Boston Mayor’s Flip-Flop: Former Critic Now Courts Game Biz

Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D) who, as recently as last year tried to legislate video game sales, is now courting the video game industry in a big way.

It’s all about the economics, apparently.

As reported by the Boston Business Journal, Menino announced the launch of, a website designed to promote the region’s video game industry with news, job postings and additional resources.

Menino, who spoke at the Congress Street offices of FableVision, pointed out that game development at Harmonix, 2K Boston, Turbine and 73 other firms employs over 1,500 people in the area. During his speech, Menino declared:

Boston is a game industry friendly city.

The Boston Mayor has not always been so game-friendly, however. In 2007 and 2008 he pushed for video game sales restrictions similar to those found unconstitutional by federal courts around the country.

In 2006 he led a campaign to have ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories removed from local public transit vehicles.

Edge Online has more on Menino’s game initiative:

The Boston-area videogames steering committee is made up of key members from local game firms, and will advise the mayor and the Boston Redevelopment Authority staff in "strengthening the Boston-area game development presence, raising Boston’s profile as a global leader in digital media and specifically the game industry."

The group, which has members from Blue Fang Games, Metaversal Studios and Northeastern University, has been meeting since October 2008.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has also been working hard to bring game industry firms to the area. As GamePolitics reported, Patrick recently visited high-tech firms on the West Coast, including game publishers EA and Microsoft.

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  1. mdo7 says:

    He could be reading at this moment.


    JT always look at GP to see what’s going on at GP.  I found out he read Kotaku and joystiq also.  JT is known for that.  He do troll around the area.

  2. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    IDK when he was last here, but I know he was seriously focused on his bill.


  3. mdo7 says:


    Doesn’t JT read gamepolitics also.  I think he’s going to shit himself when he finds out his former partner is now a rape vicitm of video game industry and saying that he defending his rapist.  He’s going to say the video game industry manipulate the guy to like video game.

  4. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    I’m sorry, dude, but I don’t see that happening. He’s too busy whining over his Utah bill to pay attention to Menino going game industry.

    And guys, it’s "hypocrisy" now stop making us look bad!  (Jack thinks we’re retarded b/c of our games)


  5. mdo7 says:


    Jack Thompson calling this guy a rape victim of videogame and protecting his rapist (the video game industry) in 3…2…1


    Glad to see another video game critics changing a new leaf when it come to video game.  When JT hear of this, the shits is going to hit the fan.

  6. JDKJ says:

    Dont mess with my man,
    Dont mess with my boy,
    Dont mess with my man.

    Dont mess with my man,
    Dont mess with my boy,
    Get your hands off my man.

    — Lucy Pearl, "Dont Mess with My Man"

  7. Liz Surette says:

    That isn’t what I meant–I meant that we his constituents will deal with him in matters concerning our city. I suppose I could’ve worded it better. And even though I did enter the lottery to win him, regrettably I got John Kerry instead.

  8. JDKJ says:

    It ain’t for nothing that Mayor Menino is also known as Mayor Mumbles. You can’t never get a straight story outta Mumbles.

  9. mona.adele says:

    You’re right, not the best analogy, unless you live in LA.

    But I still think there’s a line that should be drawn between moral legislation and economic legislation. He doesn’t have a problem with the video game industry, he has a problem with those who produce violent games and freely distributes them to children. It isn’t nearly as big of a problem as people blow it up to be, but it is a social concern and it is something that concerns the moral welfare of a city. For similar reasons, in 1999 many members of the MPAA started the ID at theaters campaign after the federal government put pressure on the film industry re- accessibility to R rated films.

    I’m not saying state regulation of content is remotely constitutional or appropriate. I just think the motivations behind the mayor’s behavior have two very different directives.

    And for the record, pornography is protected under the first amendment unless it is considered obscene. That’s why states can’t ban it outright. They can, however, regulate "indescent" speech and prevent it from falling in the hands of minors. 

  10. Bennett Beeny says:

    He’s my mayor too.  I think he’s a great mayor overall.  On this one issue – restricting access to games – he’s wrong.  He’s also very unsuccessful when he tries to push the issue.  I’ll support a mayor who gets the job done when he’s trying to do good stuff and unsuccessful when he’s trying to do bad stuff.  Heck, better him than almost anyone else.  In my opinion, Menino is one of the good guys – he’s been good for Boston.

    Heck, who knows – maybe this isn’t flip-flopping and maybe he’s not anti-gaming.  I mean what if he knows full well that anti-game legislation can’t pass, but supports it because it gets votes.  That’s not hypocrisy – that’s smart politics.

  11. Zerodash says:

    Pornography is not protected by the 1st Amendment.  The mayor of Boston wanted to regulate games in an identical manner to porn.  He also used lies & hyperbole to push his legislation.  Very bad.

    This guy is also the same out-of-touch whackjob who is afraid of lite brites.

    He doesn’t have to be the mayor of my town for me to notice these things.

  12. Adrian Lopez says:

    "He’s my mayor, and mine to criticize."

    Did you win him in a raffle? I didn’t realize you could own politicians, or claim an exclusive right to make critical comments about them.

    It’s not that I disagree with the rest of your post, but can we please avoid this silly notion that a politician’s constituents are the only ones who can legitimately criticize him?

  13. Liz Surette says:

    I’ll say it again: it’s not hypocritical to want to restrict minors’ access to violent games (though that first part is unconstitutional), and then want to encourage development as a whole. You can be a very heartfelt supporter of an art form but still not think that some parts of it should be disseminated to kids. I disagree with Menino’s bill, but I don’t believe that the man himself is an opponent of the whole industry. He’s my mayor, and mine to criticize.

  14. ZenAndNow says:

    I assume then you’ve got the legislation worked out for regulating books, music and movies too then yes? No?

    How about the bible? It’s full of rape, torture, genocide, and a whimsical power hunger overlord that regularly flip flops between defending his people in horribly violent ways and demanding that they kill their own children in cold blood. No child should be subjected to that sort of horror!

    Oh. You don’t have anything else lined up? Funny it always works out like that…

  15. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Sorry, that is a very bad analogy. There are very clear differences between the Adult film industry and the "Hollywood" film industry. There is noone who would consider adult films to be a part of traditional film.

    This would be more like them attacking the Film industry for making R rated movies and then deciding to invite the film industry to make movies in the state. R rated movies are not part of the adult film industry. They are part of the traditional film industry.

    Now if this mayor had been trying to pass legislation classifying Hentai games as porn and under those regulations, I don’t think anyone would have been up in arms. What this mayor was doing was trying to classify the game industry’s R rating equivolent as porn and regulating it as such.

    Now he is saying, "forget all the times I punched you in the face and gave you wedgies, come over to my house for a party."

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  16. Zerodash says:

    Again, he wanted to treat games like porn, which is not protected speech.   What is so wrong about making sure games are protected by the First Amendment? 

    I sure as hell dont’ want to go to a porn store to buy Halo or GTA.  Games are not porn.

  17. mona.adele says:

    I have to agree with Liz on this one. There is a major difference between legislating on moral public policy grounds (i.e. content of mature video games) and wanting to benefit your city’s economic well-being on a whole by bringing in new media businesses.


    Example: Almost every state regulates adult film making and adult film distribution with a fairly heavy hand, but that doesn’t mean they won’t offer the film industry certain tax credits and other economic incentives to bring their film crews, offices, and business to those states. The MPAA wouldn’t consider this hypocritical– adult entertainment SHOULD be regulated to some extent because it would irresponsible to do otherwise.

    Wanting to regulate some aspect of an industry on moral grounds doesn’t make them an enemy of the entire industry. Wanting an industry to act responsibly isn’t such a bad thing. Most people in the games industry would agree with that.

  18. Firebird says:

    I adjusted my new Hypocr-o-meter to run on plutonium, I think I’m good….

    …Except for the extra arm growing out of my face, yeeaahh.. I’m good.

  19. Stealthguy says:

    Well think about how over worked that damn thing must be after all the stuff that has happened just this past week. How many meters have you run through in the past month?

  20. Austin_Lewis says:

    I’ve been in Boston all week, and I must say that I’ve not talked to a lot of people who are big fans of their mayor.  I’ve heard good things about the governor, though.

  21. PHX Corp says:

    the PHX corp Hypocracy o-meter


    We not only have a winner but, would someone tell the mayor that he broke my hypocracy meter

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

  22. E. Zachary Knight says:

    When is the next Boston Election? Its most likely not close enough to justify an attack on the games industry.

    But it is most likely that due to the current economic condition of the country political capital is easier to gain by looking like you are building up the economy than by being a moral crusader.

    To me, this just shows how evil being a politician is and I am sorry that the Massachusettsgame industry has to take this just to get some finacial incentives to grow..

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  23. HarmlessBunny says:

    Of course. When they can put money in your pockets, they are your best friends. When you can take a crap on them so you can get votes from parents and other individuals, they are your enemies.

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