February 16th, 2006

GP Readers Vote NYC Mayor Bloomberg "Heartless" in Solitaire Sacking

The verdict is in.

According to a poll of GamePolitics readers, billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a stock ticker where his heart oughtta be.

Last week GamePolitics reported that Bloomberg had fired a low-level city employee simply because the man had Solitaire running on his office PC.

Nearly 800 GP readers responded to a poll which asked, "NYC Mayor: Good Manager or Heartless SOB? Was NYC Mayor Bloomberg right to fire a city worker who had Solitaire running on his PC?"

76% said there was "no way" that Bloomberg was justified in firing

11% said the mayor was "absolutely" justified in the termination

13% were unsure

As promised, GP is forwarding the results to the mayor's office.

Ho-hum, Another GTA Class-action Lawsuit

Piling on is a penalty in football, but not, apparently, in legal circles.

In recent weeks GP has reported on a number of stockholder class-action suits filed against Take-Two, publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, and here comes another.

Milberg Weiss, a New York City law firm, has filed Max Kaplan vs. Take-Two Interactive.

Kaplan, much like the other suits, cites Hot Coffee, the recent resignation of Take-Two board member Barbara Kaczynski, and the deceptive marketing suit filed by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.

GP coverage of other recent Take-Two class-actions can be found here.

By the way, that sound you're hearing is Take-Two coming apart at the seams.

GameCloud Interview with Creator of Jack Thompson-inspired Game

Jack Thompson's modest proposal was answered earlier this month in the form of I'm OK, a side-scrolling action game described by Thompsonsoft's lead sprite artist Derek Yu as "kind of like Metal Slug, but with much worse graphics."

In an interview with Gamecloud, the 23-year-old Yu explains why Thompsonsoft decided to undertake their namesake's game design.

"Because the potential for comedy was just boundless. Thompson's design was vague enough that we knew we could add plenty of our own jokes. It was an opportunity to stick it to him really nicely and it couldn't be passed up."

Yu was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response I'm O.K. received and estimates that it has been download tens of thousands of times. "We knew there was a camp that believed that the best way to defeat Jack was to ignore him, but we didn't know how large that group was. In the end, we had nothing to worry about. We've received countless offers for free hosting of the game and its soundtrack. People just want to help out. It's really wonderful, actually. The game community is tight-knit and very friendly when it comes down to it."

Thompson himself was less than impressed. "The creation of this "game" does not meet the terms and conditions of the Modest Proposal. Not even close; thus, no cigar."

"Didn't care one bit," says Yu when asked about Thompson's refusal to donate $10,000 to charity, "since we never actually intended to meet his "challenge." He's a coward, and one does not take a coward's challenge seriously. He has no intention of ever paying up, and we knew that he would find some way to weasel out of it."
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MTV Promotes Game Tech to Heighten Awareness of Sudan Crisis

Can MTV help end the suffering in Darfur?

Recently, GamePolitics reported on the concept of advergames, video games designed to raise awareness, whether it be about the latest sports sneaker, how "evil" corporations are, or the consequences of bombing terrorists in crowded villages.

Now, Julian Dibbell of the Village Voice sends word that mtvU (MTV for university/college students) is running a competition called Darfur is Dying to develop advergames that raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

mtvU and the Reebok Human Rights Foundation have pledged "up to $50,000 toward the development and marketing of the winning game." Visitors to the website vote the winner from the finalists' demos.

The finalists are "The Village" (you are returning home to your burnt and devastated village, navigate the threats), "Fetching Water" (avoid the Janjaweed militias as you try to make it to the well and back), "Guidance" (guide the tribes to food without allowing them to approach and fight each other), and "Shanti Ambassadors" (sneak into the Janjaweed barracks and drain their tanks of fuel before they can attack the villages). The first 3 are flash games, "Shanti Ambassadors" is a Windows-only game.
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Australia Echoes Graffiti Fears with Ban of Ecko Game

Very strange, very troubling news from Australia...

As GamePolitics reported on January 30th, the Office of Film and Literature originally awarded Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure an MA15 rating, judging it suitable for players 15 and older.

Suddenly, the Aussies have reversed themselves, deciding that the game is not suitable for anyone, of any age. Getting Up has been "refused classification," a polite term for banned. The hip-hop culture title joins the like of NARC, Postal and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas in being denied admittance to Australian shores.

But Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock asked the board to reconsider. Ruddock was backed in that motion by the Local Government Association of Queensland. A hearing was held earlier this month. Yesterday it was announced that Getting Up was being banned throughout the country over fears it might promote graffiti-style vandalism.

Australia thus becomes the only country in the entire world to ban the game.

For his part, Ecko was not sparing in his criticism, telling the Sydney Morning Herald, " I'm extremely disappointed in the Australian Government Classification Review Board's move to ban my video game, based solely on a perceived notion that it somehow will promote the crime of graffiti..."

"To blame gaming for everything that is inherently wrong in our homes, in our schools and on our streets is much easier to do than to actually figure out ways to fix the systemic problems that exist within our culture. If a kid wants to learn how to write on the wall, he or she will figure it out. They have done it since prehistoric times, in fact. You just have to dig a little deeper and be willing to open your mind to two artistic mediums - gaming and graffiti - you may not fully understand or appreciate.

GP: I saw this game at E3 last year and, frankly, wasn't all that impressed. But this censorship by the Australian government makes me want to buy a copy just on principle.