"And you say there is no problem because 16-year-olds in California never have $50 available to go buy a video game, and because they never have TVs in their room and their parents are always home watching what they with their video games," Alito asserted incredulously. "And the video games have features that allow parents to block the playing of violent video games, which can't be overcome by a computer-savvy California 16-year-old. That's why there is no problem, right?"
Smith also tried to argue that children's literature has traditionally involved graphically violent themes. Justice John Roberts, who has young children, shot back: "We do not have a tradition in this country of telling children they should watch people actively hitting schoolgirls over the head with a shovel so they'll beg with mercy, being merciless and decapitating them, shooting people in the leg so they fall down." Roberts was reading from a description of "Postal 2," a 2002 game often cited as ultraviolent. "We protect children from that. We don't actively expose them to that."
Let's hope the justices take the time to watch the promotional videos for "God of War III." It isn't exactly "Little Red Riding Hood." Made by sick minds at Sony for the PlayStation 3, it's been promoted on YouTube in a clip showing how the protagonist Kratos (the main interactive character) graphically, slowly, realistically tears the head off Helios, the sun god. Sony obviously believes this is an awesome virtual feat for any 12-year-old.
Sadly, you just can't talk to some people about the psychological impact of scenes like this. Justice Sonia Sotomayor compared the effects of this violence to the violence in Bugs Bunny cartoons, which is beyond ridiculous.
Justice Elena Kagan tried to dismiss the whole content controversy by insisting that "Mortal Kombat" was "an iconic game, which I am sure half of the clerks who work for us spent considerable amounts of time in their adolescence playing." The message: The kids will be all right. But "Mortal Kombat" was only "iconic" in that it was a gory first when it debuted in 1992, with game play like decapitations, electrocution and ripping out the still-beating heart of an opponent with bare hands.
It makes you wonder how those justices would feel if the game title were "Supreme Court Massacre."