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Video Games Are Not All Fun and Games

By Sean Corbett in News on Dec 21, 2006 9:08PM

2006_12_blago_finger.jpgRemember when G-Rod made it a crime to sell violent or sexually explicit games to minors in the state of Illinois? Bad move, Illinois still owes the video games industry $520,000 in legal fees for writing unconstitutional laws, and the judges say we have to pay, even though we don’t want to. Chicagoist imagines the time Illinois politicians spent dreaming up, researching, writing, and defending the restrictive legislation could easily add another $500,000 to the tab. What about the children? Would they not be better served by a million dollars in better schooling or public transportation or something to that effect?

Judge Kennelly, who made the ruling last year, cited the ambiguous language of the law as its downfall: “…because the statute allows a game to be regulated based on one scene without regard to the value of the game as a whole. Such a sweeping regulation on speech — even sexually explicit speech — is unconstitutional even if aimed at protecting minors."

Nick from Chicago’s own says:

Gaming law is never really 'for the children' - it's for shoddy parents who want to have someone else to blame when they don't involve themselves in their children's lives enough to monitor the entertainment they're taking in. I'm all for regulation of violent game sales to minors, but making unconstitutional laws isn't the way to go about it - it's too bad the state had to realize that the hard (and very expensive) way.

Illinois has a twisted history of violent and sexually explicit games. Arguably the most celebrity video game developers in Illinois, Midway Games Company (creators of Mortal Kombat) are based in Chicago. The violence and gore in Mortal Kombat led to the video games industry attempting to self-regulate the sale of violent and sexual games by creating the Entertainment Software 2006_12_toasty.pngRating Board (ESRB.) Hordes of lawmakers (G-Rod, Hillary Clinton, etc.) say the ESRB doesn’t quite do it for them; their kids still have no problems buying provocative games. Midway and Toasty just want to be able to express their first amendment rights, but c’mon guys, does this nitpicking really have to cost taxpayers millions of dollars?