Presidential Paintball Game Causes Alarm

A web-based game which pits the major presidential candidates against one another in cartoon combat has raised concerns.

The Smoking Gun reports on Presidential Paintball:

For the aspiring young assassin, a popular online games site offers kids the opportunity to assume the identity of a leading presidential contender and then shoot their political opponents in a series of armed confrontations in the White House.

While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants and squeeze off a hail of shots…

Of course, the imagery of Obama and Clinton, both of whom have been the target of threats and receive Secret Service protection, being targeted in such a manner–by children, no less–might be seen as troubling in some quarters…

Florida’s ABC-7 has a video report, including reaction from a psychologist:

With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence.

Kotaku has more.

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  1. 0

    While it’s often exciting to shoot a stream of paintballs as fast as you can pull the trigger, sometimes it’s nice to slow things down a little bit so the focus is on accuracy and positioning rather than the speed of your fingers. The simple way to slow things down is to remove all hoppers and play one shot at a time.

  2. 0
    Gamer Nate says:

    Potential President vs. Potential President, via: … Dot dot DOT – “PaintBall?!?!?”

    This silly topic takes the cake.

    This is almost too dumb to write about, but the humor in it makes me want to see how heated people are about it.

    It will be an interesting day when we can point-and-click to kill someone… oh wait… isn’t that how we direct missiles? Oh yeah!! Now I remember! The US Military used computers to kill over 100,000 innocent civilians in Iraq! Gee… we should really worry about terrorists.

    Anyhoo, I doubt the next President will be assassinated from behind a computer. They got JFK and the president of pakistan with good old fashioned Sniper Riffles.

    Go Clinton!


  3. 0
    Mythgarr ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    D00d – this is t0tally true! I did it once, then it worked!
    Now I’m training to toss pineapple grenades by playing football!

  4. 0
    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ UhhKris

    Well technically, there are books CALLED Necronomicon, in honor of the unholy tome, but THE Necronomicon is not something published.

    It’s something YOU must find… and turn to your dark will. @________@

    *shot at* No seriously, it’s funny in that respect. ^_^

  5. 0
    UhhKris says:

    @ Kajex

    So, wait…
    Am I the only one who does think that the Necronomicon is an actual book and want to use it’s dark, evil powers for… evil?
    The Deadites will fall under my control sooner or later!

  6. 0
    C'tri says:

    you know, i’m surprised that lazer tag games, such as Darklight, don’t get a ridiculous ammount of flack. they’re more realistic than even the Wii. you dont get gore and so much violence, but when it comes to training to kill people, anyone who thinks the wii is a murder simulator, should also be complaining about these sorts of games.

    i personally love lazer tag games, and find them fun, recreational, and social activities.

  7. 0
    Gameboy says:

    @ UhhKris

    Personally, I hope that never happens, but I do agree with you. People need to be less concerned with protecting their kids from “objectable” content, and more concerned with teaching those same kids good values (don’t kill people or steal), work ethics, and how to properly deal with the “objectable” content in the world (without trying to ban it).

    Oh, and pen and paper RPGs did catch flack some years ago. Namely Dungeons and Dragons. Some people believed it to be the work of Satan and those who played it where on a path to dark magic and satanic worship. In case you didn’t already know that.

  8. 0
    UhhKris says:

    The year is 2014.
    Video games and any violent media have been banned.
    Concerned Parent: Well, it’s over. Our crusade to protect the children of America has ended, and we are the victors. Hooray!
    Happy Jack Thompson: Alright, now go spend some time with little Timmy or baby Jane.
    Concerned Parent: I think I’ll do just that!
    *Concerned Parent arrives at home. Meanwhile, happy Jack Thompson wins case dealing with violent video games. That’s two wins so far.*
    Concerned Parent: Little Timmy, come here! It’s time to spend some wholesome family time together!
    Concerned Parent’s Spouse: Oh, yeah. Timmy is 23 now. He’s in jail. Robbed a drug store and killed 4 people.
    Concerned Parent: WHAT?! Why??
    Concerned Parent’s Spouse: Well, while you were off on your crusade, Timmy didn’t have a good positive role model to show him the true way of life. He started doing drugs, dealing drugs, having sex with anything not bolted down… In the end, he ran out of money and robbed the drug store for more drug money.
    Concerned Parent: Well, this is all the fault of those video games! They corrupted his mind!
    Concerned Parent’s Spouse: About that, he never played video games. We didn’t allow him to watch television. Maybe you should have spent more time with him instead of “trying” to keep him safe from natural, human things like sex. *Hint hint: MASS EFFECT* Violence, while not natural, is still commonplace in society. We just needed to deal with it. But with that gone, no one will have any way to relieve stress or anything. Society as we know it will collapse. All thanks to you.
    Concerned Parent: Oh, well… We still have Jane.
    Concerned Parent’s Spouse: Oh, yeah. She’s dead.

    This’ll happen.
    Just you wait and see.
    Flash games are now getting flack? What next?
    Pen & paper RPGS?!

  9. 0
    MysterX says:

    Someone should make a Political Candidate Cops & Robbers game where the candidates point their fingers at each other and say BANG! Think of the outrage, you know we can’t have kids doing that any more in this “post nine eleven world” (anyone utterly sick of hearing that term yet?)

    I would suggest “Cowboys & Indians”, but you know how ugly that would get, bringing the race card in to it.

    We must protect the precious little snow flakes! From now on, the only game that kids can play is chutes and ladders, and only if they restrict themselves to ladders with 3 rungs or less, and even then only if the kids pad themselves with bubble wrap and wear a safety helmet.

    After all, rock paper scissors is too dangerous, I mean, there’s a heavy rock, a sharp pair of scissors, and somebody could get a paper cut.

  10. 0
    Unrated ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Is it just me… or is there NOTHING that can be done about an online game? Unless you plan on censoring the internet, (an impossible feat if there ever was one) theres no laws that can be passed or enforced here.

  11. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Personally, I STILL don’t see how being slightly desensitized to violence is necessarily a bad thing. In an emergency, wouldn’t it be better to not be phased as much by blood or bad things?

    Take for example, my friend falls on a knife and is bleeding profously. Who would react better, me, who hardly flinches when I see blood, or someone who has never really been around violent/bloody media?

    Oh, and I’m excited for The Dark Knight ^-^

  12. 0
    AnonymousGuy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “First they lost a camera man to a car accident during filming, now they have lost the Joker mid-production with Heath Ledger’s death.”

    They actually finished filming right before Ledger died.

  13. 0

    It just goes to show that while political cartoonists are accepted and OK, political game developers which use the same tongue-in-cheek wit aren’t. Another sad case of older media being acceptable, while new media is “scary dark unknown” ripe for F.U.D.

  14. 0
    zeek says:

    I will now use my own Conservative math-and-science to prove that video games do not cause presidential assassinations. Here we go:

    Presidents assassinated before video games existed: 4
    Presidents assassinated after: 0

    BAM. Did I just blow your mind or what?

  15. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    It doesn’t even protray the candidates in a negative light, or any kind of light at all.

    You just pick your candidate and engage in paintball with the remaining 5. Nothing more.

  16. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Nobody would care, (well actually some might, but only because doing so might damage the white house) most people would probably laugh about it. In fact if I could get good seats I would pay money to see the candidates play paintball with each other.

    Anyway it is a sad day when people think a cartoonish paintball game like that will make ANYONE want to get a real gun and actually kill people. Methinks those complainers haven’t actually seen the game.

  17. 0
    MrKenyon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Exactly, Sean. No one seemed to mind when we controlled a virtual Dubya (or Queen of England) to blow the crap out of terrorists, but all of a sudden, they use the same engine to make candidates pop each other with paintball guns and “Ho shi-! Call da FBI!”

    All I ask is a day where someone in the political field doesn’t say something that makes me want to throttle them…

  18. 0
    -Jes- ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The single greatest lie in the world (yes, even bigger than Bush’s claim that Iraq had nukes):

    “Video games desensitize kids to violence-“

    Srsly, I’d like to see the medical proof on that, because I almost hurl if I see a RL injury bigger than a small papercut!

  19. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why is The Smoking Gun assuming that the only users of are children? I played the game. My colleagues played the game. Believe me, none of us are children, and guess what…we ENJOYED it.

    Furthermore, none of us have the urge to go out and kill anyone. Not one of us. Imagine that!

  20. 0
    Gameboy says:

    Yes, a video game about a non-lethal sport is a tool to train snipers. Because we can train to aim, account for wind, movement, and a whole host of other things, based on firing a virtual paintball gun with a mouse click.

    Maybe these critics should learn to pick their fights.

  21. 0
    cullarn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    umm everyone seriously the smoking gun at best is like mad magazine at worst its a tabloid i wouldnt worry bout what they print too much

  22. 0
    nightwng2000 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The problem with that argument is that the game, from what I understand, doesn’t lead to the death of the candidate “victim”. It’s paintball. Whether you’re using a paintball gun, a water gun, or a spit ball shooter, technically, in real life or not, the “victim” isn’t killed. So the form of Expression is even less serious because of the nature of the “weapon” used.

    NW2K Software

  23. 0
    Nitherean ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Any time a form of media medium (print, TV, or in this case, flash game), is used to execute those running for public office, sends a direct message at Democracy itself. You may agree or disagree with a particular canidates views, but taking said canidate to a gun run (ok…this was an animated range at best…), is simply not a wise idea. Since, the lost of one, through an actual attack, would be an attack on us as Americans (again, whether you like the person or not).

    There is however, another political game I saw on a few days ago. Its cartoony, its amusing, and it sort of keeps politcal backstabbing where it should remain. The name of that game escapes me at the moment.

    “With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence.”

    If this is from a professionally trained psychologist, I will have to cry “bullsh*t”. A psychologist, is a scientist, who should know better, then to make sweeping generalizations on things. Video games desensitize people at a lower rate then living in an area plaqued by voilence (whether from gangs vs other gangs, or warfare, i.e. Iraq). Frankly, if you become desensitized to violence from video games, your mental willpower and fortiude were weak to begin with.

  24. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Batman Begins was awesome, IMO. I’m a bit worrried about The Dark Knight, though. First they lost a camera man to a car accident during filming, now they have lost the Joker mid-production with Heath Ledger’s death.

    I don’t know if we’ll see Dark Knight for quite a while.

  25. 0
    Robert Gauss ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “…allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants ….”
    Nowhere in the game do you actually have a rifle scope, nor can you “train” (meaning “aim”) it on someone. You have a mouse. You click. It’s funny as hell. The critics of the game need to grow up and realize that the freedom of the press is primarily to allow this type of political humor.

  26. 0
    ShadowMagus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think all this furor, and not just over this game but about video games in general, is because it’s an election year. As soon as November is over, you won’t hear anything else about “video games hurtz teh childrenz!” Of course, you have to wait until November. If you happen to have a DeLorean sitting in your garage, now is the time to use it.

    And tell me if the new Batman movie is any good when you get back.

  27. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It looks like online virtual orgasmic rape to me.

    In all seriousness, has anyone noticed that extreme violence in games is the only thing given a free pass? Something non-violent like paintball or a sideboob stir controversy, while every other shooter, regardless of violence, gets a free pass. Honestly, what the hell is going on here?

  28. 0
    Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Young assassin? That is biased towards older assassins damnit. Of course “everyone” knows that teh vidja games is for the childrens only. Its not like someone the age Lee Harvey Oswald was could play a video game, its not even possible!

    Jack asses.

    Also I find it amusing that video game paintball = kill training. While the outrage over REAL paintball which could feasibly provide some REAL combat training has relatively no outrage about it.


  29. 0
    C'tri says:

    in fairness, the psychologist wasn’t video bashing, and thats good. what he said was mostly backed by unbiased reports. however, dissentisation to violence is much more pervasive from the likes of the news, the film industry and so forth.

    you cant just play the blame game on video games, media does desensitise people from violence, all forms, and in many cases, puts a positive shine over it.

    i’m for balance on this issue. i’d like to see a report that compares these effects between games and other media sources, including the general pervasiveness in society today.

    once we have that, we can make some sensible decisions.

  30. 0
    C'tri says:

    “For the aspiring young assassin”

    *delayclose.jpg, Facepalm.jpg & headdesk.jpg*

    seriously, what?! who, in their right minds (therefore excluding he who must not be named) would possibly consider this a training game for assassins?!

  31. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    @ Lovely

    Here is my response to that question:

    Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president and candidates?

    Why do politicians feel that it is okay to sling mud and attack other candidates personally? Why do we look the other way when candidates attack each other in real life, but when a voter puts those attacks in a visual form of video games, we make such a fuss about it? The game is representative of the political mudslinging. Just because they use paintballs instead of mud balls, does not make it any less of political parody. This sort of parody is not unknown to editorial comics, so why can it not be used in video games?

    Your question has brought more questions to the field than answers.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  32. 0
    Lovely says:


    Actually, in that case “train” is referring to ” to aim at an object or objective “. Not “train on” that you’re thinking.

    Hey thanks! Yep, pretty good. Though the sentence in the middle runs a little long. But the point still shines through.

    I wrote them an e-mail myself, but I didn’t think to save it. It was early ^^;.

  33. 0
    nightwng2000 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How was this one?:

    “”Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president & candidates?”

    First off, the game in question is not to the death. Secondly, the candidates have no problem “taking shots” at various American citizens. Bigotry, hate, and ignorance are prevelant throughout the political system. A lack of research on many issues, a desire to dictate personal and religious beliefs upon others that don’t believe the same and don’t want such beliefs exposed to their children, misinformation, deceit, and many attacks on whole groups of citizens based on gender, race, religion (or lack thereof), sexuality, etc, have shown these supposed “superior” candidates to not have a problem “taking shots” at those they will be governing soon. So why SHOULDN’T they accept being depicted in a fictional setting in a negative way? The specific format of the Expressive media doesn’t necessarily deal with the issues, but it is still a form of Expression. “

    NW2K software

  34. 0
    Cheeselikesceareal says:

    “While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants and squeeze off a hail of shots…”

    Stupidest line in the history of the world ever.

  35. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Translation time:

    “While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to PLACE A MOUSE CURSOR on six presidential aspirants and CLICK A BUTTON to squeeze off a hail of IMAGINARY, ANIMATED shots (which are accompanied with a rat-a-tat sound)…”

    “Of course, the imagery of Obama and Clinton, both of whom have been the target of threats and receive Secret Service protection, being targeted in such a manner–by children, no less–might be seen as troubling in some quarters, THOSE QUARTERS BEING THE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND GAMES AND HAVE AN AGENDA TO PUSH…”

    “With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, SOME FLAKY AND CONTENTIOUS RESEARCH INSINUATES THAT it tends to desensitize people from real life violence.”

  36. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ WolvenOne27

    It’s not just you.

    “With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence.”

    Key words are “their” in the first sentence and “tends” in the second sentence. That’s very reasonable and I agree with it. People need to be concerned with their children and they are in a position to know if their children are demonstrating “more anger and aggressive behavior.” If they are then stop them from playing violent games – it’s called parenting. Violent games to tend to desensitize people – that’s not to say that it’s true in all cases, that it’s substantial or that it’s the cause of violent acts but there is a tendency to desensitize.

    So it’s not just you, people around here tend to knee-jerk.

  37. 0
    Necromancist says:

    Paintball, the scourge of humanity! It has been stated TWICE! There’s no denying it anymore.

    Seriously though, I’ve lost what little faith i still had in America now.

  38. 0
    Lovely says:

    Over at the morning show, “The Daily Buzz”, they ran this story. Much to my annoyance. (It’s normally a fairly interesting morning news show.)

    Anyways, they are asking the question up on their site, “Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president & candidates?”

    Please folks, write in politely and tell them why the “uproar” about this is ridiculous.

  39. 0
    Anon says:

    With this story that “deadly video game playing paintball ‘killer'” book reported a few articles back doesn’t seem so laughably absurd.

    Ugh, blaming paintball and saying this is “training” “future assassins” due to a “sniper” scope…. What next, blaming carny games, outlawing water balloons and guns…

    I’m hoping they didn’t bother reporting this web game to the FBI and etc, like a certain someone did.

  40. 0
    Axmand says:

    Hahaha, i alredy play it and its really funny my score is 20080.

    But to be honest i dont see something really alarming in the game, its just paintball, but i suppose in candidate camping, any “images” with “guns” its a threat

  41. 0
    tony selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    to be honest there are times that i wish this is how we handled presidential debates, just hand the candidates paintball guns and set them at each other

    on a more serous note, this is just absolutely retarded that people are getting up in arms about this, and to the lady wanting the site closed down for hosting it, if you don’t like the rules regarding the freedom of speech in this country your welcome to leave and move somewhere where they might accommodate you with censorship laws

  42. 0
    dustin1986 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So vitual paintball is ruining our children? It’s strange, I’ve never heard of anyone trying to ban REAL paintball. Think about it, it falls in line perfectly with all of their arguments against gaming. It simulates the firing of a real gun, you inflict real pain on your opponents. Paintball would be the perfect school shooting training ground. So why don’t you see this argument? Why don’t politicians try to keep young kids away from paintball fields?

    I think it’s because paintball is too mainstream. People see it for what it is, harmless fun (as long as you wear your goggles!) I think a lot of parents don’t see any harm in paintball. But why so many people insist that video games are a problem is beyond me.

  43. 0
    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Gameboy

    I remember reading that crap up. Patricia Pulling was the Jack Thompson of Dungeons and Dragons during that time. It finally got to the point where everybody told her she was wrong and she should shut up. The only reason her organization didn’t last was because she died of cancer and was apparently its only member.

    I mean… you know someone is heading towards Epic Fail when they think Necronomicon is an actual book…

  44. 0
    JustChris says:

    Indie games always have more leeway with their “artistic vision” and thus why you can get away with using more controversial content. But talk about living in a cave. Miniclips is just the tip of the iceberg. You mean these people have never looked at the games from Newgrounds? Shiiii…

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