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The New York Times is running a good overview of courts’ rejection of video game violence laws by regular game writer Seth Schiesel. Though only tangentially related to VB’s usual coverage, it’s worth the click.

Summary: the article highlights an Oklahoma court’s recent move to block regulation of violent games. It notes that under “the Constitution’s protection of free speech, federal judges have rejected attempts to regulate video games in eight cities and states since 2001″ and “no such laws have been upheld.” Ronald Collins of the First Amendment Center is quoted saying that “uniformity in declaring a category of laws unconstitutional is very rare.”

Mortal Kombat Fatalities on YouTube

The image to the left links to a YouTube compilation video of Mortal Kombat “Fatalities” — an early target of complaints about game violence.

On a related note, VB reader Dr. Jerald Block recently sent me a couple of links related to work he has done regarding video game violence, specifically the relationship of video game violence to the tragic events at Columbine High School in 1999. The first is a Destructoid interview with Dr. Block. Dr. Block argues that game violence can provide an outlet for violent tendencies that can — at least temporarily — temper the desire to do real violence. The second is a link to Dr. Block’s paper, “Lessons from Columbine: Virtual and Real Rage” (.pdf) that explains the theory. The paper is surprisingly readable for an academic article, and I highly recommend it.

Finally, though the methodology is a little suspect (and tongue in cheek), Jeff Freeman’s juxtaposition of two graphs — violent video game sales and violent crimes — on actually raises a fair point. Over the last ten years, video game sales (and with them violent video game sales) are way, way up, while violent crime is way, way down. Sure, there’s a causality question, but it’s nice to have something to toss back at the usual suspects when they leap for the game violence bandwagon every time something bad happens.

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2 Responses to “NY Times Covers Rejection of Game Violence Laws; Psychiatrist Says Games Could Reduce Violence; Violent Game Sales Up, Violent Crime Down”

  1. on 28 Aug 2007 at 4:34 amAnonymous Coward

    The reasons for the decrease in non-violent crime are explored, possibly with some more facts and analysis, in the book titled Freakonomics

  2. on 28 Aug 2007 at 8:25 amBenjamin Duranske

    Anonymous – do you mean violent crime, or non-violent crime? Because if the latter, I’m not sure what the connection is (though I think Freakonomics is a good book, and recommend it for other reasons).

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