Blago Loses Guv Job, But Gets iPhone Game

January 31, 2009 -

The Illinois Senate may have given  Rod Blagojevich the boot via impeachment, but game developer Yanki.JP is celebrating the disgraced ex-Guv's reign with with Pay2Play, a new iPhone app.

The game's website lets us know that this is not exactly a hardcore political sim:

Pay2Play is the game of trading and danger. How much money can YOU make selling senate seats? Head all over Illinois trading your way to success!

You have 30 days to pay back the unions, make tons of cash, and get out of town all before getting impeached! Transposing a trading game such as Dopewars with a slick interface on the iPhone.

Also a gaming first! Alcopops make it to the game scene for the first time. See what Illinois politicians have been so worried about!

The alcopops reference is a dig at a recent Illinois law prohibiting the depiction of the sweet, boozy drinks in games aimed at children - not that there has ever been an alcopop depicted in a video game.

Eager to try your hand at corrupt Illinois politics? You'll have to wait a bit longer. Pay2Play is currently on hold pending AppStore approval.

Via: Kotaku 

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Legislator Tries to Amend Game Law That No Longer Exists

January 29, 2009 -

It's only January, but Illinois Rep. Robert Pritchard (R) already seems like a lock for Clueless Politician of the Year.

Pritchard, who absolved guns and instead blamed violent video games for last February's shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University, has outdone himself by attempting to amend a video game content law which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge more than three years ago (i.e. - it no longer exists).

For an ironic humor bonus, the defunct law which Pritchard seeks to amend was originally pushed through by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who was ousted today by the Illinois State Senate for corruption in office.

Longtime GamePolitics readers will recall that Blagojevich spearheaded his state's ill-fated attempt to legislate video game content. The big-haired Guv signed the game bill into law in July, 2005, only to have it ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly in December of that year.

No one has given much thought to the Illinois game law since then - except, apparently, for Rep. Pritchard, who inexplicably sought to amend the Blago bill yesterday. Pritchard submitted language designed to shield minors from sexually explicit video games. From Pritchard's amendment:

Provides that the exhibition to or depiction to a minor of a sexually explicit video game is a petty offense in which a $1,000 fine may be imposed.

Nice sentiment, but embarrassingly bad execution.

Online Games Lampoon Disgraced Illinois Guv

January 22, 2009 -

Shawn Recinto of HeadlineGames dropped by GamePolitics the other day to let us know that a pair of games loosely based on the misadventures of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are available.

Blago Run, a Frogger-like affair, challenges players to guide Senate hopefuls past FBI and police patrols in search of President Barack Obama's former seat.

Meanwhile, Blago Red Tape Breakout is a Breakout clone in which Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan must get her supoena past rows of red tape in order to serve Blagojevich with impeachment papers.

4 comments

New Illinois Law Bars Alcopops From Kid-centric Games

January 3, 2009 -

In Illinois, a new law restricts certain content in video games.

However, unlike the 2005 game violence law championed by recently-indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the video game industry is unlikely to mount a legal challenge in this case.

The new measure, aimed at keeping alcopop beverages away from would-be underage drinkers, bars their depiction in games whose audience is primarily children. Here's the language from SB2472:

No entity may advertise, promote, or market any alcopop beverages toward children. Advertise, promote, or market includes, but is not limited to the following... (4) the display of any alcopop beverage in any videogame, theater production, or other live performances where the intended audience is primarily children.

As a practical matter, the wording of the new law seems to indicate that it would only come into play with games rated T and under. Historically, we can't recall any commercially-produced games featuring alcopops.

Via: GameCulture

40 comments

Wall Street Journal Compares Crooked Ill Guv's Mistakes to Failed EA-T2 Deal

December 10, 2008 -

Yesterday, GamePolitics pointed out the hypocrisy of indicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who publicly fretted about Grand Theft Auto's cartoon crime but himself managed to carry out what the U.S. Attorney alleges was a political corruption crime spree.

The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal blog has come up with a different video game angle on the Blagojevich affair, remarking that the disgraved Guv should have paid more attention to this year's failed EA-Take-Two merger:

Before Illinois Gov. Blagojevich allegedly tried to auction off President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder, he might have taken a closer look at the state of deal making this year–which would have told him it never would have worked.

 

Deal Journal compiled some lessons from this year’s M&A market that might have kept Blogajevich from following temptation into a federal indictment.

Don’t assume you are the only game in town: If prosecutors are right, Blagojevich, accused of looking for either lucre or favors in return for Obama’s Senate seat, made an oft-seen mistake: he believed he had more leverage than he did. Take-Two Interactive Software–maker of the Grand Theft Auto videogame–made the same mistake when it pushed rival Electronic Arts to bid up, up, up for the company. But EA tired of being toyed with and walked away.

The WSJ also jokingly relates Blagojevich's relentless pursuit of graft to several other non-game biz deals.

Delicious Irony: Judge Who Nixed Blagojevich's Game Law approved FBI Wiretap of Crooked Illinois Guv

December 9, 2008 -

Pop Quiz - the following line is from:

  1. A Grand Theft Auto cut scene
  2. The potty mouth of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.

The answer, as you might have guessed, is Rod Blagojevich.

The foul-mouthed Guv was picked up on FBI wiretaps trying to figure out how to trade his constitutional ability to name a replacement for Barack Obama's remaining term in the Senate for something of value to himself. The chicanery over the Senate appointment is but one of several corruption charges against Blagojevich.

And, in a yummy twist of fate, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly, who ruled in 2005 that Blagojevich's video game law was unconstitutional, was one of two federal judges who authorized recent FBI wiretaps that led to Blagojevich's downfall.

In fact, a reading of the FBI's complaint against Blagojevich shows that both the Guv and his wife have a penchant for dropping the F-bomb. And this is the guy who was so concerned about the mature content in GTA?

In still more LOL-type Blagojevich news, GP reader amuler1 reminds us that - at least according to Jack Thompson - Blagojevich asserted that violent video games were behind February's shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University. In a February 16th press release, Thompson wrote:

Today at 3:55 pm, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was interviewed on the Fox News Channel about yesterday’s massacre at Northern Illinois University.  When asked why these school shootings are occurring, the Governor stated, “A lot of people smarter than I can be asked that question, but I believe we have to look to the violent entertainment that glamorizes and motivates and trains people to engage in these behaviors, most especially video games.”

The Governor echoes what Miami attorney Jack Thompson said on Fox News this morning at 10:15 am this same day, as he noted that the Virginia Tech and other school shooters have been immersed in these murder simulators.

At the time we were unable to confirm Thompson's assertions regarding Blagojevich's linking of NIU and violent games, although we have no reason to doubt that Thompson is correct concerning what the disgraced Guv may have said.

49 comments

Game-legislating Illinois Guv Busted on Corruption Charge

December 9, 2008 -

He claimed to be incensed about the content of the Grand Theft Auto series of crime games, but federal prosecutors allege that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was himself a criminal.

Blagojevich and his closest advisor are in FBI custody today, reports CNN

Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.

 

Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement, according to the statement.

 

Blagojevich, Harris and others are also alleged to have withheld state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field. The statement says this was done to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members who were critical of Blagojevich.

The Chicago Tribune cites remarks by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald:

The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering. They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism.

GamePolitics readers will recall that it was Blagojevich who championed his state's 2005 video game sales law. The statute, however, was ruled unconstitutional before the year was out. Ultimately the failed legislation would force Illinois  taxpayers to reimburse the video game industry more than a half-million dollars in legal fees.

In 2004, Blagojevich lobbied to to have ads for GTA San Andreas removed from Chicago Transit Authority buses.

GP: Naturally, we're adding Blagojevich to our list of anti-game hypocrites.

Big thanks to: GP readers Norm and BlindJustice15 for the tip!

47 comments

Game-Legislating Guv Happy to Have His Ass Kicked ...Voters Happy to Oblige

November 1, 2008 -

His approval rating is at an abysmal 13%. He is said to be under federal investigation. And Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would do it all again.

Despite those horrendous approval numbers (even President Bush manages to score in the mid-20's), CBS-2 reports that Blagojevich wants to run for a third term. He is best known to GamePolitics readers as the man who rammed through a video game sales law in 2005, only to see it go down in flames by year's end when a federal court judge ruled that it was unconstitutional.

Adding insult to injury, Blagojevich's administration couldn't come up with the legal fees that it owed to the game industry and had to raid the budgets of several government agencies, thus impacting their ability to deliver services to the people of Illinois.

DUring his administration Blagojevich also lobbied against ads for violent games on Chicago's public transit system. Earlier this year the Chicago Transit Authority banned ads for Grand Theft Auto IV, prompting GTA IV publisher Take-Two to sue, resulting in further wast of tax dollars. The case was ultimately settled. It's unknown whether Blagojevich played a role. But, hey, he's a man of the people, even if the people don't like him much at all. Here's what the embattled Guv said at an event on Thursday:

All of those things happened because we had to push and prod and fight through the system to get it done for people, and if I get bloodied up in the process, and there are some times when people are just not generally approving, I feel honored to get my ass kicked for the people.

Big thanks: ...to GP readers AM and Yukimura for the heads-up!

 
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