During the summer of 2011, the Supreme Court released a decision in the case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association ruling against a proposed California law that would regulate the sale of violent video games.  While this decision was significant, it also speaks to a much larger history of media regulation, protected speech, and industry or popular mobilization. The goal of this project is to contextualize the Brown v. EMA/ESA decision, through the lens of legal, popular and industry discussions around the case.  In other words, this site will:

  • Explore the history of video game court cases
    • Why they were fought?
    • What were the major issues in each case?
    • How are court decisions framed by judges?
  • Discuss the video game industry’s response
    • How have they reacted to the cases at hand?
    • How do they use social media sites like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube?
    • What roles do the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) play?
  • Look into media presentations of the case
    • How do journalists understand, interpret and explain the issues?
    • What debates exist between different types of media?
    • What role is played by the gaming press as opposed to the popular press?
  • Analyze the reactions of video game players and fans
    • How do fans and players understand, interpret and explain the issues?
    • Where have fans been expressing their opinions?
    • How has social media played into the discussion?

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