June 23rd, 2006

GP Book Review: Douglas Coupland's "JPod"

JPod
by Douglas Coupland
reviewed for GamePolitics by Kevin Dole

(Warning - Review contains spoilers)

Let's clear one thing up straight away. JPod, the new novel by Douglas Coupland, is not about video games.

Although the novel tracks the lives of five programmers at an unnamed Vancouver game development studio and is peppered with video game references, JPod is really about its author. Douglas Coupland makes himself the subject of the novel's first line of dialogue and becomes an increasingly common topic of conversation as the book progresses. By the final page the author has inserted himself into the plot and has all of the other characters working for him.
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Louisiana Guv Signs Sex Games Law with Industry Blessing

Not unexpectedly, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) has signed into law SB340, a bill making it unlawful to distribute sexually-explicit video games to minors.

The bill was proposed by Sen. James David Cain (R), and was passed unanimously by both the Senate and House in Louisiana.

Because the provisions of SB340 essentially duplicate existing obscenity statutes, the video game industry has actively supported the bill.

For more on SB340 see GP's previous coverage of the bill.

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Parents Television Council Blasts New ESRB Initiative

It's a "dodge."

That's the position taken by the Parents Television Council (PTC) regarding Wednesday's ESRB Capitol Hill unveiling of its Commitment to Parents campaign.

In a highly critical press release, Tim Winter, executive director of the PTC termed the ESRB initiative, "Yet another dodge by the video game industry to avoid accountability for the harm it inflicts on children. It's the same old rhetoric... This week's announcement does absolutely nothing to help families"

Winter urged passage of video games sales legislation such as that sponsored in Congress by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)

The PTC head vowed to continue with a secret shopper campaign as well as to "continue to heighten public awareness on this critical issue of children's health."

UPDATE: The ESRB declined to comment on the PTC's criticisms.

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