A high-profile violent videogames case has reached the US Supreme Court this month.

The court is considering a proposed ban of selling or renting 'M for Mature' (or 18-rated games in the UK) to minors in the state of California.

Violent games and first amendment rights

Opponents to the proposed ban says it breaches the US First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech.

"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," argued Chief Justice John Roberts said.

Countering that argument, Paul Smith Lawyer for the Entertainment Merchants Association, claims there is no proof violent games are any more damaging than violent TV, movies or books, noting:

"We have a history in this country of new mediums coming along and people vastly overreacting to them, thinking the sky is falling, our children are all going to be turned into criminals."

Others are concerned that a ban could have wider and far-reaching implications for the US constitution.

Justice Antonin Scalia argues that: "It has never been understood that the freedom of speech did not include portrayals of violence. You are asking us to create a whole new prohibition which the American people never ratified when they ratified the First Amendment."

In order to enforce the proposed ban, the Supreme Court might be forced to reach a decision that California is required to demonstrate "a direct causal link between violent video games and physical and psychological harm to minors."

Via BBC News