Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on Video Game Legislation

December 10, 2007 -
GamePolitics readers are obviously quite interested in where the presidential candidates of both parties stand on video game issues.

But so far, there hasn't been much hard information available on this topic.

Now, watchdog group Common Sense Media has helped fill in the blanks. As reported by Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times:
Common Sense reached out to a dozen prominent candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican nominations... to ask about the policies they’d imagine implementing in regard to children and the media.

In addition to Senator Edwards, three others responded by the organization’s deadline... former Governor Romney, Governor Richardson and Senator Barack Obama.

Senator Edwards and Senator Obama and Governor Richardson said that they’d be more inclined to let the video game industry try to police itself... than to have the government regulate [violent game sales], at least as a first step.

Governor Romney, by contrast, suggested that “we get serious against those retailers that sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that we go after those retailers.”

Mitt Romney's response is no surprise. A Romney campaign ad earlier this year lumped video games into an "ocean of filth" in which today's children are supposedly swimming. And while she did not make the deadline for the Common Sense Media survey, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has been a high-profile critic of game violence - and Hot Coffee - over the years.

According to the NYT report, Clinton, along with Republicans Mike Huckabee and John McCain, expressed interest in participating in the survey but did not respond by deadline. Only Rudy Giuliani flat-out refused to participate. But his kids are older and apparently aren't on good terms with the candidate following his messy divorce from their mother.

CSM founder Jim Steyer plans to invite the eventual presidential nominees to a national forum on media issues next fall. That sounds a bit optimistic given that the fall of 2008 is crunch time in the run-up to the November election.

Detailed breakdown of candidate video games responses here.



Perhaps a little light reading to liven up the conversation

Kant, eh? You seem at odds with his deontological ethics, but i suppsoe thats were "loosely" comes into play (not trying to argue, but thought it worthy of note)

For clarification: I mean politicians and lawmaker’s decisions.

Imagine the shitstorm that would happen if an atheist judge ruled that religion was illegal.

We require Judges and other professionals to make impartial decisions on things they may disagree with personally but due to the nature of their jobs, are expected to act in a fair and impartial manner.

Politicians should be held to the same professional standards.

"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone..."

What a crock of shit.


Your insight is truly enlightening.

"Where do the moral systems of fundamentalist politicans who label video games as an “ocean of filth” and call for censorship come from? It’s not like they’re citing the categorical imperative or making an argume"

Where do you come from? If anything you are a prime example that moral zealotry can come about even without having a moral code based on religion.

Other than that quote above he comes of as wanting to separate his religious beliefs from his political aspirations. Whether he actually can is a totally different story.

Can you guys tell me of a site to go to where Jack Thompson chats and leaves comments because I am interested in the stuff he says?

@ T5

I guess I could have expressed my self more succinctley:

The second definition of freedom: "2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. "

The third definition of requires: "To impose an obligation on; compel:"

"Freedom requires religion..."

What a huge fucking contradiction.

That more enlightening?

@ halofantasy1

I wouldn't bother trying to converse with the man, he'll probably just call you a jackass and refuse to reply.

On the other hand if your looking for quotes try this:

You misunderstand what was meant in that comment.

Freedom requires religion and religion requires freedom. Its not that difficult a concept to understand.

Religions, like Christianity, require that a choice be made; for that choice to have any meaning a person must have the freedom to choose. Whether they choose to believe or not to believe is up to the individual. This is an example of religion requiring freedom.

For a society to be considered free there must also exist the ability to choose to believe or follow a particular religion. If no one is allowed to believe in anything but secularism then that society is not free by definition. That is what is meant by Freedom requires religion.

I hope that clears things up.


Hey quotes, thanks! I already looked at a few and some of them are hilarious....then again when I think about those quotes I realize that the man himself said those words.

@ jkdjr25

Nope, I took no issue with the second part of the statement, that people should come to religion freely. In fact I endorse that, I don't particularly like randoms knocking on my door to sell me anything (not just religion).

Freedom allows the existence of religious choice. There is no requirement. If there is a requirement for freedom to exist then there is no freedom.

While this is little more than an argument about semantics, it is the assumption that religion is the equal of freedom in terms of importance that really bothers me.

@ That_1_Guy

Yeah, I had the same experienc:

At first your just laughing at the absurdity of it, then you realise that he’s being dead serious and believes everything he says, you start feeling a little scared.

Its kind of funny of how all the post lately have been turned into a religious battle. I wonder why?

There are other ways people go about picking there morals/ethics it doesnt have to be focused always on religion. Click Here

@ F**ked Up

Its blue, but I can't click it O_o

Its kind of funny of how all the post lately have been turned into a religious battle. I wonder why?

That'd be Pandralisk, he could turn a discussion on the finer points of cabbage growing into a flamewar about religion. Even my magnificent itellect is not immune :D


And I'm seriously getting tired of this.

@ Pierre-Olivier

Aye I hear you. Old, annoying, weak and pointless.

Tell me though why is it that we know better and still feed the Troll?

While Jack Thompson is on vacation from this site, Pandralisk is taking his place.

I've been an industry reporter for more than a decade, and honestly I couldn't care less what the candidates think about games! I mean we have a war on terrorism, inflation and energy issues.

If Rudy G. were to say, "...and I will ban games," I'd still vote for him in a heart beat. This industry needs to understand it is 100% entertainment. Let's get over it.


Those two are from the same bowl. Can always count on Pandralisk to find something remotely religious to start his usual rant, no matter how far-fetched it can be.

Pandalips, you're more gullible than the superstitious "Bible thumpers" you always shriek about if you believe Romney's statement was anything but opportunistic. We're talking about the same guy who, practically overnight, morphed from supporting abortion, gay marriage, socialized health care, confiscatory gun bans, and illegal immigrant "sanctuary" to the exact opposite when he decided to run for POTUS.

The man is nothing but a big-government, Massachusetts "liberal" who is telling Republican voters what he thinks they want to hear.

As for the rest of them, I noticed they all had 'if they don't do better,' 'if they don't clarify the ratings,' and 'but we should still investigate' type statements. How much better does the industry have to do to satisfy them? Enforcement of game ratings is already like twice as good as DVDs, withe rating labels ten times as big. Maybe it's just me, but I translated them all as basically saying "unless you have an impossible zero percent error rate, we will pass laws."

@Game Industry Insider

It's true that in the grand scheme of things, video games are a relatively unimportant issue.

But the way a candidate treats that issue can reveal quite a bit about him/her. And if I can't trust a candidate on the little issues, do I want to trust him on the big ones?

I have a feeling that something will come along where the consoles allow certain AO rated games like the uncut version of Manhunt 2 and The Punisher to settle the situation.

I think that politicians should push towards the entertainment industry to have consoles allow AO rated games so we would not have to waste all this time fighting over the uncut versions of games like Manhunt 2 getting into the children's hands.

What I have to say is every time I have went to a few video game stores, I always seen the workers ask for id to buy M rated games.

Game producers should not have to rely on having the most brutal uncut games on the PC when they could have them on the consoles with proper standards.


Read that quote again. Romney is saying that only a religious people can create and maintain a system with freedom. There are many countries in this world with a good deal of freedom and not a whole lot of organized religious belief and a whole lot of countries where organized religious authority is used to stifle freedom.

Romney is either ignorant or pandering.


"secular government"

Tell that to Preznit Bush.

I'm all for free expression, but our resident rooster is drowning out any gaming debate left on this site with his repetitive crowing.

He's derailing ever damn thread he posts in.

Can someone just ban his sorry ass for a few weeks until he learns to stay on topic?

I nominate Pandralisk to run for president and show everyone how to make all policy decisions without letting personal morals influence those decisions.

ok were all screwed cesspool of filth? police themselves as a first step? sounds like the whole comic book thing of the 50s aka do it urself or we'll hit you hard
" Pandralisk Says:

December 10th, 2007 at 9:02 am
I like to identify two types of political opponents of the industry: Fundamentalists and Opportunists.


Fundamentalists — like JT, Huckabee, and Romney — despise video games for the sake of their content"

where has it said huckabee's opinion on this?i ask because atm hes my #1 pick as i figure dems wont matter because its pretty much just going to be hilary and for me she's not an option being the anti videogame shedevil that she is.

side note any1 else suprised jt hasnt come on tv about the whole colorado church attacks(he might have i just havent seen it(thank god))

I think what is annoying me, and why I am posting less, is because someone on here who is a self-proclaimed atheist talks about religion far far more than many of the more devout members on Gamepolitics.

This place never really touched on religion much until this started, but all I ever seem to read on here all day is how terrible the church and its fundamentalist members are, or people defending the church because of those posts. Not being funny, but I am not Christian or any other denomination, and I'm sick of hearing about God, even if it is nothing more than an ad-nauseum attack on Him and those who believe in Him.

Just because I don't believe in the Christian God doesn't mean I feel the need to attack those that do, I like to think I'm a little more secure in my lack of faith. But seriously, even Thompson, who was/is a foaming at the mouth zealot, never bought up religion as frequently as this.

My last cent for this thread, religion is a life style choice we should not snicker or ban them for it ^_~

@ GoodRobotUs

Point taken, no more about that subject from me.

Sometimes I think we need to go back to a time when only the educated were allowed to vote... ok, it used to be educated land owners - skip the land ownership part, and just make it "educated"...

Well, it's nice to be given some straight forward info on the thinking of the candidates, but it comes out basically as expected..


Better tell this to Pandralisk himself. Each time he attacks Christianity in comments he's convinced that the news is about religion and that religion is the core of the problem (reminds me of someone we both know).

Just to quote:
"The above story has EVERYTHING to do about religion. Where do the moral systems of fundamentalist politicans who label video games as an “ocean of filth” and call for censorship come from? It’s not like they’re citing the categorical imperative or making an argument from utility." -Pandralisk,
December 10th, 2007 at 9:33 pm

And he still wonders why we're "flaming him" *sigh*.

I just don't want to see games and game content to end up getting watered down in the same way as Saturday Morning cartoons.

As a thirty-something, I grew on cartoons like the Jetson's, Scooby, Smurfs, The Flintstones, etc. Can anyone imagine these cartoons being released today? It would never happen, because they are funny for being cultural critiques (well maybe not the Smurfs).

Games, given enough pressure on the industry, may end the same way--or like cigarettes and alcohol, they will need to swipe your ID before you purchase.

I don't have an answer of what to do with games, but I think ultimately, politicians should be making claims similar to following when asked about their stance on video games:

"I am all for educating parents on new types of media, the possible content of said media, and ways to engage their children in discussions of appropriate usage said media."

I watched violent movies growing up and played video games since they were first available to the average American (before probably on VIC-20). However, my parents engaged my brother and myself concerning what we watched and played and taught us to be critical, intelligent, informed consumers.

Why should that be politicians focus--it's not the product that is problem, but the consumers' use and understanding of the product.


I nominate Pandralisk for the Ban hammer and a big bag of shut the hell up.

Only answer I liked having to do with video games is Ron Paul's. Basically stated that it is the parent's responsibility, especially since we already have a self-regulatory system in place.

Am I the only one who doesn't think Pandralisk isn't out of line with his comments?

Perhaps you guys need to let people have their opinions and leave it at that. (aka I nominate Austin Lewis for that ban hammer just because he thought it was a good idea to request a user be banned for such silly reasons)

@Terrible Tom

By out of line we mean off-topic almost every time, and repeating the same old things over and over and over again. I've only seen a couple of posts by him that didn't touch on religion. It's annoying and he hasn't shown signs of stopping.

I can see the connection. Perhaps it is a small connection but it is still there. It is all the matter of opinion, dude. Annoying to you, refreshing to me. I just think some people are afraid of different opinions and often get worked up too much when someone expresses their feelings and it doesn't come close to matching theirs. Start banning people for expressing different opinions? Maybe in the forums but not here man. I vote for keeping GamePolitics a worthwhile blog. The GamePolitics forums are pretty worthless but there are still quality articles and good comments being presented by many readers that have a good variety of opinions to present.

On a more article related note I think you can do research and determine what each candidate would do just by looking at their voting record and their proposed bills. There isn't much hope, I say Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul would present the best possible environment for the game industry to strive.

by proposed bills i man sponsored or cosponsored bills. If they are a congressman/woman I'd recommend www.govtrack.us

If you ask me, people like Hilary are much more dangerous to video games than a flip-flop like Mitt Romney. First of all, she's ONLY targeting video games. Romney is targeting ALL media. Sure, Romney's an idiot (a rather charismatic idiot, I must admit), but he's nowhere near as big a threat as Clinton. Clinton, focusing her critisisms just on the video game industry and not the media as a whole (which is, incidentally, controlled mainly by liberals), is a greater threat.

@ Terrible Tom

Of course, I see Pandralisk as nothing more than a far-left idiot.

But that doesn't mean I want him banned either. So I agree with you. Guys, simply because Pandralisk supports a rather radical viewpoint doesn't mean he should be banned.

okay, people... could we flame off?

Pandralisk - stay on topic, back off on the religion bashing, or join the ranks of those who are no longer here.

GP - Great articles(They honestly are Top-Of-The-Line quality), terrible community. GP just never had a strong community and it never will until things change. Don't get me wrong you have the right to run the website as you wish but being sponsored by the ECA I'd think you'd be a bit more responsible in terms of allowing people to express their views no matter how extremely radical or unbelievable they are.

I'd honestly like to contribute to the discussions but its gotten worse and worse here over time. I give up again. Its stupid to even continue trying to contribute. Waste of my time. I only hope ECA gets their own forums SOON so people can openly discuss the important articles you put on GP.

Chris at gamescholars.org,

You are right. The content hasn't changed for the most part. It's the standards that have changed.

Speaking of old cartoons, why were afternoon cartoons deemed not educational enough by the government? It's not TV's obligation to educate. The Telecom act did jack **** to help bring more educational content. Aside from PBS it didn't force the networks to add any, they just opted to remove cartoons altogether if they couldn't meet the "EI" criteria. As a result afternoon TV boiled down to a bunch of talk shows and Cops re-runs. How is that any better than cartoons with no educational content?

You have to care about MORALS whether or not you choose to believe in God! This great country we live in, The USA, gives you the right to choose your faith and even choose to have no faith, but you will find nothing in our constitution that supports one's choice to be immoral. That's because most acts of immorality are illegal and ultimately lead to DEATH and DESTRUCTION. Just look at the track records. Consider the history. It has taught us over and over again that morals are important.
What's bullshit is not a perception at all, but a fact. It's the immorality of the gross & senseless violence, the illicit sex, and the glorification of drug use "shoved in the sphere" of the human race (particularly in the sphere of the minds of our youth, who are still deciding what is moral and what is immoral!) through these video games and teen movies!

The threat of censorship is a very important issue to take account of. It's important that a candidate be consistent. Either they are are for censorship of all violent/explicit media (Including Movies, books, artwork, radio etc. not just video games), they are against censorship, or they are being hypocritical.

I agree with laws against selling adult material to minors without parental consent, but that is the responsibility of the the retailers and not the creators, which isn't impeding the rights of the game creators or censoring artistic expression. However it bothers me as a gamer to see persecution of Video Games in lieu of other art forms.

It is important to know where a candidate stands on this issue as it will either expose a hypocritical/opportunistic attitude or indicate how he/she will view similar censorship issues. It may not be the deciding factor of the election but by no means is it insignificant.

Also my two cents on the candidates is that democrats/liberals tend to be much more serious about censoring the people and saving us from ourselves. While a lot of it is pandering to get votes I see such attitudes as dangerous to individual freedom. I have no doubt that Clinton or Obama will jump on the the game-bashing bandwagon. Either that or skillfully avoid the question and beat around the bush like they seem to do on every issue except while bashing each other.
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