January 28th, 2006

So That Was a Bad Week...

If you thought the news was mostly bad for gamers and the game biz this week, you're right. GP hasn't seen a stretch like this since last July's Hot Coffee peak, when it seemed a new hammer blow fell just about every day.

How bad was this week?

So bad that GP readers definitely noticed. One guy for whom we have a lot of respect wrote in, saying, "For god's sake, give us some GOOD news. It like a tsunami, sweeping in on the industry."

Blogcritics has a comprehensive summary of the bloody week that was. Definitely worth a read. Will things get better?

Sure. The 25 to Life furor will peter out, as soon as political and law enforcement critics realize they are essentially driving sales for a really lousy game.

However, some of the bad news is likely to be around for a while. You just know that Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is going to ride his Hot Coffee lawsuit hard between now and his June primary election for California Attorney General. We'll have more to say about that transparent political maneuver in tomorrow's GP.

Plus, we expect the connection - however tenuous - between violent games and the shooting in a Maryland day care center will be exploited by legislators pushing a pair of game bills in that state.

The furor over Need For Speed and a deadly Toronto car crash is still making news in the Canadian press. Can a high-profile lawsuit be far behind?

Expect to hear also about more video game legislation as well as from completely off-the-wall critics like Texas gubernatorial candidate Star Locke, who wants a 100% tax on violent games, and Utah legislator David Hogue, who has introduced a bill to treat violent games like pornography.

As always, stay tuned. GamePolitics will serve up the good news - and the bad. Remember, just don't shoot the messenger.

Utah "Games as Porn" Bill Fails Committee Vote

From the Salt Lake City Tribune comes word that a bill designed to treat violent games as pornography has failed to clear committee in the Utah House of Representatives.

The measure proposed by Republican Rep. David Hogue failed on a 6-6 vote, with one member absent.

Prior to the vote, Hogue read off a list of games he believed would violate the proposed law. GTA San Andreas was on the list, of course, but so was Resident Evil 4.

"It trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence," Hogue said. "It makes it fun to kill people and pull their heads off." An obviously disappointed Hogue said later that he was not giving up his proposal, but did not elaborate. "I think this is reasonable regulation. We need to begin somewhere, or it just continues on."

As reported in the Provo Daily Herald, Republican Rep. Lorie Fowlke said, "I believe we're going to have constitutional problems if we don't narrow this."

"As much as all of us would like to protect our young people from these violent depictions, can Utah pass legislation to address our concerns and solve our problems?" asked Jim Olsen, of the Utah Retail Merchants Association. "I would say no."

GP: A triumph for reason and logic in Utah, although it's scary that the vote was so close at 6-6.