In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links Video Games to Academic Underachievement

February 25, 2009 -

As GamePolitics noted on several occasions, using video games as a metaphor for academic underachievement was a staple of Barack Obama's presidential campaign speeches.

The Prez rolled out the same language last night in his first address to a joint session of Congress. Speaking about his administration's approach to education, Obama said:

These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.

A CNN poll reports that 65% of respondents gave the President favorable marks for the speech. NPR has a full transcript of the President's remarks.


Comments

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

Well, He's right of course. He's saying, it's a parents' responsibility, to do those things. Not the goverment's

 - Warren Lewis

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility. So, be responsible consumers.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

"In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father[...]"

All in all, and also in personnal experience, academic underachievement does not come from video game usage. In fact, as a french-canadian, I'm thankful to have logged in so many hours in Zelda; A link to the past when I was younger, it taught me basic english skills, which gave me an edge in class over my peers. I don't tell you how much video-games helped with math either.

Also, you can't blame video-games for being a direct cause of academic underachievement; who is letting their kids play video-games all day and not even insures they complete homework? Those who blame video-games for said underachievements, and desperatly vote bills to fill in their parental responsibilities. -coughUTAHcough.-

In the end, Obama's message is not exactly anti-video-game, but rather pro-family ; you don't spend time with those you love/doing homework if you spend it killing aliens/zombies/stuff in front of a T.V./screen. It's a logical time-availability issue. Considering Obama included net-neutrality in his economic stimulus package, the video-game industry already owes a "Thank you!" to a certain someone.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

I really like Obama, but belittling a multi-billion dollar industry that has been called "recession proof" by many pundits just makes you look biased.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Obama said video games.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

Reading carefully, I don't think that Obama links games to underachivement as much as he also says about TV and other things.

Although if I happen to play an RPG or a Japanese Virtual novel, guess what? I AM reading.

But I am reading something that my parents would not really consider educational though.

TBoneTony

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

I really dont see the problem with this... he's saying parents should take responsibility for their kids... and isnt that what gamers have been saying for years?

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend. Do it in the name of Heaven, Jack Thompson'll justify it in the end." - nightwng2000

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Um, didn't he get his kids a Wii?

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Myeh. Not too bad. Let's not have him ignore the family oppurtunities presented by a multiplayer game though. Or the massive amounts of reading in RPG's.

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

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Just to point out, a lot of what he said last night, including the video game remark, was recycled from previous speeches and statements.  He said absolutely nothing new last night.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

I can't really argue against him. I'm trying to cut back on videogames because I want to devote more time to studying.

---------------------------------\

Internet troll > internet paladin

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

I think we're being overly sensitive here. From the quote it seems he was just listing a couple of popular forms of entertainment. Yes, playing video games isn't a substitute for doing your homework. This is true of any other leasure activity a kid might engage in. He could just as easily have said "put down the basketball and turn off the radio"  and we wouldn't jump to the conslusion that he's implying team sports or popular music are the cause of acidemic failure.

But he's right, kids are pretty bad at managing their time. You can't just leave them alone and expect they'll get all their homework done.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

Yes, I do believe that some of us are being over sensitive because we have been soo desnsitized by politicians blaming videogames for violence and obesity that sometimes we do even fear everytime when a single politicians even says the word videogame that we instantly start to think it might be another politician bashing videogames.

This is nothing new from Obama, although I would like to say that some books like Harry Potter are not really that educational for kids, but even so, they are fun to read for many kids and I feel that parents don't really have a true understanding that Videogames are allot like books in a way.

 

TBoneTony

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

 They cut back my hours and I don't have any spending money so what else should I do besides play L4D?

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

yeah, its not like he is saying anything untrue.  i dont think its really anything to get your panties in a wad over.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Still can't argue with his intent, which is to get Parents involved with their childrens' lives, which is, after all, what we've been saying from the word go.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Agreed. At least the guy sees the problem as a whole and doesn't even try to turn it into a f*cking witch-hunt.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

I think this is a bit of an over-reaction.

On the other hand, political addresses like this are carefully crafted with every word having specific meaning. The consistency in bringing up video games in the topic of academic achievement seems to be a set-up for a future purpose. Obama has avoided direct issues and concerns regarding games. My guess is he isn't a huge fan of games, and may be open to future legislation. At the same time he wants to retain appeal for a younger audience, which is why I believe he remains somewhat neutral for the time being.

Or, this could just be an over-reaction.

You get what I'm saying???

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

65% approval for the speech? That seems a little low for Obama. It's still a good percentage, but it's just lower than I'd expect.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

That is now a nationwide rating. Most any other approval rating before was primarily Democrat is polling. This now incorporates all Political parties so there will be some tipping do the number of Republicans in the polls now.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

While he is not singling out video games, I am still _very_ skeptical about this speech. This seems almost like a way to ease to american public into the tank of government regulation of media.

While I believe parents need to get off their asses and do some parenting, like he suggests, I dislike how he just skirts around the issue.

Grow a pair and just tell us exactly what you think! While it may not be popular or what people want to hear -- more people might actually start to listen to you.


Praetorian

"I've been told I'm the resident skeptic, but I wouldn't believe that."

ECA Seattle Chapter

http://www.myspace.com/pree_tawr_ee_uhn



Praetorian

"If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy floating by."

http://www.myspace.com/pree_tawr_ee_uhn

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

You have got to be very careful about telling people the truth when you are in public office for the simple reason that most people do not want to know the truth unless it blames someone other than themselves.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

If you've ever seen the video clips of Xbox live with a kid screaming to his mom that he wants chocolate milk, not mountain dew, or the kid repeating fag throughout gears of war,  I'm sure you'll agree that there are kids out there who could do with a lot less time playing video games and more time learning how to not be a complete failure at life

Before joining an online game ask yourself 'Am I an asshole?' if the answer is no, you may proceed.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links

"Before joining an online game ask yourself 'Am I an asshole?' if the answer is no, you may proceed."

And on the day that is ever implemented, the online gaming community would be reduced to about five guys.

 

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Before joining an online game ask yourself 'Am I an asshole?' if the answer is no, you may proceed.

I'm almost positive the vast majority of assholes do not think of themselves as such.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

There needs to be some sort of multiple choice test

1) You are playing Call of Duty 4 and FragMaster675 has just killed you by a headshot for the third time, you still don't know his position. Do you call him:

a) A skilled player

b) A cheater

c) A fag

 

2) You are plaing Gears of War and your Mother tells you it's five minutes til dinner is ready, do you:

a) Apologies to your team mates and tell them you have to finish as soon as this round is over.

b) Ignore her.

c) Call her a fag.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

1 c cause he walked off the map again

 

2 none of the above i own my own home

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

1) A, but I say it with an immense amount of sarcasm.  Eventually, I find and stab him, then proceed to hunt him and only him for the rest of the round.

2) B; I don't take orders from anyone in my home.  I'll come to dinner when I damn well please.  Plus, it'd be awkward to have a corpse calling me to dinner.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

1) A, because he probably is, and i'm sure i'm walking right in to his fire like a dumbass

2)A, because if she really wanted to, she could probably kick my ass, though if it was going well, b for about one more minute.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

1) c

2) a

Yeah I know about 1)....but I wouldn't be able to help myself. Tbh I'd probably use a different expletive though, 'fag' is just a bit too....pre-pubescent-American-teenager for me.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

To be honest, it's not the worth thing I've heard on video games. Finally, Obama just wants parents to act like... uh... parents.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Dennis, How many times are you Going to Give Barack obama more Face time on GP, could we stop it for once(it's always the same thing coming from his mouth. Turn off the TV, put away the video games and read to your children for once)

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

I would say that Dennis is probably going to put up Obama everytime that he makes a comment about video games. That would make some sense considering that 1. Obama is a politician; 2. The comment involves video games; and 3. this is a blog about politics and video games.

Perhaps Kotaku or Destructoid might be a better news site for you if you do not want to read about what politicians say (sometimes repeatedly, sometimes as-nauseam) about video games.

I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn't it meat?

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

But isn't this site called GamePolitics,

when videogames and politics are in the same issue together?

But yeah, even Gamepolitics likes to spin stories like most other news media, but unlike other news media, GamePolitics provides secondary information that we can look up on the links that they provide in the article to do our own research on what has been said.

So in a way, I trust Game Politics more than any of the mainstreem news media in my country that can only tell me just one side of the story but not allow me to delve into the story further to find out what the full story is.

TBoneTony

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Just think a few generations ago you would have a reporter from every paper at a major event and each oe would have a different take on what happend but now you have one reporter from the ap and every paper reprints that one article. Whats the point of having 15 newspapers.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Aside from the bailout game that featured a characature of Obama, it has been about a month since the last Obama article. How many are too many?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Well, EZK, after careful observation, I have arrived at the conclusion that PHX's definition of "too many" in this particular case would be one (1) article about Obama and video games.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------



"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Now now, that's not entirely true; he also often lies or exaggerates about what the near-trillion dollars he took from the taxpayers are going to do.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Including comments, it took 16 posts before the inevitable thread-jacking of "I don't like Obama because <insert issue that doesn't pertain to the article here>". 

Longer than I expected.

 

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

You know what I love about Republicans? They can never stop repeating the talking points given to them by Rush Limbaugh, and attempt to make lies truth by saying them enough times.

Stop it, I'm sick of it; I get it at home, now I'm getting it at GP. Come up with something NEW AND CONSTRUCTIVE, Austin, and maybe you won't just be another endlessly bleating elephant.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

I hear that.

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Many governors are wasting the stimulus money that they were given to spend on local 'stimulation'.  Why?  Because they can pump money into their personal projects.  If I recall, Omaha needs police equipment.  Cincinnati needs a new prison.  Charlotte needs money for its illegal immigrant problem.  But none of the money is going to that. 

PS: I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh.  I met him in person once, and the only useful thing he told me was the address of a local tobaccinist.  Try again.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Doesn't matter. He's the de facto leader of the republican party so if you're getting your talking points from O'Liely or the Manatee, they're still coming first from the gas bag.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

I'm pretty sure that the only place that Austin's talking points come from is his own wallet, and his gun locker. Possibly a few from his religon.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Actually, most of my talking points come from, you know, experience, having seen what happens when you throw money at problems, having seen what happens when you waste billions on useless programs instead of useful programs, and of course from spending a lot of time observing what various state/city governments do with the money they take from the federal government. I also think with libertarian views (I'm pro gay marriage and pro abortion, just because I don't feel it's my right to legislate your morality.  Obviously, some things will never be acceptable, but why can't gays get married?  Makes no sense.), and of course with my view on the 2nd amendment, the amendment on which all others rest.

My favorite (and easiest) example comes from Cincinnati.  Cincinnati faces a real problem; their prisons are full.  Overflowing, in fact.  And a great use for that money that Strickland is about to rake in would be to build and staff a new prison.  That would create at least 500 jobs all told.  But no.  It's being spent on ridiculous projects, a trolley right through an area called Over the Rhine to the entertainment 'district'.  Nevermind that A) no one with money to spend at the entertainment district wants to ride through over the rhine at dark and B)the entertainment district in Cincy brings in far less money than Newport, which is right across the border. In other words, this trolley will be a multi-million dollar waste of money that creates few jobs and will need to be repaired and repainted constantly due to rampant vandalism it will experience.

You want to know something we could do to create jobs?  Offer tax credit or something for people who are willing to get degrees in gunsmithing.  Many civilians, police and 3 letter agencies are finding it harder and harder to find good gunsmiths, and the ones that are around are people in their sixties with too much work to do.  We could fill an easy 10000 jobs that pay pretty well just by offering an incentive to be a gunsmith.  Look there, I created 10000 jobs, and I didn't need to lie about how to do it or the cost.  Nor did I need to make an overly complicated bill that wasted 1.3 trillion when all was said and done.

 

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Why am I not surprised you would go on to claim guns and tax cuts/credits as a solution?

 

But by all means let your blind hatred of a man in office for a month control your thought process.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

You know it is just as bad to be blinded by love for a politician. Look what the SS did in germany with their blind love for Hitler.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

So tell me whats worse then, giving a president ample time to prove themself (which one month out of 48 is not), like I do for every president, or continually wishing for their failure as soon as they are sworn in like your dear friend austin has been on the record of doing?

 

You'd think someone who continually claims to want the best for his country wouldn't be so bitter and spiteful just because his guy didn't win, but blind hatred will do just that to a person apparantly.

You'd also think that someone who would go on the record of stating that any and all criticism of the last president was nothing but "blind hatred" would not resort to a double standard of blatantly expressing nothing BUT blind hatred of their new president - then again I think I'm the type to give adequate time to judge a presidency, so maybe its just me.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Just so you know I voted for obama in election and primary. I do not hate him to the contrary I belive that of the candidates he is the most likely to fix bush's mess. However I do not look at his proposed stimulus plan and ignore the problems. Money to buy hybrid cars for government workers and money to fund aids research may do a lot of good but they should not be in a bill meant to revamp the economy. I know the hybrid cars part is mainly to give the automotive industry business but I would rather them use that money to build a much needed prison or repair a few schools, both would create much needed jobs and would take care of problems that need dealt with. I would also like some money to go to building windmills or even a nuke plant or two and hopefully reduce dependance on oil for electricity. The nuke plant probably wont happen but the windmills would be a possibility. In fact I know of a few farmers up north who have leased out portions of their land to have some built on it.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Actually, you can find solutions by filling actual needs, instead of making things up to spend money on.  Maybe your head is too far up your ass to understand this, but every so often, a weapon needs maintenance that your average cop can't perform.  It can be sent to an armorer, back to the manufacturer (which will be a 3 month wait), or to a gunsmith.  However, because there are so few gunsmiths, often the weapons must be sent to the manufacturer for those repairs.  Gunsmiths are also necessary for SWAT snipers, and a SWAT team is something every major city NEEDS. 

But by all means, let's just waste 787 billion dollars and pretend we're being productive.

Re: In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again ...

Yes, I know, just because you don't like how the money is going, its automatically wrong and a waste and evil, I've heard this schtick enough times by now to get that from you. Frankly, if you are so desparate to have your precious firearms made a top priority then maybe you should be contacting your politicians to actually try for that, instead of continually whining on a here how the big bad Obama is going to ruin your nation because of your blind hatred of the man.

But feel free to keep whining about massive spending only when democrats do it, it just shows how partisan you are.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

How do you feel about Amazon buying Twitch?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
AvalongodBesides, what better way to make her point for her than to respond to her opinion by behaving like a misogynistic asshole. Sure, it may be a troll account, but that doesn't make it "ok"08/29/2014 - 12:19pm
AvalongodWhether Sarkeesian is "right" or "wrong" is not relevant, neither she nor any other woman should have to expect that her opinion will be met with death threats or even just sexist language.08/29/2014 - 12:18pm
Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenZip - Bullies on both sides? What both sides? And of course bullies are worse than people who aren't bullies.08/29/2014 - 11:23am
Neeneko(2) yes, male tropes also have problems and gender studies looks at those too. But this highlights a privilage problem, the idea that if male issues are not brought up too female issues should not be discussed.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
Neeneko@ZippyDSMlee - jumping back (1) one can acknowledge systemic problems without requiring every male be a Neanderthal.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
MaskedPixelanteI don't like the new 3DS, mostly because it means there's a good chance future 3DS games won't be compatible with the current models.08/29/2014 - 9:30am
ConsterI don't get why Amazon decided to buy this "Twitch" fellow, really. It took him ages to beat Pokemon.08/29/2014 - 8:31am
ZippyDSMleeIt goes without saying that we need to et rid of the bullies on both sides that are far worse than Sarkeesian or Quin will ever be.08/29/2014 - 8:24am
ZippyDSMleeI'm talking more about the genreal movement and how silly it is, as for Sarkeesian half of what she is says rings hollw while the other half tend to be over exsagerated.08/29/2014 - 8:22am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician