Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Postal Regulatory Commission Rules in Favor of GameFly in USPS Spat

April 20, 2011 -

Video game rental-by-mail firm GameFly has won a legal battle against the United States Postal Service. Filed in April of last year with the Postal Regulatory Commission, GameFly alleged that the USPS had discriminated against the company while giving preferential treatment to similar businesses such as Netflix and Blockbuster.

After a year of legal wrangling, court proceedings and a flurry of motions, the Postal Regulatory Commission has ruled in favor of GameFly and has ordered the USPS to remedy the situation in short order. The Postal Regulatory Commission is an independent federal agency that provides regulatory oversight over the U.S. Postal Service. It has the power to force the Postal Service into compliance on various complaints.

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Congresswoman Lofgren: Domain Seizures Trample on Due Process

March 14, 2011 -

Silicon Valley Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA.) says that seizing web sites and web domains tramples on due process. Speaking at length with Ars Technica, Lofgren takes aim at the administration's efforts to take down web sites that allegedly engage in illegal activity like file-sharing, copyright infringement and counterfeit goods.

Lofgren starts by saying that ICE doesn't have the authority to do what they are doing, that they are trampling on due process because the seizures are almost instant, and that - in some cases - they have violated the first amendment rights of some domain owners. Here is more on that from Lofgren:

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Daryl Issa's War on Silly Names

February 23, 2011 -

When taxpayers hear the term "pork barrel spending" they think of ridiculous projects getting an earmark from appropriations secured by their elected representative in the congress. Yes, if you read only the briefest descriptions of these earmarks you might think it's all a big waste of your tax dollars. After all, do we really need to be spending money on researching yoga and condoms when every state in the country is running deficits and the federal government's level debt is out of control?

If we go by the brief summary descriptions of many of these projects then the answer would probably be "yes." The problem is that many of these "silly-sounding" projects are actually important studies that lead to medical breakthroughs. This in turns leads to advanced medical techniques and technologies, or just a better understanding of how certain diseases and medical conditions can affect human beings.  

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House Passes Amendment to Defund FCC Net Neutrality Rules

February 18, 2011 -

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed an amendment that essentially halts the use of any funding by the Federal Communications Commission to implement the Net Neutrality rules order it approved in December of 2010.

The amendment was approved by a 244-181 vote. The amendment was sponsored by Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore), and tacked on to legislation to fund government agencies for the rest of fiscal year 2011.

"If left unchallenged, this claim of authority would allow the FCC to regulate any matter it discussed in the national broadband plan," Walden said.

If this amendment fails, Republicans in the House and the Senate will push a "resolution of disapproval" under the Congressional Review Act. This gives lawmakers a limited amount of time to try to block the FCC's net-neutrality rules.

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How Softball and Wii Sports Helped The E-Tech Caucus

February 17, 2011 -

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."

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Former Rockstar Developer Working on 1979: The Game

February 17, 2011 -

Navid Khonsari, a former writer and director for Rockstar Games, is working on an interesting game that retells the real story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran, Iran. Khonsari is responsible for the "cinematic feel" introduced in Rockstar's breakout hit, Grand Theft Auto 3, and for his work on Remedy's Max Payne series and Alan Wake. After leaving Rockstar, Khonsari formed Ink Stories with his wife in New York City.

Speaking to Russia Today (interview on the left), Khonsari said that he wants to tell the story of the Iranian Revolution with a focus on the U.S. Embassy takeover that ultimately led to the Iran Hostage Crisis. Khonsari wants to tell a deep story based on different perspectives from a multitude of playable characters:

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Congressional Caucus Formed to Support Video Game Industry

February 16, 2011 -

Members of Congress and representatives from the video game industry launched a new caucus this morning at an event on Capitol Hill, reports Gamasutra. The "Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology" (E-Tech Caucus) wants to champion issues that help foster growth in the interactive entertainment sector.

This first caucus meeting is attended by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), co-chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Cooney Center executive director Michael H. Levine, Ph.D., Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher, and other members of the caucus.

The CIA Says WTF to Wikileaks

December 23, 2010 -

The Central Intelligence Agency has launched a special task force to deal with Wikileaks called "WTF," according to The Washington Post. The acronym doesn't equal the Internet standard - it stands for the "WikiLeaks Task Force," but apparently the CIA offices equate it to the popular catchphrase according to the Washington Post.

While we might get a giggle or two from that factoid, the truth is that the CIA is taking the numerous leaks of U.S. documents very seriously, and just what this task force will do in response to future leaks is unknown.

The CIA has remained relatively unscathed from the monumental amount of leaks at other U.S. agencies, mainly because the CIA's systems are separate from the rest of the government. That and the fact that the secretive agency is not in the habit of sharing information with outside sources.

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SouthPeak Comments on CFO Woes, SEC Troubles

December 8, 2010 -

Publisher SouthPeak issued a statement this week in response to a Cease and Desist letter it received last week from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In that statement, the publisher admitted that it had not filed its financial reports properly - related to a loan made by Chairman Terry Philips - but claimed that it was an error it later tried to correct prior to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's action against the company.

"The SEC staff's inquiry was fully disclosed in our public filings and was based on the manner in which we recorded a loan during this quarter which was made by our chairman to help support our business but was not properly reported in our financial statements.

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Analyst: Walmart Selling Used Games in 500 Stores

December 3, 2010 -

According to a report on Joystiq, approximately 500 Walmart stores in the United States have started stocking used games in-store and Walmart.com is now offering them online. Joystiq cites a recent report from Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian, who in turn points to "industry checks" that reveal the data.

Walmart announced that it planned to sell used games in-store this year, along with a trade-in program. In his report, Sebastian said that Walmart would focus on "deep value end of used games" (under $20), meaning less overlap with competition like GameStop. Sebastian added that if Walmart can maintain a focus on cheaper games, the retailer could "ultimately expand the market for used games."

Source: Joystiq

2 comments

Report: USA behind lack of transparency in ACTA meetings

September 3, 2010 -

Is the United States government behind the gag order that doesn't allow European Commissioner members to talk about those super secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) meetings? According to a report on Euractiv, that's what many European politicians are saying.

According to that report, US officials have blocked European attempts to publish the latest draft of the global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on the EU website after a round of negotiations in August. Those negotiations took place in Washington D.C.

The European Commission, which has been feeling the heat from lobby groups, the public, and the European Parliament over greater transparency in the negotiations, debriefed MEPs on the August negotiations Sept. 1. MEPs want to see the full transcript of the meetings because they will be asked to give ACTA their consent in a vote later this year.

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Writer Found Guilty of Border Assault

March 26, 2010 -

Peter Watts, narrative designer for Homeworld 2, Crysis 2, and the Big Mutha Truckers series, who had a run in with U.S. Customs officers on the U.S./Canadian boarder last December, has been convicted of assaulting, resisting, and obstructing a Customs and Border Protection officer. 

Watts, who hails from Toronto, was crossing the bridge to Canada when he was stopped for a random inspection on the American side. According to his lawyer, Watts was beaten several times, and then pepper sprayed in the face.

Watts continues to protest his innocence but claims that he will accept the outcome of the case:

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Census: U.S. Game Dev Growth Flat, Canada’s Soars

December 21, 2009 -

A Game Developer Census shows that the number of U.S. game developers remained flat when comparing 2009 to 2008, while Canadian figures rose by 30.0 percent.

The number of employed U.S. game developers gained only slightly, rising from estimated tally’s of 44,400 in 2008 to 44,806 in 2009. Their Canadian counterparts showed tremendous growth in their numbers, totaling 12,480 in 2009, up from 9,500 in 2008. The growing of game development centers in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto contributed to the growth.

California remains the U.S.  home to the most videogame creators with 20,815, or 46.0 percent of all those in the U.S. Washington ranked second with more than 4,500 employees while Texas took third with over 2,600 game developers. New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and Maryland joined the three previously listed states as the only locales with more than 1,000 developers.

The full 248-page census is available to purchase for $2,495.00.

4 comments

Lock Up Your Consoles

December 16, 2009 -

Videogame console thefts have risen dramatically over the years, according to data released by the FBI.

A USA Today story indicates that reported cases have risen 285% over three years, to a number of 42,615 such incidents in 2009. That number is even more astounding when factoring in that overall property crime numbers, which include theft of electronics, dropped from 10.0 million in 2006 to 9.8 million in 2008.

The FBI produced the numbers at the behest of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who wanted to see the data after complaints from constituents about electronic thefts.

Weiner’s take on the growing problem, “It's the omnipresent, miniature electronics crime paradox: Even as crime goes down, when you have more electronics, you have more theft.”

Laptop computer thefts grew from 96,834 in 2007 to 128,280 in 2009, a gain of 32%. Cellphone snatches were down over the same period however, dropping 5% to over 106,000 stolen in 2009.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell Criminologist Larry Siegel added, “Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold.”

5 comments

Game Writer in Border Dispute

December 14, 2009 -

Science Fiction author Peter Watts (pictured), whose work has also appeared in videogames, was detained at the U.S./Canadian border last week after a dispute with U.S. Customs officers.

The Toronto-based author was returning to Canada, reports the Times Herald, using the Blue Water Bridge crossing when he was apparently selected for a random inspection.

This is where the story takes two different tangents depending on which side is offering the account.

Watts asserts that as the inspection began, he exited the car to ask officers what was going on. He claims they asked him to return to the car, at which point he asked them again what they were doing. Watts said that this act then resulted in him being assaulted, punched in the face, pepper-sprayed and thrown in jail for the night on charges of assaulting a customs officer.

Custom officials claim that Watts was “aggressive” from the beginning and refused to get back in his car. At this point Watts was about to be handcuffed, but resisted arrest said officials, and tried to choke an officer. This is when officers used pepper-spray.

Watts was arraigned last Wednesday, December 9, and released on $5,000 bond. He claims his computer was seized and he was released across the border in shirtsleeves.

On his blog, Watts categorically denies choking an officer and says he “looks forward” to seeing security camera footage of the incident. He is due back in court on December 22 for a preliminary injunction. If convicted, Watts faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

BoingBoing’s Cory Doctrow has jumped to Watts' defense, donating $1,000 to his legal defense.

Watts contributed to Relic Entertainment’s Homeworld 2 and also served as a writer and art consultant for Crytek on the upcoming Crysis 2.

120 comments

Little Big Planet's Sacktue of Liberty

July 3, 2009 -

Via fidgit we've been clued into Sackboy, done up in patriotic style as the Sacktue of Liberty...

...which reminds us that Hillary Clinton's face appeared on the Statue of Happiness in Grand Theft Auto IV.

So, are there other Statue of Liberty appearances in gaming? Gotta be...

20 comments

(sort of) Funny Look at (sort of) Patriotic NES Games

July 3, 2009 -

Give the creator of this YouTube vid an A for effort as he stretches to pull in patriotic elements to what amounts to video reviews of a pair of NES titles:

  • Xenophobe
  • Golgo 13
6 comments

More Lists of Patriotic Video Games

July 3, 2009 -

Here are a few more lists of allegedly patriotic games for your July 4th weekend perusal. Some choices seem spot-on, others a bit of a stretch.

1up (2008): Top 5 Insanely Patriotic Video Games

  • Fugitive Hunter
  • The Sims 2: IKEA Expansion
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Operation Secret Storm
  • Metal Wolf Chaos

RipTen (2008): Top Five Patriotic Games of All Time

  • Independence Day
  • America's Army
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Oregon Trail
  • Bad Dudes

GamesRadar (2008): 20 Most Rabidly Patriotic Video Games

  • America's Army
  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
  • Patriotic Pinball
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War
  • Christian Founders 3D Computer Game
  • 18 Wheels of Steel: American Long Haul
  • America: The Game
  • Freedom Fighters
  • Desert Strike/Jungle Strike/Urban Strike
  • Metal Wolf Chaos
  • Tycoon games
  • Terrorist Takedown
  • GRAW 2
  • Political Machine 2008
  • Oregon Trail
  • NARC
  • American Gladiators
  • Fugitive Hunter
  • Halo
  • FDNY: American Hero - Fire Fighter

GP: If we spot new lists, we'll update.

34 comments

Five Patriotic Video Game Moments

July 3, 2009 -

With the Independence Day weekend upon us here in the United States, we note that News4U has posted its list of 5 Patriotic Video Game Moments.

The list is interesting and contains some games that will surprise you. The five patriotic scenes named come from:

  • Freedom Fighters
  • Animal Crossing
  • Fallout 3
  • Super Off-Road
  • Bad Dudes

From the Bad Dudes (NES) description:

After rescuing the prez [GP: Bush #1], he says the most American thing the developers could think of: “Hey dudes, thanks for rescuing me. Let’s go for a burger…Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” You’re then treated to a scene with the president eating a burger in front of the White House. Apparently it was decided to beef up security after the ninja incident, since there is a wall of Secret Service agents behind both of you as well. Oh, and of course Old Glory is showing her colors the whole time the credits roll.

Check out the video clip at left to see the Bad Dudes ending.

18 comments

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Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MattsworknameTotal bisquit talkes about why teh Deus X pre order systems is garbage.09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MechaTama31Infophile: Kind of like how you're criticizing these theoretical reactions before you've even read any? ;)09/01/2015 - 12:44am
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
james_fudgeSee you all on the other side! Find me on Twitter :)08/31/2015 - 9:51pm
james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenYeah, we could use my Twitch chat box too. There's always IRC but we don't currently have a GamePolitics channel.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I embed the chat box from my Twitch Page. Can't get chat on the YouTube page to work either.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenI do but I haven't seen a way to incorporate viewers to chat without specifically inviting them to the event.08/31/2015 - 8:49pm
Goth_SkunkThough I'm surprised you'd not be familiar with this, Andrew. Do you not use Google Hangouts when you do S.P.A.C.?08/31/2015 - 8:45pm

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