Game Character Posters, Obama-style

April 22, 2009 -

Games Radar has served up a series of printable posters depicting familiar game characters in the style of the now-famous Obama campaign theme created by visual artist Shepard Fairey.

The characters span a broad range of games, including:

  • Tomb Raider
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Katamari Damacy
  • Half-Life
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen...

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ECA Pleased To See Time Warner Back Down on Price-Gouging Bandwidth Caps

April 17, 2009 -

Consumers won a big victory this week as Time Warner Cable backed down on a plan that would have placed a cap on bandwidth usage for broadband customers, while at the same time charging users a wildly inflated price per gigabyte.

When Time Warner announced recently that it would expand its broadband caps into New York and North Carolina, Ars Technica reports that the plan immediately ran afoul of Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The two lawmakers helped torpedo Time Warner's scheme.

The Entertainment Consumers Association, which also lobbied vigorously against the Time-Warner plan, was delighted with the cable provider's decision to back down. ECA VP and General Counsel Jennifer Mercurio commented on the outcome:

We're pleased that Time Warner has come to their senses on this issue... Having worked against caps and tiered pricing for over a year, and being the leading consumer rights organization to aggressively defend the American public on this issue, we're glad to see our efforts pay off even as we continue to work with Senator Schumer, Congressman Massa, and others to stop this type of consumer price gauging moving forward.

When Mercurio mentions price gouging, she's not kidding. Price comparison done by Nate Anderson of Ars Technica show how blatantly Time Warner planned to rip off its customers:

As TWC expands its test markets for the data caps, it offers plans with 5GB of monthly data transfer for $30. Plans with 40GB of data go for $55... That base rate works out to a truly jaw-dropping $6 per GB per month, and it's so far out of line with competitors' plans as to shock even the most cynical heart.

Take AT&T's DSL, for comparison... AT&T DSL comes out to 9¢ per GB. Verizon's fiber-optic FiOS system... this comes out to $.11 per GB. Upgrading to the much faster 50Mbps service for $144.95 a month still means that the charge per GB is only 36¢.

The situation is similar at other cable operators. Comcast offers Internet service starting at $42.95 per month and has a 250GB cap in place; this works out to 17¢ per GB.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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Austin Mayoral Candidate Wants to Attract Video Game Companies

April 14, 2009 -

A mayoral candidate in Austin, Texas has made attracting game developers and other creative media types a key part of his campaign platform.

Brewster McCracken (D) mentions attracting game developers in response to the Austin American-Statesman's request for candidates to outline their vision for the city.

McCracken, currently a member of Austin's City Council, sees game development as a way to help the city weather the recession:

Starting with a vision of independent film, independent music and 3-D animation leadership in digital media... We will need elected leaders to personally recruit creative economy employers. We will need expanded incentives to recruit films and TV series. We will need to recruit video game and music publishers and firms with expertise in digital media distribution to empower local creative artists.

GP: We should mention that Austin already has a thriving game development community. McCracken wants to attract additional talent to the city.

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California Bill Would Limit Game Time, Content for Day Care Kids

April 13, 2009 -

A Santa Monica legislator wants to limit the amount of time that children in day care spend playing video games. California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) also wants to ensure that any games played are of the educational or exercise varieties.

To that end Brownley has introduced AB627. Her bill is aimed at addressing California's rampant childhood obesity problem.

As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle:

[The bill would] require child care centers receiving state reimbursement for their food programs to limit sugary sweets and drinks, prohibit deep-fat frying, mandate servings of vegetables and limit TV, computer and video-game use to one hour per day, among other regulations.

A reading of the bill suggests that games like Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution would be acceptable if AB627 becomes law:

For children in full day care, screen time, including, but not limited to, television, video games, and computer usage, shall be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and shall be limited to
educational programming or programs that encourage movement.
For children in less than full day care, screen time shall be reduced proportionately.

The measure has been referred to the Assembly's Human Services Committee.

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Obama Administration Rolls Back Secrecy on Copyright Treaty

April 9, 2009 -

On several recent occasions, GamePolitics has reported on ACTA, the international copyright treaty being negotiated in secret by various governments, including the United States.

Here in the U.S., IP rights holders - including the video game industry - have been granted access to information concerning ACTA negotiations. John Q. Public has been shut out, however.

But the Obama administration's promised commitment to open government appears to be pulling back the curtain on ACTA, at least a bit.

IDG reports that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has released a six-page summary of ACTA negotiations, which have been going on behind the scenes since 2006. Gigi Sohn, President of Consumer rights group Public Knowledge praised the info release:

The dissemination of the six-page summary will help to some degree to clarify what is being discussed. At the same time, however, this release can only be seen as a first step forward. It would have been helpful had the USTR elaborated more clearly the goals the United States wants to pursue in the treaty and what proposals our government has made, particularly in the area of intellectual property rights in a digital environment.

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Nintendo's Reggie: Obama Too Busy To Worry About Video Games

April 1, 2009 -

Issues such as the recession, healthcare and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to keep President Barack Obama's attention away from video games, said Reggie Fils-Aime (left).

The Nintendo of America chief also believes that the video game industry is in a better position politically than it has been in the past.

Fils-Aime made his comments during a wide-ranging interview with GameDaily:

We have the first sitting president with a multiple gaming household, between the Wii and the DS. I believe that our president has more pressing issues to deal with, from the economy to the military conflicts.

 

Certainly, as an industry, we've met with representatives of Congress and other parts of our government. What they see is an industry that is mainstream, is creating jobs and is creating vibrant forms of entertainment. Those are all positive things for this country. So we are in a more favorable legislative environment compared to five or six years ago.

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Barack Obama Portrayed in Quirky Japanese Super Mario Scene

March 31, 2009 -

We don't know the origin of this video other than to point out the obvious: that it's from a Japanese television show, features a comic Super Mario scene using real actors, and has an improbable cameo appearance by a faux Barack Obama.

Still, it's pretty cool. Be sure to watch it all the way through.

The link was circulated by Wendu Xu on Twitter.

Via: Kotaku

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New Video Game Tax: Louisiana Rep. Mulls "No Child Left Indoors"

March 28, 2009 -

A Louisiana legislator has withdrawn a bill that would impose a 1% sales tax on video game equipment and television sets.

The Monroe News-Star reports that Rep. Robert Billiot (D) hoped to use revenue collected by the tax to create a "No Child Left Indoors Fund." Those funds would in turn be channeled into recreational facilities and state programs to combat childhood obesity.

However, Ark-La-Tax Politics reports that Billiot withdrew the measure while he re-evaluates its revenue potential. The legislator said that he may resubmit the tax proposal before Louisiana's legislative session begins on April 27th.

As GamePolitics reported, A similar measure proposed in New Mexico last year failed to pass.

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Obama & Kids Call Astronauts, Want to Know: Can You Play Video Games in Space?

March 24, 2009 -

Video games came up when President Obama made a long-distance phone call to the International Space Station this morning.

As reported by ABC News, Obama, some members of Congress and a group of Washington, D.C. school kids spent 28 minutes videoconferencing with the crew of the shuttle Discovery.

The Prez was friendly and conversational with the astronauts. When it came time for some questions from the students, the first one was, "Can you play video games in space?"

Obama dutifully relayed the question to the crew. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer that came back was yes, you can play video games in space.

In fact, one of the astronauts (we're not clear as to which one) replied:

We can, in fact. And in fact a few years ago when I was up here for six months I had a video game that I used to play in my spare time. Unfortunately, we don't have much spare time.

 

So we can, we have a lot of laptop computers. But for the most part we stay real busy doing real work.

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Techie Blogger Mom Calls For Guv to Veto Utah Video Game/Movie Bill

March 21, 2009 -

A Utah mom has come out swinging against HB 353. The Jack Thompson-conceived bill, overwhelmingly passed by the Utah House and Senate, is currently just a stroke of Gov. Jon Huntsman's (R) pen away from becoming law.

Misty Fowler (left) is a software developer, mother of two and activist Democrat.

She also pens the politically-oriented Saintless blog.

Fowler writes:

I didn’t feel like [Utah Senate sponsor Margaret] Dayton [R] and [Utah House sponsor Mike] Morley [R] came out to share details of the bill, but to introduce it with the idea that this isn’t a punitive bill, so that maybe we would all have warm fuzzies about how good this was for our children. Because really, think of the children, will you?...

As a parent, I feel very strongly that it’s my responsibility to my children to educate them about what they can play, and why...


The ESRB is accomplishing what it should... The Utah Legislature seems to be approving of ESRB by trying to enforce it...

I don’t want this law passed. Not because I don’t want to protect children. But, because I think it’s a bogus attempt to regulate the ESRB, and won’t do anything for our children. It will cost local businesses money, and is likely to remove some great tools I have in making decisions about video games as a parent.

Ask Governor Huntsman to veto it.

Fowler also questions the bill, given Jack Thompson's involvement.

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Michigan Senator Wants Ban on Texting, Gaming While Driving

March 20, 2009 -

A Michigan State Senator has proposed legislation that would ban texting or playing video games while driving, reports ClickOn Detroit.

Sen. Buzz Thomas (D), the sponsor of the measure, said:

There is no need to be sending a text while driving your car, it’s one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. If it’s really that important, pull over and send your message, or just wait until you get to where you are going.

 

This is the second session in which I have introduced this bill, and hopefully we can all realize the urgency and just get this passed.

If the bill becomes law, violations would carry a $100 fine.

32 comments

Obama Circuit Court Nominee Issued 2000 Ruling Upholding Video Game Legislation

March 18, 2009 -

While an overwhelming majority of federal court judges have found state and local laws restricting video games to be unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton is an exception. In 2000, Hamilton ruled in favor of an Indianapolis law which would have barred unaccompanied minors from playing violent games in coin-op arcades.

Hamilton's eight-year-old opinion in American Amusement Machine vs. Kendrick, while subsequently overturned by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court, could once again be a source of concern to the video game industry.

The Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama has nominated Hamilton for an opening on the 7th Circuit, which covers appeals arising from federal district courts in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. From the AP:

Obama on Tuesday nominated [Hamilton] to serve on [the 7th Circuit], his first act in reshaping the federal judiciary and preparing for a possible Supreme Court opening...

 

Three of the appeals courts [including the 7th] can gain a majority of Democratic-appointed judges if Obama's nominees are confirmed for existing vacancies...

 

The White House acted before Hamilton's nomination to make sure that his home-state Republican senator, Dick Lugar, was on board... Lugar's support for Hamilton would make it difficult for Republicans to filibuster his nomination...

 

The American Bar Association gave Hamilton a "well qualified" rating...

GP: As a practical matter, the chances of video game legislation reaching the 7th Circuit any time soon seem slim. Illinois, burned financially by disgraced ex-Guv Rod Blagojevich's 2005 video game law, is unlikely to try again. That leaves only Indiana and Wisconsin. While both have dabbled with legislative proposals aimed at video games in recent years, neither has gotten very far with such proposals.

Moreover, the 7th Circuit already has a precedent-setting video game case in the Kendrick ruling.

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

March 14, 2009 -

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

It's all about the economics, apparently.

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

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

Boston is a game industry friendly city.

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

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

Edge Online has more on Menino's game initiative:

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

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

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

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In Congress, Dennis Kucinich Urges Elimination of Funding for Army Recruitment Game

March 12, 2009 -

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has requested that Congressional leaders remove funding for the Defense Department's Virtual Army Experience, according to a report on the raw story.

The VAE is a recruiting and public relations exhibit which the Army deploys at large public events around the United States. It has generated protests at a number of venues.

In a letter to the House Armed Service Committee, Kucinich writes:

I urge you to eliminate budget authority for the Virtual Army Experience (VAE) in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The VAE is a state-of-the-art, interactive recruiting tool used by the Army to give participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of Soldiering...

 

The VAE shields participants from the realities of killing while glorifying the taking of human life in a thinly veiled attempt to recruit new soldiers. Making matters worse, if a child wants to take part in the simulation, the Army collects his or her contact information, as well as an assessment of the child’s performance in the simulator.

The VAE travels around the country to family oriented venues such as amusement parks, air shows and county fairs. When the VAE came to the Cleveland Air Show in 2008, I raised concerns and objections with the Army. Allowing children as young as thirteen years of age to participate in a simulation endorsed by the United States Government that glorifies and sanitizes extreme violence is unacceptable.

Kucinich conducted an unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

GP: For clarity's sake, Kucinich is targeting the traveling VAE, not the PC-based, freely-distributed America's Army computer game.

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Stimulus Money Convinces New York to Nix Digital Download Tax

March 11, 2009 -

Gamers who live in the state of New York are already experiencing a benefit from President Obama's recently-passed stimulus package.

CNN reports that New York has scrapped a plan to tax digital downloads such as iTunes music and video game DLC.

Instead, Gov. David Paterson and New York legislators will utilize $1.3 billion in stimulus money to help balance the state budget.

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NC Senator Failed at Legislating Content, Now Proposes a Tax Break for Developers

March 11, 2009 -

An interesting legislative turnabout is underway in North Carolina.

A state senator who twice in the past introduced bills designed to restrict the sales of mature-themed games to minors has now proposed that the state offer financial incentives to game developers.

Yesterday, Sen. Julia Boseman (D) introduced S525, a new bill that would permit game developers to take advantage of a tax credit of up to 15% for qualifying expenses.

While the measure does not restrict M-rated games as did an earlier proposal in Oklahoma, it does preclude material which qualifies as "obscene" under North Carolina law:

Limitation. – No credit is allowed under this section for qualifying expenses with respect to digital interactive media that contain material that is obscene, as defined in G.S. 14-190.1.

In past sessions, Sen. Boseman introduced bills designed to restrict sales of mature games to minors in 2005 and 2007. Both measures failed to pass.

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Obama on the Atari 2600?

March 10, 2009 -

I thought I knew my classic games pretty well, but somehow I'm drawing a blank on this particular Atari 2600 cartridge.

In fact, Technabob has uncovered an entire series of parody 2600 carts. Most aren't political, but they are definitely worth a look - and a laugh.

Via: Examiner.com

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Obama Goes Questing in MMORPG

March 5, 2009 -

Clearly, there are some hardcore Barack Obama fans among the beta testers of NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG Aion: The Tower of Eternity.

Massively brought the video at left to our attention, in which some Aion players have employed the game's robust character creation utility to get the Prez into the action:

NCsoft really didn't have this in mind when creating the game's lore, but some rather inventive beta testers have created something which show off just how good Aion's character creation is. The end result is a player-created video that depicts Obama in ways his publicity people never anticipated, as an Elyos 'kicking ass' and saving trees on the road to ascension as a Daeva... Yes, this may piss off a few people -- namely the POTUS -- but it's all in good fun.

11 comments

Obama Stimulus Rendered in Retro Math Game Style

March 4, 2009 -

2P Start takes note of President Obama's recently-passed stimulus package by invoking the graphic style of the old Number Munchers game (perhaps some GP readers played it in school).

The artist explains:

I kind of get the feeling this comic might appeal more to The Oregon Trail crowd... Number Munchers was another early educational PC game that a lot of us probably played in elementary school...

 

In any event, we’re not trying to spark a political debate here, it’s just that $787 billion is a staggering number, even for an old pro like Muncher!

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BREAKING: Jack Thompson Bill Under Discussion in Utah House

March 3, 2009 -

We caught the webcast just as it was beginning. What follows is essentially a live blogging of today's hearing...

The Utah House has just begun deliberations on HB 353, the video game/movie bill originally crafted by disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. The first order of business was to pass amendments to the measure.

With amendments passed the discussion on the bill has begun. Rep. Michael Morley, bill sponsor, is now speaking. Morley can be seen in the screenshot at left, taken moments ago from the webcast of the hearing. View it live.

So far, the legislators who have spoken are uniformly behind the measure, which appears to enjoy bi-partisan support. Speaking on behalf of the bill:

  • Rep. Brian King (D)
  • Rep. Sheryl Allen (R) - Allen discussed the growing importance of Utah's video game industry
  • Rep. Kraig Powell (R)
  • Rep. Steven Mascaro (R) - wanted clarification on how bill language affects retailers
  • Rep. Susan Duckworth (D) - commended Morley for making amendments and reminded the body of parental responsibility

Rep. Morley, summarizing, said that "retailers" are no longer opposed to the bill, which indicates that the amendments may have watered down the potential impact of HB 353.  Morley said that some movie owners also have dropped their opposition.

Voting now occurring... HB 353 passes 70-2. The measure will now move to the Utah Senate for consideration.

Thompson has just e-mailed a comment:

70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!  

UPDATE: The amendments link has been updated to incorporate the most recent changes (Feb. 27).

UPDATE 2: We have learned that the Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents video game retailers, remains opposed to the bill. Morley's comment concerning retailers dropping their opposition was likely referring to the Utah retailers' trade group.

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Obama Trade Nominee May Help Nintendo, But Needs to Pay His Taxes First

March 3, 2009 -

Last week Nintendo appealed to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative for help with global piracy issues

President Barack Obama's nominee for the position may ultimately decide to help Nintendo out, but he'll need to pay his back taxes first.

CNN reports that Obama's choice as USTR, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, owes nearly $10,000 to the IRS:

The [Senate Finance] committee found that Kirk failed to report as income $37,750 in honoraria collected for 16 speaking engagements at Austin College... He also deducted too much for the cost of tickets to see the NBA Mavericks, reporting the entire $17,382 as business expenses...

"The mayor is working with the Finance Committee on a few minor issues," White House spokesman Ben Labolt said, adding that the "nomination is on track."

"The president nominated Mayor Kirk because of his proven ability at the negotiating table -- building consensus between opposing stakeholders in Dallas and crafting deals to create opportunities for U.S. businesses overseas," Labolt said.

CNN notes that Kirk is the fourth Obama nominee to face criticism over tax payment issues.

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Another Obama Cabinet Nominee Brings Video Game Legislation Baggage

March 1, 2009 -

ABC News reports that President Barack Obama has turned to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) to fill the vacant cabinet post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

If confirmed, Sebelius will become the third member of the Obama cabinet with past ties to video game legislation. The others are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Commerce nominee Gary Locke.

As Governor in 2006, Sebelius pushed an unsuccessful attempt to legislate video games, saying at the time, "Video games and music lyrics promote violence..."

Ironically, in 2008 it was revealed that her son created a Grand Theft Auto-like board game and was marketing it by mail order from the Governor's official residence. At the time, Gov. Sebelius commented that she was proud of her son's creativity.

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Obama's Commerce Nominee Signed 2003 Video Game Bill Into Law

February 27, 2009 -

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke (D), President Barack Obama's latest choice for Commerce Secretary, carries a bit of video game baggage into his new position.

In 2003, while serving as Governor, Locke signed into law the nation's first statewide violent video game legislation. The measure, which was proposed by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D), barred minors from purchasing games in which the player kills or injures "a human form who is depicted, by dress or other recognizable symbols, as a public law enforcement officer."

The video game industry filed suit, of course (VDSA vs. Maleng). In July, 2004, a federal court struck down the Washington law. In ruling the statute unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik wrote:

The games at issue...[have] story lines, detailed artwork, original scores, and a complex narrative which evolves as the player makes choices and gains experiences. All of the games provided to the Court for review are expressive and qualify as speech for purposes of the First Amendment...

 

[The law] failed to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly... Would a game built around The Simpsons or Looney Tunes characters be 'realistic' enough to trigger the Act?... Do the Roman centurions of Age of Empires, the enemy officers depicted in Splinter Cell, or the conquering forces of Freedom Fighters qualify as ‘public law enforcement officers'?

GP: Although it's unlikely that Locke, if confirmed, will have much to do with video game issues as Secretary of Commerce, it is an interesting historical footnote, nonetheless.

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It's Raining Obama Bucks in Second Life

February 27, 2009 -

Steve Nelson, who has created fascinating visualizations which combine real-world political data with the Second Life metaverse, is at it again.

On his Clear Night Sky blog, Nelson has posted a video which mashes up SL and the 2010 federal budget:

To commemorate the 2010 federal budget... I have installed a new feature at the Capitol Hill in Second Life.

Using the APIs available from USASpending.gov, the Show Me the Money! piggy bank will shower $100 bills down on the Capitol Hill legislative chamber. Each bill has the name of one of the top 50 recipients of government funding during 1Q 2009. The size of the bill is proportionate to the amount of money received, at a scale of $1billion = 1 Second Life meter.

1 comment

In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links Video Games to Academic Underachievement

February 25, 2009 -

As GamePolitics noted on several occasions, using video games as a metaphor for academic underachievement was a staple of Barack Obama's presidential campaign speeches.

The Prez rolled out the same language last night in his first address to a joint session of Congress. Speaking about his administration's approach to education, Obama said:

These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.

A CNN poll reports that 65% of respondents gave the President favorable marks for the speech. NPR has a full transcript of the President's remarks.

Report: Obama Plays BrickBreaker on Mobile Phone

February 22, 2009 -

From the Consider the Source Dept:

Gossip mag The Star reports that President Barack Obama indulges in mobile phone gaming apps:

During his first days in office, President Obama laid down the law — Hands off my BlackBerry! But his insistence on keeping it wasn't just because he wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. Turns out the Prez is hooked on playing the mobile game BrickBreaker!

"He plays to unwind," a confidante reveals. "Every night before bed, he gives it a few minutes."

And he's hardly all thumbs.

"His high score is around 15,000!"

Via: GameCulture

8 comments

Leland Yee Urges Supreme Court Appeal of California Ruling

February 20, 2009 -

Is California's violent video game law headed to the U.S. Supreme Court?

State Sen. Leland Yee (D) thinks it should be. Yee has urged California Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal today's 9th Circuit Court decision which upheld a lower court's ruling that the video game law he authored in 2005 is unconstitutional.

Yee, a child psychologist, released this statement: 

While I am deeply disappointed in today’s ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.  I believe this law will inevitably be upheld as Constitutional by the US Supreme Court.  In fact, the high court recently agreed, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development.

 

97 comments

ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

February 18, 2009 -

Game publishers' lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association announced today that it has hired a new head of government relations (i.e., lobbying).

Jennifer Manner comes to the ESA by way of Skyterra Communications and the Federal Communications Commission, where she was senior counsel.

Manner replaces Ed Desmond, who exited the ESA for a post in the toy biz last September.

Interestingly, an ESA press release makes it a point to mention that Manner is a "long-time Democrat." We don't recall seeing a similar industry hiring announcement addressing an appointee's political affiliation.

Of Manner, former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy offered high praise:

Jennifer is an outstanding choice for this position. With her broad experience communicating effectively with multiple public and private sector stakeholders and tackling complex regulatory matters, the industry and the ESA will benefit from Jennifer’s leadership.

15 comments

Retailers' Trade Group Weighs in Against Warning Label Bill for Games

February 12, 2009 -

The Entertainment Merchants Association, the trade group which represents the interests of numerous video game retailers, has weighed in against game-oriented legislation currently before the Congress.

GamePolitics readers will recall last month's report that Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) had proposed a measure in Congress which would require cigarette-like warning labels for any game rated T (13+) or higher by the ESRB.

The EMA has termed the proposed legislation "unnecessary."

As we have previously noted, Rep. Baca has proposed a number of bills targeting video games over the years. To date, none have passed. In 2008 Esquire named him to its list of Ten Worst Members of Congress.

UPDATE: We've received the EMA's full statement on the Baca bill:

Retailers educate parents about the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors and enforce the "Mature" rating at the point of sale. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission found that children it sent into video game stores to buy Mature-rated games were turned down 80% of the time.

 

The video game turn-down rate is higher than the turn-down rate for movie theaters and R-rated tickets, DVD retailers and R-rated and “unrated” DVDs, and music retailers and “Parental Advisory”-labeled albums. In fact, it is the highest turn-down rated ever recorded for an entertainment category in any of the undercover shopper surveys the FTC has conducted since 2000.

Apple Blocks Obama Trampoline iPhone Game

February 9, 2009 -

Apple, it appears, takes a rather dim view of political satire - at least where iPhone apps are concerned.

TechCrunch reports that Apple has nixed a seemingly harmless game in which depictions of President Barack Obama and other U.S. political figures jump on a virtual trampoline.

The news comes on the heels of Apple's recent rejection of another would-be iPhone game which parodies December's hurling of a shoe at then-President Bush. That well-known incident was widely satirized via online Flash games.

TechCrunch questions Apple's censorship of Obama Trampoline:

Developer Swamiware was surprised to see its latest iPhone app rejected by Apple, and so are we. The application was a harmless game that let you select a known U.S. politician (both republicans and democrats) and have him/her jump a virtual trampoline...

 

Does the Obama Trampoline app actually ridicule public figures? It’s not obscene or pornographic of nature, so why was it deemed either offensive or defamatory?

3 comments

 
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MattsworknameYes, but thats only cause its actual software systems are far worse thn steam07/06/2015 - 5:56pm
Matthew Wilson@matt well it got refunds before steam, and has better customer service07/06/2015 - 5:50pm
MattsworknameOrigin is getting better, but its still miles out from being on Steams level.07/06/2015 - 5:27pm
PHX Corphttp://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/3bvzy7/as_a_former_developer_theres_a_lot_of_things_i/ Reddit Games: As a former developer, there's a lot of things I wish gamers knew. Here are some of those things...07/06/2015 - 10:52am
james_fudgeI play all of my games there!07/06/2015 - 10:36am
Andrew EisenHey, have you heard of Origin? It's pretty sweet!07/06/2015 - 10:26am
MattsworknameNot sure if your being sarcastic, or if you joined up with EA's marketing department07/06/2015 - 4:01am
Andrew EisenI don't know, maybe a heaping, helping of DRM is the panacea for all that ails Konami.07/06/2015 - 1:24am
MattsworknameThe only thing thats gonna save them andrew , is walking back all the stupid they have been doing lately. At this point , ithink they did to much damage to there brand to survive07/06/2015 - 12:42am
PHX Corphad there been a sonic 4 episode 3, I would Buy it on Steam, Xbox 360 and PS3 right away07/05/2015 - 10:10pm
Andrew EisenWell, what if Konami released MGS 5 with a mandatory $60 plastic peripheral? Do you think that would help?07/05/2015 - 8:09pm
MattsworknameI dont think so, I think that between the lose of iga, kojima, and so forth, i think MGS 5 will be less succesfull then they think, and tha will spell there end.07/05/2015 - 7:08pm
Andrew EisenI'm sure the Metal Gear micro-transactions will keep 'em afloat!07/05/2015 - 6:58pm
MattsworknameKonami is dying, slowly, surely, inevitably. Capcom is in the same situation, and I think that if they don't get there respective acts together, there going to pull a thq and sell off all there IP.07/05/2015 - 6:51pm
Andrew EisenHowever, if you have a gaming PC and like PC gaming, the Wii U is arguably the best console you could get (unless you just don't care for Nintendo's games, of course).07/05/2015 - 6:07pm
Andrew EisenAnyway, if the Wii U is your only gaming platform, yeah, you're missing out on a ton of great stuff.07/05/2015 - 6:06pm
Andrew EisenMatthew is referring to my latest video, if anyone's wondering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkuL1UVHYJA07/05/2015 - 6:00pm
Matthew Wilson@AE the wiiu may have the best exclusives among consoles, but lack of third party support kills it. now if we want to play the exclusives game, the pc wins, not just in numbers,but some of the best games I have played.07/05/2015 - 5:53pm
Andrew EisenPic of the pack with measurements: https://twitter.com/paulfeig/status/61768231705475481607/05/2015 - 5:38pm
Andrew EisenThis is really cool to see. Ghostbusters director helping out cosplayers with prop pics. Here's the thrower with measurements: https://twitter.com/paulfeig/status/61735089365938995307/05/2015 - 5:37pm
 

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