Ken Levine Jokes About Fox News Co-Opting BioShock Infinite's Logo Design

July 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Fox News is being ribbed by Bioshock Infinite developer Ken Levine for a logo it used on a recent broadcast about U.S. immigration and border patrol policy. The logo for the segment called "Defending the Homeland" seems to be styled after the logo for Levine's BioShock Infinite. Kotaku first pointed out the similarities yesterday.

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ESAC and ITAC Urge Canadian Government to Allow More ICT Professionals Into the Country

January 31, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

A new white paper, "The Importance of Global Workers in Canada’s ICT and Digital Media Industries" (PDF), urges the Canadian government to do more to provide technology companies in Canada access to a larger pool of skilled workers from outside the country. The organizations argue that the Canadian ICT workforce is aging and most of the employable ICT professionals available in the country have already been hired.

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US Immigration Services Recognize League of Legends as a Legitimate Sport

July 15, 2013 -

Speaking to GameSpot recently, Riot Games e-sports manager Nick Allen revealed that high-level League of Legends players can now be awarded a visa similar to those obtained by traditional pro athletes. He told GameSpot that the company had convinced US immigration services to recognize League of Legends as a professional sport and simplify the visa process. They apparently listened.

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Top U.S. Tech Companies Urge Lawmakers to Reform Immigration Policy

March 15, 2013 -

The top executives of over 100 U.S.-based tech companies have sent a letter to President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers imploring them to reform immigration and address skill shortages by issuing more special visas so that talented individuals outside the U.S. can come here to work.

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Report: Next Dead Rising Contains Themes About Illegal Immigration

December 9, 2011 -

A Siliconera report suggests that the next Dead Rising game is already in the works and will have a serious social issue in the context of its story. Capcom is not commenting on the details of the report, save to say that they have not announced anything about the next Dead Rising game. If the report is true, the next paragraph may contain spoilers that will make you sad in your soul. If you think spoilers are bad, then you might want to stop reading right now.

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Owlchemy Labs Talks Smuggle Truck Controversy

February 16, 2011 -

The small Massachusetts-based developer that found itself in the national spotlight over an illegal immigration transport game talks with Gamasutra about the public dust-up over and the misconception (in their view) of the company's stance on illegal immigration. Company founder Alex Schwartz spoke to Gamasutra about the response to the game, and how the company hopes that it can shed some light on immigration issues.

First, Schwartz tackles a question about whether the game would work without the smuggling theme:

"What we've gathered from tester feedback is that the mechanics are fun and challenging. What happens to be drawn on the sprites for the items in the back of the truck doesn't change the gameplay in any significant way. It does however augment the message and the theme, which can affect a player's engagement with the game."

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Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration Takes Heat from Advocacy Groups

February 11, 2011 -

The Owlchemy Labs, a Massachusetts-based developer of wacky and silly games, is taking some local heat from advocacy groups for its iOS game Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration. In Smuggle Truck, players drive a pickup truck loaded with illegal immigrants. The goal of the game is to bring them over a fictional border while avoiding bumps that make them fall off the back of the truck.

Owlchemy Labs claims on the product page for the game that it was created out of a "the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States. With such a troublesome issue being largely avoided in popular media, especially video games, we felt the best way to criticize it was with an interactive satire."

The company also claims that they "maintained a meticulous eye to avoid depicting stereotypes and specific locales."

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Flash Game Takes on In-Custody Immigrant Death

February 16, 2010 -

The Homeland Guantanamos website offers an embedded Flash game designed to highlight the plight of immigrant detainees in U.S. custody.

Users will take on the role of a journalist posing undercover as an Immigrant Detention Center Guard in order to solve the death of 52-year old Guinea immigrant Boubacar Bah. A friendly detainee inside will aid the investigation as you tour the facility in search of clues.

The game is based on true events—Bah was a real detainee at the Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey (which the game models the detainee center after) and died in custody on May 30, 2007.

A video report from the New York Times on Bah’s death claims that following a fall, believed to have taken place in a bathroom, he was found unconscious. Bah later briefly regained consciousness and was taken to a medical center, where he became agitated. He was shackled and put in solitary confinement, where he again became unresponsive. 15 hours after his fall, Bah was rushed into emergency brain surgery. His family was not notified until five days after the fall. Bah was in a coma for four months before eventually dying.

The website estimates that 300,000 legal and illegal immigrants are currently in custody in the U.S. and that 87 immigrants have died in custody since 2003.

The game was developed by Free Range Studios for the human rights organization Breakthrough.

The New York Times video was just one-part of a series of reports on in-custody deaths of immigrants in the U.S.


Via
ArtThreat.net

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Georgia City Councilman Resigns, Is Sued After e-mailing Racist Game

March 18, 2009 -

Kennesaw, Georgia is in the midst of an ugly scandal. And a racist online game is playing a prominent role.

Last week, a group of minority employees in the Atlanta suburb filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging mistreatment by white co-workers, supervisors and elected officials.

City Councilman John Dowdy (left), a defendant in the suit, has resigned his post, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Among numerous allegations, the lawsuit charges that Dowdy, a 10-year veteran of City Council, circulated e-mail links to the anti-immigration themed Flash game Border Patrol. Released anonymously in 2006, Border Patrol disparages Hispanics with epithets such as "drug dealer" and "breeder."

From the lawsuit:

Dowdy sent an email to Human Resources Director... linking the recipient to a racially violent video game called "Border Patrol" in which the game player would "shoot" different cartoon characters that were stereotypes of Mexicans, including "Mexican National," "Drug Smuggler," and "Breeder," a cartoon of a pregnant Mexican woman holding hands with children . Points were assigned for shooting and killing each of these characters .

 

Dowdy forwarded this game to [three Kennesaw employees] among other people, along with a message which read, "THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes you feel better anyway, I did my part today, I kept a few from coming over!!! GET READY --- THEY ARE
FAAAST! ! !"

UPDATE: We inquired with Kennesaw officials as to whether Dowdy is a Democrat or Republican. However, we were told that council elections there are non-partisan, so no party affiliation is recorded by the city.

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As Microsoft Trims Game Biz, Senator Wants U.S. Workers Protected

January 26, 2009 -

With recently-announced layoffs pummeling the gaming side of Microsoft's house, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is urging MS to cut visiting foreign workers before sending American citizens to the unemployment line.

Reuters reports that Grassley forwarded his request via a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer late last week. The Xbox 360 manufacturer employs thousands of foreign national under the H-1B visa program.

Grassley's comments to Microsoft include:

I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan...

 

Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.

The full text of Grassley's letter is available on his Senate website.

Online Game Inspired by Immigrant's Death in Federal Custody

October 6, 2008 -

GamePolitics readers may recall ICED!, an immigration-themed game released earlier this year by human rights organization Breakthrough. ICED! generated a good bit of controversy, including attacks by the Minutemen anti-immigration group.

While the goal of ICED! was to avoid being picked up by the authorities, Breakthrough has launched a new game which explores issues surrounding federal detention of suspected illegal immigrants.

Homeland Guantanamos is an interactive, online adventure which casts the player in the role of an investigative reporter looking into conditions inside federal immigrant detention facilities. As the game begins, players are assigned to follow up on the death of Guinean tailor Boubacar Bah, a real person who died under mysterious circumstances while being held at a facility in New Jersey. 86 other suspected illegal immigrants have also died in U.S. custody since 2003.

The New York Times, which originally broke the story of Bah's death, looks at the Homeland Guantanamos:

The fictional framework plays fast and loose with traditional rules of journalism — the reporter takes an undercover job as a detention guard and writes a first-person appeal for change rather than an article — but the content encountered along the way is backed by links to real newspaper articles, court documents and other factual material...

 

Mixing fact and fantasy is familiar territory for Breakthrough, which seeks to galvanize young people by using the new tools of popular culture to put them in the shoes of legal and illegal immigrants.

Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security offered harsh criticism of the game:

[It is] a work of fiction that dehumanizes the individuals depicted and grossly distorts conditions in detention facilities. I believe that most informed people know that they leave reality at the door when they enter the world of video games.

Breakthrough executive director Mallika Dutt, who hopes the game will help generate support for legislation aimed at bringing additional due process to immigration proceedings, told the NYT:

The Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement measures have become increasingly draconian and are leading to severe consequences, including death, for many.

16 comments

Ultra-Conservative Student Group Criticized over Border Patrol Game

September 14, 2008 -

A watchdog group has criticized the controversial Michigan State University chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom for promoting Border Patrol, a racist Flash game released in 2006.

The charge came after MSU YAF linked to Border Patrol via a recent blog post.

YAF Watch, a site dedicated to tracking activities of the MSU YAF, writes:

The game, Border Patrol, encourages the player to shoot Mexican immigrants dashing over the border. When the player shoots one of the immigrants, a blood splatter appears. The various targets for the player include a pregnant woman, a baby and man carrying a backpack...

 

This is not the first time YAF has been involved in degrading immigrants. They first made headlines with a proposed "Catch An Illegal Immigrant" game in 2006. The game would have featured a person portraying an illegal immigrant, and encourage game players hunting the person down. The game was condemned by MSU officials, including President Lou Anna K Simmons. It eventually was canceled.

According to Wikipedia, the MSU YAF was cited as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2006. In 2007 the group hosted Chris Simcox, head of the Minuteman Civil Defense League, a group which aggressively targets illegal immigration.

Border Patrol, anonymously released to the Internet, has been widely condemned. As GP correspondent Colin McInnes wrote in our original 2006 coverage:

Most of the debate about illegal immigration centers on America's border with Mexico, so it's especially troubling that in Border Patrol the player's tasks include shooting "Mexican nationalists," "drug dealers," and "breeders" - pregnant Mexican women - who try to rush the border towards a welfare office.
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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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