Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

January 4, 2011 -

Conservative gadfly Phyllis Schlafly put together a list of New Year's resolutions that incoming freshman republican lawmakers on the state and federal level should adopt, in her estimation. Schlafly tackles all the usual conservative bullet points including school choice, healthcare, the Boy Scouts and video games. Here is one of the resolutions she proposes in her Townhall.com column:

"VIDEO GAMES: 'There shall be no sale, rental or arcade-playing of extremely violent video games by children without parental consent.' Explanation: Video games are increasingly graphic and harmful."

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Cory Doctorow on Net Neutrality

January 3, 2011 -

Cory Doctorow, best known as the genius behind Boing Boing offers some opinions on the recently approved FCC rules on net neutrality in an editorial called "Net Neutrality for Writers: It’s All About the Leverage." The column is from the January 2011 issue of Locus Magazine.

He starts out by bashing the compromise the FCC accepted when it enacted new rules. For one, the whole transparency thing is worthless because it does not stop service providers from shaping or managing traffic.

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Activision's George Rose on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA

December 30, 2010 -

Activision Blizzard vice president and chief public policy officer, George Rose pens an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle explaining why the "California ban of violent video games must go." One would expect that the opinion of a pro-industry lawyer would be that the law penned by State Senator Leland Yee and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 would be that it is wrong-headed over regulation and overreach on the part of the state.

The bulk of his ire is pointed at supporters of the law, who grasp at straws like "Postal" and cite studies that back up their positions on violent games:

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Ask a Psychologist: Video Games and Relationships

December 28, 2010 -

Dr. Stacey Soeldner, a clinical psychologist and "life coach" with Riverhill Psychological Associates in Manitowoc, Wisc., loves to answer reader questions in her column "Ask a Psychologist." Today's question has to do with a wife's angst over her husband's "obsession" with video games. The question:

Q. My husband and I have been having difficulties lately, and I believe it is due to the amount of time he spends playing video games. We are always arguing about this, and he just tells me that I am crazy. I do not understand anything about these games, so maybe I am wrong. I just think that this is an obsession for him. Am I the crazy one?

Her Answer? No, she is not crazy. The good doctor does point out that, while the "American Psychological Association has not identified playing video games as an addiction or obsession, it has been researching it."

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Michelle Malkin: Net Neutrality like 'Obamacare' for the Internet

December 22, 2010 -

An editorial penned by conservative firebrand and regular Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin calls net neutrality "Obamacare" for the Internet. Malkin says that net neutrality is really about expanding the government's control of the Internet, and less about protecting consumers from big corporations. Speaking about the FCC's vote on Tuesday, Malkin describes it this way:

"The panel will devise convoluted rules governing Internet service providers, bandwidth use, content, prices and even disclosure details on Internet speeds. The "neutrality" is brazenly undermined by preferential treatment toward wireless broadband networks."

She goes on to compare it to Obamacare, in that it provides less access, not more:

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Leeland Yee: Parents should be able to control what kids watch

December 20, 2010 -

An editorial penned by California State Senator and anti-game crusader Leeland Yee says that parents should be able to control what kids watch, but how parents come to that conclusion is the probably a sticky subject for many of our readers.

In the editorial Yee says that California has "been hard at work trying to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent video games. In the Legislature, we have attempted to give greater authority to parents in determining which video games are appropriate for their children."

He is of course speaking of the law they passed five years ago that was ultimately struck down by the courts shortly thereafter:

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Games That Tried to Tackle Political Themes in 2010

December 17, 2010 -

PopMatters highlights two things we love here at GamePolitics (gaming and politics, of course) in a year-end feature called Gaming and Politics in 2010." The feature details three games that tried to tackle serious political situations this year. Sadly - as the author points out in the lead-in- only one managed to pull it off.

The games highlighted in the feature include Medal of Honor, Fable 3, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I do not want to spoil which game got it right, but below is an excerpt about Fable 3 to give you an idea of this feature's angle:

"As I’ve written before, the end of Fable 3 asked you how you want to spend your kingdom’s money and the choices boiled down to two options: social services or military defense.

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Entertainment Industry Trade Groups: Lawsuits Don't Protect Property

December 13, 2010 -

Trade groups including the Recording Industry Association of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Motion Picture Association of America say that currently copyright law gives too many excuses to service providers to do nothing about copyright protection. The statement is part of a response to a Notice of Information on copyright policy issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Notice of Information is a request for information from interested parties and anyone else that wants to make comments about a particular issue. That request garnered responses from nine trade groups.

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Net Neutrality and the Netflix Effect

December 10, 2010 -

While Net Neutrality is headed to the next FCC meeting on December 21 for a vote, commentators are talking about the negative and positive effects of new regulations. One such commentator is ZDNet's John Carroll, who sees services like Netflix as a big problem for both pro- and anti-net neutrality camps.

On the one hand, Carroll believes that regulation is important because it keeps service providers from controlling content it does not own and prioritizing content it has a vested interest in. This argument has been made against companies like Comcast, who wants to buy up NBC Universal. Net Neutrality advocates point out that there would be nothing stopping the new mega-company from prioritizing the content it owns - even if it does not actually slow down or block services out of its control.

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Acting, Kinect and Protected Speech

December 10, 2010 -

Is acting protected speech, and if so, is acting in a video game - especially in the age of motion sensing console devices - protected speech as well? This is the theory thrown out in a thought provoking post called "Is Playing a Video Game Conduct or Speech? Lessons from Microsoft Kinect" over at Law Law Land Blog.

Steven Smith kicks that idea around a bit, comparing the acting kids do in video games to the actions in a school play. The idea begins at GameStop, where Smith is buying a game for his daughter:

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RPS Editorial on Panorama Game Addiction Show

December 7, 2010 -

Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker responds to the Panorama TV episode on game addiction (it aired on BBC 1 in the UK last night) with an editorial of his own. While acknowledging that he does not "possess the evidence that gaming does not cause addiction," Walker lays into the Panorama episode and its host for producing a slapdash expose on gaming addiction, leading viewers to conclusions without providing any real evidence.

For example, the show promised to provide details on the secret mechanics that keep gamers "coming back for more," but that secret gaming sauce was never revealed during the program. Likewise, while the host talked a lot about studies that claimed to make a connection between gaming and addiction, no proof was ever provided.

Here is a sample from Walker's editorial:

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Pretension +1: Don't Get Mad About Year-End Lists

December 3, 2010 -

It is that time of the year where everyone and their moms have a year-end list of the best and worst games. Some will accept these lists and "agree to disagree" on some picks, but some gamers will take to the comments of these articles and call the author(s) every name in the book. The latest Pretension +1 column from Gus Mastrapa over at Joystick Division asks angry gamers everywhere to just take a chill pill.

Here is a bit on why many gamers seem hell-bent on a fight after reading a year-end list:

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Reason TV on George Will Column

December 3, 2010 -

Reason TV takes a crack at conservative columnist George Will's recent editorial in the Washington Post about the the parallels between current the concerns about violent video games before the Supreme Court and the controversy over comic books in the 1950s. In the column Will also mentions past crusades against media that would turn our children into all manner of depraved deviants including ragtime music, 'penny dreadful' novels, jazz, 'penny theatres,' radio, movies, rock 'n' roll, rap, TV, and the Internet.

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LA Times Editorial: Fighting the Terminator on video games

December 1, 2010 -

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times penned by Gail Markels (attorney, former general counsel to the ESA, and a shaper of the industry's video-game rating system) and George Rose (executive vice president and chief public policy officer for Activision Blizzard) points out that the California video game law before the Supreme Court (penned by child psychologist, California State Senator, and possibly future San Francisco Mayorial candidate Leeland Yee; and signed into law in 2005 by soon-to-be former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) is trying to accomplish a task that has already been completed.

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Opinion: Industry to Blame for Schwarzenegger v. EMA

November 29, 2010 -

In an opinion piece written by John Teti for Eurogamer, the former Crispy Gamer staff writer gives his opinion on Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association and why it is the industry's fault that games are not seen as the "art" that many developers claim that it is in the eyes of the political class.

"My biggest fear is that the EMA will lose this case. My second biggest fear is that they will win. "

In their celebration, they're liable to miss the real lesson: they brought this near-disaster on themselves. It's the studios' own craven, short-sighted management of their image that makes it possible for opportunistic politicians to bring the heat.

In an astute opinion piece last month, Rob Fahey argued that the stated intent of the law - to keep kids from buying games meant for adults - did not seem so onerous, even if the actual language of the California statute was "hasty" and "ill-considered."

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Why Video Games Are Stuck at The Thanksgiving Kids' Table

November 29, 2010 -

A column in the Iowa State Daily explains why politicians continue to think of video games as nothing more than kids' stuff, comparing the perception of the pasttime to a college student returning home for Thanksgiving:

"Thanksgiving break is over, and I am sure a few of you were met with the surprise, upon your arrival home, that you would be relegated to the children's table. Despite your learned knowledge as a college student, you were still deemed unfit to sit next to your elders and discuss body scanners, Obama's approval rating and corn prices — opting instead to challenge your cousin to a deviled-egg eating contest.

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Video Game Editorial vs. Editorial

November 15, 2010 -

In a response to a recent Tampa Tribune Editorial Board editorial backing California's efforts to ban the sale of violent video games to minors (called "Videos kids shouldn't play"), psychologist (and associate professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Texas A&M International University) Christopher Ferguson pens a strong series of counter-points.

Among the litany of valid points made by Ferguson, is the emphasis on the fact that science just does not support what the state of California is trying to prove; a conclusive correlation between playing violent video games and violent behavior.

Instead of running down all of Ferguson's points, here are a few samples from the article:

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When Journalists Attack: Gizmodo

November 12, 2010 -

Everyone loves a good rant, but Gizmodo writer Joel Johnson delivers a particularly scathing rebuke to readers and commenters who are often a little self righteous and overly personal when disagreeing with an article. The colorful verbal lashing from Johnson might be considered beyond the pale by some, though. Here's a bit from a section entitled "You Don't Get To Call Us Unprofessional," where the writer questions the readers' intelligence:

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Young Voices Speak Out About Video Game Violence

November 9, 2010 -

The Charlotte Observer offers a regular feature called Young Voices, that polls the youth of the wonderful North Carolina city on the hot button issues of the day. The latest column asks teens age 14 - 18 if violent videogames should be sold or prohibited from people under the age of 18. The answers may surprise you. Some kids think that it's okay for kids to play mature-rated games, others think they should have to wait until they are 18, and some think it is up to the parents.

First here is the question that was asked of these young people:

Q. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether selling violent video games to anyone under age 18 should be prohibited by law. What do you think? Should persons younger than 18 have the right to buy video games? Why or why not? Should restricted such access be left up to parents and not the law?

Now here are some of the answers:

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Your Anti-Game Op-ed of the Day

November 5, 2010 -

The author of an opinion piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a piece ostensibly related to the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, takes a hatchet to videogames.

Author Jack Markowitz offers, “grudgingly,” that “the Supreme Court will uphold the precious freedom to sell stupid, overpriced electronic games to children.”

Game Developer Argues for Free Speech in Post Editorial

November 1, 2010 -

Game developer Daniel Greenberg (pictured) has authored a Washington Post opinion piece in which he argues that the Supreme Court should rule that videogames are free speech when it eventually rules on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA.

As a game developer, Greenberg called himself “disheartened and a little perplexed” at seeing games compared to cigarettes and alcohol by California State Senator Leland Yee, and he wondered “how government bureaucrats are supposed to divine the artistic value that a video game has for a 17-year-old.”

In describing newer games such as BioShock, Fable 2 and Fallout 3, Greenberg wrote:

Duke Nukem Dev Says Game Legislators Are "Bullies"

October 23, 2010 -

Duke Nukem Forever is scheduled to launch next year and it’s bringing all the guns, violence, blood, baddies, babes, and boobs it can to make sure the decade-plus wait was worth it.

But what will the various ratings bodies such as the ESRB and PEGI think of Duke?  Will they slap him with a sales crippling rating?

Developer Gearbox Software’s big cheese Randy Pitchford revealed his thoughts to CVG:

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Race Politics and First-Person Shooters

October 19, 2010 -

An interesting opinion piece on The Atlantic Wire looks at race politics in video games, focusing on first-person shooters. Author Max Fisher talks about Resident Evil 5, Medal of Honor and Modern Warfare 2, inspired by an essay from Jim Gourley for ForeignPolicy.com.

The thrust of the opinion piece is about the painful transition from conflicts against zombies and fictionalized Nazis to real world conflicts involving real groups of people and how developers portray them. Here's a taste:

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Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

October 7, 2010 -

A piece appearing on the website of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper, says it’s “too soon” for Electronic Arts to base a game in Afghanistan and calls the setting of Medal of Honor “disrespectful.”

The article’s author pulls no punches, labeling game developers “desperate and unoriginal” and “moving in all the wrong directions to please their audiences.”

The ability to play as the Taliban in MOH’s multiplayer component, a component since renamed, was termed, “neither educational nor acceptable and goes against every ounce of American patriotism pumping through the veins of our country's citizens.”

The columnist continues:

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Op-Ed: Opinions on Zynga Suck

September 10, 2010 -

In an opinion piece (which was originally published on GAMEbriefs), Nicholas Lovell takes the author of the recent SF Weekly expose on Zynga’s business practices (FarmVillains) to task for his tone. One passage in the article that really raised Lovell’s ire:

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The Pros and Cons of Jailbreaking

August 18, 2010 -

An interesting IGN Gear article lays out the pros and cons of jailbreaking your favorite mobile phone device, and points out that many of the things that were illegal to use before the Library of Congress ruling, remain just as unlawful. Last month the Library of Congress ruled that it was okay to jailbreak a mobile phone under "fair use." This ruling was a response to digital rights advocacy groups, who urged the Library of Congress to make a determination.

The whole point of this decision was to allow users to install legally obtained software on smartphones whose operating systems might otherwise prevent them from so doing (ahem - iPhone, Android, etc.). But a larger appeal might be with those that want to copy copyrighted materials - aps, music, moves, etc. - to phones. As the article points out, this is still very illegal.

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Games Seen as Culpable in Plumping of America

August 4, 2010 -

Do you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia or Mississippi? If you do, odds are you need to go on a diet and, according to one “expert,” cut back on playing videogames.

The population of the states listed above had obesity rates in excess of 30 percent, according to statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An article on Florida’s TCPalm.com, where the obesity rate clocked in at 25.2 percent, discussed the fattening trend with Dr. Jefferson Vaughan, a surgeon based in Jupiter, Florida. Vaughan on the obesity epidemic:

There has been a generational change. When I was a kid, there were three TV channels and they all played Watergate tapes.

Today it's much more convenient to go through the drive-through while your kid plays his Game Boy in the back seat.

22 comments | Read more

UK Children’s Advocate: Turn off the Games & Movies in Cars

August 3, 2010 -

The UK’s first Communication Champion for kids thinks that long car rides are the perfect chance for children to “double their vocabulary,” but that the proliferation of in-car entertainment devices like games and DVD players, if enacted during a trip, eliminate any chance for growth.

Jean Gross issued the warning, stating that kids from affluent families, who were more likely to be able to outfit their cars with the electronic devices in question, were more at risk.

Gross stated:

I remember [when my children were little] we did spotting games in the car, but with the Nintendo DS and other hand-held video games it's going to be more affluent parents whose children have problems learning to speak, not just those from poorer homes who have less exposure to a wide range of language.

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A Litany of Reasons Why Games Aren’t Permissible Under Islam

July 26, 2010 -

Blogger Ebrahim Saifuddin used his medium to pen an interesting look into why he believes videogames are haram (forbidden) for Muslims.

In his article, posted late last year, the author uses passages from the Qur’an to guide his opinion on whether specific game components are haram or halal (permitted). Ebrahim begins with music in videogames, citing four spots in the Qur’an as indicating that music is haram. Among the passages cited was the following (though it seems a bit wide ranging):

There is a man among the people who buys discourses of distracting amusements, so that he may mislead (people) from the Way of Allah, and make a mockery of it. For such people there is a disgraceful punishment. [31:06]

Next up, the depiction of animate objects in games, such as humans and animals, which includes the author’s claim that, “Many a times the female characters in video games are highly inappropriately dressed.” The author concludes:

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Opinion: Videogames Could End Up Like Comics

July 23, 2010 -

In his latest Pretenstion +1 column, Gus Mastrapa warns videogame fans and creators that, if they are not vigilant, they could suffer the same fate as comic books. Using Comic-Con as the backdrop, Mastrapa points out that the show has become an amalgamation of TV, movies, anime and videogames, with comics mostly taking a backseat. As videogames have made many fans ignore comics, something could come along to do the same to videogames.

So how does Mastrapa suggest that gamers and game creators do to keep the fire alive? Here's an excerpt:

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ConsterZippy: uh, thanks? Don't know any PSP games, though.10/31/2014 - 10:10am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/business/2014/10/fcc-reportedly-close-to-reclassifying-isps-as-common-carriers/10/31/2014 - 9:44am
ZippyDSMleesomewhat ammuseing, http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/metallica_ask_fans_for_help_with_two_new_reissues.html10/31/2014 - 9:25am
Neo_DrKefkaAnyone remember that portrait from Resident Evil 1 in the gallery about a Middle Aged man full of worries? Anyone know the name of that portrait?10/31/2014 - 12:45am
MechaTama31Yeah, don't see myself getting a Vita or a PSTV...10/31/2014 - 12:04am
E. Zachary KnightWatch Ultron ruin all your Disney childhood memories in this How The Ultron Teaser Should Have Ended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra1sBRLRFtc10/30/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeConster:they finally made a working worth while PSP emulator.10/30/2014 - 8:10pm
quiknkoldMechatama31, you can get VC2 on the Vita and Vita TV. you have to buy it through PSN on PS3 and transfer it to vita and then playstation tv. I have it on my PS TV and it works10/30/2014 - 7:15pm
MechaTama31I loved Valkyria Chronicles. Still super cheesed off that the sequels were PSP-only... :/10/30/2014 - 6:57pm
ConsterI played Steamworld Dig on the 3DS, and it's pretty fun.10/30/2014 - 6:51pm
Matthew WilsonRECOMMENDED: OS: Windows 7 Processor: Intel Core2 Duo @ 2.8GHz (or equivalent) Memory: 3 GB RAM Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 (or equivalent) Hard Drive: 25 GB available space10/30/2014 - 5:49pm
Matthew Wilsonhere hare the system requirements. make of ithem what you will. MINIMUM: OS: Windows Vista/Windows 7 Processor: Intel Core2 Duo @ 2.0GHz (or equivalent) Memory: 2 GB RAM Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 240 (or equivalent) Hard Drive: 25 GB available spa10/30/2014 - 5:48pm
Andrew EisenStill a game I really want to play. Hope it's a solid port.10/30/2014 - 5:42pm
Matthew WilsonValkyria Chronicles pc port needs 25ggb. not bad exept this game came out in 08 on the ps3.10/30/2014 - 4:56pm
james_fudgeEZK: my sarcasm senses are tingling ;)10/30/2014 - 4:21pm
Andrew EisenIf it's any consolation, Xbox owners, Wii U owners don't get the game at all. And if we did, we'd probably never get the DLC.10/30/2014 - 4:19pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://kotaku.com/destinys-new-dlc-kinda-screws-over-xbox-players-1652294153 Sucks when the shoe's on the other foot, huh.10/30/2014 - 4:12pm
E. Zachary KnightSo a vocational school in Oklahoma is being evacuated because someone found a briefcase in the bathroom. Imagine that. A briefcase ina school. That's unpossible.10/30/2014 - 3:33pm
prh99Also, Nintendo wants to watch you sleep..for Science! (*in best Cave Johnson voice) http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/10/nintendo-wants-to-watch-you-sleep-for-science/10/30/2014 - 2:47pm
prh99I got it in a Humble Bundle, it's ok but the hype is definitely over blown. Also, only being able dig in the four cardinal directions made for some irksome digging..10/30/2014 - 2:38pm
 

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