June 26th, 2006

GP Exclusive: Insomniac Games' Ted Price Files Brief in Louisiana Constitutional Fight

Gamers know him best for the popular Ratchet & Clank series, but Insomniac Games President Ted Price is clearly a developer with strong feelings about video game legislation.

His passion for the subject shines through in a brief entered on Price's behalf with Judge James J. Brady and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. GamePolitics has obtained a copy of the brief which was filed in support of Entertainment Software Association v. Foti, the video game industry's suit to overturn Louisiana's new game violence law on constitutional grounds.

As previously reported by GamePolitics, Judge Brady issued a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of the law. The parties are due back in court on Friday to argue the industry's motion for an injunction.

In the 21-page document Price outlines his video game design experience as well as his work with the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS), arguing that games are as much a means of expression as books, movies and music.

Price also details several game examples provided to the court by the video game industry for consideration of their relevance to the violence issue. The games are:

-Medal of Honor Frontline
-Resident Evil 4
-Jade Empire
-God of War
-Full Spectrum Warrior
-Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3


Price's criticisms of the language describing violence in the Louisiana law are revealing. For example, the Insomniac CEO writes, "...'violence' is an incredibly broad term... Does the 'violence' referenced in the Act include... a boxing game, a football game, a World War II game, a game featuring contact between cartoon characters... game creators (are) given the impossible task of guessing the intent of the Act's creators."
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Game Tech Helps Post-Traumatic Stress, Physical Therapy

During last month's Games for Health Conference, Skip Rizzo, research scientist and professor for the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), delivered a fascinating presentation on how game technology is being used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and supplement patients' physical therapy regimens.

The medical world defines PTSD as a psychological reaction caused by "traumatic events outside the range of usual human experiences" such as military combat, being kidnapped or taken hostage, terrorist attack, torture, incarceration as a prisoner of war, automobile accidents, etc. Symptoms can include depression, anxiety, isolation, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, and avoidance of reminders of the event.

Therapy usually entails asking patients to imagine particular events that resemble or symbolize the original trauma. Unfortunately, because avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD, many are unable or unwilling to do so. This is where video game technology can play a role.
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Take-Two Subpoenaed Over Hot Coffee By Grand Jury

Someone in the New York District Attorney's Office must be an avid GP reader...

Last week, in response to a public tongue-lashing handed out by Congress to the ESRB and FTC, GamePolitics ran an editorial calling on the House to subpoena Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar directly, since they were the companies at the center of the Hot Coffee fiasco.

A short time ago Reuters reported that Take-Two Interactive received grand jury subpoenas, not from Congress, but from New York's D.A. for documents relating to the Hot Coffee incident, as well as other financial information dating back to October, 2001. The subpoenas were served on the publisher on June 19th.

Specifically, the grand jury is seeking documents related to "company officers' and directors' knowledge about the creation and inclusion" of the Hot Coffee sex mini-game, as well as information about the submission of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to the ESRB for rating.
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