Connecticut Legislators Busted for Playing Solitaire at Work

September 10, 2009 -

A pair of Connecticut legislators were embarrassed when an Associated Press photographer snapped them playing Windows Solitaire during recent deliberations on the state budget.

The Hartford Courant reports that one of the game-playing pols, Rep. Jack Hennessy (D, left) has issued a rather profuse apology in a letter to constituents:

It was certainly bad judgment for me to play a computer game even for just a few minutes during the final House session on the budget. I am embarrassed, and I apologize to each and every person in the North End and to people across the state.

My actions were inexcusable. I do want my constituents to know that my poor judgment for a few moments on Monday in no way means I ignored your interests in representing you on this very serious matter...

I sincerely apologize to each of you. I look forward to having the continued privilege of representing you and your interests in Hartford. I thank you in advance for your understanding and have been humbled by those of you who have already expressed your understanding and forgiveness.

Hennessy maintains a photo gallery on his official website. The solitaire-playing picture is not included, however. The other Solitaire player was Rep. Barbara Lambert, also a Democrat.

Via: GameCulture

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Obama To Mention Xbox in Controversial Speech to Students

September 8, 2009 -

Amid protests and counter-protests, President Barack Obama will deliver a 20-minute speech on the value of education to America's students this morning.

The Back to School event has been banned from some school districts whose managers are apparently being influenced by the squeaky wheels among the anti-Obama crowd.

In any case, the White House has pre-published the text of the Prez's speech. And, once again, Obama will reference video games - specifically the Xbox:

I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

 

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

 

I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.

 

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed...

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VP Was Gonna Buy Wii For Prez, But He's Already Got One, You See

August 25, 2009 -

Clearly, Vice-President Joe Biden does not read GamePolitics.

If he did, he would have already known that President & Mrs. Obama got their daughters Malia and Sasha a Holy Grail Wii for Christmas.

From the Los Angeles Times:

One White House official recalls the vice president fretting over what to get Obama for his 48th birthday earlier this month. Biden wanted to go with a Nintendo Wii. Told that Obama's daughters already have one, a disappointed Biden said, "You're kidding." Instead, he went with a golf range-finder to help the president judge distances to the hole.

Via: Kotaku

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Obama's Ghana Speech Streamed, Analyzed in Second Life

August 19, 2009 -

A speech delivered by Barack Obama in Ghana last month was the President's "most tweeted, Facebooked, and SMS'd event to date," according to Second Life Examiner (GP: although it's unclear how the site arrived at that conclusion).

The event was streamed live into both Second Life and Metaplace. The Click Heard Round the World offers its take on the event:

After President Obama's speech, there was a virtual debrief with three African experts: Ghanian musician DNA (Derrick Ashong), Ambassador Kenton Keith and African studies Professor Timothy Burke of Swarthmore College. People in Second Life and Metaplace could ask the speakers questions as well as engage in back channel chat.

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Congressman, Iowa Guv Support Push For Video Game Hall of Fame

August 14, 2009 -

If you build it, they will come...

Oops - wrong Iowa attraction reference.

But in Ottumwa, Iowa yesterday some 3,500 people turned out to show support for the building of a proposed Video Game Hall of Fame. Among those is attendance were Congressman David Loebsack (D) and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D), according to Kotaku. Judge read a proclamation from Gov. Chet Culver (D) which deemed Ottumwa as the "Video Game Capital of the World."

Chris Hoeksema, a member of the committee exploring the idea of building the Hall of Fame, was stunned by the turnout:

It's really been amazing. We were not expecting this much outpouring of support from the community and the state. And the entire world, really. We've had donations from overseas and some people flew in from the United Kingdom to attend. It's been an amazing amount of support.

A Radio Iowa report adds that the Hall of Fame project enjoys backing from city, county and state government officials. Ottumwa Mayor Dale Uehling, among the Hall's supporters, commented on some of the nuts-and-bolts issues which must be addressed:

We're very hopeful that we can become the video gaming capitol of the world... We need to get a comprehensive study done on exactly what is needed... Part of this will depend on what is the attraction going to be? We visualize that we would have international competition here as a part of this so we need something that's going to have some capacity.

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Online Game: Can Hillary Rescue Hostages Before Bill Steals the Glory?

August 14, 2009 -

Never far from the harsh glare of the media, the Clintons have once again been in the news of late.

Bill, of course, was recently credited with negotiating the release of two American journalists held by North Korea. Hillary's news was less positive. During a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, a journalist's misstated question prompted a testy reply:

You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the Secretary of State, I am. You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I'm not going to channel my husband.

As it turned out, the questioner meant to ask what President Obama thought about the issue, not former President Clinton.

The incident did not go unnoticed by the crew at T-Enterprise. The UK firm offers a new online game just about every Friday and this week it's Hillary: First Blood. In the game, a Rambo-esque Hillary, equipped with an RPG, tank and helicopter, must rescue a trio of journalists from Iran before Bill can fly in and sweet-talk them out of captivity. Along the way, the Secretary of State has to dodge spikes and a minefield.

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Democrats Dominate Video Game Industry's 2009 Campaign Giving

August 13, 2009 -

Mid-year documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission indicate that the video game industry is currently leaning to the Democratic side of the aisle when it comes to Congressional campaign donations.

ESA PAC, the political action committee of game publishers group the Entertainment Software Association, has disbursed $12,400 to Congressional candidates so far in 2009. All but $1,000 of those funds went to Democrats or Democratic PACs. Here's the breakdown:

  • Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) - $3,000
  • Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) - $1,000  (Meek is running for a vacant Senate seat)
  • New Democratic Coalition PAC - $2,000
  • Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) - $2,400
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD) - $1,000
  • Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) - $1,000
  • Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) - $1,000
  • Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) - $1,000

The contributions will be used by recipients for the 2010 mid-term elections. South Dakota's Thune is the only Republican among those receiving ESA PAC money so far in 2009.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the ESA PAC mid-year report here...

ECA: Tell President Obama How Games Have Benefited You

July 27, 2009 -

If you're a regular GamePolitics reader, you know that President Barack Obama often refers to video games as something to be set aside in favor of presumably more worthwhile pursuits. In the most recent example, Obama, speaking at the NAACP's 100th anniversary dinner, counseled African-American parents to put away the Xbox.

Now, the Entertainment Consumers Association is urging gamers to let the President know that there is a lot of good in video games. Brett Schenker, Online Advocacy Manager for the ECA, writes:

Throughout the Presidential race and continuing into his Presidency, President Obama on numerous occasions has said "put the video games away." As a gamer and a voter, [the ECA is] asking you to email President Obama to point out some of the ways that video games have empowered and educated you, as well as their power to build teamwork and make people healthier...

We know video games can promote fitness. We know games can educate, because we've experienced that first hand. Video games are also not solely consumption entertainment as we're being challenged to create content for some of our favorite games. We're a part of the new global choice for entertainment and the community it's spawned.

 

We're asking you to speak out now and put a positive face on our community. Make sure to let the President know what we experience every day. Take a moment and make your voice heard.

To assist gamers in contacting the Prez on this issue, the ECA has set up an online action campaign where gamers can personalize their message and have it forwarded to the White House.

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Video Game Industry's New Top Lobbyist Has Obama Campaign Experience

July 21, 2009 -

Here's hoping that Erik Huey lasts longer with the Entertainment Software Association than did his predecessor.

Huey was announced today as the new head of government relations for the video game publishers' trade group. In plain English, that means Huey is the ESA's chief lobbyist. The post has been vacant since Jennifer Manner departed just a month after coming aboard in February.

According to the ESA's press release, Huey is a veteran attorney who has specialized in lobbying for the entertainment, communications and media sectors. His official title will be Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. ESA boss Mike Gallagher offered praise for the new guy:

Erik’s demonstrated advocacy abilities on behalf of numerous entertainment and telecommunications clients will serve him well as he navigates the specific challenges and opportunities that the ESA and our member companies face. As game technologies and gamer demographics continue to evolve, the entertainment software industry will rely on Erik and his team to help foster a beneficial environment for our industry’s innovation and creativity.

Huey, who starts his new gig in August, also has substantial political experience on the Democratic side, according to the ESA's press release:

Huey helped coordinate voter protection and mobilization efforts in Western Pennsylvania for the Obama Campaign for Change during the 2008 primary and general elections. Huey had a similar role during the 2006 mid-term elections, and served as the Kerry/Edwards Campaign’s “Get Out the Vote” Director for Western Pennsylvania in 2004. Huey also served as an advance coordinator for the 1992 Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign...

As for Jennifer Manner, her story seems to have a happy ending as well. Coincidentally, we also learned today that she has accepted a post with the Federal Communications Commission.

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Obama's Deputy CTO Makes Second Life Appearance Today

July 20, 2009 -

The Obama administration's deputy chief technology officer for open government will pay a visit to Second Life at noon Eastern time, reports New World Notes.

Beth Simone Noveck, who is known as Lawlita Fassbinder on SL, has been a member of the virtual community since 2004. Noveck will speak about her new book, Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful.

Noveck talked about her job with the New York Times last month:

If [average] people are going to be asked to spend the time on contributing, you want to use the participation they give you...

Even something like having a blog with an open discussion about policy is so revolutionary in the way government works.

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Microsoft Responds to Obama's Admonition to Put Away the Xbox

July 18, 2009 -

President Barack Obama's admonition to parents to "put away the Xbox" has drawn a response from Microsoft.

Obama made the remarks on Thursday evening during a speech he delivered at an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP. Here's what the President said:

To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and fail to support them when they get home. For our kids to excel, we must accept our own responsibilities. That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences, reading to our kids, and helping them with their homework...

...and here is Microsoft's response, as reported by the Associated Press:

We agree with President Obama that it’s a time for families to work together so that kids use media in ways that are safe, healthy and balanced. Xbox 360 is the only console gaming system that has a timer feature allowing parents to set time limits for their kids, as well as parent controls to enable parents to set limits on what their kids are playing and watching.

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Obama to African-American Parents: Put Away the Xbox

July 17, 2009 -

President Barack Obama has - yet again - referenced playing video games as a metaphor for underachievement.

[GP: click here for other recent examples, although Obama has made similar comments going back to at least 2006.]

In a speech in New York last night marking the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, Obama said:

We have to say to our children, Yes, if you’re African American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher. Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy suburb does not. But that’s not a reason to get bad grades, that’s not a reason to cut class, that’s not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands - and don’t you forget that.

To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and fail to support them when they get home. For our kids to excel, we must accept our own responsibilities. That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences, reading to our kids, and helping them with their homework...

 

It also means pushing our kids to set their sights higher. They might think they’ve got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can’t all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. I want them aspiring to be President of the United States.

BlackPoliticsontheWeb has the full text of Obama's speech. The Washington Post has coverage of the event, which it termed a "tough love message for [Obama's] fellow African-Americans." The New York Times called Obama's speech "a fiery sermon."

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal took notice of our coverage - and of some comments by GP readers...

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NY State Bans Texting, Gaming, Surfing While Driving

July 17, 2009 -

The New York State Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill which bans texting, playing video games or surfing the Internet while driving, reports Buffalo Business First.

The measure, which previously was approved by the New York Assembly, now goes to Gov. David Paterson, who is expected to sign it into law. If so, the new regulations will take effect in November.

Newsday offers a comment from bill sponsor Sen. Martin Dilan (D):

This is a long-overdue safety measure for New York. Texting and burgeoning [portable electronic] technologies continue to pose serious, and sometimes fatal, distractions to drivers of all ages.

Violators of the new law will be subject to a $150 fine. However, the ban on portable electronics is considered a secondary offense, which means that it could only be levied if a driver is pulled over for another violation.

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Activist Urges New CPSC Head To Ban War Toys & Games

July 11, 2009 -

Never mind imposing tougher safety standards on imports from China, writes South Carolina attorney and activist Tom Turnipseed (left).

In an op-ed for The State, Turnipseed urges Inez Tenenbaum, the new chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to make her first priority a ban on war toys and war games:

It’s easier for children to play with war toys than to learn how to read or play the piano. War toys teach children aggression. Aggression needs an outlet, but aggression can be played out in a non-violent manner with peaceful games.

Children should know what really happens in a war. People are hurt, maimed and killed. War toys, games, television shows and movies using guns seldom show the real effect of what violence does to people...

 

Studies indicate a direct correlation between exposure to media violence, especially interactive video games, and increased childhood aggression...


Better alternatives to children enjoying shooting at people and blowing up buildings are games that encourage the use of their minds, skills and physical dexterity in activities promoting the sanctity of life and peace.

Turnipseed served as a South Carolina state senator (D) from 1976 to1980. He made unsuccessful runs for Congress (1980) and South Carolina Attorney General (1998).

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Mass. Effect: State Legislator Wants Tax Credits for Game Developers

July 7, 2009 -

A Massachusetts legislator hopes to extend the state's tax credit for movie production to video game developers.

To that end, Rep. John Binienda (D, left) has proposed H.2690. The measure will be debated tomorrow in the State House.

Of his bill, Binienda told NECN:

It's basically just tax credits to keep this industry here. It's to bring jobs here, keep jobs here, and stimulate economic development.

 

The idea here is that if you could make some tax credits and some tax breaks, that not only could you get your degree here, but you could work here to keep the best and the brightest minds here, in the [video game development] field.

Passage of Binienda's bill appears uncertain at this point given that some of his legislative colleagues have expressed concerns about giving up tax revenue in the current economic climate. A similar measure failed to pass in 2008.

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Boston Mayor Who Forced GTA Ads from Public Transit Now Appears on Buses Pushing ESRB

July 2, 2009 -

It wasn't that long ago that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino forced the removal of ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories from public transit vehicles operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Menino's office also pushed (unsuccessfully) for video game legislation last year.

Thus, there's irony aplenty to be found in seeing Menino's face plastered onto Boston buses, courtesy of the ESRB.

Last month GamePolitics broke the news that Menino was partnering with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game industry's content rating system. The bus ads are just a piece of that campaign which also includes TV spots, radio ads and outdoor print ads.

Locally, the Boston Globe and Boston-based Joystiq blogger Alexander Sliwinski have both taken note of the appearance of Menino's mug on local public transit. According to the Globe, the ESRB forked over $43,195 to the MBTA for the three-month bus ad campaign.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Menino is running for re-election this year. Prof. John Berg of the Suffolk University government department commented on the ads:

They can do this stuff, which is no doubt intended to help the [re-election] campaign, but looks very legitimate because they’re taking advantage of their role as head of the city.

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Obama Honors Creator of Game That Helps Kids Cope with Cancer

July 1, 2009 -

At the White House yesterday, President Barack Obama lauded a California non-profit which publishes a PC game designed to help children and teens cope with cancer.

As reported by the San Mateo Daily Journal, Obama recognized HopeLab and its game Re-Mission as an example of the kind of social innovation that is worthy of support from both the public and private sectors. Praising the work of HopeLab and three other non-profits during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, the President said:

If we work together — if we all go all-in here — think about the difference we can make. Think about the impact we could have with just the organizations represented in this room.

A White House press release praised HopeLab and its game:

HopeLab is dedicated to finding solutions that have broad impact, and works closely with tweens, teens and young adults to create fun, innovative products that meet their needs. Among them is Re-Mission, HopeLab's groundbreaking video game for young people with cancer. Data show that that Re-Mission improves treatment adherence and other key health outcomes... HopeLab is also developing products to combat sedentary behavior in children as a way to fight the effects of childhood obesity.

C-SPAN video of the ceremony is available here. More details of the event are available via HopeLab's Twitter account.

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Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to Set Aside for a Greater Good

June 26, 2009 -

While President Obama has never expressed a specific anti-video game sentiment that we're aware of, he does often refer to games as something to put aside in order to do something more worthy.

To wit; on Father's Day Obama urged dads to swap their kids' video games for books. In a recent speech to the American Medical Association, Obama said that children should "step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside." In early June Obama suggested that Chinese and Indian children were pulling ahead of American youth because they watch less T.V., play fewer video games and spend more time on their schoolwork.

Video games came up again yesterday as the President and Mrs. Obama spoke at a United We Serve event at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. eNews Park Forest has a transcript, including the President's comment on video games:

On Monday, we launched "United We Serve," our summer service initiative.  It's going to run all the way through our National Day of Service on September 11th.  We want to ask every American to take some time out this summer to do something for others. 

 

Parents, take your kids -- they're going to have fun, they're going to be in sports camps, they're going to be watching TV and playing video games.  Once a week, take them down -- whether it's to a soup kitchen or to volunteer on a community project -- teach them what it means to be a real citizen.  You'll find that actually the kids love it, and it's going to make a lasting impression on them. 

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In Congress, Rep. Kucinich Argues Against Army's Video Game-Fueled Recruiting Road Show

June 25, 2009 -

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is no fan of the controversial Virtual Army Experience, a traveling, high-tech, video game-driven military recruiting program.

As GamePolitics reported in March, Kucinich urged the House Armed Services committee to eliminate funding for the project, charging that it "give[s] participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of soldiering..."

In addition, Kucinich has taken the debate over the VAE to the floor of Congress. A C-SPAN video posted yesterday on YouTube shows the former presidential hopeful once again expressing concern over the recruiting program. Engaging in a colloquy with House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO). Kucinich said:

Children as young as 13-years-old are participating in the Virtual Army Experience, which paints an innaccurate picture of war by glorifying it while sanitizing the real effects. More than a mere video game, it includes interactions with real veterans, who appear to be in perfect health. It also requires that the user, regardless of age, share personal information as a condition of participation...

 

I think we can agree that the Virtual Army Experience video game must be revalidated to ensure that its age-appropriate rating is accurate in the context of how it's being employed; that the Virtual Army Experience content should be reviewed to ensure it accurately reflects the consequences of war; and that there must be increased transparency with regard to how the personal information of the participants, collected during participation, will be used by the Army.

Skelton's response is of interest in that he didn't exactly disagree with Kucinich:

I support the VAE. At the same time, I know it can be improved. And I would be happy, of course, to work with this gentleman to address the issues that you have so aptly raised.

GP: At this point we're not entirely sure when Kucinich made the remarks in the House; given that they just hit YouTube, we assume that they are recent. Any GamePolitics reader input on the timing of Kucinich's comments will be gratefully accepted.

Thanks to: GP correspondent Andrew Eisen...

Massachusetts Guv Brags About Guitar Hero

June 25, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) did a little bragging on Guitar Hero at a town hall meeting  in Arlington on Monday night.

Patrick, who lobbied game publishers to relocate to Massachusetts during a West Coast junket in February, was enthusiastic about the state's economic prospects during his talk with citizens, according to Wicked Local Arlington:

This is not your father’s [Route] 128. You know that [video game] ‘Guitar Hero’? That was invented here. It was built here.

Route 128 is well-known as a technology corridor in Massachusetts. Guitar Hero creator Harmonix is based in Cambridge.

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Faced with White House National Security Claim, Public Interest Groups Drop Information Lawsuit on Secret Copyright Treaty

June 24, 2009 -

For nearly a year GamePolitics has been tracking ATCA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

As we have reported, ACTA deals in large part with copyright issues and is being negotiated in secret by the U.S., Japan, Canada, the EU and other nations. Details of ACTA are largely a mystery to consumers despite the fact that dozens of corporate lobbyists have been clued in to parts of the treaty, including Stevan Mitchell, VP of IP Policy for game publishers trade group the Entertainment Software Association.

Sadly, consumer interests suffered a major blow last week as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge dropped a federal lawsuit seeking to cast a little sunshine on the ACTA negotiations. The EFF explained that a recent decision by the Obama Administration to claim a national security exemption for the ACTA talks made the lawsuit unwinnable; federal judges have  little leeway to overrule such claims. The move by the Obama White House extends a similar policy put in place by the Bush Administration.

Public Knowledge Deputy Legal Director Sherwin Siy commented on the decision:

Even though we have reluctantly dropped this lawsuit, we will continue to press the U.S. Trade Representative and the Obama Administration on the ACTA issues. The issues are too far-reaching and too important to allow this important agreement to be negotiated behind closed doors.

The worry, of course, is that the United States will emerge from ACTA with a done deal that favors Big IP in the fashion of the consumer-unfriendly DMCA. Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association, expressed concerns about ACTA earlier this year:

Because ECA supports the balance that must exist between the rights of copyright owners and the right of copyrighted material consumers, we do not think it wise to include any portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being discussed...    

We are concerned that any DMCA language in ACTA may cause enormous, unforeseen negative implications in US law...

GP: As GamePolitics mentioned above, video game publishers lobbying group the ESA is privy to at least a portion of the secret ACTA negotiations while its industry's customers - video game consumers - are barred from knowing anything at all.

That makes us wonder - will the Video Game Voters Network, which is owned and operated by the ESA, commence a letter-writing campaign on behalf of its gamer-members demanding that the White House pull the curtain back on ACTA?

Somehow we doubt it.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The Entertainment Consumers Association is the parent company of GamePolitics.

Portions Via: /.

On Father's Day, Obama Urges Dads To Swap Video Games for Books

June 21, 2009 -

Repeating a theme that he frequently touched upon during his 2008 election campaign, President Barack Obama has once again referenced video games as a metaphor for academic underachievement.

In a Father's Day message published in Parade, Obama writes:

We need to set limits and expectations. We need to replace that video game with a book and make sure that homework gets done... We need to tell our sons, Those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in our house, we find glory in achievement, self-respect, and hard work.

Interestingly, the Parade feature is Obama's third mention of video games in the last 10 days. On June 11th he told an audience in Wisconsin:

The world has gotten competitive. The Chinese, the Indians, they're coming at us and they're coming at us hard, and they're hungry, and they're really buckling down.

And they watch - their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they're in the classroom a lot longer.

Last Monday the President mentioned games during a speech to the American Medical Association in Chicago:

[Preventive care] starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means... raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.

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Obama Names Video Games as Health Concern in Speech to A.M.A.

June 15, 2009 -

In a speech to the American Medical Association in Chicago today, President Obama mentioned video games as a factor in unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles.

As reported by the New York Times, Obama addressed the AMA as part of his drive to build support for sweeping healthcare reform. The Wall Street Journal's Health blog has the full text of the President's remarks. Here's what he said about video games:

The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.

In other speeches, Obama has frequently linked video games to academic underachievement.

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XBL Indie Game Turns Obama Into Side-Scrolling Scrapper

June 15, 2009 -

A recently-released Xbox Live Community Game (MS recently announced that these will soon be called Indie Games) features President Obama as a side-scrolling, 2-D brawler.

Angry Barry is available for 400 points on Xbox Live. We didn't spring for the game although we did check out the free demo.

Hillary Clinton makes an appearance in the game and the screen shot at left appears to feature Sarah Palin. From the game's XBL page:

Angry Barry is a sidescrolling, political parody, 1-2 player 2D beat 'em up in the tradition of many classic arcade games. Take control of Barry as he tries to take over the Presidency of the United States!

Obama: Chinese & Indians Kids Play Fewer Video Games, "Coming At Us Hard"

June 12, 2009 -

Returning to a theme that he touched upon often during the 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama told the audience at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin that American kids spend too much time playing video games and watching television.

But Obama added a new wrinkle to yesterday's remarks, linking them to the United States' ability to compete in the global marketplace:

Even with the good schools, we've got to pick up the pace, because the world has gotten competitive. The Chinese, the Indians, they're coming at us and they're coming at us hard, and they're hungry, and they're really buckling down.

And they watch - their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do, play a lot fewer video games, they're in the classroom a lot longer.

So here's the bottom line. We've got to improve, we've got to step up our game. While the average public school is actually doing a reasonably good job... we are falling behind when it comes to math; our kids are falling behind when it comes to science...

We used to be head and shoulders above other countries when it came to education. We aren't anymore. We're sort of in the middle of the pack now among wealthy, advanced, industrialised countries.

Via: IANS

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Video of L.A. Mayor Welcoming E3 2009 to Town

June 9, 2009 -

We posted a story on this last Thursday, but here's exclusive video footage from GP's mobile phone which shows Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa welcoming E3 2009 to town.

To the left of Villaraigosa is ESA boss Mike Gallagher.

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Kansas Attorney General Teams Up with ESRB on Ratings Awareness

June 9, 2009 -

Steve Six (D), the Attorney General of Kansas, has become the latest high-level state official to sign on in support of the video game industry's ESRB rating system.

A press release posted last week on Six's website includes the A.G.'s reminder to parents to make use of ESRB ratings:

With school out for the summer, kids may spend more time playing video games.  Parents must be vigilant about the media they allow into their homes. There's simply no substitute for parental involvement and responsibility, and it's important that parents play an active role in choosing games for their children. 

 

ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants is appropriate, and rating summaries provide even more insight into exactly what a parent would want to know about in a game.  I'm proud to be educating parents in our state about the tools at their disposal.

Six will deliver the ESRB message on public service announcement on radio and T.V. in Kansas. The televised version PSA can be viewed on the ESRB website (scroll down to "Statewide TV").

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Obama Advisor To Make Second Life Appearance

June 8, 2009 -

Kevin Werbach, who served on the FCC segment of the Obama transition team, remains with the Administration as a part-time advisor on broadband issues.

Over at New World Notes, Wagner James Au reports that Werbach, who is a veteran of the Second Life metaverse, will make an SL appearance later this week:

Werbach will be back in-world this Wednesday at 1pm Pacific to appear on the Metanomics show, for an extremely apropos topic: "The Age of Obama: Virtual Worlds, Open Government, and Policy"...

 

Kevin tells me he can't discuss the particular policy advice he gave the Administration about virtual worlds, but I suspect he'll provide some great insider perspectives on how they're being shaped. 

Werbach and his Second Life avatar appear at left.

8 comments

Spotted at E3: L.A. Mayor Cuts Ribbon to Welcome 2009 Expo

June 5, 2009 -

On Tuesday Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially welcomed E3 back to the City of Angels with a presentation to ESA boss Mike Gallagher and a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

And, why not? As the Los Angeles Times reports, E3 2009 generated more than $15 million in commerce for the city.

There's no truth to the rumor, by the way, that those giant scissors are a new Wii peripheral.
 

2 comments

L.A. Mayor To Officially Welcome E3 to Town

June 1, 2009 -

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D, at left) will extend an official welcome to E3 2009 tomorrow afternoon, according to a press release issued by the Entertainment Software Association, which operates the expo.

The 3:30 p.m. ceremony will mark the official opening day of E3 and will feature a ribbon cutting by Mayor Villarigosa, ESA boss Mike Gallagher and Mark Liberman, head of LA INC.

The event will take place outside the West Hall lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

1 comment

 
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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
 

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