The lure of Rhode Island was apparently too much for 38 Studios to resist, apparently, and it is leaving the state. While Rhode Island’s beaches are fine and its clam chowder is unique, the real attraction for 38 Studios was, of course, the $75 million loan guaranty. Now that the decision is made, the political blame game is just beginning.
This week, several states filed an amici curia brief with the Supreme Court in support of California’s lawsuit against the video game industry over the right to forbid the sale of violent video games to minors. A copy of the brief is available through the link above. Notably, Connecticut is the sole New England state filing such a brief in the action so far. Connecticut is joined by Louisiana, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.
As stated in the brief, the key question before the Supreme Court is whether “the First Amendment bar[s] a state from restricting the sale of violent video games to minors.”
In an apparent effort to justify the need for statutes forbidding the sale of certain video games to minors, the 11 states frame the issue for the Court as follows:
In 1975, a cutting-edge video game console allowed players to bounce an electronic ball back and forth on a television screen by rotating small knobs. This was Pong. Things had changed by 2003. That year, a popular game called Postal invited players to:
• Burn people alive with gasoline or napalm;
• Decapitate people with shovels and have dogs fetch their severed heads;
• Beat police to death while they beg for mercy;
• Kill bald, unshaven men wearing pink dresses (in an “expansion pack” called Fag Hunter);
• Slaughter nude female zombies;
• Urinate on people to make them vomit; and,
• Shoot players with a shotgun that has been silenced by ramming it into a cat’s anus.
Postal is made by a company called Running With Scissors, which promotes the game with the tag line: “[R]emember … it’s only as violent as you are!”
The states do concede that the “makers of Postal likely never intended its hyperbolic violence to be taken seriously.”
Rodney Brown, writing in Mass High Tech, provides a great overview of where the video game industry in MA is now and the obstacles on the horizon.
Brown’s central question is the same one that many locals in this still-growing industry have been asking themselves: “For an industry that is more than 20 years old, that number of 1,200 games employees [in MA] is still amazingly small. In comparison, by 1985, companies such as Cambridge-based Lotus Development Corp. had more than 1,000 employees on their own. So what has kept the games industry slogging through the lower levels?”