March 18th, 2006

Radio Killed the Video Game Star, Part 2: Michigan Pol Rips 25 to Life

As GamePolitics reported recently, Democrats in the Michigan Legislature are proposing a boycott of Eidos' controversial cops-and-robbers shooter 25 to Life. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has thrown her support behind the move.

Yesterday, Michigan Public Radio host Jack Lessenberry (left) interviewed Rep. Kathy Angerer, sponsor of the boycott resolution before the Michigan House. Among Rep. Angerer's comments:

"I have played the downloadable version... It's disgusting. It's killing for the perverse reason just to kill.... killing cops just to get points is wrong... Make no mistake. These violent games have terrible consequneces in our community."

The Democratic legislator was alerted to 25 to Life by a local police officer. Both Rep. Angerer's comments as well as commentary by host Lessenberry can be found here.

A tip o' GP's hat to reader Julianna Powell for steering us to the Michigan Public Radio feature.

Radio Killed the Video Game Star, Part 1: Jack Attack

Friday was a very interesting day on the airwaves...

First, we happened to catch the contentious last 15 minutes or so of our old pal Jack Thompson on Minneapolis talk radio station WCCO-AM late yesterday morning. This was a random happenstance for GP. We noticed Jack's mention of his upcoming appearance in an e-mail he sent to Minnesota Department of Education and dialed over to the WCCO website just in time to pick up the juicy bits via the station's streaming audio feed.

Among other things (Minnesota-based retailer Best Buy taking pre-orders on Bully, blah-blah...), Jack got into it on the air with an associate of Dr. David Walsh of National Institute on Media and the Family fame. Walsh's colleague called in to contest Jack's claim that people associated with Best Buy are big NIMF donors.

This is a point of contention for a variety of reasons. It's important to remember, of course, that, in a story broken right here on GamePolitics, NIMF publicly disavowed Thompson last fall. The controversial barrister did not take NIMF's slap well, to say the least.
Read more...Collapse )

Obama, Lieberman Respond to Gamers' e-Mails

Wow. That didn't take long.

The impact of the week-old Video Game Voters Network is already being felt in Washington. At least three GP readers who joined the VGVN and used tools on its website to write to elected officials have received responses from Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT).

The junior senator from Illinois' letter demonstrated an impressive grasp of the issues, especially since he has not in the past been linked to the video game legislative debate. Lieberman, of course, has been playing a video game watchdog role for more than a decade. Both were quite respectful of the gamers who wrote them, which is great to see. Here's what Obama had to say to gamers:

"Thank you for your letter opposing the Family Entertainment Protection Act. I appreciate knowing your views on this matter... There has been some significant Congressional activity lately in response to growing concerns among parents that video games have become too sexually explicit and that violent content has been made too easily available to minors. Among these bills is S.2126, the Family Entertainment Protection Act... I understand the concerns of those who believe that Congress is meddling too deeply in this issue and that the proposed legislation could raise free speech problems. All members of our communities, in my view, do have an obligation to ensure that children are protected from harmful material, but that should never come at the cost of denying others their constitutionally protected rights. The challenge here is finding the right balance between these two principles... Thank you again for writing. Please stay in touch as this issue develops."

For his part, Lieberman wrote to a GP reader, saying, "...Video game content is getting increasingly violent and sexually explicit, yet young people are able to purchase these games with relative ease; and parents are struggling to keep informed about the content. FEPA will put teeth in the enforcement of video game ratings, helping parents protect their children from inappropriate content. I am not interested in censoring videos meant for adult entertainment, but I do want to ensure that these videos are not purchased by minors... Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns."

GP: A big shout-out to GP readers Blitz Fitness, William Newtown and clericdran for sharing their letters with us.