Obama Simulators for PC

January 29, 2009 -

President Barack Obama's status as a pop icon seems to have breathed new life into the niche market for political strategy games.

GamePolitics has previously covered Commander in Chief: Geo-Political Simulator 2009 and CNN now has a video report on the game.

We've also stumbled across Oval Office from Zero G. Beyond its marketing blurb, we don't yet have much info on the $19.99 PC game:

Can you run the country better than the people in charge? Oval Office is the ultimate political strategy and simulation game! As president, you will have to balance the budget, keep taxes in check, make snap judgments, and much more.

 

Prefer a green paradise, or socialist utopia? Control crime without destroying civil liberties? These are only some of the tough issues you will face. But the biggest question of all is can you win re-election? It's not as easy as it sounds in the Oval Office!

GP: I've been playing a bit of Commander in Chief recently. It's fun, but fairly complex. The game has garnered a couple of glowing user reviews on GameSpot.

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Ubisoft: Obama NOT Aboard Air Force One in HAWX

January 29, 2009 -

Players needn't worry that their lack of aerial combat skills will get a fictional version of President Barack Obama shot down in the upcoming HAWX.

According to MTV Multiplayer's Patrick Klepek, HAWX publisher Ubisoft maintains that the real-world Prez isn't depicted in the game:

While checking “HAWX” a few weeks ago, the group of journalists I was playing with routinely failed to defend Air Force One. Boom! There’s another failed mission, resulting in a successful attack (again) on the virtual President.

After the inauguration of Barack Obama, I started thinking about what President I was defending during “HAWX.” With our first African-American President now in the White House, would Ubisoft try something different with its representation of a video game President?

My question was far more interesting than the answer, unfortunately. A Ubisoft representative told me the President is not a character in “HAWX” and is merely referenced as “the President” during the game. Oh well.

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Obama Staffer Invokes Atari to Describe Tech-Challenged White House

January 22, 2009 -

A spokesman for President Barack Obama used a comparison of video game consoles to describe what the new administration found upon moving into the White House on Inauguration Day.

Staffer Bill Burton told the Washington Post:

It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari.

We assume he means an Xbox 360...

In any event, Burton was referring to the sorry state of technology that the Obama crowd inherited from the departed Bushies. More from the WaPo:

Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.

What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.

Via: MTV Multiplayer

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Michelle Obama Inspires Second Life Fashion Designs

January 22, 2009 -

Newly-installed President Barack Obama may have captivated the public's imagination, but at least one designer of virtual fashions is thinking more about First Lady Michelle.

New World Notes reports that Second Life fashionista Iris Ophelia has assembled a line of haute couture garments with Mrs. Obama in mind:

Blazers and skirts are a bit of a First Lady staple... The Shades of Gray suit by Miko Omegamu of Icing is probably one of the outfits in SL that is most faithful to Michelle Obama's style...

 

Mrs. Obama definitely favors the silhouette of pencil/sheath dresses... She's also known for really chic use of color and texture in her outfits...

 

The Midas Evening gown by Shai Delacroix of Casa Del Shai is probably more risqué than Michelle's normal attire (cleavage is a bit of a faux-pas when you're the First Lady), but the soft color and the flowing fabric make for something closer to what I wish she'd been wearing to the Inaugural ball...

 

To quote Yves Saint Laurent, "Fashions fade, style is eternal."


The After-party Buzz on Second Life's Obama Inaugural Balls

January 21, 2009 -

Yesterday, we mentioned that numerous Obama inauguration-themed events would be occurring in Second Life.

This morning, Bixyl Shuftan of Second Life Newspaper recaps a pair of virtual inaugural balls which took place in SL:

I checked Netroots, the group of liberal political bloggers... There were about 40 people in their dance floor area, with a musician singing live on stage...

At one point, one attendee asks, “Looking for an American.” This was followed by cheers, “Yay, we love Americans!” “You done great today - keep it up!” “Happy day for Americans, and I hope for everyone else too.” “CONGRATS AMERICANS .... From DOWNUNDER!” Almost everyone was in formal wear, with two ladies wearing dresses with Obama’s likeness on the skirt...

 

Gemma and I then went to the Inaugural Ball at the Capitol Hill sim... As an officially neutral area, Obama didn’t get the lavish kind of praise he got at the Netroots as he did here, but he did get some, “Oh yes, one of the best days in American history.” “It is hard for me to define.... but if nothing else I do have an increased sense of optimism and pride in my country.” “Obama will certainly have an impact on streaming media.”

 

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Obama Inauguration Featured on Xbox Live

January 21, 2009 -

President Barack Obama's status as pop culture icon extends to Xbox Live as well as, seemingly, everywhere else.

Joystiq notes that the Obama inauguration was featured on XBL last evening:

Log into Xbox Live tonight and the first thing you'll see is ... a photo of President Obama from today's inauguration. Indeed, the spotlight of the Spotlight channel is today's ceremony, including video of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden being sworn into office, the 44th President's inaugural speech and more.

Even the Movies and TV Shows categories have taken on the theme, featuring the likes of The West Wing and -- wait a second -- Mars Attacks? Yes, the Tim Burton camp-fest is inexplicably among the inaugural offerings...

Indeed, the Obama features are still up this morning.

Obama, as GamePolitics readers will recall, was the runaway choice among Xbox Live users in political polling conducted by the online gaming venue during the run-up to November's election (see: Xbox Live is a Blue State).

The Obama campaign also created a stir with its groundbreaking in-game ads, which were seen only on Xbox Live. The XBL ad story was broken on GamePolitics, BTW.

Included in the current inaugural theme is a segment introduced by Major Nelson which features XBL users offering their opinions as to what the new chief executive should prioritize. Aside from the woman who wanted Bruce Springsteen named "secretary of rock" and the guy who demanded a college football playoff system, the answers showed that the XBL crowd is both thoughtful and well-versed in current affairs.

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Gamasutra Considers Obama & Game Legislation

January 20, 2009 -

Gamasutra has posted a lengthy piece which examines the state of video game regulation and what we might expect from the Obama administration in regard to games.

Author Neils Clark interviewed me for the article, so I'll share my quote on Obama and games:

To be honest, I think that when politicians get around to legislating video games that will mean that they're feeling comfortable with some of the more important issues. Right now there's so much on President Obama's table: the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can't see his administration prioritizing video game content legislation.

Let's be clear, though. While I don't think that Obama will be pushing game content legislation from the White House, that certainly doesn't preclude members of Congress from introducing their own bills, as we saw recently with Calfornia Rep. Joe Baca's push to include cigarette-like health warnings on games rated T and higher.

State-level efforts, of course, are unaffected by Obama's view on game legislation. Thus we will likely see a Jack Thompson-authored legislative proposal in Utah soon. California's contested law will almost certainly head to the U.S. Supreme Court, no matter how the 9th Circuit rules on the state's pending appeal.

Actually, as I told Neils, going forward I see the fight between consumers and media corporations over IP issues like DRM as even more of a threat to gamers than government legislation. On that score, however, I will qualify one comment I made regarding the feds' 2007 mod chip raid, which I blasted in the Gamasutra piece:

Yes, mod chips have applications for piracy, but possibly also for homebrew gaming. It seems heavy handed to me to have federal agents kicking down doors over mod chips.

What's fascinating is that we're more than a year beyond that [raid] and all of those cases are still sealed in federal court... This is America, what's going on here? You kick down 32 doors over mod chips more than a year ago and it's still a big secret?

I did the Gamasutra interview in mid-November, but that was before an investigative report on GamePolitics broke the news that at least one big fish was busted in those 2007 raids. So, while it's clear that not everyone whose door went down was a small timer, it's still pretty interesting that the case remains under wraps 18 months later.

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Visit Obama Inaugural Site Via Fallout 3 (pay no mind to the nuclear devastation)

January 20, 2009 -

Over at MTV Multiplayer, Stephen Totilo suggests a unique way to gain perspective on the Washington, D.C. turf that is the site for Barack Obama's inauguration as America's 44th president.

If you can deal with the nuked-out look, Totilo recommends taking a virtual tour, courtesy of Bethesda's best-selling, post-apocalyptic, RPG Fallout 3:

Video games are an under-used tool for understanding current events. Let’s change that and use the most graphically realistic version of Washington, D.C. ever created to get an enhanced perspective of today’s Inauguration Day, shall we?

Slight problem: the best representation of Washington, D.C. and the National Mall in video game history involves a richly-rendered post-nuclear-war version of the nation’s capital circa the year 2277...

 

Here’s the National Mall as viewed from the top of a bombed-out Washington Monument...  “Fallout 3″ players can reach this location by traveling to the “Washington Monument” marker on the game’s map, passing a security checkpoint and taking an elevator to the top. In real life, the Mall, is currently filled with hundreds of thousands of people.

“Fallout 3″ gamers, if you have time today, walk in Obama’s steps. It’s an interesting experience.

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Obama Inauguration Celebrated in Second Life

January 20, 2009 -

The Second Life crowd is marking the inauguration of President Barack Obama in a number of ways today.

TechNewsWorld reports that SL festivities will include an inaugural ball:

...there will be two celebrations: the official and ever-so-formal Inauguration Ball and another more informal "meet and greet" party. Tickets to both are free and available at SL dispensers in-world. You can even pick up a free [virtual] tux or ballroom gown if you don't have one or can't afford one...

The ballroom is roofless, since some residents can fly and prefer to make their entrance from above...

 

"I would like to attend the SL Inaugural Ball," Cubsfan Pugilist, an active Second Life resident, who also organized Obama political rallies in Second Life, told TechNewsWorld. "I also got tickets for the inauguration in DC, but I don't think I will be attending that. So I should be in Second Life."

In addition to the Inauguration Ball, the virtual SL Newspaper lists a half-dozen separate Obama-themed events, while New World Notes chips in with its own list.

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Generate Your Own Obama Inauguration Speech

January 19, 2009 -

In honor of Barack Obama's Tuesday inaugural festivities, Atom.com has posted an inauguration speech generator.

We'd rate this one mildy entertaining.

 

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Obama's Choice to Chair FCC is Net Neutrality Advocate

January 14, 2009 -

President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Federal Communications Commission seems like a win for gamers and online businesses, among others.

As Ars Technica reports, Julius Genachowski (left) is a proponent of Net Neutrality (and if you're not sure why that's important to gamers check out the ECA's Gamers For Net Neutrality advocacy page). Genachowski is also said to be against media consolidation.

Ars Technica quotes Josh Silver of media reform group Free Press on Genachowski:

Under Julius Genachowski's leadership, the FCC's compass would point toward the public interest.

Meanwhile, Steve Augustino, a Washington, D.C. attorney who works with Net Neutrality issues, praised Genachowski:

Genachowski was a senior advisor to former FCC chairman Reed Hundt in the 1990s and went on to an Internet business career afterward.  He was leading Obama's Technology Working Group prior to this designation.  This is very good news for Internet-based businesses.  The FCC will have a chair that understands your issues.

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

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Obama, Daughters Play Wii for Christmas

January 8, 2009 -

Our sister-site GameCulture notes that Malia and Sasha Obama received a Wii for Christmas and the Prez-elect himself spent some time with the bowling portion of Wii Sports.

The original info appeared on a New York Times blog:

Mr. Obama said he’d have his hands full attempting to rescue the American economy. But he has gotten in a little practice in bowling lately on the Nintendo Wii his daughters received for Christmas. Mr. Obama, who famously struggled in bowling during last year’s Democratic primaries, said he performs better in the video game.

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WoW's Top Political Moments

December 28, 2008 -

If you thought that World of Warcraft was apolitical, think again.

WoW Insider recalls the popular MMO's top political moments of 2008:

  • The New Year's Day Ron Paul campaign rally (covered in person by GP)
  • Gay & lesbian WoW guilds
  • In-game issues of sexism and racism
  • Obama gains presidential achievement
  • WoW-themed parody of Iraqi tossing shoe at President Bush (covered on GP)
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Obama's Top Speechwriter is a Gamer

December 18, 2008 -

The guy who is currently working on Barack Obama's inaugural address is a big gamer.

In a Washington Post profile, Jon "Favs" Favreau is described as "totally synced up" with the President-elect and gets "access to everything and everybody" on the Obama team.

But Favreau likes to kick back with video games, according to the WaPo:

Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning...

 

When the [campaign] pressure wore on Favreau, he unwound like a 27-year-old, sending prank e-mails to friends at the Obama offices or playing the video game Rock Band in the Lincoln Park group house...

GP: It's great to see gamers moving into high places!

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Video Game Biz Involved in Effort to Lobby Obama Transition Team

December 15, 2008 -

Barack Obama does not take office until January 20th, but the video game industry is already lobbying the President-elect, via an intermediary.

The game industry's issue, at this point, is copyright protection. Along with the likes of the RIAA (music biz) and MMPA (movie biz), video game publishers trade group the Entertainment Software Association belongs to an organization known as the International Intellectual Property Alliance. It is the IIPA which is doing the actual lobbying.

Toward that end, the IIPA has provided the Obama team with its list of Copyright Industry Global Challenges for 2008, and is believed to have met with them as well. For its part, the Obama team, in an effort at greater government transparency, has listed all outside lobbying efforts - including the IIPA's - at its remarkable Change.gov website.

Among the game-related concerns cited in the document are:

  • Internet-based piracy
  • Optical disc piracy
  • End-user piracy
  • Cartridge-based video game piracy
  • Open access to foreign markets

GP: There's nothing new or especially egregious in the IIPA document - unlike the MPAA's separate effort to convince Obama to adopt IP enforcement measures which would essentially throw consumers' due process rights under a bus.

Step Into Barack Obama's Shoes with "Commander in Chief"

December 10, 2008 -

Barack Obama will take over a mess of historicial proportions when he is inaugurated in January.

Gamers can get a feel for some of the issues that will be faced by the President-elect with Commander in Chief, a soon-to-be-released strategy game for the PC.

AppScout previews Commander in Chief, which is being developed by Eversim, a Frech company:

Players begin by selecting members of the Cabinet and heads of states from "250 personality types and 20 variables including age, gender, political leaning, religion, charisma, competence, popularity, etc...."

The Player President then begins facing internal and external decision-making, and every decision comes with a consequence. The player must navigate budgets, security, education, health care, special interests, and critics. Cut spending, and encounter outrage from special interest groups; raise taxes, and hear the complaints of taxpayers.

In addition to domestic issues, the game proposes to replicate real-world international situations and circumstances with detailed maps showing 192 countries and 8,000 cities, and comes pre-loaded with information on each country, such as unemployment levels, arms production, inflation rates, stock markets, sports... Players can determine the course of world events by invading countries, plotting assassinations, brokering trade agreements and spending time with fellow world leaders.

GP: Obviously, a complex strategy game like this won't appeal to everyone, but it's definitely on my list. Commander in Chief will launch in the U.S. on January 20th, the same day on which Obama will be sworn in.

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IGDA Founder Frets About Obama's Effect on Video Games

December 1, 2008 -

Will Barack Obama take on the video game industry once he is sworn in?

That remains to be seen. The President-elect's plate is mighty full, of course, with more critical issues like the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, healthcare, homeland security and the formation of a coherent energy policy.

But in a lengthy, impassioned column for Gamasutra, longtime video game designer Ernest Adams, co-founder of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), worries that games may eventually appear on Obama's radar:

I don't entirely trust [Obama] on this issue. Obama is a centrist who believes in bringing parties together and trying to find compromises that both can live with. That's great when we're talking about the tax code or immigration policy. It's not great when we're talking about the First Amendment...

He's no hardcore apocalypticist who believes that the End Times are imminent and video games are a sign of man's depravity; nor is he such a bleeding heart that he thinks that game content must be federally-controlled for the sake of the children. However, he will undoubtedly be lobbied by people who do believe such things. The question is, will he stand up to them and tell them to get stuffed? I'm not sure yet...

 

My greatest hope lies not with Obama or the Democratic Congress, but with the judges that Obama will appoint. He has the power to influence the judiciary for many years to come, and I strongly doubt that he will appoint anyone who is likely to whittle away at the First Amendment. Politicians are easily influenced by moral panics; judges less so...

In addition to his game design experience (primarily with the Madden series), Adams is an author and a professor.

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Writer: Obama Should Regulate Sales of Used Games... GP: No

November 22, 2008 -

Over at kombo, Nick Michetti has penned a thoughtful article titled How Barack Obama Can Bring the Change the Video Game Industry Needs.

While some of his ideas have merit, a suggestion that Obama regulate the used game market marred the piece for me. Michetti writes:

We also need to rein in the used games market and not with DRM. It is fundamentally unfair that developers are being robbed of profits for work that they've done. If the ESA will not offer a mandate, then we'll need the government to do so. Publishers and developers should be entitled to at least half of the price from the sale of every used game.

 

However, we need for there to be caps on used game prices and a Blue Book system for video games to prevent price gouging. We also need for developers to respect our tradition of the second hand market and have part of the mandate state that developers cannot use DRM to inhibit used sales.

Ignoring the fact that the ESA, which represents game publishers, has no wherewithal to issue any type of mandate to game retailers, I just don't get Michetti's point. Actually, I don't get the point of anyone who is whining about used game sales (like Epic's Michael Capps).

The reason is simple. Industry types - capitalists, all - who seek to restrict used game sales would interfere with the way markets work. And they want to interfere in a way that is purely for their own benefit and decidely anti-consumer. In this case, anti-gamer.

By way of example, let's say that a carpenter builds a table under contract from a furniture manufacturer. The carpenter gets paid and the manufacturer in turn wholesales the table to a furniture store. The furniture store adds their markup and sells the table to a homeowner. Later, the homeowner remodels and picks up a few bucks by peddling the table through an ad on Craigslist.

Now, replace "table" with "video game." The game developer is the carpenter. The game publisher is the furniture manufacturer. The game retailer is the furniture store. The gamer is the homeowner.

In both cases, there was an economic chain. Everyone got paid for the services. Are we now going to allow the carpenter and the furniture manufacturer to say to the homeowner, "Hey, you can't sell that table. We want everyone to be forced to buy a new table."

Of course not.

Along this line, I was impressed with a recent blog post by veteran game developer Soren Johnson (Spore, Civ series), who writes:

Many factors come into play when a consumer decides if a specific game purchase is worth the money, and one of those factors is the perceived value from selling it back as a used game. In other words, people will pay more for a new game because they know they can get some of that money back when they trade it in at the local Gamestop.

 

Importantly, this perceived value exists whether the consumer actually sells the game or keeps it. Wizards of the Coast has long admitted that the existence of the secondary market for Magic cards has long helped buoy the primary market because buyers perceive that the cards have monetary value.

UPDATE: Kudos to Nick Michetti, who dropped by to discuss his article in comments. I see that Kotaku also picked up the story.

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In Wake of Election, ESA Boss Sees Historic Time for Game Community

November 21, 2008 -

In an op-ed published at 1up, Michael Gallagher, CEO of game publishers trade group the Entertainment Software Association, frames the recent presidential election as "a historic time for America and the computer and video game community."

Recapping many of the campaign-related game developments (Obama's XBL ads, McCain's Pork Invaders game), Gallagher writes:

The campaign produced a milestone of its own in the use of our technologies to engage and communicate with voters.

 

 For the first time, American gamers and the entertainment software industry played an active role in the political process...

With the U.S. recession deepening, Gallagher also cites the benefits that the game industry provides to the U.S. economy and lays out the ESAS's agenda going forward:

  • working closely with all levels of government
  • preserving the First Amendment rights of gamers
  • supporting parental education efforts around video game ratings
  • protecting our industry's intellectual property
  • leveraging broadband to increase the connected experience
  • working to improve our industry's contributions to the economy
  • supporting state-level tax incentive legislation
     

Gallagher concludes with:

We look forward to working with the Obama administration, the new Congress and state leaders around the country and ensuring that America's governments recognize the positive effects of the computer and video game industry.

UPDATE: For more of Gallagher's thoughts, see GameStop's interview.

Obama's FCC Transition Team Has MMO Background

November 19, 2008 -

The co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama's FCC transition team is a World of Warcraft geek.

That word comes by way of GigaOm, where Wagner James Au writes that Wharton Prof. Kevin Werbach (left), a Net Neutrality advocate is steering the Obama team's takeover of the FCC (presumably between WoW raids).

In fact, Werbach belongs to a pair of WoW guilds. He wrote of his gaming in a 2006 blog post:

I play Warcraft because it’s fun. It’s taking time away from watching TV, reading books, and other entertainment pursuits. But I’m also playing because I believe MMOGs will be one of the primary forms of social software for the next decade. Defined broadly, they may become the dominant form of social software. And you can’t understand games without experiencing them first-hand...

 

What [WoW] does is provide an incentive for people to develop new software and ideas for collaborative production. Many of those ideas will translate to other group activities, including those within the business world...

As Au notes, Werbach's WoW experience is a plus, since online gamers have a major stake in the Net Neutrality issue. Also of note, Werbach's co-chair, Michigan Prof. Susan Crawford, is an admirer of Second Life:

Professor Crawford, a board member at ICANN, also counts herself “a huge fan of Second Life” for the way it lets users retain IP rights to their content (though she confesses to difficulty when it comes to moving her SL avatar around.)

GP: We're dying to know - does Werbach play Horde or Alliance?

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Supporter Looks Back at the Success of Obama's ARG

November 18, 2008 -

Gene Koo of TechPresident describes his experience with the reality game play of campaign site/ARG My.BarackObama.com:

It featured minimal graphics, no sound effects, and deeply flawed gameplay. Yet one of the most important game titles of 2008 was played by thousands and helped change the face of American politics...

MyBO awarded Obama supporters with points for taking real-world actions that would likely help the candidate win the primaries and the general election: making phone calls to voters, hosting gatherings, and donating money... MyBO was the first serious ARG deployed by a political campaign...

 

For most supporters, the points likely functioned as a curiosity. Still, the point system helped signal what kinds of activities really mattered, and it probably had something to do with the over 200,000 events hosted and 27,000 groups created on MyBO – an impressive number even after you discount some set of bogus ones put on to game the system...

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Ian Bogost Talks Games and Politics at Harvard

November 14, 2008 -

Gene Koo of Valuable Games live-blogs an appearance by serious games guru Ian Bogost (left) at a Harvard study group led by Nicco Mele:

Video games [serve] as a centrifying values issue, making it very cheap [for politicians] to decry video games. Ian mentions the ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association), and the idea of a union of video game players, or a common identity among gamers, “weirds” him out.

Gamer demographics — if there are political games, whom will they reach?: There’s a lot of bad data, but… see the Entertainment Software Association. The better question is to break them down by style/type. Ian’s own games — TSA game since 2006 has approached 50M plays. (< $10K to build).

An Obama game could really sell. Who wouldn’t buy an Obama game? Well...

So what about an abortion game that attempts to help each side understand the perspective of the other side of the debate? ...

Nicco mentions that the [Howard] Dean [2004] campaign’s game did inspire people to donate, get involved. Ian wonders if this idea will “peak” (novelty factor).

The problem is that the vast majority of these [political] games are meaningless tripe. See Ian’s discussion of Pork Invaders, in the Gamasutra article, and also the contrast with Tax Invaders as a rhetorical device.

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

Gamers Should Not Be Leery of Obama, Says Game Writer

November 13, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics covered a New York Times story which reported that some gamers were leery of how Barack Obama's presidency might affect their pastime.

Writing for fidgit, longtime game journo Tom Chick (left) takes issue with the NYT (okay by me), but takes a cheap shot at GamePolitics in the process (hey, Tom Chick, don't shoot the messenger):

You know it's been a slow news day at the New York Times when they assemble a couple of scant details about the appearance of videogames in the Presidential campaign under the headline "Some Video Gamers Leery of Obama's Views"...

 

In addition to citing the inveterate cryers of "Wolf!" over at GamePolitics.com, they base their story on a user comment on 1up.com... Could this be because the post makes more sense than either the New York Times story or the 1up story it's commenting on?

As a scholar and college teacher [who] writes about games, I don't see this as any kind of whipping post that's part of Obama's policy building... The only way games will come up as a major part of any presidency anytime soon is just as it has in the past: when it's a convenient scapegoat.

However, videogames are already a factor in Obama's presidency. Like Bill Clinton before him, Barack Obama is in touch with a whole new generation of voters, and therefore American culture... While Barack Obama may not be as big a dork as us videogame players, he deserves credit for being aware that we're out here. We should be glad, not leery.

GP: Inveterate cryers of "Wolf!"???

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Obama Team Kicked Back with Rock Band

November 11, 2008 -

With some gamers expressing concern about President-elect Barack Obama's position on video games, it's somehow reassuring to learn that campaign staffers partook of group Rock Band sessions during their down time.

That word comes by way of a look back on Obama's winning strategy by the New Yorker:

Like many campaign teams, Obama’s was young. The communications department –made up mostly of guys in their twenties and thirties — had a fraternity-house quality. On weekends, they would often drink beer together and play the video game “Rock Band” at a group house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

 

They had been brought up in Democratic politics in the previous two decades with an understanding that the people who worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton were the best operatives in Washington, especially when it came to dealing with the media. They had watched “The War Room,” the documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign, which featured strategists like James Carville and George Stephanopoulos manically responding to every negative story and trying to win every news cycle.

Via: MTV Multiplayer

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New York Times: Some Gamers Leery of Obama

November 10, 2008 -

Despite those well-publicized Barack Obama ads on Xbox Live, some gamers remain leery of the President-elect's views on video games, according to the New York Times.

The NYT's Brian Stelter writes:

Some players say they are concerned about other interruptions to their games that they consider more serious. Blog posts scoring Mr. Obama’s positions on video games have received hundreds of comments, with some readers worrying that his admonitions during the campaign to “put the video games away” signaled new regulations or restrictions on the industry...

A Web site called GamePolitics, established by a pro-gaming consumer advocacy group, pointed out in February that Mr. Obama had given campaign speeches in which games were used as a metaphor for underachievement.

Mr. Obama’s answers to a questionnaire by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media last year echoed the theme. He indicated that he supported parental controls for both television and video games and called on the video game industry to “give parents better information” and improve the voluntary ratings system. “If the industry fails to act, then my administration would,” he wrote.

GP: Seeing GamePolitics cited in the NYT is sweet, even if they did forget to include a link.

UPDATE: The fiery Obama image at left is part of DLC released for Mercenaries 2 by Pandemic Studios.

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Last Call for Election 2008 Flash Games includes Joe the Plumber: Layin' Pipe

November 8, 2008 -

GamePolitics covered so many election-themed Flash games during the run-up to November 4th that we actually lost count.

Surprisingly, however, a roundup on Amazon.com's Game Room Blog turns up a few that we missed. For the sake of completeness, here they are, along with Amazon's description:

  • Joe The Plumber: Layin' Pipe  ...use your brainteasing abilities to beat the flush in this escalating series of puzzles that are reminiscent of the hacking mini-games of BioShock.
  • Below The Beltway  ...this boxing game [featuring the red and blue tickets]... pulls no punches.
  • Campaign: General Election Edition ...A turn-based strategy game where players choose their candidate and support staff members--each with different strengths, weaknesses and special moves... Singleplayer and multiplayer...
  • AirMILF ...Thanks for the memories Governor [Palin]
     
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Obama Saluted in Crazy Mini Golf for Wii

November 7, 2008 -

Game makers have taken to Barack Obama in a big way.

The president-elect has already made appearances in a Saints Row 2 trailer and as DLC in Mercenaries 3.

Wii title Kidz Sports Crazy Mini Golf, launched this week by Data Design, now has a video up featuring Obama scoring some sweet holes-in-one while characters John McCain (at least, I'm guessing that's supposed to be McCain) and Sarah Palin look on in frustration.

Thanks to: GP correspondent Andrew Eisen for the tip!

1 comment

Super Obama World: Play the Game, Buy the Shirt

November 6, 2008 -

If the Obama honeymoon isn't over for you yet, check out Super Obama World.

For now you can play an Alaska level or head to the Republican National Convention. But more levels are promised, including Illinois, Arizona and Washington, D.C.

If you like the very 8-bit looking online platformer, they've got merch you can buy as well.

Via: Kotaku

16 comments

Election Night in Second Life

November 6, 2008 -

While GP was glued to old school CNN for news of this year's presidential voting, Bixyl Shuftan recaps what election night was like in the Second Life metaverse for the Second Life Newspaper:

Princess Ivory had this to say, “Do you all realize that this is a historic election not just for the US, but for SL? 4 years ago SL wasn't as popular. In the past, we would gather with our neighbors and family in the living room and watch the election results on television. Now we sit and watch our avatars sit together, and listen to the BBC broadcast from another window. Incredible..."

Checking the Obama HQ, they had set up some bright glow-balls, bathing the interior of the building in light. And with victory declared, many were dancing away...

Then a couple came in, telling everyone they had just been banned from the Straight Talk Cafe, saying they ran through the place naked...

GP: Only in SL...

11 comments

God of War Designer Jubilant Over Obama Win

November 6, 2008 -

David Jaffe, famed designer of the God of War series, is ecstatic over Barack Obama's victory in Tuesday's presidential election.

As GP sister-site GameCulture reports, Jaffe's morning-after blog is typically candid: 

...wow...

 

...bleeping thank you America!

 

Now let's just hope Obama can really do what he says and bring ALL OF US together...Democrats, Independents, AND Republicans!

 

What an amazing night!

 

Bleep, I'd hug Bill O'Reilly at this point!

 

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ZippyDSMleehttp://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=35311/24/2014 - 9:46am
WonderkarpDay 4 of my Amiibos. Still Unopened. Now pegged too a wall. I just love the packaging too much11/24/2014 - 8:12am
PHX Corp@Jessy I actually saw it on gamespot, seems that Nintendo accidently turned Samus into a Badass11/23/2014 - 9:28pm
Jessy HartAnybody else see the Samus Amiibo with 2 arm canons?11/23/2014 - 9:10pm
Andrew EisenNeo - If you're not bleeding then it's probably not you who needs to go to the doctor.11/23/2014 - 5:45pm
Wonderkarpgood. that kind of behavior is unnecessary.11/23/2014 - 5:44pm
WonderkarpGeorgina Young - Are Video Games Sexist? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX9LV4GuG9E11/23/2014 - 5:43pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://deadspin.com/starcraft-player-says-hell-rape-opponent-is-booted-f-1662346891/+Fahey11/23/2014 - 5:40pm
Wonderkarphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4a9tMGSTG411/23/2014 - 5:32pm
WonderkarpDan Vavra of Warhorse Studios at the Nordic eCommerce Summit 2014 on Game Journalism and why ethics are important11/23/2014 - 5:27pm
WonderkarpGame Dev Ashley Ross on the Block/Blacklist https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2n603f/thoughts_on_the_recent_igdaggautoblocker_incident/11/23/2014 - 5:25pm
Wonderkarpwhich is interesting cause this the first one 100% made by 2k games after the THQ buy11/23/2014 - 4:17pm
Wonderkarpbleh. the more I play WWE 2k15 on PS4, the more I get disappointed.11/23/2014 - 4:09pm
Neo_DrKefkaIt happened around 1030 this morning. I was not blooding because blood was on my hands11/23/2014 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenThat depends on a lot. Were you bleeding at the time you requested to leave or did you want to leave work to go to the doctor over an incident that happened on a different day that you didn't file an incident report for?11/23/2014 - 3:21pm
Neo_DrKefkaThat would be a major OSHA violation correct?11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
Neo_DrKefkaOff topic but I was at work and went over to the first aid kit to get some eye drops. I look at my hand and noticed blood on my hands. My employers said their is no incident report and they won't send me to see a doctor and that I am abandoning my job.11/23/2014 - 1:54pm
MaskedPixelanteThe more I hear about AC Unity being rushed out, the more I think Ubisoft was telling the truth about why they couldn't add female co-op models.11/23/2014 - 1:14pm
IanCI wouldnt say the 360/PS3 version were superior. They were different games.11/23/2014 - 11:49am
MechaTama31It's hard to rank my top 5 against eachother, but they would include Ghostbusters, Back to the Future (all of it), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Princess Bride.11/23/2014 - 11:09am
 

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