April 28th, 2006

More E3 Annoyances...

It is the best of times and the worst of times.

It is E3, the video game industry's annual extravaganza. And it's only 10 days away.

Earlier this week GP issued his personal screed on the show in E3: Ten Things I Hate About You.

Now, the shadowy GameDaily BIZ columnist known only as "Media Coverage" has issued his own numerical rant in 7 Annoying Things To Do At E3.

There are some surprising parallels to GP's observations, including the sorry practice of so-called journalists cheering at press conferences. Among the suggestions offered by Mr. (or Ms., we really have no idea) Media Coverage are exposing booth babe gawkers by saying things like:

" Psst... Ma'am. I don't mean to alarm you, but I believe that gentleman in the Final Fantasy XIII hat is looking at your boobs"

Definitely worth a read.

Parlez-Vous Video Game? Tongue Police May Getcha

Ze fam-ous tongue police, as they are affectionately known in Canada, are the Quebec provincial government officials charged with enforcing Bill 101, also known as the French Language Charter.

Both praised for enforcing equal language rights, and criticized for forcing stores to emphasize French signs, the Charter seeks to protect the Frence language in Quebec by forcing companies to provide French services (English services are optional). In the rest of Canada, the bilingual regulations only apply to federal government services.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that l'Imperatif francais has filed more than 800 complaints over the last few months, mostly targeting video game companies, appliance manufacturers, and company websites based in Quebec.

Jean-Paul Perreault, president of l'Imperatif francais, explained why the video game industry in particular was targeted:

"It is unacceptable to sell video games with English instructions in Quebec. Most of the video games available only in English in Quebec are sold in French in France."

The Office quebecois de la langue francaise, the provincial body charged with enforcing the Charter, states that French versions must be made available in Quebec if they are produced in French for any other market. In 2004, they fined CompuSmart and Office Depot for selling English-only games.

Gerald Paquette, a spokesman for the Office, said that they are doing all they can to enforce the Charter, and called l'Imperatif francais a militant group. He said they shouldn't expect the 800 complaints to be resolved within a few weeks.

Quebec has regional offices for several video game companies, such as EA Games, Activision (Beenox) and Ubisoft.

-Reporting from a cafe where he is enjoying some poutine, GP Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock"

New York A.G. Spitzer Calls For Game Legislation

He's high-profile, ambitious, and definitely not afraid to pursue indictments, issue subpoenas and drag corporations into court. He's Eliot Spitzer, New York's Attorney General. He's also the state's leading candidate for governor in November.

And - just this morning - the Democrat went on record as being in favor of two of the video game industry's recurring nightmares: retail legislation as well as a universal rating system for all media.

Spitzer spoke at the Buffalo-Niagara YMCA, spending much of his time talking about corporate responsibility in marketing to children. Although he also hit on tobacco usage, gun availability and junk food, a good part of Spitzer's speech was directed at media influence. He clearly fired a shot across the bow of the video game industry. His remarks, in part:

"Like all parents, I know it is increasingly difficult to protect our children from negative influences. Parents and schools need the government's help in curbing irresponsible behavior by corporations that market harmful products to our kids."

"...today I want to talk about a different kind of 'corporate responsibility,' one that does not get nearly the attention it deserves: that is a responsibility for corporations to stop treating our children as fair game for products that cause them great harm. And if corporations fail to live up to that responsibility it is vital that government step in..."

"...self-regulation doesn't always work... we have learned that when self-regulation fails, government must step in... these two lessons have informed my actions as Attorney General and they will inform my actions as Governor. Today, I would like to lay out a strategy to ensure we start defining deviancy up instead of down, to make sure our children are not left to be mere prey in a race to the lowest common denominator. "

"...we must do more to protect our children from excessive sex and violence in the media... Many children spend more time interacting with media - whether it be television, radio, video games or the Internet - than they do in school or with their parents."

"...media content has gotten more graphic, more violent and more sex-based... And it is not just television anymore. We now have to deal with video games, the Internet and a proliferation of other media that have made our jobs as parents even more challenging."
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