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Gaming Politics To Watch Today 58

Posted by Zonk
from the vote-em-out dept.
As you go to the polls today, alongside more serious issue be sure to think of how politics affects the gaming world. GamePolitics has a rundown of politicians associated with gaming (in either a good or bad way) who are up for re-election today. From the article: "Hillary Clinton (D-NY): sponsor of the Family Entertainment Protection Act (FEPA). Joe Lieberman (I-CT): his criticism of game violence in the mid-1990's led directly to the formation of the ESRB. Rick Santorum (R-PA): backs Hillary's game initiatives, but also backs the ESRB. George Allen (R-VA): backs the ESRB rating system. Candidate Mike McGavick (R-WA): trying to unseat Democrat Maria Cantwell; he believes the entertainment industry will not regulate itself and wants to explore legislative solutions."
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Gaming Politics To Watch Today

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  • by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:32AM (#16751783) Journal
    It's an independant, non-governmental, non-profit organization that has the full support of developers and publishers who voluntarily have their games certified. I realize the typical slashherd member can't see the difference between this and, say, Red China's government cracking down on politically disident 'bloggers,' but the difference is there.

    And if the private sector does not do a good job at self-regulation (and even sometimes when it does!), the unfortunate result is government's ham-fisted regulation that is always worse. So three cheers for the ESRB?

    • The ESRB is a government and censorship matter when its ratings are used [lionlamb.org] as part of censorship laws.
      • by hal2814 (725639) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:00PM (#16752203)
        No, the government's use of the ESRB is a censorship matter but the ESRB itself is not. I for one like the ESRB. It's not perfect but it does give a ballpark idea of the appropriateness of games for children. I still usually have to do some research of my own on the game's content but it's a nice starting point. Parents and stores do not have to follow the ESRB's recommendation in most cases. In places where ESRB ratings carry some sort of legal weight, the fault lies entirely with the legislators that made such laws, not the independent game rating unit that never intended their ratings to be used in such a manner.
        • by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @01:53PM (#16754031) Homepage
          The ESRB does a great job ... when parents can be bothered to read the ratings and understand them, and understanding the GAME, too. The ratings aren't enough.

          When Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was coming out, I did some market research into the people buying the game. At one point, while standing in a Toys 'R' Us collecting observational data, I noticed a grandmother buying the game. I asked her who she was buying the game for. "My grandson ... he asked for it." I asked her if she was aware of the rating on the game. She wasn't aware that games even had ratings. I showed her where the rating was, and that the game she was buying for her 12-year-old grandson was rated for 17 and up. She was dumbfounded.

          So then I asked her, "Ma'am ... what's the name of this game?"

          "Grand Theft Auto."

          "What does that mean to you?"

          She couldn't answer. Apparently, it never even occurred to her that buying a game for her grandson that was titled after a CRIME was somehow a bad idea.

          The ESRB is good. There needs to be more, though. Parents (and in this case, grandparents) need to be more proactive in learning what their kids are playing, and more importantly, learn to engage their critical thinking skills when it comes to a kid that might be trying to put one over on ol' Grams.
          • by SimDarth (975287)
            I had a similar experience when I bought GTA:VC at Toys R Us after it was released. The lady in front of me bought the game and then handed it to her gleeful 9-year-old son. The sales clerk was unusually concerned with this and asked the lady if she was aware of the ESRB rating on the game. She, of course, did not know what he was talking about. He then proceeded to explain the system and the fact that the game was rated M for Mature. She responded by saying that if her son asked for it, it must not be
          • by amuro98 (461673)
            I live in California where the stores must - by law - display these huge 5 foot displays explaining the ESRB. This is in addition to the flyers, postcards, and other propaganda that decorates the video game aisles. You don't see anything like that over in the DVD movie section. Despite the 1 foot tall rating letters and the 50 point bold font explaining what "M" means, I still see kids handing GTA or other violent games to their parents, who just drop it into their basket without even looking at the box.
        • Also, ESRB ratings can, at least in theory, let you know the appropriateness of the game for mixed company, even if you don't care about the kids. If I want to show a game to a group of a adults and their kids, I'd like to know if there's something I should worry about.

          However, I'm kind of disappointed here. DDR Extreme obviously doesn't offend me, but you'd think that, being rated E, I could use it in the above situation without having to say "Oh, don't do that song!" However, that version does have lyr
  • Are you kidding me? Even if you're a hardcore gamer, games should be the LAST thing you consider as you vote for someone for public office. This article is ridiculous.
    • Different things have different importance to different people.

      You're also ignoring some sitations. Maybe Candiate A and Candidate B both support 3 issues I care about and are against 3. One holds my stance on games, the other doesn't...guess who wins my vote?
      • by C0R1D4N (970153)
        "War, economy, abortion, jobs.... gaming"

        Actually, since I have a penis, abortion is the last thing I should consider when voting. I am a hardcore gamer, but I'm still gonna vote out Allen in Virginia. If he does anything to support games it's probably because he sees the gaming industry as the next **AA that will give him money.
        • by lbmouse (473316)
          "Actually, since I have a penis, abortion is the last thing I should consider when voting. I am a hardcore gamer..."

          Then you really have no need for a penis ;).

    • by krell (896769) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:43AM (#16751925) Journal
      "Are you kidding me? Even if you're a hardcore gamer, games should be the LAST thing you consider as you vote for someone for public office. This article is ridiculous."

      The First Amendment is more important than you think.
      • by 246o1 (914193)
        There are important Bill of Rights issues, including the First Amendment (and the 5th, 8th, and 9th have been more noticeable of late as well) that are affected by politics. Basically all of these issues are better reasons than someone's stance on game violence to decide who gets your (usually) worthless vote in your (more or less successfully) gerrymandered district.

        Of course, hearing politicians try to talk about games is so painful that it makes me want to vote against all of them on the basis of thier
    • by GreggBz (777373)
      The article is meaningful in that it shows what politicians are wasting their time and our tax dollars trying to legislate video games. I'd rather they focus on the issues you mentioned. So, invert your thinking a little.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by theckhd (953212)
      Well, it's something to consider (first amendment and such), but let's not lose sight of the big picture here.

      For example, I don't care if Rick Santorum [sourcewatch.org] backs the ESRB or not, his voting record [vote-smart.org] (and general asshattery [typepad.com]) is more than enough to dissuade me from voting for him.

      I mean seriously, the man is against gay marriage and gay rights [sourcewatch.org], tried to slip Intelligent Design [sourcewatch.org] into the No Child Left Behind act, has said that he doesn't belive in privacy rights [sourcewatch.org], and is anti-abortion [sourcewatch.org]. If you have an opinion on any
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rhys (96510)
      What's that quote? Ah yes, good old Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came [wikipedia.org]...

      Erosion of the rights of the people is erosion of the rights of the people reguardless of if it is guns, abortion, or games (read: freedom of speech/expression).
      • by westlake (615356)
        games (read: freedom of speech/expression)

        Historically, the American's Freedom in Speech in rooted in a concept of citizenship: the right of every responsible adult to participate in open political debate.

        Not the right to market soft-core porn and hard-core violence to minors in the guise of a video game.

        • Historically, the American's Freedom in Speech in rooted in a concept of citizenship: the right of every responsible adult to participate in open political debate.

          Got a link? I've checked the hardcopy docs a couple of times, but all I see is some stuff that starts out with, "Congress shall make no law." Nothing about political debate, or Saving The Children, or even responsibility.
          • Funny how you also don't see stuff about "freedom of expression" or "separation of church and state," either. If you read a bit further down, you might even see something about "shall not be infringed," and you won't see the words "privacy" or "abortion" anywhere. If you're feeling particularly intrepid, you can scan all the way down to the ones that have "IX" and "X" in front of them; those are especially exciting.

            And none of that is particularly relevant to the way they've been interpreted over the course
        • by krell (896769)
          "Historically, the American's Freedom in Speech in rooted in a concept of citizenship: the right of every responsible adult to participate in open political debate"

          Whatever that concept might have been (if it ever was) it was discarded when it came time to come up with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. There, no special status is given to political speech, as opposed to, say, talking about food or "Star Trek."
          • by ultranova (717540)

            Whatever that concept might have been (if it ever was) it was discarded when it came time to come up with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. There, no special status is given to political speech, as opposed to, say, talking about food or "Star Trek."

            And the Constitution in turn was discarded when it came time to actually rule the country. Consequently, political speech is more protected than commercial speech and showing nipples in television carrie fines for the innocent.

            Not surprising, really: aft

        • by Rhys (96510)
          The responsibility for what a child hears/sees/plays falls to the parent and/or legal guardian of that child. Not the federal nor state nor county nor city government (unless they are acting as legal guardian of, for example, an orphan).

          Besides, if you want to talk about soft-corn porn or hard-core violence, you'd be much better served by going after the RIAA's mega-stars and cartoons. Or maybe that evil, bulletproof-nudity D&D thing.

          Or feel free to stick your head in the sand and cry "save the children
        • The Supreme Court disagrees with you [wikipedia.org].
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
      Why? How do those other issues affect male twenty-something gamers with disposible income?

      But really, even more relevent than the free speech concerns are the fact that this "issue" is nothing more than manufactured hysteria to drum up support from the "think of the children" crowd. It can be used as litmus test to distinguish people of (some) principle from the exploiters of opportunity.
      • Why? How do those other issues affect male twenty-something gamers with disposible income?

        Yeah, I imagine no male twenty-somethings go to war or know people who do, they live in a magic bubble where the economy will never, ever affect their disposible income, and it's completely impossible that they might wind up paying child support because a girl they hooked up with couldn't get an abortion or even care about how decreasing access to abortion would affect women they know?

        I'm a gamer too, and I get tha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sesshomaru (173381)
      Why gaming is important:

      1. It's a First Amendment Litmus test issue: My opinion of people jumping on the anti-gaming band-wagon is that they have no respect at all for the First Amendment. This is because I think games are generally milder than what you see on mainstream commercial television (I've watched Scarface on commercial television, I also watch Heroes. Heroes has some disturbing imagery related to my favorite character, scary undead cheerleader girl.) I think the politicians out to ban them

    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      It's their vote to do with as they please. Darn that republicanism, hm?
    • Directly from the first line of TFA:

      "GamePolitics is a single-issue site. Video games and politics, thats all we cover.

      And while we dont advocate casting your vote based solely on this issue, we know its important to you - otherwise you wouldnt be reading GP."
    • Even if it is a "last thing to consider", some of us still consider it.

      If your stuck between two evils and can't decide based on the "big issues", who are you to tell people they can't decide based on games related issues?
  • Looks like Slashdot just violated the US's campaign finance laws through its promotion or opposition of certain canditates within 30 days of an election, which amounts to an in-kind contribution.

    Okay, okay, if it's not illegal yet, it soon will be.
    • by dlc3007 (570880)
      insert into PARENT
      (CLUE) values (1);
      Next time, learn a little about US campaign laws before stating something silly. What you're suggesting is that every news organization in the world is violating the law because they report on candidates.
  • This is pretty informative. It could have been useful if it was posted yesterday so people could have had time to read it before voting.
  • It's just posturing really.

    But hey, I live in WA. So you believe anything you want.

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