Obama & Kids Call Astronauts, Want to Know: Can You Play Video Games in Space?

March 24, 2009 -

Video games came up when President Obama made a long-distance phone call to the International Space Station this morning.

As reported by ABC News, Obama, some members of Congress and a group of Washington, D.C. school kids spent 28 minutes videoconferencing with the crew of the shuttle Discovery.

The Prez was friendly and conversational with the astronauts. When it came time for some questions from the students, the first one was, "Can you play video games in space?"

Obama dutifully relayed the question to the crew. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer that came back was yes, you can play video games in space.

In fact, one of the astronauts (we're not clear as to which one) replied:

We can, in fact. And in fact a few years ago when I was up here for six months I had a video game that I used to play in my spare time. Unfortunately, we don't have much spare time.

 

So we can, we have a lot of laptop computers. But for the most part we stay real busy doing real work.

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Techie Blogger Mom Calls For Guv to Veto Utah Video Game/Movie Bill

March 21, 2009 -

A Utah mom has come out swinging against HB 353. The Jack Thompson-conceived bill, overwhelmingly passed by the Utah House and Senate, is currently just a stroke of Gov. Jon Huntsman's (R) pen away from becoming law.

Misty Fowler (left) is a software developer, mother of two and activist Democrat.

She also pens the politically-oriented Saintless blog.

Fowler writes:

I didn’t feel like [Utah Senate sponsor Margaret] Dayton [R] and [Utah House sponsor Mike] Morley [R] came out to share details of the bill, but to introduce it with the idea that this isn’t a punitive bill, so that maybe we would all have warm fuzzies about how good this was for our children. Because really, think of the children, will you?...

As a parent, I feel very strongly that it’s my responsibility to my children to educate them about what they can play, and why...


The ESRB is accomplishing what it should... The Utah Legislature seems to be approving of ESRB by trying to enforce it...

I don’t want this law passed. Not because I don’t want to protect children. But, because I think it’s a bogus attempt to regulate the ESRB, and won’t do anything for our children. It will cost local businesses money, and is likely to remove some great tools I have in making decisions about video games as a parent.

Ask Governor Huntsman to veto it.

Fowler also questions the bill, given Jack Thompson's involvement.

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Michigan Senator Wants Ban on Texting, Gaming While Driving

March 20, 2009 -

A Michigan State Senator has proposed legislation that would ban texting or playing video games while driving, reports ClickOn Detroit.

Sen. Buzz Thomas (D), the sponsor of the measure, said:

There is no need to be sending a text while driving your car, it’s one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. If it’s really that important, pull over and send your message, or just wait until you get to where you are going.

 

This is the second session in which I have introduced this bill, and hopefully we can all realize the urgency and just get this passed.

If the bill becomes law, violations would carry a $100 fine.

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Obama Circuit Court Nominee Issued 2000 Ruling Upholding Video Game Legislation

March 18, 2009 -

While an overwhelming majority of federal court judges have found state and local laws restricting video games to be unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton is an exception. In 2000, Hamilton ruled in favor of an Indianapolis law which would have barred unaccompanied minors from playing violent games in coin-op arcades.

Hamilton's eight-year-old opinion in American Amusement Machine vs. Kendrick, while subsequently overturned by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court, could once again be a source of concern to the video game industry.

The Associated Press is reporting that President Barack Obama has nominated Hamilton for an opening on the 7th Circuit, which covers appeals arising from federal district courts in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. From the AP:

Obama on Tuesday nominated [Hamilton] to serve on [the 7th Circuit], his first act in reshaping the federal judiciary and preparing for a possible Supreme Court opening...

 

Three of the appeals courts [including the 7th] can gain a majority of Democratic-appointed judges if Obama's nominees are confirmed for existing vacancies...

 

The White House acted before Hamilton's nomination to make sure that his home-state Republican senator, Dick Lugar, was on board... Lugar's support for Hamilton would make it difficult for Republicans to filibuster his nomination...

 

The American Bar Association gave Hamilton a "well qualified" rating...

GP: As a practical matter, the chances of video game legislation reaching the 7th Circuit any time soon seem slim. Illinois, burned financially by disgraced ex-Guv Rod Blagojevich's 2005 video game law, is unlikely to try again. That leaves only Indiana and Wisconsin. While both have dabbled with legislative proposals aimed at video games in recent years, neither has gotten very far with such proposals.

Moreover, the 7th Circuit already has a precedent-setting video game case in the Kendrick ruling.

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Boston Mayor's Flip-Flop: Former Critic Now Courts Game Biz

March 14, 2009 -

Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D) who, as recently as last year tried to legislate video game sales, is now courting the video game industry in a big way.

It's all about the economics, apparently.

As reported by the Boston Business Journal, Menino announced the launch of PoweringUpBoston.com, a website designed to promote the region's video game industry with news, job postings and additional resources.

Menino, who spoke at the Congress Street offices of FableVision, pointed out that game development at Harmonix, 2K Boston, Turbine and 73 other firms employs over 1,500 people in the area. During his speech, Menino declared:

Boston is a game industry friendly city.

The Boston Mayor has not always been so game-friendly, however. In 2007 and 2008 he pushed for video game sales restrictions similar to those found unconstitutional by federal courts around the country.

In 2006 he led a campaign to have ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories removed from local public transit vehicles.

Edge Online has more on Menino's game initiative:

The Boston-area videogames steering committee is made up of key members from local game firms, and will advise the mayor and the Boston Redevelopment Authority staff in "strengthening the Boston-area game development presence, raising Boston's profile as a global leader in digital media and specifically the game industry."

The group, which has members from Blue Fang Games, Metaversal Studios and Northeastern University, has been meeting since October 2008.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has also been working hard to bring game industry firms to the area. As GamePolitics reported, Patrick recently visited high-tech firms on the West Coast, including game publishers EA and Microsoft.

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In Congress, Dennis Kucinich Urges Elimination of Funding for Army Recruitment Game

March 12, 2009 -

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has requested that Congressional leaders remove funding for the Defense Department's Virtual Army Experience, according to a report on the raw story.

The VAE is a recruiting and public relations exhibit which the Army deploys at large public events around the United States. It has generated protests at a number of venues.

In a letter to the House Armed Service Committee, Kucinich writes:

I urge you to eliminate budget authority for the Virtual Army Experience (VAE) in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The VAE is a state-of-the-art, interactive recruiting tool used by the Army to give participants as young as 13 years old a naïve and unrealistic glimpse into the world of Soldiering...

 

The VAE shields participants from the realities of killing while glorifying the taking of human life in a thinly veiled attempt to recruit new soldiers. Making matters worse, if a child wants to take part in the simulation, the Army collects his or her contact information, as well as an assessment of the child’s performance in the simulator.

The VAE travels around the country to family oriented venues such as amusement parks, air shows and county fairs. When the VAE came to the Cleveland Air Show in 2008, I raised concerns and objections with the Army. Allowing children as young as thirteen years of age to participate in a simulation endorsed by the United States Government that glorifies and sanitizes extreme violence is unacceptable.

Kucinich conducted an unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

GP: For clarity's sake, Kucinich is targeting the traveling VAE, not the PC-based, freely-distributed America's Army computer game.

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Stimulus Money Convinces New York to Nix Digital Download Tax

March 11, 2009 -

Gamers who live in the state of New York are already experiencing a benefit from President Obama's recently-passed stimulus package.

CNN reports that New York has scrapped a plan to tax digital downloads such as iTunes music and video game DLC.

Instead, Gov. David Paterson and New York legislators will utilize $1.3 billion in stimulus money to help balance the state budget.

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NC Senator Failed at Legislating Content, Now Proposes a Tax Break for Developers

March 11, 2009 -

An interesting legislative turnabout is underway in North Carolina.

A state senator who twice in the past introduced bills designed to restrict the sales of mature-themed games to minors has now proposed that the state offer financial incentives to game developers.

Yesterday, Sen. Julia Boseman (D) introduced S525, a new bill that would permit game developers to take advantage of a tax credit of up to 15% for qualifying expenses.

While the measure does not restrict M-rated games as did an earlier proposal in Oklahoma, it does preclude material which qualifies as "obscene" under North Carolina law:

Limitation. – No credit is allowed under this section for qualifying expenses with respect to digital interactive media that contain material that is obscene, as defined in G.S. 14-190.1.

In past sessions, Sen. Boseman introduced bills designed to restrict sales of mature games to minors in 2005 and 2007. Both measures failed to pass.

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Obama on the Atari 2600?

March 10, 2009 -

I thought I knew my classic games pretty well, but somehow I'm drawing a blank on this particular Atari 2600 cartridge.

In fact, Technabob has uncovered an entire series of parody 2600 carts. Most aren't political, but they are definitely worth a look - and a laugh.

Via: Examiner.com

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Obama Goes Questing in MMORPG

March 5, 2009 -

Clearly, there are some hardcore Barack Obama fans among the beta testers of NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG Aion: The Tower of Eternity.

Massively brought the video at left to our attention, in which some Aion players have employed the game's robust character creation utility to get the Prez into the action:

NCsoft really didn't have this in mind when creating the game's lore, but some rather inventive beta testers have created something which show off just how good Aion's character creation is. The end result is a player-created video that depicts Obama in ways his publicity people never anticipated, as an Elyos 'kicking ass' and saving trees on the road to ascension as a Daeva... Yes, this may piss off a few people -- namely the POTUS -- but it's all in good fun.

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Obama Stimulus Rendered in Retro Math Game Style

March 4, 2009 -

2P Start takes note of President Obama's recently-passed stimulus package by invoking the graphic style of the old Number Munchers game (perhaps some GP readers played it in school).

The artist explains:

I kind of get the feeling this comic might appeal more to The Oregon Trail crowd... Number Munchers was another early educational PC game that a lot of us probably played in elementary school...

 

In any event, we’re not trying to spark a political debate here, it’s just that $787 billion is a staggering number, even for an old pro like Muncher!

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BREAKING: Jack Thompson Bill Under Discussion in Utah House

March 3, 2009 -

We caught the webcast just as it was beginning. What follows is essentially a live blogging of today's hearing...

The Utah House has just begun deliberations on HB 353, the video game/movie bill originally crafted by disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. The first order of business was to pass amendments to the measure.

With amendments passed the discussion on the bill has begun. Rep. Michael Morley, bill sponsor, is now speaking. Morley can be seen in the screenshot at left, taken moments ago from the webcast of the hearing. View it live.

So far, the legislators who have spoken are uniformly behind the measure, which appears to enjoy bi-partisan support. Speaking on behalf of the bill:

  • Rep. Brian King (D)
  • Rep. Sheryl Allen (R) - Allen discussed the growing importance of Utah's video game industry
  • Rep. Kraig Powell (R)
  • Rep. Steven Mascaro (R) - wanted clarification on how bill language affects retailers
  • Rep. Susan Duckworth (D) - commended Morley for making amendments and reminded the body of parental responsibility

Rep. Morley, summarizing, said that "retailers" are no longer opposed to the bill, which indicates that the amendments may have watered down the potential impact of HB 353.  Morley said that some movie owners also have dropped their opposition.

Voting now occurring... HB 353 passes 70-2. The measure will now move to the Utah Senate for consideration.

Thompson has just e-mailed a comment:

70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!  

UPDATE: The amendments link has been updated to incorporate the most recent changes (Feb. 27).

UPDATE 2: We have learned that the Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents video game retailers, remains opposed to the bill. Morley's comment concerning retailers dropping their opposition was likely referring to the Utah retailers' trade group.

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Obama Trade Nominee May Help Nintendo, But Needs to Pay His Taxes First

March 3, 2009 -

Last week Nintendo appealed to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative for help with global piracy issues

President Barack Obama's nominee for the position may ultimately decide to help Nintendo out, but he'll need to pay his back taxes first.

CNN reports that Obama's choice as USTR, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, owes nearly $10,000 to the IRS:

The [Senate Finance] committee found that Kirk failed to report as income $37,750 in honoraria collected for 16 speaking engagements at Austin College... He also deducted too much for the cost of tickets to see the NBA Mavericks, reporting the entire $17,382 as business expenses...

"The mayor is working with the Finance Committee on a few minor issues," White House spokesman Ben Labolt said, adding that the "nomination is on track."

"The president nominated Mayor Kirk because of his proven ability at the negotiating table -- building consensus between opposing stakeholders in Dallas and crafting deals to create opportunities for U.S. businesses overseas," Labolt said.

CNN notes that Kirk is the fourth Obama nominee to face criticism over tax payment issues.

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Another Obama Cabinet Nominee Brings Video Game Legislation Baggage

March 1, 2009 -

ABC News reports that President Barack Obama has turned to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) to fill the vacant cabinet post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

If confirmed, Sebelius will become the third member of the Obama cabinet with past ties to video game legislation. The others are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Commerce nominee Gary Locke.

As Governor in 2006, Sebelius pushed an unsuccessful attempt to legislate video games, saying at the time, "Video games and music lyrics promote violence..."

Ironically, in 2008 it was revealed that her son created a Grand Theft Auto-like board game and was marketing it by mail order from the Governor's official residence. At the time, Gov. Sebelius commented that she was proud of her son's creativity.

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Obama's Commerce Nominee Signed 2003 Video Game Bill Into Law

February 27, 2009 -

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke (D), President Barack Obama's latest choice for Commerce Secretary, carries a bit of video game baggage into his new position.

In 2003, while serving as Governor, Locke signed into law the nation's first statewide violent video game legislation. The measure, which was proposed by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D), barred minors from purchasing games in which the player kills or injures "a human form who is depicted, by dress or other recognizable symbols, as a public law enforcement officer."

The video game industry filed suit, of course (VDSA vs. Maleng). In July, 2004, a federal court struck down the Washington law. In ruling the statute unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik wrote:

The games at issue...[have] story lines, detailed artwork, original scores, and a complex narrative which evolves as the player makes choices and gains experiences. All of the games provided to the Court for review are expressive and qualify as speech for purposes of the First Amendment...

 

[The law] failed to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly... Would a game built around The Simpsons or Looney Tunes characters be 'realistic' enough to trigger the Act?... Do the Roman centurions of Age of Empires, the enemy officers depicted in Splinter Cell, or the conquering forces of Freedom Fighters qualify as ‘public law enforcement officers'?

GP: Although it's unlikely that Locke, if confirmed, will have much to do with video game issues as Secretary of Commerce, it is an interesting historical footnote, nonetheless.

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It's Raining Obama Bucks in Second Life

February 27, 2009 -

Steve Nelson, who has created fascinating visualizations which combine real-world political data with the Second Life metaverse, is at it again.

On his Clear Night Sky blog, Nelson has posted a video which mashes up SL and the 2010 federal budget:

To commemorate the 2010 federal budget... I have installed a new feature at the Capitol Hill in Second Life.

Using the APIs available from USASpending.gov, the Show Me the Money! piggy bank will shower $100 bills down on the Capitol Hill legislative chamber. Each bill has the name of one of the top 50 recipients of government funding during 1Q 2009. The size of the bill is proportionate to the amount of money received, at a scale of $1billion = 1 Second Life meter.

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In First Major Address to Congress, Obama Once Again Links Video Games to Academic Underachievement

February 25, 2009 -

As GamePolitics noted on several occasions, using video games as a metaphor for academic underachievement was a staple of Barack Obama's presidential campaign speeches.

The Prez rolled out the same language last night in his first address to a joint session of Congress. Speaking about his administration's approach to education, Obama said:

These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a president, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.

A CNN poll reports that 65% of respondents gave the President favorable marks for the speech. NPR has a full transcript of the President's remarks.

Report: Obama Plays BrickBreaker on Mobile Phone

February 22, 2009 -

From the Consider the Source Dept:

Gossip mag The Star reports that President Barack Obama indulges in mobile phone gaming apps:

During his first days in office, President Obama laid down the law — Hands off my BlackBerry! But his insistence on keeping it wasn't just because he wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. Turns out the Prez is hooked on playing the mobile game BrickBreaker!

"He plays to unwind," a confidante reveals. "Every night before bed, he gives it a few minutes."

And he's hardly all thumbs.

"His high score is around 15,000!"

Via: GameCulture

8 comments

Leland Yee Urges Supreme Court Appeal of California Ruling

February 20, 2009 -

Is California's violent video game law headed to the U.S. Supreme Court?

State Sen. Leland Yee (D) thinks it should be. Yee has urged California Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal today's 9th Circuit Court decision which upheld a lower court's ruling that the video game law he authored in 2005 is unconstitutional.

Yee, a child psychologist, released this statement: 

While I am deeply disappointed in today’s ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.  I believe this law will inevitably be upheld as Constitutional by the US Supreme Court.  In fact, the high court recently agreed, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development.

 

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ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

February 18, 2009 -

Game publishers' lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association announced today that it has hired a new head of government relations (i.e., lobbying).

Jennifer Manner comes to the ESA by way of Skyterra Communications and the Federal Communications Commission, where she was senior counsel.

Manner replaces Ed Desmond, who exited the ESA for a post in the toy biz last September.

Interestingly, an ESA press release makes it a point to mention that Manner is a "long-time Democrat." We don't recall seeing a similar industry hiring announcement addressing an appointee's political affiliation.

Of Manner, former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy offered high praise:

Jennifer is an outstanding choice for this position. With her broad experience communicating effectively with multiple public and private sector stakeholders and tackling complex regulatory matters, the industry and the ESA will benefit from Jennifer’s leadership.

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Retailers' Trade Group Weighs in Against Warning Label Bill for Games

February 12, 2009 -

The Entertainment Merchants Association, the trade group which represents the interests of numerous video game retailers, has weighed in against game-oriented legislation currently before the Congress.

GamePolitics readers will recall last month's report that Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) had proposed a measure in Congress which would require cigarette-like warning labels for any game rated T (13+) or higher by the ESRB.

The EMA has termed the proposed legislation "unnecessary."

As we have previously noted, Rep. Baca has proposed a number of bills targeting video games over the years. To date, none have passed. In 2008 Esquire named him to its list of Ten Worst Members of Congress.

UPDATE: We've received the EMA's full statement on the Baca bill:

Retailers educate parents about the ESRB video game ratings and content descriptors and enforce the "Mature" rating at the point of sale. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission found that children it sent into video game stores to buy Mature-rated games were turned down 80% of the time.

 

The video game turn-down rate is higher than the turn-down rate for movie theaters and R-rated tickets, DVD retailers and R-rated and “unrated” DVDs, and music retailers and “Parental Advisory”-labeled albums. In fact, it is the highest turn-down rated ever recorded for an entertainment category in any of the undercover shopper surveys the FTC has conducted since 2000.

Apple Blocks Obama Trampoline iPhone Game

February 9, 2009 -

Apple, it appears, takes a rather dim view of political satire - at least where iPhone apps are concerned.

TechCrunch reports that Apple has nixed a seemingly harmless game in which depictions of President Barack Obama and other U.S. political figures jump on a virtual trampoline.

The news comes on the heels of Apple's recent rejection of another would-be iPhone game which parodies December's hurling of a shoe at then-President Bush. That well-known incident was widely satirized via online Flash games.

TechCrunch questions Apple's censorship of Obama Trampoline:

Developer Swamiware was surprised to see its latest iPhone app rejected by Apple, and so are we. The application was a harmless game that let you select a known U.S. politician (both republicans and democrats) and have him/her jump a virtual trampoline...

 

Does the Obama Trampoline app actually ridicule public figures? It’s not obscene or pornographic of nature, so why was it deemed either offensive or defamatory?

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Universal Broadband Funding Axed from Obama Stimulus Package

February 9, 2009 -

A $2 billion allocation intended to push universal broadband service into rural areas of the United States has been cut from President Obama's economic stimulus package, according to Gizmodo:

Those jokers down in Washington finally compromised on the economic stimulus bill, with the Republican minority succeeding in cutting out huge swathes of spending. Among the casualties is the $2 billion for universal broadband...

 

Sorry, "real America," you're gonna keep getting screwed.

GP: Support for the Obama stimulus package is largely split along party lines. However you feel about the stimulus bill, universal broadband would be a big win for gamers in areas with poor quality Internet access.

Report: Obama as DLC for Street Fighter Online

February 5, 2009 -

Kotaku reports that Japanese publisher Daletto is offering what appears to be a Barack Obama figure as downloadable content for its Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation, a PC game.

The Obama figure and other DLC characters are available as part of a Valentine's Day update.

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Michigan Guv Gives Stardock a Shout-out in State of State

February 4, 2009 -

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm gave PC game publisher Stardock (Sins of a Solar Empire) some Guv-love in her State of the State address yesterday.

Speaking at the State Capitol in Lansing, Granholm acknowledged that Michigan has been hit hard by the economic downturn. But the Guv looked for a silver lining in the film and video game sectors:

There’s real pain in the auto world. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost... Those losses have fueled our determination to bring new industries to Michigan...

 

Since enacting the nation’s most aggressive film [and video game production] incentives in April, we have seen more than 70 film and TV projects slated for production in Michigan, bringing some $430 million in economic activity here...

 

Tonight, I’m pleased to make three major announcements... Stardock Systems, a digital gaming manufacturer, will build its production facilities in Plymouth...

 

The fact that these jobs exist in Michigan today is no accident. These jobs are here because we put a strategy in place to bring them here – often by beating out other states and other countries to get them...

As GamePolitics reported in 2008, Gov. Granholm's administration aggressively pursued a financial incentive package for film, TV and video game production.

Stardock is known as a gamer-friendly publisher which eschews DRM on its PC titles. The company and its CEO, Brad Wardell, garnered major attention at PAX 2008 with the release of the controversial Gamers' Bill of Rights.

GP: Big thanks to reader Chris Bray for the heads-up!

Mass. Effect: Guv Talks Game Biz with Microsoft

February 4, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's West Coast junket touched down in Redmond yesterday for talks with Microsoft.

Mass High Tech reports that Patrick (left), a Democrat, discussed the video game business with MS Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

While the Guv described his meeting with Ozzie as "very encouraging," the Microsoft exec apparently pulled no punches:

Ozzie suggested Massachusetts needs to reinvent its high-tech image.

“The famous Route 128 tech highway — people are thinking of that image as being in the past,” said Greg Bialecki, state undersecretary for business development, who accompanied Patrick on the trip. “How do we talk about a new conversation about what we are doing today?”

 

The [Massachusetts] regional gaming cluster already includes companies such as Turbine Inc., 2K Boston, Blue Fang Games LLC, Harmonix Music Systems Inc., Demiurge Studios, Tencent Holdings Limited, 38 Studios LLC, Mad Doc Software and Crate Entertainment...

 

Patrick said West Coast tech execs tell him Silicon valley has a greater “spirit of collaboration,” and “also the ability to start and fail and start again.” To keep entrepreneurs from heading west, Massachusetts will have to emulate that culture...

The Guv is on a mission to bring high tech companies - including game industry firms - to the Bay State. Patrick's other West Coast meetings this week include stops at Facebook, Google and Electronic Arts.

Guv Declares "Entertainment Software Day" in Texas

February 3, 2009 -

Gov. Rick Perry (R, at left) has proclaimed today "Entertainment Software Day" in Texas.

The declaration is apparently the first of its kind in the United States.

In addition, both chambers of the Texas legislature have passed resolutions recognizing the video game industry's contributions to the Lone Star State. Those resolutions were sponsored by State Sen. Bob Duell (R) and Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D), both of whom have worked on financial incentives for Texas game developers in the past.

The news comes by way of a press release from the Entertainment Software Association. The trade group which represents U.S. video game publishers enjoys a strong connection to Gov. Perry. GamePolitics readers will recall that the Guv delivered the keynote speech at E3 2008.

ESA CEO Mike Gallagher commented on the Texas-sized salute to the game biz:

The support of Governor Perry, Senator Duell and Representative Dukes for the entertainment software industry in Texas is an endorsement of the artistic and economic contributions our industry has made to the state.

These lawmakers are helping grow our industry as we work to create new jobs for Texans; boost the state’s economy; and help discover new ways computer and video games can improve the ways Americans live, work and play.

According to the ESA, Texas's game industry adds $395 million to the state's economy.

Obama's Exclusive Super Bowl Party Guest List Includes Congressional Game Biz Critics

February 1, 2009 -

Between the food, the football, the commercials and the schmoozing, it's unlikely that the topic of video game regulation will come up at President Barack Obama's White House Super Bowl party this evening.

But if it does, at least two of the Congressional types on his small, bipartisan guest list have some background on the issue.

In December, 2007 Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stood with Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and Family as Walsh zinged the video game industry for what he referred as "an ominous backslide."

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is known for almost never missing a vote, proposed a 2005 Congressional resolution directing the FTC to investigate the Hot Coffee scandal. In 2006 he sponsored the  Video Game Decency Act, a piece of legislation which ultimately failed to pass.

Perhaps more interesting than the (admittedly unlikely) video game angle is trying to decipher the formula used by the Prez in determining his guest list:

  • 11 Democrats, 4 Republicans
  • 5 from Pennsylvania (Steelers?)
  • 2 from Arizona (Cardinals?)
  • 1 from Illinois (Obama's old Senate partner)
  • 1 each from Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, DC, Alabama, Connecticut and New Hampshire

Blago Loses Guv Job, But Gets iPhone Game

January 31, 2009 -

The Illinois Senate may have given  Rod Blagojevich the boot via impeachment, but game developer Yanki.JP is celebrating the disgraced ex-Guv's reign with with Pay2Play, a new iPhone app.

The game's website lets us know that this is not exactly a hardcore political sim:

Pay2Play is the game of trading and danger. How much money can YOU make selling senate seats? Head all over Illinois trading your way to success!

You have 30 days to pay back the unions, make tons of cash, and get out of town all before getting impeached! Transposing a trading game such as Dopewars with a slick interface on the iPhone.

Also a gaming first! Alcopops make it to the game scene for the first time. See what Illinois politicians have been so worried about!

The alcopops reference is a dig at a recent Illinois law prohibiting the depiction of the sweet, boozy drinks in games aimed at children - not that there has ever been an alcopop depicted in a video game.

Eager to try your hand at corrupt Illinois politics? You'll have to wait a bit longer. Pay2Play is currently on hold pending AppStore approval.

Via: Kotaku 

9 comments

ESA Has Georgia on its Mind (and in its checkbook)

January 29, 2009 -

Game publishers lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association gave generously to elected officials in Georgia during 2007-2008, according to public records uncovered by GamePolitics.

Nearly three dozen politicians of both major parties received $27,200 in campaign contributions from the ESA during that period. Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) received the largest amount, $3,500.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Baker appeared in a 2007 public service announcement which promoted the video game industry's ESRB rating system.

The large number of contributions to individual legislators may be explained in part by the Georgia legislature's 2008 passage of a tax incentive program for game development. For its part, the ESA declined to discuss specifics of its political contributions.

UPDATE: We noticed this morning (Feb. 1st) that FollowTheMoney.org, the search site we used in preparing this story, is no longer showing any ESA contributions to Georgia officials. It's unclear why, but we have contacted the site for an explanation.

26 comments

 
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MaskedPixelanteIs anyone else experiencing this weird Youtube glitch where, no matter what you had the volume set at last time, it defaults to muted no matter what?11/20/2014 - 10:07pm
MechaTama31What was wrong with Remember Me? I liked that one... >.>11/20/2014 - 8:50pm
AvalongodI tend to see the violence and sexism issues as different. Historically we know that the violence issue is overblown. But sexism is real. Better representations of women in games WILL happen.11/20/2014 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenAnd unless I completely missed it, there's nothing in there about "how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta look deep for it."11/20/2014 - 5:10pm
Andrew EisenSeriously, you're upset, irked and fearful over an opinion piece that suggests the Pokemon demo would be better with more options and a better-written female character? SERIOUSLY?!11/20/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://gamasutra.com/blogs/PugetAlain/20141118/230420/Nearly_Ripped_off_to_death_by_a_publisher__Get_better_by_yourself_and_wait_for_justice_Maybe.php Topware screws over an indie studio because they can.11/20/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenAre you SURE you provided the right link?11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99And yeah that sucks, especially when bonuses are tied to it, but that is more a problem with crappy publisher policies and scoring in general than any discussion on what may or may no be sexism in games.11/20/2014 - 4:59pm
prh99But no one is on their legislative high horse or on the litigation war path, for that matter. The biggest effect is that a reviewer might give it a lower score and drag down their meta critic ranking.11/20/2014 - 4:56pm
Wonderkarpyup11/20/2014 - 4:51pm
Andrew EisenOh for crying out loud. Wonderkarp, I apologize for how rude this question is but seriously, did you actually read that article?11/20/2014 - 4:47pm
Wonderkarpits a stigma. people in power hear this crap and start getting on their legislative high horse. but I feel like we've already paid too much attention too a demo.11/20/2014 - 4:46pm
Andrew EisenHarm gaming how?11/20/2014 - 4:35pm
Wonderkarpcause it gets parroted around and is used by people to harm gaming like Jack Thompsons did with Violence. http://www.themarysue.com/pokemon-oras-sexism/ here's the article.11/20/2014 - 4:28pm
Andrew EisenNo idea why such an opinion would upset or irk you so I'd be interested in reading it. Got a link?11/20/2014 - 4:13pm
Wonderkarplook deep for it....reaching much. those kinds of people are what urk me.11/20/2014 - 4:07pm
WonderkarpI got upset the other day when a known feminist blog wrote a large article on how the demo to Pokemon Omega Ruby was Sexist cause you couldnt play as a girl. It was a Demo....who cares? but they went off on how Pokemon in general is sexist but you gotta11/20/2014 - 4:06pm
Andrew EisenHere's the panel that Sarkeesian quote from earlier comes from. Amazing what the proper context does, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0qxtKz2vZw11/20/2014 - 3:32pm
NeenekoSomething to keep in mind, we tend to look at physics as 'hard', but math and physics are trivial compared to soc/psych (I have worked in both), but FEELS like it should be simplier.11/20/2014 - 3:17pm
 

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