Next week New York State lawmakers will host a second event at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to explore video game development as an economic engine for the state. New York State Republican Sen. Martin Golden will be holding a second roundtable of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, which he chairs, at RIT on Oct. 22. Golden held the first session in September at Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
A new video detailing the National Security Agency's (NSA) broad spying programs on Americans will be on display tonight at 9:00 PM ET in Manhattan, projected onto a building for everyone to see. Internet freedom groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress have teamed up with Golden Globe nominee Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit) to produce a 5-minute crowd funded video that explains the NSA’s surveillance programs and calls for an end to them.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a review of the 677 New Loudon Corp. v. State of New York Tax Tribunal, following a decision from the New York Supreme Court that the state government may tax exotic dancing but not other forms of dancing. Free speech advocacy group Media Coalition thinks that if the Supreme Court were to review this decision, it would likely overturn it because it violates the First Amendment. The group recently filed an amicus brief with the court urging it to review the case.
S.O.S. Gamers has launched a crowd-funding campaign for Get Schooled, an initiative that supplies underprivileged schools and community centers in the New York City area with access to educational technology including computers, calculators, and recreational items such as video game consoles and games.
Sony announced that it plans to sell its U.S. headquarters, a 37-story building located on Madison Avenue in New York City. The PS Vita and PlayStation 3 maker will gain an estimated $1.1 billion from the sale. The buyer is a real estate consortium headed by The Chetrit Group. Sony expects that the transaction will close in March 2013. After paying back debt related to the building, Sony plans to pocket around $770 million from the sale.
New York Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized the National Rifle Association for releasing its iOS shooting range simulation app NRA Practice Range on the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Pressure from politicians around the country ultimately forced Apple to change the rating from age 4+ to a rating of 12+. Schumer had called for a rating of 17+.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a press release today announcing that five additional companies including Gaia Online, NCsoft, Funcom, THQ, and one company that was not disclosed at press time, have agreed to participate in Operation: Game Over, an initiative to identify and remove registered sex offenders that live in New York state. These companies join Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Media Group, Warner Brothers and Sony.
On December 29 The Pixel Academy will set up shop in the ArtsCetera on 212 Smith Street in Brooklyn to create a 21st century digital media lab for kids. Open house ALL DAY (10am-8pm) - Instructors will be teaching classes on a range of creative technologies and answering questions about Pixel Academy and their educational programs.
Jennifer Pahlka, founder and Executive Director of Code for America ("the Peace Corps. for geeks") sent us some more information on the October 24th event scheduled to take place in New York City and some details on why they planned the vent in the first place. In case you are not familiar with Code for America, they are a group of web designers, programmers and other passionate geeks that work with local governments to create innovative solutions using all kinds of technology - including video games.
What a difference a few days makes for a politician with an "unconventional" idea. After getting a little pushback from constituents, New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray (R) issued a statement trying to clarify the intended purpose of his billing to deal with anonymous Internet comments. One could categorize his statement as more of a walk back than a clarification...
A New York State Assemblymen wants to fight cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks" with a new bill that would ban anonymous web posts. The bill would make it so that all New York-based websites have to "remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post," according to Wired's Threat Level.
We thought that a Manhattan judge had already green lighted a lawsuit filed by game developer Gate Five to sue pop icon Beyonce for $100 million way back in December of 2011, but a new New York Post story about the lawsuit says that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos has ruled that the singer will have to face the "breach of contract" lawsuit filed by the company sometime this summe
A man from Greece, New York (a suburb of Rochester) has been sentenced to six months in jail, ten years of probation and registration as a sex offender in New York State. Twenty-year-old Richard "Ricky" Kretovic pled guilty to the crime of Criminal Sexual Act in March of this year as part of a plea deal and on Friday Monroe County Court Judge Victoria Argento delivered his sentence.
In March of last year the state of Illinois decided to pass a law that collected Internet sales tax from online companies like Amazon.com and eBay. Commonly referred to as an "affiliate nexus tax," the law passed by Illinois and other states including California, Connecticut, and New York, required online retailers who advertised on "affiliate sites" that had a physical presence in the same state to collect sales tax. The Illinois law had broad support among lawmakers and the state’s governor, Gov. Pat Quinn (D).
More than 100 elementary and middle school students from New York City and around the country will compete using DimensionU video game software on May 21. Students tackle fast-paced math problems over several stages in order to advance and win $60,000 in scholarship funds.
The U Games National Scholarship Tournament brings together more than 100 students who were smart enough to secure a spot in the final national competition after participating in one of 12 qualifying rounds that ran from November - April.
Using the DimensionU Games for math, the tournament is hosted by the game's developer Tabula Digita in partnership with Intel and Dell. The tournament finals will be held Saturday, May 21 at Hunter College in New York City.
This Thursday at the New York University Game Center, the No Quarter Exhibition of Games returns for its second year to debut some brand new independent games and offer some other interesting surprises. At last year's event, Mark "Messhof" Essen unveiled his dueling game Nidhogg. It went on to win an Independent Games Festival award.
This Thursday No Quarter will feature games from VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh, Ramiro Corbett (worked on Glow Artisan while at Powerhead), and game designer Charley Miller.
This year's No Quarter will also see the debut of NYC Winnitron, a free-to-play custom arcade cabinet featuring independent games. It was apparently modeled after the Torontron/Winnitron machines that are used on the indie scenes in Toronto and Winnipeg.
No Quarter begins on May 12 at 7 PM with an opening party. The event runs until the end of the month. For more information, visit http://gamecenter.nyu.edu/.
According to this Bloomberg report, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Sony over its ongoing security breach. Citing sources close to the situation, Bloomberg reports that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking further information on the security breach of Sony's PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment.
Specifically his department is taking a closer look at what Sony told customers about the security of its networks and when it told customers. The probe is supposedly part of a "consumer protection inquiry," according to the Bloomberg report.
From the report:
During the run up to yesterday’s mid-term election, we profiled a few politicians that used web-based games or videogame-related images in order to either slam their opponent, or drum up interest in their own campaign. In some cases the games were even created by third parties not affiliated with either side in a race. Let’s check-in and see how these candidates did in yesterday’s elections.
Putting aside garbage-scented political flyers, at least for the time being, New York Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has invoked a world-famous videogame character for his latest attack on Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo.
The latest flyer features Cuomo’s face on a caricature of Mario under the headline “Andrew Has Been Playing the Albany Game for 30 Years.”
Another recent flyer pictured Cuomo in the shower, with the text “Clean up Albany? Start with Cuomo.”
Just last month Paladino spokesman Mike Caputo promised, “We’re going to continue beating on Andrew Cuomo until he comes out and answers questions and agrees to a series of debates.”
For more on Paladino be sure to check out this Gawker tag, which assembles all of the site’s gleeful coverage of the candidate’s missteps to-date.
The NYU Game Center had added Game Designer Eric Zimmerman (pictured) to its ranks as Visiting Assistant Art Professor.
Zimmerman is co-author, with Katie Salen, of the game design book Rules of Play and was a co-founder of Gamelab, which created a range of games including Diner Dash. Zimmerman has already helped to plan the curriculum for the GameCenter over the past year and will teach Introduction to Game Design and Advanced Game Design courses at the school.
NYU Game Center Interim Chair Frank Lantz said of Zimmerman’s appointment, “His addition on a full-time basis is an indication of the Game Center’s commitment to bringing together the most important and influential scholars and designers in the field in order to build a world-class program in game design.”
The NYU Game Center was started in 2008 and is described as “an independent, multi-school center for the research, design and development of digital games.”
The sleepy hamlet of Beacon, located in upstate New York, is not a fan of pinball machines.
A CNN story details the problems a local man had after opening a retro arcade museum in the town. After 18 months of operation, Fred Bobrow was forced to shutter his operation because of an “arcane” law in town that bans pinball machines within the city limits.
George Mansfield, a member of Beacon’s City Council explained how the law may have come about:
Arcades in the '70s may have represented something, you know, maybe, that a community wouldn't want on their main street, or that it would attract a bad, you know, kids or whatever.
While the town, reportedly, is looking into reversing the ban, the City Council is moving very slowly and any changes will not be enacted in time to benefit Bobrow. Beacon Mayor Steve Gold stated, “Uh, the legislative process really does take its time and council's really looked very closely at all of the letters of the law, and look ahead to the future.”
Activity is resurfacing around a New York Bill that would relegate games that “glamorize the commission of a violent crime, suicide, sodomy, rape, incest, bestiality, or sado-masochism” to a sealed and locked container in retail or rental outlets.
A meeting in regards to the Bill (A2837) is set for April 27 in front of the New York Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. As it was explained to us, this simply means that politicos will gather to discuss the issue in order to appease constituents, all while Johnny Taxpayer foots the bill.
A previously mentioned Bill in the New York State Assembly—which would require retail outlets that sell or rent videogames to display a warning about the possibility of games causing epileptic seizures—appears to still be alive, though buried in bureaucracy.
Bill A04004, drafted by Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D), was first introduced in 2001. It has been referred to the consumer affairs and protection agency multiple times, most recently in January of both 2009 and 2010.
The Bill’s text reads:
While it might not mean the end of the traditional air raid siren, New York State is currently testing a plan that uses networked videogame machines to send emergency alerts and warnings to the state’s population.
The alert system is just one component of New York State’s Empire 2.0 initiative, which is designed to make the state’s government more “transparent, participatory and collaborative,” reports Information Week.
New York State Deputy Chief Information Officer Rico Singleton thinks the plan to alert the populace via videogame consoles is a natural, “considering the amount of time our youth spend on video games.“
Other Empire 2.0 measures include monitoring Facebook in a bid to spot and stop potential suicidal behavior, using Second Life to train 700,000 Homeland Security first responders and publishing Senate bills online where members of the public can comment on and mark up proposed legislation.
The New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government is holding public hearings today on the subject of Net Neutrality.
A live stream of the hearings is available on LiveStream. The Council is live Tweeting coverage as well here. Also look for hashtags #netneutrality or #reso712A.
Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) Vice President and General Counsel Jennifer Mercurio gave testimony earlier today in support of Net Neutrality.
A sample of her testimony:
ECA is strongly in support the proposals you’ve outlined in Resolution 712A-2007 and of the concept of Network Neutrality, the principle that protects one’s choice of content and equal opportunity on the Internet. Like President Obama, who has pledged to make Network Neutrality the law of the land, we believe that Network Neutrality is a key right for consumers, insuring continued enjoyment and use of the Internet for a variety of applications including recreation, creativity and economic expansion. This is especially true for video game players (gamers), because our hobby is increasingly tied to the Internet. Of the 117 million active gamers in the US, 56 percent play games online, accounting for over 65 million Americans.
Disclosure: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics
Violent games and bad behavior have town supervisors in Amherst, New York concerned about their local Chuck E. Cheese location.
The Buffalo News reports that members of the Amherst Town Board were deadlocked with a 3-3 vote on whether to renew a game license for the restaurant, which is often used for children's parties. Council Member Shelly Schratz offered her opinion on the level of violence in some of the arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese:
When I see 6-year-olds, 8-year-olds playing those games, when all the time we’re opening the paper and seeing those stories on youth violence, do we need those games to make money?
However, Council Member Mark Manna disputed his colleague's comments in harsh terms:
By what moral authority does Shelly Schratz have to go into a business and say what you have is not age-appropriate? It’s clearly Shelly sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong. I’ve never seen games [there] that are gory or explicit. There is more violence in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Buffalo News reporter Sandra Tan did her own research, finding some violent gaming fare:
[Chuck E. Cheese] offered about half a dozen yellow-rated games, which include some nongory and non-explicit violence.
This included shooting and hunting games in which people, animals and various zombies, aggressive creatures and monsters are attacking or being attacked by the game player. These games were separated from the toddler play area but sprinkled amid other nonviolent video games and skill games such as skeeball.
A spokeswoman for Chuck E. Cheese said that the company would address the board's concerns. Amherst's Town Attorney expressed a belief that the situation would be worked out.
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.