June 30th, 2006

Is Upcoming PSP Game Racist?

Soon-to-be-released PSP game LocoRoco has been labeled by at least one critic as the "happiest game ever made."

Not so fast.

It seems that bit of a controversy has sprung up over the PSP title LocoRoco, due to appear in North America on September 5th.

The dust-up is courtesy of the blogosphere, where 1Up.com blogger Alejandro Quan-Madrid writes about his perception of institutionalized racism in Japanese media, using LocoRoco as a prime example. While not directly accusing publisher Sony of racism, Quan-Madrid postulates that others may be offended by the game's graphics.
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A.G. Confident as Injunction Hearing Looms on Jack Thompson Video Game Law

Today marks an important court date for the video game industry, the state of Louisiana and for Miami attorney and anti-game activist Jack Thompson.

Attorneys representing the ESA (game publishers) and EMA (game retailers and renters) will face off against the Louisiana Attorney General's office in Federal District Court in Baton Rouge. At the hearing, the game industry will seek a preliminary injunction to block the state's new video game law from taking effect.

GamePolitics readers will recall that Louisiana Rep. Roy Burrell's violent video game bill was largely drafted by game industry nemesis Thompson. Gov. Kathleen Babineux Blanco signed the legislation into law earlier this month, and the new statute was scheduled to take effect immediately. However, in response to the video game industry's lawsuit, Federal District Court Judge James Brady issued a temporary restraining order pending today's hearing.
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Judge Extends Louisiana Restraining Order ...Criticizes Video Game Law During Hearing

Is it back to the drawing board for Jack Thompson?

Based on a breaking news report in the Shreveport Times, a Federal judge today seemed quite critical of Louisiana's new law which seeks to declare video game violence as harmful to minors. Thompson, the Miami attorney and anti-game activist, authored the Louisiana bill while assisting its sponsor, Rep. Roy Burrell.

Judge James Brady extended the temporary restraining order he issued on June 16th while he rules on today's request by the video game industry for an injunction.

According to the Times, Assistant Attorney General Burton Guidry and East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Doug Moreau argued that Louisiana already bans sales of alcohol, tobacco and pornography as items deemed harmful to minors.

"That's not speech," Judge Brady said from the bench. Although he did allow that the violence in some games is "horrible, but it's protected... Where is violence not protected (in the First Amendment)?"
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