Yee “Hopeful” for SCOTUS Win

October 25, 2010 -

As the case surrounding a law he originally authored makes its way to the Supreme Court next week, California State Senator Leland Yee issued a handful of comments related to what will eventually be a landmark decision for gamers.

The Court will, of course, hear oral arguments for Schwarzenegger v EMA on Tuesday, November 2 at 10:00 AM.

Yee said he was “hopeful” that the Court would give “parents a valuable tool to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games.”

Yee additionally claimed that SCOTUS has "often ruled" in favor of protecting kids and limiting their access, citing topics such as "pornography, gambling, marriage, firearms, jury duty, tobacco, alcohol, voting, abortion, licenses, and the death penalty" as examples.

Yee continued:

Open Source Carmageddon Creator Gets C&D

October 22, 2010 -

TechDirt points us towards a New Zealand man that was issued a cease-and-desist letter from Square Enix for his work on an open source version of the old game Carmageddon.

1am Studios Jeff posted about the c&d order on his blog, stating that Square Enix claimed to hold the copyright to his project’s “underlying code, text, audio and visual aspects of the game [Carmageddon]…”

Jeff wrote, "Obviously this is all a bit silly given we're talking about a game thats 13 years old and you can't buy anymore, but still, its a cease-and-desist letter."

21 comments | Read more

Mysterious Seventh Title Banned in AU During 2009 Named

October 22, 2010 -

Seven titles in all were Refused Classification in Australia during 2009, and while the public was aware of six, the name of the seventh banned game is only coming to light now.

The Refused-Classification website names the seventh banned title as Enzai: Falsely Accused, a 2002 Japanese anime-style game released in Japan in 2002 and in the U.S. in 2006. The game was submitted for classification by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with no-name in order to thwart any undue attention being showered upon it. The name of the title was revealed in the Classification Board’s Annual Report.

Here’s why it was given an RC rating:

2 comments | Read more

Americans for Limited Gov President Backs Industry in SCOTUS Fight

October 21, 2010 -

The President of the Americans for Limited Government (ALG) organization is against the California law at the center of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case.

Bill Wilson’s editorial on the subject states that the onus for such enforcement should fall to parents, not the government, an unsurprising sentiment perhaps, given the name of the organization he heads up.

Wilson notes that the law would be so easy to get around that “its unenforceability teaches a terrible lesson to kids: That certain laws may be disregarded.” He adds, “That is a worse message than anything learned from the games. It is one that undercuts respect of all other law.”

The editorial continues:

17 comments | Read more

AU Greens Still Behind R18+, But Won’t Force the Issue

October 21, 2010 -

While Australia’s Green Party is pushing forward with two private member’s bills (regarding euthanasia and same-sex marriage), the party has decided against using the same tactic to introduce an R18+ videogame rating.

Speaking to GameSpot, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam explained his party’s thinking, stating, “I'm not convinced [a private member's bill] is the way to go. The government would certainly oppose it, and it's not easy to conclude that the Opposition wouldn't either.”

Ludlam would rather “keep putting pressure” on the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) in order to “come up with a cooperative agreement” and avoid “pushing people into a confrontational position.”

Jaffe: Facts Will Impact SCOTUS Decision, Not Petitions

October 21, 2010 -

Eat Sleep Play chief David Jaffe, while appreciating and supporting the “emotion” that has gamers signing petitions and contacting representatives in the face of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, thinks that such tactics are “pointless and naïve.”

Jaffe view is that the Supreme Court isn’t a democracy and does not rule based on “a vocal majority- let alone a vocal minority like gamers and other media folks.”

Therefore, “none of our views on this will matter one bit” and "... it just seems like a big exercise to make people feel like they are making a difference..."

Jaffe’s full (and unedited) comment (thanks VG247):

11 comments | Read more

SCOTUS Case Could Cause “Supreme Jeopardy” for Amusement Biz

October 20, 2010 -

The trade publication Vending Times has published an opinion piece about the upcoming Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, saying that a win for the state of California could give politicians more power to eradicate the U.S. amusement industry.

12 comments | Read more

PTC Wants You to Thank AGs That Supported California

October 19, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council (PTC) is urging its ranks to thank attorneys-general from the states that supported the California side in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case now before the Supreme Court.

The PTC’s website features the mailing and email addresses for AGs from Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Virgina in order to make the process easier.

But what if you don’t live in one of the aforementioned states? The PTC then would urge you to “please write to thank California Governor Arnold Schwartzeneggar and California State Senator Leland Yee for creating and supporting this law.” Lee especially might appreciate such correspondence, as he, “in particular has come under attack from the videogame industry.”

Op-Ed Focuses on Retail Implications of Schwarzenegger Case

October 18, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) chief Michael Gallagher, along with Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) CEO James Hallan, took to the Lansing State Journal website for an opinion piece outlining the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court battle could impact retailers.

The piece states that the “misguided” California law—which contains “subjective and indefinite language” in relation to what would constitute an offensive game—is “particularly concerning for retailers,” because “the retail industry has already taken giant strides toward ensuring that violent videos do not end up in children's hands.”

According to the opinion piece, the “vague law” could be trouble for retailers because:

Blizzard Files Suit Against SCII Cheat Producers

October 18, 2010 -

In a complaint filed on October 4 (thanks GameSpot), Blizzard Entertainment has targeted a trio of men, accusing them of creating and selling hacks for the Blizzard game StarCraft II.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the complaint names Michael VanKuipers (aka “Perma” or “Permaphrost”), Michael Simpson (aka Matt Cooper, “Cranix,” or “Cranyx) and John Roe (aka linuxawesome). 10 “John Does” are also named.

6 comments | Read more

PTC Compares Game Industry Groups to Thugs

October 18, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has a short editorial up on its site in which the organization defends the California law at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, claiming that the videogame industry has “resorted to half-truths to try to make its point.”

As far as the law restricting First Amendment rights, the PTC says it “does no such thing,” but “merely prevents the most objectionable content from being sold directly to children.”

Do children also have a "right" to purchase cigarettes and alcohol? Of course not! If the law prevents children from directly purchasing other types of material that is inappropriate or harmful for them, why shouldn't parents be able to rest easy knowing their child won’t be able to buy ultra-violent games without their permission?

37 comments | Read more

California: “Three-Prong” Test Will Preserve Free Speech

October 18, 2010 -

The petitioner in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court Case is the state of California, and as such, it receives the opportunity to furnish the Court with a reply brief, in which it can argue against statements presented in the brief of the respondent.

California has done just this, submitting its reply brief (PDF, thanks PHX Corp!) in which it begins by stating that the respondents are off base in their attacks:

Respondents and their amici paint an alarming picture of government censorship of both classic and contemporary art and literature, ignoring the level of extreme violence depicted in the narrow category of video games that is actually covered by the Act.

ECA Staging SCOTUS Rally

October 13, 2010 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is inviting concerned gamers to participate in a pro-gaming rally on November 2 in Washington D.C., the same day that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case.

The rally will take place on the steps of the Court, which is located at One First Street NE, at 9 AM. Oral arguments for the landmark videogame case are scheduled for 10AM ET.

The ECA noted:

Still No Incentives Planned for Massachusetts Developers

October 13, 2010 -

Even after losing Curt Schilling and his 38 Studios to neighboring Rhode Island, indications are that Massachusetts still has no plans to institute incentives or tax credits designed to lure, or keep in place, game development companies.

To be fair, Schilling’s deal with the Ocean State, in which his company initially received a guaranteed $75 million loan, before it was pared to approximately $51 million, was an incentive that was more-or-less created (or expanded anyway) to entice a single company.

Scotland's Abertay University Lobbies for Game Biz Backing

October 13, 2010 -

The director of business development of Dundee, Scotland-based Abertay University appeared before a House of Commons committee in order to discuss the economic impact of the region’s videogame industry.

Paul Durrant, according to the Courier, lobbied for tax credits for the industry and claimed that it was “vital” for the industry to generate private investment. Durrant stated, “We continue to strongly support the industry's calls for games tax relief, but we also recognise the important role of other support mechanisms, including ways to incentivise private sector project finance.”

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A Sampling of the Controllers Headed Yee's Way

October 12, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has posted the first batch of user submitted photos showing controllers submitted to California State Senator Leland Yee.

The VGVN, for those who missed it, is urging the gaming populace to show its distaste for the Yee-authored law, which, under the guise of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, will appear in front of the Supreme Court on November 2, by sending in controllers with the words “I Believe in the First Amendment” written on them.

Activision Blizzard Policy Maker Rails Against California Law

October 11, 2010 -

George Rose, Activision Blizzard’s Chief Public Policy Officer penned a column for the Orange County Register in which he called the California law at the heart of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA “onerous,” and "unnecessary.”

Rose claimed that a SCOTUS approval of the law would “hijack” the First Amendment rights of young people “by unjustifiably creating a special exception to unprotected free speech not only for video games, but any other form of expression.”

He also worried that the law would put “innocent store clerks at serious legal and financial risk,” all for a law that is “already moot.”

Rose explained:

6 comments | Read more

Yee on VGVN Initiative: Send Us Kinect Instead

October 8, 2010 -

Following yesterday’s news that the ESA - via their Video Game Voters Network - is asking gamers to send California State Senator Leland Yee broken or old videogame controllers with  “I believe in the First Amendment” written on them, we reached out to the Senator’s office for comment.

Yee’s Chief of Staff Adam Keigwin replied that, “I can only assume these broken controllers must represent the broken promises of the video game industry to parents.”

The response continued:

31 comments | Read more

You’ll Be Able to Hear Schwarzenegger SCOTUS Oral Arguments

October 7, 2010 -

While we’ll be trying to gain entrance into the Supreme Court to hear Schwarzenegger vs EMA oral arguments on November 2, even if questionable credentials or a nefarious past preclude us from gaining access, a recording of the arguments will be made available on the SCOTUS website.

The new recording release initiative, as detailed on the SCOTUS website, begins with the current October term and will see audio files posted to the SCOTUS website on Fridays, under the Oral Arguements section of the site's menu.

VGVN Wants Gamers to Send Yee Their Broken Controllers

October 7, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) Video Game Voters Network (VGVN) has launched a promotion designed to tweak California State Senator Leland Yee, the original author of that state’s videogame law which is now in front of the Supreme Court.

A good handful of gamers have probably destroyed a controller in a fit of rage, and while there’s a handful of things that the useless accessories could be used for, the ESA - via VGVN - is urging game enthusiasts to take the broken controller (or an old one), scribble “I believe in the First Amendment” on it and send it off to Senator Yee’s office.

19 comments | Read more

Vietnam Using Games to Lure Users to State-Owned Social Website

October 5, 2010 -

Vietnam has been implementing a series of measures aimed at attempting to curb what it believes is an overenthusiastic reliance on online gaming, but it isn’t above using games to lure the populace to a new government-backed Facebook competitor.

The state-owned Vietnam Multimedia Corp. launched a beta version of a social networking website called go.vn earlier this year. As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, the website requires prospective users to register using full names and government-issued identity numbers.

To help lure younger Vietnamese, the site features “several state-approved videogames, including a violent multiplayer contest featuring a band of militants bent on stopping the spread of global capitalism.”

The Journal piece mentions a university student named Pham Thanh Cong, who was waiting for “his turn to play an online shoot-'em-up game at a street-side Internet café.” When asked about go.vn, Cong replied, “I didn't even know it existed.”

1 comment | Read more

German Censors Have No Sympathy for COD: Black Ops

October 4, 2010 -

Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops has undergone a few changes in order to appease German censors.

According to CODFeed (via The Escapist), the game, which is set in various locations between 1960 and 2010, will have the following changes implemented for the German market:

10 comments | Read more

Are the Supreme Court Justices Tech-Savvy?

October 4, 2010 -

The Supreme Court opens for a new session today, and with a number of cases on its docket involving technology—including, of course, Schwarzenegger vs. EMA—how up-to-date on the latest gadgets and means of communication are the SCOTUS Justices?

It’s a logical question and one posed by an American Public Media host to a recent guest, Professor Jeffrey Rosen from the George Washington University Law School, who also writes for the New Republic

“Some are pretty plugged-in,” was Rosen’s initial answer.

“Justice Thomas telecommutes; he does a lot of his work at home over the Internet and emails drafts in,” said Rosen, adding, “Justice Breyer certainly uses a cell phone. He is quite tech savy and uses email extensively.”

Rosen continued:

22 comments | Read more

New York Law School Moot Court Features EMA Case

October 1, 2010 -

Earlier this week, we reported on the results of a moot court hosted by the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School, in which several noted journalists, legal scholars, and even a federal judge sat down to hash out a mock version of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case pending before the Supreme Court. The IBRL moot court found 6-3 in favor of the State of California, causing some concern as to whether the result was an outlier or a hint towards how the Supreme Court may rule.

Apparently, William & Mary is not the only law school considering the question. New York Law School, famous for their annual State of Play conference, held a moot court competition of their own featuring a fact pattern very similar to that of the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case.  We obtained a copy of the bench brief from the case, which was written by NYLS third year law students Andrew Blancato and John Hague for the Charles W. Froessel Intramural Moot Court Competition. 

Interactive Sim Used to Scare Kids Away from Texting While Driving

September 30, 2010 -

Funded by the UMass Memorial Medical Center and the Allstate Foundation, a new simulator, meant to demonstrate the perils of texting while driving, is making the rounds of Massachusetts high schools.

Teen D.R.I.V.E (Distracted Reality an Interactive Virtual Education) is a pretty snazzy looking simulator, which ends with a “patient’s-eye view” from a stretcher after a crash and an appearance before a judge to receive penalties, which go into effect in Massachusetts today.

If you’re allergic to clichés, please skim past the following quote from Allstate Foundation spokesman Chris Connor, who stated, “This is an opportunity to realistically engage teens in a manner they understand – video games, a simulation."

He continued:

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North Korean Game Developer Defends Business to CNN

September 29, 2010 -

Last month we did a story regarding a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. distributing North-Korean developed mobile games, which were sourced through the Nosotek Joint Venture Company. A new CNN report offers a little bit more insight into doing business in a country run by “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-il.

Nosotek is headed by German business man Volker Eloesser and its specialty is utilizing North Korean talent in order to create software, games and animation for foreign clients. Eloesser started Nosotek about three years ago, as he searched for something more “interesting and challenging.” He stated that it was “fairly easy” to find English-speaking workers and claimed that labor costs in North Korea are about half of what similar labor would cost in China.

3 comments | Read more

Vindicia CEO: CA SCOTUS Win Could Kill Freemium Market

September 28, 2010 -

Earlier this month we mentioned the amicus brief filed by online billing solution provider Vindicia, which backed the videogame industry in the looming Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court showdown.

Vindicia CEO Gene Hoffman, Jr. has since penned an article for Xconomy on the case and how a ruling for California could kill the freemium model (a la Electronic Arts' Battlefield Heroes or id Software's Quake Live) of distributing videogames to the masses:

Another Eagle Forum Member Makes Case Against Violent Games

September 27, 2010 -

Over the past month, the “pro-family” Eagle Forum attempted (and failed) to lobby Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff into supporting the California side of Schwarzenegger v. EMA, while its founder, Phyllis Schlafly, scribbled out a withering column on the “evil products” and “highly disturbing”  content emerging from the videogame industry. Now another Eagle Forum member is attempting to pin the group’s anti-videogame stance on protecting children.

On Presidents and Prime Ministers Appearing in Games

September 27, 2010 -

In light of President Obama’s appearance in Madden NFL 11 and the upcoming NBA 2K11, Kotaku took a look at the Politics of Presidential Appearances.

In both games, a representation of Obama is used to help celebrate a Super Bowl win or an NBA championship. While the President does have rights to his likeness, Villanova University School of Law Professor Michael Risch stated that, “A sitting president is probably never going to sue.”

Kotaku wrote:

Essentially, a president is the one A-list celebrity you get to use for free, provided you’re not too egregious about it. A sitting president filing a civil suit over the unauthorised use of his image is as bad a play politically as could be imagined, especially if the work in which he’s appearing is complimentary and respectful as is the case with Madden and NBA 2K.

1 comment | Read more

Moot Court Renders Schwarzenegger v. EMA Opinion

September 27, 2010 -

Last month we told you that the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL) at William & Mary Law School would offer a mock trial of the Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association case, which is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court on November 2.  Well, the Moot Court held its version of the event over the weekend, and gamers will have to hope that the result does not foreshadow the verdict that SCOTUS eventually returns.

The mock trial included participants such as USA Today’s Joan Biskupic, The Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin, the New York Times’ Adam Liptak, University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemrinsky, Jeffrey Sutton from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkman.

 
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SeanBI wrote up a post detailing my thoughts on this Mojang/Bukkit stuff, feel free to chime in if you wish. http://goo.gl/OFJJIE08/23/2014 - 12:24am
Matthew Wilsonfirst, that crap is wrong. second, isnt this the 3rd time he has quit?08/22/2014 - 12:11pm
Zenhttp://levelsave.com/phil-fish-polytron-doxxed-phil-fish-quits-gaming-sells-fez-polytron/ , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnhvz5IIAAAVc5.png:large08/22/2014 - 12:03pm
ZenHere are some links to the story and images. http://playeressence.com/polytron-and-phil-fish-hacked-tons-of-personal-info-leaked/ , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnx8sQCIAAwumB.jpg:large , https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bvnj_zmCUAAlYWm.jpg:large08/22/2014 - 12:02pm
ZenSo...Phil Fish was apparently hacked on both his Twitter and the Polytron site along with all of his personal information has been given out in a zip file. He has since closed his Twitter and stated that Polytron and the Fez IP are for sale. He wants out.08/22/2014 - 12:01pm
Papa MidnightThe Verge says the sequel to Flappy Bird is nearly impossible. http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/21/6053297/swing-copters-flappy-bird-sequel08/21/2014 - 12:22pm
SleakerPC-Gamer wrote an article on what's going on with the Minecraft stuff: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/08/21/minecraft-bukkit-team-lead-tries-to-end-development-but-mojang-steps-in/08/21/2014 - 11:55am
SleakerEVE had a high-profile ban today: http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/08/20/eve-online-lottery-site-somer-blink-shutting-down/#continued08/21/2014 - 10:26am
SleakerBut where have all the Ethics gone?08/21/2014 - 9:08am
Sleaker@EZK - one of the bigger things is that since Mojang has owned Bukkit for 2 years now, people contributing to the project have basically been doing work for them pro-bono. On top of never formalizing support. They hid the fact probably to prevent support08/21/2014 - 9:07am
SleakerIf you've played on a server with mods/plugins, you've almost for sure played on a Bukkit-based server.08/21/2014 - 8:56am
SleakerHere's Bukkit's explanation attempt at shutting down due to EULA changes: http://forums.bukkit.org/threads/bukkit-its-time-to-say.305106/08/21/2014 - 8:55am
SleakerEZK - it's the largest server mod for MC, in actuality without it minecraft for sure would not have been as popular (#1 game now).08/21/2014 - 8:54am
SleakerTo the point that it seems they have completely lost what it means to be for-community, and having transparency. Along with dumping restrictive EULA's onto people.08/21/2014 - 8:53am
E. Zachary KnightWhat is Bukkit and why should I care?08/21/2014 - 8:53am
SleakerMinecraft community exploded again today. Apparently Mojang owns all of Bukkit, and never put out a statement saying as such 2 years ago when they acquired them. I have to say, their transition from indie has been rough.08/21/2014 - 8:52am
james_fudgeThere aren't many left in America08/21/2014 - 1:50am
MechaTama31I sure have. Dorky's barcade in Tacoma, WA.08/20/2014 - 5:56pm
Matthew WilsonI have not been to a arcade in years. I know arcades are still big in japan.08/20/2014 - 5:38pm
Sleaker@AE - Ah no it's called GroundKontrol - I was just referring to it as a Bar-Arcade.08/20/2014 - 4:39pm
 

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