IGDA Founder Frets About Obama’s Effect on Video Games

Will Barack Obama take on the video game industry once he is sworn in?

That remains to be seen. The President-elect’s plate is mighty full, of course, with more critical issues like the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, healthcare, homeland security and the formation of a coherent energy policy.

But in a lengthy, impassioned column for Gamasutra, longtime video game designer Ernest Adams, co-founder of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), worries that games may eventually appear on Obama’s radar:

I don’t entirely trust [Obama] on this issue. Obama is a centrist who believes in bringing parties together and trying to find compromises that both can live with. That’s great when we’re talking about the tax code or immigration policy. It’s not great when we’re talking about the First Amendment…

He’s no hardcore apocalypticist who believes that the End Times are imminent and video games are a sign of man’s depravity; nor is he such a bleeding heart that he thinks that game content must be federally-controlled for the sake of the children. However, he will undoubtedly be lobbied by people who do believe such things. The question is, will he stand up to them and tell them to get stuffed? I’m not sure yet…


My greatest hope lies not with Obama or the Democratic Congress, but with the judges that Obama will appoint. He has the power to influence the judiciary for many years to come, and I strongly doubt that he will appoint anyone who is likely to whittle away at the First Amendment. Politicians are easily influenced by moral panics; judges less so…

In addition to his game design experience (primarily with the Madden series), Adams is an author and a professor.

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  1. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Dude wake up the country is in a mess anyone to take the reigns will be making an odd omlete from a dozen broken eggs….

    I don’t see JC bama getting on the Ban train unless it becomes popular then hes as likely to de rail it as lead it into the times of leftist fascist book burnings….. we are going to have a mix of Roosevelt and Carter and Clinton in Obama  probably more of the last 2 with a alil bush corporate ass kissing for good measure , its not going to be pretty but at the very least on some/most things we will move forward one way or another…….


    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  2. Wolvenmoon says:

    Don’t fret too much. he’ll make such a mess fo things he’ll not have time to screw over video games.

    Either that or he’ll listen and realize there needs to be a more clear ratings system that allows for some games to be rated M, and really nasty stuff like GTA, bully, and manhunt to get a higher rating without hitting AO, which is smut.

    Seriously, no 12 year old should be exposed to GTA and other really hardcore M rated games. It’s just not a good idea. They shouldn’t see R rated movies yet, nor should they play ‘R’ rated games. Our problem is both our PG-13 and R are rated ‘M’, and there’s a HUGE difference.

    I’d love to be able to post a poll up that asked respondants their real age, then their views on if highly violent games should be available to minors, and close an age group after 200 people had voted in it. Would have to be GP registered users though..so people didn’t lie.

  3. Anthrax says:

    I’m not one to listen to politicians, or even respect them, and I don’t know much about Obama for the afformentioned reasons, but he doesn’t appear to be an idiot. Good sign for us.

  4. Doomsong says:

    We only need to worry about it if the government wants to take our eyes off of more important issues. Until then, I hope Obama is as forward thinking as he insists… and not the sort of liberal who wants to babysit the nation.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  5. JustChris says:

    We are so used to the Bush admin’s right wing bull**** that it makes Obama look so far left to the people that think Bush is only slightly right. Obama’s somewhat left but not like, Mainland Europe left.

  6. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Obama is a centrist at least in comparison to Bush being a right wing fundamentalist nazi, while you can say both lean in one direction they are not  pounding the pavement with a armband and funny mistoush… altho I wonder about Misses Impallin but I digress….

    I think Obama is more right of center than people are willing to give him credit for sure he voted with the parry but he was on vacation like many of our employed representatives are so meh, hes a politician  clean  he is not as non are. Obama will go after whatever he can lead on or at least show he is part of it so I doubt we will have a huge fascist movement over the populace and information consumption as so he can lead us one way or another with..despite how much the leftist nazis want total media control….oh and tis not that the right don’t have fascists but they tend to bark alot and are slightly neutered these days…. the left however is getting to full of themselves….

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  7. Flaps says:

    That is completely untrue. Bush has cast the fewest vetos of any president in recent history. At last count I belive it is 12, which is far fewer than Clinton who used his veto power 37 times.

  8. SeanB says:

    I agree with the last part. Obama would have to Veto Supreme Court decisions for anything really bad to happen. While bush used his power of Veto over 1000 times in 8 years, i dont see this being a problem with Obama.

  9. Bigman-K says:

    Hence a libertarian.


    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  10. Bigman-K says:

    Even a law that would treat all media the same would be unconstitutional as it still is a restriction on First Amendment rights which minors perticularily older minors and teenagers rightfully have. With the notable exception of the ginsberg/miller "harmful to minors" obscenity laws (a.k.a. sexual explicit material that is obscene in regards to minors). 


    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  11. alex encandar says:

     Meh, underage people can not go to NA-17 movies, that’s not considered to be unconstitutional.

  12. insanejedi says:

    What i’m saying is just that she doesn’t want games out right banned… just regulated… not that I think that’s also correct.

  13. Brokenscope says:

    This was the only part of the Article worth reading, the rest of the article tended to involve bashing anyone the writer felt was conservative.

    He also spent alot of time giving Obama direct credit for things that were done by his rather savy campaign team.

  14. illspirit says:

    I strongly doubt that he will appoint anyone who is likely to whittle away at the First Amendment.

    Seeing as Gov. Granholm and professor Cass Sunstein are rumored to be on Obama’s short list, it seems that the author hasn’t been paying attention. But that much was apparent when he called Reagan a populist and said Obama is "opposed to gun control." Does this guy get his political history from the Onion or something?

  15. Verbinator says:

    With soon to be former Senator Clinton about to become Madam Secretary Clinton, her influence is about to focus away from domestic issues like games. So at least on this issue, she is no longer a player.  –Verbinator

  16. insanejedi says:

    That’s a bit extreame, because her position is just legally enforcing the ESRB that M-Rated games only be sold to 17+ people.

  17. Cheater87 says:

    I can see Hillary Clinton being a MAJOR apposing threat to the video game industry. She wanted violent games banned in the US in the name of "protecting the children" Obama not so much.

  18. JDKJ says:

    Obama’s not standing up to anyone and telling them to get stuffed. That’s what he hired Rahm "Go Stuff Yourself" Emmanuel to do for him.

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