Gamers Should Not Be Leery of Obama, Says Game Writer

Earlier this week GamePolitics covered a New York Times story which reported that some gamers were leery of how Barack Obama’s presidency might affect their pastime.

Writing for fidgit, longtime game journo Tom Chick (left) takes issue with the NYT (okay by me), but takes a cheap shot at GamePolitics in the process (hey, Tom Chick, don’t shoot the messenger):

You know it’s been a slow news day at the New York Times when they assemble a couple of scant details about the appearance of videogames in the Presidential campaign under the headline "Some Video Gamers Leery of Obama’s Views"…


In addition to citing the inveterate cryers of "Wolf!" over at, they base their story on a user comment on… Could this be because the post makes more sense than either the New York Times story or the 1up story it’s commenting on?

As a scholar and college teacher [who] writes about games, I don’t see this as any kind of whipping post that’s part of Obama’s policy building… The only way games will come up as a major part of any presidency anytime soon is just as it has in the past: when it’s a convenient scapegoat.

However, videogames are already a factor in Obama’s presidency. Like Bill Clinton before him, Barack Obama is in touch with a whole new generation of voters, and therefore American culture… While Barack Obama may not be as big a dork as us videogame players, he deserves credit for being aware that we’re out here. We should be glad, not leery.

GP: Inveterate cryers of "Wolf!"???

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  1. Good Lord says:

    But he’s a dirty liberal! That means he must hate the first amendment, and probably has gay abortion pot-smoking parties every day! Can’t you see he’s going to turn this country into a socialist dictatorship?! We’ll be swearing allegiance on the Quran the next thing you know! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!


  2. Ratfunk says:

     First off, there are quite a few gamers that are not so keen on Obama and his stance on video games. Maybe he won’t make them an issue for himself, but during his term as president, I wouldn’t be suprised if more legislation was passed to regulate and censor video games.

    And, as some people point out, yes, there are bigger issues out there, most of which I don’t agree with Obama on, but need to be addressed. Unfortunatly, I feel the first amendment is a big one that should not be regulated at all. Video games are just a step to larger regulations.

    Even if we were all making Millions of Dollars with goods at their current price, we would all be poorer if we can’t say, or do what we wish.

  3. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Who the fuck is Tom Chick?


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! -The Buck Stops Here.

  4. Bennett Beeny says:

    Isn’t Tom Chick one of those hacks that used to have a column in a big name game hype mag?  The name rings a bell.

  5. Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    First two-and-a-half paragraphs: Tom Chick = jackass.

    Last part: Tom Chick = sounds…okay…and kinda right…

    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  6. Flamespeak says:

    The point that DS tried to make, and what I am trying to make, is bringing up your education when you don’t need to is a way to try and prove that you know more than the other person or people to whom you are making a statement. Most people have no problem with someone getting a higher education and even encourage people to do so, however, to try and say that your education makes you more knowledgable on position X when your study only included things dealing with position Y, makes you foolish and seem elitist. 

    The reason why I say many people think that way is because the amount of increasing business that won’t hire positions unless someone has a degree of some sort. Most of said businesses don’t even care what the degree is, so long as you have said degree.  Like Enterprise Car Rentals, you must have a bachelor’s to work for them, however, the job is something anyone with common sense and minimal computer skill can work AND they don’t care what your degree is for in the slightest. 

  7. kielejocain says:

    That’s quite a leap you made there.  I don’t think you can alreddy claim that he will always side against the first amendment simply because he supports a guy who supports one side of an issue, especially an issue that has been given so much partisan weight (fairness doctrine = end of conservative talk radio, or so goes the wurd on the street).

  8. Aprincen says:

    Spending your entire life in academia does give a skewed perspective, but testing your theories using tried and tested ways can give insight into the "real world". Academic elitists do exist, but there just a lot of people shouting elitism as soon as someone had a higher education. I get really pissed when that happens. As for marxism, that probably has to do with young people being more idealistic and suspectible to such ideas. Put them together and they’re bound to do something stupid.

  9. deuxhero says:

    Again, he alreddy plans to put someone who supports the fairness doctrine on the FCC, he is no friend of the first amendment.

  10. Dark Sovereign says:

    The academic elitist is a special breed. They assume that their diploma automatically makes them better, or their opinions more valid, than Joe Blow, even if they are holding forth their opinion in a field other than their own. I use the term to apply to a very specific attitude, not all acedemics.

    College is not the real world. It’s doubtful that anybody who spent most of their lives in academia would even know what works within their fields in the real world. There’s a reason that Marxists are easier to find in colleges.

  11. Aprincen says:

    Diplomas don’t have magical powers, but they are proof of studying something for a certain amount of time. You said said flaunting diplomas around was common for "academic elitists", that’s what I object to. Diplomas do mean something. They mean you actually studied far more and have more knowledge than "Joe on the street".

    As for the actual problem, meh. Some guy said something on the internet. I read your comment as an attack on academics, but if you just attacked this guys comments, I don’t care. We’ll see what Obama does when he gets to it. Games won’t be high on his list of priorities.

  12. Aprincen says:

    There is nothing wrong with my mindset. I’m not saying this man has something important to say about this matter, I was merely replying to Darksovereigns comment that so-called academic elitists are flaunting their suppossedly meaningless diplomas around. I couldn’t care less about what this man has to say and whether his diploma has anything to do with it. I do object to the anti-intellectualism in society today. People who studied actually have prove to know more than the general populace IN THEIR AREA OF EXPERTISE.


  13. Flamespeak says:

    Unless the man has a diploma that directly relates to the topic at hand, your point is totally irrelavent.

    The statement you made is what is wrong with a lot of people’s mindset though, not just yours.

  14. Vake Xeacons says:

     When I really think about it, I think he IS right.

    I, myself, was very wary about Obama’s take on video games and violence. But, recently, I think I overreacted. I’m still wary about his OTHER policies (let’s not get into that right now). But the point is, I don’t think cybernatographic censorship is his number one priority. Otherwise, I think he would have expressed it more during his campaign. 

    Obama’s first and foremost problem is the economy, and if he realizes the financial potential of games, it may be one of his answers (as it is mine) to our foreboding depression. 

    No, Obama was not my choice, but there’s nothing we can do about it. He is our future president. If he’s not on our side, we just have to get him on our side. Write to him. Let him know how we feel. 

  15. Dark Sovereign says:

    No, actually, it doesn’t. It means you have a peice of paper that says you SHOULD have more expertise than Joe on the street. Diplomas do not suddenly convey magical expertise powers. The actual problem here isn’t that he has a diploma in something, but that he trotted out his credentials, even if they were completely unrelated to games, as proof of his expertise. As far as I can tell, there is no diploma for game punditry.

  16. Aprincen says:

    You do know a diploma actually means you studied so you have knowledge other people(without diploma’s) don’t? In other words, an expertise…

  17. Dark Sovereign says:

    He thinks his diploma gives him a magical aura of expertise. It’s a common feature of academic elitists.

  18. Flamespeak says:

    "As a scholar and college teacher [who] writes about games"

    How the fuck does this make his personal opinion any more valid than some random schmuck off the street?


  19. Adamas Draconis says:

    *Turns off the juke box* Was wondering why I was hearing Foreigner.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  20. kielejocain says:

    "Why should I vote for a guy that agrees with me on half the issues but is diametrically opposed to the other half?"

    You don’t, you can vote for whomever you like.  The real problem libertarians have is that so few people ARE libertarians.  Yes, it is possible that if a libertarian were allowed to enter debates and the party were treated with the same deference as the Big Two, that Nader would get more votes (or more likely, Nader wouldn’t be the candidate, and someone ELSE would step into the nomination and do better than 5 percent).  But the real issue is that most of the country falls into the "left" or "right".

    And that goes x1000000 for the rest of the parties.

    That said, I do think that there should be some way in which other parties should be able to enter debates.  For example, if your candidate has gotten on the ballot in 45 of the 50 states (for example).  Though I worry about what that would do to the debate format, which is atrocious enough with two condidates.

  21. Nekowolf says:

    Well the big thing is I don’t think he’ll go around banning them or what not like some *cough* people *coughs again* say. I mean…even if he does think they’re more of a time-waster, as you’ve said, it’s a vast improvement, and not something that really should have legislation against because of that thought. Unlike those who ARE trying to ban them because they do see them as some disgusting parasite of society’s young.

    I agree that it is a little annoying, and there should still be at least a little bit of concern, but it’s not something to blow up about, like those people I mentioned. They’re just being way over-dramatic with the whole thing and grasping at straws to get at other things.

  22. Krono says:

    Well, even as an avid gamer and developer, I’d have to say that they ARE a waste of time; as much as any entertainment. They have a lot of value, for stimulation, relaxation, stress relieve, socialization — but the problem is excess.

    True. The only problem with Obama’s statements is that he doesn’t acknowledge that the problem is excess, or indicate a mindset that everyone that plays games does so to excess. Which is mildly annoying, and of vague concern, but as I said, a vast improvement over past scapgoating and demonizing.


  23. kagirinai says:

    Well, even as an avid gamer and developer, I’d have to say that they ARE a waste of time; as much as any entertainment. They have a lot of value, for stimulation, relaxation, stress relieve, socialization — but the problem is excess.

    If you spend all of your free time playing videogames, do you think that’s time well spent? I don’t. And I think that’s what his implication was — there is more to life than gaming and TV.

  24. Krono says:

    Nope. I noticed how he implied in one comment that people should do more than watch television and play video games

    It wasn’t so much a comment as it was a running theme. Showed up in severals speeches and ads. Which does lead to the impression that he thinks that tv and videogames are a waste of time that could be better spent doing something else.

    Admittedly, ‘a waste of time’ is an excellant step up from ‘source of all of societies ills’, but it still isn’t the greatest of attitudes to take.


  25. Nekowolf says:

    Agreed. Not everything metaphorical to games in politics is bad. Sure, a lot of it is, but really, you have to actually read. He never said anything about underachievement with those comments.

    Edit: In fact, numerous people agreed that that comment of Obama referencing games to underachievement in the articles were a bit overdramatic, if you actually read the comments.

  26. SimonBob says:

    Devil’s advocate: he didn’t just imply it, the campaign made a direct correlation in their advertising.

    But yeah, getting all crazy-like over the perfectly reasonable advice of putting down the controller and voting is a bit much.

    The Mammon Industry

  27. kagirinai says:

    Nope. I noticed how he implied in one comment that people should do more than watch television and play video games, and the video game community (particularly HERE) took it out of context and began thinking of it as an attack.

    Hurray, overreacting!

  28. Austin_Lewis says:

    Just because Barack convinced the younger generation to vote for him doesn’t mean he’s ‘in touch’, it just means that his campaign pandered to the young.  Clinton wasn’t ‘in touch’.  Hell, no politician is ‘in touch’ with the youngest generation of voters.

    Did you not notice how Obama used games as a metaphor for underachievement?

  29. Skyler says:

    No, but as voters it’s really sad that we have to choose from two candidates and hope that one of these guys holds all of our values at heart. Which, as we all know, is a foolish hope. Why should I vote for a guy that agrees with me on half the issues but is diametrically opposed to the other half? (my shameless plug for a multi-party system)

    “When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities” ~ David Hume

  30. Kajex says:

    A single hobby of mine should not have to dictate my vote. It’s a waste of brainpower and a bigger indication that most people are content to use a single issue as the basis for voting a single candidate. Just because my father is a war veteran doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have voted McCain simply due to the fact that McCain doesn’t support war vets- likewise, he wouldn’t have voted Obama for the socialism in our free market, either.

    All this article says to me is "One reason to ignore other issues and have voted THIS guy". I’m not WORRIED about my hobby- I’m worried that everything ELSE won’t be run correctly.

  31. Xym says:

    So far, Obama’s only comment has been that people who play too many games or watch tv too much should get off their derieres. It’s just a general call against laziness. Nothing too out of the ordinary to me…


  32. Joker says:

    This guy is obviously been living in his academic tower for far too long.  Credentials that include "a scholar and college teacher [who] writes about games" don’t impress me as someone living in the real world, much less one who’s in touch with it.  And to further say that "Like Bill Clinton before him, Barack Obama is in touch with a whole new generation of voters, and therefore American culture..." simply proves it.

  33. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Hey, people, let’s not demonize the wolves.

    It’s not their fault almost everyone hates them.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  34. KN says:

     he means the underage babbies who would rather not have a decent president than possibly having to put up with waiting until they are old enough to play video games

  35. SpiralGray says:

    That’s what I thought as I read the quote.

    Get a little perspective people! We’ve got an economy that’s in the tank, a stock market that’s just barely over half of what it was a year ago, a health care crisis, rising unemployment, and you’re worried about whether the President of the United States is going to focus on video games? If things keep going the way they are you might not have to worry much longer, because you won’t be able to afford a TV, game console, or the electricity to run them.

  36. SimonBob says:

    Seriously though, isn’t the whole point to cry wolf when you see a wolf?  What is he saying, that we shouldn’t take up the call against things like advertisements getting pulled or accusations of gaming influences on crimes?  Is there a really bad gaming-related press disaster coming down the pipes that we should be psyching ourselves up for?  I didn’t think we were making noise for no good reason here.

    The Mammon Industry

  37. mogbert says:

    Is it ok to be leery of all of these stories coming out with the word leery? Can we use ‘worried’ or some other syn, symon, another word that means the same thing?

    Either way, I’m taking a wait and see attitude. Also, I can’t wait for this to turn into another East side West side political rumble.

Comments are closed.