This guy is now an endangered species

As a literature blog, there are a couple things that we don’t bring up. We see literature everywhere, it’s not simply contained to books and art. We must, therefore, examine the concept that literature can exist in forms that are less traditionally considered literature. Do we consider, for example, a good movie script to be literature? I make the claim that it in fact is the epitome of literature. A script is essentially a story that has removed everything but sheer human encounters. If we can hone down a novel to be bare-bone human essence, it is a novel. In fact, many novels are simply reflective of this humanity (the first that comes to mind is the latter half of Joyce’s  “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”).

So then, let’s discuss literature in video games, a topic that prepubescent boys champion without any conviction as to why they might be considered literature. I don’t bring this up merely because I share some of that young boy mentality, but because of the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding gaming, which would legally restrict these young boys from playing the games. The case is being heard in the first couple days of November and if you think it has no effect on you or your books, you’re wrong. Dead wrong. Mortally wrong. Mortally Combat wrong. Okay, sorry, I just had to. But still, let’s talk a little about this case.

Why does it affect you, who might not play games and are certainly old enough to buy games that are rated M for Mature. Until now, video games have been protected by the First Amendment (you know, that whole freedom of speech and art business). But this case is taking a spin on them: as a drug. They are, according to the State of California, an addictive and dangerous substance. Hardly, but still, let’s move on. The case itself seems inconsequential but the ramifications of it are drastic.

It starts with the video game industry. Game stores will be less interested in carrying Mature games so developers won’t want to make them as much. This means games like Bioshock (hailed as a masterful storytelling experience and, yes, I’d even call it literature) won’t be happening. Developers will, in order to recoup money, begin to sell games they know will succeed due to their formulaic qualities. This also means movies, art, television, and books protection under the First Amendment would be questioned and that there will be a government sanctioned board to determine what is “good” and what is “bad” for people.
Now, I’m not trying to go Chicken Little on you. I want you to understand that this is by no means the end of the world nor the end of literature. What this DOES mean is that as literature moves into the digital age, we must be cautious. Digital laws are sketchy at best and we need to maintain the freedom of an author. Any infringement upon this is a danger to our world.
What you can do is read up on the issue more at the Video Game Voter’s Network (http://videogamevoters.org/). Then, let’s here what you have to say. So, what do YOU think?

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