Games Under Fire Over Political Correctness, Warns Free Speech Lawyer

An experienced First Amendment lawyer warned that political correctness is a looming threat to the video game industry.

Lawrence Walters made his remarks at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday. GameSpot offers a report:

Just when the decency police and moral values groups have been all but defeated in the courts–both of law and public opinion–a new threat has emerged from our left flank: political correctness. The leftist thought police are now wanting to impose their view of propriety on modern cultural discourse…


Think about [a New York bill that would prevent minors from purchasing games containing racial stereotypes]… Would we ever in a million years tolerate the government passing a law that movies cannot have profanity, racial jokes, or derogatory language? That would eliminate practically every movie made.

Now we can debate all day long whether racist stereotypes or derogatory language is even appropriate in video games, but that’s for us to debate, and not for the government to decide… [The video game industry] needs to reveal its enemies for who they are–radicals on the left and on the right–and marginalize them…

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  1. timada says:

    I think this is just a phase as video games evolve, when people first started making gory horror films in the 60’s a lot of people (mainly religious radicals) were against it. So this should pass, and the creators of games like Grand Theft Auto are becoming more aware of the violence in their games and the latest ones have been made a bit less violent, no flamethrowers or chainsaws etc… Sadly you can’t stop some of the racism and aggressive language used in many online games, which generally ruins a gaming community.

  2. Father Time says:

    You know I’ve never actually seen the dreaded PC police. I’ve never seen anyone give a dman about someone using Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays (except for people praising them for not being PC) and I’ve never seen someone insist we use euphenisms for everything. I’ve seen people who are politically correct but I’ve never seen them raise much a fuss when someone around them isn’t.

    They cannot force games to be politically correct anymore than the ‘think of the children’ crowds can force them to tone down violence.

    Political Correctness is very very stupid though.


     Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. Wolvenmoon says:

    It’s like a giant teeter-totter. On one side you have people not wanting sex and violence in video games, on the other you have the people saying to the other side that they’ll have as much sex and violence as they want, but if there’s a stereotype in the game-then it’s gone too far.

    No one listens to the gamers in the middle, who want to have their freedom to choose. I personally don’t care to ever see a graphic sex scene in my video games. Nor do I like ridiculously gory scenes. I feel free to pass up a game when it has overly stereotypical characters, and if the game itself sucks-I pass it up as well. Other people like things different than I do. All I ask is fair warning, and possibly the option to turn the gore/sex off.

    Politicians should be about encouraging self reliance and self moderation instead of trying to hand feed the general public. Liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, both are determined to enforce their own viewpoints into every corner of life they can.

    I will not buy securom games. and

  4. Bigman-K says:

    I consider myself a stuanch social/civil libertarian I just don’t agree with them on the fiscal/economic side of things. Things like taxes, social services, minimum wage, disability, welfare, universal education and health care are all things i actually agree with. I also disagree with intellectual copyright laws with the exception of those who do it solely as a means to gain profit (eg. taking an entire CD/movie/video game, placing it on a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray and selling it for $10 a pop without any reparations going to the artists whatsoever) as i believe they violate Free Speech. So in essence i guess i’m a liberal Libertarian which most Libertarian don’t consider Libertarian at all.

    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  5. Father Time says:

    Anarchy is no government

    Libertarian is as small a government as possible that still functions. It should only deal with courts police and defence.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  6. Father Time says:

    Join the libertarians then, it’s like anarchy without the chaos. The real hardcore ones believe that government should exist only to enforce the laws and protect the country (and they don’t believe in sacrificing libety for safety). They also believe in legalizing a lot of things.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  7. illspirit says:

    That means you’re also as far right as a person can get with regard to low taxes, less regulation, and so on. 😉

    The two dimensional left/right compass is really pointless without a second axis for libertarian/authoritarian.

  8. Austin_Lewis says:

    Ah anarchy.  The new hip political trend.  It’s like being an emo, everyone says they are, but no one knows enough about it to defend their point.

    Here’s a tip: if we broke into an anarchist nation, the only real law would be who has the bigger gun.  And you’d lose repeatedly.

  9. Bigman-K says:

    True, the government is needed to protect others from harm, having their property stolen as well as protect the rights and freedoms of the individuals in the country. Under Anarchy, someone would just come up and take over as a dictator with absolute power. So government is needed, what is not needed is the nanny-state and protectionism bullshit.


    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  10. Vake Xeacons says:

    There’s no protecting freedom either. The Constitution that protects our freedom is a ccontract that tells our government how to do its job. We’ve seen how anarchy destroys freedom as much as facism. When Rome fell, no one was protected, giving the strong free reign to torture and slaughter the weak.

  11. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Um, I didn’t get a reply from him, yet.


  12. mdo7 says:


    Glad to hear from him, Darkman.  Tell him anywhere Jack Thompson attack, he should be there.  Don’t let that D-bag Thompson tried to corrupt Free Speech when it comes to video game.  Also make sure that Olson and Kutner and Chris Ferguson be there also.  I want JT and his "Legion of Doom" (you know what I mean) to stop video game.

  13. SimonBob says:

    Ohhh, right, the Haitian mixup.  In fairness, I did feel somewhat leery about the fact that the easiest way to pass that mission was to take the adrenaline pill so you could do your sniping in slow-motion.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  14. DarkSaber says:

    Hot Fuzz reference! Two thumbs up!


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  15. DeepThorn says:

    Either way, this isn’t the future Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Paine were expecting when setting this system up.  I don’t know what they would feel disgraced them more, the theological input we have allowed, or the freedoms that have been taken away.  Between the mid 1800’s and mid 1900’s this country has went through a huge change.

    We need a new age of reason to come about…  Political correctness is bullswap, and everyone knows it.  Those stupid commercials with hillary duff talking about calling something gay is wrong.  I am sorry, but I have yet to hear a homosexual complain about it.  They are intelligent enough to understand that gay, like many words, have many meanings.  (homosexual, happy, stupid – 3 meanings, one word, by no means tied together)  The word retard has many meanings too, but many people don’t called mentally disabled people retards anymore, mostly people who act mentally disabled when they actually are not, or light heartedly meaning someone is acting goofy.

    You either have the left’s dont offend anyone, or the right’s dont offend my belief in my mythology.  No matter what, you are going to piss someone off.  Might as well make a statement when doing so, or at least say something funny using it.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  16. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Communism is more a economic model, the proper term would be fascism.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  17. Sai says:

     We cannot allow our children to be exposed to Mario, he represents a hurtful and racist depiction of Italians!

  18. TK n Happy Ness says:

    Hey Jack, this guy has 2 things you don’t: Credibility and a career. He doesn’t have any secret agenda like you do.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  19. Jonathan says:

    I agree with the guy.

    IMHO Political Correctness is what’s preventing us from getting along better, because all it does is drive us apart.

  20. OmegaWarrior says:

    I gotta say, I completely agree with the guy.  I’m pretty far to the left, myself, on most issues, but authoritarianism is a seperate axis from the left-right scale (which I actually think is more of a circle than a line </sidetrack>). 

  21. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I sent him an e-mail telling him we agreed and told him about Jack. The rest is in his hands now.


  22. mdo7 says:


    Uh oh,


    Jack Thompson calling this guy a lapdog of the industry in 3…2…1


    I saw this on Joystiq.  This guy is right, we have too many politicial correctness, and censorship on video game.  I would love it if this guy can tell us about how RE5 is not racist.  Also, can this guy tell people about Jack Thompson and his damn craziness.

  23. Brokenscope says:

    Thats cause everyone was still upset over Vice City. With few exceptions vg critics are slow to pick up on the new stuff.

  24. SimonBob says:

    That’s funny… there was nary a ripple of PCism when GTA: San Andreas came out, even though the core of the storyline was race relations amid gang warfare.  But now it’s a hot-button issue?  If the actual complaints were coming up because of real stylistic decisions, I’d see this as an advancement of the medium’s respectability, but as it is I think the majority of the industry is still at a design-for-income level.  The biggest companies still only push the limits just far enough that it won’t cut into their profit margins.  I suppose it’s useful advice to keep in the back of one’s mind, though.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  25. Bennett Beeny says:

    As an anarchist, I’m about as far left as a person can get.  There is no censorship in anarchism.  Censorship comes from the liberal, conservative and fascist areas of the political sphere – i.e. the right and middle.

  26. TBoneTony says:

    I agree, it is up for the Videogame Industry to decide if they want to market games that have racist and profanity steriotypes.

    Think about great games like Resident Evil and also Conker’s Bad Fur Day even though their racism and profanity were low level to non existant.

    When we have won the battle against Moral Christian groups from the right, we then have to battle the Political Correctness groups from the left.

    And even though we don’t allow things like graphic sex or explicit rape in the Videogame Market and only for those on the internet or in the Japanese Adult Videogame Industry, we have a whole lot more way to go to let these people know that the main Videogame Industry is a lot more positive than some other people think.

  27. Bill says:

    He’s right.  For some reason the PC crowd’s cage got rattled and now they’re going batshit crazy. 

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