Obama Campaign Theme: Video Games as Metaphor for Underachievement

February 20, 2008 -
Unlike rival Hillary Clinton,  Democratic presidential frontrunner Barack Obama does not have a significant track record with regard to video game content issues.

His speeches, however, often contain a reference to parents making their children "put away the video games." For Obama, video games seem to serve as a sort of metaphor for underachievement.

The Illinois senator repeated the theme last night in a victory speech following his big win over Clinton in the Wisconsin primary. As reported by the Washington Post, which carried a transcript and video of the speech, Obama said:
I know how hard it will be to alleviate poverty that has built up over centuries, how hard it will be to fix schools, because changing our schools will require not just money, but a change in attitudes.

We're going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that's going to take some time.

A day earlier, speaking to a college crowd in Youngstown, Ohio,  Obama made similar remarks. The Youngstown Vindicator reports:
[Obama called for] investments in early childhood education to close the achievement gap, but with an added emphasis on poetry, music and art, not just academics. Obama admonished parents to do their part by turning off the television, putting away the video games, and instilling in their children a desire to get a good education.

Nor is this a new theme for Obama. GamePolitics reported on similar comments as far back as April, 2006.


Re: Obama Campaign Theme: Video Games as Metaphor for

I'm all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there's one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what's stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you'll find they don't think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they'll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless... yeah.

The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can't figure out the controls for Halo so it's frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it's in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child's life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can't be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It's too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

Re: Obama Campaign Theme: Video Games as Metaphor for

I don't see the connection between games and laziness, more the opposite.  If a child's parents regulate them with tact, a child will do everything they must to get to play their games.  I feel that games are the future of ALL entertainment AND education.  It would take a great deal of revolutionizing of the current educational facilities, but when it was finished the kids would actually want to go to school.


I make games for education... whyzguy3000@hotmail.com

I make games for education... whyzguy3000@hotmail.com

Re: Obama Campaign Theme: Video Games as Metaphor for

Although as a gamer I find this incredibly tactless and tasteless, he doesn't seem to be a wingnut like Thompson who wants them banned. I think he is using video games as a ploy to gain votes from parents and the elderly because most of them still think that games and gamers are mindless instead of seeing them for the works of art they are, and gamers as the thinking people of this generation. Shameless, but it will probably always work until the parents-who-are-gamers demographic doubles again.

All in all, I'm not worried because even though politicians love to slam games, they know dang well they can't do anything about an industiry that rakes in money the way it does. Thats why I love capitalism, "It makes money, therefore it is."

Re: Obama Campaign Theme: Video Games as Metaphor for

Screw you dude. I play video games, but it doesn't meen I am an underachiever.  I have High Honor Roll coming out of High School, and I am curently attending Carnige Mellon in Pittsburgh, I have a life. I skate board, and hang out with my friends.  My fav. game out right know is GTA4, and I play that on a regular basis, So Fuck off OBAMA, and Hilary.

I still like him. better lazy than violant psyco

From what I see he's not using them as a metaphor for underachieving at all; he's pointing out how lazy parents use them as substitutes. Which is questionable in itself, since the right kind of TV and video games can be very healthy in a child's development, but I think you've misinterpreted him.

Is there more productive things children can do besides video games? Eh, probably. Are they as fun? Maybe. They should find a balance, for it is a disciprine... Yoi yoi!

He's still got my vote. I agree with the others; video games are pastimes. Too much of them can be a distraction. I remember when I was a kid and my parents encouraged me not to play too much Atari 2600 and concentrate on my homework. It's an old message and frankly, not a bad one either. Obama is advocating common sense; something it seems is in short supply among most politicians.

I watched his speech last night and I kind of saw this coming, but at the same time I hoped that it would be seen in my context.

Let's face it, we play video games to kill time and entertain ourselves (unless you're a tourney gamer like Fata1ity who makes a living out of it) and that's a good thing. Now what's the old saying? Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. What he means is that kids shouldn't be playing games and watching TV 24/7 and not doing their schoolwork and I agree with him. I only turn on my consoles when all of my homework is done.

@the1jeffy -

I don't think that he was saying that he plans to legislate how parents must raise their children... if I thought that was his intention then I'd be very anit-Obama too.

All he is doing is giving advice, recommending that more parents make sure that kids focus on their schoolwork before letting them watch tv or play games.

As for how he plans to do it, I think you have already seen that. He plans to make speeches and appeal to parents to do it for themselves. There is no constitutional way that he could *force* parents to raise their kids properly, but I don't think there is anything wrong with asking them to do it for themselves...

He's talking about putting then away- not censoring them. I stiill will vote for him.

At no time does he state he wants legislation against TV and video games as forms of media. All he states is he'd like parents to focus their kids beyond just these things. Honestly, I take it as he sees what many of us see... Parents who rase kids in front of a box. I know I've seen it. Parents who just put the kid in front of the TV or with video games in hand so they can socialize and act as if they're still single.

...now before I get attacked let me clarify. Every parent needs a break from their kids now and then for a sanity check. Anyone who disagrees has never had kids. I'm talking about those who let the TV raise their kids rather than interact with them.

I honestly have to agree with Mr. Obama's statements. I've always been able to balance gaming and the real world. There's nothing wrong with calling for media in moderation.

...Media in moderation... Hmmm... I should coin that term now lol

What about educational TV and video games? Not only that, but you can also be with your child and expand the learning even more from it. Play time together and learning.

I feel as though he left the many genres of TV and games were left out. You can turn anything like that to positive.

Mmm. That's some good Kool-Aid.
For-the-kids. It's Rhetoric that can help candidates everywhere.

The Kids Are Alright: How the Gamer Generation is Changing the Workplace - John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade.

I don't think he was bashing games, he was bashing parents who let TV and games do the parenting for them. I think most people would agree that is a problem. He's saying "put away the electronic baby sitters and be a parent by interacting with your child".

Don't look at everything so dang pessimistically.

[...] …And yet, what do I read today? GamePolitics.com has compiled an article outlining the various ways that the Obama campaign has used video games as a something used by underachieving kids and lazy parents– and this attitude has been apparent as far back as April 2006. [...]

"Give Obama a pass, he's earned it."
What exactly has he done to earn such a free pass?

This is partially true tho if you sit on yer ass all day playing games all day you are going to grow fat...and odd..... >>

Zippy is odd...and fat.....SHOCK!


Obama said it himself: "We’re going to have to parent better..."

To him that means turning off the TV and video games and actually raising the kid themselves. He's concerned of the disconnect forming between parents and children in today's society. It could be games, television, the internet...anything that parents plop their kids in front of rather than raise them.

He is not saying “video games are bad for our children”. He's saying "bad parents are bad for our children".

"Are people seriously threatened by this?
I mean, I’m all up for defending video games and all that, but, man"

I acted more in response to those who were like "how dare you try to tarnish the perfect name of Obama!!!!"

[...] Unlike rival Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential frontrunner Barack Obama does not have a significant track record with regard to video game content issues. [...]

I see no problem with this. He's not saying games or media need to be censored but that kids shouldn't be inside all day playing video games and watching T.V. but rather go outside and play. Let them play video games and watch some T.V. in moderation but then have then go outside and play hockey, basketball or go fishing with their friends.

Additionally, Obama doesn't have a track record for virtually ANYTHING. I think the best way to judge a candidate is through what they've voted for, and so far, I'm pretty Obama hasn't voted for very much, and I live in Illinois, so I would know.
I'll bet Barack's feeling pretty lucky right now. He doesn't have a horrid track record like Clinton, mainly because he hasn't been in office long enough, so he decides to run for president. Oh, and he's African American. And a Liberal. So of course the media runs straight to him.

[...] Games and Politics Tonight’s post is really about the idiocy of society and my passion as a gamer to stand up for games… not people. I am writing about the world at our finest after all [insert sarcastic smirk here]. See, I cannot sit quietly when someone starts blaming video games for their violent actions (in fact, I get into heated debates with friends every now and then). I’ve read quite a few articles about politics and video games. Maybe I’m getting my facts from all the wrong places. Personally, I think it is naive of some politicians to think that gamers suck at life (to make it an easy understanding to many of us gamers) [please insert another sarcastic smirk here… and this time, make it a BIG one]. [...]

still better than Hillary by about 6 Billion percent.

i'd rather have someone indifferent to games than actively trying to censor them.

If the kids are all sitting inside getting fat, they can't be outside stabbing each other in the face, surely.


I applaud the man for his intentions of improving the education of his nation's children, and putting forward the idea of instilling them with a desire to further and better themselves, but I just don't agree at all with him using video games as an example of something that stands in the way of this goal. Children are perfectly capable of playing video games AND getting good grades/succeeding at school, it's all a matter of balance.

"We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time."

Better parenting, I approve of. Turn off the tv? I would argue that a lot of what is on tv is atrocious these days, with all the vapid chat shows and mindless reality tv, as well as the promotion of the ignorant and unworthy as celebrities, kids are better off with less tv. Instill a sense of excellence in kids? Damn right! There is no more effective way of making a child better at something, than making them WANT to be better.

But finally, he says we have to put the video games away. I understand that a kid who is aiming for good grades will have to switch off their console/pc and study, but that does not mean that when they have their homework/study done that they can't play games to relax. It's a passtime like any other, if you spend too long at it and neglect your studies, your grades will reflect this.

I wonder what the reaction might have been had Obama said: "We've got to turn off the tv, put down the basketballs and footballs, and instill a sense of...."

Or can you imagine the outrage if his words were: "We've got to turn off the tv, stop spending our time in church and praying, and instill a sense of...."

It doesn't matter what the activity is, any hobby can co-exist with successful studies as long as it is in moderation. Worked for me...

Shoehorn O'Plenty, B.Sc, avid gamer.

Ok nothing is wrong with putting away the video games. Its censoring them that is wrong.

So he got my vote yet again

I'm like probably most here who don't like him refereing to games in a bad way, however, like most, he's probably the best canidate for being president, and atleast he's not saying "Games are evil" stuff like Clinton says.

Also, I can't really disagree with it, as lets be honest, playing video games is lazy, wheather it's fun or not.

Anyway as a non US person anyway, I don't have a say who'd be president but I still hope it's Obama.

Sounds like a reasonable guy, really.

I know alot of people who say things like that.. they are not saying "video games are evil" they just view anything that takes alot of time as a bad thing if it isn't academic studies.

Of course, I would always argue "anything in moderation". Constantly studying is just as bad as never studying.

Of course, he did say turn off the TV. So it's not video games being singled out.

I can do nothing but agree. People, not just kids, need to read and do a lot of other stuff. Games can teach and all but they're only one piece of the multimedia world.


I recall another presidential hopeful that did not just single out video games yet the community lambasted him to no end

Give Obama a pass, he's earned it

I agree with him. Video games and TV make great pass times, but they shouldn't be the only thing kids do in their free time. His emphasis on music and arts is something that can be done. Get kids to be creative in their free time. Not only will they be productive, they can have fun doing it as well.

But there is nothing wrong with playing games or watching tv as long as it is done in moderation.

From what I've read, there's nothing wrong with his speech unless you're a couch potato or a basement dweller (ie. those who do nothing but watch TV or play games while contributing nothing to society)

He's basically saying "give TV and Videogames a rest for a bit" That's different compard to "Imma go bannin the vidya gaems111!11"

Just like pretty much everyone else here, I have to agree Obama didn't mean video games were bad, just that the parents know when to say "no" to their children.
I'll admit my daughter is pretty much spoiled rotten, but she knows when she gets home from school, school work comes first and if her grades are bad, the video games and TV gets turned off until they come up and she's only eight years old.
It's just a shame that many parents out there have to be told what to do, because as I've already seen in my own neighborhood, some parents just don't tell their kids no, or don't know how to make their children listen, or even how to help their children better themselves.

[...] Original post by GamePolitics Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

@ T5

You are referring to Romney? Correct?

As I recalled, Romney classified all games as part of a cesspool. He may not have singled them out, but he called for regulation on them.

Yeah, Romney classified games, TV and movies as a "cesspool of violence that needs to be cleaned up"

see, voting isnt voting for the politician you want to win..

its voting for the one who will do you the least damage

I feel for the most part that our hobby's been slammed around so much for the past few years left us a bit sensitive. D:

Good to see how some of us still reconize that something like this wasn't an attack on video games itself.

*clap clap* I like him, mostly

Well... a metaphor can be taken different ways. He's not claiming 'vidya geimz r teh evil,' he's just saying parents need to get more involved with their children, which they should.

Don't see any problem with his words here.

Marks him a better candidate for your new president by about 9000%.

"We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time."

Responsible moderation as compared to outright banning...hmm...melikes what I hear from Obama

"For Obama, video games seem to serve as a sort of metaphor for underachievement."

Thats a load of bull.
He used it as an example along with Television as something distracting americas youth from getting the best education that they could
which is actually quite accurate

Hillary wants to ban 'em...
Obama wants kids to find something more productive...........
Obama > Hillary by about 5000423783248782344 points.
That's... 5000000000454385345345252535235 points for Barack, -49 for Hillary.

there is no one we can side with...but at least he won't start stuff over them...unlike SOME people we know

If I had to choose between obama and hillary, I'd abstain. Neither gets my vote because they both fail on a level that I don't want in my leader.

We need to give parents the tools and information they need to make choices about what programs their children are watching or what video games they are playing. As we move towards a digital environment, there is a golden opportunity for the industry to do this on their own—to use the latest in technology to give parents more information and more choice. For example, this technology could make it possible for parents to create their own family tier just by programming their television to block certain channels, block certain genres of programming like dramas, or block television at certain times of the day. The same can be said of video games, especially as we’re moving into an era when they can be downloaded as easily as today’s movies and television shows.

I would call upon the video game industry to give parents better information about programs and video games by improving the voluntary rating system we currently have. Broadcasters and video game producers should take it upon themselves to improve this system to include easier to find and easier to understand descriptions of exactly what kind of content is included. But if the industry fails to act, then my administration would.

And even if the industry does do some responsible self-policing, there’s still a role for the federal government to play. We need to understand the impact of these new media better. That’s why I supported federal funding to study the impact of video games on children’s cognitive development.


Im not saying Romney was any better, but Obama is in the same boat
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