April 22nd, 2006

Florida House Committee Approves Video Game Bill

Step right up and see the politicians in their natural habitat!

The Business Regulation Committee of the Florida House of Representatives met this week to consider HB 647, video game legislation proposed by Republican State Rep. Dennis Baxley (seen at left presenting his bill).

In the end, the committee approved the bill by a 12-5 vote. Thanks to the excellent video archiving setup provided by the Florida House, GP readers can view the discussion, debate and vote regarding HB 647 which took place on April 17th. Click here to watch the video. HB 647 is the second item on the committee agenda, approximately 15 minutes into the video file.

A few highlights - or perhaps lowlights:

Bill sponsor Baxley, displaying a less-than-keen-grasp of the entertainment medium he seeks to legislate, says at one point, "Since we last discussed this there's been a new game out called Bullying."

GP needs not remind readers that Rockstar's controversial game has not been released yet. And it's name is Bully, not "Bullying."

Baxley also asserted to the assembled committee members that by not enacting his legislation, "We continue to endorse a situation which is hiding under the First Amendment."

Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas (R) expressing concern over bad parenting, sought to add a rather bizarre amendment which would trigger a Department of Public Welfare investigation of parents caught providing violent games to their children.

"I'm just not inclined at this point to give immunity of this sort to the parent... You should have parents who buy these games for the children face something" Planas said.

Rep. Kenneth Gottleib (D) - who voted against the bill - was a voice of reason in the debate, pointing out that if Planas' amendment was passed, parents could legally buy their kids a real gun, yet be subject to state sanction for purchasing a video game with a cartoon depiction of the same weapon.

Rep. Ron Greenstein (D) added, "This thing is poorly written in the first place."

If you'd prefer to listen to the debate, GP has created a 30-minute MP3 which includes only the portion of the meeting related to Baxley's video game bill. Grab the 28mb audio file here.

For more background on the HB647 debate, see GP's coverage of the Business Regulation Committee's February 7th meeting. The video file from that meeting is not yet available, by the way. We are working with committee staff to bring that video to GP readers.

HB647 now proceeds to the Florida House Judiciary Committee.

More on the Ecko Air Force One Scam

"It's a big hoax. He's a fraud."

So said San Bernardino, California Police Sgt. Dwight Waldo, who supervises his P.D.'s graffiti task force. Waldo was speaking of hip-hop/game designer Marc Ecko's silly Air Force One hoax.

"He's telling people he's so out there, on the edge," the sarge continued. " He's done nothing."

This morning's edition of the San Bernardino Sun has a detailed report on how the hoax was perpetrated and, amazingly, how long it took the Air Force to determine it was actually a fraud.

"We're looking at it, too," said Lt. Col. Bruce Alexander, speaking for the Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing, which operates Air Force One. "It looks very real."

GP: Are you serious, Colonel? It took GP and others all of about five minutes to figure out this was nonsense. Hmmm.... Maybe we could get a lucrative military hoax consulting contract with the USAF. Yeah, that's the ticket...

Ecko apparently spent about $100,000 to rent a Boeing 747 as well as an isolated section of the San Bernardino Airport. The port side (that's the left for you draft dodgers) was painted up to look like the presidential ride.

Marc, what were you thinking?

"I wanted to do something culturally significant, wanted to create a real pop-culture moment," he said. "It's this completely irreverent, over-the-top thing that could really never happen: this $5 can of paint putting a pimple on this Goliath."

GP: We've gotten over Thursday's slow burn about Ecko's attempt to use GP in this scheme to spread a would-be viral video. We'd rather see Marc recreate his own version of the Numa Numa Dance.

EA Boss Made $12.6 Million Last Year ...Madden Cost You $20 More

GamePolitics is no bastion of socialism, but these numbers stink.

By way of Gamasutra we take note of a Forbes article on Fortune 500 CEO compensation. The business mag's examination reveals that EA CEO Larry Probst made $12.6 million last year, including stock. Over the past five years Probst has taken home $82 million.

No other gameco's are in the Fortune 500, so Probst was the only game executive whose compensation was mentioned. Forbes notes that Probst ranks well on its measure of CEO pay vs. performance.

Guess what?

GP doesn't care. We're still simply outraged that EA killed the competition for Madden, forcing Joe Sixpack to shell out an extra twenty bucks for Madden. 2K Sports, of course, returned the favor with its MLB 2K6 baseball game, and we don't like that any better.