Do you agree that games deserve First Amendment protection, that they qualify for freedom of speech protection?
If you do, and you are an American gamer, I urge you to visit the ECA website and sign The Gamer Petition.
We, the undersigned American video game consumers, purchase, rent and play video games the way we do other entertainment content such as movies and music. We respectfully request that you hold that video games are indeed free speech, protected under the First Amendment, like other entertainment media.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Schwarzenegger v EMA, which is a lawsuit about the latest in a long string of state-level legislation against videogame regulation. Every time this has come up, courts have struck down the laws as unconstitutional. This time, the appeals have made it to the Supreme Court, and if they decide against games and in favor of the law, it would have huge negative implications for the industry — and for gamers.
The petition will be attached to the amicus brief that the ECA is submitting to the court.
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of some of the excesses of industry content. But I also believe that the way for games to mature as a medium is for them to grow their way to it. That will be made much harder if we end up laboring under arbitrary or pointless restrictions the way comics did for so long. Or if the stigma of regulation means that publishers become averse to games that tackle adult topics with adult sophistication. Or if we have to make builds that vary state to state (a scenario envisioned by the CEO of EA).
So I was happy to sign the petition. I want games to be treated like books, because I want them to aspire to the historical level of impact and quality that books have had.
The same sort of law has been struck down in eight states based on free speech concerns from the courts. Were such a law to be upheld, videogames would be the only medium treated in this fashion — other censorship laws are based on sexual content, not violence.
The rules are going to apply to 19 games accounting for 79% of the Korean online game market. But interestingly, Lineage is excluded, though Maple Story isn’t… apparently the issue of which games are on the list is the source of some controversy.
DriveThruRPG.com is doing a clever charity drive for Doctors Without Borders and Haiti — give a $20 donation, and they will give a coupon for $1481.31 worth of digitally downloaded RPGs and materials. You can also give $5 or $10, and they will match the donation
Donate $20 and get a coupon for over a thousand dollars in RPG titles. After you make the donation, you will receive the coupon code in your email. It will also be available in your order history.