This possibility alarms people – and politicians. In 2005, despite an industry rating code, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), star of some of the most violent movies of all time, tried to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. The move launched a lawsuit.
It wound up in the US Supreme Court.
IN PICTURES: Video games: A $25 billion industry
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"California asks this court to [permit] states to restrict minors' ability to purchase deviant, violent video games ... harmful to the upbringing ... "
Justice Antonin Scalia doesn't let California's lawyer finish. "What's a deviant? As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?"
It's June 2, 2010. The Supreme Court is hearing California's argument.
"Yes, Your Honor. Deviant would be departing from established norms."
"I mean, some of the Grimm's fairy tales are quite grim, to tell the truth," continues Mr. Scalia. "Are you going to ban them, too?"
California's lawyer remains deferential. "The interactive nature ... is especially harmful to minors," he says a little later, citing studies.
Is she right?
Two leading researchers, Iowa State professors Douglas Gentile and Craig Anderson, believe otherwise. Citing 130 studies, they found "consistent evidence" that violent games promote aggressive "thoughts, feelings ... and behaviors."