May 15th, 2006

ESA's Doug Lowenstein Profiled in Washington Post

With E3 just concluded, it seems only fitting that the video game industry's point man is highlighted. Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas does just that in an excellent profile of Doug Lowenstein.

Calling the ESA president "the Jack Valenti for the PlayStation-Xbox-Nintendo set", Vargas notes that Lowenstein shuns publicity.

"It's not my persona to get in the limelight," the 55-year-old Lowenstein said. "I don't want to be seen as, 'Here's the guy who defends hideous violent games. Here's his story.'"

Speaking of Valenti, the former MPAA boss was complimentary.

"He's got a really tough job to do. But Doug listens, and listens very well. Too many people in Washington think they're the repository of all wisdom. Not Doug."

Representing the video game industry makes Lowenstein somewhat of a controversial figure. Vargas notes that a $500 campaign contribution Lowenstein made to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was returned to him by Obama's staff.

"Stuff happens," was Lowenstein's comment.
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Pixelante Shirts Join the Navy, See the World

GamePolitics readers from all over the US and Canada have sent in pictures of themselves in their Pixelante shirts.

But now, Pixelante shirts are going global.

GP reader gamerkidusn sends us this awesome pic of himself clad in Pixelante finery. What's really cool is that gamerkidusn is on active duty in the U.S. Navy, and this shot was taken in Thailand.

Need your own Pixelante shirt? Of course you do. Get them right here.* Remember, all proceeds go to the Get-Well Gamers Foundation.

* Battleship not included

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

EDITORIAL: Louisiana Game Bill Deserves Honest Debate, Not Distortions and Hysteria

Having watched the video of last week's Criminal Justice Committee hearing in the Louisiana House of Representatives concerning HB1381, GP is disheartened by what passes for serious debate in that chamber.

We're frankly aghast at the scare tactics and distortions foisted upon the committee by Rep. Roy Burrell (D) and his witness, Miami attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson

Not everything presented by Rep. Burrell was out of line. It's entirely proper for Burrell to raise the 2005 video game-related findings of the American Psychological Association in the context of the debate over HB1381. That is precisely the kind of research data which elected officials need to evaluate in formulating public policy. We only wish Burrell himself had raised the APA's conclusion, rather than leaving the heavy lifting on his own bill to an agenda-driven witness.

But much of the other so-called information presented in support of the legislation ranged from conjectural to non-applicable to downright ludicrous.

In the latter category we lump Thompson's contention that the PS2 Dual Shock (i.e., vibrating) controller is used in the Grand Theft Auto series to provide reinforcement to violent behavior.

The controller "literally gives you a pleasurable jolt and vibration back into your hands every time you kill someone," said Thompson. "When you take a car and you run over innocent virtual pedestrians in the game you get a pleasurable vibration as your wheels go over their skulls..."

Vibrations in the hands teach you to kill? What's the scientific basis for that? And while a half-dozen federal courts have held that games are protected speech, Thompson begs to differ.

"It's not even speech of any kind. It is a device," he told the committee, speaking of GTA Vice City and other violent games.
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