BREAKING: Video Game Critic Spitzer Involved in Prostitution Ring

March 10, 2008 -

He may be opposed to violent video games like Hitman: Codename 47, but an FBI document alleges that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) was known as Client 9 to an upscale, international prostitution ring.

Spitzer is seen at left with Silda, his wife of 21 years.

The New York Times is reporting a breaking story that Spitzer will make some type of announcement this afternoon about the case. (UPDATE: Spitzer briefly apologized, but didn't 'fess up to anything specific...)

Federal prosecutors apparently caught Spitzer on a wiretap arranging for a prostitute to travel from New York to Washington, D.C., where he was visiting on business. It is a federal offense to transport someone across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

During his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Spitzer pledged to regulate video game content and called for a universal rating system. Video game legislation approved by the New York Assembly during his first year in office seemed fast-tracked for passage, but eventually stalled due to a bitter political feud between Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R). The video game bill was expected to be revived in 2008, but that is certainly questionable now, as is Spitzer's future.

During the 2006 campaign Spitzer called out the video game industry for excessive violence and, ironically, sexual content in its products:
 

Like all parents, I know it is increasingly difficult to protect our children from negative influences... we have learned that when self-regulation fails, government must step in... we must do more to protect our children from excessive sex and violence in the media...


 

Media content has gotten more graphic, more violent and more sex-based... Currently, nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying... a game like 'Grand Theft Auto,' which rewards a player for stealing cars and beating people up. Children can even simulate having sex with a prostitute...


GP: The hypocrisy meter is just about off the scale... Check out page 36 of this FBI document for some of the dirty details of Client 9's hotel encounter with a hooker named "Kristen."

UPDATE: Spitzer is a superdelegate for another frequent video game critic, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

RANDOM THOUGHT: Can a homemade Client 9 game be far behind?

 

Following GP Story, NY Officials Remove Hoax Info from Presentation

December 20, 2007 -

GamePolitics revealed yesterday that a New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) presentation on video game issues listed a well-known hoax site as a parental resource.

That news has apparently caused a bit of a stir among political types in Albany.

The Staten Island Advance, citing the GP article, reports that state officials will remove the hoax site Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence (mavav.org) from a listing of parental resources which appears at the end of the 24-minute presentation:
 

One story on the hoax site, "Video Game Violence Makes Teens Aggressive," shows a phony brain scan, with the outline of a tiny machine gun superimposed on the image of a brain...


 

John M. Caher, a spokesman for DJCS, said officials are in the process of editing the video to yank the hoax Web site reference...

"We firmly stand by the core, overriding message of the presentation: Parents and guardians need to know the types of games that are available, and use their own good judgment to decide if something is right for their child," Caher said.


Gov. Spitzer's office referred media questions back to DCJS, which prepared the video. Prior to the GP story, however, Spitzer was squarely behind the presentation, saying:
 

I commend the staff of the DCJS...This presentation gives parents and educators the information they need to make smart decisions about the games their children play. 


A representative for State Senator Andrew Lanza, who heads a New York legislative task force on violent games, told the Advance that Lanza had no role in the preparation of the video.

GP: We note that some of our readers mentioned the GamePolitics story in comments to the original Staten Island Advance coverage. That surely helped get the attention of New York state bureaucrats and is an example of grassroots gamer action at its finest - well done!

36 comments

New York Guv's Game Scare Presentation Cites Hoax Site as "Resource"

December 19, 2007 -

In New York, efforts to legislate video game sales have bogged down in the wake of bitter political infighting between Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R).

While the legislative effort remains stalled, the New York Department of Criminal Justice (!) has produced a 20-minute slide show which, in addition to offering some good advice to parents, dredges up a number of sensationalized stories, presents at least one outright fallacy, and cites a well-known Internet hoax site as a parental resource. 

As reported by the Staten Island Advance, Gov. Spitzer unveiled Video Games and Children: Virtual Playground vs. Danger Zone yesterday, accompanied by representatives from the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Said Spitzer of the 20-minute presentation:
 

Protecting our children from violent video games that contain adult themes is a key priority for my administration. I commend the staff of the DCJS and Commissioner Denise O'Donnell for taking a leadership role in this effort by reaching out to parents and educators to engage them in this important dialogue. This presentation gives parents and educators the information they need to make smart decisions about the games their children play.


While the presentation offers some wothwhile - if standard - advice about ratings and other parental issues, it quickly devolves into sensationalism. V-Tech Rampage, for example, gets prominent mention early in the presentation. For those who may not recall that sorry episode, V-Tech Rampage was a crude, non-commercial game created and posted online by an apparently troubled young man from Australia who gained his 15 minutes of fame by exploiting the Virginia Tech massacre. What does it have to do with parents making video game choices for their children?

The presentation also includes clips from a well-known Australian TV video of a supposed teenage World of Warcraft addict. There is also an ominous mention of an unnamed 13-year-old Chinese lad who is said to have thrown himself from the roof of a building in an effort to join his video game heroes.

We were also troubled by the somewhat random selection of games presented as bad examples. For instance, the video makes much of Soldier of Fortune's realistic body damage model. SoF, however, was released seven years ago. Relevance, please?

The presentation also mentions that Virginia Tech killer Seung Hui Cho was reportedly a player of Counter-strike. However, the Virginia Tech Review Panel's report clearly states that no such evidence was found. The only game mentioned by the blue ribbon panel in relation to Cho is Sonic the Hedgehog.

First-person shooters are referred to as "killographic" games. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is misstated as "Grand Theft San Andreas." How does one botch what is probably - thanks to Hot Coffee - the most infamous game title of all time?

And, as the presentation ends, a resource page lists Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence as one of several places where parents can go for additional information. 

Oops!

MAVAV is a well-documented hoax site, created, ironically, by a student from a New York City design school.

In the end, poor research makes Gov. Spitzer's well-intentioned video look amateurish and out of touch.

UPDATE: Albany's WNYT-13 has a report on the release of the New York video.

NY Pols Reach Agreement on Game Bill; Passage Delayed Until July

June 22, 2007 -

Details are few at this point as New York State legislators worked late last night to wrap up the current session.

As expected, the Senate and Assembly reached agreement on video game legislation. However, time ran out before the measure could be passed in both houses. Legislators expect to formally pass the bill when they return in July. At that point the video game bill will go to Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

WXXA-DT/TV (Albany) reports:
 

Republican Senator Andrew Lanza (left) who represents Staten Island describes the type of video games his legislation is trying to label for parents:  "Games that, for instance, reward you for shooting and murdering New York City police officers."

[Senate Minority Leader James] Tedisco says, "Nobody walks up to me on the streets and says, 'Because there's violent video games, I'm leaving the state of New York.'  They say, 'I'm leaving the state of New York because I can't afford to live here.'"


Meanwhile, Lower Hudson Online has this:
 

Two agreements were announced yesterday.

One would place limits on who can see violent video games. It would make it a felony to sell violent and obscene video games to minors. In addition, manufacturers would have to equip game consoles with parental-control devices, retailers would have to label games that are violent and obscene, and the state would establish a committee to study the problem.

"We were all always on the same page in protecting children. We just had to come up with ways to compromise," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn, co-chairman of the joint conference committee.


GP: Based on an inaccurate news account, we originally listed this bill as passed. In checking with Sen. Lanza's office, we learned that it has been agreed upon but not yet officially passed.

64 comments

NY Lawmakers Almost Come to Blows Over Violent Video Game Bill, Says News Report

June 5, 2007 -

A pair of New York State Senators, debating legislation aimed at violent video games, nearly came to blows themselves, reports the Statewide News Service.

According to the story, bill sponsor Sen. Andrew Lanza (R, left) and Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) got into a dust-up about the wording of A8696, Go. Eliot Spitzer's bill which would make selling games featuring "depraved violence" to a minor a felony offense.

From the transcript:
 

Lanza: The cases that have been struck down have been struck down on the principle that states have attempted to prohibit the sale of video games based upon the speech content, that being violence.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the case. You’re misreading them. I don’t know whether you’re doing it deliberately or what. It’s frustrating me.

Lanza: I’m not misreading the cases. Those are the cases.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the cases.

Lanza: Absolutely not Senator. We can agree to disagree on that point.

Hassell-Thompson: You got a battery of attorneys sitting behind you. I’m telling you I wrangled with them 3 out of 5 meetings.

Lanza: Maybe you’re missing something.

Hassell-Thompson: Well, we’re paying them. We should fire them.

Lanza: Let’s just be clear. It makes it a felony to sell video games based upon the speech contained therein. That’s what it does. Now it may pass constitutional muster because the speech that is being regulated therein is pornography, which I might add is already regulated and is already prohibited with its distribution to minors. So you might say the governor’s version accomplishes nothing. I’m not saying that but you might say it.


UPDATE: GP has heard from a source who was present and says that while it was clear that no love was lost between Lanza and Hassell-Thompson, the idea that blows were imminent is overstated.

52 comments | Read more

NY Politician Happy Staten Island Left Out of GTA IV

May 13, 2007 -

Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series are eagerly awaiting GTA IV, due out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later this year.

The latest installment in the controversial game franchise is set in Liberty City, a vitualized representation of the Big Apple.

But as today's New York Times reports, the borough of Staten Island has been left out of the game. And while some gamers are upset, at least one New York politician is pleased:
 

Not everyone, however, is bemoaning the exclusion of the city’s most bucolic borough. The Grand Theft Auto series has been widely pilloried by parents and elected officials. The State Senate recently formed a task force on video game violence and appointed Senator Andrew Lanza [left], Republican of Staten Island, to lead it.


 

“I’m glad Staten Island is left out, frankly,” Mr. Lanza said. Describing the game as “poisonous,” he reflected on the real reason his borough did not make the cut.


 

“Perhaps it’s because they know Staten Island is the safest place in the entire city,” he said.

 

NY Legislation Gains Momentum: Guv to Detail Video Game Proposal to Al Sharpton Group Today

April 20, 2007 -

Suddenly, video game legislation is a very hot topic in New York state.

As reported earlier this week by GamePolitics, first-year New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) will fulfill a 2006 campaign promise by pressing ahead with efforts to legislate violent and sexually-explicit video games. Spitzer hopes to pass a law restricting sales of such games to underage buyers.

According to the New York Daily News, Spitzer will detail his video game proposal today in a breakfast speech before Rev. Al Sharpton's organization, the National Action Network.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Andrew Lanza has been appointed to head a legislative task force on the video game issue. The Staten Island Advance reports that Lanza made reference to Monday's Virginia Tech rampage in discussing the issue of video game legislation. Lanza's senate web page contains the following quote:
 

The Virginia Tech massacre is a painful reminder of the culture of violence which has severe and tragic consequences on our youth and for our society... It is imperative that we find a way to prevent these virtual realities from continuing to fuel and to teach the violent behavior which is corrupting or youth.


With bi-partisan support for the issue and the end of the assembly session drawing near, expect New York's video game legislation situation to heat up quickly.

55 comments

NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer Readies Violent Video Game Legislation

April 18, 2007 -

A campaign promise made by almost a year ago by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has resurfaced.

Last April GamePolitics reported on candidate Spitzer's plan to legislate sales of violent video games. The former State Attorney General also called for a universal rating system for games, movies and music. At the time, Spitzer said:
 

Self-regulation doesn't always work... when self-regulation fails, government must step in... New York State must take matters into its own hands. We should follow the lead of states like California, Illinois and Michigan and pass 'Safe Games' legislation...


 

The (ESRB) does have a rating system... but it's often ignored. Laws protecting underage kids from harmful products are nothing new... But currently, nothing under New York State law prohibits a fourteen-year old from walking into a video store and buying a game labeled 'Adult Only' - a game like 'Grand Theft Auto...'

Democrats and Republicans both have bills that would address these problems, but they have gone nowhere. It is time to make this a priority.


Now, Spitzer is apparently making good on his promise. As reported by Business Week:

34 comments | Read more

 
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ZippyDSMleePaypal shuts down Mega's payment system. https://torrentfreak.com/under-u-s-pressure-paypal-nukes-mega-for-encrypting-files-150227/03/01/2015 - 3:25pm
Matthew Wilsonvalvle planning to release a vr headset this year wtf http://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/03/01/2015 - 1:05pm
ZippyDSMleeuuuhhhggg in other news been sick since last night.....uuhggg.....I iwsh it did not hurt so much when my tummy wants to leave my body..02/28/2015 - 11:39pm
ZippyDSMleeBrings me to the Q why alt costumes would be needed in competition anyway... http://www.eventhubs.com/news/2015/feb/28/dead-or-alive-community-aims-ban-over-120-overly-sexualized-costumes-dead-or-alive-5-last-round/02/28/2015 - 11:36pm
MonteThough from a business side, i would agree with the article. While it would be smarter for developers to slow down, you can't expect EA, Activision or ubisoft to do something like that. Nintnedo's gotta get the third party back.02/28/2015 - 4:36pm
MonteThough it does also help that nintendo's more colorful style is a lot less reliant on graphics than more realistic games. Wind Waker is over 10 years old and still looks good for its age.02/28/2015 - 4:33pm
MonteWith the Wii, nintnedo had the right idea. Hold back on shiny graphics and focus on the gameplay experience. Unfortunatly everyone else keeps pushing for newer graphics and it matters less and less each generation. I can barely notice the difference02/28/2015 - 4:29pm
MonteON third party developers; i kinda think they should slow down to nintendo's pace. They bemoan the rising costs of AAA gaming, but then constantly push for the best graphics which is makes up a lot of those costs. Be easier to afford if they held back02/28/2015 - 4:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/02/28/the-world-is-nintendos-if-only-theyd-take-it/ I think this is a interesting op-ed, but yeah it kind of is stating the obvious.02/28/2015 - 2:52pm
prh99The government probably doesn't need an app, but I was think more along the lines of a company that was going to sell the collected info. “If you're not paying for the product, you are the product” sometimes even if you pay.02/28/2015 - 1:50pm
E. Zachary KnightWhat better way for the government to keep track of you than to get you to install an app that lets you insult the government.02/28/2015 - 11:03am
prh99No, but I looked it up and it's basically spyware. Their privacy policy says their apps tracks among other things your location and browsing habits via cookies.02/28/2015 - 8:20am
Ryan RardinHas anyone here heard of an app called iCitizen? It's basically Yelp for politicians.02/28/2015 - 5:16am
Andrew EisenAh, not linked in the way you (and everyone else) want and expect. That's true.02/27/2015 - 10:06pm
Matthew Wilsonthey are not linked in a way that tracks purchases though. the fact that they have to send a code for the other system shows that they are not linked in the way it counts.02/27/2015 - 9:39pm
Andrew EisenAccounts are already linked. Have been for quite a while. Also, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was announced as a cross-buy title during last January's Nintendo Direct.02/27/2015 - 9:25pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/20…/…/27/olli-olli-3ds-wii-u-cross-buy/ I wounder if this is a sign that Nintendo may finally link accounts across the 3ds/wiiu in the near future.02/27/2015 - 9:18pm
prh99http://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/invt/70931?colour=Blue The dress does comes in white and blue but both have black lace and a sheer back top, I don't see gold or brown. 02/27/2015 - 8:54pm
ZippyDSMleeDungeons was a so bad so good game to me so I been keeping up with its sequel which will more of a Dungeon Keeper clone. As for pre order out of 7 preorders I was not burnt by 2... Add my contempt of most of modern game design.Ya I have all kinds of hurt.02/27/2015 - 8:40pm
MechaTama31I don't even want to know...02/27/2015 - 8:22pm
 

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