This is early and optimistic, but it seems that the U.S. Supreme Court wasn't as hard on video games as I (and, based on yesterday's comments from my previous thoughts on the matter, some of you) had expected. The justices heard the arguments both for and against regulating video games into the realm of pornography in the name of thinking of the children, and while I had assumed that the overprotective rhetoric would win the day, Kotaku's Stephen Totilo reports a more reasonable response.
California Attorney General Zackery Morazzini started today's one hour session at the U.S. Supreme Court saying that the "deviant level of violence that is presented in a certain of category of video games" requires legal restrictions to protect minors.
Morazzini's opening statement was almost immediately interrupted by Justice Antonin Scalia who pointed out that Grimm's fairy tales are very violent as well.
"So are you going to ban them too?" Scalia asked of the attorney general.
Scalia, one of the court's most conservative justices and most vocal in the questioning of the state today, repeatedly and often with humor questioned Morazznii about the California law and its effects on the first amendment.
"You are asking us to create a whole new prohibition... what's next after violence? Drinking? Movies that show drinking? Smoking?," asked Scalia in the hearing.
"I think what Justice Scalia wants to know is what James Madison thought about video games," Justice Samuel Alito joked.
The final ruling on the matter could come any time between now (but it won't be now) and June 2011 when the court wraps up business for this session. In the meantime, we wait and hope for the best. While today's hearings are not a definitive ruling, the reaction from the justices can give us a peek into how they might approach a decision, and based on what happened this morning, I don't think things are as gloom and doom as I thought them to be yesterday. If you'd like to dig deeper than Totilo's summary, there's always the full seventy-two page transcript of the morning's events.