GameTap Holiday Wishes...

December 20, 2008 -

Not much happening today in the way of news so I thought I'd share some holiday cards with you...

This one arrived via e-mail from GameTap.

Posted in
4 comments

ESRB Holiday Card

December 20, 2008 -

A nice card from the ESRB arrived in yesterday's e-mail...

16 comments

Clever 8-bit Holiday Card from Minus World

December 18, 2008 -

This very cool holiday card arrived via e-mail yesterday from the nice folks at video game comedy site The -Minus World...

10 comments

Detroit Prosecutor Updates Her Games-to-Avoid List, Finally

December 15, 2008 -

At least Kym Worthy has updated her list.

We last peeped the Wayne County Prosecutor during the 2007 holiday shopping season. At the time she was blaming games for the crime problem in Detroit and pushing an outdated list of ten games to avoid.

Ms. Worthy is back, reports the Detroit Free Press, with a brand-new list but the same old line:

The last year has convinced me more than ever that children are at risk of becoming desensitized to violence and can exhibit more aggressive behavior if they repeatedly play certain violent video games.

 

The [Sorensen murder] investigation revealed that the youths would often play violent video games. I believe that certain video games are connected to the proliferation of violent crimes being committed by youthful offenders such as Orlewicz and Letkemann.

Perhaps Worthy picked up on GP's criticism that last year's top ten list was embarrassingly outdated. This year's edition is cadged from the National Institute on Media and the Family's 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card:

  • Blitz the League II
  • Dead Space
  • Fallout 3
  • Far Cry 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Legendary
  • Resistance 2
  • Saints Row 2
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming

GP: If you think that this stuff is insignificant, consider that Worthy's 2007 list was picked up and subsequently regurgitated by the government of Thailand during its August video game crackdown.

37 comments

Education Expert Slams Video Games as Gifts for Boys

December 14, 2008 -

Fat, angry and stupid is no way to go through life, son...

At least, that's what an education consultant seems to be saying as he cautions parents against buying video games as holiday gifts for their teenage sons.

In a guest column for EdNews, Bill Costello writes:

Boys are spending more than thirteen hours a week playing video games. As a result, they're spending less time outdoors playing and exercising. Perhaps this is partially why they are four times more likely to be obese than they were thirty years ago.

Research consistently confirms that the more time boys spend playing video games, the more likely they are to do poorly in school—regardless of age. At a time when boys are already underperforming in school, video games only make the situation worse.

Many recent studies suggest that playing video games saps the motivation of boys and disconnects them from the real world... Violent video games are especially harmful. A definite link has been established between violent video games and antisocial behavior. Games like Grand Theft Auto and Halo can make your son more aggressive.

So if you're thinking of buying video games for your son this holiday season, you might want to reconsider.

62 comments

"Morally Responsible" Investment Firm Goes Gay Bashing in Games

December 2, 2008 -

The Timothy Plan, a Florida investment firm which bills itself as "conservative Christian," is warning holiday-shopping parents away from what it calls the 30 "most offensive" video games.

While the usual suspects (GTA IV, Saints Row 2, Blitz the League II) make the list, there are some surprises as well, including the T-rated Bully: Scholarship Edition and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

In its game rankings, the organization displays an obvious anti-gay bias. While it evaluates titles for sex and nudity, a gay/lesbian rating is also included, meaning that a game with a gay sexual encounter might get a double whammy when compared to a game where the sex is of the straight variety. This effect, for instance, pushes Fable II onto the group's most offensive list. Along that line a report prepared by the Timothy Plan contains this rather bizarre comment:

Army of Two: Homosexual Encounters: ...Somewhat homo-erotic undertones between the two main characters are present.

WoW made it onto the dirty thirty, thanks to a high "addiction" rating as well as a high rating for alcohol use (curse you, Noggenfogger elixir!).

How the group determined the addiction rank is really quite unfathomable. WoW received a 3, for example, the worst possible rating, while Lord of the Rings Online got a 1 and Age of Conan a 2. In fact, all of the MMOs were tagged for addiction as well as some multiplayer games like Halo 3. A few games (The Darkness, Devil May Cry 4) were punished for "demonic" references.

Timothy Plan president Art Ally (left) comments:

Many, if not most, parents who buy their kids video games really don't know the extent of sex and violence imbedded in them. From drug use, prostitution, murder and mayhem to vulgar profanity and blasphemy these games have become a powerfully negative influence on our kids...

 

I believe, if parents would take a moment to look at the report we've created, their game selections would be quite different.

The group maintains a corporate "hall of shame" which includes game publishers EA, Take-Two and Microsoft. The Timothy Plan also offers to screen your portfolio to see if any of your mutual funds have investments in shameful companies.

So helpful!

Document Dump: Get the Timothy Plan's game score card here. The group's press release with holiday shopping warnings is here.

Wii, Wii Fit Crack List of Top 10 Black Friday Buys

November 30, 2008 -

Black Friday kicked off the holiday shopping season and, for third straight year, Nintendo's Wii console remains a smoking hot gift choice, according to PriceGrabber.com.

The well-trafficked price comparision site lists top products searched for by consumers. Its most recent results, which include Black Friday data, show the Wii at #1 and the Wii Fit exercise board/game at #4.

Despite recent economic conditions, a press release cites an 11% uptick in Black Friday traffic at PriceGrabber over 2007's numbers. Pointing to sales driven by retailer discounts, PriceGrabber Ron LaPierre remarked:

Prior to the Black Friday weekend, 71 percent of shoppers intended to spend less money this holiday season compared to last year and 66 percent planned to give practical gifts. Thanksgiving and Black Friday traffic shows that value drives consumer spending. Consumers are responding to aggressive promotions and price drops on popular electronics.

Although the PriceGrabber list is heavily populated by Ugg boots, digital cameras, laptops and flat-screen TVs, there are several game items in the top 200. Following the Wii and Wii Fit are:

  • #21 Xbox 360 Premium System
  • #34 80GB PlayStation 3
  • #37 Xbox 360 Pro 60GB
  • #54 PSP Slim
  • #112 Xbox 360 Elite Bundle
  • #114 PS3 Metal Gear Solid 4 Bundle
  • #147 Xbox 360 Elite
  • #160 Cobalt/Black DS Lite
  • #163 Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit (PS3)
  • #164 40 GB PS3
  • #165 Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit (Wii)
  • #167 Xbox 360 Arcade Holiday Bundle
  • #168 Gears of War 2
  • #169 PSP Core System
  • #187 Guitar Hero World Tour Band Kit (360)

Via: Test Freaks

19 comments

Holiday Shopping: 10 Best Game Shirts

November 29, 2008 -

With the t-shirt serving as the centerpiece of many a gamer's wardrobe, The Examiner's Carol Orsini pens a fun article listing her choices for the top 10 gaming shirts for the holidays.

With the holidays right around the corner, nothing says 'I love you' to that special button-masher in your life more than the gift of garb. As one fanatical gamer to another, these are the absolute best t-shirts that loudly proclaim; 'Yes. I play games.' ...And as an incentive to you non-gamers, buying your gamer a shirt rather than a game equals more time they spend with you wearing it and less time that they're glued to the TV.

Check it out, and feel free to link to your own favorites.

16 comments

Leland Yee Urges Parents to Avoid Violent Games for Holiday Gifts

November 28, 2008 -

State Senator Leland Yee (D), author of California's contested video game law, has issued a press release urging parents to avoid violent video games when shopping for their children during the holiday season.

In doing so Yee referenced a recent longitudinal study which linked violent games to aggression in Japanese and American children:

There is mounting evidence that such ultraviolent video games have negative effects on children, and can cause real behavioral changes....

 

Eighty-seven percent of children between 8 and 17 years of age play video or computer games and about 60 percent list their favorite games as rated M for Mature, which are games designed for adults. It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in video games before making holiday purchases.

Yee cited the National Institute on Media and the Family's Annual Video Game Report Card, which includes a list of ten violent games to avoid. The Democratic State Senator also offered these guidelines to parents:

  • Be aware of advertising and marketing to children. Advertising pressure contributes to impulse buying.
  • Check the age ratings video game descriptors found on the box.
  • Read other reviews, such as www.mediafamily.org, www.commonsensemedia.org, www.parentstv.org, and www.whattheyplay.com
  • Become familiar with the game.
  • If there are violence and sexual themes in the title and cover picture, you can assume these themes are also in the game.
  • Look for games involving multiple players to encourage group play.
  • Pick games that require the player to come up with strategies and make decisions in a game environment that is more complex than punch, steal, and kill.
  • Avoid the “first person shooter” and “third person shooter” killing-machine games.
  • Discourage games that reward the player with more points or new scenes for anti-social and violent behavior.

GP: We should note that the findings of the longitudinal study referenced by Yee have been called into question by at least one other prominent game violence researcher.

41 comments

Florida A.G. Once Fretted About Wiimote, Now on ESRB Bandwagon

November 28, 2008 -

When gamers last heard from Bill McCollum, the Florida Attorney General was fretting that the motion-controlled Wii version of Manhunt 2 would have a generation of kids practicing to be killers. As GamePolitics reported in June of 2007, McCollum apparently got that idea from Jack Thompson.

These days, McCollum is, like many political colleagues in other states, urging parents to follow ESRB content ratings while shopping for holiday gifts. A press release on his official website quotes the Republican A.G.:

Though the holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, it is also perhaps the most important time of the year for consumers to make sure they know what they're buying for their loved ones. The ESRB rating system provides parents and others with age and content information which can be informative tools when purchasing games for family and friends.

McCollum's press release also quotes ESRB head Patricia Vance as well as ESA CEO Michael Gallagher.

But not Jack Thompson.

133 comments

Nebraska Attorney General is Latest to Partner with ESRB on Ratings Ad Campaign

November 26, 2008 -

AS we enter the holiday shopping season, the ESRB has apparently been working overtime to gain endorsements for its content rating system from state-level political heavyweights.

In recent days GamePolitics has reported that key elected officials in Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas and New Jersey have endorsed the ESRB ratings.

The latest to climb on board is Nebraska's Attorney General Jon Bruning (R). Yesterday, Bruning and the ESRB jointly launched a public service announcement which will air on local radio and TV. The campaign is designed to raise parental awareness of game ratings as parents begin their holiday shopping. Bruning, no doubt, is also expecting that the ads will raise parental awareness of Bruning.

In the spot, the A.G. is seen playing Xbox 360 game with his children. The game isn't shown, but we can safely assume it isn't GTA IV or Left 4 Dead. Bruning offers a comment in the accompanying press release:

Parents should be involved and take an active role in choosing games for their kids. The ESRB ratings are an effective tool every parent can use to pick video games that are age-appropriate and family-friendly.  I use them when I buy games for my children.  I hope Nebraskans will too.

GP: In addition to Bruning and others who signed onto the ESRB campaign recently, more than a dozen elected officials, primarily governors and A.G.s, are already on board.

As GamePolitics has pointed out before, the ESRB PSAs are a win-win for the game industry as well as for the political figures involved. The ESRB proactively gets its message out to parents. The political figures in turn are able  to promote an image of helpfulness and concern. Production costs are on the game industry's dime, and, because they are public service announcements, radio and TV stations run the ads for free.

From a strategic perspective, this campaign has been little short of brilliant. Whoever thought of it deserves a raise.

13 comments

New Jersey Senate Leader Teams with ESRB for Ratings Awareness Commercial

November 25, 2008 -

New Jersey State Senate President Richard Codey (D) has teamed up with the ESRB on a public service announcement designed to remind parents about video game content ratings.

Timed to coincide with the holiday shopping season, the PSA will air on local television and radio. Codey and ESRB President Patricia Vance unveiled the new campaign during a press conference at the Statehouse in Trenton yesterday.

In addition to his long service in the State Senate, Codey also served as New Jersey's interim governor after the 2004 resignation of James McGreevey.

Of his involvement with the ESRB, Codey said:

As a father, I know parents face tough decisions these days about the media they allow into their home. There’s simply no substitute for parental involvement and responsibility, and it’s important that parents play an active role in choosing games for their children. With the ESRB ratings, parents don’t have to feel like a Scrooge if their kids want a game that’s not appropriate for their age. The ESRB is a great resource that provides plenty of tools for parents to determine if a game is appropriate or to find a suitable substitute...

 

While many parents are aware of the ratings, and are making sensible game purchase decisions as a result, there is always more that can be done to raise awareness. Working with ESRB, we hope that these ads will help arm parents with the information they need to make the right choices about the video games they deem appropriate for their children and families.

Vance added:

Video games are no different than movies and TV shows in that they are created for a diverse audience of all ages. That is why it is so important that parents remember to check the rating when purchasing games for their children. I’m pleased to be joining Senator Codey in announcing this effort to reach out to New Jersey’s parents and educate them about the ratings.

Also on hand to support the campaign was Diane Zierler, president of the New Jersey Parent Teacher Association.

60 comments

Anti-Violence Group Checks up on Retailers' Violent Game Displays

November 24, 2008 -

An anti-violence group in Winnipeg gave poor marks to Wal-Mart and Toys'R'Us after conducting "inspections" of local retailers yesterday. Violent video games are among the items that concern Project Peacemakers.

Spokesperson Wendy Kroeker told the Winnipeg Sun:

The kind of toy we're trying to encourage here are those that build a child's creativity, a sense of collaboration and skills of co-operation.

 

With [video games], you don't determine the level of violence of your interaction -- the game determines the violence for you... It's not only that they're engaged in violence, it's violence directed against specific ethnicities ... and violence against women.

By way of example, Kroeker mentioned the Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto game series. The group's website explains their retail inspection process:

Our goal... is to raise awareness about the levels of violence in children’s toys and games and to call on retailers, government and the wider community to take steps to limit this violence... These are the kinds of things we were looking for:

  • Whether in-store displays promoted violent toys

  • Whether they sold violent and militarized toys, and particularly if they were at eye-level for young children

  • Whether toy guns were sold and how realistic they were

  • Whether violent electronic games were sold, how they were displayed.

85 comments

Kansas & Missouri A.G.s Remind Parents of Game Ratings

November 21, 2008 -

With the holiday shopping season upon us, a pair of Midwestern attorneys general have reminded parents to be mindful of ESRB ratings as they purchase video games for their children.

In Kansas, WIBW reports on comments by Attorney General Steve Six (D, left):

As a parent of four young children, I know how important it is to be informed about the content in video games and to make sure games purchased as gifts are age appropriate for your child. The ESRB computer and video game rating system is the best guide parents can use to determine if a game’s content is right for their children.

Meanwhile, Ozarks First reports on a more generic warning from the office of Missouri Attorney General. No comments are provided. That's likely because current A.G. Jay Nixon (D) was elected governor on November 4th and is in the midst of transitioning to his new role. 

 

42 comments

Mississippi A.G. Reminds Parents of ESRB Ratings for Holiday Shopping

November 18, 2008 -

With Black Friday and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season just around the corner, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) has reminded parents to follow ESRB rating guidelines when purchasing games for their kids.

As reported by the Madison County Herald, Hood said:

Every Christmas I review the ratings to determine what is appropriate for my children. I want other parents to know the ratings...

As GamePolitics reported, Hood issued a similar warning during the 2007 holiday season.

GP: For handy reference, GamePolitics features the ESRB's rating widget in our right sidebar.

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Andrew EisenAlready linked about 10 shouts ago.04/27/2015 - 4:00pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.polygon.com/2015/4/27/8503893/konami-delists-itself-from-new-york-stock-exchange This just in Konami and Capcom merge so they can ignore more IP's.04/27/2015 - 3:50pm
E. Zachary KnightNot really. I think people are overly critical of other game projects. Delays should be expected and shouldn't be considered a major failing and worthy of the crap they get.04/27/2015 - 3:09pm
Matthew WilsonI agree that Double Fine gets off way too easy compared to others.04/27/2015 - 2:40pm
PHX Corphttps://twitter.com/Nibellion/status/592762131264733185/photo/1 a Transcript reguarding the Situation at Konami has been found(CEO Went Nuts over mobile and wanted kojima removed from the company)04/27/2015 - 2:25pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, delaying games has been amassive point of contention for games that raised a fraction of what Double Fine did.04/27/2015 - 2:14pm
Matthew Wilsonand yes they went way way over budget from what I read.04/27/2015 - 12:33pm
Matthew Wilson@AE if they cancaled it there would be massive outrage, but people tend to be ok with a delayed game.04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
IvresseBleh, can't edit shout on my phone :-/04/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenHell, the Kickstarter itself raised WAY more than DF was asking but I saw no accusations of impropriety.04/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenA little over three years later (two and a half years after the estimated delivery date), the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter finally delivered the game. Oddly, I never saw anyone accuse Double Fine of scamming or conning anyone.04/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Ivresse@PHX Corp: Not only that, but Konami have just delisted themselves from the NYSE:http://polygon.com/e/826793404/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilsonwhile I felt bad for everyone outside the US who wanted to watch the HOTS finals, the fact it was on espn 2 in prime time is a major major step forward for video games.04/27/2015 - 12:14pm
james_fudgeThanks Papa!04/27/2015 - 10:43am
PHX Corphttp://kotaku.com/its-official-silent-hills-is-cancelled-1700379816# It's Official: Silent Hills Is Cancelled04/27/2015 - 9:48am
Papa MidnightI also hope that legislation holds the individual(s) who initiated the action is criminally liable for any and all harm that may come to persons involved (whether it be the cops or the victim(s)), as well as any property damaged suffered by any party.04/27/2015 - 8:16am
Papa MidnightJames: Small typographical error in the article for the NY Congressman's legislation: earlier is misspelled as "earlkier" (context: "Chuck Schumer (D) earlkier this month.")04/27/2015 - 8:14am
Matthew WilsonUC berkeley won, and they 3 years of free tuition for winning.04/26/2015 - 11:26pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://espn.go.com/watchespn/…/id/2497649/Heroes-of-the-Dorm heroes of the storm is being broadcast live on espn 2 never thought a moba would get a time slot like this on tv.04/26/2015 - 9:30pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://reason.com/archives/2015/04/09/the-dmca-chill-factor this is why the dmca should be changed or gotten rid off.04/26/2015 - 6:41pm
 

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