SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) -Two trade groups sued California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger challenging a law he passed banning the sale of violent video games to children under the age of 18.
The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represent the 10-billion-dollar a year game industry, challenged the controversial video game restrictions in court in San Francisco.
But the former action movie hero, who is himself the star of several violent video games based on his "Terminator" character, returned the game makers fire, vowing to fight their suit and to defend the 10-day-old law.
"California”s new law will ensure parental involvement in determining which video games are appropriate for their children," the governor said late Monday.
"I will do everything in my power to preserve this new law and I urge the Attorney General to mount a vigorous defense of California”s ability to prevent the sale of these games to children," he added.
The governor”s fiery salvo against the two groups came after they claimed in their suit that the law passed on October 7 violated the US Constitution”s First Amendment right of free expression.
The groups allege the law "will have an immediate and vast chilling effect upon constitutionally protected speech."
In addition, it is "rife with unconstitutionally vague terms" and lacks clear standards that would enable dealers to know which video games are considered violent, the trade groups claimed.
The disputed law bans the sale or rental of violent video games to youngsters under 18. Only parents can buy or rent the games. Violations of the law, which takes effect on January 1, are punishable by a fine of 1,000 dollars.
The measure defines violent games as those that allow players "to virtually inflict serious injury on images of human beings" or human-like characters in a way that is "especially heinous, cruel or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse."