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How a Supreme court justice used video games for research

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During the 2011 Supreme court decision that stuck down a law in California banning the sale of violent video games without parental supervision, justice Samuel Alito researched the topic by playing games himself, The Guardian reports.

Alito's choice in games was not named, though he described the violence as "astounding."

"Victims by the dozens are killed with every imaginable implement, including machine guns, shotguns, clubs, hammers, axes, swords and chainsaws," Alito said. "Victims are dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, set on fire and chopped into little pieces. They cry out in agony and beg for mercy. Blood gushes, splatters and pools. Severed body parts and gobs of human remains are graphically shown. In some games, points are awarded based, not only on the number of victims killed, but on the killing technique employed."

Alito compared the game's violence to that in literature — a topic that played a significant role in the majority decision

"But only an extraordinary imaginative reader who reads a description of a killing in a literary work will experience that event as vividly as he might if he played the role of the killer in a video game," Alito said. "To take an example, think of a person who reads the passage in Crime and Punishment in which Raskolnikov kills the old pawn broker with an axe."

According to another justice, Antonin Scalia, Alito recounted the game's graphic nature to "disgust us — but disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression."

You can read the full story over at The Guardian.