Gamer Offers Counterpoint to Girl against RapeLay

April 26, 2010 -

In response to last week’s story by Charleston, South Carolina’s News 2 on a 14-year old girl who started petitions against the game RapeLay, a local gamer called the station and offered a point of view on the dangers of banning any games.

While he empathized with the plight of Elena Lyons, thirty-two year old Dondi Wiggins took issue with the banning of any game, saying that gamers, “…should have the right to decide for ourselves” what to play.

Wiggins, President of a local gaming group called Lowcountry Anime and Gaming (a group that is a chapter of the Entertainment Consumer Association [ECA]), said that he personally would not play Rapelay.

Wiggins added, “I don’t think video games should be banned.  I think we as gamers should decide what we want to play as an adult.  We have free speech.”

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RapeLay Coverage Hits Home for Teen Girl

April 23, 2010 -

While we often make light of reactions to RapeLay from the media and politicians, the recent reemergence of the game into the spotlight has caused a 14-year old victim of sexual assault to come out and publicly denounce the title.

Well-meaning teen Elena Lyons contacted Charleston, South Carolina’s News 2 in order to voice her concerns over the game, saying, “This game is wrong.  It needs to be stopped.  No game like this should ever be put out there. Rape is not a joke.  People seem to think that it is.  They don’t take it seriously, but rape isn’t a joke. It is very hurtful.”

Lyons, who says she was sexually assaulted by a non-family member at age eight, has started an online petition against the game and is organizing a walk that she hopes will stop the game.

Unfortunately, short of destroying all the tubes that comprise the Internet, there’s not much that can be done about the availability of RapeLay, perhaps someone should have told Lyons that.

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Argentina Reacts to RapeLay

April 21, 2010 -

No doubt motivated by CNN’s sensationalistic coverage of the game, an Argentinean politician has taken the bait and warned that the controversial game RapeLay violates the country's criminal codes.

Argentina's Ministry of Justice called RapeLay (translated) a “clear vindication of the crimes of sexual abuse, violation, against sexual integrity and discrimination against the women,” and warned the populace that the sale or commercialization of games featuring explicit sexual activities is in direct opposition to article 128 of Argentina’s penal code. Those who break such laws are subject to prison terms ranging from six months to four years.

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Manga Artist Objects to CNN RapeLay Coverage

April 6, 2010 -

In response to CNN’s RapeLay coverage, a Japanese artist has penned an open letter to the network decrying its reporting of the matter.

Nogami Takeshi wrote that his career began drawing hentai manga (sexually explicit anime comic), though most of his current work was described as non-hentai manga. As such, Nogami calls himself “well qualified to object to the views you present.”

After noting that, “... we Japanese enjoy one of the most safe and peaceful societies on Earth,” Nogami admits that Japanese society does have its problems, but that, “I frankly do not think that you are the ones to tell us [about the problems]."

He continued:

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Swiss Game Ban May Feature Only a Little Censorship

April 5, 2010 -

According to the politician behind the law, a recently-ratified, but not yet enacted, Swiss violent game ban would not blindly outlaw all violent games.

Swiss Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured) was recently interviewed by the Swiss publication 20 Minutes Online (translated) and indicated that the ban would apply only to “individual games.” She estimated that, “like in Germany,” only 12 or so games would wind up being banned, including titles such as Mortal Kombat and Manhunt (which are banned in Germany), but not the likes of Counter-Strike.

RapeLay Resurfaces on CNN

March 31, 2010 -

RapeLay, the difficult-to-defend game that’s a favorite target of politicians, is the focus of a CNN story which attempts to paint a picture of the game’s rising viral popularity.

While a voiceover says, “the game infuriates women’s rights groups,” the video cuts to Taina Bien-Aime, Executive Director of Equality Now. She states, “These sort of games that normalize extreme sexual violence in women and girls really have no place in our communities”

Bien-Aime later adds:

What we are calling for though, is that the Japanese government ban all games that promote and simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls, and there are plenty of games like that.

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Swiss Pass Violent Game Bans, Actual Laws to Follow

March 19, 2010 -

So much for remaining neutral—a pair of Swiss resolutions dealing with violent videogames have been passed by the country’s National Council.

As detailed last month, the first resolution, proposed by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener, would make it illegal to sell PEGI 16 or 18-rated games to minors, while a second resolution, backed by Social Democrat Evi Allemann, called for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames.

Six Days in Fallujah Completed

March 3, 2010 -

Atomic Games President Peter Tamte indicated late last year that his company was “committed” to finishing the controversial Six Days in Fallujah videogame and it appears he has remained true to his word.

A story on IGN, citing a “source close to the game’s development,” reports that the game has been completed, though a release date for the game, or publisher, was not disclosed.

Konami had initially backed the project and was going to serve as its publisher before a series of negative public reactions to the game became public. The families of military personnel wounded or killed in the Iraqi war, and even some soldiers themselves, believed that it was too soon for such a game to be released, as the war was still ongoing (and indeed still is today) at the time of the announcement.

Other groups expressed dismay over the project due to heavy civilian losses reported in the real fight over Fallujah. Additional reports that insurgents may have helped contribute to the game’s development did nothing to lessen the controversy surrounding the title.

Konami eventually bailed on Atomic Games and Six days in Fallujah in April of last year, citing negative reactions to the game.
 

Thanks Andrew!

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Forecast Calls for No Heavy Rain in UAE

February 23, 2010 -

The Quantic Dream-developed PlayStation 3 title Heavy Rain, which releases stateside today, will not see the light of day in the United Arab Emirates.

The Khaleej Times reports that the UAE’s National Media Council, in what sounds like a late reaction, stopped the release of the game. The paper speculated that a scene from the game in which a character is forced to perform a topless dance at gunpoint was most likely among the reasons for the game’s ban.

A Sony PR rep confirmed the game’s ban, noting that Heavy Rain “has been conceived from the earliest stages as a genuinely adult experience. This means that it deals with strong content including blood and nudity, but treats this content in amature and sensitive manner.”

Problem solving UAE residents that wish to play the game will probably not have too hard of a time finding the title according to one gamer, who said, “There’s a flourishing gray market out there and the title will be available there, if it already isn’t.”


Thanks Andrew and Gellymatos!

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Swiss Violent Videogame Resolutions Move Forward

February 18, 2010 -

The topic of violent and adult-rated games has once again bubbled up in Switzerland.

MCVUK and TechEye both report on a resolution that passed unanimously in the Commission for Legal Affairs and would make it illegal to sell games rated PEGI 16 or 18 to under-age minors. Swiss parliament will now have a chance to vote on the measure, which was originally introduced by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener in 2007.

TechEye writes that Hochreutener believes the law is needed to “enforce ratings and make sure kids cannot play what are called 'killer games' in the German-speaking part of Europe.”

A second, and more troubling motion, would call for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames within the country. This motion passed too, though with a closer vote of nine to three, and will also head off to parliament for vote. One of the backers of this proposal is Social Democrat Evi Allemann (pictured).

Allemann’s website offers some of her thoughts (translated) on the banning of such “killer” games:

Such games do not make each one a killer, but they increase the willingness of those who are already vulnerable. A blanket ban on such games therefore seems appropriate and proportionate, especially since they do not have any worth protecting cultural and social content and there are thousands of other exciting games that work without such extreme violence.

One way to implement the motion lies in the operationalization of Article 135 of the Criminal Code. This prohibits the display, manufacture, importation, storage, promotion, etc. of sound and visual recordings of cruel violence.

Another country to keep an eye on in the future.

Edit: Fixed the link for the translated section of Alleman's website.

Game Based On Homeless Hits U.S.

February 17, 2010 -

A controversial online game has launched stateside.

Billed as Europe’s most popular browser-based game, Bumrise, from German developer Farbflut Entertainment, starts with players in the role of a homeless person. The aim is to eventually rise socially, with an ultimate goal of achieving elite Manhattanite status. Players can earn money by collecting bottles or by learning to play an instrument and busking for money on the streets. Players can team up with their friends to play the game together.

The game has rankled feathers around the world, with the Telegraph reporting on outrage from French homeless groups after the game’s launch in that country. A spokesperson for the Red Cross called the game, “…a disgrace, it's degrading, it's humiliating to make the homeless the butt of derision.”

For its part, Farbflut claims that part of the proceeds from the game have been “regularly” donated to homeless organizations. The company added:

Although Bumrise holds many cliches and stereotypes, it is set upon a satirical and exaggerated context. With help from our users, we assist the homeless people in Hamburg, and soon New York, with a portion of our revenues, thus bringing attention to their situation.

The game is also available on FaceBook under the name StreetRivals, “a more global name to incorporate all international versions into one game.”

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Violent Games Assailed by Church of England

February 12, 2010 -

The Church of England has issued a call for tighter regulation of videogames.

The Church, which perhaps still has a bad taste in its mouth from the use of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man, addressed the issue of violent games in a meeting of its general synod on Thursday night.

Following an introduction, in which speakers were cautioned not to mention the names of specific games because “there is a risk of legal proceedings,” Tom Benyon (pictured), a former MP, took the microphone.

Benyon labeled the Byron Report “good in parts,” but said that it “did not go far enough.” He proceeded to read a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes which he felt “encapsulates the essence of what we are about today in the matter of violent and sexual DVDs.”

God's plan made a hopeful beginning. But man spoiled his chances by sinning. We trust that the story will end in God's glory. But, at present, the other side's winning.

He continued:

A bubbling sewer of gratuitously violent and sexual pornography in DVD games are washing all around us. Byron relied on the proposition that parents have a liability or are interested in controlling what their children do. We think, sadly, that that is optimistic and a prize hope.

Benyon went on to recount the story of a “family member” who “saw one so-called game some years ago and had nightmares. He was a teenager. He was an innocent and he was profoundly shocked. The damage that he suffered was substantial. The images remained with him for months.”

Benyon also had a compilation of violent games on CD that he was going to show, but he decided not to ruin the “evenings or supper” of attendees by showing it.

He added, “I know that the Devil is said to have all the best tunes. Without any question of doubt he has the monopoly of violent and pornographic videogames.”

The Archbishop of York offered analogies to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, selecting a quote from the latter, that “law cannot legislate for morals, but it can actually regulate it.” He added, “On this great day of celebrating 20 years since Mandela came out of prison, can we help our young people to come out of the prison of these awful, awful videogames.”

Full audio of the hour-long meeting can be listened to here.


Via The Guardian

Distributors, Retailers React to Proposed Brazilian Game Ban

February 8, 2010 -

Early in December, word came out of Brazil that the country was considering legislation to make it a crime to create, import or distribute videogames “that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.”

The bill was sponsored by Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp, who, as Brazilian website UOL reports (translated), is not in the habit of playing videogames himself and could not name any particular game that might fall under the proposed legislation.

Raupp did, however, diss Brazil’s rating system for games—the Department of Justice, Ratings, Titles and Qualification (DJCTQ)—saying he was “certain” that people were not following its guidelines. David Ulysses, Director of the Department of Justice, would not address Raupp’s comments directly, but believes that it is not necessary to censor games in Brazil, saying that the current system supports freedom of expression and consumer choice.

Marcos Khalil owns UZ Games, a retail videogame establishment in Brazil with 22 locations. He stated that such a ban could further impact what is already a “small domestic industry” and could lead to him closing stores and laying off employees, not to mention increasing illegal sales or piracy of games.

Level-Up! Managing Director Julio Vietez, whose company serves up digital copies of games via the Internet, was concerned over the term “offensive” used in the bill, noting that what is offensive to one person or group might not necessarily offend a different person or group.

Glauco Bueno, Director of Marketing and Strategy of Latin America for distributor Synergex, also expressed dismay should the bill become law, “It would be a setback to the advancement of the entertainment media in Brazil, with serious effects on the chain…”


Thanks Maurício!

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Dante’s Inferno Banishes Itself from Middle East

February 8, 2010 -

Electronic Arts’ Dante’s Inferno will not be released in the Middle East.

EA didn’t even bother to submit the game to censors reports GamesLatest, apparently realizing that a game focused on the nine circles of Hell would be destined for banning, much like the treatment Darksiders, God of War and Grand Theft Auto IV received in the past from the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement, EA said, “Electronic Arts has decided not to release Dante’s Inferno in the Middle East after an evaluation process which is based on consumer tastes, preferences, platform mix and other factors.”

If a circle of Hell had to be applied to this story, the First Circle appears most appropriate—Limbo.


Thanks gellymatos!

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Brazil Discussing Violent Game Ban

December 3, 2009 -

Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp (pictured left) has authored a bill that would make it a crime to make, import or distribute “offensive” videogames in the South American country.

A story on the Brazilian website UOL (translation here) reports that the Education Commission of the Senate has approved the measure, which will now go to vote in the Committee on Constitution and Justice.

Raupp’s goal is to, “curb the manufacture, distribution, importation, distribution, trading and custody, storage, the video games that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.”

He continued, “Therefore, we seek to protect the principle of equality - for many the greatest of constitutional principles - with the characterization of such discriminatory conduct as a crime by making provision in the law.”

The bill seeks a penalty of one to three years imprisonment for those committing an offense.

The story notes that Brazil has banned games such as Carmageddon, Postal and Grand Theft Auto in the past.


Thanks Maurício

21 comments

Lanning On Why Violent Games Are Still a Talking Point

November 18, 2009 -

A recent screening of Spencer Halpin’s Moral Kombat documentary featured a post-show panel of game experts discussing some of the topics presented in the film.

The screening took place on November 11th in San Francisco. Members of the roundtable included Wired’s Chris Kohler, Dean Takahashi from Venure Beat, Lorne Lanning of Oddworld Inhabitants and Spencer Halpin.

Perhaps the most interesting response was that of Lanning’s in response to the question of why violence and videogames is still such a hot topic:

They (media groups) want the sensationalism. They will broadcast anytime there’s a shooting; they will find people that have a very specific, loud, sensational, fearful opinion of it, and they will give them prime airtime. If you add up those minutes of airtime it’s actually a fair amount of penetration into the public mind.

But then, we look at the court cases and the Supreme Court decisions and court decisions in nine states, at the time I looked into it. And all of them, throughout all of these cases… they were sham cases. Those court cases, and the results of that, never get any airtime, because that’s not selling news. So we wind up with a very distorted opinion from the public perspective, those that rely on the corporate media. The results of the court case maybe be on page 9, probably on page 19 and take up a tenth of a page.

Meanwhile, when the sensationalism happens… the critics, with false claims that they are never held to, get a lot of exposure and that exposure compounds. We see this in so many things… in the lead up to the war, in healthcare… When it was a hot topic, we could count on the coverage being in a certain direction and I think we can continue to count on that because the media behavior isn’t changing for the better, if anything it can pretty much be proven it’s changing for the worse.


The full post-film discussion is available on YouTube in four segments: part one, part two, part three and part four.

Disclosure: Filmmaker Spencer Halpin is the brother of Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin. The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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TiVo Alert: Fox News to Tackle MW2

November 10, 2009 -

It was only a matter of time before Fox News got involved in the issue of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and we have confirmation that they will tackle the game tomorrow morning during the Fox & Friends show.

The ECA, which operates GamePolitics, received an email from FOX News around 11 a.m. EST today asking to speak to an "expert gamer" about the controversies surrounding the game. The pertinent part of the email:

Hello,

I write to inquire about a possible interview tomorrow on Fox & Friends. We're the morning show of the Fox News Channel, and are planning on doing a segment on the new Xbox game, Modern Warfare 2. We're hoping to have a debate on the game, and would love to speak to an expert gamer on the controversies surrounding the game. The debate is for 6:50am tomorrow morning, on camera.

The email came to Jason Andersen, the ECA's director of PR. When he responded that the ECA might be interested but they needed more information, he did not receive an answer. So it appears that the ECA will not be the representative side of the games industry.

Hal Halpin, president of the ECA, said that he heard from other sources that FOX wanted to "discuss the ethics and morals that game developers employ when making decisions about what content/direction to employ when they're creating games."

GP: We all know what a pillar of integrity FOX News can be when it comes to covering video games, remembering in particular their coverage of the alien sex simulator that was Mass Effect. Cooper Lawrence, an author used by FOX to bash Mass Effect, later recanted her comments saying:

"Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it's like pornography. But it's not like pornography. I've seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit."

So it will be interesting to see how they handle this, seeing as there is already a lot of misinformation about the Modern Warfare 2 terrorist sequence in the mainstream press. Hopefully, whoever responds for "the gamer" will be able to hold their own as well as Geoff Keighley did against Cooper Lawrence.

Watch the episode tomorrow at 6:50 a.m. and tell us what you think.

Update: For a cartoonist's take on the Fox News coverage, check out Crispy Gamer's Backward Compatible.

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PC Version of Manhunt 2 May Carry an AO Rating, But How Will It Get Sold?

August 26, 2009 -

As noted by Joystiq, the ESRB is currently listing the upcoming PC version of Manhunt 2 with an Adults Only (AO) rating.

GamePolitics readers will likely recall that the console versions of Manhunt 2 generated a major controversy in the summer of 2007 when the game was banned in Britain and tagged with an AO here in the States. Rockstar subsequently released a toned-down version that earned an M (17+) rating for the U.S. market.

That was a critical milestone, because the Big Three console makers won't license AO-rated games for their systems, which makes it tough for a publisher to earn a return on its investment. That's why you don't see any AO-rated console games. While the open architecture of the PC negates licensing concerns, an AO-rated Manhunt 2 would still get thumbs-down from major retailers like GameStop and Wal-Mart.

That means that Rockstar is either planning a digital distribution campaign for Manhunt 2 or that it will edit the PC version - as it did with the console editions - to earn an M from the ESRB. Of course, there is a third scenario: Rockstar could ship an M-rated version to retailers while distributing an AO-rated version online.

We wonder how Valve might react to handling an AO game if its Steam service, which currently distributes Rockstar's GTA IV online, is under consideration as a potential digital distribution source for Manhunt 2.

Shadow Complex Boycott a Non-Starter?

August 26, 2009 -

Calls to boycott Xbox Live Arcade offering Shadow Complex because it is based on the works of anti-gay rights author Orson Scott Card may be falling on deaf ears, reports gamezine.co.uk.

Card is part of the National Organisation for Marriage: founded in 2007 to act as an organised opposion against same-sex marriage. Card has personally campaigned against gay marriage, which he believes would mark an end to democracy. He further argues that homosexuality is a dysfunction...

Whatever the case, it looks like the boycott didn't work. Following rave reviews, Shadow Complex has romped to the top of the most played Xbox LIVE Arcade titles, even entering the top ten of all Xbox 360 games played online.

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Old Gay Bashing Game Resurfaces, Sparks Eastern Euro Controversy

July 20, 2009 -

A Flash game in which players must shoot naked men in order to avoid being sexually assaulted has sparked controversy in Eastern Europe.

As reported by The Observers, Watch Out Behind You, Hunter! was originally released in 2002 on the French Uzinagaz portal, but subsequently banned following protests by gay rights advocates. More recently, the game has surfaced on a site hosted in Georgia.

Gay Armenia writes:

This is totally disgusting. The website has to be shut down unless they take this game out of their server... I wonder, where are the voices of those religious-minded people in Tbilisi, Georgia, who swear in the name of Georgian patriarch and constantly cite Bible to ‘justify’ their homophobia and hatred. Is this their (un-)‘orthodox’ way of bringing up children by creating an image of enemy (=gays) and teaching how to deal with it (=kill them)?

Jean Christophe Calvet, who operates Uzinagaz, defended the game:

We launched this game [in 2002] and it worked very well. It was only a few years after it came out that a gay rights association took legal action against us. So we withdrew the game. It's no longer available on French sites, but it's impossible to wipe it from all foreign sites too.

I have to say that at the beginning, we really didn't understand why the association was attacking us. The guy who came up with the game... wanted to mock hunters and red-necks, not gay men.

Our games are not politically correct. They're aimed at teenagers (12-18) and it's true that they're of a juvenile humour. I realise now that this one in particularly could be found shocking, but I believe that you should be able to make this kind of joke in the name of freedom of speech...

Via: GameCulture

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Developer of iPhone Drug-Dealing Game Fears Apple Banhammer

July 10, 2009 -

The top dog at U.K developer A-steroids, creator of Underworld: Sweet Deal for the iPhone, is worried that his company's game is going to be rejected by Apple over its drug-dealing theme.

As readers may recall, this is a bit of an ongoing saga. GamePolitics reported in December, 2008 that A-steroids had renamed the game, originally called DrugLords, in an effort to avoid an App Store ban. A few days later, an Englishwoman who lost her daughter to heroin abuse called upon Apple to ban the game, whatever its title.

Apparently the issue is still up in the air, based on an e-mail GamePolitics received today from Andrey Podoprigora, Head of Studio for A-steroids:

We have recently released our first game on the AppStore - Underworld: SweetDeal. The game was previously known as DrugLords, location-based MMO about dirty trade...

This week, we have submitted the game in it's original drug-trade setting to the AppStore. We were hoping that after the iPhone 3.0 came out with it's parental controls improved, there is a chance for the game to finally come through.

Now, we have got an update from Apple, saying they require "unexpected additional time for review". Which is sort of bad because we are already familiar with responses like that - in December, 2008 this led to months of silence and then ended up as a reject. Would be sad if it means nothing changes in Apple's app reviewing policy.

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In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video Game-Fueled Recruiting Road Show

June 25, 2009 -

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is no fan of the controversial Virtual Army Experience, a traveling, high-tech, video game-driven military recruiting program.

As GamePolitics reported in March, Kucinich urged the House Armed Services committee to eliminate funding for the project, charging that it "give[s] participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of soldiering..."

In addition, Kucinich has taken the debate over the VAE to the floor of Congress. A C-SPAN video posted yesterday on YouTube shows the former presidential hopeful once again expressing concern over the recruiting program. Engaging in a colloquy with House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO). Kucinich said:

Children as young as 13-years-old are participating in the Virtual Army Experience, which paints an innaccurate picture of war by glorifying it while sanitizing the real effects. More than a mere video game, it includes interactions with real veterans, who appear to be in perfect health. It also requires that the user, regardless of age, share personal information as a condition of participation...

 

I think we can agree that the Virtual Army Experience video game must be revalidated to ensure that its age-appropriate rating is accurate in the context of how it's being employed; that the Virtual Army Experience content should be reviewed to ensure it accurately reflects the consequences of war; and that there must be increased transparency with regard to how the personal information of the participants, collected during participation, will be used by the Army.

Skelton's response is of interest in that he didn't exactly disagree with Kucinich:

I support the VAE. At the same time, I know it can be improved. And I would be happy, of course, to work with this gentleman to address the issues that you have so aptly raised.

GP: At this point we're not entirely sure when Kucinich made the remarks in the House; given that they just hit YouTube, we assume that they are recent. Any GamePolitics reader input on the timing of Kucinich's comments will be gratefully accepted.

Thanks to: GP correspondent Andrew Eisen...

America's Army Launches New Version, Sacks Developers, Moves HQ

June 20, 2009 -

The launch of America's Army 3.0 this week didn't go smoothly thanks to problems with the game's authentication servers. Laying off the entire development team probably didn't help the situation.

As Shacknews reports, the Emeryville, California-based studio was closed with future work on the series transferred to Alabama's Redstone Arsenal.

A post on the official AA message board (since removed) by an anonymous team member was captured by VE3D and shows the apparent level of frustation felt by developers.

Imagine trying to build a game with an impossible deadline, steadily declining workforce (via firings), A hiring freeze, constantly being fed misinformation, having the "higher ups" completely ignore your weekly plea for either A) more time, or B) more manpower, working a ton of unpaid overtime, pouring your heart and soul into a misadventure only to have the uniformed community scoff at you for uncontrollable variables...

 

In fact, the bureaucracy is so convoluted that you can't even begin to imagine the breadth and scope of B.S. the devs had to deal with daily... imagine being the subcontractor of a subcontractor of a contractor to the government...

 

I'm not sure why i've felt compelled to write this when I'm sure it will get deleted, or even scoffed at further, but I hoped to let the fans know that we tried as hard as we could and are very bummed to see the fruits of our labor shoved at gamers like a heaping pile of crap.

GP: Interestingly, there is a launch event for America's Army 3.0 today at the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, which was the site of a large-scale protest against the game in May.

Partially Via: Blue's News

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Is Possessing RapeLay a Federal Crime in the United States?

June 19, 2009 -

Much has been written about RapeLay since the controversial Hentai game was discovered for sale on Amazon a few months back.

But while the debate thus far has largely centered around whether Japan, where RapeLay and most similar titles originate, should allow games featuring sexual violence to be published, a recent court ruling suggests that U.S. citizens who possess RapeLay and games of its ilk may be guilty of a federal offense.

Wired's Threat Level blog reports that on Monday the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to consider the appeal of Dwight Whorley, a Virginia man who was convicted in U.S. District Court of possessing actual kiddie porn. But, under what is known as the 2003 Protect Act, prosecutors also charged Whorley with possessing manga which depicted minors having explicit sex. From the relevant section of the Protect Act:

Any person who... knowingly possesses a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—

 

(1) (A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) is obscene; or

(2) (A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and

(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value... shall be subject to the penalties provided...

(c) Nonrequired Element of Offense.— It is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exist.

Threat Level also cites a similar conviction against Christopher Handley, a comic book collector who imported sexually explicit manga containing illustrations of child sex abuse and bestiality. Unlike Whorley, Handley possessed no actual child pornography.

So how does this connect to the RapeLay situation? A [NSFW] review of the game posted on Something Awful describes graphic, forced sex with a mother and her two minor daughters, the youngest of whom appears to be about ten years old. Save for the fact that it's interactive, RapeLay is not much different from the type of hardcore manga which earned federal time for Whorley and Handley.

We should note that a single judge on the 4th Circuit dissented from the opinion upholding Whorley's conviction and urged that the case be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now, at least, owning a copy of RapeLay seems like a risky legal proposition, indeed.

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Albany Paper Backs Free Speech Claim in Controversial Game Lawsuit

June 14, 2009 -

In an editorial published this morning the Albany Times-Union offers support for a federal lawsuit filed last week against the city of Troy, New York and its public works commissioner, Robert Mirch (left).

GamePolitics readers will recall that in 2008 inspectors invoked the city's building code to shut down an art gallery which was displaying Virtual Jihadi, Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal's controversial computer game exhibit. From today's Times-Union editorial:

What constitutes free and protected speech in Troy, and what constitutes public safety and unacceptable building code violations, aren't merely matters of fiat. They aren't simply up to the whims of Robert Mirch. They shouldn't be, at least...

 

The public works commissioner, not to mention the majority leader of the Rensselaer County Legislature, had effectively appointed himself arbiter of public morals...

Mr. Mirch, meanwhile, seems to have a new beef with the media... He's bothered that the lawsuit, which after all is a public document, has made it into the hands of the media. Let's hope he doesn't try to use the building code to further retaliate...

Free speech and the building code should be kept separate.

53 comments

Six Days in Fallujah Debated on Fox News

June 11, 2009 -

On Fox and Friends this morning the debate over Six Days in Fallujah is back in the news.

Joining host Gretchen Carlson are Atomic Games president Peter Tamte, retired USMC Capt. Read Omohundro, an advisor on the project and Tracy Miller, who lost a son in the Fallujah fighting.

Via: Kotaku

38 comments

Steam to Carry New Version of America's Army

June 10, 2009 -

America's Army, the only video game in recent memory to generate a full-blown protest march, is getting an upgrade to v3.0; the new version will be carried by Valve's Steam service.

A press release issued by America's Army's P.R. consultant this morning announced that AA3 will be available as a free Steam download beginning on June 17th. In addition to Steam, fans can download the new version from other locations listed on the AA3 site.

Of the game's availability on Steam, Marsha Berry, senior executive producer for America's Army said:

We are very excited to work with Valve to distribute AA3 on Steam as it gives us access to great distribution technology as well as a tremendous user base. Additionally, we have incorporated Steamworks features such as Achievements and Steam Cloud to create a richer experience for Steam users.

 

Our relationship with Steam will broaden our reach to a new community and it offers our current players a great new way to get the America's Army game and keep it updated. Players will also be able to download AA3 using the America's Army Deploy Client from the Deploy network of providers listed on the America's Army download site.

9 comments

America's Army Gets a Graphic Novel

June 5, 2009 -

America's Army, the first-person shooter freely distributed as a recruiting tool, has been supplemented with a graphic novel.

Written by M. Zachary Sherman and inked by Michael Penick and J. Brown, the work spins the tale of the Army's struggle to save innocents in the fictional Democratic Republic of the Ostregals.

The expansion from games to comic books is likely to rile critics who object to the Army's incursion into pop culture for recruitment purposes.

Via: Blue's News

19 comments

Japanese Industry Group Cracks Down on RapeLay, Similar Games

June 5, 2009 -

A Japanese industry standards group has issued a ban on the controversial RapeLay and games of its ilk, according to Bloomberg.

While reports last week that the Ethics Organization of Computer Software had taken such a step were premature, the ban, which carries no legal authority, has now been confirmed. 233 Japanese software firms belong to EOCS, including 90% of the country's makers of adult software. In issuing the ban EOCS made reference to a February motion in the British Parliament which condemned RapeLay.

Such games are a thriving business in Japan, Bloomberg reports:

The adult software games industry had sales of 34.1 billion yen ($353 million) in 2007...

Computer games containing rape scenes are readily available in Japanese stores. Yodobashi Camera Co., an electronics retailer, sells ‘Rape!Rape!Rape!’... at its store in Akihabara, a shopping area of Tokyo famous for stores popular with fans of the Japanese cartoons known as manga.

With RapeLay requiring players to assault a 12-year-old girl character, Bloomberg notes that possession of real child pornography, much less the virtual kind, is not illegal in Japan. Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer criticized Japan over the issue in January of this year:

Only Japan allows people to possess these hideous images without penalty...  Is it not time for Japan to find a way to punish the guilty?

Although the EOCS ban lacks the force of law, Singapore's Straits Times reports that most Japanese retailers will follow the edict.

33 comments

Fox News on Rendition: Guantanamo

June 4, 2009 -

Fox News offers its take on the cancellation of Rendition: Guantanamo, including an interview with Pete Hegseth of Vets For Freedom.

Hegseth, who served with the U.S. military in Iraq and as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, was also interviewed by conservative newspaper the Washington Times:

[Rendition: Guantanamo] looked like to us a blatant attempt to twist reality and change the perception of the American soldier...

 

We need to keep [pressure] on guys like [former Guantanamo detainee] Moazzam Begg and what they are trying to do in rewriting history at Guantanamo: That our troops are oppressors and that the detainees are all victims.

26 comments

 
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ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/12/27/did-kim-dotcom-help-get-xbox-live-and-psn-back-online-yesterday12/28/2014 - 6:13pm
MaskedPixelanteHyrule Warriors pre-order DLC appears to be live for all.12/28/2014 - 2:46pm
Matthew WilsonI meant from a organizational pov end users get it in contract, but any site that would want to use it for 2 factor would have to pay alot of money12/27/2014 - 5:35pm
IanCSMS is expensive? In what country? I get something stupid a month on my contract. I think it might even be unlimited.12/27/2014 - 5:32pm
Matthew WilsonI am still amazed that 2 factor authentication has not become the norm yet. I get sms is expensive, but Google authanacator api is free for any website to use.12/27/2014 - 5:11pm
PHX Corphttp://techcrunch.com/2014/12/27/anonymous-leaked-a-massive-list-of-passwords-and-credit-card-numbers/ Guys change your passwords: Anonymous Leaked A Massive List Of Passwords And Credit Card Numbers12/27/2014 - 3:25pm
Matthew WilsonThis is impressive video editing. basketball tricks with a basketball. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCQeFX9GSg#t=18112/27/2014 - 2:01pm
MaskedPixelanteDude was at the center of a pretty serious plagiarism scandal back in 2011, and it was widely known he ripped off other musical pieces well before that.12/27/2014 - 9:33am
Kajex@Masked Right, because his work actually composing music for several Metroid games necessitated plagiarism.12/27/2014 - 9:04am
MaskedPixelanteI can't believe Kenji Yamamoto got another job. Then again, his job on Smash was "musical arrangment", so copying other people's work is right up his alley.12/26/2014 - 9:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe company that hosts it is a cyber security firm, and from what I understand it is the data they they see just shown publicly.12/26/2014 - 8:22pm
Wonderkarpa question about that website, Matthew...how does it know its a cyberattack or not12/26/2014 - 8:06pm
Matthew Wilsonfor those intreasted in seeing cyber attacks in real time check out this site. http://map.ipviking.com/12/26/2014 - 7:51pm
PHX Corp@MP you can add me on XBL and Nintendo Network if you want, I go under TrustyGem(Same gamertag as on Steam)12/26/2014 - 2:01pm
CMinerI blame North Korea.12/25/2014 - 11:49pm
MechaTama31For the last few weeks, the GP site fails to load about 2/3 of the times I try.12/25/2014 - 11:13pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, is GP having trouble loading for anyone but me?12/25/2014 - 9:21pm
Matthew Wilsonits a bunch of script kiddies. ddosing is one of the easiest thing to do,and most companies can not stop it sadly.12/25/2014 - 5:05pm
MaskedPixelanteI like Nintendo as much as the next person, they're pretty much the only company putting out the games I want to play, but that was pretty embarassing to have NNID go down due to overuse.12/25/2014 - 4:35pm
MaskedPixelanteSee? It's NOT a repeat of last year's fiasco.12/25/2014 - 4:22pm
 

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