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Video Games as Art: Stan Lee Speaks Out

As discussed in prior posts, one of the major issues with the California regulation attempting to control the sale of violent video games to children is that the games so controlled must have “no artistic or cultural redeeming merit.” Put another way, the video game has to be violent or sexual, and has to be gratuitously so.

Films can be violent or sexual and still be great works of art, but video games are still considered to be simple animations or interfaces reminiscent of Pong or Asteroids, and thus not as worthy of protection. Several months ago, Roger Ebert wrote about the divide, stating that video games could never be art, in part because they are interactive, and not static. What of experimental pieces? Or ephemeral pieces? Or even performance art?

Speaking on behalf of the video game industry, comic legend Stan Lee eloquently spoke about the need to protect the freedom of speech of video game developers. The piece was written to encourage gamers and developers to sign on with the Video Game Voter’s Network, an advocacy group that is attempting to leverage the interests of young people into a powerhouse voting bloc such as the AARP.

Who are the courts to judge what is “art” and what is not deserving of protection? Where should the line be drawn? Excelsior!

Posted in Monday: Legal Landscape.

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