British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent Games

May 15, 2008 -

A British government commission studying violence in urban areas heard a grieving mother blame violent video games and television programs for leading young people into ciminal behavior.

The panel is headed by Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. As reported by the Birmingham Post. Ann Oakes-Odger (left), whose son was stabbed to death during a robbery, said:

When advertising first became a medium on TV...subliminal shots... were banned... because it was considered to be interrupting the natural psyche of one's thinking. I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect... We have a responsibility as adults to protect our children and the information that is input into them...We can't allow them to live in a twilight world of reality and non-reality...


Comments

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of

What does it say about my character if i wished the mother got stabbed instead o_O?

 

Alas... hindsight is a cruel mistress

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

With adults spouting opinions like these, no winder some teenagers resort to violence. Imagine living with this woman - her uninformed, prejuduiced rants would drive you bloody barmy!

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

"We can't allow them to live in a twilight world of reality and non-reality..."

No Christmas presents this year, Johnny. Awww, but daaaaad..... No Johnny, it's turning you into a murderer.

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

Sorry lady, but unless you can back up yours claims, shut your ignorance spewing mouth.

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

Agreed. I grow tired of the game blame. People should stop parading the dead, it's bad karma.

-GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

People should stop parading the dead, it's bad karma.

Not to metion unhygenic!

 

This lady

I agree with the part about living in a fantasy land. If everything is all kid friendly our kids will become pussies and have trouble dealing with adult shit.

-GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

So....were games linked to her son in any way?
If not, this is quite possibly the most blatant attempt at publicity ever.


The sad thing is, she's probably reading the lines she's given by the politicians, whilst desperately hoping to change the future for the better.




Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

So....were games linked to her son in any way?
If not, this is quite possibly the most blatant attempt at publicity ever.


The sad thing is, she's probably reading the lines she's given by the politicians, whilst desperately hoping to change the future for the better.




.

I'm sorry your son died, but it was about greed, not a game.

Edited for double post.

-GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

.

Why the hell does she carry a giant picture of her son around?

Oh, and the auto subject is annoying. It keeps saying it's too long.

-GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

It's sad that her kid died

It's sad that her kid died and all, but it sounds to me like she is calling for a complete ban on fiction!

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

"We have a responsibility as adults to protect our children and the information that is input into them"


Way to go, you just contradicted your entire argument with this one line and it is the only truthful line in her entire rant.

I like how she goes on to state that playing games that portray gangs and watching gangs on tv leads to violence yet never states that actually getting involved in a gangs or a person's surroundings and history has anything to do with being violent.

I am truly tired of people who want are too stupid to think outside the box when it comes to this crap and it really pisses me off to have someone use a tragedy to spread propaganda in their campign to opress other people's rights or attempt there of.

Think about this.  Today, thanks to idiots in society, the practice of using, abusing, and killing prostitutes is the fault of GTA4.  Now, if these idiots would have learned something in history, which is being taught to their children in a place called "school", they would have learned about Jack the ripper.  Hello, mid-1800s.  No video games, no tv yet here we have someone going around killing prostitutes.  This small fraction of history is REQUIRED LEARNING in order to progress through school. 

Violence, in the past 100 years, has subsided.  TV and video games have given people another means to venting their anger in the privacy of their own homes.  It has also given people a tool for teaching people who have difficulty learning the most basic things another means of understanding subject matter, even the most graphic of subjects, in great detail.  For instance, you can teach a child gun safety through these devices.  What would be a better learning experience:  letting a kid play a game to learn the devistating effects of guns on another human being or letting them learn on their own with a real gun at the same age?

Now, if your kid is violent by nature, yeah, maybe they should not be playing it.  That is the responsibility of that child's parents.  It is not the responsiblity of a collective of adults to make opinions on things that many people enjoy and try to stamp it out.  That is irresponsible and opressive against your peers. 

If you feel the need to do something like this, at least get your facts straight and stop spreading propagnda.

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

So... Am I missing something, or did video games actually have anything to do with her son being killed? The way it seems here is that she's using a tragedy completely unrelated to gaming and using it against... gaming...

I could be wrong here, but if that's the case then she sounds a lot like Jack Thompson.
-"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." -Sir Winston Churchill

'British Commission Hears

'British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent Video Games'

What, again?

Re: British Commission Hears Grieving Mom's Criticism of Violent

I feel bad for her, as long as she stays in one place constantly fighting a losing, and by sane definition possibly wrong battle, she can never move on or get over the loss of her son.

She Needs to Learn!!!

I think we need to push out the facts we know about our hobby to the world, because just posting it on gamepolitics.com isn't always going to get the message out. 

Don't get me started on General Hospital

To be fair, she also blames soap operas.  And I know I get riled up whenever Coronation Street comes on.  I just hate that duplicitous Tracy character so much.


--- The Mammon Industry

---
Fangamer

More useless banter

I like the "I think" and "I believe" statements. So we don't need facts I guess. I feel that cheeseburgers are causing to many auto fatalities. Lets get them banned now.

Better get a photo of you

Better get a photo of you looking sad at a cheesebuger if you want to do that.

so video games are

so video games are subliminal messaging?

nice move briging in some nut that lost a kid instead of a professional who knows at least a little about gaming.


ps.. the new comment layout

ps.. the new comment layout hurts my head slightly :S

''We can't allow them to

''We can't allow them to live in a twilight world of reality and non-reality...''

 

[Sarcasm] yeah thats right all gamers live in a fantasy world [/Sarcasm]

 

im honestly sick of hearing this. Im a hardcore gamer, but im always 'in reality'. i know 100% that i am 'in reality' i just happen to be in reality , sat at my couch, playing a game. at no point do i feel there are two worlds, and i travel between them. its only people who dont play games that see a game as an 'alternate reality', not gamers. To me, i see a screen of moving pixels, representing something often fun and exciting, and a control pad that allows me to influence what happens on screen. I dont see 'another world' at any point, nor believe i am part of it.

If i did honestly feel it was another world, wouldnt i break down into severe shock and my brain implode if there was a power cut when i was playing? , like 'oh my god! everything just vanished' . no... because i go oh.. my console has lost power, best flick the fuse box n restart my game. GAME being the operative word.

Okay the death of any child

Okay the death of any child is tragic, but the person who killed him was either a) not mentally stable  to begin with if games triggered them (and there's no evidence that games could do that in the first place) b) was most likely under stress at the time so it links to a). Also you don't know what the attacker did in their free time, for all anyone knows lawn bowling made the guy go insane. As for the world of reality and non-reality, well I much prefer non-reality based violence to what I can see on the news, the news today should come with a mandatory warning a prescription for prozac "warning: watching how screwed up the world really is for more than 5 minutes at a time may cause  severe depression, nausea and extreme annoyance with those in charge." To blame so much of society's problems on a single thing is ignorant and narrow minded. There was violence in the world long before video games, television or even radio. Violence is part of human nature, and to say that games cause it is denying thousands of years of human history. And honestly, soccer in the UK has more ties to violent crimes than video games (I'm an English soccer fan but I can admit that the soccer fans do get abit over enthusiatic at times). So what caused violence before video games? oh wait that was comics, and before comics? that was rock 'n roll, and before that? television (well the jury's still out on that one, one episode of american idol and I don't know about anyone else but I feel I could hurt someone), but you see the pattern, there's always something to blame. How about we accept responsibility for our actions once and for all? And as for those of us who play games and haven't snapped, maybe we can educate a few people that are still on the fence about the link to violence and also the rating system for games. Instead of fighting these people who blame all problems in society on games with an image of rabid anger and threats, how about we show them that most gamers are rational, intelligent human beings (that would really throw them off their game I bet). 

IIRC, when windshield wipers

IIRC, when windshield wipers were introduced, a panel of respected scientists were assembled to testify they should be banned because they would hypnotize the driver and make him crash.

Blah blah blah

I might be a cold hearted bastard but I have absolutely no sympathy for these kinds of people, especially when it's total BS like this woman's agenda and methods. She and others need to have their own heads examined.

I hope the publicity photos

I hope the publicity photos I distribute to milk fame from the loss of a loved one can look even half as stylish as hers. The way she cradles the photo and looks mournfully into the distance? Genius.

Pompous Windbags anger me.

People like this are deserving of death. Honestly.

You can believe that games are responsible all you like, but unless he was STABBED with the game itself, then it's not culpable.

 

also: games are not subliminal, because if they are, they are failing mighty often considering how much games are played.

 

finally: "When advertising first became a medium on TV...subliminal shots... were banned... because it was considered to be interrupting the natural psyche of one's thinking. I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect... We have a responsibility as adults to protect our children and the information that is input into them...We can't allow them to live in a twilight world of reality and non-reality..."

no.  just no. they do not. I don't know what else to say, you who has no scientific background and have done no studies. just shut up now. 

 

 

@gp: ciminal should be criminal no? second last word, first paragraph 

I agree.This is a mother

I agree.

This is a mother who obviously blames herself and her poor parenting at night before bed for the death of her son, and during the day to "continue on" (*back of hand on forehead*) using video games as a scapegoat so she doesn't have to face the facts.

Video games did not invent crime, violence, or death.  However, they did invent super-sized hero plumbers, ultra fast hedgehogs, and alien killing cyborgs.

"Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

Re: I agree.This is a mother

he son was killed when he was 27 so i don't know that she blames her own poor parenting.

Odd reactions from an odd woman

I'd never heard of this woman and being the in the USA I didn't know if she was well-known in the UK so I googled her.  Here's the story of her son's death http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/article437877.ece

He son was killed by a 32 and 36 year old.  So how does she try to turn this sensless death into a positive?  She starts a campain to get kids to turn in knives.  What?!?  I'm not sure what the thought process is that would lead someone to say, "My son was killed by two guys in their 30s.  I know, it is because kids have knives!"  People deal with tragedy in lots of ways but this seems an odd response to me.

About knives

I believe I heard a while ago that there was a lot of knife violence in the UK, at least allegedly. Maybe someone who actaully lives there can clarify. Or maybe my memory's bad. I don't know.

Re: About knives

There's a lot of media claiming there's a lot of knife crime at the moment, and the police and government are quickly trying to force amnesties on them and banning them from sale (ignoring those who need knives as tools or collect them for private collections)

The truth as I see it is that there's a lot of violent and particularly gang oriented crime in certain areas, but since the police and government can't or won't deal with it at that level, they ignore the 'violent' and 'gang' aspect of it and try to pin the blame on the weapon.

This let's them ignore the 'why' and comfort themselves by claiming to be dealing with the 'how' - ignoring the fact that most of these crimes would be as soon committed with a gun, a chainsaw, a spade, a broken bottle or the attacker's bare hands (to name some obvious options) if a knife wasn't available.

What you believe?

"I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect."


Well thankfully what you believe doesn't make the world go round now does it? How about you research? This gut feeling bullshit is what leads to the downfall of civilization thanks.

When do you reach majority in the UK????

This woman is talking about her son and displaying a deceptive photo.  The boy in the picture is what 8-10; yet the article states 'Ms Oakes-Odger's 27-year-old son Westley bled to death on a street in Colchester, Essex, after being stabbed in the neck while drawing money from a cashpoint.'  Unless he was killed by a minor, how is anything she says related to youth violence.

Just some other know nothing*

Don't pay any attention to this case,it's just some stupid woman who thinks the violent vidja gamez is destrctoying tha childrenz!


I do feel sympathetic,as no Mother deserves to have their own son killed like that,she's being an idiot an pushing her own agenda while she should be grieving.Grieve first,push agenda later!

Some of what this poor woman

Some of what this poor woman says makes sense, but unfortunately it's mixed with the usual "games are evil and cause crime" rubbish.


On subliminal messaging in adverts: "It was banned because it was considered to be interrupting the natural psyche of one's thinking. I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect."

2 problems with that statement. Firstly, games do not try and subliminally influence people, no more than a movie or a book does. Secondly, saying "I believe" does not make things fact (much as Jack Thompson would wish). I believe the world is flat, that the grass is blue and that I can fly. See? It's an opinion at best, and you cannot recommend government action based on an opinion.

"We have a responsibility as adults to protect our children and the information that is input into them. If
we can't tone down the information they are receiving we must give them the balance of information. We can't allow them to live in a twilight world of reality and non-reality."

There's the sense! Advocating responsible parenting. Unfortunatley though, she paints parents as a little helpless when she talks about not being able to tone down the information they receive. That's what the ESRB ratings, the parental controls on consoles, and the goddamn remote control for the tv are for.

"In the first year of secondary school when they have so many things to think about like becoming an adult and going through puberty, children want to appear big and confident.

"This can often be something that fuels the possible carrying of weapons to protect themselves."

I would agree with this. Maybe not in every place, but certainly in areas where there is gang trouble. Some insecure kids might ingratiate themselves with gangs in order to try and fit in and not be an outsider and therefore a potential victim. I've seen it myself with young people who start hanging out with the drugs crowd to be cool and end up pretty violent, worthless people after a while.

"Ms Sawyers called for more discipline in schools and for teachers to understand why some children behave badly, instead of immediately expelling them."

Another good idea. Expelling or suspending a problematic kid just makes them more angry and gives them a grudge against education and more dangerously, against specific teachers. It would be better to investigate why a kid is acting badly, rather than just writing them off. On the other hand though, I have grown up with some people who were lost causes from the start and still are.

Same old story

My sympathies to the lady and her family, but what sort of expert is she to speak on anything?

She has no expert knowledge of anything related to the topic.  Sadly, the media's practice of using these people for soundbites can't change the fact that having a family member die doesn't make you an expert in anything other than grief; .

Does it really?

I really have to wonder if this woman is an expert in grieving.  After all, my grandmother died due to cigarettes and there was a point where I was upset with tobacco.  But then she chose to smoke.  I couldn't be mad at Tobacco....

Women like this one haven't learned to grieve.  She's not upset at the person responsible (the robber), she hasn't accepted her sons death yet, and she's relying on psuedo science to back up a radical claim.  The robber stabbed her child, not the TV set.

Poostorm in 3...2...1...

I believe it's time we start giving all haters a piece of our mind(rationally at worst) against their foolish and unrational claims.

And once again the blame

And once again the blame game train chugs on to pick up more passengers. 

I believe video games and

I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect...

The thing is lady, it is not important what you believe.  What is important is how the world actually works.  Until there is a conclusive study that is more than just a corralation comes out with some sort of proof, you have no case.  Correllation =/= causation.  Proof is what actually matters.  People like this who have no scientific basis for their belief should be thrown out of any inquiry.  False science can be disproven whereas beliefes are simply irrational.

Another distraught, and

Another distraught, and rightfully so, mother who wants "justice" somehow.  I sympathize with her, but can not believe the government would act on such drivel.  Wait...  I can believe it...  Don't want to, but can...


Being in the area of statistcal analysis, I could never, ever, ever bring such an argument to my boss.  I would be lauged at, fired and then lauged at some more...  Get out the numbers people!  It is much easier when you don't have to argue because you have scientific data supporting you!

Wow... 

JohnnyD Proud Canadian

JohnnyD Proud Canadian

Awwww.

There there, lady. I'm sure no one here will mind that you're just lashing out at anything you can to cope with your sons grief. Nevermind that videogames have yet to be proven unhealthy or damaging in the slightest.

Subliminal vs context

The problem with the argument using "subliminal" effects of advertising is that the "subliminal" effects were actually a secondary layer to the advertising.  While it ran linear, frame to frame,   But it was like actually running two videos.  The top layer offered the product.  You had the option to develop your own opinion, make your own choice.  The lower layer, the subliminal message, attempted to directly, even though subliminally, influence you to purchase or act a certain way.    It didn't offer you a choice.  It attempted to influence your opinion through force.  Those are two different things.

Unless there is a secondary layer within the video game or TV show or movie, then you are still left with a choice.  Even a mentally ill individual is given a choice.  It's their mind solely that directs them to make their choice.  They aren't TOLD to act this way or that by the product.  They aren't TOLD to buy a real product or think of the fictional reality as real by the product they are exposed to.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

I'm straying way off topic

I'm straying way off topic as I don't believe there is a factor in video games violent or otherwise that can affect a rationally minded person's real life actions, but here we go:

"You had the option to develop your own opinion, make your own choice.  The lower layer, the subliminal message, attempted to directly, even though subliminally, influence you to purchase or act a certain way. "

There's an interesting concept being tapped into there. Taking GTA IV as a good current example, you have the "top layer" - a quest for survival and revenge by the player who takes the role of the protagonist, Niko. Underneath that there's the "lower layer" - that your game actions are at least partially influenced by the way in which the protagonist's actions are portrayed outside the player's control (in cut scenes, sound bites, etc). 

So in GTA IV, Niko Bellic (IMO) is portrayed as a man driven to violence as a result of past traumas; he essentially doesn't want to do the things he does but is forced to by the situation and because of who he has become. By assuming his role, the player is subliminally urged towards accepting these as justification for in game actions. Arguably you might make the decisions in the game in certain way because the game TOLD you that's how Niko would act given X choice.

Or at least that's how I played, and found myself trying to think about how Niko's character would have reacted to the decisions presented. As far as Narratological game theory goes (as I understand it) this is kind of the holy grail of Interactive Narrative - that is to give players effectively infinite numbers of choices but guide them down a set path or to a set goal by subliminally pointing them in the intended direction.

That could amount to the "secondary layer" you talk about.

So... the point to this: If, God forbid, there was actually a convincing scientific study that showed exposure to games could in anyway affect a child (or anyone's) real world actions, then we might find that we're getting a lot closer to the unlocking serious subliminal influences than even the JTs and mainstream media sensationalists of this world might have first thought. Perhaps we're not making people think 'durr, i saw dat in a game so I'll copy it' but are in fact predisposing people to not tackle situations with suitable rationality but helping them assume the mindset of a far more unbalanced and fictional influencer. 

Anyway, just a thought. I'm waffling and I'll shut up now.

context of choice

The context of the choices in the game itself are limited to the game itself.  You are limited only at the surfcace really.  You can really only take the paths, in the game, offered to you. 

Now, if you were offered a multitude of options, such as Niko could be bad, good, a superhero, a family man, and so on, but a message, from the game (say during cutscenes) attempted to FORCE your choices down a certain path, then that would be a subliminal message.

It would also be a subliminal message if the game directly implanted, in that lower layer, that you should act this way yourself and treat others in the same manner.  Plus, if it attempted to force your opinion about stereotypes in the game, that too is a lower layer.  If you follow the story and derive your own opinions about any messages your preceive in the story, you haven't been forced to believe that way.  But if at some lower layer of imagry the game forces you to take any opinion beyond the context of the story and that it is the way you should think, then you've been forced through subliminal techniques.

Nightwng2000

 NW2K Software

Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Forced or nudged?

"Now, if you were offered a multitude of options, such as Niko could be bad, good, a superhero, a family man, and so on, but a message, from the game (say during cutscenes) attempted to FORCE your choices down a certain path, then that would be a subliminal message."


I do think there is a certain element of not direct force, perhaps, but the subtle guidance in one direction or other. To play the tortured but unremittingly violent protagonist rather the rather boring psycho who does what he's told for the money and without caring about the consequences.

However, I do agree with the rest of what you say. As you point out, there is nothing in the game, or any game, or indeed likely ever to be in any game, that resembles a subliminal message suggesting that this is a Good Idea to replicate in real life. And I suppose it would also be kind of pointless, unless you cunning wanted to create a new generation of Football players using a hidden agenda in Madden, but even that daft idea is about as extreme as video game subliminal messaging could ever get.

"I believe video games and

"I believe video games and violent computer games have the same effect... "

And what evidence convinced her of this?  What exhaustive research ever suggested games had the effect of "interrupting the natural psyche of one's thinking" akin to what people in the 50's thought about "subliminal shots"?

Art reflects life!

Why! Why cant any of these idiots understand that!


Who the frak is going to join a gang or commit violent crime or rob people because of a gamee?

Gangs are a part of life that is reflected in the media... not the other way around!

If it was we'd be in a zombie apocalypse

Arrrgh!
 
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