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Is the Game Media Being Oblivious? 163

MaryAlan writes "The National Summit on Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy was this weekend, and almost no one from the game media showed up. In fact, the game industry seems to pretty much be ignoring the whole event. There's an article up on GamesFirst, which attended the summit, that criticizes the mainstream game press pretty hard for not attending. Apparently only one game journalist showed up. From the article: 'The video game media owes it to our readers to come to events like this and listen, come here and think, and come here and base our editorials on the reality of what's being said instead of an interpretation of the talking points that are published afterwords. Too many of the people discussing these issues in forums do so based on the works of the game media, and too few in the gaming media are spending the time to make it justified.'"
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Is the Game Media Being Oblivious?

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  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:07PM (#16584654) Homepage
    From the online poker sites' experiment with passively-watching our legislators do their thing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:15PM (#16584770)
      No, there are no real reporters in the game media. Those working in the game media are either in the pockets of the game publishers, or themselves without personal interest or experience in covering events where they would apply reportorial tradecraft (i.e., interviewing people they do not know). It's laziness, inexperience, and graft.
    • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:17PM (#16584790)
      It really doesn't matter if the gaming companies attend or not because they are not going to be listened to anyways ...

      This is very similar to what happens whenever an Oil company shows up to an environmental meeting, which believe it or not happens quite often; oil companies hire dozens of environmental scientists to ensure that they're doing as little environmental damage as is possible. (On a side note, most environmental damage is done because of govenmental decisions; oil is shipped from Alaska rather than piped through Canada because the US govenment's regulations, and shipping is prone to accidents). No matter what evidence they demonstrate to show that there is no connection between CO2 and global warming nothing they show will ever be listend to.

      Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the Gaming Industry could show up to an event like this and have God as a witness and no one there will listen to them when they say videogames do not cause children to perform violent acts.
      • Or else... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:30PM (#16584950) Homepage Journal
        ... they end up suing the state attorney general when said state passes an obviously unconstitutional ban on game content. The game publishers won't make any progress, and the bible-thumpers behind these bans -- because, let's get serious, what else will a conference titled "Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy be about besides cooking up new legislation? -- will continue with their ill-considered efforts to make the world into some kind of sick, dull Disneyland, free of anything of which they disapprove. They form the American, Christian answer to the nutcases running the show in Iran, or Afghanistan, and deserve as much respect.
      • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:40PM (#16585086) Homepage Journal
        Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the Gaming Industry could show up to an event like this and have God as a witness and no one there will listen to them when they say videogames do not cause children to perform violent acts.

        That pretty much sums the whole thing up in one line.

        Actually, you could show up in any Congressional subcommittee with God in tow, and unless God happened to be made out of money, I doubt you'd influence any pending piece of legislation.

        If the "games lobby" wants to make its voice heard in government, and keep itself from being run over as the Fox News scarecrow-du-jour, then they should take a very good look at what the National Rifle Association does, in terms of communicating with and mobilizing its support base, getting donations, and funneling those donations to where they'll have maximum political impact. I can't think of any organization that is as frankly successful and powerful as they are, and has continuously maintained such a high profile, and has done it while staying within the bounds of the law. (Some corporate lobbies might come close, but I think their cash burn rates are much higher for the effect they achieve.)

        You can have logical arguments so beautiful they'd make Plato sit down and weep, enough scientific evidence to unequivocally prove a dozen theories of everything, but the government will still ignore you if you are not either a large force among voters, or have lots of filthy lucre to burn. Preferably, have both.
        • I'd just add that if they intend to stay in business, they're going to have to step up to the plate and start buying politicians in job lots just like any other major industry does.

          Much of the bad technology-related legislation that's getting passed appears to me to mainly intended by politicians to make the point "Ignore us and we will destroy you, because we can."

          When consumer technology companies start spending the same percentage of their gross that Hollywood does on politicians, they will Pwn the g
        • Although I agree that many things can be learned from the NRA, I don't agree that those lessons are likely to yield similarly favorable results when applied to video game issues.

          Politicians have been a wealthy ruling elite. They have always owned some of the most expensive guns or they have secret service agents to carry guns in their stead or they have body-guards to be their hired guns... and they usually have many wealthy family members and lots of property they'd like protected by arms as well.

          Of c

          • by Mr2001 ( 90979 )

            They'll have to die off and be supplanted by us younger bucks [...] and now we're all around thirty years old and will soon be constitutionally eligible to occupy high government offices.

            I'm an impatient fscker and I hate waiting for the old ass-hats to retire but they're so closed-minded that it seems that's what it will take to get all the cowards out of authoritarian positions.


            So try to change more and faster. [...] Demand auditable balloting systems (Death to Diebold!). Agitate for ranged or ranked

      • Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the Gaming Industry could show up to an event like this and have God as a witness and no one there will listen to them when they say videogames do not cause children to perform violent acts.

        Does the game industry have any research to support the assertion that games have no effect? If not, claiming such a thing will prove nothing but their greed.

        It is time for the game industry to get beyond "well I played them and never killed anybody!" Either they should tr

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:32PM (#16585674)
          Does the game industry have any research to support the assertion that games have no effect?

                Is there any research that proves games do have a negative effect? Apart from asking people's mothers, I mean.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by timeOday ( 582209 )
            "Prove" is a very high standard, so probably not. "Support," yes. Here [] is the very first google result for "computer-games children violence", which is 5 years old but references a meta-analysis of 35 studies which had already been performed. And these studies are mentioned on Slashdot from time to time. Of course, people are very quick to discount studies they don't want to believe. Let's assume the studies are only somewhat rigorous. Even so, are there some equally rigorous studies disputing these r
        • by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:47PM (#16586404) Journal
          Well, my entire generation has played video games, and the murder rate has gone down.

          As an aside, isn't it strange that for some reason, the people who want to ban video games because they're dangerous and might possibly show a slight statistical increase in violence tend to be the same people who call it a 'socialist nanny state' when you're talking about regulating food safety or the environment or something that could actually save thousands of lives at once, contrary to this video game tripe, which could allegedly cause a few dozen murders here and there over time?
          • People kill people ;).

            People who spend their whole life playing WoW are less likely to kill me.

            Also, I'll be more afraid of someone who spends a lot of time at the rifle range than someone who spends a lot of time playing some videogame, if they said they were going to kill me.

            For perspective what the President of the USA does is more likely to kill you or cause you to be killed. So that's a far more important concern than some silly summit.
          • by mgblst ( 80109 )
            They are gerneraly only the same people if you lump everyone is trying to tell you what to do into the same bracket. Overwise, they are probably different people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Castar ( 67188 )
        I'll ignore the offtopic bit of your post, and just say you've got your analogy wrong. The article isn't lambasting the game industry for not showing up, but rather the gaming press. That's a little like the sports press not showing up for the congressional hearings on baseball steroids. It's a story that's important to the industry that they cover - more important, surely, than the release of new screenshots, snarky comments by company executives, or perhaps even more important than the launch of a new
    • by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:48PM (#16585834)
      There is a term for this type of political extortion: Mud Farming. It comes from the story of a farmer who owned a plot of land next to a dirt road. Each night, he'd plough up and water down the road, then wait for cars to get stuck. He would then, of course, be ready to pull them out of the mud with his tractor for a tidy sum.

      In politics, it goes like this: Give money to my campaign, or I'll go after your industry. Although I don't necessarily agree, many political analysts feel the Microsoft Monopoly case occured not out of public concern, but due to the simple fact that MS was not spending enough money on lobbyists or campagins. The tech industry as a whole during the 80s-90s spent orders of magnitude less %-wise of their revenues on impacting political legislation. Mature industries like the automotive, steel, lumber, oil, etc. industries have learned to "pay the piper." The high tech industry has finally come around, and the result has been much more favorable attention from our legislators.

      The video game industry finds itself in the same quagmire. Young, fast-growth industries often do. Management is focused more on putting out product than seeing "the big picture." It takes a slap on the wrist to learn. We don't see legislators going after the movie and music industries, after all.

      Many would say this is due to the public's fear of "new things for kids." In part, I agree. But, the mechanics of the process of legislation involve two things: money and public opinion. Unfortunately the video game industry is losing on both fronts these days.

  • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:10PM (#16584714) Journal
    Game, press?

    That would be akin to wishing for serious coverage by Maxim magazine or Teen Beat. What the tap-dancing fetal Jesus did they expect? There hasn't been any serious game-related journalism since Next-Generation went tits up.
    • Gotta plug David Wong here. I'm pretty-much not at all a gamer unless you count supertux, but I think Wong is brilliant and a serious journalist.
    • by garcia ( 6573 )
      There hasn't been any serious game-related journalism since Next-Generation went tits up.

      And yet, just because they whined, they are getting coverage on other media outlets which is exactly what they wanted.

      They win.
  • Heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:16PM (#16584782) Journal
    I used to run an independant newspaper, and every week I was deluged with a variety of hate mail, from readers claiming my stories were biased, to readers telling me I wasn't representing their views, to people complaining because I didn't feel the need to censor the occasional "shit" out of an article.

    I always responded with the same form reply: "If you feel that your views are under-represented, I'll be happy to print an article in which you can explain them in detail. We support reader supplied stories, yadda yadda yadda."

    You know how many people actually bothered to write in, even given an open forum and a paper circulation of ~30,000 ad-supported papers, left in prominent places all over town? Maybe one in a hundred.

    People love to complain. You see it here every day, people expressing their outrage all over the place. But do they actually bother to try and take the message to people who don't already agree with them? Seldom.

    So I'm hardly surprised that the Game media doesn't bother to actually cover events like this. They mainly work from press releases and secondary sources...Very sloppy stuff.

    Maybe this is a sign that the gamer community is starting to get proactive, rather than reactive...The best time to stop a crappy game bill from passing in Congress, is before it actually passes.
  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:22PM (#16584848) Journal
    You will be looted because you have something to loot. Kudos for them on ignoring those who contribute nothing and yet seek to control the product of their minds.
    • Screw Ayn Rand and her whole twisted philosophy. No man is an island, and we are all our brother's keepers. Meaning, we do not create ourselves, our personality, it is created by the world, by other people that influence us. Using your influence to harm others is wrong. For instance, I could raise a bunch of my kids to be serial killers if I wanted to. Is that right? No. Should society have a say in the way someone raises their kids, say, to prevent people from raising a whole brood of deranged maniacs? I s
      • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:52PM (#16585200) Journal
        Well, since we are down to the "screw this and screw that". I'll join in. Screw your community. I am an individual and I don't care what your community says I should do with my life as long as I am not hurting anyone. And if you show up at my door and DEMAND me to be your keeper, expect to get shot. If you don't like violent games, don't let your kids buy it. Same goes for porn.
        • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:38PM (#16585736)
          "I am an individual", yet one third of my salary is going to the US federal government, which is giving it to Halliburton so they can kill people in Iraq. So what do you do when they come to your door looking for tax money, you the individual are going to singlehandedly take on the police, the national guard, and the US army? That might play in Hollywood movies but it is not reality. The government doesn't even have to come to you for money, they go to the company boss who takes it out of wages anyhow. Which also leads one to wonder why a worker who is creating the wealth he lives on has a boss working for company owners who control his money anyhow. The idea you're "free" now is a joke - unless you really are well-to-do, which means you have little in common with the average Slashdot reader who is, at best, a professional.

          We live in a capitalist society, which means it is run by capitalists. Federal reserve surveys show that over 40% of the corporate stock in the country is owned by 1% of the population, while the bottom 90% of the population has to split up the less than 20% of the pie left for them. The numbers are similar for private business as well (and bonds etc.) If you look at these types, say on the Forbes 400, you see that half of them inherited all of their money. And the cutoff between the inheritance half and "self-made" billionaires is at the $300 million line, meaning someone inheriting $280 million and parlaying it into a few billion is "self-made". In fact the top people on the list all came from wealth - Bill Gates's father and grandfather were well-to-do lawyers (Preston Gates was huge before Microsoft), Warren Buffett's father was a congressman whose family owned many stores etc. I won't even go into how much of capitalism is based on imperialist theft - say the English robbery of Ireland, India or English settlers robbery of American Indians (in the US and Canada). Or US theft of oil in Iraq.

          Ayn Rand takes the reality of capitalism, hides it, and creates a fantasy land. The workers movements, the left, has always been about giving control of the workers work to the worker. This is what the capitalists don't want, or people nominally on the left who try to betray this tradition - US trade union bureaucrats who don't care about workers, or USSR communist bureaucrats who ultimately became straight-out capitalists, showing what they really were all along. Of course, people who have had workers movements and the like know this, which is why Ayn Rand is a joke anywhere outside of the US. Ayn Rand is the equivalent of the fundamentalist Jesus bullshit in the US, except for professionals and managers too smart to buy into those myths. But not smart enough to know about the world outside the US, or even inside the US going back a century or two.

        • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:48PM (#16585838) Journal
          Unless you live alone in the wilderness, you live in a community, and that community has every right to deny you any and all benefits of membership in the community, including the right to title to land, the right to trade with members of the community, and the right to use community property like roads. If you don't like it, go build your own community and stop trying to tell others how to live their lives. If people want to set a limit, say, no public nudity, and then you go around in the nude, those people have the right to remove you from their community, by force if necessary. Are you trying to say that people aren't even allowed to talk about what is decent and what isn't?!?

          I've noticed that people who say they should have the right to do whatever they want with their lives without hurting others always seem to reserve the right to define for themselves what "hurting others" means. That kind of selfishness needn't be tolerated by any civilized society.
          • People are allowed to talk about anything they want. They just can't force others to act according to whatever f#$@ed opinion of what is moral. Morality can only be the rules one sets for oneself. Don't confuse moral and ethical.
            • by spun ( 1352 )
              Too true. And in order to keep them from trying to enforce their crap on us, don't you think it would be wise to at least go to their conference and listen to them whine and at least pretend to care? This was a slap in the face, for no good reason.
          • by aeoo ( 568706 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:21PM (#16587892) Journal
            It's not a simple issue. Many things communities do and hold in high esteem are trash. Extreme individualism is also correct and soundly critiqued by people like you.

            Communities have no rights in reality. Neither do individuals. People in the community have power to act, and so do individuals. If your community decides to bad nakedness, and I go around naked, you cannot just remove me by force. Why not? Because even though I may be in the minority, I may have enough determination and power to make life for that prudish community living hell. Why? Because although I may be alone, my determination to go around naked is probably very high, or else, I wouldn't do something that obviously endangers my standing in community for no good reason. That means if you use force, you will not create a situation of peace, which is what you ultimately desire. You will simply polarize yourself further and create divisions. This is how gangs form. Although gangs are minorities, they are going nowhere and wield considerable power, just for that very reason. So, just because you are in majority, you can't just willy nilly control the minority, because minorities also have significant power, commensurate with their determination to apply it.

            In no case does anyone have any inherent rights. I don't have a right to be dressed or to be naked. The community has no rights either.

            This is why communities change and evolve. If what you say was true, then community standards would stay locked in and never change. But they change quite a bit over time. And guess how it happens, and will continue to happen, forever and ever more? It happens due to individual influence. It happens because someone ran naked across the street. And you can't stop it. You can participate in this process and throw your 2 cents into the pile. But you can't stop the changes and you can't really claim that any sides have any rights.

            The rights are declared as a statement of faith or belief. And that's fine. But as you declare such things, it would be wise for you to understand the relative nature of any such declarations. Any person can declare anything they like. If enough of them agree, there you go -- a community. But this tells you nothing about the community or about how it will change.

            You might have a community of naked people where running through the street dressed is an act of rebellion.

            Things change. Individuals do matter. Individual still stands at the center of change, and your reasoning doesn't take anything away, but rather, it just explains the stage upon which the individual dances. This is neither selfish nor selfless. It's just how it is. I have no inherent right do slap you, but if I want to, I can, and there is nothing you can do to stop me, except post-factum, which is useless, except if you crave revenge. It's useless for the purpose of totally controlling the situation or for giving someone protection from some event happening.

            As I see it, communities owe to individuals and individuals owe to the communities. It goes both ways.
            • by spun ( 1352 )
              Brother, I could have written your words myself. I feel exactly as you do about the concept of rights. I was going a wee bit far in one direction in order to spark discussion. I responded to another post [] before I read your reply and I find there are some very interesting parallels.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No man is an island, and we are all our brother's keepers.

        That sounds like an Old Testament quote - and if you're a Bible fan you might be interested to know that I as your keeper will soon be banning the Old Testament, to prevent youth from being corrupted by the divinely-sanctioned rape and genocide depicted therein.

        What's that, you don't want to have such objectionable material banned? You didn't want me to be your keeper, you just wanted to be mine?

        I thought so. Nobody ever says "Please tell me what I
      • I could raise a bunch of my kids to be serial killers if I wanted to. Is that right?


        There is a lot of research on twin studies that show that identical twins reared apart in different environments tend to become similar people with similar IQ, personality etc.

        There is some influence of parents on rearing kids but it pretty much all goes away when they're around 30-40 years old (statistically speaking in terms on influence on measured metrics). Their genetic pre-disposition takes over.

        So, the arg

        • by spun ( 1352 )
          The twin studies I read showed it averaged about 50-50 nature/nurture overall, rising to 60% nature to 40% nurture in later life. But some people are more open to influence by the world and some are more inner directed. The worst kind of abuse and neglect will almost always damage a person for life, but some people will still rise above it. And the best parenting in the world won't make some babies into adults you'd want to be around. I read another interesting study recently that showed that our childhood
    • Ignoring someone who's wrong, when arguing with them would only make them more powerful, is both good and correct.

      However, ignoring someone who has a gun to your head, and is asking you for a good reason why they shouldn't pull the trigger, seems rather shortsighted.

      The videogames industry is, right now, in the second position. Maybe Congress doesn't have the gun to their head yet, but they're fiddling around trying to take the safety off and figure out which end to hold.

      Now is not a good time to just ignor
      • Legitimizing those who would oppress you by having a "conversation" with them is no solution either. By acknoledging them as a force of civilized society rather than as bullies who showed to a school-yard fight would, in fact, legitimize them. Sometimes you have to take a stand against the forces of that would oppose freedom. This must be fought with the war tactics. When your enemy is stronger than you, evade him (Sun Tzu). Sell them from outside the country, if you have to. Fight them in court, if y
  • by RichPowers ( 998637 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:24PM (#16584888)
    These are the same journalists who won't give any exclusively reviewed game less than a 9.0/10, use developer diaries (aka devs shamelessly plugging their projects) to fill webspace, make every previewed game sound like The Next Big Thing, frequently make grammatical errors on their front pages (it's and its are different,, write like they're still in high school, and generally suck at everything they do.

    Sorry for sounding so cynical, but I've been reading gaming mags and websites for years and the quality is steadily decreasing. Gaming journalism is about not pissing off the big guys (like EA) so you keep your ad revenue coming, effectively destroying any integrity in the game review process. Not every website is this bad, I know, but the big ones are pretty shameless. Go to and click every review for Battlefield 2142. Funny how only one or two mention how the game has in-game advertisements...
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:26PM (#16584914) Journal
    Given how incomprehensible some gamers can be, I'm guessing the invitation went something like.. 'GAMAZ 4 LIFFE HV p0wnD a Con4rEnCe HA11 4 R M77t... ' and went downhill from there.
  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:27PM (#16584926) Homepage
    too busy gaming!
  • Well..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    The mainstream game media press is only a marketing machine, not an advocacy group like the author of the title expects. The mainstream game media does not see any money to be made by attending those events, but in reality all they care about are dollar signs. Of course, this will change, especially if a nutcase takes over in Congress and Presidency and starts passing restrictive video-game censorship laws forcing the industry to start listening rather than strictly selling based on what hollywood sells the
  • Follow the money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by java_dev ( 894898 )
    Why should journalists attend? It's the game publishers who pay the bills...
  • "Ooooh exclusive SCREENZ!!!" Isn't really reporting.
  • Good for them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:33PM (#16584986) Homepage

    The National Summit on Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy was this weekend...

    I am sorry, but anyone from game media should not be attending any conference called "The National Summit on Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy". Why? Because it will only give more credit to the conference.

    The fact of the matter is there should not be an public policy relating to games and youth at all. They're games for Christ sake. don't you think the government has more important things to set policy on? Like oh say, warrantless searches at airports []?

    Games and game content can not and should not be regulated any more than art or films.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      When a group of people are meeting to discuss something that you do, it is only wise to try to participate. Perhaps you don't feel as though you should have to defend yourself, and that's understandable. However, if you don't, and no-one else does, you run the risk of bad things happening almost by default.

    • by Mr2001 ( 90979 )
      You've got it all wrong. The conference is a symptom of the regulation, not a cause.

      Do you think that if game media, or game developers, or gamers in general ignore this conference, then legislators will just decide not to regulate games? Of course not! They'll regulate it without any input from gamers. The fact is, whether or not games should be regulated, they will be regulated unless we put up a fight - and the way to do that is not to stick our fingers in our ears and pretend it'll all go away if we ign
  • Actually.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:34PM (#16585014) Homepage
    From the no-one-attended-the-antarctic-bikini-fashion-show- either dept

    Oh but I did. And those nipples... dear lord those nipples!
  • invitations? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:36PM (#16585036)
    Did the conference planners send out multiple invitations to the gaming press well in advance of the event? Or did they just announce it on their own website and expect everyone to find out about it on their own?
  • by iSeal ( 854481 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:38PM (#16585064)
    That's because GameFirst incorrectly assumes that the gaming media are journalists. They are not. Or so at least in North America.

    There seems to be two different standards at play here. American gaming mags in particular, for instance, are paid mostly by game publishers via advertisements. European mags, for the most part, do not rely on these publishers for income. That's why European mags are so frickin' expensive.

    However, you can see that the focus is quite different for the two. American gaming "journalists" hype the latest games from big publishers, ignore all the indie titles, and never question disturbing practices in the industry. There are two reasons for this. For one, because they don't want to endanger their money stream. For another, because sensationalist and shallow "reporting" is what sells. It's all about money. Integrity has no place in such a world.

    I must say, however, that European gaming mags do cover social aspects, cons, indie titles, in addition to your stereotypical big publisher stuff. Why? Because they're less dependant on sucking up to those same publishers.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:39PM (#16585074) Homepage Journal
    A quick Google search reveals that the National Summit on Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy [] is an event organized and sponsored by the National Institute on Media and the Family [].

    In case you didn't know, NIMF is a right-of-center conservative, sensationalist group that finds things -- anything -- to complain about in the media. These are the same guys who gave a grade of 'F' to the ESRB's rating system. They also advocate -- with soon-to-be-ex-Senator Joe Lieberman as their mouthpiece -- a uniform media rating system monitored by an "independent" oversight group.

    They're not nearly as bad as James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" group. In fact, they've actually told Jack Thompson to take a hike. But they are in no way the friends of the games industry. Given NIMF's record, the "summit" likely had nothing to do with a frank exchange of views or exploring the true nature of mass media and its impact on the human psyche, and was just a schmooze-fest for people bent on circumventing the First Amendment.

    Attending would have only legitimized the event. The games industry was correct to stay away.


    • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:10PM (#16585444) Homepage
      First of all don't be so sure about Joe Liberman. As soon as people find out who his opposition is they will run to the polls to vote for Liberman and act like they never associated with the other guy.

      Secondly, this organization is not all bad. Look at this quote.
      As I've said for years, some video games, especially ultraviolent and killographic games and certain industry practices deserve some public condemnation. The evidence for a causal link between violent games and violent behavior is mounting. And with so much money to be made, some in the industry often seem to lose sight of their public responsibility to protect children. As I've said before, however, there are a lot of very good video games. The term video game shouldn't be derogatory, and the term "gamer" shouldn't be a dirty word either.

      Criticizing the people who play video games for the irresponsibility of some in the industry is nothing more than guilt by association. Millions of people-hardworking, responsible adults and healthy, happy kids-play good video games.

      Censorship and demonization are not the answer. If we antagonize thoughtful, reasonable people, we'll only make it harder to reform a flawed industry and protect our kids.
      We'll never find "the better way, the more effective way, to allow both freedom and responsibility to co-exist," that Matthew Metzo hopes for in his letter.
      Taken from this [] article. Emphasis mine. They don't want to censor, they just want oversight of the ratings process. I for one think that the whole GTA San Andreas thing is stupid. I can't sell my copy back to the store now because of the re-rating. I still think video games need to be rated though and if the ESRB would have gotten off of their lazy asses and taken a real look at GTA San Andreas it probably would have been rated Adults Only in the first place. AO does not need to equal Porn.
      • I still think video games need to be rated though and if the ESRB would have gotten off of their lazy asses and taken a real look at GTA San Andreas it probably would have been rated Adults Only in the first place. AO does not need to equal Porn.

        Is there really that big a difference between an Mature (17+) rating and an AO (18+) rating? The majority of 17 year olds I know or have ever known would be mature enough to play San Andreas. And the ones that aren't probably wouldn't be mature enough at 18 either
        • I agree that the age restrictions on the ratings are pretty much useless. I think the ratings should speak for themselves and parents should make the decisions. However I do think that San Andreas deserved an AO rating just because of the "prolonged scenes of intense violence". I mean you could get in your car and run over people for hourse then turn around and start a war with the Police, FBI, etc. and pretty much decimate a city in a matter of hours. I would call that prolonged violence. Granted most peop
          • I mean you could get in your car and run over people for hourse then turn around and start a war with the Police, FBI, etc. and pretty much decimate a city in a matter of hours. I would call that prolonged violence.

            If that's the case the other GTA games should've received an AO rating as well. The way previous games were rated kind of sets precedent (Manhunt was an M-rated game, and I think it's probably the most violent and gruesome game I've ever played - if ever a title deserved an AO rating, Manhunt ha
      • by pilkul ( 667659 )

        For all the conciliatory tone of that article, in substance it's not so much. It is viciously hostile towards developers of violent videogames, if nothing else.

        As I've said for years, some video games, especially ultraviolent and killographic games and certain industry practices deserve some public condemnation. The evidence for a causal link between violent games and violent behavior is mounting. And with so much money to be made, some in the industry often seem to lose sight of their public respons

    • by pilkul ( 667659 )
      soon-to-be-ex-Senator Joe Lieberman
      'fraid not, Lieberman is running as an independent and is currently ten points ahead of Lamont in the polls.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Given NIMF's record, the "summit" likely had nothing to do with a frank exchange of views or exploring the true nature of mass media and its impact on the human psyche, and was just a schmooze-fest for people bent on circumventing the First Amendment.

      And yet, the article author, who was actually THERE, didn't seem to get this impression. You're just making his point for him - that "we" (pro-gaming people) need to actually find out what the other side are saying rather than throw around arguments like "Oh,

  • No one cares. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:56PM (#16585254)
    Maybe there was no media coverage because no one cares.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:00PM (#16585308)
    ... the one-legged man who never turned up at the ass-kicking party?
  • Well, let's see... (Score:4, Informative)

    by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:27PM (#16585628) Journal
    The National Summit on Video Games, Youth, and Public Policy is hosted by The National Institute on Media and the Family and Iowa State University.

    First session was an overview presented by Douglas Gentile. You can buy his book here []. Next, they had a session on "Violent Video Games: Effects and Public Policy" from Craig Anderson []. Then they had a panel discussion with Joanne Cantor [], Kim Thompson [], Douglas Gentile [], and one person from the ESRB.

    I can go on, but it looked like a mutual masterbation get-together from the names I saw in attendance. So I can see why the games press didn't want to go.
  • What gaming media? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @06:40PM (#16585768)
    From TFA:
    Shame on the game news outlets like GameSpy, IGN, and GameSpot, among others; outlets with the resources to send a reporter to the conference, but chose not to...

    Why would such "gaming media" bother showing up at a political event? None of those web sites or their related magazines have anything to do with legitimate journalism. They're a bunch of hacks who sit around giving absurdly friendly reviews to game companies which return the favor by advertising with them, or in the case of Gamespy, licensing their code. They're a bunch of parasites, not responsible journalists, and they don't go to events that don't involve free stuff and half-naked girls because they don't care about the game industry in the first place. If they lose their jobs they can all just go work in some other BS wing of the American media.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:19PM (#16586150)
    "National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Public Policy" sounds good, right? Except let's peel back the skin and see who hosts it. This is a group who is telling developers about how to handle their games.

    I'll live with that, because there's other problems in Gamesfirst's criticism.

    Now explain to me why every journalist should rush to this event... explain to me why I should be climbing the walls to get in. Explain how anyone gives a shit about it?

    The simple answer is they don't. Has anyone heard of it? I sure as hell haven't, and I work in the industry. There's three problems with this criticism.

    A. Who cares? The fans don't care for these types of "let's hold hands events", developers should either already have been included or don't care.

    B. Why go? It sounds from the website about the confrence that there's a considerable expense to go to this. This is the first annual event? Did they actually invite people or did they say they were holding this event and told everyone? Did they try to work out a deal or just expected everyone to rush to their confrence? And if all this is not enough. It's in IOWA. That's not local to ... anything really. I've spent my whole life avoiding Iowa.

    C. Why them? This is the heart of the matter and the biggest problem. Again this sounds like a group who either isn't worth listening to or doesn't change opinions. Either way that's fine, those are the two areas most groups excel at, but knowing their stance enough. Does anyone know how many confrences exist in a single year? The answer is too many already. Does the mainstream media have to go to everyone one? Nope. Now, if they really were invited to this event that's fine, but we don't know that. We don't know if anyone knew it was happening. Do a search on the name of the confrence, you see the home site, then gamesfirst. It sounds like no one really knew about the confrence.

    So let's sum up. Gamesfirst went to something that not many people probably heard of, anyone who cares about probably went to, that no one knew if it was worth spending money to go to, and that was out of the place. Good for them, now we know why some of us haven't heard of them before.

    A cursory examination of Gamesfirst's site, makes me wonder if we should even shill for them with an article about it. They have an "interesting" site to say the least.
  • by Wovel ( 964431 )
    1. Were they invited? 2. Gaming Press covers games, how to play them , if they are fun. They do not cover public policy. I fail to see why the gaming press would express any interest in this at all, or the author thinks they should.
  • The mainstream game media is primarily made up of ... gamers! They have zero attention span for anything that might show serious journalistic integrity. I'm sure they got distracted by 3 new screenshots of $HIGHLY_ANTICIPATED_SEQUEL
  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7.kc@rr@com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @11:52PM (#16588734) Homepage
    What good would come from appearing there. If you speak on behalf of the game industry then you are "against the children" if you speak out against game violence you are "against the gamers" sounds like a no-win situation to me. If I was in that position I'd likely choose to stay home as well.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @08:51AM (#16591934) Journal
    (chance that you find a 'game media' journalist at an event) = (0.5*(chance of bags of swag))+(0.75*(chance of free games given away))+(1.0*(chance of seeing bodacious T&A))

    Clearly, this event had little chance.
  • The truth is that the author has a good and valid point. While it's not going to cure what ails the industry all by itself, the gaming media has a responsibility (I think) to objectively see what's out there in terms of perspective (not just from Jack Thompson soundbytes, and also from Rockstar soundbytes) and to really see what the "community" says about the subjects. That way, you get (OMG) balanced journalism, that, when opinion is then later injected into, has the right to say what it has to say, without being fanboyish to one side or the other.

    I mean, who ever really got upset at someone for having an opinion that was actually well-informed, even if you disagreed with it? IMHO, this is the kind of thing that separates gaming journalism from other forms of the genre, in some arenas. The reporting of the industry is better, but not necessarily the "perhiphery" of the industry is getting glanced at, and nothing more. Digging deeper in these areas are what take journalism from being a niche and making it accessible to everyone, even outside of games.

    Again, this is only my opinion, but seriously, the author has a right to call out those who consider major "non-press-conference" events, not worth attending.
  • Video Game Voters network []

    Don't just talk about it here. Join the organization and write your congressman when they ask you to. Participate. It has a higher ROI than bitching.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev