Today is the day: Schwarzenegger vs. Freedom

Today is a day that will have a significant impact on the videogame industry. Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger culminates years of anti-videogame activity by attempting to put control of the videogame industry in the hands of the government. 

Today is a day that will have a significant impact on the videogame industry. Today, Arnold Schwarzenegger culminates years of anti-videogame activity by attempting to put control of the videogame industry in the hands of the government. {{page_break}}The California law would restrict the sale of violent games to minors based upon what the government deems inappropriate, sidelining the ESRB and creating a state-run rating process. The implications of this are far reaching — developers will become scared of creating new games, due to the risk of retailers no stocking their games. The term “violent videogame” is so generic and bland that any politician with a bug up his arse could restrict whatever he likes. 

And this doesn’t even enter into the basic common sense ideal that the government should not be able to control our entertainment like this, ever. It’s not a government’s job to be concerned with our entertainment. That Schwarzenegger is wasting public money and time on this crusade should already mark him out as a scumbag. 

Previous attempts to restrict videogames in this way have always been smacked down for their unconstitutional nature, and the legal community itself is doubtful that the law will be accepted. Nevertheless, gamers are worried. This is a battle that has been fought with hyperbole and assumption, and that can be very convincing. Plus the implications of the ruling, and the new standard it could set, is rightfully scary to anybody who appreciates freedom of creativity. 

Unfortunately, as of right now, all we can do is sit and wait, and hope that America is what it claims to be. That’s what it comes down to. I love games as much as anyone, but this is about way more than games for me. I have respected this country for its protection of free speech. The fact that a bigoted little homophobe like Fred Phelps can say what he wants is a double-edged sword, but this undiscriminating right to speak that has been extended to all citizens is something I admire, as somebody who moved to this country from another.  If Schwarzenegger and his equally hypocritical supporters get their way, then America won’t be the country I thought it was. 

Don’t disappoint me, now. 

Jim Sterling