October 2010


The lead counsel for the video game industry in the upcoming Supreme Court fight against California’s proposed violent video game restrictions outlined the problems with the state’s legal arguments in a recent public appearance.

Speaking at an intellectual property forum at Chicago-Kent University last week, Jenner and Block LLP Partner Paul M. Smith said that no matter how a state defines “extreme” violence in such laws, they will run into constitutional problems with vagueness.

“I’ve litigated nine cases in a row where states have tried to define the category nine different ways – and they always lose when they make this case because violence is considered a perfectly appropriate and normal part of what we give our kids to see starting from a very young age,” he said.

(full article)


The lead counsel for the video game industry in the fight against California’s proposed violent video game restrictions gave a preview of the types of arguments he will make when the case is argued before the Supreme Court next month.

Speaking at a Gamasutra-attended intellectual property forum at Chicago-Kent University last week, Jenner and Block LLP Partner Paul M. Smith said that treating violent content like sexual content, as the state wants to, runs up against the current state of American culture.

“Violence is considered a perfectly appropriate and normal part of what we give our kids to see starting from a very young age,” Smith argued. “Star WarsLord of the RingsHarry Potter, there’s lots and lots of violence in all of those things.”

Trying to write a definition of violence that accepts things like Lord of the Rings but restricts more extreme violence for minors causes constitutionally unacceptable vagueness problems, Smith said. “That’s different in a very fundamental way, I think, from sex, where there’s not a lot of sexually explicit things that are targeted at the kid-friendly side of the world that you have to carve out,” he said.

(full article)


When the AIAS announced earlier this week that former Sunleaf Studios CEO Martin Rae would be taking over the president’s position held for over six years by Joseph Olin, Rae said he was “honored to have been selected by the Academy’s Board” and “look[ing] forward to building on [Olin's] accomplishments.”

But if you had asked Olin about the position at a different point in his life, the answer reaction not have been the same. “Frankly, the job, when I looked at it, it might not have been something I would have looked at years ago,” Rae said in an interview with Gamasutra.

“But I looked at it, and I said Joseph’s done a great job, really built a good foundation, and there were some things I thought we could do long term that were pretty exciting for me.”

(full article)


In the vast majority of games, the story and the gameplay and inextricably intertwined.

Whether the game presents a sprawling, branching narrative based on player choice or simply implies some sort of background motivation for the action (“Once upon a time, a team of Giants from New York really wanted to go to the Super Bowl…) it’s usually impossible to completely remove the idea of the story from the idea of playing the game.

Level-5′s Professor Layton series of Nintendo DS puzzle games provides a rare exception to this rule. In these games, the storyline and gameplay progress almost entirely in parallel, with the happenings in one having little to no relationship to the happenings in the other.

Each game in the series could quite easily be split into two wholly independent parts –- one an animated movie of the story, the other a collection of dozens of unconnected puzzles -– without being much worse off. In fact, in many ways, the separated products would be more focused and satisfying.

(full article)