December 27th, 2005

GP, IGDA head Discuss Hillary's Video Game Bill on Fat Pixels Radio

I had an opportunity to participate in a wild panel discussion last week sponsored by the podcast crew at Fat Pixels Radio.

Along with yours truly were Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), Matthew Sakey, who pens the IGDA's monthly Culture Clash column, and Kyle Orland of Videogame Media Watch.

We kicked around Hillary Clinton's Family Entertainment Protection Act, along with several related issues. What I anticipated would be no more than 30 minutes turned into a lively discussion that ran over an hour. In fact, the Fat Pixels guys decided to cut the session into two parts.

You can grab part one here. It's definitely worth a listen...

Thompson Investigated by Florida Bar over Alabama Video Game Case

Is Jack Thompson's license to practice law in jeopardy?

GamePolitics has confirmed with an official of the Florida Bar Association that they have initiated a disciplinary investigation of the Miami attorney and self-described "anti-game crusader." The investigation was referred to the Florida Bar by judicial officials in Alabama, where a Circuit Court judge revoked Thompson's pro hac vice (visiting) admission to practice in November.

Prior to being thrown off the Alabama case Thompson had been representing plaintiffs in Strickland vs. Sony a wrongful death suit alleging that Devin Moore's brutal slaying of two Fayette police officers and a dispatcher was caused by obsessive playing of Grand Theft Auto III and GTA Vice City.

Thompson confirmed the Alabama portion of the investigation in an e-mail to GamePolitics, alluding also to a matter related to "Stern," believed to be Howard Stern. GP was unable to confirm any Florida Bar investigation relating to the shock jock, who Thompson claims to have driven to satellite radio. Thompson has not replied to several e-mails requesting additional clarification.

Thompson, who has previously sued the Florida Bar - and won - may be contemplating such action again. The controversial attorney shared with GamePolitics an e-mail sent to Paul Hill of the Bar's Board of Governors last week. The e-mail alleges "tortious conduct" on the part of the Bar, and reads, in part:

"...I have repeatedly asked that The Bar engage with me in discussion or communication to try and resolve this dispute. The Bar, including its Board of Governors, refuses even to discuss the matter in any fashion whatsoever... I will be delighted to speak with any (insurance) carriers... about The Bar's ongoing, recidivist, tortious conduct which has clearly given rise to one or more causes of action.

Thompson has also requested from the bar any e-mails concerning him sent by Bar officials since August, 2004. It is unclear whether this request will be granted. A source at the Florida Bar told GamePolitics that any resolution on the investigation was unlikely before the spring.

Good Gaming News in the Washington Post

Sebastian Mallaby has a terrific op-ed piece in yesterday's Washington Post.

"My Son and I, Game to Learn" offers Mallaby's view on gaming as the father of an 11-year-old. The journalist has tumbled to some important concepts that many parents don't realize and many game critics don't want to hear. Consider this paragraph:

"...computer games have some advantages. They train players to master complex rules, to weigh odds and solve problems and make quick decisions. Indeed, players learn how to learn: The mysteries of a new and unknown game must be unlocked by trial and error. Marc Prensky, the author of the (upcoming) book Don't Bother Me, Mom -- I'm Learning tells the story of Stephen Gillette, an entrepreneur who picked up his leadership and organizational skills by playing online games. 'I remember my mom and dad yelling at me,' he quotes Gillette as saying. 'They didn't know I had a 200-person [online] guild to manage.'"

Mallaby mentioned buying Age of Empires III for his son with a clear conscience, given the game's emphasis on history, civilization and economics. And while Mallaby's son is semi-addicted to Runescape, even fantasy games offer significant learning opportunities:

"...(Runescape's) main attraction lies in its business challenge. My son has been buying logs, making longbows and selling them at a profit; he says the margins in the bow business fluctuate around 10 percent. Lately he's moved into buying magic herbs in bulk and retailing them individually. This is a dicier business, but the risk is balanced by reward. Herb-trading margins can be 100 percent or fatter."

It's great to see a non-gaming parent who gets it...