Californian law that made it illegal to sell or rent violent or sexually explicit games to children has been blocked by a US federal judge.

US District Judge Ronald Whyte issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from going into effect, saying the video game industry, which sued to overturn the law, showed that it had a reasonable chance of winning its case based on the argument that the law violates the First Amendment rights of minors.

The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, a non-profit retail trade organization serving merchants of video and computer games in America believed the judge had made the right decision:

"Our position has been, and shall remain, that Government should not be involving itself in the entertainment decisions that consumers make.

"Judge Whyte's preliminary injunction reaffirms our long-held position that these laws are unconstitutional and unnecessary. It is unfortunate that politicians have chosen not to respect the will of the courts and of the people, and it is our continued hope that they will now, given the extraordinary amount of precedent, choose to instead work proactively with us".

The law aimed to make it a crime for games that "depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious or cruel" to be sold or rented to those under 18.

If the law is enacted, retailers could be fined up to $1,000 per violation for selling adults-only games to a minor.

Earlier this year explicit sex scenes were found in the PC version of GTA: San Andreas. The discovery of the scenes led to that game being re-rated as an adults-only title.