More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

July 14, 2010 -

California outlined its case for a law that would make it a crime to sell violent videogames to minors in a 59-page brief filed on Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo managed to get his hands on some, or all, of the document and pulled out some of the more interesting pieces.

Once again, the actual text of the currently blocked law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA:

1. California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the Act) prohibit the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors under 18. The Act defines a "violent video game" as one that depicts "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in a manner that meets all of the following requirements: (1) A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find that it appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors; (2) it is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors, and; (3) it causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. The Act does not prohibit a minor's parent or guardian from purchasing or renting such games for the minor. Pet. App. 96a.

The Act provides for a penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, which may be lowered in the discretion of the court. The penalty does not apply to any person who is employed solely in the capacity of a salesclerk or other similar position, provided he or she does not have an ownership interest in the business in which the violation occurred and is not employed as a manager in the business. Pet. App. 98a.

Kotaku writes that the brief specifically mentions only a few videogames. Exhibit A in the brief however, is the Running with Scissors game Postal 2, which was released over seven years ago in 2003:

The ESRB gave this game a rating of M (Mature) and provides the following description: "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Strong Language, Use of Drugs."7 But the industry's attempt at self-regulation does not begin to describe the game's violent content. As demonstrated in Petitioner's Video Game Violence video compilation (lodged with the Court by Petitioners), the violence in Postal II includes torturing images of young girls, setting them on fire, and bashing their brains out with a shovel, for no reason other than to accumulate more points in the game. In one scene in Postal II, the player (who sees through the eyes of the shooter) looks through a scope on an assault rifle and sees a very realistic image of a person's face. The player then shoots the victim in the kneecap. As the player watches the victim attempt to crawl away, moaning in pain, the player pours gasoline on the victim and lights him on fire. As the burning victim continues to crawl, the player urinates on the victim, and says "That's the ticket."

 

After noting that it "smells like chicken," the player again looks at the victim through the scope on the gun, and again sees a realistic human face, on fire, crawling toward him. The player then shoots the victim in the face, which turns into charred remnants of a human image. In another scene, the player hits a woman in the face with a shovel, causing blood to gush from her face. As she cries out and kneels down, the player hits her twice more with the shovel, this time decapitating her. The player then proceeds to hit the headless corpse several more times, each time propelling the headless corpse through the air while it continues to bleed.

More excerpts can be found over at Kotaku, dealing with the lack of a direct link between “offensive material” and its “physical or psychological harm to minors,” First Amendment interpretations and equating sex with violence.


Comments

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

That Postal 2 exhibit is absolutely ****ing ridiculous - I'm not sure if it's a requirement for legal issues in this regard, but it is worded as if the player has to perform each individual action (As Mario, the player jumps up and onto the vulnerable turtle species) thus negating the fact that players have free will. Granted, that is specific to Postal 2, but plenty of other games are the same - the player is not forced to exterminate everyone in the airport level of Modern Warfare 2. It reads like someone who last experienced games in the 80s.

In Postal 2, in fact, you can go through the entire game without killing anyone if you keep running and avoid all combat (Correct me if there are any exceptions, it's been a while - and the crazy demon boss in the expansion doesn't count :). This exhibit suggests players are forced to horrifically kill people, except it's their choice.

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

You are correct.  Running With Scissors made a big point of saying it's only as violent as you are.  You can play through the entire game, complete all the missions, and not harm a fly.  It's quite a challenge really.

===============

Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

Postal² had points? I don't recall this.

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

No it does not have points but politicions think all games have points.

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

So because 1 M-rated game is gory it means that all M-rated game are like Postal 2? Yeah thats bs.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

I know that. But what they are doing is showing a game where you CAN do these things and telling people you have to do them as an argument againt M rated games in general. They are also bringing up the whole video game points thing. Seesh not many games have points anymore. More so FPS's.

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

The "reply" button.  Hit that if you want to reply to a specific comment.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

As I said on Kotaku Postal 2 is NOT what all M rated games are like. That would be like showing people Hostal or Saw and saying ALL R rated movies are like this.

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

Doesn't really matter if they are or not.  Postal 2, Hostal, and Saw are not harmful to children so there's nothing to protect them from.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

I don't know if you ever watcher Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles or not, but this is an interesting story about an episode that I watched when my son was 3.

We were watching the show and my son was playing around us and sitting in our laps. In the show there is a pretty fair amount of violence for a prime time network television show. Some killing and stuff.

My kid was not phased by any of that in the slightest. But at the end of the episode, the terminator forced a scientist to develop the flesh growing compound the terminator needed to recover his metal frame with human flesh. When the Terminator rose out of the bloody tub, its eyes were sealed shut. The Scientist used a scalpel to cut the eyelids open, revealing the terminator's glowing red eyes. That was when my son freaked out.

No amount of violence phased my son, but the site of those unnatural red eyes made it so that we had to cover up any red lights in the house for weeks.

I guess there isn't really a point to this story other than to share that there are things that scare kids but its not violence in general. But being scared does not equate to being harmed either.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

I watched its run on the station's website.  For the most part, I quite enjoyed it too.  Shame it's not getting a third season.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: More from California’s SCOTUS Brief

 Yep, as long as there are no boobies our children are safe and retain their innocence.

 
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Michael ChandraSo be smart, and if you want to be part of the good guys, separate yourself from the bad guys. Don't attack those upset you won't.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraMeanwhile, Gamergate is tainted and wise people already use a different tag to defend decent arguments. Keeping it up is like going #KKK while arguing about PoC.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraSo while claiming to be unfairly attacked for the actions of a selected few, you unfairly attack an entire crowd for the actions of a selected few? #notagamer #butahater09/18/2014 - 6:30am
james_fudgeQuiknkold: Let me ask you- how many of those 'gamers are dead' articles did you see here? Because apparently i'm part of some vast conspiracy.09/18/2014 - 5:18am
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldEZacharyKnight : Lemme ask you a question. We have people who cling to walls, people who fire lasers from their eyes, people who can shapeshift....and yet fabric needs to be upheld to RL physics?09/17/2014 - 6:54pm
james_fudgebody paint?09/17/2014 - 5:33pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, I stand corrected on the buttcrack thing. Still, I know of no fabric that actually does that.09/17/2014 - 5:05pm
Andrew EisenSo... it's unethical to discuss the ethics surrounding public interest vs. personal privacy?09/17/2014 - 4:45pm
prh99The source for the game was just released not long ago, it's at https://github.com/keendreams/keen09/17/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99An Indiegogo champagin bought the rights to the early 90's game Keen Dreams to make it open source and release it on GOG etc. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally09/17/2014 - 4:42pm
 

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