Hooray for the 8th Circuit!

Interactive Digital Software Association v. Saint Louis County, Missouri

In a huge win for the gaming industry, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a St. Louis County ordinance banning the sale, rental, or "making available" of "graphically violent video games" is unconstitutional in its reliance upon violent content (a similar part of the ordinance, blocking sexually explicit content was untouched at this time).

This marks a landmark in the First Amendment protection of video games as works of "expressions" under the Constitution. It's a huge win for those of us who believe that games shouldn't be censored, and that it's a parent's responsibility (not the State's) to determine what their child should or should not play.

Some key quotes:

"The County suggests in fact that with video games, the story lines are incidental and players may skip the expressive parts of the game and proceed straight to the player-controlled action. But the same could be said of action-packed movies like "The Matrix" or "Charlie's Angels"; any viewer with a videocassette or DVD player could simply skip to and isolate the action sequences." p. 4

"The County's conclusion that there is a strong likelihood that minors who play violent video games will suffer a deleterious effect on their psychological health is simply unsupported in the record." p. 6

"We merely hold that the government cannot silence protected speech by wrapping itself in the cloak of parental authority." p. 8