March 15th, 2006

NVIDIA & iGames Partner in Charity Fundraiser for Get-Well Gamers

The Get-Well Gamers Foundation does great work. The California-based public charity is dedicated to bringing electronic entertainment to sick kids in healthcare facilities.

What's more, the organization enjoys a special place in our heart here at GamePolitics. Executive Director Ryan Sharpe is a GP regular who knows his games and pays close attention to the political scene. GP supports the Get-Well Gamers and encourages readers to open their hearts - and their PayPal accounts - in support of GWG.

So we're very pleased to learn that between now and April 16th, NVIDIA and iGames will be running their first-ever month-long charity ladder at 300 iGames and NVIDIA Game Center Alliance member centers across North America to benefit the Get-Well Gamers.
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Miami School Board Votes on Bully Resolution Today

The Miami-Dade School Board will likely give Rockstar's Bully a swirly today.

As reported earlier this week by the Miami Herald, the board is expected to vote on a resolution proposed by member Frank Bolanos which would ask Rockstar not to release the game, local merchants not to carry it and parents not to buy it.

A subcommittee unanimously approved the measure last week. If passed, Miami-Dade would be first major school system in the United States to take a stand against the controversial game.

"This game is built entirely around bullies and is staged in a school - it's the antithesis of everything we're trying to promote," said Bolanos.

The concept for such action was Jack Thompson's idea. He has indicated plans to submit the resolution to school boards around the country. The activist attorney told the Herald, "The goal is to make it such a negative thing that the retailers won't carry it. This thing hasn't really reached critical mass as a [public relations] problem yet; that's what I'm trying to do."

For its part, Rockstar offers only a written statement saying, "We all have different opinions about art and entertainment, but everyone agrees that real-life school violence is a serious issue which lacks easy answers."

Mr. Yee Goes to Washington

No, it's not a re-make of a Frank Capra film.

Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee, architect of California's contested video game law, has accepted an invitation to testify later this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights.

Yee was asked to appear by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sam Brownback (R-KS). The hearing, listed as "State Regulation of Violent Video Games and the First Amendment," will feature a variety of nationally recognized political, legal and medical figures.

"I look forward to working with Congress as they examine legislation to protect children and families," said Yee. "Clearly, violent video games have become a national issue and I applaud Congress for taking a serious look at ways we can help parents raise healthier kids."

In addition to Brownback (Chair) and Feingold (Ranking Minority Member), the Subcommittee consists of Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC ), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

The hearing is scheduled to take place on March 29, 2006.

Miami School Board Waters Down Thompson's Bully Bill

The Miami-Dade School Board today passed what the Miami Herald describes as a "watered-down" version of the resolution against Rockstar's upcoming Bully (screen shot at left). The idea for the school board to take action against the game was originally proposed by our old pal Jack Thompson.

Board member Frank Bolanos, the school board member who officially sponsored the resolution, described Bully as "violence of the worst kind."

GP: Based on that comment, it's clear Bolanos has never played Postal 2...

The original language in the resolution called for local retailers not to carry the game and parents not to buy it for their children. However amendments added during today's vote substantially weakened the resolution's bite.

As passed, the resolution urges retailers not to sell Bully to minors (so, simply follow the ESRB ratings, then) and directed the school district to distribute information to parents on "on the potential harmful effects to children of playing interactive video games containing violence."

Local student Alexander Robel opposed the school board resolution in any fashion, comparing it to censorship of controversial literature such as Catcher in the Rye .

"We have never hurt other students," Robel said. "It is no surprise to me that the school board in my very own county would fall into the trap of pointing fingers and assigning blame."

GP: Tough break for Jack's anti-game crusade when he can't get the full-strength version of the resolution passed in his own backyard.