Connecticut Files Amicus Brief in Support of California Videogame Law

July 19, 2010 -

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), who is running for Chris Dodd's vacated U.S. Senate Seat, has joined a "multi-state coalition" seeking to restrict violent videogames. Blumenthal, in his capacity of Attorney General of the state, brings Connecticut into the fray alongside nine other states, siding with California in its upcoming Supreme Court battle.

In an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, Blumenthal and nine other states are defending California’s right to enforce a law prohibiting the sales of select videogames to minors. The law was struck down by the California Appeals Court, but the Supreme Court announced earlier this year that it would review the case.

In a press release issued by the Attorney General's office, Blumenthal’s brief states that California’s law does not seek to "broadly prohibit" minors from buying "violent games," but rather a subset of titles that "encourages players to commit graphic acts of homicide, rape, and sadism."

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Father's Day Achievement: Insane and Detained

June 24, 2010 -

Unlocked! What do you do when you are playing videogames and your girlfriend's son rudely slams the door on you? Threaten him with a weapon.

What do you do if your boyfriend is being hauled away by the cops on Father's Day for threatening your son with said weapon? Spit in the face of the police officers, be combative and go with your boyfriend to jail.

This is just what happened when Vernon Connecticut police showed up in response to a 911 call. Here's more from an AP story:

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Linda McMahon, WWE Sued by Owen Hart's Widow

June 22, 2010 -

Connecticut senatorial candidate Linda McMahon, her husband Vince McMahon Jr., and their company, World Wrestling Entertainment, are being sued by the widow of Owen Hart, according to the Associated Press. McMahon, who is probably the only candidate running in the 2010 election cycle to appear in a WWE videogame, is vying for the senate seat being vacated by Chris Dodd.

Owen's widow, Martha Hart, is suing the McMahons and the WWE because the company continues to use her husband's image to promote the WWE. Martha does not want Owen Hart's name associated with the WWE in any way. Martha Hart planned to file her lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Owen Hart, brother of Brett "The Hitman" Hart, died when he fell 78 feet from a harness as it lowered him into a wrestling ring in Kansas City, Mo., on May 23, 1999. He was 34. Martha settled a lawsuit with the WWE concerning Owen's death in 2000. In a written statement Martha explained why she is suing the WWE now:

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Linda McMahon: Videogame Character

May 19, 2010 -

It's hard to be a candidate who is a part of an industry that makes its money off of gratuitous violence. Linda McMahon, like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has made millions off of an industry that has no problems with using sex, violence and adult themes to sell its image. But the Connecticut senatorial candidate running in the Republican primary shares another distinction with the Governator: she's a playable video game character, as the video in this story shows.

In arguably one of the best wrestling video games ever made -- WWF No Mercy -- Linda, complete her husband's "Mac Stunner" finisher, is an unlockable, playable character. Linda is also part of a storyline involving her daughter Stephanie McMahon and real life husband Hunter Herst Helmsely. In the segment, which starts at the 4:10 mark and ends at the 5:29 mark, Linda enters the ring, makes a ruling on a world championship match against wrestler Kennedy and then gives both her daughter and Triple H a "Mac Stunner" after her daughter attempts to slap her across the face.

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What a Difference a Day Makes

May 19, 2010 -

In politics, 24 hours is a lifetime when you are in the media spotlight. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal can attest to that personally, thanks to a freshly conducted telephone poll of "likely voters" in the state conducted by Rasmussen. In one day, Republican senatorial candidates are closing in on the Attorney General, who once enjoyed double digit leads over every possible opponent this fall. But the darling of the CT political machine has taken a real credibility hit not only in CT but around the country, following a New York Times report that he exaggerated his military record (or at the very least never corrected the record on it).

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CT AG Richard Blumenthal Down, But Not Out

May 18, 2010 -

Several news stories on the man that once railed against "Beer Pong" for the Wii and the classification of alcohol use in videogames by the ESRB, are causing the would-be Connecticut senate nominee a major headache today.

First the good news: DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said today that Democrats "will continue to support" senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal in his bid to become the next senator from Connecticut. Menendez's support came hours after a bombshell story in the New York Times that Blumenthal had been "untruthful" about his Vietnam service record. Here's what the DSCC chairman had to say:

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NYT: Beer Pong Critic No Vietnam Vet

May 18, 2010 -

Current Connecticut Attorney General (and current senatorial candidate), Richard Blumenthal, has more to worry about than Beer Pong for the Wii and the way the ESRB classifies alcohol use in videogames this morning. According to a New York Times story, Blumenthal has been lying about his service in Vietnam. "Lying" is a strong term for a politician to face, and though he has acknowledged in the past that he didn't actually serve in Vietnam, he certainly has never gone out of his way to correct the record; in many speaking engagements across the state of Connecticut and in front of Veterans groups, he has gone as far as he could to give the impression that he was in fact a Vietnam veteran. He also never corrected the record on being on the Harvard swim team, a widely circulated biographical note that turns out to be false as well.

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Connecticut Legislators Busted for Playing Solitaire at Work

September 10, 2009 -

A pair of Connecticut legislators were embarrassed when an Associated Press photographer snapped them playing Windows Solitaire during recent deliberations on the state budget.

The Hartford Courant reports that one of the game-playing pols, Rep. Jack Hennessy (D, left) has issued a rather profuse apology in a letter to constituents:

It was certainly bad judgment for me to play a computer game even for just a few minutes during the final House session on the budget. I am embarrassed, and I apologize to each and every person in the North End and to people across the state.

My actions were inexcusable. I do want my constituents to know that my poor judgment for a few moments on Monday in no way means I ignored your interests in representing you on this very serious matter...

I sincerely apologize to each of you. I look forward to having the continued privilege of representing you and your interests in Hartford. I thank you in advance for your understanding and have been humbled by those of you who have already expressed your understanding and forgiveness.

Hennessy maintains a photo gallery on his official website. The solitaire-playing picture is not included, however. The other Solitaire player was Rep. Barbara Lambert, also a Democrat.

Via: GameCulture

19 comments

Connecticut Developer Urges Govt. to Save Game Biz Tax Break

February 12, 2009 -

Government financial incentives for video game production are an increasingly frequent topic of conversation among state officials who are seeking to attract and retain employers.

In Connecticut, however, a successful game developer worries that belt-tightening legislators may do away with a tax break already in place.

Brandon Curiel (left), president of mobile game developer Venan, told local TV station WFSB-3 that losing the tax break will prevent his firm from expanding:

I think every business owner sees what's going on [with the recession] and thinks, ‘When is this going to ripple through and hit me? So far, it hasn’t.

Everyone recognized how important the tax credit program and how beneficial it is, and how do we get that communicated to the Legislature?

Venan's game portfolio includes Monopoly for EA Mobile and Ninjatown for Southpeak Interactive. Curiel added that he hopes to move into developing for the Wii.


Time Looks at Beer Pong Controversy

July 31, 2008 -

Unless they've been playing too much real-life beer pong, GamePolitics readers will likely recall the recent flap over the Wii-ware title formerly known as Beer Pong.

Released this week with an E rating, the renamed Pong Toss from JV Games sparked earlier protests from educators as well as a call from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) for the ESRB to re-rate the game as Adults Only.

Time has now bellied up to the bar to offer own examination of the Beer Pong controversy and finds that it was predictable given concerns over binge drinking:

Perhaps, in retrospect, JV Games should have seen this coming. After all, drinking games and video games may be two of college-kids' favorite pasttimes, but they are also a source of constant complaints from their middle-aged parents...

 

The controversy isn't entirely surprising. The point of beer pong is to get your friends drunk... Last fall, Georgetown University banned beer-pong... The University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Tufts University have also banned drinking games.

 

The anti-pong activism strikes JV Games' [co-owner Jag] Jaegar as somewhat fruitless. As long as students "have access to alcohol, they will create drinking games out of any activity," he says. More to the point, if students have access to alcohol, they'll drink it — no games necessary.

 

17 comments

TV News Report on CT Attorney General vs. Beer Pong

July 10, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's concerns over upcoming Wii-ware title Beer Pong.

Blumenthal criticized the game for encouraging underage drinking and slammed the ESRB for not assigning Beer Pong (since renamed to Pong Toss) an Adults Only rating.

Shelly Sindland of Connecticut Fox News affiliate WTIC-61 has a video report, including additional comments from the A.G.

 

20 comments

Connecticut Attorney General: ESRB Under the Influence Regarding Alcohol Use in Games

July 7, 2008 -

 Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) charged today that the ESRB is "under the influence" when it comes to depictions of alcohol use in video games.

His comments were prompted by Beer Pong, from JV Games. As reported by GamePolitics, the title has previously come under fire from education and substance abuse organizations. In response to those concerns, the game has recently been renamed as Pong Toss (although JV's website still lists it under the original title).

Blumenthal, mentioned as a potential gubernatorial candidate, issued a press release calling on the ESRB to change the rating of Beer Pong from T (13+) to what the AG refers to as "adult" (presumably the ESRB's Adults Only rating). The A.G. is quoted in the press release: 

The rating T 13+ -- suitable for teens 13 and older -- is absolutely inappropriate. The video game rating board is under the influence -- rating frat party video drinking games suitable for minors. Even as JV Games agrees to alter its Beer Pong video game, both it and the rating board stubbornly deny the damaging influence of alcohol depiction in video games.

 

The ESRB astonishingly downplays and dismisses alcohol depiction in rating the suitability of video games for minors. Parents have the first and last say over their children’s games -- but they deserve to know all of the facts. The ESRB, claiming to consider age suitability in its ratings, has a moral and ethical responsibility to consider all potentially damaging material in the products it rates.

 

This issue is urgent because the 'Frat Party Ganes' promoted by JV Games may soon offer others in this planned series.

ESRB spokesman Eliot Mizrachi responded to Blumenthal's criticism of the video game industry rating board in a statement:

Although we respect Attorney General Blumenthal’s right to disagree, the fact is that ESRB’s role is not that of censor.  Our job is to impartially and consistently label content about which there may be a diversity of views so consumers can make informed choices for themselves and their families. 

 

‘Pong Toss’ involves nothing more than players tossing virtual ping-pong balls into plastic cups, which hardly qualifies it for our most restrictive rating of AO (Adults Only 18+)... 

In addition, GamePolitics has obtained a copy of a June 12th letter from ESRB President Patricia Vance to Attorney General Blumenthal on the Beer Pong issue. It reads in part:

While the assignment of ratings does require that judgments be made about the age-appropriateness of different types of content, it would be improper to assign ratings solely based on the depiction of behavior which may be understandably discouraged by society at large. To illustrate, many car racing games require players to barrel down city streets at high speeds – illegal behavior that certainly should not be encouraged... Still, none of this changes the fact that racing games... tend to be rated E... That actions in a game might, in the real world, be associated with minimum age requirements or be generally discouraged does not, in and of itself, relegate that game to the most restrictive ESRB rating category, Adults Only. Such contextual elements are weighed in the ratings process, however...

 

This title is being made available solely as WiiWare, which means it will not be available at retail, but may be downloaded, for a fee, directly through the Wii console. WiiWare games, available by the hundreds, rarely have marketing or advertising associated with them, and typically draw scant attention. Given this, our concern is that a greater number of consumers (including the age group about which you are most concerned) will be made aware of this game and resolve to play it as a result of publicized statements of advocacy groups and others. Ironically, this is likely to result in more rather than less consumers being drawn to this game, particularly those very minors all of us seek to protect.

 

88 comments

Safe Sex Game Coming... It's coming...

September 25, 2006 -

Hot Coffee it most definitely is not.

As reported by Joystiq, the University of Connecticut is soliciting proposals for a "safer sex video game."

According to UConn bid specs, the goal of the project is "to test the feasibility of using a PC-executable game (non-Flash) format to change the safe sex practices of an otherwise hard to reach group – urban emerging adults."

The University wants vendors to make the game "fun, motivating, and efficacious." That last one's not a dirty word, by the way.

If trials are successful - and no, GP does not know where you go to volunteer - the game will be distributed "broadly." As Joystiq notes, Europeans are already ahead of us in using game tech to teach safe sex.

Proposals from game developers are due back to UConn officials in November.

 
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Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
Matthew WilsonIf you have not read http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/ you should. It is a bit stats heavy, but worth the read.04/16/2014 - 2:04pm
Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
 

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