Video games are under attack, yet again. According to a recent bill introduced by Marcus C. Evans, “all violent video games” would be banned in the state of Illinois. This includes games like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat, which are multi-million dollar enterprises. Video games have already been ruled to have First Amendment protection but at varying intervals over the last 30 years, gaming – especially violent games – have been under attack.
As Polygon mentions, “the bill will certainly face scrutiny. In 2011, the Supreme Court said that California legislators could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors — that video games qualify as free speech.”
The relationship between violent video games and politicians trying to get involved has a long history, of course. In the early 1990s, games like Mortal Kombat, Night Trap, and Doom used developing graphical technologies to create some of the most violent games of their era – especially MK’s signature “Fatalities”. United States Senator (and 2000 VP nominee) Joe Lieberman and US Senator (and Kohl’s founder) Herb Kohl headed up a committee to force gaming companies to regulate themselves. These hearings eventually resulted in the creation of the ESRB, or the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which determined games that were deemed age appropriate – or not.