David Kushner on His New Book, 'Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto'

April 17, 2012 -

CNET has an interesting interview with games journalist David Kushner who talks about his latest book, Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto. The book takes a deeper look at the Grand Theft Auto phenomenon, and delves into related topics such as the game's development, the ESRB, Hot Coffee and Jack Thompson, amongst other topics.

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Mass Effect 3 Executive Producer Talks about the Game's Various Controversies

March 14, 2012 -

In an exclusive interview with Digital Trends, Casey Hudson, the Director and Executive Producer of Mass Effect 3, discusses a number of topics including the kerfuffle over same-sex relationships, negative player reviews on Metacritic, complaints over the game's ending and Day One DLC complaints.

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Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series Interviews Sandra Day O’Connor

October 13, 2011 -

In an exclusive interview with Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor urged educators in the United States to do their part to enliven civics education and engage students in the democratic process.

"You have to study [civics] and be taught how our system of government works," Justice O’Connor said. "And you have to be shown how each individual can be part of it and can make things work.”

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Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda Legal Threats

August 29, 2011 -

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson spent the weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle showing off new features in the latest Minecraft update (1.8) and the first official trailer for its upcoming game Scrolls. While there, he answered some questions about his pending lawsuit with Bethesda over the Scrolls game name. Bethesda alleges that the name "Scrolls" infringes on their trademark for "The Elder Scrolls."

When asked if he had any back-up names for Scrolls in the event that he lost the legal fight with Bethesda, Persson joked:

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2K Games President Inserts Foot In Mouth

July 13, 2011 -

A new interview with 2K President Christoph Hartmann over on MCV makes the top executive at the Take-Two label look a little foolish - not that it's MCV's fault. In that interview Hartmann degrades strategy games and Ray Charles among other things. His comments come about as part of a discussion on X-Com, the popular strategy games series that the company is reimagining as a strategy-themed shooter. Here's the first quote, about 90's strategy games:

"The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary."

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Nolan Bushnell Talks 'Speed To Learn'

June 16, 2011 -

Atari and Chuck E Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell talks to TechCrunch about how to improve education with video games in class and at home. Specifically he talks at length about his new arcade-based education platform. The Atari founder offers some early info on Speed To Learn, which he says aims "at changing the way kids learn, both in and out of school...We have a game system which teaches while you're playing a game like Dance Dance Revolution."

He claims that an increased heart rate can improve retention and mental capacity, and that his Speed To Learn tool will help students develop math and vocabulary skills. Bushnell says the platform, built for PC, will use motion-sensing software but would not divulge any specifics. Check out the interview to your left.

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Stardock Comments on GamersGate Criticism

April 14, 2011 -

Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock (the company that used to own Impulse before selling it off to GameStop), has struck back at GamersGate for comments its CEO said about Impulse. GamersGate CEO Theo Bergquist recently described Stardock's Impulse digital distribution service as "an outdated distribution platform", and implied that the recent purchase by GameStop had been at "a bargain."

Speaking to IndustryGamers, Wardell suggested that the comments from GamersGate were simply a competitor throwing punches at another competitor.

"In my experience, especially when a company CEO is criticizing another company, you usually learn a lot more about the company doing the criticizing," said Wardell. "I'm not a marketer but I know enough from being in this industry for years, and usually you punch up. You don't punch down."

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Report: Activision Offered Bizarre to Founders

April 6, 2011 -

According to excerpts from a soon-to-be-published Edge interview with former Bizarre Creations creative director Martyn Chudley, commercial manager Sarah Chudley, and former design manager Gareth Wilson, company leaders had the opportunity to buy back Bizarre Creations back from Activision. Now at Sumo Digital, the trio talk about the last days of the studio responsible for Project Gotham Racing and Blur. Activision shut down Bizarre Creations in February of this year after a three-month search for a buyer.

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Dan Houser on Making Movies, Games as Art

April 6, 2011 -

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser weighed in on whether games are art and if the studio responsible for Grand Theft Auto will ever switch gears and create movies instead of games. The question is a viable one as more details emerge about its latest project LA Noire. Frankly, LA Noire is as close to being a movie production as you can get the way Houser describes it:

"The game, like many of our recent games, has been an absolutely enormous production," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "With 'L.A. Noire,' we employed a massive number of actors in the game – over 400 – along with hair and make-up artists, a great television director, and as the game is set in the golden era of Hollywood, a lot of original costumes, props and other research from the studios themselves."

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ITIF's Daniel Castro on the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

April 1, 2011 -

Ars Technica offers a sit-down interview with Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). He is also a co-author of a2009 paper on Internet piracy, which was influential on the development and adoption of the U.S. government's Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) legislation.

In the interview, Castro says that the United States government needs to blacklist and censor web sites that traffic in pirated and counterfeit goods. Further, U.S. credit card companies would be "forbidden" from doing business with any of these blacklisted sites and U.S. advertising networks would not be allowed to advertise in these places.

Here is a choice quote about why COICA is the right way to deal with piracy:

Guerrilla Games: Level of Swearing in Killzone 3 'Just Right'

February 8, 2011 -

Sometimes developers can get carried away with the use of adult words in "mature" rated games (see Mafia II), but Guerrilla Games game director Mathijs de Jonge says that its latest game, Killzone 3, has just the right amount of colorful language.

Speaking to Edge Magazine, de Jonge talks about the merits of strong language in video games - where appropriate - and feels that Killzone 3 hits its swearing sweet spot.

"In Killzone 2 we ended up with too much of it," de Jonge told Edge. "The thing about swearing is that it's highly effective when it's done right, and in Killzone 3 I think there's some swearing but if feels a lot more impactful."

"It's at the right times," adds de Jonge. "In total, I think there's seven 'f*** yous' and one 'mother***er'. I think that's fine."

The level of swearing in Killzone 3 seems minor - almost non-existent, in fact - when compared to Mafia II.

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Bleszinski: Critics Have Made Games The 'New Rock 'n Roll'

February 8, 2011 -

Epic Games design lead Cliff Bleszinski says that video game critics have inadvertently been quite flattering to the video game industry. The man behind Unreal, Gears of War, and the upcoming game Bulletstorm, says that critics of video games have basically made it the "new rock 'n roll," creating a boogie man that parents are warned about on a daily basis by politicians, child psychologists, and the mainstream media. Bleszinski made the comments in response to a question by Computer & Videogames about Bulletstorm becoming a target of critics due to its gratuitous violence and adult language.

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Game Boxing: A Reimagining of JFK Assassination, 9-11

January 25, 2011 -

Game, Set, Watch points out a new art exhibit in New York City that takes important moments in history and turns them into game box art. The art is from Anthony Michael Sneed and the exhibit, "Hell For Hire," being shown by appointment only next month at the Artjail gallery.

Sneed's work in the exhibit includes pieces that might find offensive such as JFK: The Game, KKKocaine, and a 9-11 painting animation that combines the skyline from Punch-Out!! with the World Trade Center towers under attack.

New Pop has an interesting video featuring Sneed and his work which you can watch now.

Source: Game, Set, Watch

1 comment

Riot Games Developers File for Defense of the Ancients Trademark

August 19, 2010 -

Last week it was revealed the Valve had filed an application to trademark "DotA," the acronym for the popular community-developed Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients. This caused great concern within the DotA community over its future influence and input into the development of the mod. This week two Riot Games employees are trying to do something about it.

In an interview with PC Gamer, Riot Games' Steve "Guinsoo" Feak and Steve "Pendragon" Mescon revealed that they are exploring options to protect the DotA name. The duo have filed a "Defense of the Ancients" trademark application under Dota-Allstars, LLC - the company run by Mescon - to protect "the work that dozens of authors have invested to create the game and on behalf of the millions of DotA players all over the world."

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ECA's Halpin Elaborates on Letter Writing Campaign to President Obama

July 30, 2009 -

On Monday, GamePolitics reported that the Entertainment Consumers Association had embarked on a campaign to inform President Barack Obama about the many benefits that video games can provide.

The ECA undertook the campaign following Obama's recent admonition to "put away the Xbox." Over the last few years Obama has often referred to games as something to be set aside in favor of a greater good.

The ECA initiative received wide coverage in the gaming press. In a lengthy interview with The Grumbly Gamer, ECA President Hal Halpin elaborates on why the game consumers' group decided t take its case to the White House:

We [at ECA] had discussed addressing the President’s “put the video games away” aspect of his speeches several times, actually. At issue is the fact that we agree fully with what he’s saying in principle. Parents need to be more involved with what their kids are doing. They need to be more engaged and focus on understanding what media their kids are ingesting. They need to use the ratings systems as a benchmark – and it’s a great first step – but they should really take the few minutes to participate in that media actively.

 

I also agree that kids get far too much screen time, be it movies, TV, cell phones, the Internet, or computer and video games. So we hesitated a few times, hoping that some other form of screen time would be included as the example. But each time the speech was recycled, we waited with bated breath…and were disappointed that the focus remained on gaming and gamers. It began reinforcing the negative stereotype and was compounded by the media interpreting and reinterpreting his meaning. So we had to act.

 

A campaign is precisely the way to let the White House, and by extension everyone else, understand that gamers are tired of the mislabeling of both gaming and of gamers. By giving folks the access to our online advocacy tools, they can take the 30 seconds and make their voices heard. It’s fast, easy and free. You don’t need to be an ECA member. Just someone who wants gaming to be treated with the respect that other forms of media enjoy.

The ECA's online campaign referred to write to President Obama may be found here.

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

3 comments

Conservative MP Sees Pro-Game Future for UK

July 28, 2009 -

Bruce Everiss has posted a revealing interview with Conservative MP Ed Vaizey (left) over at Bruce on Games.

Vaizey, who was vocal in his support of the UK video game industry before it was fashionable to do so, offers some worthwhile insights:

I would see video games as art, they are creative, and they have by now their own heritage and cultural significance, which is one element of art.

[UK Conservatives] think video games have not been taken seriously by [PM Gordon Brown's Labour] Government.  They are a huge industry for us, we are world-beaters, and we should be looking at imaginative policies to support the industry as much as possible...

Vaizey also comments sensibly on another pair of hot-button issues, sensationalized media coverage and video game piracy:

You can’t [get the media to stop writing negative stories about games] – the media love bad news stories.  But I do think  the industry has made real strides in the last couple of years.  You see many more Wii type stories, emphasising the industry’s contribution to health and education, than you used to...

 

We will work with the ISPs [on piracy] to ensure that people who are ripping off games are held to account, we have to take tough measures to ensure this becomes much less of a problem.  But the industry has to adapt as well, and change its business models to account for the new era.

6 comments

Gamer War Vet Fears That Six Days in Fallujah Will Dishonor Those Who Served in Iraq

April 8, 2009 -

Just announced on Monday, Konami's upcoming Iraq War game Six Days in Fallujah is already into its third day of controversy.

Yesterday, GamePolitics reported on concerns expressed by several critics in the U.K., including a decorated former army colonel and the father of a Royal Marine who was killed in Iraq.

Today's interview with Dan Rosenthal is a little closer to home. Actually, make that a lot closer to home.

Dan (left) is a veteran of the Iraq War. He's a longtime gamer. He's also a law student and edits the excellent gameslaw.net blog, which we cite with regularity here on GamePolitics. I first met Dan at PAX 08. He attended GDC last month on on IGDA scholarship. So when he speaks from the heart about his war experience and his feelings about Six Days in Fallujah, I listen. As it happened, yesterday Dan and I interacted on Twitter about Konami's controversial game. Afterward, Dan was gracious enough to consent to this interview:

GP: Dan, when were you in Iraq? What unit did you serve with?

DR: I served in the U.S. Army, 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment... Our unit was based out of Florida with the Florida National Guard, but during our time in Iraq we were attached to several units... I arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, participated in the invasion of Iraq in March, and left around a year later.

GP: Where were you stationed for the bulk of your Iraq tour?

DR: During the invasion, we drove upwards through southern Iraq, helped secure the area around Nasiriyah, then moved northward and conducted operations out of Baghdad for the remainder of the time... If you've ever seen the movie Gunner Palace, that base was a few hundred meters away from our compound, a former Republican Guard general officer's quarters.  

GP: Did you see any combat?

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KronoThe underlying suggestion most of the articles had that gamers supporting the issue were just the young men stereotype pissed off a lot of people, and sparked the #NotYourShield tag09/18/2014 - 9:41am
Krono@andrew Just two? The whole reason #GamerGate gained real traction was that 9 op-eds including arguments to that effect dropped in 24 hours: http://markdownshare.com/view/a524affd-e679-40be-8aa1-72058065dc2a09/18/2014 - 9:38am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.gog.com/forum/general/double_fine_abandoned_spacebase_df9_development ITT: People who don't know what Early Access is.09/18/2014 - 9:32am
ZippyDSMleeFF2/4 remake now on steam.09/18/2014 - 9:13am
james_fudgeThis what they really think of us: http://www.donotlink.com/framed?54192709/18/2014 - 9:10am
ConsterAh yes, nothing quite says "I take offense to being associated with an awful few" like siding with said awful few.09/18/2014 - 9:07am
Michael ChandraSo be smart, and if you want to be part of the good guys, separate yourself from the bad guys. Don't attack those upset you won't.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraMeanwhile, Gamergate is tainted and wise people already use a different tag to defend decent arguments. Keeping it up is like going #KKK while arguing about PoC.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraSo while claiming to be unfairly attacked for the actions of a selected few, you unfairly attack an entire crowd for the actions of a selected few? #notagamer #butahater09/18/2014 - 6:30am
james_fudgeQuiknkold: Let me ask you- how many of those 'gamers are dead' articles did you see here? Because apparently i'm part of some vast conspiracy.09/18/2014 - 5:18am
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
 

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