Violence is what they have a problem with.

But how do you define obscene violence? That is the conumdrum that politicians are facing. How do you define it so narrowly to pass constitutional muster? They have failed at this. Under recent definitions, your Sims slapping each other is obscene.

Just something to think about.

Because he didnt say anything about video games not being protected speech doesnt mean that the thinks they are. This Prestia is reading way too much into his remark.

I know for a fact that Scalia has a very narrow interpretation of the 1st Amend (like all conservatives do) that does not include porn, and Im almost positive would not include video games either. He also doesnt believe the 1st Amend applies to the states AT ALL. He doesnt believe in \"incorporation of the bill of rights\" based on the 14th Amendment. He thinks they only apply to the Federal government.

What he did suggest in this statement is that he thinks video games are like pornography, and that should give everyone pause about how a conservative supreme court would rule on video games, and lower federal courts too. That is whats at stake in this election. Getting liberal judges with a more broad interpretation of the bill of rights vs conservative judges.

Again, this guy is reading waaaay to much into Scalias remark. All he said is that yes states could regulate the sale of video games to minors. But that doesnt mean he doesnt think they could censor video games even further. That guy needed to ask him if the thinks video games are protected by the 1st Amend at all (I think he\'d say no). You cant ASSUME that he thinks they are if you didnt ask.

I don't see an issue here...

The sale of pornographic material is already regulated and illegal to sell to minors but obtainable. So, if a video game was made that had nothing but pornographic scenes in it, then it would fall under the same rules of law already in place would it not? I feel this is where the justice is coming from.

I also second all those who have said this is an issue that will never reach the Supreme Court. The only way it could is if the game was banned from sale.

Part of the problem here is lobbying. It's pretty well demonstrated by the fact that Yee's little campaign doesn't pay any attention to movies whatsoever, and guess who he gets campaign contributions from. As for Schwarzengger... well, need I say more. Basically, government cannot regulate Films because a lot of Politicians are financially held by the Movie Industry, and therefore feel they have an obligation to them. Because the Video Game Industry has only just entered the lobbying game, they are still ripe targets (Which, I suspect, is why the ESA has started lobbying).

The sad fact, in my opinion, is that the real cure for the whole 'he who pays most is attacked least' ethos is not for the ESA to start lobbying, but for the whole concept of corporate lobbying and donations to be severely overhauled so that the needs of the United States of America outweigh the needs of a few well funded corporations. At the moment, the targets of these laws are 'people who don't give us money' from the political point of view, and that road leads to somewhere America truly does not want to go.

We had the 'Cash for Questions' dilemma in the UK, where people were paying politicians to ask specific questions in Parliament, but, to be honest, it isn't a scratch on the current lobbying system in the US.

There are times when I honestly do wonder if all this noise is being made in the hopes that the ESA will give them money to salve their offended opinions....

Man am I glad I live in Canada where our own prime minster probably doesn't even know what a video game is.

@DigDug,

Agree 100% with your analysis and comments.

This is perfectly reasonable.
States have a complete right to prohibit any type of entertainment being SOLD DIRECTLY to MINORS based on any criteria. That's just how it is, being a minor doesn't get you the same rights and privileges of adults. (voting, driving, smoking, drinking, etc etc) If a state really wants to give power to an independent organization like the ESRB, that's their choice.

If this was regarding sales of games to ADULTS, that would be an entirely different matter.

"States have a complete right to prohibit any type of entertainment being SOLD DIRECTLY to MINORS based on any criteria."

No. Although the courts have accepted restrictions on the kinds of content that may be sold to minors, the idea that states are free to regulate "any type of entertainment" in this manner is absolutely false.

@Josh

Maybe according to you and Scalia but Supreme Court precedent has said that minors do have significant First Amendment rights and only if the material falls under the legal definition of "obscene to minors" or if there is a legitimate proscription (such as strong consistent indisputable evidence linking violent entertainment with harmful effects of which there is none) can it be regulated to as to them. Read Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville.

@DigDug

I agree with your comments and I'm the one who penned the original article. As soon as this article started getting wider attention and prior to your comments, I added an Editor's Note hoping to clarify that much of the latter half of the article was purely conjecture. I did not want people to mistake my opinions for Justice Scalia's.

Did I read into his words too much? Perhaps. But, prior to this question Scalia discussed how he deals with evolving technology as an originalist. In particular he discussed infrared imaging used for home surveillance and its implications under the Fourth Amendment. When I posed the questioned I placed it in this framework; I made sure to note that I was asking the question in the context of evolving technology, specifically "interactive entertainment such as video games," and its interaction with the First Amendment. That is where my conjecture stems from.

That said, I wanted to make it clear that much of this was my own commentary; it's the bread & butter of "blogging." The only definitive answer given by Justice Scalia is that he believes video game legislation could be constitutional and this is enough on its own to generate significant discussion.

Anyway, thank you for your comments. They are greatly appreciated.

Here is a quote from Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville.

Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them. In most circumstances, the values protected by the First Amendment are no less applicable when government seeks to control the flow of information to minors.

Also in order to be found obscene to minors the Supreme Court said the following in a footnote:

We have not had occasion to decide what effect Miller will have on the Ginsberg formulation. It is clear, however, that, under any test of obscenity as to minors not all nudity would be proscribed. Rather, to be obscene, "such expression must be, in some significant way, erotic.

So depictions of violence can't be found obscene under any obscenity test whether for minors or adults. Only sexual erotic material can be legally obscene.

This all seems redundant to me. Why do we need a law? Games rated M should not be sold to minors. It says it right on the case. Action should be taken against the retail stores. This has nothing to do with the game industry or the ESRB. Everyone on that side is doing it right. Attack the retail stores for not regulating themselves.

@BmK

I think you're right on there. People who latch onto the obscenity portion seem to be forgetting that obscenity does not apply to violence. However, I believe Miller did include a note about excretory functions... so the kids might not being playing any games based around that content either.

"Why do we need a law? Games rated M should not be sold to minors. It says it right on the case. Action should be taken against the retail stores."

Without a law to back it up, what sort of action do you think people could take against the retail stores?

@Shoehorn
Unfair to retailers? There is a level of responsability that everyone must adhere too. Sure there is a point when there is a great fake and you can not expect the average person to catch it. However, the courts will do this, judge you one the average person. If I ran a bar, the kid can barley see over the counter, and hands me an ID that said he just turned 21, it doesn't matter I am still responsible for not acting how a reasonable baretender would be serving him. If I run a gas station and I have noticed some pre-teen kids talking to adults for an hr in the parking lot, then one comes in and asked for 8 packs of cigs, I know what he is doin and should not sell them to him. Granted Games are a little harder to judge, if an Adult comes in you have no idea that they might be taking it home to their 5 year old to play the game or not, no way to know. The only thing they can do and should do is educate on the rating systems. My aunt-in-law called me about buying GTAIV for her son and if it was a good game, I informed her of the rating and told her why it was rated that way. Even though her kids play a ton of games, she never knew about the rating system and what content was actually in there. She was shocked that there are any games out there that hint towards sex and she doesn't want her 5 year old playing games like that. Our retailers need to educate their consumers, the movie business did this. If you go into a theater, somehwere there has to be a sign explaining the ratings. I think we should do this in our reatil stores for the adults out there who don't know what they are buying.

Now, something the government can not and should not do is tell a parent how to raise their child. I will set age limits for my kids based on their maturity level and knowledge on what games they can play. I will make sure they understand right from wrong, however other parents might not see anything wrong with their 6 year old learning about everything all at once and growing from there. I can't force them to parent my way and it would be riciulous of me to say it is the only right way, the government is the same. The government stays out of my house!

Aren't M rated games for people 17 years and older while adults are 18 years? Why do we constantly say M rated games are for 18 year olds?

And we do need to get rid of this justice somehow.

@AP

I've got a question for you about Scalia? Did he say that all video game regulations restricting minors access to "Mature" games are constitutional or that they only could be constitutional?
I couldn't see Scalia finding violence to be obscene as then obscenity could be extended to other forms of content such as political or religious speech (including the Holy Bible which contains alot of violent content). I do think Scalia might find that the laws satisfied a compelling state interest (the first prong of strict scrutiny) although i don't know if Scalia would find these laws to be narrowly tailored. He might also find the laws unconstitutional under the 5th amendment's vagueness clause.

@ Adrian Lopez

Any entertainment that is condemned as "obscene" can be regulated for minors. All I'm saying is that no medium is excluded, and that 'free speech' is different for minors.

@BMK

That statement "such expression must be, in some significant way, erotic." was referring specifically to NUDITY, saying that in order for nudity to be specifically barred from minors, such nudity must be erotic in nature. It says nothing of whether violence can be regulated or not, that case involved no statements or decisions on the regulation of violent material.

"Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying mature games for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the games on their own and would leave parents to be parents…"

I like this part. Simply because M rated games will still make it into the houses of the spoiled brats who get everything handed to them by their parents. Unless they bring M rated video games on par with cigs, tabacco, alcohol the future of a video game law will be utterly pointless. Kind of like the esclade of the deaths caused by tazers yet the city of St. Paul just armed 200 of their officers with them... >.>

@Roebuc

Being a part of society means that you will be held accountable for treating children that your responsibility. If I want to beat my child with a baseball bat when they wet their pants, even if they do it in my house, that's a crime.

Now there are different levels of how much should be regulated, but let's be honest and admit that we all have limits on what parents should be allowed to do to their children. Regardless of whether it's "behind closed doors" or wherever the hell it's done.

@Josh,

"Any entertainment that is condemned as 'obscene' can be regulated for minors. All I’m saying is that no medium is excluded, and that ‘free speech’ is different for minors."

You didn't originally say anything about obscene speech. You said "states have a complete right to prohibit any type of entertainment being SOLD DIRECTLY to MINORS based on any criteria." Such a statement is factually incorrect.

"Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying mature games for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the games on their own and would leave parents to be parents…"
I completely agree.

@Josh

The Supreme Court specifically said that in order to be obscene to minors the material must be erotic. They were not saying that only when it comes to Nudity must the speech be erotic. They were just mentioning that not all Nudity is erotic therefore not all Nudity can be found obscene to minors. The Supreme Court has always said that obscenity only deals with sexual material (and excretory material if it's sexual in nature, like shit and piss mixed with sex). Nice try though.

Lets rephrase this:

"Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying The Holy Bible or Holy Koran for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the religious books on their own and would leave parents to be parents…”

There are alot of atheist, jewish and muslim parents who don't want their kids getting ahold of The Holy Bible. So a restriction of the sale of the Holy bible to minors is a.o.k then right.

Or how about harry potter books:

"Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying Harry Potter novels for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the Harry Potter novels on their own and would leave parents to be parents…”

There are alot of religious nuts who don't want their kids reading the Harry Potter books so a restriction on Harry Potter books is a.o.k. then.

Now take the Holy Bible and Harry Potter novels and replace it with every single type of Free Speech material that a parent out there would find offensive. Which would pretty much be a blanket restriction on all Free Speech materials to minors.

I believe it's the sole responsibility on the parents to keep their children away from Free Speech materials they don't want them to have, not the nanny-state.

[...] Link [...]

"Such a holding would not place a ban on parents buying mature games for their children; it would simply prevent minors from buying the games on their own and would leave parents to be parents."

Or perhaps it would leave parents to not be parents? After all, if stores are required by law to restrict the kinds of games my kids are allowed to purchase, I won't have to worry about the games they play.

Video game laws are just another step toward parenting on autopilot.

I feel dirty for quoting our worst enemy here but:

"America would do a lot better if it were to mimic the system of the United Kingdom!"

The only reason I had access to GTA III at 13 years old was that my parents had played it through, understood that I was mentally capable of distinguishing right from wrong, real from fake etc and even then I was playing for a set time, under supervision, which is admittedly disconcerting when your parents are listening to your PC screaming the F word at you!

Then again I played Kane and Lynch with dad...

Scalia has been on the wrong (or at least what I consider the wrong) side of a lot of issues lately. Look at his record on some notable cases and note how often he has been the dissenting opinion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin_Scalia#Important_cases

For example, he was a dissenting opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas That was the case where to adults were having consentual sex in the home of one of them. The police bust in after getting a bogus phone call about a weapons disturbance and arrested them because they were both men. The Supereme Court ruled the sodomy law was unconstitutional but Scalia disagreed saying that the state should be able to decide what two consenting adults can do in their own house.

I'm not surprised that Scalia is wrong about this one too.

@ BMK

You're right, it was a wrong assumption on my part to assume that violence could be considered obscene. I had to take a second look at Miller to see the statement:

"Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest"

At the time I had first read it (over 3 years ago) I didn't know prurient referred only to sexual acts. And I think I might still be right, according to the 3rd definition on wikipedia, prurient can mean:
(US, law) Sick, morbid or shameless.
Which to me seems would include brutal graphic violence. However it does look as though violence can't be considered obscene.

It's possible that Scalia is ignorant of what a "mature-rating" is. Unless he is familiar with the ESRB, it sounds very well like it could be a classification for pornography.

Intresting so they can regulate the sale of adult class material...oh the end of unrated DVDs are a coming!

about time really....

Folks, we don’t need a law prohibiting the sale of M-rated games to minors.

Why?

Because games don’t harm children. Seriously, they don’t. If you don’t want your children to have a certain game, don’t buy it for them. It’s that damn simple.


Andrew Eisen

There is no precedent in any other form of media to go on for the legal regulation of video games based on the ESRB's rating system.

Take a look at this:

http://www.mpaa.org/FlmRat_Ratings.asp

Read the descriptions of these ratings. They are nearly identical to those used by the ESRB, yet these ratings are not questioned, they are not scrutinized, and they are not bashed the same way ratings of the ESRB are. There is a question of how the ESRB comes to its ratings decisions, but I have never heard such flak for movie ratings: there is general acceptance of the idea.

And, there is absolutely no force of law behind these ratings. It is a voluntary system taken on by the movie producers, theaters and retailers.

Yet, pornographic movies can be regulated, and I understand this. But, read the description for NC-17:

"NC-17 does not mean “obscene” or “pornographic” in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense."

The same applies to AO-rated games, which are the gaming equivalent of NC-17. Yes, it's a marketing nightmare to try to sell an AO game or NC-17 movie, but in no way does it imply that the game is overly obscene in the eyes of the law. Pornography, on the other hand, falls under that category of being obscene, and so the sale of pornography of any kind can be strictly regulated by government, with fines and jail time doled out to the distributor who hands it to a minor.

The answer, as I see it, is to strengthen the force of the ESRB system voluntarily through education of parents and stricter compliance among retailers. I don't think that any attempt by government to step into this adoption process we are stuck in the middle of will help anything, and I don't think it will stand up in court. Ever.

What they continualy fail to realise is that "MA" ratings given to games means that the game is intended for people ages 17 and up! NOT 18! Why cant they just leave it be!?

Andrew Eisen
its not about R/M rated games this is more about NC17+.

NecroSen
The way the US is moving I can see a limiting of adult metreail sales to minors.

ZippyDSMlee,

Okay.

Folks, we don’t need a law prohibiting the sale of M, AO, or otherwise excessively violent games to minors.

Why?

Because games don’t harm children. Seriously, they don’t. If you don’t want your children to have a certain game, don’t buy it for them. It’s that damn simple.

Andrew Eisen

ZippyDSMlee
Limiting sales of M-rated games to minors via compliance with the ESRB ratings on the part of the retailers voluntarily is one thing. Police arresting teenagers working part time at a GameStop because they gave an M-rated game to a 16-year-old who looked 17 and convicting them of a felony is something entirely different.

I am all for the former, and wholly opposed to the latter. It's worked for the movie industry since before I was even born.

My two cents:

I don't necessarily have a problem with banning the sale of M rated games to minors, provided you are going to implement a similar system for movies. It would be tricky and the ratings system would probably need a serious overhaul to make it work...but it is possible.

That being said, the 1st Amendment is NOT absolute. Their are types of speech that can be regulated. Basically speech that is:
1) Patently offensive to the average reasonable person
AND
2) Without and redeeming, social, political, or artistic value
OR
3) An incitement to imminent lawless action

Those are subject to regulation (note 1 & 2 MUST occur together, 3 can occur on its own).

@Nightstalker,

Actually, there are three criteria, all of which must be satisfied:

* Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
* Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions [2] specifically defined by applicable state law,
* Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value. (This is also known as the (S)LAPS test- [Serious] Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific).

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_Test

Its a simple solution really.
If he wants "obscene" games regulated, make another rating category: O, for obscene.

Then never use it.

@ Andrew Eisen

Fifty bucks says you're 17 or younger.

I don't see how anyone would oppose the restriction of M-rated games being sold to underage children. The ONLY people that this affects are the children who are already subject to restrictions from retailers, the government, and in rare cases: their parents.

Games may not harm children, but neither does keeping games from them.

The issue here is not, "Why is the government trying to restrict game sales?"
The issue is, "Why does the government feel the need to impose rules where parents will not?"

And the answer is standing at your local Target buying M-rated games while his parents either work too much or work too little to care where he is, why he's there, and when he'll be home.

ADD: Games are not the problems; parents are. But if parents won't step up, then games will be the target.

Don't bash the government for picking your hobby as a target. Bash your parents for letting you have a TV and game console in your room, where you sit all hours of the day and night.

@yowzers:

what a dilemma, huh? It's unfair for legislation to single out games, but it's also unacceptable to replace the common sense of parents. Parenting is a very low-level issue.
 
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Andrew EisenMP - Probably not and for good reason. That term holds a lot of deserved negative baggage.08/27/2014 - 10:02pm
Uncharted NESApprently there is still a classic mode, but...08/27/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelanteSo, there's been massive positive reception to the Mario Kart 8 DLC bundle. Somehow, I doubt it would have gotten as much positive buzz if they called it a "Season Pass".08/27/2014 - 9:34pm
Uncharted NEShttp://m.pcgamer.com/2014/08/27/quake-live-makes-newbie-friendly-changes-in-latest-update-people-get-mad/08/27/2014 - 9:19pm
Uncharted NESQuake Live makes newbie-friendly changes in latest update, people get mad.08/27/2014 - 9:19pm
Uncharted NESAnd here's another article about it.08/27/2014 - 9:19pm
Uncharted NEShttp://kotaku.com/id-software-lives-dangerously-decides-to-change-classi-162774804308/27/2014 - 9:16pm
Uncharted NESid Software Lives Dangerously, Decides To Change Classic Quake08/27/2014 - 9:16pm
Matthew WilsonI am flying out to pax tomorrow.08/27/2014 - 9:16pm
MechaTama31Haven't been to GOG in a while. Their website reminds me of the old Zune software now...08/27/2014 - 6:01pm
Andrew EisenAlso, I know it's nitpicking but only ONE of the 21 movies on offer goes for $15. Four more are $10 and the rest are $6. But right now, all of them are $6 (except for two that are free).08/27/2014 - 3:22pm
E. Zachary KnightMasked, What are you talking about? I guess you never buy DVDs either?08/27/2014 - 3:21pm
Andrew EisenNot if they've hired more people.08/27/2014 - 3:13pm
MaskedPixelantePlus, now that they're negotiating movies, that's LESS manpower to negotiate true, pre-2000, non-console-port classics.08/27/2014 - 3:08pm
MaskedPixelanteNo rewatch value, once you've seen it there's no reason to rewatch it, and it's 15 bucks down the drain.08/27/2014 - 3:06pm
E. Zachary KnightIndie movies are a great start. They need a great distribution system too.08/27/2014 - 3:04pm
Andrew EisenEven if that were true, so what?08/27/2014 - 3:01pm
 

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