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LB's Video Game Politics
At Lunabean.com we are adamantly against children getting their hands on violent video games. We are also very much against governmental regulation of artistic expression. We believe the best way to protect children and our constitutional rights is to support the ESRB and their efforts to educate parents about video game ratings.
Sadly, we now have politicians using the issue of governmental video game regulation as part of their political platform, and, in doing so, are undermining the ESRB and causing confusion amongst parents. They are perpetuating the problem, and we take that seriously.
We want politicians to know that, here at Lunabean.com, we play video games and we vote.
Resident Evil 5 is a game set in Africa. It would follow, then, that many of the characters are African. This same logic would apply to a game set on Kashyyyk, home of Wookiees. One would expect to see many of Chewie's kin.
Yet because of Resident Evil 5's setting, we've been hearing a multitude of voices claiming that the game is racist. Most recently, via the Wall Street Journal.
The controversy stems from the fact that you play as white man, Chris Redfield, who is sent to several villages in Africa to investigate an odd virus that is affecting said villagers and turning them into zombies. ZOMBIES!?! Yes, zombies. And what do you do with zombies? Well, you certainly don't have tea with them due to their tendency to eat brains. More specifically, your brains. So, you kill them. You kill them any way you can. Be it with guns, knives, machetes, a Bic pen...anything. They're zombies after all and it's you or them.
On Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will review a 2007 ruling of a San Jose federal judge finding that the 2005 Anti-Violent-Videogame law, written by state Sen. Leland Yee (D - San Francisco), is unconstitutional.
There is little doubt that the Court of Appeals will uphold the ruling, as the law as it is written violates the first ammendment.
Which leads me to think that the timing of this is awfully convenient, what with an election a mere 10 days away. Yee and his fellow state Sens. can claim that they're fighting for families when all they're really doing is pretending to be concerned.
As Ali so eloquently has written:
The problem is, when the politicians write such laws and they make such noise, they are undermining the work of the ESRB, leaving parents confused. If the politicians are serious about this issue, they need to back up the ESRB and their rating system instead of fighting them at every turn. And, until the politicians do back up the ESRB, I can only assume they are looking our for themselves, and not our kids.
Yesterday, we told you about Obama's in-game ad in the Xbox 360 version of EA's "Burnout Paradise".
Today, we have confirmation that the ads are also appearing in "Madden 09," "Nascar 09," "NHL 09" and "Skate." And, Rachel Maddow, of MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" said last night that the ads are appearing in nine games total.
Of course, with those ads come some McCain-Palin spoof ads. You can view some good ones here.
If I had the time today, I'd like to photoshop my own. For now, I'll offer you a few premises. "NHL 09," + hockey mom Palin = "Hockey Moms Do it Better" and "That ain't lipstick, that's blood" (hockey joke about losing your teeth and bleeding...in case the Secret Service is looking).
Then, there's McCain. Of course, the good 'ol "I'm old" jokes float through the head, but I'd like something a little more esoteric. Perhaps you could name your "NHL 09" team "The Keating Five" (of course, that leaves out the goalie...who makes the save-ings and loans).
I guess, I'll fold to my easy-joke filter and suggest yet another "NHL 09" ad: "McCain: It's cold in here. I need a blankey."
Say what you want about Barack Obama, but the man (and his team) understands how to market himself. .
Initially, we were impressed with the simplicity of the graphic design of his Obama logo. Then, we saw his website and were extremely impressed at not just the design, but the Facebook-esque interactivity. Next, we saw that he was advertising on BlogAds.
The inevitable TV commercials soon came, and they were quite good, often produced in a day in response to an issue raised just the day before.
We thought, how could the Obama team do any better in the marketing department?
Well, that question has been answered: An in-game billboard ad in EA's "Burnout Paradise". Wow. Bravo.
We're interested to see if any other X360 games have Obama ads..."Project Gotham Racing 3?" "Amped?". We'll be sure to let you know if we hear anything.
Oh, and watch out for in-game ads in "Wii Bowling" from the McCain camp. I hear "Wii Sports" is a big hit at retirement homes.
Mark Methenitis, Joystiq's Law of the Game attorney/blogger, says of the news, "While I know a lot of people in the industry truly dislike Jack, I hope people show a bit of respect for a man who has just lost his livelihood. I also hope people realize that this doesn't mean we've heard the last from Jack. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start his own nonprofit group to continue to advance his viewpoint."
I am an extremely compassionate person. In fact, I'm probably compassionate to a fault. But, all I can think of to say to Mr. Thompson right now is, "Suck it, Jack". This man has proven to be little more than an ambulance chaser and a fame seeker. He used families of victims of horrific crimes and said, "Videogames did this". Then, he went on to sue and/or threaten to sue anyone who dared speak out against his perverted view of gamers.
Mr. Thompson did this to himself. He is a mean man and he was disbarred because he broke the law...several times. I'm not going to show respect for someone who clearly has so little respect for me. So, good luck, Jack. I'm sure we'll see you again, but, at least we'll be able to laugh at you and your disbarment when we do.
Special thanks to NickT for pointing out that we had missed this very important story.
Thank God we have her, able to look into the eyes of the bears and see them for the islamo-fascist-eco-terrorists that they are. I mean, for Christsakes, they carry dynamite and run on two legs. There must be some sort of training program in Afghanistan!
The hard working people over at GamePolitics have the latest details on the current world of Jack Thompson (the ambulance chasing attorney who blames all adolescent violence on video games and those who make video game consoles). GP has done a great job, so I'll just provide links to the specific articles, along with a quick summary:
Jack Thompson: Sweet & Sour - Sweet: The title of an e-mail Thompson sent out to various publications yesterday, explaining that "Certain Florida Bar officials need to hire criminal defense lawyers today". Sour: Thompson caught telling a lie under penalty of perjury about something that involved GamePolitics.
I think it's fair to say Thompson's days as an attorney in Florida are numbered. I just wonder if the mainstream media will ever catch on and stop using the man as a respected source of the effects of video game violence on society. Doubt it, but it's a nice thought.
CNN's Glenn Beck is receiving quite a bit of negative feedback for his factually challenged report the other day on "Grand Theft Morality". Instead of taking the criticism seriously, he opted to personally attack those who dared challenge him:
I will tell you that all these video gamers… they’re bloggers, as well as video gamers - they’re writing all kinds of stuff about me [that] I’m the enemy now of video gamers. I could care less about video games. Video game bloggers? They’re losers…
On last night's Glenn Beck, Beck thoughtfully dissects the morality of "Grand Theft Auto". Oh wait. No he didn't.
Instead, Beck ran a clinic on how to be a misinformed idiot who pulled the good ol' "sex with prostitutes and then kill them with a baseball bat" line out of the GTA-bashing repository that, apparently, all TV pundits visit.
What always amazes me with these people is that the things that they say are in the game, are really things that they'd want to do in the game if they ever played it. You know that if Glenn Beck ever sat down with this game the first thing he'd do is find a prostitute and then murder her.
Well, this should be entertaining. Jack Thompson, the self-proclaimed crusader against video game violence, will be appearing on "The Glenn Beck Show" this evening. Glenn Beck, of course, is the self-proclaimed crusader against Katrina victims, 9-11 families, and, well, thinking human beings.
Do you enjoy getting killed while playing FPS's? Well, if you do, apparently you're not alone. According to an article found at GameCritics, participants in a study enjoyed getting killed more than killing.
While this is a good thing, it leaves one to ponder, why? For one, the study had gamers play James Bond 007: Nightfire, not exactly the most realistic or serious game. Second, the gamers were playing against the computer, not online vs each other. I wonder how that would affect the results.
I think that it's that, "oh, you got me! feeling," like when you were a kid playing cops and robbers.
"I play video games and I vote!" So reads the t-shirt that I've been wanting to get printed for over a year now.
Those of you lucky enough to be in a state that holds a meaningful primary (Oregon sure does get the shaft!) need to know all of the facts, particularly when it comes to your favorite pastime, video games!
Today, Yahoo! Games has a breakdown of where each candidate stands on the issue.
If you're not registered to vote, then, by all means, register now! It's easy and it's the only way you'll have a say in our democracy, and how that democracy treats video games.
Seeing as video games are currently the go-to "society is crumbling" example, I think it'll be hard to find politicians to take the money. Wait, hard to find politicians to take money? Hah! I laugh at the notion.
Well, it will be interesting to see who will end up receiving the money. Anybody want long odds on Leland Yee or Hillary Clinton?
More than the trite politicians and money jokes to which I just digressed, what this does say is that video games are continuing to become more mainstream and gamers are gaining an ever more vocal say in politics.
The authors conclude that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) provides the most comprehensive and useful ratings of any major media ratings system. While I agree with this, I have to wonder if it's a predetermined conclusion based upon the fact that the ESRB is the least regulated ratings system.
The CEI, afterall, "is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government."
To further this suspicion of mine, the CEI sets up a supposed "apples to apples" comparison between the ESRB and radio saying:
On the other hand, in the radio market, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposes vague but sweeping content guidelines over almost all broadcasts. The threat of FCC-imposed fines has done nothing to give parents greater control over their children’s radio listening habits—they have virtually no way to protect their children from adult material like explicitly sexual “shock jocks” and violent hip-hop lyrics. Heavy regulation and the absence of a private ratings system have made radio worse for parenting.
It reminds me of the time a friend of mine, who is a very active mommy, sent me an "action alert" about the video game 25 to Life. The media got itself into a tizzy about the title, as it allowed thugs to kill cops, but sold about two copies to actual gamers.
These scenarios always make me wonder who it is that is uncomfortably fascinated by violence. Is it the gamers, or is it the media in its never-ending quest for ratings?
First let me start by saying I am an Air Force recruiter and I know the
recruiter who was at this game stop. The news media was present and
twisted everything out of proportion after acting like they were going to
present a positive story on the military. Unfortunately in this day and
age NO ONE presents a positive presentation of the military, especially
The recruiter was not trying to brainwash anyone into joining,
he was just going to a location where he knew prospective applicants would
be, like any other professional recruiter would do. The type of game has
nothing to do with it, you said yourself that earlier 2 recruits joined
during a Madden tournament and last I checked we don't sign people up to
By the way, those 2 recruits were not brainwashed or LURED
into anything either, there is a long process when it comes to joining the
Air Force and our members are volunteers who join of their own free will.
Please don't make it sound like 2 people joining our military is a bad
I joined myself as a young man and have now served nearly 16
years and have a wife and three beautiful children that I can take care of
because of what the Air Force has given me. I have a college degree, lived
in England for four years, access to free medical care AND have a house and
two vehicles because of the Air Force.
So if a young recruiter trying to
find young men to serve their country shows up where those young men hang
out gives you the "heebeejeebees", you seriously need to check your
perspectives and try to look at things from a different point of view.
Give me a break.
First and foremost, thank you for your service. Second, I have the utmost respect for those who choose to serve in our nation's military. The amount of self-sacrifice it takes to serve and fight for this country is, honestly, something I can't begin to understand, but I do honor.
I am sorry if my story was offensive to you, and I am sorry that you feel there is no positive presentation of the military in the media today. I think the media actually treats the military in quite a respectable manner. I'm a news junkie and I never hear anyone putting down the military. Yes, the administration and their use of the military is often put in a negative light, but that is not an attack on the men and women who serve this country.
Regarding my interpretation of what happened at that GameStop on the Halo 3 launch night (which was solely based on the aforementioned article), the reason I felt the kids were lured to the recruitment area, why it gave me the heebeejeebees, and why this was a story at all, is because it seems the recruiters got the attention of the kids by offering them something taboo, and by having lower standards than GameStop.
These kids were rejected from GameStop's Halo 2 tournament because the store policy does not allow those who are under 17 to play M-rated games. When those rejected kids trickled out to the parking lot, there were the recruiters offering them the chance to play that same M-rated game in the back of a "pimped out military SUV". The article mentions in it a 13-year-old playing the game in the recruitment SUV.
Now, truth be told, I think there are many 13-year-olds who can handle Halo 3. My problem is that I believe that is a decision for parents to make, not one for military recruiters to make. This is why the story reads that these kids were lured. The recruiters offered the kids something made for adults (which they could not have elsewhere), for the purpose of talking to these kids about very adult decisions.
Thank you for your comments. Again, I apologize if you were (are) offended in any way.
The lefties over at DailyKos are today reporting on Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games, Inc., and the fact that his attorney is sending bloggers threatening letters to remove "false and misleading" information in posts and comments regarding the company's game Left Behind: Eternal Forces (known to the gaming community as Convert or Die).
If bloggers (DailyKos included) do not comply with the request, LBG "will be forced to pursue additional legal action which will include claims for damages, costs of suit and attorney’s fees".
LBG is expected to release an expansion pack for the Left Behind game this month. Since the original title was not warmly embraced by the gaming community, one is led to wonder if this threat tactic is part of an effort to scrub the internet of all negative Left Behind: Eternal Forces press before the release of the expansion. After all, at the time of the November 2006 Left Behind: Eternal Forces release, LBG stock was riding a $7.44 high. Recently it's traded as low as 14 cents. Desperate times do call for desperate measures.
Still, threatening bloggers and their commenters isn't the smartest thing a company can do. With public relations practices such as these, it's no wonder the stock is nearly worthless.
More details: Daily Kos - Great post, includes the threatening letter. GamePolitics - Great summary, including comments form those who have been threatened.
According to New Hampshire Union Leader, a GameStop in Manchester put on a little Halo 3 launch party which involved a pre-launch Halo 2 tournament. When GameStop managers announced no one under 18 was allowed to play in the tournament (as Halo 2 is a M-rated game), several teens left the store, where they found the event's co-sponsor, local US Air Force recruiters.
While GameStop managers refused to let the kids play Halo 2 inside the store, the recruiters offered these same kids, "...pizza, Mountain Dew and a chance to play Halo 2 on a split screen from the back of a pimped-out military SUV.
While we do not know if any gamers signed their lives over to the Air Force that night, we do know that a similar event for the launch of Madden '08 last month netted two new recruits.
Does this give anyone else the heebeejeebees? Ick.
Ah...what would we do without a weekly dose of crazy ol' Jack Thompson?
In today's adventure, the Miami attorney who is convinced video games and their makers are the root of all evil, has inserted photos of men having sex with each other into a motion he submitted to Judge Adalberto Jordan. Needless to say, Judge Jordan was not amused and may hold Thompson in contempt of court for his actions.
Now, why would Thompson insert such photos into his motion? I don't know if you can explain the crazy, but GamePolitics certainly gives it a detailed shot.
In summary, Thompson is accusing the Florida Bar (which is investigating Thompson for professional misconduct), of being in cahoots with Norm Kent, who is a criminal defense attorney. Kent and Thompson have butted heads over the years, so Thompson is doing his best to discredit Kent. Kent also happens to publish a Gay News website, hence, the photos. Oy.
Again, hop on over to GamePolitics for the details. There, you can read about my favorite part of the ordeal, where Thompson compares himself to American Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere. Too funny.
Many argue that parents who refuse to buy their kids violent video games doesn't solve the problem of kids playing violent video games, because those kids will go to a friend's house and play them. I say, so what if they do?
There are a lot of things that kids aren't allowed to do at home that they do with their friends. However, if you've told your kids that you don't want them to be playing these games, at least they'll understand that they're doing something you, as a parent, don't approve of.
Believe it or not, the fact that a child knows he or she is breaking the rules, does affect how they look at what they are playing. Dig?
And that was my violent video gaming thought for the day.
Search Lunabean Video Game News for Previous Video Game Politics Articles:
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