In an excellent editorial concerning video games and the moral panic that ensued after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012, Christopher Ferguson Ph.D. (and an associate professor and chair of the department of psychology at Stetson University) said that he would be willing to work with Massachusetts state Sen. William Brownsberger, the sponsor of Senate Bill 168.
A former postal worker pled guilty in federal court in Boston Tuesday to stealing more than 200 video games from mail he handled. The 68-year-old Dorcestor, Mass. man, James L. White, stole the games from the mail between July and November 2012 from packages at the US Postal Service’s General Mail Facility in Boston. He then resold the items to a video game retailer (we assume a local GameStop). White is scheduled to be sentenced for mail theft (a federal crime) on May 8.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has put out a special call for action specific to residents of Massachusetts, where a state senator has proposed that violent video games and video games in general should be studied by a panel (put together by the Senate) to determine if they cause real-world violence.
The bill is called S 168 and is the brainchild (we use the term loosely in this case) of State Senator William Brownsberger (D).
Berin Szoka, President of Internet rights organization TechFreedom has penned an interesting editorial over at the Huffington Post detailing his group's opposition to Massachusetts state lawmakers pushing for research on the connection between real-world violence and playing violent video games.
A Massachusetts state senator is pushing legislation that would study video games and their possible link to violent crime. Sen. William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) has proposed legislation (S 168) to create a special commission to investigate the influence of violent video games and to find if there is a connection with real world violence.
"As a legislator, I don’t know the answer to this question," Brownsberger said during a hearing on the bill Wednesday before the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
Worcester, Massachusetts-based Becker College and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) have been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help build the MassDiGI New Ventures Center (NVC). Becker College also announced that it will match the EDA grant, making a total of $2.8 million available to build the state-of-the-art facility.
Massachusetts State Rep. John Binienda (D-Worcester) is pushing for more tax incentives for the state's video games industry. It makes sense, given that Worcester is home to several video game development-focused colleges including Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and MassDIGI at Becker College.
On Sept. 10 the state lawmaker gave testimony promoting House Bill 2511, a bill he is the lead sponsor of that would extend a 25 percent tax credit currently given to the movie industry to game design and development within the state.
The 2013 Boston Festival of Indie Games announced that it will present a night of video game and chiptune music from some of the world's most exciting performers in Boston, Ma. The one-day event, Boston Plays Indies, is being sponsored by music game developer Harmonix and BostonFIG.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Wake Forest University claim that when players fight against human-looking opponents, those players become more aggressive. They even go so far as to say that games with these types of opponents in them may be more likely to provoke violent thoughts and words than games where monsters are the enemy.
Organizers of The Boston Festival of Indie Games announced that game designer and producer Robin Hunicke will deliver the keynote address at this year's event to take place Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the Stratton Student Center and the Johnson Athletic Center on the MIT campus.
Organizers of the Boston Festival of Indie Games announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the annual event dedicated to independently developed games by game developers in the Greater Boston Area. The event takes place September 14 at MIT's Stratton Student Center and Johnson Athletic Center.
If you weren't able to attend the Curry College event a few weeks ago (it took place a day before PAX East in Cambridge Mass.) called "Video Gaming Panel Discusses Violence, Sexism and the Future of Gaming" then you can check out the video to your left or by visiting this link.
Emergency room simulation On Call has won "Best in Show" at the Serious Games and Virtual Environments Showcase at the 2013 SSIH International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare in Orlando, Florida. The game was developed jointly by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Becker College, and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute.
Earlier this month we reported that the Massechusetts Department of Transportation pulled arcade shooting games from Mass Turnpike rest stops after a single complaint from a Newtown, Connecticut family including such titles as Time Crisis and Beach Head 2000.
Two U.S. lawmakers have asked federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice to answer a series of questions about the prosecution of Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz. In a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) want to DOJ to explain why federal prosecutors sought up to 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines for Swartz, who committed suicide prior to his trial. Swartz was arrested in 2011 for downloading 4.8 million documents from the academic archive JSTOR.
Mayor Robert Dolan of Melrose, Massachusetts revealed on Thursday that the city will launch an initiative similar to one put forward and then canceled by community leaders in the town of Southington, Connecticut.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has removed several arcade games from a state Rest Stop after citizens complained about it because it is fairly close to Newtown, Connecticut. According to a Boston Globe report, Andrew Hyams, his wife Tracey, and their son Josh, said that hearing people playing arcade games at a rest stop in Charlton on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Christmas Eve reminded them of the of the Newtown massacre.
Politico is reporting that regular Fox News contributor, syndicated talk show host, and psychiatrist Keith Ablow is considering a run for political office in Massachusetts. If he would attempt such a run it would be in the special election for Senator John Kerry's seat - assuming he is named the new Secretary of State replacing Hillary Clinton.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its Turbine Games studio in Boston, Massachusetts. The company laid off these employees even as it hired several veteran game developers including designer Ken Rolston (who was previously working for Big Huge Games- a company owned by 38 Studios.)
According to a Boston.com report, two auctions to sell of the tangible goods of the now bankrupt 38 Studios will allow online bidders to participate. Up for sale are the company's computers, office equipment, office furniture and more. Sorry, there are no game assets or intellectual property to bid on...
The Providence Journal has several stories related to the ongoing saga of 38 Studios. The first story details the testimony of Richard Wester, chief financial officer for 38 Studios in bankruptcy court this week in Delaware.
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) revealed a new program for students looking to jump into the wonderful world of game development called the MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program. The summer program, which will being in May at Becker College (Worcester, Mass), will be preceded by the MassDiGI Game Challenge competition being held April 13-15.
PAX East will keep Boston as its home until 2023, thanks to a new deal with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Organizers will also donate $325,000 ($25,00 annually) to Becker College's Massachusetts Digital Games Institute. PAX East has been hosted in Boston since its launch two years ago.
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (DiGI) has been awarded a five-year, $500,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce. DiGI launched in April of this year with the help of grant money provided by Worcester's Becker College and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The large chunk of grant money will be used to help the game industry with such things as marketing, business development, and hiring employees in the state.
Destructoid's Nick Chester has left the building to dance his pants off at a new gig. In an open letter to the community Chester announced that he would be leaving the popular web site to become a publicist for Cambridge, Ma.-based music game giant Harmonix. Here's some of what Chester had to say to the Destructoid community:
The Learning Company, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt subsidiary, has filed a lawsuit against Zynga in the Massachusetts district court over "Oregon Trail" missions in its Facebook game FrontierVille. The complaint alleges that Zynga is infringing on its classic educational game Oregon Trail and seeks an immediate injunction to halt Zynga's missions while the court sorts the whole mess.
The lawsuit uses a YouTube trailer of Zynga's missions as evidence that the similarities between them and its classic game - now also a Facebook game - are striking.
TLC says in its complaint that the social game maker's use of its intilectual property is "deliberate theft of the goodwill associated with the iconic The Oregon Trail Mark, which the company has spent millions of dollars promoting since 1971."
You may remember our report on a small coastal Massachusetts town that banned coin operated games from grocery stores and bars in 1982. Well recently, the town of Marshfield voted on lifting the ban and the results were surprising. By a vote of 655-554 at a recent Marshfield Town Meeting, residents rejected lifting the town's ban on coin-operated video games. It has been 29 years since the people of Marshfield chased Donkey Kong out of town and it looks like him and his ilk are still unwelcomed.
George Mallet, a long-time resident who petitioned the town to consider repealing the law at annual Town Meeting, thought resident had come around.
Developers could get a decent 25 percent tax credit on production cost if their products bear a "Made in Massachusetts" logo. According to data provided to Develop by a tax specialist firm, any developer making less $1 million would be eligible for the 35 percent payroll credit. The savings would not be transferred to individuals, but to studio accounts. In other words, if the bill were to be passed, Massachusetts studios could attract better talent with bigger wages.
The information comes from a new Develop feature that taps two executives from specialty tax services provider Alliantgroup, who details the benefits of the bill. Alliantgroup managing director Dean Zerbe and senior associate Angelique Garcia said that the proposed tax breaks for video game studios would turn Massachusetts into a "safe haven" for games studios.