Destructoid's Fireside Chat With ECA President Hal Halpin

May 1, 2012 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin talks to Destructoid about SOPA, PIPA, the importance of advocacy, his thoughts on the VGVN and League for Gamers, Kickstarter, what the gamer advocacy group has planned going forward, and much more.

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David Kushner on His New Book, 'Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto'

April 17, 2012 -

CNET has an interesting interview with games journalist David Kushner who talks about his latest book, Jacked: The Outlaw story of Grand Theft Auto. The book takes a deeper look at the Grand Theft Auto phenomenon, and delves into related topics such as the game's development, the ESRB, Hot Coffee and Jack Thompson, amongst other topics.

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Mass Effect 3 Executive Producer Talks about the Game's Various Controversies

March 14, 2012 -

In an exclusive interview with Digital Trends, Casey Hudson, the Director and Executive Producer of Mass Effect 3, discusses a number of topics including the kerfuffle over same-sex relationships, negative player reviews on Metacritic, complaints over the game's ending and Day One DLC complaints.

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Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series Interviews Sandra Day O’Connor

October 13, 2011 -

In an exclusive interview with Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor urged educators in the United States to do their part to enliven civics education and engage students in the democratic process.

"You have to study [civics] and be taught how our system of government works," Justice O’Connor said. "And you have to be shown how each individual can be part of it and can make things work.”

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Mojang Sticking with 'Scrolls' Name Despite Bethesda Legal Threats

August 29, 2011 -

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson spent the weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle showing off new features in the latest Minecraft update (1.8) and the first official trailer for its upcoming game Scrolls. While there, he answered some questions about his pending lawsuit with Bethesda over the Scrolls game name. Bethesda alleges that the name "Scrolls" infringes on their trademark for "The Elder Scrolls."

When asked if he had any back-up names for Scrolls in the event that he lost the legal fight with Bethesda, Persson joked:

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2K Games President Inserts Foot In Mouth

July 13, 2011 -

A new interview with 2K President Christoph Hartmann over on MCV makes the top executive at the Take-Two label look a little foolish - not that it's MCV's fault. In that interview Hartmann degrades strategy games and Ray Charles among other things. His comments come about as part of a discussion on X-Com, the popular strategy games series that the company is reimagining as a strategy-themed shooter. Here's the first quote, about 90's strategy games:

"The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary."

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Nolan Bushnell Talks 'Speed To Learn'

June 16, 2011 -

Atari and Chuck E Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell talks to TechCrunch about how to improve education with video games in class and at home. Specifically he talks at length about his new arcade-based education platform. The Atari founder offers some early info on Speed To Learn, which he says aims "at changing the way kids learn, both in and out of school...We have a game system which teaches while you're playing a game like Dance Dance Revolution."

He claims that an increased heart rate can improve retention and mental capacity, and that his Speed To Learn tool will help students develop math and vocabulary skills. Bushnell says the platform, built for PC, will use motion-sensing software but would not divulge any specifics. Check out the interview to your left.

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Stardock Comments on GamersGate Criticism

April 14, 2011 -

Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock (the company that used to own Impulse before selling it off to GameStop), has struck back at GamersGate for comments its CEO said about Impulse. GamersGate CEO Theo Bergquist recently described Stardock's Impulse digital distribution service as "an outdated distribution platform", and implied that the recent purchase by GameStop had been at "a bargain."

Speaking to IndustryGamers, Wardell suggested that the comments from GamersGate were simply a competitor throwing punches at another competitor.

"In my experience, especially when a company CEO is criticizing another company, you usually learn a lot more about the company doing the criticizing," said Wardell. "I'm not a marketer but I know enough from being in this industry for years, and usually you punch up. You don't punch down."

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Report: Activision Offered Bizarre to Founders

April 6, 2011 -

According to excerpts from a soon-to-be-published Edge interview with former Bizarre Creations creative director Martyn Chudley, commercial manager Sarah Chudley, and former design manager Gareth Wilson, company leaders had the opportunity to buy back Bizarre Creations back from Activision. Now at Sumo Digital, the trio talk about the last days of the studio responsible for Project Gotham Racing and Blur. Activision shut down Bizarre Creations in February of this year after a three-month search for a buyer.

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Dan Houser on Making Movies, Games as Art

April 6, 2011 -

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser weighed in on whether games are art and if the studio responsible for Grand Theft Auto will ever switch gears and create movies instead of games. The question is a viable one as more details emerge about its latest project LA Noire. Frankly, LA Noire is as close to being a movie production as you can get the way Houser describes it:

"The game, like many of our recent games, has been an absolutely enormous production," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "With 'L.A. Noire,' we employed a massive number of actors in the game – over 400 – along with hair and make-up artists, a great television director, and as the game is set in the golden era of Hollywood, a lot of original costumes, props and other research from the studios themselves."

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ITIF's Daniel Castro on the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

April 1, 2011 -

Ars Technica offers a sit-down interview with Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). He is also a co-author of a2009 paper on Internet piracy, which was influential on the development and adoption of the U.S. government's Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) legislation.

In the interview, Castro says that the United States government needs to blacklist and censor web sites that traffic in pirated and counterfeit goods. Further, U.S. credit card companies would be "forbidden" from doing business with any of these blacklisted sites and U.S. advertising networks would not be allowed to advertise in these places.

Here is a choice quote about why COICA is the right way to deal with piracy:

Guerrilla Games: Level of Swearing in Killzone 3 'Just Right'

February 8, 2011 -

Sometimes developers can get carried away with the use of adult words in "mature" rated games (see Mafia II), but Guerrilla Games game director Mathijs de Jonge says that its latest game, Killzone 3, has just the right amount of colorful language.

Speaking to Edge Magazine, de Jonge talks about the merits of strong language in video games - where appropriate - and feels that Killzone 3 hits its swearing sweet spot.

"In Killzone 2 we ended up with too much of it," de Jonge told Edge. "The thing about swearing is that it's highly effective when it's done right, and in Killzone 3 I think there's some swearing but if feels a lot more impactful."

"It's at the right times," adds de Jonge. "In total, I think there's seven 'f*** yous' and one 'mother***er'. I think that's fine."

The level of swearing in Killzone 3 seems minor - almost non-existent, in fact - when compared to Mafia II.

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Bleszinski: Critics Have Made Games The 'New Rock 'n Roll'

February 8, 2011 -

Epic Games design lead Cliff Bleszinski says that video game critics have inadvertently been quite flattering to the video game industry. The man behind Unreal, Gears of War, and the upcoming game Bulletstorm, says that critics of video games have basically made it the "new rock 'n roll," creating a boogie man that parents are warned about on a daily basis by politicians, child psychologists, and the mainstream media. Bleszinski made the comments in response to a question by Computer & Videogames about Bulletstorm becoming a target of critics due to its gratuitous violence and adult language.

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Game Boxing: A Reimagining of JFK Assassination, 9-11

January 25, 2011 -

Game, Set, Watch points out a new art exhibit in New York City that takes important moments in history and turns them into game box art. The art is from Anthony Michael Sneed and the exhibit, "Hell For Hire," being shown by appointment only next month at the Artjail gallery.

Sneed's work in the exhibit includes pieces that might find offensive such as JFK: The Game, KKKocaine, and a 9-11 painting animation that combines the skyline from Punch-Out!! with the World Trade Center towers under attack.

New Pop has an interesting video featuring Sneed and his work which you can watch now.

Source: Game, Set, Watch

1 comment

Riot Games Developers File for Defense of the Ancients Trademark

August 19, 2010 -

Last week it was revealed the Valve had filed an application to trademark "DotA," the acronym for the popular community-developed Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients. This caused great concern within the DotA community over its future influence and input into the development of the mod. This week two Riot Games employees are trying to do something about it.

In an interview with PC Gamer, Riot Games' Steve "Guinsoo" Feak and Steve "Pendragon" Mescon revealed that they are exploring options to protect the DotA name. The duo have filed a "Defense of the Ancients" trademark application under Dota-Allstars, LLC - the company run by Mescon - to protect "the work that dozens of authors have invested to create the game and on behalf of the millions of DotA players all over the world."

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ECA's Halpin Elaborates on Letter Writing Campaign to President Obama

July 30, 2009 -

On Monday, GamePolitics reported that the Entertainment Consumers Association had embarked on a campaign to inform President Barack Obama about the many benefits that video games can provide.

The ECA undertook the campaign following Obama's recent admonition to "put away the Xbox." Over the last few years Obama has often referred to games as something to be set aside in favor of a greater good.

The ECA initiative received wide coverage in the gaming press. In a lengthy interview with The Grumbly Gamer, ECA President Hal Halpin elaborates on why the game consumers' group decided t take its case to the White House:

We [at ECA] had discussed addressing the President’s “put the video games away” aspect of his speeches several times, actually. At issue is the fact that we agree fully with what he’s saying in principle. Parents need to be more involved with what their kids are doing. They need to be more engaged and focus on understanding what media their kids are ingesting. They need to use the ratings systems as a benchmark – and it’s a great first step – but they should really take the few minutes to participate in that media actively.

 

I also agree that kids get far too much screen time, be it movies, TV, cell phones, the Internet, or computer and video games. So we hesitated a few times, hoping that some other form of screen time would be included as the example. But each time the speech was recycled, we waited with bated breath…and were disappointed that the focus remained on gaming and gamers. It began reinforcing the negative stereotype and was compounded by the media interpreting and reinterpreting his meaning. So we had to act.

 

A campaign is precisely the way to let the White House, and by extension everyone else, understand that gamers are tired of the mislabeling of both gaming and of gamers. By giving folks the access to our online advocacy tools, they can take the 30 seconds and make their voices heard. It’s fast, easy and free. You don’t need to be an ECA member. Just someone who wants gaming to be treated with the respect that other forms of media enjoy.

The ECA's online campaign referred to write to President Obama may be found here.

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

3 comments

Conservative MP Sees Pro-Game Future for UK

July 28, 2009 -

Bruce Everiss has posted a revealing interview with Conservative MP Ed Vaizey (left) over at Bruce on Games.

Vaizey, who was vocal in his support of the UK video game industry before it was fashionable to do so, offers some worthwhile insights:

I would see video games as art, they are creative, and they have by now their own heritage and cultural significance, which is one element of art.

[UK Conservatives] think video games have not been taken seriously by [PM Gordon Brown's Labour] Government.  They are a huge industry for us, we are world-beaters, and we should be looking at imaginative policies to support the industry as much as possible...

Vaizey also comments sensibly on another pair of hot-button issues, sensationalized media coverage and video game piracy:

You can’t [get the media to stop writing negative stories about games] – the media love bad news stories.  But I do think  the industry has made real strides in the last couple of years.  You see many more Wii type stories, emphasising the industry’s contribution to health and education, than you used to...

 

We will work with the ISPs [on piracy] to ensure that people who are ripping off games are held to account, we have to take tough measures to ensure this becomes much less of a problem.  But the industry has to adapt as well, and change its business models to account for the new era.

6 comments

Gamer War Vet Fears That Six Days in Fallujah Will Dishonor Those Who Served in Iraq

April 8, 2009 -

Just announced on Monday, Konami's upcoming Iraq War game Six Days in Fallujah is already into its third day of controversy.

Yesterday, GamePolitics reported on concerns expressed by several critics in the U.K., including a decorated former army colonel and the father of a Royal Marine who was killed in Iraq.

Today's interview with Dan Rosenthal is a little closer to home. Actually, make that a lot closer to home.

Dan (left) is a veteran of the Iraq War. He's a longtime gamer. He's also a law student and edits the excellent gameslaw.net blog, which we cite with regularity here on GamePolitics. I first met Dan at PAX 08. He attended GDC last month on on IGDA scholarship. So when he speaks from the heart about his war experience and his feelings about Six Days in Fallujah, I listen. As it happened, yesterday Dan and I interacted on Twitter about Konami's controversial game. Afterward, Dan was gracious enough to consent to this interview:

GP: Dan, when were you in Iraq? What unit did you serve with?

DR: I served in the U.S. Army, 3rd Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment... Our unit was based out of Florida with the Florida National Guard, but during our time in Iraq we were attached to several units... I arrived in Kuwait in February 2003, participated in the invasion of Iraq in March, and left around a year later.

GP: Where were you stationed for the bulk of your Iraq tour?

DR: During the invasion, we drove upwards through southern Iraq, helped secure the area around Nasiriyah, then moved northward and conducted operations out of Baghdad for the remainder of the time... If you've ever seen the movie Gunner Palace, that base was a few hundred meters away from our compound, a former Republican Guard general officer's quarters.  

GP: Did you see any combat?

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Will Code Avarice's Paranautical Activity make its way back onto Steam?:

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Matthew Wilsonif they were serious, they would go to youtube. most youtube game reviewers tend to revew games as product, and tend leave social issues out of it.10/25/2014 - 1:42pm
quiknkoldif the gamergaters were serious, they'd realize that Kotaku and Polygon arent the only games in town, and that with the freedom of the internet, they could create their own websites and achieve the goals they are trying to achieve without arguement.10/25/2014 - 1:35pm
james_fudgehe should have called the police.10/25/2014 - 1:20pm
TechnogeekAt least my statement still holds if it does turn out to be a false flag.10/25/2014 - 1:03pm
NeenekoThough I admit, since doxxing and false flag where heavily used tactics of the GG supporters, while they are not historical tactics used by detractors, I am skeptical how much it is really 'both sides' doing it in any real volume.10/25/2014 - 1:01pm
NeenekoOne thing that makes all of this messy is 'false flag' is a serious concern here. It does not help that the original GG instigators were also known for doing elaborate false flags to discredit feminism themselves.10/25/2014 - 12:59pm
MechaCrashThe guy who got the knife is the one who advocated doxxing, by the way, and was getting court documents about Zoe Quinn so he could publicly post them. It doesn't make what happened to him right, but he deserves no sympathy.10/25/2014 - 12:42pm
TechnogeekNo, that's a pretty shitty thing to do and I fully support the responsible parties getting a visit from the relevant legal authorities.10/25/2014 - 12:17pm
Neo_DrKefkaSomeone anyone tell me how two wrongs somehow make a right? This is becoming exhausting and both sides are out of there minds!10/25/2014 - 11:40am
Neo_DrKefkaSo two GamerGate supporters received a knife and syringe in the mail today. The same GamerGate supporters who said how awful it was were seen in other tweets gathering lists and sending our similar threats or harassment to shut down the other side....10/25/2014 - 11:36am
NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
PHX Corp@MW and AE The news media needs to stop promoting the Shooters. period10/25/2014 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
 

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