Tennessee has become the latest in an increasingly long list of U.S. states to consider restricting the sale of video games, although in this case the proposed bill appears to be attempting to ban all violent games, not just preventing their sale to minors.
Bill SB3981 aims to make illegal the sale or rent of “extremely violent video games”, which are defined as "a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being", according to consumer website GameSpot.
The wording is similar to a bill proposed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
, although it does go to some effort to reinforce that the game should be seen as patently offensive to “prevailing community standards”.
The bill, sponsored by Democrat Tommy Killby, also differentiates games where the victim is an authority figure, conscious of the abuse taking place and whether the violence is beyond that necessary to commit a killing and/or involves needless mutilation of the victim’s body.
No matter how vague such descriptions may or may not be, the bill will presumably face exactly the same Free Speech concerns as other defeated bills in other states, not least because it seeks to impose a blanket ban on games rather than just protecting minors.