Webcomic Virtual Shackles wryly illustrates how California’s violent video games law might work when put into practice.
During Tuesday’s oral arguments, Justice Sotomayor pointed out what could easily be viewed as a rather large loophole in the law at the heart of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.
The law seeks to prevent children under 18 from purchasing games in which the player can “virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings.” But what about characters that are almost, but not quite human beings? Here’s the relevant exchange:
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Would a video game that portrayed a Vulcan as opposed to a human being, being maimed and tortured, would that be covered by the act?
MR. MORAZZINI: No, it wouldn’t, Your Honor, because the act is only directed towards the range of options that are able to be inflicted on a human being.
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: So if the video producer says this is not a human being, it’s an android computer simulated person, then all they have to do is put a little artificial feature on the creature and they could sell the video game?
MR. MORAZZINI: Under the act, yes…
Thanks to reader Arell for the tip!
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen