September 24th, 2006

Pennsylvania Legislators Hold Video Game Hearing

Add Pennsylvania to the list of states examining the video game violence issue.

As reported by the Harrisburg Patriot-News a committee of the Pennsylvania House held a hearing in late August to consider the effects of violent games on children.

Rep. Ronald Waters (D) said, "I watch young people play these games, and they play them for long periods of time. It's hard for me to watch that kind of activity without wondering what kind of effects it's having on them. What are we doing subliminally to our children that we allow them to entertain themselves with this type of activity..."

Waters expressed concerns about Grand Theft Auto and worried that the ESRB rating system might not be working at the retail level. Although he would support video game legislation, Waters was more interested in research similar to the federal government's proposed CAMRA study.

"I'm just asking for a study," Waters said. "Whatever the outcome of the study is, I'm willing to accept it. If we find that there is no consequences of this, then I will be someone who will say 'OK, I accept the study.' But if the study says yes, there are things we need to alarm parents about, then we need to make sure that parents know that."
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America's Army Begins "Real Heroes" Campaign

Sports games endeavor to include accurate player rosters and game adaptations of movies try to use real actor voices and likenesses whenever possible. So it should come as no surprise that the U.S. Army is using real soldiers as characters in its America's Army game.

"The America's Army Real Heroes program puts a face on some of the exceptional Soldiers who are at the forefront in defending our freedoms. With Real Heroes young adults can learn about the accomplishments of some of the heroic men and women that make the Army the world's premier land force," said Colonel Casey Wardynski, Project Director.

Players who download the latest version of the free online game will be able to interact with four such Heroes during training missions and while exploring an interactive Virtual Recruiting Center.
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Australian Official Thinks Bully Rating Too Lenient

Some politicians in Australia are taking issue with the official government rating given to Rockstar's controversial Bully, or, as the game is now known outside of the North American market, Canis Canem Edit.

The West Australian is reporting that New South Wales Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt is concerned about what she considers an overly-lenient rating given to Bully by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). Ms Tebbutt urged parents to keep the game out of the hands of their children, and has requested that the country's Attorney General review the classification.

"I'm concerned that its message for violence is undermining what we're doing in schools to counteract bullying," she said. "I also want (the A.G.) to assure me that everything that needs to be taken into account has been taken into account in this classification process."
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Editorial Roundup: Longing for Pong, Games as Societal Scapegoat

This week's editorial/opinion roundup takes us to Canton, Ohio and San Francisco.

In the Canton Republic columnist Tom Martin writes, "When I was a kid, spinach was good for you and video games included neither murder nor sex. What a difference a few decades make."

"...I had Pong. I knew Pong. Pong was a friend of mine... I know Ms. Pac-Man ate a lot of those gremlin things... but as far as I know she didn't pop a cap in somebody's keister."

"I've seldom been one to wax poetic about yesteryear. Yesteryear often comes back to us with the blemishes airbrushed out... playing Pong didnt make me aspire to play pingpong, tennis or another racket game in the real world. So maybe no one will want to join a street gang after playing 'The Warriors.' But making sport out of theft, murder, prostitution and senseless destruction seems wrong on every level. Maybe our spinach isn't the only thing tainted"

Inside Bay Area columnist Tom Leupold writes about the public perception of games:

"...despite evidence to the contrary, games are still seen as the sole providence of teenage boys, at least by the mainstream media. I asked (Prof. Dmitri) Williams (seen at left) why..."
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GP Server Switch on Monday

It looks like GP finally will move to our new format and new server tomorrow. If you'd like, you can check out the beta of the new look.

So, we will definitely have some amount of downtime, depending upon how smoothly the transition goes.

Forums will also go down at the time of the switch. I expect them to be back up later in the week.

Finally, LJ comments are disabled during the transition.

Keep your fingers crossed...