Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

October 17, 2008 -

Since GamePolitics broke the news about Barack Obama's Xbox Live ads last weeks, they have become an international media sensation.

But, GP didn't actually find the ads; we were just first to report on them. Credit for the actual discovery goes to "Jeff", a 39-year-old gamer who lives in one of the 10 battleground states in which the Obama ads are running. He'd prefer that we not say exactly which state, for privacy reasons.

Married with a family, Jeff works in a machine shop and of this he told GP, "It's far more interesting than anyone will give credit, and more honest than most professions."

But life has not been all fun and games for Jeff. A couple of years back, he was involved in a high speed, head-on crash caused by a drunk driver, suffering horrendous injuries. Afterward, he spent nearly three months in a wheel chair and endured several surgeries. Despite it all, Jeff has managed to maintain his sense of humor:

I've had so much hardware installed and removed that I was feeling like a catch-all bin at Home Depot...

While recuperating and doing battle with insurance companies, Jeff kept himself busy by writing, drawing - and gaming:

I've always been something of a sideline gamer, dating back to the Atari 2600... but spending 14 hours a day watching Discovery Channel while waiting for my bones to knit together bored the crap out of me so I convinced my wife that we needed an XBox to supplement the PS2.  It allowed me to connect directly with other members of the Rooster Teeth community who had helped me stay sane through everything.
 

It's ironic that Jeff's now-famous pictures of the Obama ads were very much of a random occurrence:

The funny thing is that I had already played through 97% of the game months ago and it was collecting dust on the shelf.  I had only tossed it in [the Xbox 360] because we just bought the new TV and one of my daughter's friends wanted to see the motorcycles in action.  We'd been buzzing around the city in various vehicles at high speed for about half an hour before I happened to crash right in front of one of the billboards. Burnout's in-game camera induces vertigo if you try to manipulate it so you normally have to get a car airborne before you can actually read any of the signs close up.  It was a genuine "WTF?" moment.

Jeff snapped the pictures directly from his TV screen (left) using an Olympus 550UZ camera. He never imagined that they'd go very far:

The only reason I took the photos to begin with was to share them with my friends. [My friend] Claude asked if he could show it to a few people to get confirmation, because he was rightfully skeptical too. I agreed and now this thing is just taking on a life of its own...


I just saw [the Obama ads] on a blurb on MSNBC. That's crazy. I'm actually a little glad they aren't mentioning my gamertag anymore, though part of me is a bit pissed that they aren't giving [GamePolitics] proper credit for breaking the story.

 

The truly ironic part of this entire ride is that I find myself being the catalyst for Obama's media exposure.  As you said, I was the only one to say anything about it and now it's being picked up across the web - far outside the original 10 states that the ads were planned for.  That's exposure that exceeds the original investment of his campaign by an order of magnitude.  For that matter EA must be clapping their hands at the prospects of increased revenue to their checking accounts.  As they say, "you can't buy this kind of advertising..."

 

Granted, anyone could have done the same thing, but this time it happened to be me.  That's an odd feeling that I'm still trying to get used to. 

Ironically, Jeff is neither an Obama or McCain supporter. He's just an average guy who games.


Comments

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

This is a play on the Joe the Plumber thing, isn't it? 

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

was trying to work that in there, somehow, I will admit...

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Seriously, just how much mileage is GP trying to get out of the Obama game ads story?  This is getting ridiculous.  At this point, I'm urging GP readers to vote McCain just so that 4 years down the road, we won't have a dozen GP updates about how Obama's running reelection ads in video games.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

GP's history has always been to give wall-to-wall coverage on key stories... stuff you won't find anywhere else.

This is one of the top five most significant gaming/politics stories of all time, I would say.

But the beauty part is, you don't have to read the stories that don't interest you...

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Curious GP what would you consider the top 5 most significant gaming/politics stories of all time?

----------------------------------------------------

"What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" - Tasmanian devil

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Top 5?  Really?  You're reading way too much into this.  It's just the people handling his campaign acting like any other advertising firm and going after every possible venue.  The only time Obama's ever even mentioned video games has been as short-hand for a time-wasting activity when talking about how kids should be engaging in more educational pursuits.  The ads mean NOTHING in terms of Obama's attitude toward games or his stance on gaming legislation.

As for this specific article, it really doesn't say anything new about gaming and politics, as you've already done a more than adequate job of covering Obama having political ads in a video game.  When the most salient points of the larger story can be covered in just a sentence or two ("Obama has political ads on select EA XBL games in battleground states."), it's really a stretch to try and get this much mileage out of it.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

GP is a news site, yes it is a blog but its much more. Being what it is just because you don't like a story or you think its been over done doesn't mean everyone thinks like you do. Great you don't want to see more of this type of article so next time don't read it. I don't expect Dennis to caters to my interests on GP and I don't expect him to cater to anyone elses but his own. If I didn't like it I wouldn't read it and I certainly wouldn't waste my time commenting in an article that I didn't like it.

 

 

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

The first in all history that a presidential campaign advertised in video games, and you think it is not a big deal?

Wow. I wish my head were that much in the clouds.

This is a cool story. I like finding out that it was not some media outfit that found the ads. I liked finding out that it was not the Obama campaign sending out press releases that alerted everyone. I am glad to find out that it was not the McCain campaign mudslinging about it that alerted everyone.

This article shows several things. 1) People will notice campaign ads in games. 2) People will tell each other about those ads. 3) With the current state of communication technology, interesting stories like this spread like wild fire. 4) Not everyone who plays games is a kid.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Read my post again.  I never said Obama advertising in a video game wasn't a big deal.  I never disagreed with GP's decision to run the game advertising angle in the first place, nor did I complain about the earlier articles.

There's nothing significant in this article that I couldn't have picked up from all the previous articles.  For example, you claim that this article proves that "People will notice campaign ads in games," but we've already got the SNL reaction article to show that.  To claim you couldn't have picked that up from the other articles is disingenuous at best.

There's all of 2 things I learned from this article that I didn't already know: The guy who sent in the Obama ad picture is undecided, and he used an Olympus camera.  Neither one of these things is particularly amazing.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

5.) This story has been overplayed to some degree, even though it is a great story, unless there is something break through...  I am with Darwin...  How many articles is it on this specific thing?  3 or 4?

I get the point, we need to vote, we need to educate ourselves about the people running, but I think every American here that is ever going to vote and is of age to vote has gotten the point and are voting most likely.

Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Not to mention the fact that, in promoting these discussions, it proves that Video Gamers ARE politically aware, active and willing to debate.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

 Except that GP, which is ultimately a blog, was actually *second* to report on it, and despite all the tributing above, RvB was first.

Credit where credit's due.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Sorry... this is news, somehow?

I mean, yeah, it's neat that people who aren't in these battleground states get to hear about this, and it's neat the politicians are exploiting new media for their campaigns (for better or worse), but... this guy just snapped a picture.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

dude, it's a short profile of a gamer who started something big... Jack Thompson can't get disbarred every day, y'know...

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Don't give him ideas or he might try it.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Well, whatever. I'm not upset about it or anything, mostly perplexed. I was just reacting to the sensation when I read the article this morning -- a sort of 'What was the point of that?' sensation. Not knocking you for doing it.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Human Interest. Not every reader of GP is an American who is about to vote in the election ;)

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Ironically, Jeff is neither an Obama or McCain supporter. He's just an average guy who games.

What? You gotta have an opinion!

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

I'm not a supporter of either as well.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Haha, I have no opinion either. Take that Anonymous!

Salty

Salty

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

You want an opinion? They're both morons and shouldn't be trusted to run the country. How's that?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Agreed...  That is why I looked at Palin and Biden, and to be honest, Palin scares the living poop deck out of me, while Biden is just the typically dirty politicians just like McCain and Obama.

The catholic dinner last night was funny as hell.  Obama and McCain cracking jokes was a lot of fun.  I think they can both be nice guys, but I don't trust either of them.  I honestly trust them running the country as much as I would trust Pauly Shore... 

If I got to straight up choose the president, I would require no high ranking political background, no bad mouthing evolution or another religion, never had money issues or been in jail even for a simple offence, has tried but never got into pot, knows at least 4 languages including english and stayed in at least 3 other countries longer than 2 weeks, has expressed the ability to keep calm in extreme conditions, prove they can see both sides of evolution/creation abortion same sex marriages and other topics while keeping a seperation of church and state when making judgements, and in good enough of health to be able to live through at least 2 terms.

Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Your expectations are too high. Has tried but never got into pot? Need I remind you of Bush's old drug offences.

Although it seems contradictory that you want a candidate who hasn't been in jail but admits to breaking the law (that is unless they go to a place where it's legal). Knows three other languages besides English? Why? I'm sure it's not that hard to get translators for the president.

---------------------------------------------------- 

"What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" - Tasmanian devil

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

And herein we find the distinction of 'Opinion' and 'Fact' becomming all too blurry.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

When did fact get mixed up in all this. I thought we were discussing only opinions.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Not a humorous bone in your body, is there? It's a *joke*.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average ...

Joke Joke :)) I get it now. Mike at panic away review and buy jamorama guide.

Re: Gamer Who Discovered Obama XBL Ads is Just an Average Guy

Why? I see nothing wrong with someone being undecided on an issue that others may be extremely passionate about. The very passionate may try to deny it, but both sides tend to have legitemate points that they're arguing from.

Sorry to jump on you like that, but it irks me when people act like being undecided on an issue is bad.

 
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Wonderkarpgranted, 2 of those instances are sited sources, and the rest is divided between 2-3 different stories11/21/2014 - 2:24pm
E. Zachary KnightWow. Quinn's name shows up 33 times, but it isn't about her.11/21/2014 - 2:21pm
Wonderkarpalso Activision makes me sad with that. Glitchs are hilariously fun(so long as they dont happen 100% of the time)11/21/2014 - 2:18pm
WonderkarpHe's one of the 5 men linked to Zoe Quinn. works at Kotaku. Kind of an ass11/21/2014 - 2:18pm
Andrew EisenHe's a games journalist.11/21/2014 - 2:13pm
Michael ChandraWho is Nathon Grayson?11/21/2014 - 2:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/BroTeamPill/status/535841124884418560 Source.11/21/2014 - 1:49pm
Andrew EisenFun Fact: Zoe Quinn's name shows up in that GamerGate press docket 33 times! Nathon Grayson's name? Only eight. Guess which one's the game journalist.11/21/2014 - 1:48pm
MaskedPixelanteApparently Activision is issuing copyright strikes against streamers who show off CoD glitches. Out now but I'll source when I get home.11/21/2014 - 1:22pm
Andrew EisenIf you see something you think we should cover, let us know!11/21/2014 - 1:11pm
WonderkarpAnd the GamerGate Girls Huffington Post Video should have been on this site weeks ago http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/female-gamers-gamergate_n_5990310.html11/21/2014 - 12:46pm
Wonderkarpits not getting dropped, Monte. Its become a defiant cry in the face of adversity and lies11/21/2014 - 12:42pm
Wonderkarphttp://press.gamergate.me/dossier/ The GamerGate Press Site. All the Information and Evidence that supports their arguments and goals. This is the 5th time I've posted this.11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
MonteIts why i feel that they would be better off dropping the gamergate tag. The tag is far to tainted and they attract the anti-fem trolls. Find a new tag, loose the baggage and then you can have a discussion on journalism free of distractions11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
WonderkarpGG got together and put together a press site that contains all their evidence and arguements in a single easy FAQ. I've posted it here many times to silence.11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
MonteIt does seem like GG spends more time trying to defned itself from accusations than actually talking about journalism; hence one reason why they keep coming back to the topic of feminists despite them having nearly nothing to do with gaming journalism11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
Wonderkarpwhat do you mean "Their own fault"? are you saying its Gamergates fault that the 11 dead gamer articles were written? that it was GamerGates fault when they got together to cry out that they were shouted down by louder megaphones?11/21/2014 - 12:35pm
NeenekoThere is unity of attack, and unity of defense, but not of message or identity. Which the group's own defensiveness has blinded to them since it is chalked up to 'media is out to get us' as opposed to their own fault.11/21/2014 - 12:10pm
NeenekoOh unity I will give you, it is one of the group's weakest points.11/21/2014 - 12:07pm
WonderkarpI dont think so. There's a lot of Unity in Gamergate. OPSkynet has only strengthend the group and brought people together. and I spent a couple months "Gorillas in the Mist"ing the group11/21/2014 - 11:54am
 

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