The Supreme Court will be issuing its opinion in the case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association any day now (TLF’s previous coverage is here). The case was previously known as Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, but Mr. Schwarzenegger has been trying to stay out of court of late. I was just sent a draft of the statement that the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, which filed an amicus brief in the case, is planning to release if the decision goes its way. The Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund was founded by Phyllis Schlafly.
[Not really. This is a joke (but the quotes are true).]
[date] – The Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund (we just say “F’ed”) is happy to see that the U.S. Supreme Court has finally recognized that children are precious angels and need to be protected from reality. Its opinion in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association case, released today, holds that states are free to ignore the First Amendment when it comes to children. While F’d has long advocated fidelity to the text of the U.S. Constitution, it believes “traditional values” are more important than some document written 224 years ago. In response to the many calls that our position in support of California’s attempt to ban video games is hypocritical considering our mission is “to enable conservative and pro-family men and women to participate in the process of self-government and public policy making so that America will continue to be a land of individual liberty,” and we support “parents’ rights to guide the education of their own children … and to home-school without oppressive government regulations,” we say don’t listen to what we’ve said. “Be a ‘doer, not a hearer only.’” (You can’t argue with that–it’s from the bible.)
As we stated in our amicus brief filing, “violent video games are the equivalent of ‘fighting words’ for kids who play them.” To that end, and emboldened by today’s decision, we are calling on Congress to “stop the violence” by enacting Federal restrictions similar to the California statute just upheld by the Supreme Court. Federal legislation is needed because digital downloads already represent 29% of game sales. Virtual “app stores” offered by companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and others allow children to access violent video games any time and from anywhere. Here are just a few examples of the sorts of games that are available on mobile phone app stores. They all “appeal to a deviant or morbid interest of minors” (to quote the language of the California law). Are your children playing these violent video games?
- Office Jerk – Now known by the slighly less-offensive name “OfficeJK”, the point of this game for the Android platform is to throw food, golf balls, a bug, a stapler, and even dynamite at a defenseless and nonviolent officemate.
- Dig Dug – Video games have been violent from the very beginning, with the first videogame “Space War.” Dig Dug, originally released in 1982 requires the player to kill “monsters” by either inflating them until they pop or dropping rocks on top of them (more on “crush videos” to come). Due to its age and the many emulators available for smartphones, this game is probably available for every platform including graphing calculators.
- Plants vs. Zombies – Another game available on a wide variety of platforms from PCs to game consoles to portable devices and phones, this game has been nominated for multiple Interactive Achievement Awards, the “Casual Game of the Year Award, and was one of the Best games of 2009 according to website Gamezebo. As you might surmise from the title, the game involves killing zombies. But you don’t just kill them by throwing fruits and vegetables at them (though that certainly does the trick on the early levels). Gameplay also involves explosions, rolling over zombies with giant walnuts, and literally mowing them down with lawn mowers. And the visuals are particularly disturbing, with limbs blown off and zombies literally turned to dust by explosions. It also makes fun of a special needs individual named “Crazy Dave.”
- Angry Birds – After the legality of “crush films” was barely upheld in 2008, it’s surprising this game even exists. The user scores point by flinging small birds into buildings and various other structures in an attempt to get the structures to collapse on top of pigs. To quote the California law, this is “especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim[s].”
It’s worth pointing out that with the exception of Office Jerk, which is unrated, all of the above games have been rated “Everyone” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Phyllis Schlafly is not available for comment because she gets more self-fulfillment from “the daily duties of a wife and mother in the home.”