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ESA Pushing for Gamers to Vote 115

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-make-it-a-last-man-standing-fps dept.
Grooves writes "The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced the first voter registration drive aimed at gamers, called 'Play for Real: Gamer Voter Drive'. The drive is being managed by the ESA's Video Game Voters Network, an attempt at growing a grassroots community around the issue of games legislation. From the article, 'Lowenstein would like to boost these figures by convincing younger voters that their voice will have an influence over issues they care about, particularly efforts to create new laws restricting video games.'"
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ESA Pushing for Gamers to Vote

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:44PM (#16098043) Homepage Journal
    I can just see the bumper stickers...

    • I'm a Guild Member and I vote
    • End Violent Game Player Discrimination
    • If I Don't Rule The World With An Iron Fist, Who Will?
    • Virtual People Have Rights, Too
    • Kazola For President
    • "A PS2 in every living room and a rusting bicycle in every garage"
    • Elect Jack Thompson - Then Impeach His Ass
      • Keep Politics Out of Games
      • Keep Games Out of Politics
    • Speak Softly And Carry A Bat'leth
    • My Child Is 60th Level In World Of Warcraft School
  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:45PM (#16098056) Homepage
    If voting worked, it would be illegal.
    • by mozumder (178398)
      So true...

      Or:
          Democracy - A human and 2 wolves voting on what to eat for dinner.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Jesterboy (106813)
        I always liked Winston Churchill's view of Democracy: "Democracy is the worst form of government except from all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
  • I bet ya this will fail miserably just like the Vote or Die campaign aimed at youngsters. The vast majority of this age group just don't care enough to vote.
    • by mordors9 (665662) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:50PM (#16098104)
      Well no wonder. I am 45 and can barely stand to vote for most politicians. Most elections in the last 14 years have been votes for the lesser of evils as I saw it. If I struggle to relate with them on any level, how much success is an 18 year old going to have.They haven't gained a sufficent level of cynicism at that age. Although God knows our society is trying to beat them down until they do.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by fmobus (831767)
        there is a solution [wikipedia.org]
        • Seems people have enough people voting for one person with one box to tick / hole to punch / whatever. Can you imagine the horror of diebold's software with ranked voting?!
          • by fmobus (831767)
            Here are my thoughts on voting machines:
            1. their project/design must be free/open source
            2. each machine code must be signed and that signature must be verifiable for any voter (an interesting application for "fritz" chips [wikipedia.org])
            3. they must generate paper trail, verifiable by voter on spot (ie. voter can't take his vote home, but can check if it was correctly printed)
            4. their security must be based on strong assymetric encryption
            5. interface must be simple. Brazilian voting machines are "type-number-to-vote", which is, IM
        • Approval voting [wikipedia.org] is much easier to count and harder to "game" than instant-runoff.

      • by westlake (615356)
        Most elections in the last 14 years have been votes for the lesser of evils as I saw it.

        Well, yeah.

        If you want the candidate that is the perfect mirror image of your own views, the only solution is to run yourself.

        Otherwise you go with what you have. You sign the petitions. You vote in the primaries. You join the party, You stuff envelopes and work the phones. You make a real commitment of time and money.

        • and this is exactly why there are so few that care about the political system.

          between working two jobs, spending time with friends, watching television, playing video games, etc, modern youth can't be bothered to pay attention to what's going on.

          beyond that, families don't talk anymore, parents don't engage their children in what's going on... if the parents even know what's going on; from this point we can see that it should be self-evident why generation x, y and (now/soon) z kids don't vote: they don't c

        • Well personally I think that both the Libertarian and Pirate parties represent my views fairly well... but most people in that situation are torn between voting for the party they'd really like, knowing full well they have little to no chance of actually getting that party elected... or making a "lesser of two evils" vote to help keep "generic big party scumbag" out of office.
          • As long as people continue to use their vote on the "lesser of evils" to avoid the "wasted vote" scenario, they really are wasting their vote. A vote for the lesser of evils is still a vote for evil.
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)
          If you want the candidate that is the perfect mirror image of your own views, the only solution is to run yourself.

          We tried that once already. It was called the California Recall Election.

          Know your RWQs.
      • Most elections in the last 14 years have been votes for the lesser of evils as I saw it.

        "Less" or "lesser" is used when only two options exist. I prefer to say "vote for the least evil," which leaves it open to third parties such as Libertarian Party.

      • by Saxerman (253676) *

        Well no wonder. I am 45 and can barely stand to vote for most politicians. Most elections in the last 14 years have been votes for the lesser of evils as I saw it. If I struggle to relate with them on any level, how much success is an 18 year old going to have. They haven't gained a sufficent level of cynicism at that age. Although God knows our society is trying to beat them down until they do.

        I completely feel the same way. The real problem, IMHO, is that "most politicians" are considered a separate cl

      • by NoMaster (142776)

        They haven't gained a sufficent level of cynicism at that age.

        Exactly. Why do you thing campaigns like this one to encourage young voters are springing up?

        It's because they don't have the cynicism/experience/critical thinking skills of older people. "Vote for me, because {insert age-significant institution} supports me!" is a much more powerful argument at age 18 than age 35.

        Was reading an interesting report the other day comparing the relative 'maturity' of young adults in various Western countries. The

      • by Durinthal (791855)
        They haven't gained a sufficent level of cynicism at that age.

        A few have, myself included. Most people, regardless of age, don't pay any attention whatsoever to politics and simply end up voting blue or red as other people tell them (as they're told by someone else, etc. until it gets to someone with an agenda). The status quo of incumbents (of only two parties) getting re-elected at a ridiculously high rate isn't going to change unless people wake up, actually look at what's going on, and start thinkin
    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:58PM (#16098171)
      I bet ya this will fail miserably just like the Vote or Die campaign aimed at youngsters.

      Or backfire. The typical voting in gaming is whether or not to boot troublesome players out of the game whereas in politics you vote someone into office that (you think) would be better than (typically) the incumbent you want out.

      Primetime TV game shows perpetuate this (voting someome off the show).
      • boot troublesome players out of the game whereas in politics you vote someone into office

        I think this is a legitmate problem in today's politics. If you ask the majority of voters, I bet you they will tell you that they're voting for Candidate X just because they can't stand Candidate Y. Shouldn't they be only voting for sombody because they agree with them???
        • It is a problem... but frankly it is easier to determine what you don't like than what you like... especially with 20/20 Hindsight at your disposal...

          A Kick-Vote system would make politicians subject to every fickle whim of the public (sheparded by the media)... In the current situation, politicians don't have to listen to voters at all, since the voters have no other choice... but with kick-voting, politicians couldn't afford to disagree with anyone... and hence would get nothing done but flip-flopping.

      • by russ1337 (938915) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:07PM (#16098222)
        The typical voting in gaming is whether or not to boot troublesome players out of the game
        I'd LOVE to see the kick-vote system in politics...

        Dick Cheney has initiated a Vote to kick George (Press page-up to Vote Yes, Page Down for No)
    • by dr_dank (472072)
      I like Frank Zappa's advice to the kids: run for something. School board, city council, etc.
    • I don't remember hearing that the vote or die failed. In fact I heard more younger voters voted in 2004 as well as older voters.

      This could work if they used it like a lobby group. Keep all gamers up to date on issues and how it will effect them. Then organize some places to protest and see if anyone shows up.

      Maybe make a game called "Protester" where your character has to protest in different parts of town. Then if it doesn't work they get in a car, a la GTA, and chase down the politician in a limo
    • The vast majority of this age group just don't care enough to vote.

      That's not entirely true. It's difficult for this age group to be properly registered.

      Oh, you say, but registration via mail is so easy! But you're forgetting that the just-turned-18 group is heading for college, quite possibly out of state.

      Here's my situation. I'm leaving for college, which is out of state (across the country, as a matter of fact). I can submit a mailed registration, but they need valid ID. I can either submit with the mail

  • by robpoe (578975) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:47PM (#16098075)
    Yeah, and the cheat code for the voting booth is

    Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, VOTE

    That way the machine will access it's hidden firmware and convert ALL the votes to the person of your choice..

    • by ackthpt (218170) *

      Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, VOTE That way the machine will access it's hidden firmware and convert ALL the votes to the person of your choice..

      I heard that if you find the right combination, you can get a bonus extra vote.

    • by joe 155 (937621)
      you forgot to mention the easy way of doing it, ie. unscrew it and change the flash card, it would probably be quicker
  • The drive is being managed by the ESA's Video Game Voters Network, an attempt at growing a grassroots community around the issue of games legislation.

    There is already a "grassroots community", but I'm thinking it's not the kind of grass you're referring to... if you know what I mean.
  • I imagine they are going to shy away from copyright (and even patent) issues. This is the number one problem with respect to laws. Restriction rules pale in comparison.
  • Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ludomancer (921940)
    The problem I see with this is that the only reason there is any movement for pushing gamers to vote is so the industry doesn't lose out with money. No one involved in this cares about the issue as much as it's threat to their pocketbook.
    I am a member of the IGDA, a developer, and I don't want to see free speech be limited any more than the next person. But when the IGDA directors started spamming my inbox last year trying to rally folks to fight against legislation for limiting game sales to minors, it d
    • by RM6f9 (825298) *
      Virtual mod point!
    • Frankly... I'm happier if industry is behind this. People concerned soley with Civil Rights tend to fail, miserably. People are happy with their chains, as long as they are not too heavy. It's when big money gets involved whether from the Evangelism industry or Big Sugar that things get accomplished.
    • by RexRhino (769423)
      Why is profit evil? Why does something that is good (greater participation in the democratic process by young people), become bad if someone is going to profit from it?

      When did profit suddenly become a bad word? Sure, people might do evil things to make a profit, but they might do evil things to get laid, or do evil things to promote a religion, or do evil things to further a political goal. Does that mean sex, religion, or politics are evil?
      • I only view profit as evil if something morally wrong is done to achieve it (which is often sadly is, but that's not my point). The issue I took with this was only that the possibility that games *might actually be* harmful to minors was completely brushed aside. As soon as that bottom line gets threatened, it doesn't matter one way or the other.
        That's why I can't blindly support something like this. It's not about the profit as much as ignoring the issue's bring brought forth about the medium in the fir
  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MojoBox (985651)
    Vote? Based on games? Why? The right would ban GTA because it's violent, the left because it's racist.

    Besides, I've allready joined the "Re-elect Nobody" campaign.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by paranode (671698)
      The left would ban it for both. See Tipper Gore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LGagnon (762015)
        If you think the Gores, Clintons, or Liberman are on the left, you haven't learned what the real left is like. Kucinich, Feingold, Nader and others like them are on the left. Tipper and her ilk are just centrists posing as leftists.
    • No, no violence is fine on the right (gun laws). It's all that dirty *shudder* sex stuff.
  • Port Halo to the Diebold voting machines.

  • Uh oh Washington... when the geeks get out and start voting, you had better watch out.

    Er, so who are you guys going to vote for?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:56PM (#16098157) Homepage
    Both major parties are anti-video gamer. The Democrats are actually even worse here on "morality" than the Republicans, but the bottom line is that neither party is a good vote on this issue.

    If you want them to make a difference, have them en masse vote Libertarian at the local level. That's where most of the "decency" legislation is really passed and enforced.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NineNine (235196)
      If you want them to make a difference, have them en masse vote Libertarian at the local level.

      You're right. Unfortunately, my state (NC) has decided that it's illegal [lpnc.org] to either be a registered Libertarian or to put Libertarian candidates on the ballot.

      Unfortunately, this country is so completely corrupt, and the government is so powerful, that it's really too late for voting to be any more than an empty gesture.
      • What. The. ??. I'm in NC. The state didn't decide it was "illegal" to put Libertarian candidates on the ballot, the state has ballot access requirements that apply to all parties. We're not being singled out because we're libertarian, we're singled out because we can't get 2 percent of the voters to agree that we're a party worth voting for. If we're less than 2 percent, then why the hell should we be on the ballot?

        (Note: this is only my opinion as applied in the insanely stupid current election method of p
    • by LordNimon (85072)
      If you want them to make a difference, have them en masse vote Libertarian at the local level.

      Mod the parent up. I was going to say the same thing. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats support pro-gamer issues. I wonder if the ESA realizes that. I'm going to send them an email about it, but the only major political party that is pro-gamer is the Libertarian party.

      • by zulater (635326)
        +1 for Libertarians Neither of them (R or D) care about what middle america wants. They want to appease the people that got them in office. Pass do nothing legislation that stifles creativity in the name of morality. While I am a Christian I realize that we are not a theocracy. Legislation morality is not a thing to do.
    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      This is the fundamental reason why I haven't voted since Bush, Sr.: lesser of two evils.

      Whoever gets elected, regardless of party affiliation, they will be corrupt, owned by the big dollar lobbyists (petroleum, pharmaceuticals) and basically just a puppet for the congressmen.

      Now voting on the congressional level CAN make a difference, but so many of them are only there to push their own agendas and approve their own pay increases that it's pointless.

    • by illspirit (957034)
      That's not entirely true. The industry has lobbied the crap out of a number of Republicans. Jeb Bush [livejournal.com] is in a video game. George Allen and Rick Santorum [livejournal.com] have partnered with the ESRB to promote education instead of legislation. The conservative Progress and Freedom Foundation [pff.org] is against the censorship of games and have testified before Congress in support of the industry. Even Dubya, in all his theocratic zealotry, has said that government shouldn't be involved in what parents let their kids play (can't find
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "..have them en masse vote Libertarian at the local level."

      great way to waste a vote.

      Libertarianism is anti-society.
    • by LGagnon (762015)
      I don't see how a party that wants to end public education and other needed social services counts as decent. Not to mention the fact that they believe in absolute free trade in the face of the sweatshop crisis. Sure, you'll get uncensored games if they run the country, but unless you're rich your kids won't have an education.
  • Voting doesn't work anyway. The Illuminati makes all the decisions about who's in charge. And if they votes are different than what they want, they create "voting errors".
  • What would be a great addition to this would be to publish a list of politicians (senators, house members, district members, judges, goveners, etc...) that are on one side or the other of this debate.

    -Rick
  • voting (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:05PM (#16098206)
    votekick bush

    if that fails, we might be forced to:
    votemap canada
  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:11PM (#16098257) Homepage
    Now if you could vote from your game!!! now that would work!

    Quest Giver...

    !

    Vote
    Election magistrate wants you to collect information on 6 candidates and return them to him!

    Candidate Information 0/6


    Rewards:
    Voter registration Card
    • by AhtirTano (638534)

      Sometimes I feel like getting the truth about a candidate/issue is like some kind of covert ops mission. And sometimes while I'm searching for any shred of honesty, I get irritable and just want to shoot someone working on the campaigns--just like in a game when you can't find the secret door, so you start shooting the innocent civilians to vent.

  • Play For Real (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:16PM (#16098286) Homepage Journal

    I tried playing that game a couple of time before. I keep dying a few levels in.

    There are two unlocked characters to play from the start, but they're virtually identical. There are other characters, but I've yet to be able to unlock any of them. And there is no way to switch characters between levels, which would've been nice.

    The controls are sluggish; it seems to take forever to get anything done in the game. There appears to be a controller glitch because the characters often do not go in the direction you are pressing. The Jump and Fire buttons work sporadically, and sometimes switch for some reason. It seems the only thing you're really meant to do is turn the game on; the controls are that bad.

    The graphics are really flashy, but the story-line is pretty shallow and cliched. It's not much fun at all.

    My rating: 2/10

  • Unfortunately for folks in middle the money seems to lie on the far left and right ends of the spectrum and money gets votes. The middle where I truly believe most people's beliefs lie are largely ignored. I still vote, mostly libertarian but usuall just the person I feel is best for the job but even I know that im basically pissing away my ballot.

    What we really need is a "grassroots" party without the crazy people.
  • Thats the problem with getting people to vote, first they need some education on who/what to vote for.

    And with the republican/democrate duocracy, you always vote for someone evil. Both want to ban your rights, but for different reasons. Its a shame, we need more independants and other parties to start winning...

    And top it off, all the bi-partisan politics, no progress ever gets made.

    Tis a sad state of affairs.

  • It could work (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whoisearth (1002000)
    Here's to the effort put into getting this age group to vote. It's been tried numerous times though. Rock the vote was the most recent. Voter turnouts continue to plummet and obviously something is not being done to change this.

    Getting gamers to put their voice in their vote isn't guaranteed to work. There is a disconnect between youth and voting and the underlying issues aren't being addressed.
  • So now they are using video games to ge through to non-voters? Whats next? Oh I know, they will move on to music and movies. So in between tracks 6 & 7 and 11 & 12 will have subliminal messages about political candidates. Before election *I love games* After election *Screw games*
  • 12 year olds can't vote in the US.

    • I know you're going for the funny angle here, but it just isn't true [theesa.com]. "Forty percent of most frequent game players are under eighteen years old." In other words, the majority of frequent gamers is over 18.
  • Isn't most of the "anti-gaming legislation" being passed in regards to keeping "violent" games out of the hands of the precious children? People who can't already be bothered to vote aren't likely to start doing so in the interests of others, and quite frankly I don't think most 18-29 yr. olds give a shit as nobody is passing laws saying they can't buy games. I vote, and I understand that being quiet can end up getting me burned in the long run, but not everyone sees it that way. This move just seems lik
    • by illspirit (957034)

      nobody is passing laws saying they can't buy games

      That's exactly what they're doing though. Albeit in a roundabout way. If any of the laws stopping minors from buying M games survive, nearly all stores would stop selling them. Sorta like they don't carry AO games, only now they would also risk jailtime. If stores stop selling them, publishers stop making them, then nobody can buy them. This chilling effect is precisely why all the laws to date have been (or are close to being) shot down by Federal judges.

  • I have been involved in grass-roots efforts for many years. I can tell you it is hard to get real change through voting. Doesn't seem to matter if the Republicans are in control or if the Democrats are in control, the country still moves in the same direction (same direction...just at different speeds depending on which one has control at the time). A thrid party in control might actually get something good done, but the chances of that are about none.

    A better method would be to form a lobby group and buy o
    • by westlake (615356)
      a better method would be to form a lobby group and buy off a few key politicians

      The key politicians, the committee chairman, the party leaders, the presidential hopefuls, have bigger fish to fry.

      Quickly, now:

      Show me a conressional district in which the video game industry is important. as an employer. as a taxpayer. a cultural icon. a magnet for business.

      Now show me a district where the anti-GTA vote is not strong. No evangelical churches, No soccer moms. No ethnic or racial inner-city minorities. No pl

      • I think you made my point, it isn't going to happen by voting, it is going to happen with money, and lots of it, changing hands. Sadly, it has become the American way. Do you think there are actually politicians that care about adding a broadcast flag to consumer recording devices? No. The reason stuff like that gets passed is because the RIAA lobbied/paid for it. Congressmen are supposed to represent their home district, but how many people do you know that would want their congressman to vote in a broadca
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        I can think of a few places that might qualify. Redmond/Seattle WA, for instance, or Austin, TX. But... yeah, generally you're spot-on.
  • It doesn't matter...politicians like to grab ahold of your passion (Golfing, Gaming, Autos, Soccer Mom, Mortgage Mom, religion, environment) and pull your strings to get your vote in their direction. When they get in, they go back to their own agendas...or until the lobbyists pay them to have a different agenda.

    Just read your candidates records (they are all public) don't listen to their opponents,and make the educated guess and vote for the candidate you feel represents your views.

    Your feelings shouldn't
  • YOU VOTE FOR REAL.

    From the makers of 'Stay Alive' comes 'Stay Political'
  • The Democrats, who want to place restrictions on games for various "social issues" reasons, or the Republicans, who want to place restrictions on games for religious reasons? I guess you go with the Democrats, because you can at least reason with them...?
  • But, their votes will just be Diebolded.

    Personally, I am in the dissillusioned category like most people today. I vote, but am not sure that it means anything. From what I have read and researched, the software needs to be open-source. Or better yet, go back to paper ballots.

  • Granted to many voting is a useless act. They use the excuse why bother nothing will change. This is exactly what those that are in power count on to hold power. The fewer people that vote insure that these corrupt bastards stay in power. The solution you ask??? Simple, run for office yourself on any level and get all of your unregistered friends to register and vote for you. This will encourage others to do the same thing, this is the first step to true reform. It will not happen over night, nothing re
  • In the late 80's or early 90's, Nacogdoches, TX was a dry town. It's also the home of Stephen F. Austin University. Students living there, on campus or just in the town, are able to vote if they register in that county. The student population is about the same as the residential population.
    The city had an election of whether or not the city/county should remain dry (no alcohol sold outside of private clubs) or become wet (beer, liquor, stores, restaurants, etc.)

    Almost all of the SFA students registered an

  • Don't blame me, I voted for dod_colmar.
  • I don't get it. Does the European Space Agency allow gamers to drive its huge Ariane rockets with joypads?
  • While I think the gaming/geek crowd could be a vocal threat to dumb legislation (just look at the response any time DRM, RIAA, etc. stuff is posted here), but I just don't trust voting and think maybe there's a much simpler solution.

    If there are concerns about sex, violence, or language in games being sold, maybe publishers could release a santized version to stores that could be unlocked (with some kind of low-hassle age verification, like a $1 credit card charge) online later. I know, it wouldn't work
  • I just tried to register in Colorado (I haven't registered yet and live in Colorado, so this makes sense) but came across a slight problem or two:
    a) last four of SSN is selected as the prefered option but the colorado form indicates that you must use drivers license if you have one
    b) you can not use drivers license because the form won't accept a license of the proper length
    c) there is no contact informatino for the maintainers of the site (not easily accessable at least) to inform them of such issues.

    What'
  • Gamers are not a constituency and never will be as it is principally a recreational activity.

    Whenever you have either a constituency who is too small to make an impact or who has a coherency that is too low to break the threshold of relevancy over more significant issues in a campaign (e.g. - A standard Republican whom the slashherd hates can't do enough to support video games/related issues to get a slashherd to vote for him because many more issues over-ride that so easily. Iraq, abortion, whatever.) Kno

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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