Since the early 2000s, numerous court cases have been argued over laws to regulate video game sales or rentals. And time and time again, these court cases have had the same result– judges consistently have struck down proposed regulatory laws, arguing that they are unconstitutional. These court cases have, for the moment, culminated in the 2011 Supreme Court decision that a California law, which had already been struck down in a number of smaller courts, was a violation of the First Amendment, and would result in unfair limitation on video games as a form of speech.
As stated above, this decision was consistent with the precedent smaller courts’ had been setting for years. The question then becomes, when so many of these laws have been struck down, why do lawmakers keep attempting to impose new one? And, perhaps more interestingly, what makes the regulation they propose unconstitutional?
The options provided in this section explore these questions, presenting an overview of the court cases that have been fought, why lawmakers are so concerned about video games, and the reasons why the First Amendment figures so prominently in this issue.