A Small Victory

After waking up to a victorious 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, I figured it would be a good a time as any to chase some of the tumbleweeds away from the blog and post something. Given that the 4th Amendment is barely on judicial life support now, and the various other events which have transpired since this case began, this is somewhat of a hollow victory. But it’s still nice to see that my evil plan (or my chaotic, complete lack thereof) worked.

But, yea, way back when we fist posted the little GTA mod which got the moral panic ball rolling again, lots of people told us to shut up and say we made the whole thing up so that the whole issue would go away. A few people ostensibly on “our side” even threatened us, rather comically, with physical violence if we didn’t. Now, it’s hard to say whether the media and the politicians would have slowed down had we said it was a hoax or whatever, so we can’t really take the credit for the whole mess either way. Nonetheless, we made the decision to stand our ground and provoke the would-be censors into showing themselves.

Thanks to my proverbial man in Washington (who shall remain unnamed), I knew that there was legislation waiting in the wings to exploit an opportunity such as the one we presented on a silver platter. Likewise, and/or through independent research, it appeared that there were certain groups working within (but not necessarily in concert with leadership of) the political class who were salivating at the chance to use such legislation as a springboard to push the envelope of censorship even further. Be it, say, this fool who jumped the gun and proposed a law to censor “religious violence” in games (the ultimate goal here, if my sources were correct, was “protecting” children from any exposure to religion..), censoring depictions or promotion of hunting, or attacking all virtual and toy guns as well as pretty much anything which glorified the military.

Granted, some of the above probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere, as the VPC, for instance, can’t lobby their way out of a wet paper bag these days. But we decided to taunt the censors anyway in order to get them to push the laws before they had time to build up their junk science and incrementally legitimize the legal concept of game censorship. Without legal precedent on our side now, I feared we would slowly become like the UK or Australia, where the governments “unofficially” ban games from time to time, and even some gamers seem to think it’s fine to “protect the children.” And had the other side won the precedent in a slow grind, there’s no telling where it would lead.

As such, we felt it better to force their hand, as it were.

Was this a risky gambit? Sure. But in the end it played out mostly as I thought it would (aside from losing Thomas and picking up Scalia..).

While, again, the other modders and I can’t take full credit since it was probably inevitable, I’d still like to take this opportunity to thank the EMA, ESA, and everyone else who did all the heavy legal lifting on behalf of the industry and its consumers. Not that anyone there will ever read this, but, still. I would also like to apologize to them and (especially!) to Rockstar Games for all the money that was spent as a result of a few lines of modded code and my inability to STFU.

I would apologize to the people of California (not to mention Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, and the other States who jumped on the ban-wagon) for all the legal expenses you have to pay for, but you voted for the idiots, and got what you paid for. Or did you pay for what you got? One or the other.