ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

November 23, 2008 -

In a no-holds-barred interview with Crispy Gamer, Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin dishes on the uneasy relationship between Washington, D.C. and the video game community.

As part of his leadership role with the ECA, Hal does quite a few interviews, but this one with CG's James Fudge is probably the most in-depth yet. Here are some of Hal's thoughts:

On game publisher group the ESA's new (in 2008) practice of making campaign donations:

The [ESA] represents the rights of game publishing companies and as such has a duty to do what it can to influence legislators by lobbying. I know that starting up a PAC (Political Action Committee) was a decision that they grappled with for over a decade... PACs can be effective tools, but yes, you do run the risk – nowadays – that the ends may not justify the means...

On game ratings and whether the industry does enough to keep mature-themed games away from minors:

I’ve been a fan of ESRB for quite some time. Of all of the ratings systems... it really is the most comprehensive and valuable... That said, there’s always room for improvement. Perhaps ESRB having more independence from the ESA would be one great step. Another might be to work more closely with us... which we’re working on...

 

I do [think the industry is well at keeping M-rated games away from minors]...

On supposed tensions between the ESA (publishers group) and the ECA (consumers group):

We should be clear that the ESA represents the rights of game publishing companies, not gamers... It’s a trade association that looks after the interests of their member corporations... That said, much of the legislative work that the ESA has done over the years, with regard to First Amendment in particular, has benefitted the sector as a whole – gamers included.

 

As Mike Gallagher (ESA president) and I have discussed several times, the vast majority of the time ESA and ECA are on the same page... but there are clearly other times where our interests are necessarily divergent. Inherently, Mike’s issues will sometimes be in opposition to the best interests of consumers solely because they’re in the best interests of publishing companies...

On frequent game violence critic Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT):

Joe Lieberman has been largely misunderstood and painted with a very broad brush in my opinion. While I haven’t agreed with much of what he has said in the past, he alone among legislators was responsible for effecting non-legislative change in our business and did it with a lot of class, I might add.

 

Again, back when I was running [game retailers group] IEMA, I received a call from one of his staff inviting me to his office in Hartford. We had a frank meeting in which he requested that game retailers begin carding for the sale of mature-rated games in much the same way that movie theatre owners were doing, via self-regulatory efforts, with R-rated movies. The IEMA retailers... met the challenge head-on and reacted quickly and efficiently – changing the way in which games were sold, forever.

On game rentals and used game trade-ins by consumers, which some publishers and developers would like to see ended:

I understand the concerns that developer friends of mine have about not getting a second bite of the apple... In the movie business, they produce a theatrical version and then DVD, Blu-ray, Video on Demand (VoD), PSP and pay-per-view versions...

 

[Game biz types] see rental and used as businesses in which they don’t get to participate. And while I understand and appreciate their perspective... I’m still not convinced that rental and used are bad for the sector. We’ve witnessed how rental has provided a low-cost venue for people to try before you buy; same for used...

On the U.S. Supreme Court and its potential impact on video games:

Well, [a change in the balance of the court] will most definitely present a problem for the industry, but not necessarily consumers. The more conservative judges are also the ones that tend to side with intellectual property owners over consumers, for instance. Tech policy is in for a major shift from the right to the left in my opinion, and that would be very good for consumers, but quite disconcerting for the IP-concerned trade associations (MPAA, RIAA and ESA).

 

We’ve also heard that the conservative judges would be more likely to be open to anti-games/gamer bills, so a shift to the more liberal side would be good for both the trade and consumers in that regard.


Hal also points interested gamers to a detailed listing of ECA's position statements.

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

Comments

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

He's a 'fan' of ESRB?  Then I guess that settles it - Hal Halpin is the biggest douche in the universe.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Lol, wut?  Care to explain that one?

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

For those interested in Hal's thoughts on the AO game rating, see this article...

For some forum discussion on the topic, check here...

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Thanks, Dennis.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Not that fond of the ESRB its a mish mash of rantigns altho the US popualce si a muishmash of people so I geuss it amtches but frankly we have cartoonish levels of violence in games like Castelvina that are classfied as M when most of teh world classfises it as teen, if we are truely goign to keep teh antaqauited teen to mature levels we need to adjsut what goes where, Halo is another game that has no real palce in the mature level...... we need a middle step from T to M as alot of games will fall to it sicne msot games don;t even try to be really gorey anymore.

I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
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Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I agree that their should be a rating in between "T" and "M" to place the higher end "T" rated games and the lower end "M" rated games. Maybe a MT15+ for mature teens 15 or older that could encompass games like Crysis, Halo, Call of Duty, The Longest Journey, Mass Effect, Oblivion, ect. Sort of like the BBFC's 15 certificate or Canada's 14A rating for films although I doubt it will ever happen though.

 

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Looking at surprisingly the BBFC and others a T15 level is needed but withal the politically correctness and general politics will they ever admit it and do something  about it..I doubt it, the US still blindly believes there is no difference in 13 and 15/16....

 

I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
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(in need of a bad overhaul)


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I suppose when you look at it that way, there is no real evidence against it being him, but at the same time, there's no evidence that it's him either. I'm voting for this asshole being a troll, talking like JT is extremely easy. Just ignore him and he'll go away.

As for the article itself, I like this Halpin guy a lot.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Dude, that account was proven by Dennis to be Jack, like, weeks ago.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

And how about the rambling, threatening messages left on Dennis' answering machine?  Was that not Jack either?  Or how about the court filings which mention Dennis and Game Politics, not filed by him?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

First off, that's not JT.

Secondly, JT uses reverse psychology in his dealings with gamers. The full likelihood is he's not as much of an idiot as he makes himself out to be, and is really supporting the issues he pretends to flail against. I can say with certainty he doesn't really like half of what he says he does.

Sometimes a double edged sword is most effective. Look at the hikes in video game violence the past few years, his campaigning has had the exact opposite effect of what he says it does.

Of course, the truly innovative and beautiful games (crysis, crysis:warhead, too bad they're DRM'd up) aren't over the top gorefests (fallout 3, gears of war 2).

So instead of getting better, cooler games-crysis should have came out a full year before it did and ran on much lower spec'd hardware without looking worse, it's just unoptimized-we get extreme gore retextures of old games.

He rants harder, we get more gore, and the creative developers die a little inside as they make it so you can beat someone with their own leg instead of adding something like realistic wildlife. (Who can't say they didn't want to see birds and monkeys hopping tree to tree, causing the branches to shake subtly, in crysis or even oblivion. The zombies and heads on pikes any better?)

What GP needs to do is use the registrations to make a claim in court that it is a private community and that JT is harrassing its members, send notices to his ISP, and threaten to press charges if it's really him on here.

Guys, he's an internet troll that gets attention. Much like the guy that got oprah to quote the anon creed and say 'over nine thousand' on national TV. Don't be a dumbshit like oprah, ban the failtroll, delete his posts, and send him packing via some nasty e-mails to his ISP.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Except, it IS him. And from experience, ignoring him doesn't do a damn thing. He just rants harder, thinking we're too afraid to talk back to him.

This is a man who took being scolded for submitting porn in the court docket as a victory, for God's sake.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

"First off, that's not JT."

And you base that on what exactly? 

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Michelleobamarama is Thompson.  No need to argue about it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Lets see who Obama comes up with for the supreme court. I'd much rather take my chances with him than have another social conservative from McCain. Liberals are usually much better on the 1st Amendment. Granholm would be a terrible choice though. But thats just wild speculation based on people thinking he'll choose a woman. Ive heard other, more qualified names. Hillary would be even worse. Thats why its a good thing she's going to be sec of state; at least he cant put her on the supreme court now (if he would have even considered it). I think I have more faith in Obama than Halpin. Obamas a constitutional scholar. I dont think he'll just pick some female politician. I think he'll pick good, qualified judges that will be good for free speech for video games.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I tell you what, that Fairness Doctrine seems really fair to me.  It forces stations with Conservative Talkshows to give equal time to unprofitable Liberal talkshows, but doesn't work the other way around.  Sounds like being better on the 1st amendment to me.

 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I was talking about liberal judges, not left-wing political activists or (some) left wing politicians. Theres a difference. Plus Obama said he opposes the fairness doctrine.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

On the topic at hand...

That said, there’s always room for improvement. Perhaps ESRB having more independence from the ESA would be one great step. Another might be to work more closely with us… which we’re working on…

Sounds very good to me.

Getting out ahead of legislation, rather than constantly being on the defensive, is one of the ways we see the ECA as being able to change the paradigm.

Couldn't agree more.

...with regard to our stance on violent media research: we actually support and encourage it. One large caveat is that we believe that, in order to be worth the paper it’s printed on, the study needs to be objective, inclusive of ALL media (music ,movies, etc.) and as longitudinal as possible. To date, we’ve seen nothing but subjective research, specific to games – to the exclusion of all other media, and usually to the exclusion of all other external factors. Those results make for sensational headlines, but do nothing to help us understand the impact of violent media.

Which is the result of people not actually being interested in a debate, just working towards their own personal gains.

The subsequent FTC (Federal Trade Commission) studies showed a dramatic turn-around over that period of time and even put games ahead of both the music and movie sectors… far more mature businesses with, then, better-known ratings and labeling systems.

Can't wait to see the industry finally get acknowledged and credited for that by someone other than, say, us.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Get ready to have Obama hand the video game industry's head to it...

Jack would be saying the exact same thing if McCain had been elected. Just thought I'd point out.

get a haircut so people might take you more seriously

Funny, he once told me to do the same thing back in the Live Journal days, based on my avatar, which was a picture of Rasputin. And that was the day I knew what Jack's really all about: Being a douche.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Jack would be saying the exact same thing if McCain had been elected. Just thought I'd point out.

 

so true. Before Obama won, JTs username was 'MCainFreakinRules' lol.

Just shows how much disbarredGuy changes the facts to suit his own purpose.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Just in case we have rabid fanboys searching for that screen name, allow me to correct you. His screen name was "mccainisthefreakingman" and that was really hypocritical of him to switch sides.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

haha cheers i knew it was something like that!

Just shows how two faced he is.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Penny Arcade guys thrown in prison.  FAIL

Gamepolitics shut down.  FAIL

RICO suit filed againse ESA this past summer.  FAIL

Bully banned in Florida.  FAIL

Bully causing an "epidemic" of slingshot injuries.  FAIL

VTech gunman being an avid gamer.  FAIL

Louisianna anti-games law constitutionally bullet-proof.  FAIL

Jack Thompson disbarment case being thrown out.  FAIL

Strauss Zelinick being arrested.  FAIL

Shall we go on? 

 

As far as I'm concerned Jack, your fanatical activity is covering up some dark secret of yours.  How long before we hear stories about you that echo this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081123/ap_on_re_us/rel_haggard_returns#full

It's all a matter of time...

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

lol please do go on. im quite enjoying it.

dennis should run a thread with the largest thompson fail sheet known to man. its be actually very interesting for those people who are new to JT, and come along saying ''well i think hes a nice guy, who's just a bit confused'', then theyd see it and go ''ah.. right.. i take that back.. hes just a liar'', n itd save us having to explain it every time.

 

Claiming he's never broken the comments policy on GP by posting lengthy unrelated 'press releases'.  FAIL

showing his alleged 'smoking gun' evidnece days before disbarrment that would stop it in its tracks. FAIL

claiming with just a week to go, that he would never be disbarred, and i could quote him on that. FAIL.

 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Jack: Grow up and cut back on the crazy so people may take you more seriously.

Seriously though, what is the deal with you and Halpin's haircut? Sorry Jack but this ain't the 50's anymore. A man having (slightly) long hair isn't seen as peculiar by anyone other than woefully out of touch, yet for some reason self-righteous morons like yourself.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Jack simply can't help insulting anyone. If Hal were bald, Jack'd make an immature comment about that. Or find something else.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I'm sure he answered this once before but what does Hal think of the Ao rating?

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

 "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: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

 

 

 

                                                                

                                                                   

                                                   Jack Thompson (hairstyling courtesy of The Zohan)

 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

You win the Internet.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

You give out so many internets I don't think they'll be any left for the rest of us.

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

 "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: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Oh, there is. After all, I have OVER 9000 Internets in stock.

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I think your use of the >9000 joke constitutes overkill.

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

"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: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

As does 99% of Shadow's posts!

"There is no sin except stupidity." - Oscar Wilde

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Uh, guys? Can we NOT abuse each other here?

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"Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Just don't ask how many times he's used it ;)

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Get ready to have Obama hand the video game industry's head to it, Hal.  You helped prepare the industry for this day.  You wouldn't listen to those who wanted the sale of adult games to kids to stop, so now The Messiah, who has even an answer for the NCAA Football BCS Poll, is going to bring the Leviathan state down upon your murder simulators.  I was the industry's best friend.  You were its worst nightmare. Nice going, Hal.  Oh, and get a haircut so people might take you more seriously.  Jack Thompson, Once and Future Lawyer 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

You know what's really funny about this whole thing?  I have long hair, a beard that is about as long as Ronnie Drew's, and wear sunglasses all the time even when in a professional capacity, and I'm STILL a more respected member of the working community than Jack Thompson.  I also make more than he and his wife combined, have a nicer house, and don't feel the need to make fun of people because their hair doesn't look like they made the mistake of lighting a cigarette in a flour packaging facility.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

You're one to talk about 'not listening,' Mr. Thompson. All you do is saying the adult equivalent of 'Nuh-uh! You're stupid!' whenever somebody counters your lies with actual facts and ACTUAL statistics and actual studies that had some time and effort put into them, not testing a couple dozen kids for fifteen minutes apiece.

Add that to sending in picture books and porn as filings, you're just as guilty as the people on this site you think should all be legally executed.

(For those reading, where appropriate in my responses, i WILL keep bringing that quote of his up. It shows just how much of a hypocrite he is.)

David Gagnon, Mature Human Being, and You're Not.

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

If you weren't a coward John then you would go after the movie industry as well.  As the FTC has shown it is much much easier for a minor to buy an R or unrated movie than it is for the same minor to buy an M rated game.  But you know that the movie industry wouldn't take your shit as much as the game industry has and thus would leave your anus in ruins.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

"Oh, and get a haircut so people might take you more seriously."

That's rich comming from the man who once went on television looking like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XtWV-tIeVg

 

http://www.popularculturegaming.com

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

"The Messiah, who has even an answer for the NCAA Football BCS Poll, is going to bring the Leviathan state down upon your murder simulators."

*SNIP* They don't like it when you mention them in your defense as being on your side. They're on our side, and you, Jack, are nothing but comedy to us. If they were on your side, not even a drop of all the shit you've been through would ever have happened. If anything, it would have happened to us, as you claim here in reality. But it didn't, which is proof enough that they support us, and not you, Jack.

Collin Griffin, A.K.A. Shadow Darkman, Sane Human Church-Goer, And Jack Is Nothing But Comedy.

P.S.: I hear Captain Falcon sent you an e-mail. Did you like it?

SD: Ugh. I hate it when I go auto-pilot.

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"A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

''Oh, and get a haircut so people might take you more seriously''

 

Do you ever think that you may have been taken seriously if you didnt resort to immature name calling and insult throwing? You come across like a 5 year old child.

 

 

 ''Jack Thompson, Once and Future Lawyer'' 

 

HAHAHAHAHA.... 'once and future' what a way to spin the word 'ex' . 'ex' was the word you were looking for Jack .. 'ex'.. or 'disbarred' or 'disgraced'. lol @ 'once and future'.

 

 

 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

You wouldn't listen to those who wanted the sale of adult games to kids to stop, so now The Messiah, who has even an answer for the NCAA Football BCS Poll, is going to bring the Leviathan state down upon your murder simulators.

Yes, and King Saul brought himself down on his own sword. 
 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Says the man who's head tends to look like an explosion in a Flour Mill...

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Jack Thompson Prediction Scorecard: Came to Pass = 0, Didn't Come to Pass = 10,000,000

 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Jack "The Walking Comedy Act" Thompson giving someone advice on being taken seriously. Hooo, boy. That's a good one. 

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I seriously doubt President Obama is stupid enough to damage an industry that legally generates billions of dollars a year in the US economy, especially when we are going through a turbulent time right now in said economy.

"

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

I'm pretty sure Obama has bigger things to worry about than plastic discs with data on them, Thompson, Like, the ecnomy, or trying to end the conflict in Iraq and end this expensive war.

But no, by all means do your best to prevent that, because somehow, federally regulatign video games will somehow fix the rest right?

As for your "Once adn future lawyer" bit, funny ,but it needs correction. Maybe "Complete failure as a lawyer and you're not" woudl fit better.

You're not even "has-been" boyo, you're a never was

Re: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming

Just what is it that Obama will do that will be the downfall of the Games industry? He never made any mention of such an agenda while running for office.

Next, if you actually read Hal's comments he said he actually spoke with Lieberman and took his advice to start implementing a voluntary carding policy. That worked out pretty well. DOn't you think. Oh wait you don't.

You were never the games industry's friend. We tried to befriend you and you spat in our collective faces. You never once reached out to us. You never once reached back when we reached out to you. You riduculed us, attacked us and harassed us.

AS for the last bit, Once and Future Lawyer, good luck convincing another state bar to admit you. You need all the luck you can get.

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: ECA's Hal Halpin Dissects the Political Side of Gaming


I just would like to know when Jack has been right about anything.

[BTW Jack, the CIA and FBI are camped outside your house.  I was going to egg it the other night, but I figured you had bigger problems to deal with.  They are after you man, you might need to fake your death.]

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SleakerThe Bar-Arcade however did have a lot of good pinball machines, they were however always taken as the place was packed..08/20/2014 - 1:17pm
Sleakerso I've been to an Arcade-Bar, not that great of a place has some okay machines, but generally over-packed. And then all the kid-friendly ones have is ticket-games nothing actually good unfortunately :(08/20/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenIf it has an area dedicated to arcade machines, I'd say it counts. Arcade machine in your house though, nope.08/20/2014 - 12:16pm
ZenDoes it count if you have actual arcade machines in your house?08/20/2014 - 12:01pm
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ZenMasked, guessing you are talking about the Wii game which was later ported to 360/PS3. I never played it..but I did grab the sweet gold Classic Controller from it to finish my Gold Wii controller set lol.08/20/2014 - 11:06am
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Papa MidnightWii U Games finding Solidarity with PC Gamers :(08/19/2014 - 6:09pm
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