March 5th, 2006

HELP WANTED: Book Reviewers, International Correspondents

Get big, fast.

Like, that's our mantra. Well actually, "big" may be a bit of a reach. Let's just say:

Get slightly-larger-than-tiny at a moderate rate of acceleration.

What all of this silliness means is that GamePolitics is expanding and we need some help in the following areas:

International Correspondents: especially in Asia, Australia-New Zealand, China and Eastern Europe; spot stories consistent with GP's coverage patterns and write 'em up. Or, be assigned stories by GP and, uh, write 'em up. We edit what you write. Savagely. You own your work after we have printed it.

Book Reviewers: GP supplies the book; you write the review. Currently we have one book awaiting review.

Applicants should have solid written skills in English, a strong interest in video game-related topics and the ability to wear a GamePolitics T-shirt - because that's all we can afford to pay you... Sense of humor is a definite plus.

If you're interested, contact GP. Send a writing sample if you have one, as well as your background and any related experience.

Aussie Game Ban Won't Go Away Quietly

Australia's recent decision to ban Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure continues to spray controversy in every direction.

As reported by the Cranbourne News, Steve Beardon and Wayne Smith (left), co-founders of anti-graffiti organization RAGE (Residents Against Graffiti Everywhere), are treating the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification's (OFLC) Getting Up ban as "a victory for the protection of young people from games glorifying graffiti and anti-social behaviour."

Claiming to have received international support from the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Smith said, "I think this win will set a precedent for the banning of other games that promote illegal activities."

Interestingly, a similar question was posed to OFLC boss Des Clark in an interview with PAL Gaming Network Australia. In response, Clark seemed to nix the idea of a blanket ban on games featuring activity which would be considered illegal in the real world. "All classification decisions are considered on a case by case basis... As all games and films are different, it would be pre-emptive to make a comment either way. "

Naturally, the Getting Up ban isn't without its detractors. In addition to Ecko's well-publicized comments that the OFLC members have "too many grey hairs blocking their eyes," the RAGE councillors also claim to have been attracting negative attention from the Aussie graffiti community.

"I have received plenty of threatening comments... I certainly won't be backing down. Why should I? I would be conceding defeat if I stopped campaigning," he said."

-Mark Kelly

In Which GP 'Fesses Up to Buying WoW Gold

I rarely mention my weekly Philadelphia Inquirer column here on GamePolitics for a variety of reasons. But today's piece deals with my first-person venture into a highly controversial game topic, one that we've touched on here at GamePolitics a number of times.

In an effort to report on what it's like to buy virtual goods, I purchased WoW gold from IGE, the planet's largest seller of virtual MMO items.

My conclusion? The influx of virtual cash was like hitting the lottery. Conversely, I can buy fewer real-world groceries. As far as I can tell, my purchase did not cause my WoW server's economy to crash. None of my fellow players have had any less fun. I'm quite sure none of them even took notice of my little windfall.

There will, of course, be disagreement on this issue, so fire away.

GP: As always, I will mention that that GamePolitics is an independent effort and not affiliated with the Philadelphia Inquirer or any other publication.