May 6th, 2006

Investors Take Stock of Violent Christian Game Maker

Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a real-time strategy game based on the best-selling Christain fundamentalist book series, is due out later this year. It's clear that the brains behind the company are praying for a bountiful blessing of profits.

In fact, the game developer's parent company has left its old name behind. Formerly known as Bonanza Gold, Inc. (does that name tell you something?), the firm will now trade as Left Behind Games, Inc. A press release says, "Left Behind Games Inc. is committed to developing high-quality inspirational game titles for the computer and video game market."

The newly-minted game company's OTC stock closed at 2.60 on Friday.

GP: Expect Left Behind to catch a lot of heat - and a lot of publicity - when it launches. Game violence critics as well as segments of the Religious Right are sure to blast the game. Some already have. But as we saw with protests against 25 to Life, that only seems to help, not hurt sales...

I'll be meeting with the Left Behind folks at E3 and will have much more detailed info for readers following the interview.

Want to talk about it? You can discuss this story via the "comments" feature (click below), or in the new GamePolitics Forums...

Researcher Dishes on Game Violence Study

Last month, GamePolitics brought you the story of a joint University of Pittsburgh / University of California at San Francisco study which suggested that violent video games influence attitudes towards risk-taking behaviors, namely aggressive social interactions and drug use.

A few weeks later, GameSpy spoke with the study's lead researcher, Dr. Sonya Brady. Brady told GameSpy she first became interested in the topic while teaching an undergraduate psychology course.

"I wanted to teach my students about research methodology in a way that was engaging and fun and would prompt them to question and evaluate the way that the research was done," she said. "To do this, I wanted to select a controversial and relevant topic of research that would elicit a variety of opinions in the classroom."

As far as her personal view on games, Brady said, "I have mixed feelings about videogames. I think they have the potential to be positive educational tools and to reinforce skills necessary for success later in life... Games that feature the frequent use of violence model a problem solving strategy that is not very successful in the long run."

The researcher said feedback from colleagues and adults has been generally positive. "What I find most interesting," she added, "is the feedback I have received from adolescents and young adults. Some people are interested in learning more about the research, even if they are skeptical of the results. Other people have been very angry... "
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GP Reader Trades Letters with Oklahoma Guv on Games Bill

If there's one thing that GP loves, it's seeing gamers become more politically aware and active.

In recent weeks we've been publishing responses readers have received from elected officials. These have mostly been from U.S. Senators responding to e-mails generated by readers who belong to the Video Game Voters Network (VGVN).

Today we offer a more localized exchange of views. GP reader Sense7 shared a letter he wrote to Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry (left) concerning video game legislation which appears destined to land on the Guv's desk very soon. When it does, Gov. Henry, a Democrat, will have five days to decide whether or not to sign HB3004 into law.

As previously reported by GamePolitics, the measure, proposed by State Rep. Fred Morgan (R), passed both the House and Senate unanimously. Amendments added by the Senate are being reviewed in the House, but these are not expected to interfere with the bill's progress.

Here's what Sense7 received from an aide to Gov. Henry:

"Governor Henry asked that I thank you for sharing your thoughts on HB 3004. The governor appreciates your time and your willingness to share your thoughts with him."

"Governor Henry will look closely at all legislation that comes to his desk to determine whether it is in the best interest of the state. The governor openly invites and welcomes public input in the crafting of public policy. He will certainly keep your thoughts in mind as he makes these vital decisions for our state.

Like most such responses, this one doesn't say much of anything that's meaty. But that's to be expected. The point is that elected officials definitely pay attention to letters, e-mails and phone calls on important issues. Like any other citizen, gamers shoud feel empowered to contact their representatives and voice their concerns.

You can read more about Sense7's foray into the political process on his site, 8-bit ninja.

Want to talk about it? You can discuss this story via the "comments" feature (click below), or in the new GamePolitics Forums...

More GP Readers in Pixelante Shirts...

The Pixelante shirt campaign may be winding down here on GamePolitics, but that doesn't stop our readers from sending in photos of themselves arrayed in their Pixelante finery.

Today for your viewing pleasure we have GP readers semperAR and jay_apex. They've got their game faces on. Looks they are ready to do battle with video game censors.

Lookin' good, lads!

If you haven't taken the Pixelant plunge already, it's time to jump-start your gaming wardrobe with a Pixelante shirt of your own.

All proceeds go to the Get-Well Gamers Foundation. Get 'em here...

Want to talk about it? You can discuss this story via the "comments" feature (click below), or in the new GamePolitics Forums...