Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses Chance

October 16, 2008 -

GamePolitics speculated yesterday as to whether Barack Obama's highly-publicized video game ads might come up in last night's Presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. They didn't, but that's only because Republican John McCain missed a perfect opportunity to get some mileage out of Obama's Xbox Live ads.

Toward the end of the debate the topic of education came up. At that point Obama delivered, word-for-word, a theme he has repeatedly mentioned in his campaign speeches:

Parents are going to have to show more responsibility. They've got to turn off the TV set, put away the video games, and, finally, start instilling that thirst for knowledge that our students need.

Not that Obama is necessarily wrong in this view, but his citing of games as a metaphor for underachievement offered McCain an opportunity to score some debate points by turning the issue around on Obama. If McCain had pressed the Illinois senator as to why, given his earlier comments, the Democrat was in turn buying ad time in video games, Obama might have been faced with a sticky situation.

Since my beloved Phillies advanced to the World Series last night, I'll couch this in baseball terminology: McCain failed to swing at a hanging curve ball. Was he not aware of the video game ad issue? That would be hard to fathom, since the story - broken here on GamePolitics - has been all over the mainstream media in the last few days.


Comments

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

Just remember, if either one of them gets into office and screws things up...I voted for Cobra Commander

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

One possible explanation is that this election is just that stressful for everyone.  I can't even begin to imagine what the history books will say.

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"They were retarded hairless pink bunnies, all of them. Except Shigeru Myamoto and... well, the good ones were just too /rare/ to be worth bothering about." - Mason Hornblower on the extinction of the human race

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Treat me nice, or you may end up in my next novel.

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

Whatever they say, it'll be an entertaining read. Particularly as it'll be in the same chapter(s) as the current economic mess.

-Gray17

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

 Who cares? Kids will be too busy playing videogames to read their history books. ;)

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

See, I came in here to say this, but I guess I'll have to settle for replying to it.

Parents DO have to take control and tell children when they can and can't play games. When the kid gets home from school and plugs right in, there may be something wrong, where is the homework? Homework before gaming. It isn't a metaphore for underachievement, it is a passtime that CAN go overboard, especially in children.

Also, I don't think that the ads tie into this statement, as one if for children, and the other is for voters of legal age.

I like this website, but they keep blowing that statement out of proportion.

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

Exactly. I thought GP would of learned the first time when there were comments about this in the first article about Obama's view of video games being an "Underachievement". Maybe GP is doing this because some people who post here believe that the site is being biased.

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"Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" -- Birch Barlow

---------------------------------------- "Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" -- Birch Barlow

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

 The problem is that that wording implies that playing games/watching TV and achievement are mutually exclusive, that learning and knowledge inherently cannot come from TV or games- or at least there is no immediate route between the two.

We know this to be wrong, simply due to the existance of TV documentaries and the scores of research we've seen posted here about how games can be used in education.

Similarly, if you're in the cinema or playing sport, you're not doing schoolwork either- why are they not mentioned? Alternatively, why not just say something more generic about getting kids interested in education again, and leave games and TV out of it?

While I don't believe by any stretch of the imagination that we can file Obama under "Anti-game politician" (yet), he wouldn't keep bringing up games specifically if he wasn't under the impression that they are a problem of their own, be this through a Thompson-like personal bias or simply due to an innocent lack of understanding of the medium, and this is an obstacle that any stakeholder in the form- from EA exec just trying to do their job to academic trying to promote games for learning- will have to overcome should Obama get elected.

/b

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

 "Similarly, if you're in the cinema or playing sport, you're not doing schoolwork either- why are they not mentioned?"

For the cinema, that's not mentioned because most kids don't go to the movies all that often; the cinema is like a once a week kind of activity, and no one expects you to NEVER indulge in entertainment... it's hardly worth mentioning in the same breath as TV and video games. TV and Video games are different and mentioned in that they can take A LOT of a free time; kids could easily spend like 8 hours a day on those things if they really wanted to. It easily gets in the way of school work if parents don't tell them to turn off the games and TV once in a while. Indulging in TV and video games is fine, but only so long as it doesn't get in the way of school work.

as for sports... We live in the fattest nation in the world, kids NEED exercise. If they don't get exercise when they are young, then it easily carries over into adulthood. Exercise is almost as important as good education as it promotes good health. Telling kids that they should hold off on exercise is like saying that they should hold off on eating healthy foods. Exercise is something that should ALWAYS be promoted

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

"he wouldn't keep bringing up games specifically if he wasn't under the impression that they are a problem of their own"

Why doesn't anyone seem to notice he brings up TV too every single time? I don't see anyone raising a fuss over that.
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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

"he wouldn't keep bringing up games specifically if he wasn't under the impression that they are a problem of their own"

Unless he's using a broad statement to talk to people about putting entertainment first and education second. Generalizations when speaking on a larger issue is a common tactic of simplification. If he were to stop and specifically exclude educational games, he'd be stumbling about in the narrows of a topic that most people aren't informed on anyway, and it would make him look stupid.

Moreover, how many people do you think put over an hour a day in to educational games? And I mean ones that are relevant to a school cirriculum. Because I'm willing to bet that as a portion of games played, truly education games are an irrelevant proportion of the population. You can't get away with playing Portal and saying it's a lesson in geometry (or worse, physics).

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

 Damn I knew this site had a bias towards the Phillies.

 

I was truely disappointed that the Dodgers followed the example set by the Lakers earlier this year and choked.

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

I too feel your pain.

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

I can think of 2 possibilities, McAin either doesn't think its a big deal and doesn't care about it.

but in Obama's defence, Obama was most likely refferring to young kids below 18, and parent's should take a more active control over they're kids gaming habits. But as stated mutilple times, alot of gamers nowdays are over 18 and are usually less targetted audience for campaings ads. and this was his way of reaching out to the ever growing  gaming community

Re: Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses

I took it in a different way. If Obama wants kids (and I'm sure some adults) off the couch then in game ads are not a contridcition and McCain would have eaten shit for bringing it up. The ads are in the games to get you off your ass and to his campain site so that you could be more involvled with this election.

 

 
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