Presidential Paintball Game Causes Alarm

January 23, 2008 -
A web-based game which pits the major presidential candidates against one another in cartoon combat has raised concerns.

The Smoking Gun reports on Presidential Paintball:
For the aspiring young assassin, a popular online games site offers kids the opportunity to assume the identity of a leading presidential contender and then shoot their political opponents in a series of armed confrontations in the White House.

While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants and squeeze off a hail of shots...

Of course, the imagery of Obama and Clinton, both of whom have been the target of threats and receive Secret Service protection, being targeted in such a manner--by children, no less--might be seen as troubling in some quarters...

Florida's ABC-7 has a video report, including reaction from a psychologist:
With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence.

Kotaku has more.



While it's often exciting to shoot a stream of paintballs as fast as you can pull the trigger, sometimes it's nice to slow things down a little bit so the focus is on accuracy and positioning rather than the speed of your fingers. The simple way to slow things down is to remove all hoppers and play one shot at a time.

Indie games always have more leeway with their "artistic vision" and thus why you can get away with using more controversial content. But talk about living in a cave. Miniclips is just the tip of the iceberg. You mean these people have never looked at the games from Newgrounds? Shiiii...

@ Gameboy

I remember reading that crap up. Patricia Pulling was the Jack Thompson of Dungeons and Dragons during that time. It finally got to the point where everybody told her she was wrong and she should shut up. The only reason her organization didn't last was because she died of cancer and was apparently its only member.

I mean... you know someone is heading towards Epic Fail when they think Necronomicon is an actual book...

So vitual paintball is ruining our children? It's strange, I've never heard of anyone trying to ban REAL paintball. Think about it, it falls in line perfectly with all of their arguments against gaming. It simulates the firing of a real gun, you inflict real pain on your opponents. Paintball would be the perfect school shooting training ground. So why don't you see this argument? Why don't politicians try to keep young kids away from paintball fields?

I think it's because paintball is too mainstream. People see it for what it is, harmless fun (as long as you wear your goggles!) I think a lot of parents don't see any harm in paintball. But why so many people insist that video games are a problem is beyond me.

uh...WTF? it's a flash game, seriously, these people will complain about anything.

to be honest there are times that i wish this is how we handled presidential debates, just hand the candidates paintball guns and set them at each other

on a more serous note, this is just absolutely retarded that people are getting up in arms about this, and to the lady wanting the site closed down for hosting it, if you don't like the rules regarding the freedom of speech in this country your welcome to leave and move somewhere where they might accommodate you with censorship laws

Hahaha, i alredy play it and its really funny my score is 20080.

But to be honest i dont see something really alarming in the game, its just paintball, but i suppose in candidate camping, any "images" with "guns" its a threat

it's PAINTBALL for fsck's sake!



They're probably worried that you can load red pellets.

Jesus H. Christ! Leave the games alone, as opposed to leaving your CHILDREN alone, growing up without caring parents.

Is it just me, or did that psychologist actually make a relatively unbiased statement concerning the treatment of videogames?

With this story that "deadly video game playing paintball 'killer'" book reported a few articles back doesn't seem so laughably absurd.

Ugh, blaming paintball and saying this is "training" "future assassins" due to a "sniper" scope.... What next, blaming carny games, outlawing water balloons and guns...

I'm hoping they didn't bother reporting this web game to the FBI and etc, like a certain someone did.

@ dustin1986
For years I've wondered why real paintball has never been targeted like video games are (ignore the pun).

Over at the morning show, "The Daily Buzz", they ran this story. Much to my annoyance. (It's normally a fairly interesting morning news show.)

Anyways, they are asking the question up on their site, "Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president & candidates?"

Please folks, write in politely and tell them why the "uproar" about this is ridiculous.

Paintball, the scourge of humanity! It has been stated TWICE! There's no denying it anymore.

Seriously though, I've lost what little faith i still had in America now.

@ WolvenOne27

It's not just you.

"With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence."

Key words are "their" in the first sentence and "tends" in the second sentence. That's very reasonable and I agree with it. People need to be concerned with their children and they are in a position to know if their children are demonstrating "more anger and aggressive behavior." If they are then stop them from playing violent games - it's called parenting. Violent games to tend to desensitize people - that's not to say that it's true in all cases, that it's substantial or that it's the cause of violent acts but there is a tendency to desensitize.

So it's not just you, people around here tend to knee-jerk.

Translation time:

"While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to PLACE A MOUSE CURSOR on six presidential aspirants and CLICK A BUTTON to squeeze off a hail of IMAGINARY, ANIMATED shots (which are accompanied with a rat-a-tat sound)…"

"Of course, the imagery of Obama and Clinton, both of whom have been the target of threats and receive Secret Service protection, being targeted in such a manner–by children, no less–might be seen as troubling in some quarters, THOSE QUARTERS BEING THE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND GAMES AND HAVE AN AGENDA TO PUSH…"

"With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, SOME FLAKY AND CONTENTIOUS RESEARCH INSINUATES THAT it tends to desensitize people from real life violence."

"While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants and squeeze off a hail of shots…"

Stupidest line in the history of the world ever.

Excuse me, but exactly how can one "train on a rifle" with a MOUSE? Hmm??

How was this one?:

""Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president & candidates?"

First off, the game in question is not to the death. Secondly, the candidates have no problem "taking shots" at various American citizens. Bigotry, hate, and ignorance are prevelant throughout the political system. A lack of research on many issues, a desire to dictate personal and religious beliefs upon others that don't believe the same and don't want such beliefs exposed to their children, misinformation, deceit, and many attacks on whole groups of citizens based on gender, race, religion (or lack thereof), sexuality, etc, have shown these supposed "superior" candidates to not have a problem "taking shots" at those they will be governing soon. So why SHOULDN'T they accept being depicted in a fictional setting in a negative way? The specific format of the Expressive media doesn't necessarily deal with the issues, but it is still a form of Expression. "

NW2K software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as


Actually, in that case "train" is referring to " to aim at an object or objective ". Not "train on" that you're thinking.

Hey thanks! Yep, pretty good. Though the sentence in the middle runs a little long. But the point still shines through.

I wrote them an e-mail myself, but I didn't think to save it. It was early ^^;.

It. Is. A. Game. Not. Real. Life.

@ Lovely

Here is my response to that question:

Why is it acceptable to take shots at our president and candidates?

Why do politicians feel that it is okay to sling mud and attack other candidates personally? Why do we look the other way when candidates attack each other in real life, but when a voter puts those attacks in a visual form of video games, we make such a fuss about it? The game is representative of the political mudslinging. Just because they use paintballs instead of mud balls, does not make it any less of political parody. This sort of parody is not unknown to editorial comics, so why can it not be used in video games?

Your question has brought more questions to the field than answers.

"For the aspiring young assassin"

*delayclose.jpg, Facepalm.jpg & headdesk.jpg*

seriously, what?! who, in their right minds (therefore excluding he who must not be named) would possibly consider this a training game for assassins?!

in fairness, the psychologist wasn't video bashing, and thats good. what he said was mostly backed by unbiased reports. however, dissentisation to violence is much more pervasive from the likes of the news, the film industry and so forth.

you cant just play the blame game on video games, media does desensitise people from violence, all forms, and in many cases, puts a positive shine over it.

i'm for balance on this issue. i'd like to see a report that compares these effects between games and other media sources, including the general pervasiveness in society today.

once we have that, we can make some sensible decisions.

Young assassin? That is biased towards older assassins damnit. Of course "everyone" knows that teh vidja games is for the childrens only. Its not like someone the age Lee Harvey Oswald was could play a video game, its not even possible!

Jack asses.

Also I find it amusing that video game paintball = kill training. While the outrage over REAL paintball which could feasibly provide some REAL combat training has relatively no outrage about it.


It looks like online virtual orgasmic rape to me.

In all seriousness, has anyone noticed that extreme violence in games is the only thing given a free pass? Something non-violent like paintball or a sideboob stir controversy, while every other shooter, regardless of violence, gets a free pass. Honestly, what the hell is going on here?

I think all this furor, and not just over this game but about video games in general, is because it's an election year. As soon as November is over, you won't hear anything else about "video games hurtz teh childrenz!" Of course, you have to wait until November. If you happen to have a DeLorean sitting in your garage, now is the time to use it.

And tell me if the new Batman movie is any good when you get back.

Well it got taken down off of the site. I tried to see it and I get a white page.

"...allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants ...."
Nowhere in the game do you actually have a rifle scope, nor can you "train" (meaning "aim") it on someone. You have a mouse. You click. It's funny as hell. The critics of the game need to grow up and realize that the freedom of the press is primarily to allow this type of political humor.


You've GOT to be kidding me.


Batman Begins was awesome, IMO. I'm a bit worrried about The Dark Knight, though. First they lost a camera man to a car accident during filming, now they have lost the Joker mid-production with Heath Ledger's death.

I don't know if we'll see Dark Knight for quite a while.

*Insert epic facepalm*

overreact much? *sigh*

Any time a form of media medium (print, TV, or in this case, flash game), is used to execute those running for public office, sends a direct message at Democracy itself. You may agree or disagree with a particular canidates views, but taking said canidate to a gun run (ok...this was an animated range at best...), is simply not a wise idea. Since, the lost of one, through an actual attack, would be an attack on us as Americans (again, whether you like the person or not).

There is however, another political game I saw on a few days ago. Its cartoony, its amusing, and it sort of keeps politcal backstabbing where it should remain. The name of that game escapes me at the moment.

"With the violent games, their concern needs to be if their children demonstrates more anger and aggressive behavior. As with all violent video games what happens is, it tends to desensitize people from real life violence."

If this is from a professionally trained psychologist, I will have to cry "bullsh*t". A psychologist, is a scientist, who should know better, then to make sweeping generalizations on things. Video games desensitize people at a lower rate then living in an area plaqued by voilence (whether from gangs vs other gangs, or warfare, i.e. Iraq). Frankly, if you become desensitized to violence from video games, your mental willpower and fortiude were weak to begin with.

are we sure that the smoking gun isnt just making fun of things
(they do have a tendacy to do as such)

The problem with that argument is that the game, from what I understand, doesn't lead to the death of the candidate "victim". It's paintball. Whether you're using a paintball gun, a water gun, or a spit ball shooter, technically, in real life or not, the "victim" isn't killed. So the form of Expression is even less serious because of the nature of the "weapon" used.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

umm everyone seriously the smoking gun at best is like mad magazine at worst its a tabloid i wouldnt worry bout what they print too much

This wouldn't be the first game on mini-clip to feature something like this. Bush Shootout, anyone?

Remember kids, the moral of the story is just to use real paintball guns.

Yes, a video game about a non-lethal sport is a tool to train snipers. Because we can train to aim, account for wind, movement, and a whole host of other things, based on firing a virtual paintball gun with a mouse click.

Maybe these critics should learn to pick their fights.

Ah nuts. Lost to McCain as Obama.

Why is The Smoking Gun assuming that the only users of are children? I played the game. My colleagues played the game. Believe me, none of us are children, and guess what...we ENJOYED it.

Furthermore, none of us have the urge to go out and kill anyone. Not one of us. Imagine that!

The single greatest lie in the world (yes, even bigger than Bush's claim that Iraq had nukes):

"Video games desensitize kids to violence-"

Srsly, I'd like to see the medical proof on that, because I almost hurl if I see a RL injury bigger than a small papercut!

With that logic, even Super Mario Sunshine is a murderer simulator. Damn idiots.

And why nobody blames NERF´s watergun toys yet?

*Obligatory Dick Cheney reference goes here.*

Exactly, Sean. No one seemed to mind when we controlled a virtual Dubya (or Queen of England) to blow the crap out of terrorists, but all of a sudden, they use the same engine to make candidates pop each other with paintball guns and "Ho shi-! Call da FBI!"

All I ask is a day where someone in the political field doesn't say something that makes me want to throttle them...

After reading a brief article about it on Kotaku I thought I'd never hear of this game again.
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Did Microsoft pay too much ($2.5 billion) for Minecraft developer Mojang?:

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KronoBeyond that, I would recommend this Ars Technica comment as a good highlight of the ethical problems people are seeing - 11:27pm
Andrew EisenAnd he didn't go through with it because he realized it was a bad idea so there was no breach of ethics in that case.09/19/2014 - 11:26pm
Krono@Andrew To respond to your early remark about where the lack of ethics was, part of it was what Kyle Orland suggested in his article. Crossing the line from reporter to advocate. Journalists aren't supposed to support a side the way they discussed.09/19/2014 - 11:18pm
Andrew EisenOkay, I'm drawing the line here. The Shout box is not for discussing other people's private lives.09/19/2014 - 10:54pm
Neo_DrKefkaI wish there was an, "I don't care." for the whole Minecraft poll thing09/19/2014 - 9:27pm
TechnogeekMy third "dart" wound up hitting a Chinese website for soccer scores, and the fourth hit Not one of those had anything to do with white guys getting harassed because they're white guys.09/19/2014 - 8:56pm
TechnogeekFor the record, I actually tried "throwing a dart at the Internet", or at least approximating it as best I could by zooming in at random spots on First hit was a perfume seller, and then some sort of insurance spammer.09/19/2014 - 8:56pm
Technogeek"While you could throw a dart at the internet and find a site where Gamers in General are being harassed, doxxed, hacked, just because they are being perceived as white males." - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenSarkeesian and Quinn continue to get harassed and attacked (with the majority of said harassment and attacks being about their gender) and so, the story stays in the headlines. If Wolfe gets swatted again, it will be in the news again.09/19/2014 - 6:56pm
Andrew EisenYou mean Wesley Wolfe? The swatting appeared to be over his DMCA takedown, not due to his color or gender.09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
ConsterSo Sleaker, what's the sand like?09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
quiknkold@CraigR. Spreading Misandry is not going to kill Misogyny. Its just going to fuel it. half the people supporting that arguement are mysoginists themselves. They just dont know it.09/19/2014 - 6:51pm
Sleaker@CraigR - there's nothing to get over. There's no issue here until someone does an actual study on harassment rates.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
quiknkoldWe never said Gamers were the only victims. Yes, Anita and Zoe got a bad rap. Yes, Zoe's ex was way out of line. Do I disagree with them? Depends on the arguement. Did they deserve what happened to them? Hell Effing No.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
Sleakerbut news outlets have a tendency to blow up and sensationalize it if the person can be desrcibed as a minority, maybe because it gets the hits. How long were the 2 recent swattings in the news for? 1 was a white male developer....09/19/2014 - 6:47pm
Craig R.Get over it.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.Gamers are just lucky that their behavior wasn't brought to attention of everybody else sooner, and gamers are pissy about that09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
SleakerIn fact, just because a few female developers every year get harassed doesn't make it systematic. As a whole developers are harassed by people.. Swatted, etc.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.And if you don't think misogyny and sexism is widespread, then you're living with your head buried in the sand09/19/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.Apparently it's the gamers who are the only victims from GamerGate09/19/2014 - 6:44pm

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