where the 2008 presidential hopefuls stand on video game issues

World of Warcraft: Red or Blue?

October 31, 2008 -

If World of Warcraft was a U.S. state, its 11 million players would give it the eighth largest tally of electoral votes.

That being the case, which candidate will carry Azeroth on election day? Do the polls show a split between Alliance and Horde voters? Between Dwarves and Night Elves?

In the video from Machinima.com comedian Rich Kuras polls WoW players on their presidential preferences.



 

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Bogost: Campaign-sponsored Games are Down from 2004 Election

October 30, 2008 -

In his Gamasutra column, Georgia Tech prof Ian Bogost writes of the decline of the officially-sponsored campaign video game:

The 2004 election cycle saw the birth and quick rise of the official political video game... It was easy to get public attention around such work, and indeed one of the benefits of campaign games revolved around their press-worthiness. By the final weeks of the last election cycle, all signals suggested that campaign games were here to stay.

But, as Bogost notes, only the McCain campaign's dreary Pork Invaders emerged in the 2008 presidential election season. There were, however, a plethora of unofficial games, as tracked by GamePolitics. Bogost, who has designed political games himself, does not regard them highly:

Unofficial political games also made few innovations this year. The largest crop of them are game-like gags about Sarah Palin, from the almost-topical Polar Palin to the toy-like Palin as President to the wildlife sendup Hunting with Palin to a series of Palin chatterbots to the inevitable whack-a-mole clone Puck Palin.

We'll have to take issue with Bogost's head count of commercial games with political themes. While he does mention The Political Machine 2008 and the very forgettable Hail to the Chimp, he seems to miss Democracy and President Forever.

If politically themed games are indeed dwindling, why is that happening? Bogost suggests that campaigns are turning to other online resources:

There are reasons games have grown slowly compared to other technologies for political outreach. The most important one is also the most obvious: since 2004, online video and social networks have become the big thing, as blogs were four years ago...

 

Online video became the political totem of 2008, from James Kotecki's dorm room interviews to CNN's YouTube debates. At the same time, the massive growth in social network subscriptions made social connectivity a secondary focus for campaign innovation, especially since Facebook opened its pages beyond the campus in 2006.

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Obama Campaign Paid $44K for In-game Ads

October 29, 2008 -

GameSpot has learned that Barack Obama's in-game ads on Xbox Live set the Democratic nominee's campaign back $44,465.78.

That amounts to pretty good bang for the buck, especially when factoring in the widespread mainstream publicity generated by the ads after GamePolitics broke the news of their existence on October 9th.

The Obama XBL ads were covered by, among others, the New York Times and Associated Press as well as most of the major news networks.


 

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Nurses Mock VP Candidate's Fashion $$$ with Dress Like Palin Game

October 29, 2008 -

What could the average gamer do with an extra $150,000?

Let's see... all three consoles, a PSP and a DS, Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour, souped-up gaming PC, dozens of games, peripherals, XBL gold membership, monthly MMO subscriptions, travel to PAX... and still have about $140,000 left over for pizza and Bawls.

It's in that spirit that a new web game from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee mocks Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin for spending $150K on high-end clothing for her campaign. The group describes itself as "the largest and fastest growing organization of RNs in the U.S. with 80,000 members in all 50 states." From the its press release for Dress Like Palin:

Contrast [Palin's wardrobe spending] with a registered nurse who can be outfitted in scrubs forjust $10 for a hospital shift. "The same $150,000 would outfit 15,000 RNs in scrubs," notes Geri Jenkins, RN... "How disgraceful at a time when so many Americans are struggling to pay their medical bills or keep their homes..."

The $22,800 the RNC spent on makeup, for example, would pay for 224 mammograms, 651 flu shots, or provide a supply of cholesterol lower[ing] Lipitor for one person for nearly 14 years. And that stylish $2,600 Valentino jacket would cost an average teacher onefull month salary -- or pay the full winter natural gas heating bills for two Midwest families.

To be fair, there's not much of a game to Dress Like Palin. It's more like an interactive attack ad.

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Second Life: Interactive Map Shows Real-time Polling Data

October 29, 2008 -

Is McCain gaining ground on Obama? 

Is Obama surging ahead?

Second Life users can check out the latest presidential poll data, thanks to a clever, interactive polling map created by Steve Nelson, who also devised the SL-Twitter mashup we reported on earlier this month.

At his Clear Night Sky blog, Steve describes some of the tech behind his latest creation:

Capitol Hill in Second Life continues to draw visitors from around the world interested in the political season... I’ve added an electoral map that shows most recent polling on a state-by-state basis...

I may channel my inner Brokaw and use the map in manual mode on election night, or I might challenge myself to quickly find a site that can be Dapper-scraped and feed the board automatically.

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Vote, Don't Play Video Games, Obama Ad Suggests

October 28, 2008 -

A new get-out-the-vote ad for Barack Obama includes a shot of a Wii controller accompanied by the words "You Can't Make History From Here."

In other words, put down your video game for a while and go vote. A sofa and a cubicle also serve as reminders to leave home or office to cast your ballot.

Obama, of course, made big news a couple of weeks back by embedding campaign ads in more than a dozen EA games on Xbox Live. In his campaign speeches he often uses video games as a metaphor for scholastic underachievment.

And, as GameCulture notes, the music in the ad "is pure 8-bit."

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Political Machinima Lampoons Republicans

October 23, 2008 -

At The Click Heard Round the World , blogger Rik Panganiban surveys political machinima and comes up with more than a dozen examples of the genre.

One of the most recent is RePuffs, a satirical take on the Republican presidential ticket from Machinima.com

 

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Gamers Worried About Jobs & Economy, Says New Xbox Live Poll

October 22, 2008 -

Last month GamePolitics tracked Xbox Live's inaugural use of political polling among its members. In that survey, XBL users overwhelmingly gave the nod to Barack Obama as their choice for president - and that was before anyone knew about those now famous in-game Obama ads.

In partnership with nonprofit Rock the Vote, XBL has just completed a new round of polling. This time users were asked to name which issues were most on their mind.

So what's the answer? In the words of Deomocratic campaign strategist James Carville, it's the economy, stupid. Here are the numbers:

  • 35%        Jobs and the Economy
  • 19%        Environment
  • 18%        Foreign Policy
  • 14%        Health Care
  • 14%        Education
     

At this point it's fair to say that XBL has jumped into the election season with both feet. In addition to user polling and a voter registration drive, the online service is offering election 2008 gamerpics and themes, as well as a music video from The Presidents of the United States of America's new album.

On Monday, GamePolitics spoke to project manager Ben Vaught about the injection of politics into the XBL user experience. Vaught hadn't seen the results of the new poll at that point:

The reason we do these polls is that Xbox Live is more and more becoming a bellwether of where youth voting trends are going… This [new] poll is really a chance for Xbox Live members to tell the presidential candidates... this is why were voting, this is why this election matters to us…

 

I thought [the Obama ads were] amazing. This is a community of over 14 million members. They’re active and engaged, they’re vocal. And it's not just about games and entertainment. They're also active and engaged and feel very stongly about the direction of their country… If Xbox Live was a state, it would be the seventh largest with 20 electoral votes.

[Rock the Vote] is very happy with how everthing is turning out. For Rock the Vote, they’re going to where younger voters are this election and this year they’re on Xbox Live. With Microdoft and Xbox, we know that the presidential election is important and we’re really trying to do our part to encourage turnout and for people to vote.

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Finally, a Sarah Palin Game that's Not a Shooter

October 20, 2008 -

Although we griped last week about the seemingly never-ending stream of Sarah Palin-themed games, we found one this morning that breaks the standard Sarah-shooting-at-stuff mold.

Palin as President is an entertaining trifle which explores how the controversial Guv might perform in the White House. It's definitely good for 3-5 minutes of work avoidance at the office. Forward it to 19 other people and - presto! - you've sabotaged an entire hour of organizational productivity.

Via: Political Irony

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Joe the Plumber vs. Joe Sixpack, Mortal Kombat Style

October 20, 2008 -

Republican presidential candidate John McCain introduced the world to Joe the Plumber during last week's presidential debate.

His running mate, Sarah Palin was recently quoted to the effect that the time is right "that normal, Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of Vice Presidency..."

Now, Joe the Plumber and Joe Sixpack battle it out...

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Gamer Takes Issue with Video Game Voters Network over Obama Ads

October 19, 2008 -

Over at the The AT Wire, gamer/blogger Alex Taldren picks a bone with the Video Game Voters Network.

It seems that the VGVN (which is operated by game publishers lobbying group ESA) took those now-famous Obama XBL ads as a hopeful sign:

Sen. Obama’s advertising leaves no doubts about the political significance of gamers. This outreach to the gamer community sends a clear signal to gamers that their voices are being heard and that the work of the Video Game Voters Network is having an impact.

Taldren doesn't quite see it that way, however:

Some politician uses some of his campaign money to place advertisements in video games and suddenly he is our savior?  Does anyone really think that Obama is going to remove video game bans and take our side just because he has a .JPEG on a billboard in Burnout?

 

...Does anyone really believe that Obama’s focus on video games can becomes anything more than problem?  The more attention politicians give us and the industry, the worse it’s going to get...

 

And, what I thought was once a network of gamers who wanted to keep politicians out of video games, has become nothing more than a Obama lap dog–a perpetuator of the problem.  I’m removing my Video Game Voter Network ad banner...

GP: Although the VGVN wildly overstates its contribution, we'll have to agree that the Obama ads are, on balance, a very positive development.

What do you think, GP readers?

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Green Party Congressional Candidate Takes Stand Against America's Army Exhibit

October 19, 2008 -

Green Party candidate Peter Myers, running for Congress in California's 15th District, has come out in opposition to the Pentagon's use of the America's Army: Virtual Army Experience simulator in recruiting efforts.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Virtual Army Experience sparked protests from anti-war groups at several stops during a summer tour of county fairs and air shows.

On his campaign blog, Myers writes:

This report from CNN shows you what some of your hundreds of billions of dollars of tax dollars pay for when they go to the Pentagon. The military's recruitment process for future wars is slick and neatly packaged, and you and I pay for it every day.

My opponents won't take the initiative to rein in this type of wasteful spending that creates an American culture more militant than ever before. Only I have chosen to stand up against these disturbing military recruitment practices; a vote for anyone else is a vote for more disappointment.

In late August, following protests, the Army agreed to restrict participants to those 17 and older. However, the CNN report referenced by Myers clearly shows a 13-year-old boy in line for the exhibit and having his personal data being collected (see pic). It's unknown when the CNN footage was shot.

The more familiar America's Army PC and console games have been criticized by some peace groups for allegedly violating U.N. protocols barring military recruitment of children.

The Green Party's Myers is running against incumbent Mike Honda (D). Myers candidacy is a long shot.

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Rock the Quote Challenges Your Knowledge of Candidates

October 19, 2008 -

Boston-based Metaversal Studios has released Rock the Quote, a web-based game which challenges how much players know about remarks made by November hopefuls John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Players earn two points for correctly identifying a quote and one point for getting just the party right. Three wrong answers leads to game over.

Metaversal Studios' founder Jay Laird, lead designer on Rock the Quote, talked about his game:

With over 100 questions, we have yet to see anyone finish the game... [While watching the debates] I noticed how many of the candidates' sound-bites seem interchangeable. Sure, there are things like the hockey-mom references that make it easy, but when it comes down to the bigger issues, I wonder how many people can tell the difference.

 

[For example,] McCain says he won't raise taxes, while Obama says he'll cut them for 95% of Americans.  In the past, you'd expect the latter promise to come from a Republican, and I bet a lot of people would still make that assumption.

It was pretty depressing to hear Biden say so forcefully that he doesn't support gay marriage.  I know it's a political maneuver to try to hold on to some socially conservative votes, but now that 3 out of 50 states have legalized it, you'd think they'd make it part of their 'change' initiative.

Rock the Quote is planned as a trilogy, with the second part launching on Tuesday. Check Metaversal's Burning Village site for updated news on RTQ.

At Fallout 3 Launch Party, Foo Fighters' Grohl Almost Dedicates Song to Sarah Palin

October 17, 2008 -

The Foo Fighters entertained the crowd at a private Fallout 3 launch party last night in L.A. and Entertainment Weekly reports that frontman Dave Grohl seemed close to dedicating Everlong to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

It was just 10 days ago that the band issued a statement protesting the use of their tune My Hero at McCain/Palin rallies.

From EW:

Playing for several hundred videogame enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the much anticipated launch of the post-apocalyptic Fallout 3, the Foo frontman... [praised] the open bar at the downtown Los Angeles gig several times, and... toasted gamers everywhere.

 

"I'm proud of you guys," he said. "You're living the American dream. You get to drink free booze and play f----n' video games. Who knows, maybe someday you can be vice president!" While readying his guitar for the song "Everlong," Grohl segued from the V.P. reference into a near-dedication: "Speaking of that, I'm gonna dedicate this one to all the..." And then flinched. "Never mind." Whoa. To all the...Republicans? Several people in attendance certainly wondered if that was what the singer was thisclose to doing. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps?

 

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Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

October 17, 2008 -

Since GamePolitics broke the news about Barack Obama's Xbox Live ads last weeks, they have become an international media sensation.

But, GP didn't actually find the ads; we were just first to report on them. Credit for the actual discovery goes to "Jeff", a 39-year-old gamer who lives in one of the 10 battleground states in which the Obama ads are running. He'd prefer that we not say exactly which state, for privacy reasons.

Married with a family, Jeff works in a machine shop and of this he told GP, "It's far more interesting than anyone will give credit, and more honest than most professions."

But life has not been all fun and games for Jeff. A couple of years back, he was involved in a high speed, head-on crash caused by a drunk driver, suffering horrendous injuries. Afterward, he spent nearly three months in a wheel chair and endured several surgeries. Despite it all, Jeff has managed to maintain his sense of humor:

I've had so much hardware installed and removed that I was feeling like a catch-all bin at Home Depot...

While recuperating and doing battle with insurance companies, Jeff kept himself busy by writing, drawing - and gaming:

I've always been something of a sideline gamer, dating back to the Atari 2600... but spending 14 hours a day watching Discovery Channel while waiting for my bones to knit together bored the crap out of me so I convinced my wife that we needed an XBox to supplement the PS2.  It allowed me to connect directly with other members of the Rooster Teeth community who had helped me stay sane through everything.
 

It's ironic that Jeff's now-famous pictures of the Obama ads were very much of a random occurrence:

The funny thing is that I had already played through 97% of the game months ago and it was collecting dust on the shelf.  I had only tossed it in [the Xbox 360] because we just bought the new TV and one of my daughter's friends wanted to see the motorcycles in action.  We'd been buzzing around the city in various vehicles at high speed for about half an hour before I happened to crash right in front of one of the billboards. Burnout's in-game camera induces vertigo if you try to manipulate it so you normally have to get a car airborne before you can actually read any of the signs close up.  It was a genuine "WTF?" moment.

Jeff snapped the pictures directly from his TV screen (left) using an Olympus 550UZ camera. He never imagined that they'd go very far:

The only reason I took the photos to begin with was to share them with my friends. [My friend] Claude asked if he could show it to a few people to get confirmation, because he was rightfully skeptical too. I agreed and now this thing is just taking on a life of its own...


I just saw [the Obama ads] on a blurb on MSNBC. That's crazy. I'm actually a little glad they aren't mentioning my gamertag anymore, though part of me is a bit pissed that they aren't giving [GamePolitics] proper credit for breaking the story.

 

The truly ironic part of this entire ride is that I find myself being the catalyst for Obama's media exposure.  As you said, I was the only one to say anything about it and now it's being picked up across the web - far outside the original 10 states that the ads were planned for.  That's exposure that exceeds the original investment of his campaign by an order of magnitude.  For that matter EA must be clapping their hands at the prospects of increased revenue to their checking accounts.  As they say, "you can't buy this kind of advertising..."

 

Granted, anyone could have done the same thing, but this time it happened to be me.  That's an odd feeling that I'm still trying to get used to. 

Ironically, Jeff is neither an Obama or McCain supporter. He's just an average guy who games.

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Stop With the Sarah Palin Games, Already...

October 17, 2008 -

Everyone who knows Flash seemingly has a Sarah Palin game these days. I don't know about you, but I'm all Palined out.

But, given our mission to bring you all things related to politics and gaming, we dutifully take note of Puck Palin from T-Enterprise. Hit the link for the full-sized version.

More creativity is needed, however, as the presidential campaign winds down. How about a Joe the Plumber game? That's something designers can work with. There's the obvious Mario connection, for one thing...

UPDATE: If you are not seeing the game, it is because T-Enterprise is migrating its server...

 

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SNL Comedian: Obama Has Game Ads, But McCain Has...

October 17, 2008 -

The Associated Press reports that Barack Obama's Xbox Live ads have sparked some humor.

According to an AP report, Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday quipped:

Barack Obama has begun running ads within video games. Obama ads can be seen in video games such as `Madden NFL '09' and `Burnout.' Not to be outdone, John McCain has begun putting ads inside many MRI machines.

GP: Look for Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert to have some fun with the Obama ads as well...

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Mario McCain vs. Luigi Obama

October 16, 2008 -

Via: GoNintendo

Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GP correspondent Andrew Eisen for spotting this one!

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More on those Obama XBL Ads

October 16, 2008 -

MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo has a couple of points to make regarding the now-famous Barack Obama ads on Xbox Live.

Stephen reports that if you're playing Burnout: Paradise on PlayStation 3, for example, you won't see the Obama ads. They are running only on Xbox Live. Instead, you'll see a faux car ad. For XBL players who want to check out the Obama ads, Stephen provides detailed instructions on how to locate them in-game.

Pictures of Obama ads in additional EA games are starting to pop up. Examiner.com has shots from Madden 09 and NBA Live 09. Destructoid has a Madden pic as well.

It's interesting to note the diverse opinions of gamers on the ads. Examiner's Tom Hall, for example, hates them:

Shouldn't we be allowed to escape this 3 ring ring circus once and while?  Do we really have to have this crammed down our throats 24 hours a day?  I'm pretty thankful that they have yet to discover the technology that lets them beam ads into my dreams... Video games, at least for me have always provided me with the escape from reality that I just plain need sometimes.

Meanwhile, Destructoid's Brad Nicholson seems to like the in-game ads:

After the Burnout piece, I found myself wondering the impact that political ads can actually have. Have any of you been swayed to vote early, or consider Obama over that other candidate? Do you consider this intrusive? Personally, I enjoy this ad much more than a Nike one because it at least has a message that is important. I like sneakers and all, but politics and blueberry pie are higher on my priority list.

As for GP? Since I run GamePolitics, it should come as no surprise that I love the idea of political ads in games. Here's what I told the Dallas Morning News:

Some gamers are saying, ‘We don’t want politics mixed in with our games,’ and some think it’s a very cool use of the medium. It’s a defining moment for not only advertising in video games but the political connection with video games.

Yet Another Sarah Palin Game

October 16, 2008 -

...this one is from Politico.

Blast Russian missiles an MiGs as well as moose and lipstick-wearing, flying pigs...

UPDATE: for some reason the embedded game was starting up in IE, so I've replaced it with a screen shot. Hit the link if you want to play the game at Politico.

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McCain Voted for DMCA, Now Feeling its Bite

October 16, 2008 -

A decade ago, John McCain, senator from Arizona, voted for passage of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

These days, John McCain, Republican presidential candidate, is feeling its sting. That's because the DMCA is heavily weighted in favor of content rights holders, often at the expense of everyday content users - like the McCain campaign.

As Wired's Threat Level blog reports, YouTube has turned down a request from McCain's people to take a closer look at fair use issues before yanking their videos at the request of DMCA take-down notices. From Wired:

The McCain campaign on Monday fired off a letter to YouTube complaining that the company had acted too quickly to take down McCain's videos in response to copyright infringement notices. McCain campaign general counsel Trevor Potter argued that several of the removed ads, which had used excerpts of television footage, fall under the four-factor doctrine of fair-use, and shouldn't have been removed.

 

But citing the DMCA, a controversial copyright law that McCain voted to approve a decade ago, Levine pointed out that YouTube risks being sued itself if it doesn't respond promptly to takedown notices.

By way of example, Cnet reports that YouTube has taken down McCain videos at the request of CBS and Fox because they included clips from on-air interviews.

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Obama Repeats Video Game Mantra in Debate; McCain Misses Chance

October 16, 2008 -

GamePolitics speculated yesterday as to whether Barack Obama's highly-publicized video game ads might come up in last night's Presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. They didn't, but that's only because Republican John McCain missed a perfect opportunity to get some mileage out of Obama's Xbox Live ads.

Toward the end of the debate the topic of education came up. At that point Obama delivered, word-for-word, a theme he has repeatedly mentioned in his campaign speeches:

Parents are going to have to show more responsibility. They've got to turn off the TV set, put away the video games, and, finally, start instilling that thirst for knowledge that our students need.

Not that Obama is necessarily wrong in this view, but his citing of games as a metaphor for underachievement offered McCain an opportunity to score some debate points by turning the issue around on Obama. If McCain had pressed the Illinois senator as to why, given his earlier comments, the Democrat was in turn buying ad time in video games, Obama might have been faced with a sticky situation.

Since my beloved Phillies advanced to the World Series last night, I'll couch this in baseball terminology: McCain failed to swing at a hanging curve ball. Was he not aware of the video game ad issue? That would be hard to fathom, since the story - broken here on GamePolitics - has been all over the mainstream media in the last few days.

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Will Obama's Video Game Ads Be Mentioned in Debate?

October 15, 2008 -

Last week GamePolitics broke the news that campaign ads for Barack Obama were showing up in EA's Burnout: Paradise on Xbox Live.

Since that time the story has gone national, with coverage by among others, the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. ABC News and CBS News have mentioned the Obama ads on their websites, although not on the air - so far.

With tonight's final Presidential Debate taking place at Hofstra Unoversity in New York, will the XBL ads come in for a mention? If they do, it will almost certainly come from McCain. There is speculation that McCain's debate strategy this evening will seek to raise questions about Obama's readiness for the White House.

Could McCain use the XBL ads in an effort to paint Obama as geeky or frivolous? If he does, will such charges resonate with voters? Or will McCain come off as out of touch and, well, old?

It's all speculative, of course. We'll find out tonight.

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Major Update to President Forever 2008 + Primaries

October 15, 2008 -

Theory Spark has issued a hefty patch for its excellent campaign sim, President Forever + Primaries.

The game has been decribed as "part SimCity, part C-SPAN" by the Washington Post. It's certainly the deepest of the current crop of political games.

If you're a current player, be sure to grab the update, as auto-patching has been disabled.

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Obama Burnout Ads Running Only in Battleground States

October 14, 2008 -

GameSpot's Brendan Sinclair is reporting that those now-famous Obama ads running in Burnout Paradise are visible only to gamers who are connecting to Xbox Live from 10 potential battleground states. From GameSpot's coverage:

The EA representative said the ads would only appear in 10 different states, most of them contested battleground states. Paradise City residents in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin are being targeted by the campaign...

The Obama campaign is only running on the Xbox 360 version of the game, as it was handled by Microsoft-owned in-game ad firm Massive Incorporated... As for the absence of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the EA representative said Massive had approached the Arizona senator's campaign about Burnout advertising.

GamePolitics broke the news of the ads last Thursday.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times is now quoting EA PR rep Holly Rockwood to the effect that the Obama ads are running in eight additional games:

  • Madden 09
  • Nascar 09
  • NBA Live 08
  • Need for Speed Carbon
  • Need for Speed Pro Street
  • NFL on Tour
  • NHL 09
  • Skate
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Sarah Palin Bashed in Little Big Planet User Video

October 14, 2008 -

Someone in the Little Big Planet beta doesn't think much of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin...

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EA Confirms Obama Ads in Burnout: Paradise

October 14, 2008 -

Last week GamePolitics broke the news that in-game ads for Barack Obama were apparently running inside Burnout: Paradise on Xbox Live. Although we sought comment several times from publisher Electronic Arts before running that story, no confirmation was forthcoming.

GigaOm, however, managed to get the official word from Holly Rockwood, EA's director of corporate communications, late yesterday:

I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout. Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates. Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams.

In the meantime, we've got an exclusive follow-up with Dragunov765, the gamer who took those great photos which originally brought the ads to our attention:

The photos were taken Oct. 6th, 2008 in my living room with an Olympus 550UZ... I imported them directly from the camera into Photoshop because Photobucket won't handle any images over 1Mb and I generally shoot in super HQ...  Beyond reducing the file size for posting to the internet, no other adjustments were made to the images.  The files I sent you were the images that came off the camera.  I would have taken more, but I didn't even have the memory stick in there because I'd just completed downloading some other photos and hadn't put it back in.

The funny thing is that I had already played through 97% of the game months ago and it was collecting dust on the shelf.  I had only tossed it in because we just bought the new TV and one of my daughter's friends wanted to see the motorcycles in action.  We'd been buzzing around the city in various vehicles at high speed for about half an hour before I happened to crash right in front of one of the billboards (Burnout's in-game camera induces vertigo if you try to manipulate it so you normally have to get a car airborne before you can actually read any of the signs close up).  It was a genuine "WTF?" moment.

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Online Game: Go Hunting with Sarah Palin

October 14, 2008 -

Atom.com has posted the latest in a string of Sarah Palin parody games.

Hunting with Palin casts the player in the role of America's best-known hockey mom as she takes aim at endangered Alaskan wildlife as well as Russian ships, subs and Migs. Those pesky Commies are just across the way, you know...

Points off for hitting Eskimo dog sled teams, snowmobilers, oil rigs or John McCain, who occasionally pops out.

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Blogger: Why Gamers Should Back Obama

October 13, 2008 -

Well-known Second Life blogger Rik Panganiban has unabashedly come out for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

In a post titled Barack FTW 11/4! -- Why Gamers Should Back Obama, Panganiban writes:

I think it's high time that people get past this notion of gamers as passive couch potatoes divorced from the world around them. I've seen gamers raise thousands of dollars for worthwhile causes like Penny Arcade's "Child's Play" charity and games for US troops overseas. 

 

Gamers can be ardent defenders of Net Freedom or even protestors for Chinese nationalism.  Heck, they have their own blog devoted to politics.

Among Panganiban's reasons for backing the Obama ticket (these are his words):

  • Obama Groks the Power of the Internet: ...No, [Obama] didn't invent the Blackberry, but he does understand that the Gamer Generation connects with each other in substantially different ways than generations before.
  • Obama Defends Net Freedom: ...The ability of next-gen game developers to create online games depends on a vibrant and open internet environment, unfettered by artificially throttled and filtered access.
  • Obama Knows We Need Broadband: ...you know how sucky it is to play Halo over a sketchy internet connection... 
  • Obama Supports Stronger Math & Science in Schools: America lags way behind the rest of the industrialized world in math and science aptitude in its high schools...
  • Obama Totally Pwns in Unreal Tournament:  He's the only player I know who can go head to head in a Scavenger against a Fury equipped with Berserk and come out ahead.  Talk about presidential.  (Ok, maybe I made that up. But I hear his Wii Bowling score is 278.)

Rik is having some fun with that last bit. Actually, as GamePolitics has reported, Obama remarked publicly that the last game he played was Pong.

GP: If an established game blog presents a case for the McCain ticket, we'll gladly publish that as well.

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Game Lets Players Predict U.S. Election, Win $$$ for Charity

October 13, 2008 -

A clever online game offered by Peritus Public Relations of Louisville, KY challenges players to predict which states will be carried by Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama in November 4th's presidential election.

Peritus will send $1,000 to the winner's favorite charity. And, no, your PS3 acquisition fund is not among the list of eligible charities...

I registered and gave it a try. It's fun to use the interactive map of electoral votes to make a prediction, although the registration process was slightly intrusive. Why do they need my address? Confession to Peritus: I lied.

Here's some info from the press release:

We are a firm of veritable political junkies... We created this game because we wanted to inject some fun into the political season while benefiting a charity at the same time. We felt by creating a game that was essentially unprecedented, and entertaining we would be able to reach to people who are generally politically apathetic. So we asked ourselves, why can’t politics be fun for everyone?

The Peritus Pundit gives the user an opportunity to compete against a national audience of political enthusiasts in picking the next President of the United States. The winner picks a charity of their choice and our firm will donate a $1,000 to the organization...

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Who's responsible for crappy Netflix performance on Verizon?:

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james_fudgePlease use the comments section for bitching about specific articles :) We do read them, after all.07/23/2014 - 10:52am
Andrew EisenThat's unfair but thank you for the tip on the Reddit thread containing the Kickstarter message to backers. The article has been updated.07/23/2014 - 10:50am
SleakerHere's the message Areal backers recieved from Kickstarter: http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2beqlc/areal_kickstarter_suspended/07/23/2014 - 8:52am
Sleaker@MW - I still think Cogent/Level3 hookups were lacking prior to the comcast switch, but I do think verizon is being dumb here.07/23/2014 - 12:06am
Andrew EisenOf course it's a question. It's got a question mark and everything!07/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Matthew WilsonHate to say it, but that poll is not even a question. there is too much evidence that points to Verizon. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth07/22/2014 - 6:23pm
Andrew EisenHuh. The new Battlefield has been delayed to early next year. Are you feeling okay, EA? http://blogs.battlefield.com/2014/07/bfh-will-launch-2015/07/22/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerWest End Games - Areal developers just got their Kickstarter suspended. Might want to dump that 'fully funded' status.07/22/2014 - 12:08pm
MaskedPixelanteHas anyone who bought it gotten their Sims 2 Ultimate Edition upgrade yet? Still waiting on mine, especially since they're supposed to be out by today.07/22/2014 - 10:45am
IanCDynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4 finally has the option to turn off the OTT depth of field that made the game look like a blurry mess. Only a few months behind the JP version patch...07/22/2014 - 10:17am
NeenekoI see nothing in Section 111 that would exclude IP transmission. It even explicitly includes 'other transmission methods'07/22/2014 - 9:28am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/07/19/ruling_aereo_is_not_a_cable_company07/22/2014 - 8:13am
ZippyDSMleelul what?07/22/2014 - 7:53am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/bungie-cross-generation-destiny-wouldnt-be-fair-to-low-res-players/07/22/2014 - 7:53am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/22/wii-u-update-adds-system-to-system-transfers/ The latest Wii U update allows you to do the system transfer between two Wii Us. Still not true accounts, but getting there.07/22/2014 - 7:39am
Papa MidnightSpeculation from PC Gamer. Don't hold your breath. http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/21/microsoft-job-listing-says-nice-things-about-pc-gaming-isnt-clear-if-it-means-them/07/21/2014 - 5:58pm
MaskedPixelanteI dunno, it's probably Vevo powertripping.07/21/2014 - 5:52pm
Andrew EisenMP - Makes you wonder what the intention behind the removal was. Stop the RickRolls? Yeah, like removing that one video is going to make a difference.07/21/2014 - 3:27pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.billboard.com/articles/business/digital-and-mobile/6165313/youtube-blocks-original-rickroll-video Moment of silence, the original Rickroll video has been blocked in many regions.07/20/2014 - 3:53pm
 

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