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Hal Halpin on What Lieberman Defeat Means to Gamers

"Joe will still be Joe."

Thus says Hal Halpin, former president of the IEMA, speaking about Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT). The incumbent, a longtime critic of the video game industry, lost a recent, bitter primary fight to political upstart Ned Lamont.

Halpin, a favorite of GamePolitics readers for his straight talk and willingness to answer questions from gamers, spoke to the IGDA's Brenda Brathwaite recently for her Sex & Games blog.

As both a constituent of Lieberman's and a long-time video game industry insider, Hal brings a unique perspective to the Lieberman situation.

"Being a Connecticut resident... has put me in a unique position in dealing directly with the Senator over the years. Despite our obvious disagreements when it comes to restricting consumer and retailer rights regarding content, I have always found him to be very forthright and exceptionally bright. I can't say as much for many of the legislators with whom I've dealt over the years."

"That said," Halpin continued, "he was - quite literally - the impetus for this never-ending onslaught of moralistic conservatism... I'd imagine that the National Institute on Media and the Family would still welcome him as a guest speaker during their annual Video Game Report Card. In other words: Joe will still be Joe."

Hal also told Brenda Brathwaite that the recent wave of Hot Coffee-inspired legislation is far from over.

"We've witnessed in excess of over 100 pieces of anti-games legislation over the past year or two," he said.

"I would think it safe to assume that we'll see at least that number again in the coming election cycle. The issue has become too politicized, and the down-side risk for legislators isn't severe enough to prevent them from making hay. The more worrying aspect of the latest trends is that policy-makers are changing their focus from self-regulation... to criminalizing the purchase itself. It's a fundamental shift that changes the burden and puts gamers at-risk. Most gamers probably don't realize that these laws would treat purchasing a game similarly to illegally purchasing firearms!"

Hmmm... more video game legislation? Around here GP calls that "job security."

Tags: brenda brathwaite, hal halpin, joe lieberman, legislation
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