Court Overturns Minnesota Video Game Law

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld an injunction this Monday against a Minnesota law that targeted at children under 17 who rent or buy violent video games. Despite some discomfort with the decision, the three-judge panel on the court agreed with a lower-court judge that Minnesota went too far when it passed its law two years ago because the state couldn't prove that such games hurt children. "Whatever our intuitive (dare we say commonsense) feelings regarding the effect" of violent video games, precedent requires undeniable proof that such violence causes psychological dysfunction, Wollman wrote.

The law would have hit kids under 17 with a $25 fine if they rented or bought a video game rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. It also would have required stores to put up signs warning of the fines. Game makers and retailers swiftly challenged the law, arguing it was an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

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18 Comments

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The "video games turns kids into shooters!!!" craze is just like the "50's Rock and Roll is made by SATANISTS!!!" thing.

It's all very entertaining.

Violence is less covered in video games in America then the other big bad one... Sex!
In other countries, like Japan, its more acceptable to show it, but less to show violence.
Now I'm not one for censoring video games, but shouldn't sex be more acceptable then violence?

In any case, just because movies cost money, they aren't magically not covered by the First Amendment.
(yuppers, a double neg... that means movies are covered by the First)
So why are games any diffrent? They are still free speech, although a very lucritive industry.

Speaking of lucritive... Recently MS declared that the video game industry now make more money then the thiefs running the Music Industry, despite the fact that majority of the music industry just consists of reselling songs, or cheaply recording the people who do all the work artists play their latest. Now thats cool.

heh, i dont think games should even have age ratings
i played shooters when i was 9 and 10, its how i got into gaming in the first place

i disagree with you X'tyfe ... cause some games (i.e. GTA series) should NOT be played buy 9-10 year olds for sure... it just aint good for kids to see some types of things (violence/sex related stuff) in video games or just in general for that matter.

im 28 years old now... i played some of the violent games back in the mid 1990's (Mortal Kombat 3 etc) and i was about 15-16 at the time (my cousin was about 13 ish and he played with me... o hell, i guess kids are gonna get a hold of the stuff somehow anyways if they want it bad enough lol) ... that age i dont think is to bad to see that sorta stuff but to much younger than that i would say definitely NO..... i think 14 'or so' (maybe 12-13 but that's really pushing it) is MINIMUM i would even consider allowing to play some types of games.

(ThaCrip said @ #5.1)
i disagree with you X'tyfe ... cause some games (i.e. GTA series) should NOT be played buy 9-10 year olds for sure... it just aint good for kids to see some types of things (violence/sex related stuff) in video games or just in general for that matter.

im 28 years old now... i played some of the violent games back in the mid 1990's (Mortal Kombat 3 etc) and i was about 15-16 at the time (my cousin was about 13 ish and he played with me... o hell, i guess kids are gonna get a hold of the stuff somehow anyways if they want it bad enough lol) ... that age i dont think is to bad to see that sorta stuff but to much younger than that i would say definitely NO..... i think 14 'or so' (maybe 12-13 but that's really pushing it) is MINIMUM i would even consider allowing to play some types of games.

well, kids these days are pretty smart. and the games of our childhood are substantially different then the ones today. i probably wouldn't restrict someone of any age from playing mortal kombat. there is far more graphic violence on TV. however a game like Manhunt, which consists of nothing more then planned methodical killing warrants a mature rating and restricted playing. HOWEVER i dont think any organized body, government or otherwise, should be able to force a company to edit or restrict the content of their products before it can be purchased. i am able to make the decision on what i can and cant see, no one else has that right.

(ThaCrip said @ #5.1)
i disagree with you X'tyfe ... cause some games (i.e. GTA series) should NOT be played buy 9-10 year olds for sure... it just aint good for kids to see some types of things (violence/sex related stuff) in video games or just in general for that matter.

im 28 years old now... i played some of the violent games back in the mid 1990's (Mortal Kombat 3 etc) and i was about 15-16 at the time (my cousin was about 13 ish and he played with me... o hell, i guess kids are gonna get a hold of the stuff somehow anyways if they want it bad enough lol) ... that age i dont think is to bad to see that sorta stuff but to much younger than that i would say definitely NO..... i think 14 'or so' (maybe 12-13 but that's really pushing it) is MINIMUM i would even consider allowing to play some types of games.

there are exceptions, but kids will play it whether you try to stop them or not
you cant shield them from the world forever, they will find out that people kill each other everyday
one way or another

Why introduce a law based on "possible harm" to children that punishes the child. Why not just enforce the certificate and punish the people selling the games to people under age?

(TCLN Ryster said @ #4)
Why introduce a law based on "possible harm" to children that punishes the child. Why not just enforce the certificate and punish the people selling the games to people under age?

exactly

they need to punish the stores breaking the current laws that are in place (selling M or AO games to underage kids)

i grew up playing all the violent video games that came out and i'm about as opposite of violent as you can get. it's poor parenting that's f'ing kids up, not video games

you are all off tangent here. "punishes the child' ? The content is rated 18+ or M so it's not for the kids to start with so how is that punishing the child.

"it's poor parenting that's f'ing kids up, not video games"

parents today are not brought up knowing how to deal with the pressure of consumerism that is all about us. So yes some are to blame and the media and governments share the blame as well.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #1)
Why introduce a law based on "possible harm" to children that punishes the child. Why not just enforce the certificate and punish the people selling the games to people under age?

Stores can decide not to sell certain games to minors, but there's no law requiring them to. Such a law would be just as unconstitutional as punishing the kids. The ratings aren't even government controlled (it's the ESRB, and similarly movie ratings are done by the MPAA).

(craybox said @ #4.3)
you are all off tangent here. "punishes the child' ? The content is rated 18+ or M so it's not for the kids to start with so how is that punishing the child.

"it's poor parenting that's f'ing kids up, not video games"

parents today are not brought up knowing how to deal with the pressure of consumerism that is all about us. So yes some are to blame and the media and governments share the blame as well.

Fining a kid $25 if he rents or buys a M rated game is punishment. And its not the kids fault the store clerk let an underage kid leave with a game he should not be playing. its human nature to push your boundaries and try to get away with thingsyou know are 'against the rules'. we all did it as kids. When i was kid i got carded for R rated movies all the time. i don't think this should be any different. granted, no one put up a huge stink if they found me in the theater watching an R rated movie. but thats besides the point.

your statement "parents today are not brought up knowing how to deal with the pressure of consumerism" is the biggest cop out i think i have ever heard in my life. you dont know how to deal with consumerism? what is there to DEAL with? you should know whats right and wrong for your kids and you need to stand behind the rules and boundaries you set for your child. the media and government have NO PART in the raising of your children and you should fight hard to keep it that way. If you cant raise a stable child without the government or someone else telling you what to do you shouldn't have kids in the first place.

(craybox said @ #4.3)
you are all off tangent here. "punishes the child' ? The content is rated 18+ or M so it's not for the kids to start with so how is that punishing the child.

"it's poor parenting that's f'ing kids up, not video games"

parents today are not brought up knowing how to deal with the pressure of consumerism that is all about us. So yes some are to blame and the media and governments share the blame as well.

So you're saying it's not the parents' responsibility to be parents. Can't they F*&$ING READ?! If it says "Assault" "WAR" or bears the name of a felony, then don't F(*&ING give it to the crumb crunchers!!! If parents want to buy games that are in now way appropriate, by all means let 'em, its their kid, not Uncle Sam's.

It's not the government's responsibility to teach parents how to be parents. The Government never issued people kids and doesn't put them in the situation of being a parent.

The media are liberal and therefore against freedom whatsoever (except the FIRST amendment of course, they dare not venture past there for fear of running into the second) so this decision I expect to see blasted ALL over the news tonight (the Clinton News Network and PMSnbc)

People have free will given by God not by governments, we make our choices, we must live with them (without looking for someone else or the alignment of the stars to blame).

</soapbox>

(AltoidBox said @ #4.4)

Stores can decide not to sell certain games to minors, but there's no law requiring them to. Such a law would be just as unconstitutional as punishing the kids. The ratings aren't even government controlled (it's the ESRB, and similarly movie ratings are done by the MPAA).

If movies are not controlled by the government, how come theaters have the right to ID individuals under the age of 17 to a rated R movie, if unsupervised?

This law may have been stopping the less responsible parents buying adult rated or violent material for their underage kids.

There is a lot to be said about it being 'unconstitutional', it's as mad as our Political Correctness over here (UK)