TLC Sues Zynga Over 'Oregon Trail' Missions in FrontierVille

May 19, 2011 -

The Learning Company, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt subsidiary, has filed a lawsuit against Zynga in the Massachusetts district court over "Oregon Trail" missions in its Facebook game FrontierVille. The complaint alleges that Zynga is infringing on its classic educational game Oregon Trail and seeks an immediate injunction to halt Zynga's missions while the court sorts the whole mess.

The lawsuit uses a YouTube trailer of Zynga's missions as evidence that the similarities between them and its classic game - now also a Facebook game - are striking.

TLC says in its complaint that the social game maker's use of its intilectual property is "deliberate theft of the goodwill associated with the iconic The Oregon Trail Mark, which the company has spent millions of dollars promoting since 1971."

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New England Town Keeps Video Game Ban in Place

May 9, 2011 -

You may remember our report on a small coastal Massachusetts town that banned coin operated games from grocery stores and bars in 1982. Well recently, the town of Marshfield voted on lifting the ban and the results were surprising. By a vote of 655-554 at a recent Marshfield Town Meeting, residents rejected lifting the town's ban on coin-operated video games. It has been 29 years since the people of Marshfield chased Donkey Kong out of town and it looks like him and his ilk are still unwelcomed.

George Mallet, a long-time resident who petitioned the town to consider repealing the law at annual Town Meeting, thought resident had come around.

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Massachusetts Bill Flirts With Video Game Tax Breaks

May 4, 2011 -

Developers could get a decent 25 percent tax credit on production cost if their products bear a "Made in Massachusetts" logo. According to data provided to Develop by a tax specialist firm, any developer making less $1 million would be eligible for the 35 percent payroll credit. The savings would not be transferred to individuals, but to studio accounts. In other words, if the bill were to be passed, Massachusetts studios could attract better talent with bigger wages.

The information comes from a new Develop feature that taps two executives from specialty tax services provider Alliantgroup, who details the benefits of the bill. Alliantgroup managing director Dean Zerbe and senior associate Angelique Garcia said that the proposed tax breaks for video game studios would turn Massachusetts into a "safe haven" for games studios.

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ECA Action Alert: Massachusetts Net Neutrality Law

March 15, 2011 -

The ECA has issued an "Action Alert" asking its members to help influence a Massachusetts net neutrality law sponsored by Massachusetts Representative Tom Sannicandro. The full alert from the ECA is below:

"The internet has allowed mass communication and collaboration on a scale never before seen in human history. People from vast distances are able to work together on projects and weigh in with thoughts concerning issues that matter to them. We ask you to add your thoughts regarding an issue that should matter to you – net neutrality.

Massachusetts Representative Tom Sannicandro has recognized this tool for what it is and will introduce a bill concerning Net Neutrality that involves people’s input using LexPop. You can get started and add your thoughts about Net Neutrality here.

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Schilling Talks Rhode Island Relocation, His Aversion to F2P

March 3, 2011 -

Speaking to Joystiq, former Red Sox pitcher and current CEO of 38 Studios Curt Schilling talked a bit about his company's growth over the last year and his decision to move his studio from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. Schilling said that the company's 150 - 160 employees are already in the process of moving to the brand new facility in Rhode Island.

"The team is incredibly excited. It's our building! We have all six floors -- it's our studio and we're alone. It's our space," Schilling told Joystiq at an EA GDC event. "Gavin -- the studio GM -- and I, we really took a Disney approach. There's no detail too small for us in the new studio to make it a place where people walk in and say, 'I wanna work there.'"

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Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration Takes Heat from Advocacy Groups

February 11, 2011 -

The Owlchemy Labs, a Massachusetts-based developer of wacky and silly games, is taking some local heat from advocacy groups for its iOS game Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration. In Smuggle Truck, players drive a pickup truck loaded with illegal immigrants. The goal of the game is to bring them over a fictional border while avoiding bumps that make them fall off the back of the truck.

Owlchemy Labs claims on the product page for the game that it was created out of a "the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States. With such a troublesome issue being largely avoided in popular media, especially video games, we felt the best way to criticize it was with an interactive satire."

The company also claims that they "maintained a meticulous eye to avoid depicting stereotypes and specific locales."

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Harvard Professor: Mass. Targeted Industry Subsidies Unfair

January 28, 2011 -

The Boston Herald offers an editorial on state representative Vincent Pedone's proposal to offer tax breaks to the game industry in Massachusetts. The author, Edward L. Glaeser (professor of economics at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book "The Triumph of the City"), compares it to the disastrous results of Evergreen Solar and ponders aloud if this is all "throwing good money after bad?"

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MA. Considering Incentives for the Video Game Industry

January 18, 2011 -

Correction: I erroneously wrote earlier that "Massachusetts has a thriving video games industry - mostly in the Western part of the state in and around Boston." This is quite incorrect and doubly embarrassing because I actually live in Massachusetts (I do know where Boston is, for the record). A revised story below:

Massachusetts may join Texas, Georgia and countless other states that offer some sort of tax incentives to the interactive entertainment industry. According to a report in the Boston Herald, supports of the effort want to expand the "the state’s $2 billion video game industry to $20 billion" within the next five years. To do that, the state will have to be willing to invest in incentives, but opponents say the state is already in the red.

One of the initiative’s supporters, State Rep. Vincent Pedone (D-Worcester) said it is too early to say what the effort would cost, but wants to expand the industry:

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Massachusetts Gets Serious About Video Game Industry

December 22, 2010 -

Becker College administrators, elected officials and other interested parties want the video game industry to grow in Massachusetts. A recent series of pitches at the Southboro, Mass.-campus attempted to kick start the process at the college level. Through education and tax credits and other incentives at the state level, Massachusetts can be a more attractive location for game companies, echoed many of the speakers.

To that end, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray announced at the conference held at Becker College this week that a campus-based policy and research institute will be established.

Over the next 90 days, state officials and administrators at the college will work to establish that institute. Murray said the state would also work toward implementing a broader plan to support the video game industry.

"We think there's a unique opportunity right now to begin work on this comprehensive statewide plan," Mr. Murray said.

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Worcester Councilor Pushes for Videogame Incubator

October 27, 2010 -

Worcester, Massachusetts is a burgeoning videogame hub, anchored by Becker College, which was rated by the Princeton Review as having the fourth best videogame design program in the United States.

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Still No Incentives Planned for Massachusetts Developers

October 13, 2010 -

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

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

Middlesex, MA DA: Violent Games Contribute to Numbing of Youth

October 12, 2010 -

Following a recent rash of violent crime, the district attorney for the Massachusetts county of Middlesex is attempting to pin at least some of the blame on violent videogames.

District Attorney Gerry Leone, when asked about the recent transgressions, stated that “None of this surprises me,” adding, “I find young people have a more cavalier attitude toward crime than they've ever had.”

Continuing, Leone stated that today’s youth are “not really drawing the boundaries between a bad choice and a really seriously bad choice.” Why? “I attribute that to the numbing of our young people,” answered Leone.

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Interactive Sim Used to Scare Kids Away from Texting While Driving

September 30, 2010 -

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

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

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

He continued:

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MA. State Treasurer Backs Celebrity Calamity Tournament

September 14, 2010 -

Massachusetts State Treasurer (and gubernatorial candidate) Tim Cahill, and the Doorways to Dreams Fund, have teamed up for the Celebrity Calamity video game tournament. The Celebrity Calamity tournament is a statewide financial entertainment game competition for residents of the Bay State.

Celebrity Calamity is a casual game that teaches financial literacy. Players become the business manager for three celebrities (an actor, an athlete, and a musician) who spend beyond their means. Players must effectively use a bank account, debit card, and credit card to be successful as well.

During the tournament, players earn points that qualify them for a chance to win gift cards being given away weekly. The highest scoring player during the tournament period (September 1 - 30) receives an Apple iPad and recognition on October 9 at the Boston Money Conference.

The Financial Education Department, a program of the State Treasurer's office, funds the tournament. Treasurer Cahill oversees the Treasury's Financial Education Department, which sponsors a variety of activities related to financial literacy in the state.

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GTA Said to Inspire Molotov-based Attempted Arson in MA

June 30, 2010 -

Claiming they were motivated by a Grand Theft Auto play session, a pair of Raynham, Massachusetts  boys were arrested after allegedly attempting to set fire to two buildings with Molotov cocktails.

The 12-year old and 16-year old tried to burn down a garage and an apartment building early Sunday morning with stolen gasoline poured into bottles, according to Enterprise News. The younger of the two suspects told police that “they got the idea from a video game they had been playing earlier in the night.”

Police Chief Lou Pacheco told the paper, (in a solemn voice, no doubt), “They appear to have crossed the line from virtual reality to reality.”

The boys were arraigned on charges of possession of an explosive device and attempted arson before being released to their families. The two are also suspected of going on a tagging spree as well, though thankfully there was no mention of the boys playing Mark Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure prior to that undertaking.

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Shaping the Future of Chinatown with a Game

May 4, 2010 -

In a bid to drum up community involvement among residents of Boston’s Chinatown, local leaders commissioned the development of a videogame.

Participatory Chinatown was developed by project partner Muzzy Lane Software, in conjunction with the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), Emerson College’s New Media program, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Funding was provided by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Competition.

A description of the game via the MAPC:

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Massachusetts School Latest to Intro Game Curriculum

April 1, 2010 -

The Brookline, Massachusetts-based New England Institute of Art is the latest school to offer a videogame design curriculum.

A Bachelor’s degree program in Game Art & Design is a new entry in the school’s Media Arts & Animation program and will teach students design, illustration, compositing, 3-D computer modeling and animation. Enrollees will start out learning the basics of drawing, color theory and 2D design before advancing to modeling and animation.

Advanced coursework will also include scriptwriting, storyboarding, character animation, and production.

Jason Donati, Chair of the Media Arts & Animation program, stated:

Everyone has seen the explosion of animation in the movie theaters, but the skill sets apply to the gaming industry as well.  We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity for our students to be part of this growing industry.

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Complete Game Marathon to Benefit Haiti

February 22, 2010 -

The Singapore-MIT Game Lab has planned a benefit for Haiti earthquake victims that involves epic lengths of game play.

The Complete Game Completion Marathon 2010 will see a group of teams attempt to complete a wide variety of games. The event takes place this weekend, February 26-28 in the Gambit Game Lab on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and will be broadcast live on Ustream.

Donations are being accepted via the Complete Game Completion Marathon 2010 website and will benefit Partners in Health, a group that brings modern medical care to poor communities and which has been active in Haiti for over 20 years.

A full list of teams, with the games they will play and the estimated time of completion, follows:

  • The Stickhandlers—NHL 10 full season—25 hours
  • Fire Hose for Haiti—Final Fantasy, Mega Man 9 and Mario Kart—35 hours
  • Being Bad for Good—Mass Effect 1 and 2—25 hours
  • A Song for the World—Hatsune Miku: Project Diva—30 hours
  • The Panzerfaustian Bargain—Left 4 Dead—8 hours
  • Team Funwolf—Shadow of the Colossus—8 hours
  • Team Funwolf: Lonewolf—The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time—15 hours
  • Clara Fernandez Vara—The Curse of Monkey Island—15 hours
  • Team Medkit—Doom 1 and 2—15 hours
  • Team Friendless—Phantom Hourglass—18 hours
  • Consoles Are So Last Millennium—every game on Marleigh Norton’s iPhone—13.5 hours

The Singapore-MIT Game Lab is a partnership between MIT and the government of Singapore designed to explore new directions in the development of videogames.

4 comments

Massachusetts Guv Proclaims Video Game Innovation Day

September 10, 2009 -

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is a tireless promoter of his state's growing video game industry.

Yesterday, the Guv made his support official. In a proclamation designating September 9th as Video Game Innovation Day, Patrick looked ahead to the launch of The Beatles Rock Band and harkened back to the creation of the original video game, Spacewar!, at MIT: 

Whereas In 1961, MIT students Martin Graetz, Steve Russell and Wayne Wiitanen invented the game Spacewar!, one of the first video games ever created; and

Whereas Throughout the Bay State, innovative companies are developing new gaming technologies from diagnostics to social media.  Our universities feature programs and curriculum that support the growth of the videogame industry; and

Whereas On this day, Harmonix Music Systems, the Cambridge-based inventors of Rock Band and developer of the original Guitar Hero games, is releasing The Beatles: Rock Band™, a game that will not only bring the creativity and joy of The Beatles music to countless people, but will introduce the Fab Four to new generations of fans,

Now, Therefore, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim September 9th, 2009 to be,  Video Game Innovation Day...

Mass Technology Leadership Blog points out that the official fun will continue next week when 300 tech executives, members of the Mass Technology Leadership Cluster, will gather to celebrate the proclamation and release research findings on the state's video game industry. If you're local to Cambridge, the event is free.

14 comments

38 Studios Boss Schilling Mulls Bid For Ted Kennedy's Senate Seat

September 3, 2009 -

Will former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling run for the Senate seat vacated by the recent death of Ted Kennedy?

If he does, how will MMO development at his company, 38 Studios be affected?

These remain open questions following yesterday's acknowledgement by Schilling that he is considering a bid for the late Kennedy's former spot. Writing on his 38 Pitches blog, Schilling was candid about his potential foray into big-time politics:

While my family is obviously the priority, and 38 Studios is a priority, I do have some interest in the possibility [of running]. That being said, to get to there from where I am today, many many things would have to align themselves for that to truly happen. I am not going to comment further on the matter since at this point it would be speculation on top of speculation.

Although Bloomberg reports that Schilling is a registered Independent, as GamePolitics reported during last year's presidential race, Schilling stumped for Republican contender John McCain. He is most definitely not an Obama fan.

The Boston Globe has additional quotes on the Senate issue from Schilling, including this one:

I'm not going to divulge the discussions, but I've been contacted by people whose opinion I give credence to and listen to, and I listened...

30 comments

ESA Sues Chicago Transit Authority over Ban on M-Rated Game Ads

July 22, 2009 -

The Entertainment Software Association has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Transit Authority, challenging a 2009 CTA ordinance which prohibits ads for games rated M (17+) or AO (18+) from appearing on its vehicles and facilities. 

GamePolitics readers may recall that in April, 2008 the CTA ordered ads for Grand Theft Auto IV removed from buses even before the game was released. The CTA action followed local news coverage of a rash of shootings in Chicago.

Shortly thereafter, GTA IV publisher Take-Two Interactive sued the CTA, charging that the agency had broken a $300,000 contract for the campaign. The parties settled the case later in 2008, with the CTA granting T2 a six-week GTA IV ad run. However, CTA officials moved to block future ads for M-rated games by passing the new ordinance, which took effect on January 1st and prompted today's legal action by the ESA.

ESA boss Mike Gallagher commented on the lawsuit in a press release: 

The CTA’s ordinance constitutes a clear violation of the constitutional rights of the entertainment software industry. Courts across the United States, including those in the CTA’s own backyard, have ruled consistently that video games are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as other forms of entertainment. The CTA appears unwilling to recognize this established fact, and has shown a remarkable ignorance of the dynamism, creativity and expressive nature of computer and video games. The ESA will not sit idly by when the creative freedoms of our industry are threatened.

The press release also explains some of the legal rationale behind the suit:

The ESA’s suit contends this new ordinance unconstitutionally “restricts speech in a public forum that is otherwise open to all speakers without a compelling interest for doing so.” In addition, the Complaint argues that the ordinance impermissibly discriminates on the basis of viewpoint and ignores less restrictive means of achieving the supposed ends of the ordinance.  

The ESA also stated that the CTA’s ordinance is unnecessary because game-related marketing is already subject to the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s Advertising Review Council (ARC), which strictly regulates computer and video game advertisements that are seen by the general public.  The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) assigns content ratings to computer and video games, which, in turn, are displayed on the advertisements for those games.

As GamePolitics has reported, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has a similar ban on M-rated game ads, likening them to X-rated movies. It is unclear at this time whether the ESA will pursue a similar action against the MBTA.

While the lawsuit also encompasses AO-rated games, as a practical matter, such titles are virtually non-existent in the U.S. market.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the lawsuit here (70-page PDF)...

Mass. Effect: State Legislator Wants Tax Credits for Game Developers

July 7, 2009 -

A Massachusetts legislator hopes to extend the state's tax credit for movie production to video game developers.

To that end, Rep. John Binienda (D, left) has proposed H.2690. The measure will be debated tomorrow in the State House.

Of his bill, Binienda told NECN:

It's basically just tax credits to keep this industry here. It's to bring jobs here, keep jobs here, and stimulate economic development.

 

The idea here is that if you could make some tax credits and some tax breaks, that not only could you get your degree here, but you could work here to keep the best and the brightest minds here, in the [video game development] field.

Passage of Binienda's bill appears uncertain at this point given that some of his legislative colleagues have expressed concerns about giving up tax revenue in the current economic climate. A similar measure failed to pass in 2008.

4 comments

Boston Mayor Who Forced GTA Ads from Public Transit Now Appears on Buses Pushing ESRB

July 2, 2009 -

It wasn't that long ago that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino forced the removal of ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories from public transit vehicles operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Menino's office also pushed (unsuccessfully) for video game legislation last year.

Thus, there's irony aplenty to be found in seeing Menino's face plastered onto Boston buses, courtesy of the ESRB.

Last month GamePolitics broke the news that Menino was partnering with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game industry's content rating system. The bus ads are just a piece of that campaign which also includes TV spots, radio ads and outdoor print ads.

Locally, the Boston Globe and Boston-based Joystiq blogger Alexander Sliwinski have both taken note of the appearance of Menino's mug on local public transit. According to the Globe, the ESRB forked over $43,195 to the MBTA for the three-month bus ad campaign.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Menino is running for re-election this year. Prof. John Berg of the Suffolk University government department commented on the ads:

They can do this stuff, which is no doubt intended to help the [re-election] campaign, but looks very legitimate because they’re taking advantage of their role as head of the city.

8 comments

Massachusetts Guv Brags About Guitar Hero

June 25, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) did a little bragging on Guitar Hero at a town hall meeting  in Arlington on Monday night.

Patrick, who lobbied game publishers to relocate to Massachusetts during a West Coast junket in February, was enthusiastic about the state's economic prospects during his talk with citizens, according to Wicked Local Arlington:

This is not your father’s [Route] 128. You know that [video game] ‘Guitar Hero’? That was invented here. It was built here.

Route 128 is well-known as a technology corridor in Massachusetts. Guitar Hero creator Harmonix is based in Cambridge.

2 comments

Games For Health Conference Livens Up Boston

June 10, 2009 -

The 5th annual Games For Health Conference formally kicks off tomorrow in Boston.

The conference, which runs through Friday, will feature a "Games Accessibility Day" today, devoted to examing way to make games playable by those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

The main conference agenda which begins on Thursday will feature more than 40 sessions:

Topics include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, bio-feedback, epidemiology, training, cognitive exercise, nutrition and health education.


Boston Mayor to Partner with ESRB on Ratings Awareness Campaign

May 27, 2009 -

He has been one of the video game industry's most aggressive critics in the past, but GamePolitics has learned that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) will partner with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game rating system.

The campaign, unveiled in Boston by Menino and ESRB President Patricia Vance, will feature T.V. and radio ads as well as outdoor print ads. Of the media blitz, Menino said:

Parents want control of the media that comes into their homes, and the entertainment that their children enjoy. That’s why it’s so imperative that we educate parents about useful and informative tools like the ESRB ratings and rating summaries, so they’ll be empowered to make informed choices about which games they deem appropriate.  I’m proud to be educating parents in our city about the tools at their disposal.

With today's news, Menino joins a number of high-profile elected officials around the country who have partnered with the ESRB on game ratings awareness campaigns over the past several years. Given Menino's track record as a video game industry critic, the turnabout is especially significant.

In 2006 Menino led a campaign to have Grand Theft Auto ads removed from public transit. In 2007 his office flirted with video game legislation authored by Jack Thompson. The Boston Mayor's video game bill was eventually submitted to the legislature in 2008, but died in committee.

Menino, who earlier this year touted Boston as a game industry-friendly city in an effort to attract jobs, is running for an unpredecented fifth term as mayor.

Watchdog Group Finds Dairy Queen Game "Egregious"

May 22, 2009 -

Stopping by your local Dairy Queen over the holiday weekend? If so, here's something to consider:

Ice cream-centric PC game DQ Tycoon has come in for some freezer burn, courtesy of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The Boston-based CCFC turned its attention to DQ Tycoon as part of its ongoing campaign to lobby Scholastic, Inc. to drop non-books items such as toys, make-up and video games from its school flyers. In a press release issued earlier this week, CCFC termed the game "egregious":

CCFC plans to continue to track Scholastic Book club offerings. One of the more egregious recent findings was the Dairy Queen video game, DQ Tycoon, which appears in Scholastic’s June 2009 Arrow flyer.

The Orlando Sentinel's education blog picked up on the theme:

Some might suggest that  DQ Tycoon isn't in the same league with a Newbery Medal winner for children's literature, such as Joseph Krumgold's And Now Miguel, my personal favorite.  But it apparently gets equal of better billing in the book club fliers. That coming of age book about a Hispanic boy in New Mexico, which won the Newbery in 1954, has been "thinker" literature for kids for 55 years. Will DQ Tycoon meet that test??

While it's true that DQ Tycoon is probably not going to change anyone's life, GamePolitics just had to ask: What's so bad about a game based on ice cream? CCFC spokesman Josh Golin responded.

CCFC: The game is egregious because it's an ad for Dairy Queen masquerading as a video game and ads for Dairy Queen have no place in schools. It is particularly galling that Scholastic is enlisting teachers as a sales force for the game because, at a time of heightened concerns about childhood obesity, many schools are limiting the types of foods that can be sold and marketed on their premises.  I think it's safe to say that without Scholastic, DQ would be unable to promote Blizzards (as many as 1,200 calories) in elementary schools.

GP: In my experience the "tycoon" game genre generally would seem to have at least some educational value, forcing players to plan, strategize, allocate resources, etc. Not exactly Manhunt 2. I noticed that the game next to DQ Tycoon in the ad is "1701," which I've played and which also brings a lot of historical flavor as well as the previously mentioned elements to the mix.

CCFC: I don't dispute for a second that some video games can have educational value. Our concerns are a) the highly commercialized nature of so many of Scholastic's offerings  (not just the games) and b) the fact that Scholastic sells so many things that are not books in its "book clubs".

The fact of the matter is that books clearly play a special role in schools which is why Scholastic is allowed into classrooms and given the unique opportunity to sell directly to students.  Scholastic is exploiting that access by selling so many things that aren't books.  I'm sure Game Stop or Toys R' Us would love to have teachers hand out circulars for them every month.

GP: So, why does CCFC hate ice cream? Just kidding...

48 comments

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.

29 comments

Mass. Effect: Guv Talks Game Biz with Microsoft

February 4, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's West Coast junket touched down in Redmond yesterday for talks with Microsoft.

Mass High Tech reports that Patrick (left), a Democrat, discussed the video game business with MS Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

While the Guv described his meeting with Ozzie as "very encouraging," the Microsoft exec apparently pulled no punches:

Ozzie suggested Massachusetts needs to reinvent its high-tech image.

“The famous Route 128 tech highway — people are thinking of that image as being in the past,” said Greg Bialecki, state undersecretary for business development, who accompanied Patrick on the trip. “How do we talk about a new conversation about what we are doing today?”

 

The [Massachusetts] regional gaming cluster already includes companies such as Turbine Inc., 2K Boston, Blue Fang Games LLC, Harmonix Music Systems Inc., Demiurge Studios, Tencent Holdings Limited, 38 Studios LLC, Mad Doc Software and Crate Entertainment...

 

Patrick said West Coast tech execs tell him Silicon valley has a greater “spirit of collaboration,” and “also the ability to start and fail and start again.” To keep entrepreneurs from heading west, Massachusetts will have to emulate that culture...

The Guv is on a mission to bring high tech companies - including game industry firms - to the Bay State. Patrick's other West Coast meetings this week include stops at Facebook, Google and Electronic Arts.

Massachusetts Guv to Woo Game Publishers During West Coast Junket

January 27, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will meet with Microsoft, Electronic Arts and other, unspecified video game publishers during a West Coast trip next week.

The Boston Business Journal reports that the Guv and several top economic advisors will meet with non-gaming high-tech firms as well, including Google and Cisco. Patrick's group is expected to visit with about 50 companies in all.

While the main purpose of the trip is to head off potential layoffs in Massachusetts, Patrick hopes to persuade game companies to set up shop there as well.

GP: Gov. Patrick might have a better chance with the game companies if the state legislature hadn't nixed a proposed tax break measure in 2008.

UPDATE: The Belmont Citizen-Herald has more on Gov. Patrick's trip, including comments from Massachusetts' Undersecretary for Business Development Greg Bialecki:

We do not have a national video game publisher and the governor will make the case that there is enough local video game development talent that a recognized video game publisher like a Microsoft or EA should be locating here in Massachusetts as well.

 
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Cheater87Look what FINALLY came to Australia uncut! http://www.gamespot.com/articles/left-4-dead-2-gets-reclassified-in-australia/1100-6422038/?utm_source=gamefaqs&utm_medium=partner&utm_content=news_module&utm_campaign=hub_forum09/02/2014 - 6:49am
Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
 

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