GamePolitics Has Moved !!!

After 18 months on LiveJournal, GamePolitics is sporting a new look.

As of this past Monday, our new site was up & running. You'll still find us on the web at The new site uses WordPress for the blog portion, and has lots of new goodies...

For you LiveJournal die-hards, the bad news is that I'm not going to be updating the LJ any more. However, I will leave it active indefinitely as an archive.

Nor will I be unscreening comments. The need to do that was a big reason for the move.

The new site has an RSS feed as well.

Jack Thompson Lawsuit to be Filed in Albuquerque

We're all going to have to learn to spell "Albuquerque."

That's because we're going to be hearing a lot about the New Mexico city, since Jack Thompson's promised video game violence lawsuit is going to land there today. As reported by the Albuquerque Journal Thompson and a local attorney, Steven Sanders, will file a wrongful death suit based on the July, 2004 murders committed by Cody Posey, 15 at the time.

Posey, 15 at the time of the killings, was found guilty early this year of murdering his father, stepmother and stepsister. Sentenced as a juvenile, he will be held until he turns 21. The defense maintained that Posey was severely abused by his father.

The video game connection is not yet clear.

Safe Sex Game

Hot Coffee it most definitely is not.

As reported by Joystiq, the University of Connecticut is soliciting proposals for a "safer sex video game."

According to UConn bid specs, the goal of the project is "to test the feasibility of using a PC-executable game (non-Flash) format to change the safe sex practices of an otherwise hard to reach group – urban emerging adults."

The University wants vendors to make the game "fun, motivating, and efficacious." That last one's not a dirty word, by the way.

If trials are successful - and no, GP does not know where you go to volunteer - the game will be distributed "broadly." As Joystiq notes, Europeans are already ahead of us in using game tech to teach safe sex.

Proposals from game developers are due back to UConn officials in November.

GP Server Switch on Monday

It looks like GP finally will move to our new format and new server tomorrow. If you'd like, you can check out the beta of the new look.

So, we will definitely have some amount of downtime, depending upon how smoothly the transition goes.

Forums will also go down at the time of the switch. I expect them to be back up later in the week.

Finally, LJ comments are disabled during the transition.

Keep your fingers crossed...

Editorial Roundup: Longing for Pong, Games as Societal Scapegoat

This week's editorial/opinion roundup takes us to Canton, Ohio and San Francisco.

In the Canton Republic columnist Tom Martin writes, "When I was a kid, spinach was good for you and video games included neither murder nor sex. What a difference a few decades make."

"...I had Pong. I knew Pong. Pong was a friend of mine... I know Ms. Pac-Man ate a lot of those gremlin things... but as far as I know she didn't pop a cap in somebody's keister."

"I've seldom been one to wax poetic about yesteryear. Yesteryear often comes back to us with the blemishes airbrushed out... playing Pong didnt make me aspire to play pingpong, tennis or another racket game in the real world. So maybe no one will want to join a street gang after playing 'The Warriors.' But making sport out of theft, murder, prostitution and senseless destruction seems wrong on every level. Maybe our spinach isn't the only thing tainted"

Inside Bay Area columnist Tom Leupold writes about the public perception of games:

"...despite evidence to the contrary, games are still seen as the sole providence of teenage boys, at least by the mainstream media. I asked (Prof. Dmitri) Williams (seen at left) why..."
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Australian Official Thinks Bully Rating Too Lenient

Some politicians in Australia are taking issue with the official government rating given to Rockstar's controversial Bully, or, as the game is now known outside of the North American market, Canis Canem Edit.

The West Australian is reporting that New South Wales Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt is concerned about what she considers an overly-lenient rating given to Bully by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). Ms Tebbutt urged parents to keep the game out of the hands of their children, and has requested that the country's Attorney General review the classification.

"I'm concerned that its message for violence is undermining what we're doing in schools to counteract bullying," she said. "I also want (the A.G.) to assure me that everything that needs to be taken into account has been taken into account in this classification process."
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America's Army Begins "Real Heroes" Campaign

Sports games endeavor to include accurate player rosters and game adaptations of movies try to use real actor voices and likenesses whenever possible. So it should come as no surprise that the U.S. Army is using real soldiers as characters in its America's Army game.

"The America's Army Real Heroes program puts a face on some of the exceptional Soldiers who are at the forefront in defending our freedoms. With Real Heroes young adults can learn about the accomplishments of some of the heroic men and women that make the Army the world's premier land force," said Colonel Casey Wardynski, Project Director.

Players who download the latest version of the free online game will be able to interact with four such Heroes during training missions and while exploring an interactive Virtual Recruiting Center.
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Pennsylvania Legislators Hold Video Game Hearing

Add Pennsylvania to the list of states examining the video game violence issue.

As reported by the Harrisburg Patriot-News a committee of the Pennsylvania House held a hearing in late August to consider the effects of violent games on children.

Rep. Ronald Waters (D) said, "I watch young people play these games, and they play them for long periods of time. It's hard for me to watch that kind of activity without wondering what kind of effects it's having on them. What are we doing subliminally to our children that we allow them to entertain themselves with this type of activity..."

Waters expressed concerns about Grand Theft Auto and worried that the ESRB rating system might not be working at the retail level. Although he would support video game legislation, Waters was more interested in research similar to the federal government's proposed CAMRA study.

"I'm just asking for a study," Waters said. "Whatever the outcome of the study is, I'm willing to accept it. If we find that there is no consequences of this, then I will be someone who will say 'OK, I accept the study.' But if the study says yes, there are things we need to alarm parents about, then we need to make sure that parents know that."
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Jack Thompson Ready to Drop Another Game Violence Lawsuit?

Jack Thompson has been teasing a planned lawsuit which he says will be announced Monday.

On Friday GP was treated to a subject-line only e-mail which read, "So, Dennis, you going to my big news conference Monday?"

Not if you don't tell me where it is, Jack.

Later, GP and GameSpot received a similar message, saying only, "Big news conference by Jack Thompson Monday. Hooah!"

Hooah, indeed. This morning the anti-game activist dropped a little more news in the comments section of GP's The Political Game column on Joystiq. Thompson wrote:

"On Monday, September 25, Thompson will journey to another state and announce, with his co-counsel, the filing of what will likely prove to be hugely significant wrongful death action against Sony and Take-Two..."

So, it's a GTA case...
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