Recently there has been an on-going debate on the topic of video games being considered a form of art, which would protect them and their content under the God given right of free speech. Unfortunately, video games are still not seen as a form of art, so they don’t get the same protections afforded to other art forms like music, movies, and actual art when it comes to their content and free speech. In fact, Arnold and the whole state of California have taken a case to the Supreme Court that argues video games are not art, and should be regulated with fines if necessary when mature games are sold to minors. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that certain mature rated games shouldn’t be sold to minors, because some of them do contain some pretty over the top content, but this law is a bad thing.
The problem with what Arnold is trying to do is that if the law passes, video games would be held to a standard that no other created work faces. Basically, if you are a developer that makes a mature game, there’s a good chance you could get monetary fines if a retail establishment sells said game to a minor. If you’re in the game industry, and you know that your game may not even be sold at retail out of fear of getting fined for some lazy teen selling a M rated game to a 10 year old, would you risk even making mature rated games like that? This is the dilema that all video game creators could face if this law passes. It would effectively limit the type of games that gamers could play, so without blatantly coming out and saying it, the Supreme Court would be imposing censorship on a form of art. Think something along the lines of what Adolf and his propaganda machine did back in the 30s and 40s with Germany’s artists that he didn’t agree with.
Although, the game industry has a new unlikely supporter for its cause. To my surprise I came across an article today about how Rush Limbaugh, one of the biggest conservative gas bags out there, defended video games as art on his radio show this week. I’m no fan of Rush and his rants on politics, but I must say I applaud him for speaking out on the video game as art debate. I guess a caller phoned into his program and brought up what is going on in California and the Supreme Court in regards to video game regulation, and defended the rights of video game developers to express their art form as they see fit. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thanks Rush! In the call he still managed to attack liberals and blame them for legislation that goes against our freedoms, but most of what he said I totally agree with. Here’s an excerpt from Rush’s show on the topic of video games as art:
“Join me any time the government tries to impinge on anybody’s speech,” he said. “Join me when the government tries to tell you can’t eat trans fat. Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can’t do: What kind of car we have to drive, whether or not we’re responsible for global warming, the kind of lightbulb we have to have, where our thermostats are. Get on board, my buddy. If it’s taken a video game to get you interested and have the light go off, to have you see what liberalism is all about, I’m glad to have you on our side, ’cause I agree with you. Leave your game alone. The people that put together these video games are artists in their own right. If you’re gonna start saying that video games are raunchy, then how the hell do you leave cable television alone?”
Who knew Rush could actually say something intelligent? Obviously he cleverly blames most of these issues on liberalism, but the bulk of his message is true. I hope to God that the Supreme Court tells Arnold to go back to making movies, because if this law gets passed we as gamers will see a steep decline in creativity in the games we play. I’ll get behind gas bags like Limbaugh if they stand up for gamer’s rights any day. If you’re interested you can see the complete transcript of this call below using the Via link. You’ve been thinking this is the most intelligent thing you’ve heard out of Rush’s mouth since he admitted to being a drug addict…
E.B. “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”