Former Republican presidential candidate, speaker of the house, and political pundit Newt Gingrich is trying his hand at something new: writing about emerging game technology. First spotted by Mashable (check out Chelsea Clark's story), Gingrich talks about his new fascination with Oculus Rift VR headset.
While we don't have any specifics on what went on at this swank press event for the Xbox One, it sounds exciting. Apparently - according to 69 party photos posted on Revamp, the Entertainment Software Association and Microsoft put on a swank reveal party for the Xbox One in Washington D.C. The catered event at the W Washington, D.C. hotel was attended by members of Congress and Obama administration officials, according to the site.
The latest Indie Gala bundle offers a bunch of nifty games depending on what you're willing to pay - but the money will go towards "help rebuild Vancouver's game industry" by supporting a political candidate. Vancouver has been hit with a lot of layoffs at many of the region's biggest studios.
Despite being an avid World of Warcraft player and someone who likes to use slightly colorful language to talk about it on her blog, Colleen Lachowicz (D-ME) still handily trounced Republican Sen. Thomas Martin, earning her a shiny new Senate seat.
Last month, the Maine GOP ran a pretty silly smear campaign to an attempt to convince voters that Lachowicz's gaming habits and blog comments rendered her unfit for office.
Following up on yesterday's story about the Maine GOP attacking Maine state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz over leading a "double life" in World of Warcraft, Politico has another story featuring Lachowicz's response. Colleen Lachowicz told the publican Thursday night that that the attack shows that the Maine GOP is out-of-touch if they think being a gamer is shameful.
In one of the more unusual attacks on an opponent in this election cycle, the Republican party of Maine has decided that it would be a good idea to take Maine state Senate Democratic candidate Colleen Lachowicz to task for playing World of Warcraft. Apparently they don't know that over 10 million people around the world are playing the game daily, with millions playing here in the United States. The law of averages would also suggest that a fair amount of Maine's population also plays the game, but let's put that aside for now..
Tory Minister of Parliament and Culture minister Ed Vaizey has long been an influence on the policy of the UK government when it comes to the video game industry, so it's interesting to read this Daily Mail story about him being denied access to video games in his office for the sake of "research."
Previous news stories indicated that British Prime Minister David Cameron was a big fan of Angry Birds on his iPad, and proving that he has more than just a passing interest in gaming, he apparently spends a lot of time playing Fruit Ninja too.
According to an unnamed senior advisor who has spoken to UK newspaper The Telegraph, the British Prime Minister and Tory leader "spends a crazy, scary amount of time playing Fruit Ninja on his iPad."
U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited a Washington D.C. Best Buy to pick up a video game for his daughters. No doubt Ubisoft will be delighted to know the game he chose was one of theirs.
When asked what he was buying:
“In case you all are wondering, Just Dance for the Wii. The girls beat me every time on these various dance games. And you'll never get a picture of me [playing] because I get graded F every time," said President Obama.
There's an interesting story in several Filipino newspapers involving the president of the Philippines, Angry Birds, and the PSP this week. According to several Filipino newspapers, the president is being grilled about his gaming habits, which he vehemently denies. In fact, President Aquino finds the whole line of questioning insulting. President Aquino told the press at an event yesterday that he felt "insulted" when asked to comment on rumors that he was playing video games at the height of a hostage crisis in Manila last year.
Britain’s game development community received some good news this week that gave them hope that tax relief for the industry is still a possibility. One of the most vocal supporters of giving the games industry tax relief is now at the top of the political heap. Labour MP Tom Watson has been appointed as Labour Party deputy chair, part of a reshuffle of the opposition party. Watson, whose activism during the News Corp phone hacking scandal saw his popularity soar, is also an avid video game fan.
UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey wanted to have a game console in his office, but unnamed members of Parliament objected. Now he's talking about Parliament setting up a game room in a new interview with Edge.
"I asked if I could put a games console in my room in the department," Vaizey told Edge. "The powers that be were against it, because people coming for meetings would assume that I was spending every spare minute playing games!
Last night Microsoft hosted the second annual Capitol Hill Family Game Night, bringing its games and technology to the nation's capital where policymakers and their families learned more about Kinect, Xbox 360 and various games. The event was presented in cooperation with congressional hosts Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
The event, which took place in the Rayburn House Office Building, and featured the controller-free Kinect for Xbox 360 and such games as the upcoming games Kinect: Disneyland Adventures and Dance Central 2. Picturing lawmakers shaking their stuff in front of a camera or flying through the sky like Peter Pan is kind of scary, but apparently all involved had fun.
Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) may be polar opposites in the political arena, but when it comes to video games both are on the same page. But what initially brought the two together to join the Congressional Caucus on Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology (E-Tech Caucus) was another activity: softball. Wasserman Schultz loves softball and organizes a Congressional Women’s Softball Game every June to raise money for breast cancer research, along with co-coach Brady and California Democratic Rep. Joe Baca.
The other reason this congressional odd couple got together for the E-Tech Caucus is because both have kids, and by extension, a familiarity with video games.
"I was looking for someone with young kids," she said, "because [my co-chairman] had to be someone who was 'living' video games."
UK-based game player lobby group Gamers' Voice held its first "Parliamentary Games Day" with Ministers of Parliament and video game industry representatives at the House of Commons. The group describes the event as "a real success" with politicians of all three main political parties attending to play video games with Gamers' Voice on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
A total of 16 MPs attended the event. John Whittingdale, Ed Vaizey, Luciana Berger, Clive Betts, Pete Davison, Don Foster, Dr Julian Huppert, Karen Lumley, Jason McCartney, Nigel Mills, Stephen Mosley, Andy Nuttal, David Cairns, Simon Kirby, David Hanson and Keith Vaz all made appearances at the event.
A highlight of the event was when MPs John Whittingdale and Don Foster traded punches through the Kinect Sports boxing game.
Screen Play has an interview with David Bartlett, the Premier of Tasmania, about his long-running love affair with video games. Bartlett is a longtime video game fan that has been playing games since the days of Pong. He played games on a Vic 20, he lived through the early days of Apple, and he hung out at his friend’s house to play around with his Commodore 64. Now he is sharing his love of games with his son. Yes, he is a rare breed of politician.
Here's a few excepts from the interview about Wii and DSi gaming:
What games have you discovered on the Wii?
I’m going through a second wave of gaming fun with Hudson. He and I play a lot of the Lego games, Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman... We’re currently playing Lego Indiana Jones.
Here's a bit about the National Broadband plan in Australia:
The 42-year old Premier of the Australian state of Tasmania appears to be a rather hard-core gamer who grew up playing a wide variety of game machines and even used his political standing to get into a videogame exhibition early, just so he could get some hands on time with the games.
The blog Just One More Game details the gaming exploits of David Bartlett (pictured), a member of the Labor Party who has been Premier of the island since May of 2008. Bartlett’s gaming odyssey began with Pong, before advancing through the Atari 2600, the Commodore Vic-20, a variety of Apples, and eventually, the Atari ST.
Just how boring are Rome town council meetings? Politicians participating in the gatherings have been given the okay to play videogames during the meetings to assist in combating the monotony.
Even worse (better?) perhaps, the Metro insinuates that officials were given laptops pre-loaded with computer games. Rome’s Mayor Giannai Alemanno (pictured) added, “Each councillor can amuse himself and defeat stress during our long, hard meetings.”
The Metro compares the Italian initiative to a “fact-finding” mission—to local strip clubs—suggested by members of the UK’s Cornwall Council. Council members wanted to see what kind of “impact” the clubs had on local economies and neighborhoods.
In an attempt to make some point, the California-based Merced Sun-Star has been following, and publishing, the Mafia Wars exploits of a local councilman.
A July 30 column on the publication’s website began, offering a look into Atwater City Councilman Nelson Crabb’s Facebook gaming tendencies, after dubbing Crabb, an ex-policeman, the “Dapper Packer,” citing his penchant for carrying a gun and sending photos of “dead and dying men” to city officials.
Crabb was described as “a cold blooded killer” within Mafia Wars, where he had pulled off 1,159 murders (as of the July article), extorted a corrupt judge and become a master burglar, all in addition to opening his own chop shop. The paper wrote of these achievements, “That isn't exactly what you might expect from a law-and-order man.”
A UK journalist attempting to write a story on videogames in 2006 sent out an “informal” email to a string of fellow journalists, civil servants and MPs requesting some feedback on what types of games they played, and failed to receive a single response.
National Videogame Archive co-founder Iain Simons was penning an article for The New Statesmen at the time, and, as detailed in GamesIndustry.biz, took the non-replies to indicate that “to be identified as a gamer (in 2006, at least) was incompatible with being a 'serious' civil servant or member of the Westminster set - be that journalist, MP or whatever."
After sending a second email offering anonymity, Simons stated that, “…this time lots of them got back in touch and came 'out' as gamers."
An article on The Game Reviews.com notes that while videogames have emerged into a “significant cultural force,” only a handful of games have been made in order to communicate political ideas.
Author Andy Johnson outlines a few games that attempted such incorporation, like America’s Army, Full Spectrum Warrior and religious games like Left Behind: Eternal Forces and The Bible Game, before describing a few games that feature a pure political bent, like the Bushgame and September 12th.
While politicians have been quick to latch on to social media tools to spread their message, Johnson says that it would be difficult for elected officials to latch on to videogames because their interactive nature breeds “unpredictability.” He continued:
The Australian pro-videogame political party Gamers4Croydon is disbanding.
Founded by David Doe, a former videogame tester, the party was created in order to champion the addition of an R18+, adult videogame rating category in the land of Oz and to assist with the removal of anti-game South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.
On the Gamers4Croydon website, Doe wrote that the party would not be competing in the upcoming federal elections as “all good things come to an end, and it’s time to pass the torch on to people with the resources and experience necessary to bring the change to bear politically.”
Doe encouraged backers to “look closely” at the Australian Sex Party and the Australian Greens as possible replacements for support.
Microsoft and its Get Game Smart initiative, in cooperation with Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), are hosting what’s being billed as the first Capitol Hill Family Game Night this evening.
With the event, the organizers hope to educate attendees and families on “how to enjoy video games and online media in ways that are safer, healthier and more balanced.” Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and their families, will also attend.
Wasserman Schultz offered, “The very same computers that help our children study and literally place the world’s knowledge at their fingertips can also open up a pathway to risky behavior.”
What if Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was an avid gamer? Better yet, what if the entire structure of the U.S. government as we know it was thrown on its head and ordinary people came to occupy the nation’s most powerful posts.
This is the premise for a new book entitled The Naperville White House from author Mark Pedriani. The story, set in the near future, revolves around a “fantasy government game,” called Nationizer, in which players man different governmental positions. Following a terrorist attack on the nation’s capitol, the players in the fictional game are suddenly thrust into action, becoming “the nation’s only real hope.”
The current state of politics may be exasperating to most, but it takes a certain mentality to dive in and try to personally bring about change. One of GamePolitics own community members has had enough and decided to do just that.
Zachary Knight is a GamePolitics moderator, ECA Chapter President and burgeoning game developer, and he’s made the decision to run for State Representative in his home state of Oklahoma. EZK, as he’s known around here, will be running in District 46, which comprises Newcastle, Noble and Norman.
EZK was good enough to take a few minutes out of his day in order to answer a few questions for us.
This is your first foray into politics correct? What prompted you to jump in now?
Playing Farmville on your own time, some might say, is bad enough, but playing it on the job, especially if you are a politician, is a definite no-no.
Councilor Dimitar Kerin, a member of the City Council for the region of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city, was dismissed from his position after repeated warnings about playing the Facebook application during meetings. Several councilors were first caught playing Farmville early in March, during debates for the city’s 2010 budget, reports Novinite.com.
Fellow committee member Todor Hristov suggested that Kerin be removed from his seat as he “needs more time for his virtual farm.” A vote to remove Kerin was taken up, and passed by a slim 20-19 vote. Kerin then complained that he was not the only council member playing Farmville and noted that he was only a Level 40 farmer, while a fellow councilman had reached Level 46.
If an earlier eBay auction of an Xbox 360 purported to have been autographed by Sara Palin was too rich for your blood another Microsoft console owned by a female politician is now up for sale on the auction website.
The 360 in question was actually a key component in the resignation of ex-Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon (D), who was charged with taking gift cards intended for charity and using them to buy videogame systems for her family. Dixon resigned in January of this year.
A former Canadian politician might have to do some creative dancing around following a probe into improper spending.
Former cabinet minister Len Goucher’s spending habits between 2006 and 2009, when he was Minister of Immigration, have come under scrutiny following a Nova Scotia probe into government expenditures. It’s claimed that Goucher spent $9,238 on electronic technology during the three-year span, including the purchase of a copy of Dance Dance Revolution Universe for the Xbox 360, reports the Canadian Press.
The inquiry has already resulted in the resignation of Nova Scotia House of Assembly member Richard Hurlburt, who reportedly used around $11,000 of public funds to purchase a generator and television.