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Gamers Gain Political Voice 181

Posted by Zonk
from the fight-the-power-with-joysticks dept.
GameDailyBiz has a rundown on the just-announced Videogame Voters Network. The network has been established by the ESA with the intent of organizing gamers into a political force. Will Wright: "Computer and video games represent one of the most important new media developments of this generation. Unlike many other forms of entertainment they offer players the opportunity to explore, be creative, learn through interaction and express themselves to others. It is vitally important that we protect and nurture this new art form so that it can reach its full potential. Like most new forms of artistic expression that have come before (music, novels, movies), the primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them."
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Gamers Gain Political Voice

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  • by Kittie Rose (960365) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:55PM (#14911621) Homepage
    Is giving gamers such a voice really a wise idea? They'll only use it to say "lol" and "i pwned you bitch haha".
    • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:03PM (#14911684) Homepage Journal
      Is giving gamers such a voice really a wise idea? They'll only use it to say "lol" and "i pwned you bitch haha".

      And people laughed and cried about ebonics. Wait for this stuff to appear in the Congressional Record.

      yo, aide, i need do some research, whip on down to the LoC and pick up a copy of "i pwn3d u b33y0tch"

    • Re:Really though (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't worry, no one's going to take it seriously with a name like VVN.

      Videogame Voters Network. Sheesh. How about something that doesn't sound like the next MTV awards.

      1st: Videogame is almost instantly associated with children or those that are childish. Change it to Interactive Entertainment or Interactive Electronics

      2nd: Network: wow. coulda picked a better one, thats for sure. Lets see. Association, Group, etc..

      3rd: "Voters" is redundant, because politicians don't care about those that don't vote.
    • Re:Really though (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chaoszen (960843)
      Gamers are already feeling the heat, look at the recent censorship attempts. It is an art form, and will become a form of expression and indulgence far beyond the current imagination of its users or creators. The oracle has spoken.
    • I am aged 18, and this post will contain exactly 1 (one) instance of the word "lol"-there.

      First, I cannot give support to a group who makes a claim against legislation without quoting the legislation; in this day and age, they should link directly to the bill, or at least the press release. I have this same issue with the NRA, MoveOn, Michael Moore, and just about every other "grassroots" organization.

      That aside, the main point of the Video Game Voters Network as it stands appears to be the defeat of T [senate.gov]

  • OMG!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    An industry that listens to and supports its customers?!?!? What'll they think of next?
    • Re:OMG!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by boldtbanan (905468) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:01PM (#14911674)
      Not quite. More like an industry that wants to avoid being crippled by government regulation. Don't think that this group will be anything other than a mouthpiece for a few large game companies. Sometimes that will mesh with what gamers want, sometimes it wont.
      • Re:OMG!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Guppy06 (410832)
        "Don't think that this group will be anything other than a mouthpiece for a few large game companies. Sometimes that will mesh with what gamers want, sometimes it wont."

        So... American politics as usual?
    • What'll they think of next?
      Probably some way to run said industry into the ground, so as not to give the rest of the sheep any dangerous ideas.
  • Do we really want to have gamers as a political force..? IMHO the gamers and developers will always have a good connection, what players like they sell. Active gamers will follow the game news and await good new titles (I can't wait for Spore!!) so the thing we need is good media that keeps gamers up-to-date with good reviews, not reviews/previews written like a commercial by the developers.
  • Guess we'll see... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) *
    GameDailyBiz has a rundown on the just-announced Videogame Voters Network. The network has been established by the ESA with the intent of organizing gamers into a political force.

    This should be interesting. Granted there was the hue and cry (and plenty fun made) over remarks made by Jack Thompson [wikipedia.org], but other than rattling a pretty brittle man's cage, will this prove more of an effort of herding cats?

    What about the dark and sinister people who come up with some of the really good (and controversial) ga

  • Wokka Wokka Wokka Wokka.
    • Wokka Wokka Wokka Wokka

      That, I think, was Fozzie Bear. Pac-Man said 'Wacca Wacca Wacca Wacca'.

      Surely it's not THAT hard to get the icons of the early eighties straight?

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:00PM (#14911667) Homepage Journal

    This sounds like a good idea from the perspective of trying to protect the gamer's "rights" but in the end it will do nothing for the average gamer and everything for those who seek to control gamers. Lobbying groups and voting groups only have power as a minority unless they have the money to get real attention from Congress. This group won't raise anywhere near what is required to move Congress to act.

    When Congress does act, it will always act in ways to make itself powerful. Laws that seem to help the masses really only help a select few, with the masses losing more of their rights. I'm a firm believer that the interstate commerce clause was written to give power to Congress to just keep the states in line in not usurping the rights of the people. Nowadays, most people think the clause gives Congress the power to do anything it wants to do.

    If you really believe we're supposed to live freely, you have to leave the gaming market to the competitive market -- developers aren't going to make games that people don't want to play. If even 5% of the entire nation decides to buy a game, that's stil 15 million people. Yet 15 million people is a minority in voting -- if 95% of the nation is against a particular game, why should 15 million people be shut out?

    I'm also anti-voting [blogspot.com] as I feel voting is what causes the minority decision to be criminalized. The best voting is voting done with your dollars -- each and every action you make to buy something or to refuse to buy something creates the rules of the market. These are rules that change every day as the buying decisions change to reflect what consumers want.

    The end result will be more rights lost as the voting group gives up a little bit in order to gain a little bit. The problem is that no one gains anything when it comes to Congress, except for the preferred few. What you really think you're gaining is something you had a right to all along, until you decided to give up some of those rights in exchange for protecting some other rights that never really needed protecting. In the long run, the slippery slope rule says you'll lose all the rights as those in power taste more and more of that power.
    • Lol...I thought this was a serious attempt to defend libertarian fluff thinking until I read the last line:

      "In the long run, the slippery slope rule says you'll lose all the rights as those in power taste more and more of that power."

      The slippery slope "rule?" The term "slippery slope" refers to a class of logical fallacy, not a "rule."
    • by ThatNuttyPeej (739121) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:20PM (#14911819)
      The problem is that no one gains anything when it comes to Congress, except for the preferred few.

      Uhhhh... voting rights act of 64'? Americans with disabilities act? Freedom of information act?

      Or, like, ALL of the amendments to the Constitution that guarantee personal liberty? I cite numbers 13, 14, 15 and 19 as personal favorites, but it applies to all of them. They ALL start in Congress, dude.

      The one thing that I do agree with is that you should not vote. It's nothing personal, I'd rather everyone was a part of the process, but if you don't see the capacity of Congress to do good (despite its obvious and frequent shortcomings) it's probably best that you sit this out and leave it to those of us who want to keep expanding the sphere of personal liberty, through, well, proven methods.

      (shrug)
      • Or, like, ALL of the amendments to the Constitution that guarantee personal liberty?

        What about the overly broad interpretation of what constitutes commerce among the states and regulation thereof?

      • "I cite numbers 13, 14, 15 and 19 as personal favorites, but it applies to all of them. They ALL start in Congress, dude."

        No, the first three started in Fort Sumter (and would not have been ratified without armed occupation), and the last one started in the states (by the time Congress did it's "me too!" amendment proposal, you could count the number of states that did not grant women sufferage on one hand, if that).

        Of course, voting is one thing, ballot access is something completely different: all suffra
    • It would be much more effective if all gamers moved to one state. ;)
    • That we need to get away from. Anti-voting just means giving the ignorant the power to vote in people who act in their own best interests while you sit on your hands and say it wasn't your fault.
       
      The second you decide that your vote doesn't count or your voice doesn't get heard is the second it doesn't count or get heard. You can either sit there and take it, or get up and do something about it. Apparently some people want to get up and do something about it. We need more of those people.
      • Voting can't and will never work again in the country. Unconstitutional violations of our freedom of speech (such as the McCain-Feingold incumbent reelection reform law) keep authoritarians in power and prevent the ability of anyone outside of the authoritarian parties from having a chance. Even if a "libertarian" got elected, the taste of power would quickly destroy any freedom desires they'd have.

        That's the reality -- Congress and the Federal government have gone out of control. The framers intended th
    • As the government won't be going away anytime soon, not voting gives a competetive advantage to those who do. While you may disagree with everything about the government, it is strategically foolish not to use the tools you have available to affect how it behaves as a government that is serving you 1% to your liking is far better than one that is serving you 100% to your horror.
    • Lobbying groups and voting groups only have power as a minority unless they have the money to get real attention from Congress. This group won't raise anywhere near what is required to move Congress to act.

      But haven't you heard? Minorities are ruling America. I saw it on Fox news so it must be true!
    • >> I'm also anti-voting as I feel voting is what causes the minority decision to be criminalized. The best voting is voting done with your dollars --

      So Bill Gates gets 100,000 times more votes than me?
    • I'm also anti-voting as I feel voting is what causes the minority decision to be criminalized. The best voting is voting done with your dollars -- each and every action you make to buy something or to refuse to buy something creates the rules of the market.

      We tried that before. It was called tyranny. Didn't work out too well as it happened.
  • by Sunburnt (890890) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:03PM (#14911687)
    I must say, I wonder how effective a lobbying movement of computer gamers will be against the coordinated efforts of family groups who want to ban "improper" video games. The family groups are more prone to vote, contribute, and be active in the political arena in general. I know there are exceptions, but I think Will Wright's just angling for some publicity for the cause...not a bad goal, but I hope nobody's hopes are raised too highly by this.
  • Bad Idea. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nsmike (920396)
    This sounds very much like creating an MPAA for gamers. Boo.
  • ...almost never partake of X. At least not publicly and openly. This has always been.

    Imagine Jack Valente with an MP3 player. That'd make him spin in his grave. Oops, he's not dead, I know, but a guy can hope.

  • Duke Nukem! Duke for president! Duke will show those bad guys!
  • "Unlike many other forms of entertainment they offer players the opportunity to explore, be creative, learn through interaction and express themselves to others."

    So instead of fragging somebody with a rocket launcher I'm expressing myself by painting with giblets?
  • The proposed legislation is not a threat to gaming, or to gamers. Under the new laws, games with gratuitous violence or sex will be clearly marked and sold only to those of the proper age... no different than today except that it gives the existing laws some teeth to help with enforcement. The future President's proposal doesn't go far enough, imo. Games that promote and reward antisocial behavior need to be banned. The fight against the legislation is being led by distributors, not developers. They stan
    • Novels that promote promiscuous (see: antisocial) behaviour need to be banned; maybe you should've been on the jury when "Lady Chatterly's Lover" was on trial.

      Remember that society is just "the way things are now", and that "slippery slope" is the same as "logical fallacy".

      Having said that, and I apologise if I came across as offensive, I do support clearer labelling for games and educating parents about the danger a violent game presents to a young psyche. Banning, however, has never been the solution to a
    • Marketing and selling these games to kids is wrong, and needs to stop.

      Maybe the parents should stop buying the shit for their kids in the first place.

  • as if MPAA and RIAA weren't enough, now we'll have a GIAA or GPAA.
  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:35PM (#14911940) Homepage

    The primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them.

    Yeah, and how many propenents of video games don't have kids? Exactly.

    I know plenty of gamers who think GTA goes way over the top for something targeted at kids (ratings aside, they know their primary audience). They also think parents aren't educated enough, or are too fucking lazy, so we all end up suffering for the sake of the fuckup parents.

    Gamers tend to become elitist snobs to anyone who brings up regulation of video games. That's the wrong way to affect change. Maybe this political party will smack some sense into more than a few people and realize some of these games are violence porn (How many opponents of videogame regulation would buy their kid a Hustler? Raise your hands high! Thought so.)

    • >>Yeah, and how many propenents of video games don't have kids? Exactly.

      Uh, all the ones I know. What is your point?

      >>I know plenty of gamers who think GTA goes way over the top for something targeted at kids

      GTA is not marketed at kids. Anyone who thinks that is a moron.
    • by Vermifax (3687)
      (ratings aside, they know their primary audience)

      Yes they do, and it isn't children.

      http://www.theesa.com/facts/gamer_data.php [theesa.com]
      "Who Purchases Computer and Video Games?

      Ninety-five percent of people who make the actual purchase of computer games and 84% of people who make the actual purchase of video games are 18 years of age or older. The average age of the game buyer is 37 years old. "

      These games are marketed towards adults, purchased by adults and played by adults.

      The 'what about the children' is a red herr
    • I have a 4 yr old. She loves watching me play racing games, she even tries them herself. But I don't play God of War in front of her, or Resident Evil. Is there not room for those games in my home? Of course there is.

      I also read Marcinko books and wouldn't read a Tom Clancy novel to a child either.

      Video games, like books, are entertainment. Like books, some appeal to children and shouldn't be accessible to them without parental supervision. Like books, they are often a solo activity.

      So, murder mystery
  • If the combined impact of all the wants of all the gamers isn't enough to improve the average quality of new games, how can it be enough to have a significant effect on politics?
  • History has shown us that some entertainment industries are willing to censure themselves in the face of opposition. Look at the destruction of the "Golden Age" of comics after WWII, as the medium moved from "kids" stuff to WWII vets returning to the states and looking for the same comic entertainment they had as a child - but now with more "mature" storylines.

    The Escapist recently had an article on this here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/35/17 [escapistmagazine.com].

    Back then, comic book stores rolled over. Perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of patriotism - after all, their government leaders wouldn't do the wrong thing, right? It took comics decades to crawl out of that "kids only" hole - and now, the industry is dominated by Japanese manga which didn't have such restrictions (all jokes about tentacle hentai and schoolgirl panties aside).

    This time, I think the game industry "gets it", and luckily, they're forming a group to handle it. If done right, it can be something like the recent Anti-Broadcast Flag that I participated in last year. Gamers, when certain bills are under debate, can be organized en masse to send personal phone calls, emails, and letters to their local congresspeople with the same message: we support protecting children, but not at the expense of giving up 1st Amendment freedoms. Laws saying selling Mature games to minors is fine - laws saying no mature games at all or no mature games allowed in stores is not.

    This would be the most powerful way to combat some of these silly laws. Some of them are well meaning - people upset and confused at a new medium that is "untraditional", and all they see is the bad and not the good. Others, I believe, are using the issue to promote their own agenda or pocketbook (and I think we know who I'm talking about here). By making massive communication movements in the media and politics when pressure is needed, politicians will have to really think about what they're doing, and if it's worth the political effort when there are other more important issues to deal with. (Such as, I don't know, hunger, homelessness, medical coverage, retirement issues, security, campaign finance reform - oh, wait, nevermind, the latter is a pipe dream.)

    This organization has a lot of potential, and it's a group that I believe we should all support. It might not make a lot of difference in the short run - laws under consideration will go on. But we can either do what many in the comic book industry did - go down without a fight, or we can drag political leaders kicking and screaming into the modern age while exercising some discipline of our own and behaving like adults.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion. I could be wrong. Either way, I've signed up, and I'm ready to pick up the phone and put in some dollars when needed.
    • Oh good, now I don't have to plug my own article. Thanks!
    • Back then, comic book stores rolled over.

      There weren't any comic book stores in the forties and fifties.

      Comics were distributed through neighborhood news outlets, the grocery, the drug store. The same places your grandad went shopping for Look magazine and the Saturday Evening Post.

      In the city, there was the cigar store, which would be raided every now and again to clean out the hard-core porn being sold out of the back room.

      The crime and horror comics of the fifties were sold off the same racks as Arc

  • by NitsujTPU (19263)
    Like most new forms of artistic expression that have come before (music, novels, movies), the primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them.

    Isn't that kind of a truism? I hear that those who criticize gambling also abstrain from gambling and that those who criticize Steven Spielberg movies... oh, they went anyway since everyone else was.
  • by Markvs (17298) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:01PM (#14912109) Journal
    Over time, the platform will have to evolve with planks on most issues for it to survive, else it'll be a "we're here too!" party like the Libertarians that make a lot of noise but never do very much. (Sorry guys, but that's not a flame. I was one of the 98 Lib voters in CT back in the '92 race).

    I can see it now: The GNP (Gamers National Party) Platform of 2008:
    * 9r0 1s7 4/\/\d/\/\3n7!!! (1ee7 (c)4u(c)u$!)
    * Pro 2nd Amendment/Anti gun control (Shooters caucus)
    * Pro free market economy (Civilization caucus)
    * Pro death penalty (Undead caucus)
    * Pro NASA (Orion caucus)

    • 9r0 1s7 4/\/\d/\/\3n7!!! (1ee7 (c)4u(c)u$!)

      You joke, and its damn funny, but if I saw that on a form, you're damn right I'd check the box. Just for the sheer audacity of it, you gotta reward that.

  • Considering the average age of a gamer hovers between the 25 - 30 year old age, and i suspect, most people around that age arent very politically active, this could be a good way to get them politically active. I doubt we'll see fatal1ty as the next president, but you never know how much influence this sort of organisation may actually have.
  • by dusik (239139) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:54PM (#14912395) Homepage
    "Like most new forms of artistic expression that have come before (music, novels, movies), the primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them."

    Aside from the we-all-know-what-they-mean, this is actually a bit ambiguous. If they mean critics of certain games, then gamers definitely count, so that can't be right. If they mean critics of games as a whole, then... wouldn't it go without saying that those who don't like it won't do it?
    • The sentence means that people who are against video games (as a form of artistic expression) are people who have not experienced video games (the term in general, like before). Some people claim they dont like flying on airplanes, many not because they have tried it, but simply because they have some predujice to trying it. These people are predujice because they find something which is not related to the actual experience to be offensive, or frightening.

      The same deal goes with video games, and it's actu
  • Reminds me of all the college kids that were going to vote for Kerry and kick Bush out of office. How many voted? Less then 20%? That's pathetic, even by US standards. I suspect that most gamers are politically apathetic, so I doubt that many candidates will be intimidated by, or court, the Gamer vote.

    Though It will be cool to see the first candidate to make an appearance in WOW. Any guess as to who it might be?
  • The H-1B (tech visa worker) issue has tought me that if you don't protect yourself politically, then you will be bowled over by those with deep pockets or lots of lobbyists.

    Religious fanatics will stop porn and allegedly violent games, and big biz has the power to flood the US market with cheap labor by greasing congress. This is just the way it works: special interest A will clobber special interest B if B does nothing because general voters don't care enough either way about the issues that matter to A an
  • Voting Bloc? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rydia (556444) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:24PM (#14912530)
    What they describe is a lobby, not a voting bloc. What are the core values of gamers? "We like games?" "We don't like Senator Clinton?" Plus the added difference that a huge portion of the group CAN'T EVEN VOTE. And among those that can, many aren't involved in the political process or care, anyway.

    But you know, whatever! Big mean government says violent games are bad! Gamer mad! Gamer smash!
    • If the video game market were as young as you believe, the Gamecube would've sold better.

      Much has been made recently of the fact that the average age of gamers is increasing as the 80's era gamers are hitting hitting their 30's.

      These people can vote.
  • by labratuk (204918) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:47PM (#14912679)
    Gamers will just end up voting in some 'badass' woman with huge breasts, tattoos, ridiculous 'mega cool' body armour and holding three massive guns.

    'Rad'.
  • ESA??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lordholm (649770) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @02:36AM (#14913863) Homepage
    ESA = European Space Agency. Me confused...

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