Game talkGames victim of bad CNN headline

 Posted by (Visited 8906 times)  Game talk  Tagged with:
Sep 022010

There it was on the front page of CNN today: “Games delay, then speed dementia?

Only, of course, you click through to the article, and the headline is different: Brain exercises delay, speed up dementia?.

What sort of brain exercises? Well, everything:

Activities that counted toward being “cognitively active” included going to a museum, watching television, listening to radio, reading newspapers, reading magazines, reading books, and playing games.


This stuff does matter — plenty of people will read just the headline, and move on. Why doesn’t it say “going to museums delays then speeds up dementia”?

Game talkSign The Gamer Petition

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Jul 062010

Do you agree that games deserve First Amendment protection, that they qualify for freedom of speech protection?

If you do, and you are an American gamer, I urge you to visit the ECA website and sign The Gamer Petition.

We, the undersigned American video game consumers, purchase, rent and play video games the way we do other entertainment content such as movies and music. We respectfully request that you hold that video games are indeed free speech, protected under the First Amendment, like other entertainment media.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Schwarzenegger v EMA, which is a lawsuit about the latest in a long string of  state-level legislation against videogame regulation. Every time this has come up, courts have struck down the laws as unconstitutional. This time, the appeals have made it to the Supreme Court, and if they decide against games and in favor of the law, it would have huge negative implications for the industry — and for gamers.

The petition will be attached to the amicus brief that the ECA is submitting to the court.

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of some of the excesses of industry content. But I also believe that the way for games to mature as a medium is for them to grow their way to it. That will be made much harder if we end up laboring under arbitrary or pointless restrictions the way comics did for so long. Or if the stigma of regulation means that publishers become averse to games that tackle adult topics with adult sophistication. Or if we have to make builds that vary state to state (a scenario envisioned by the CEO of EA).

So I was happy to sign the petition. I want games to be treated like books, because I want them to aspire to the historical level of impact and quality that books have had.

Game talkGame censorship going to Supreme Court

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Apr 262010

California’s law prohibiting sales of violent video games to minors is going before the U.S. Supreme Court. This law was previously struck down by the appeals court on the grounds that the state didn’t produce enough evidence that games cause physical or psychological harm.

The same sort of law has been struck down in eight states based on free speech concerns from the courts. Were such a law to be upheld, videogames would be the only medium treated in this fashion — other censorship laws are based on sexual content, not violence.

Edit: SCOTUSBlog has more detail.

Apr 132010

Spotted this via an article at CNet; the Korea Herald reports on new measures instituted by the government there for underage gamers. The measures are aimed at fighting game addiction.

According to the ministry, underaged users will be forced out of gaming sessions when online access automatically shuts down as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

The policy also includes a “slowdown” system in which internet connection speeds will be stifled dramatically if underaged users are logged on for a lengthy period of time.

“Midnight ban imposed on online games”, Korea Herald

The rules are going to apply to 19 games accounting for 79% of the Korean online game market. But interestingly, Lineage is excluded, though Maple Story isn’t… apparently the issue of which games are on the list is the source of some controversy.

Game talkBuy games for Haiti

 Posted by (Visited 7827 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jan 212010 is doing a clever charity drive for Doctors Without Borders and Haiti — give a $20 donation, and they will give a coupon for $1481.31 worth of digitally downloaded RPGs and materials. You can also give $5 or $10, and they will match the donation

Donate $20 and get a coupon for over a thousand dollars in RPG titles. After you make the donation, you will receive the coupon code in your email. It will also be available in your order history.

via Gamers Helping Haiti $20 Donation with Coupon – OneBookShelf, Inc. |

They are apparently already overwhelmed with the response, so are asking people to wait a few days to grab their downloads.

Game talkVenezuela bans violent video games

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Nov 052009

Ugh, yet another country…

Last Thursday in Venezuela, a new law criminalizing “violent” video games and toys was approved by the National Assembly.

The law scapegoats gamers for the obscene levels of violence in our country (see below), and goes to extraordinary lengths to criminalize gaming, to the point of holding out long jail terms to people who buy the wrong kinds of games.

It’s no joke. Last year, on a trip to the US, I was able to buy a Nintendo DS for my brother, and a puzzle game that deals with using weapons to defend the fish stock of penguins in Antarctica, Defendin’ de Penguin. Early next year, when the law kicks in, bring such a game could land me in jail for 3 to 5 years, for importing forbidden violent games, as the penguins use snowball guns to ward off walruses, foxes (in Antarctica? OMG think of Biogeography!), polar bears and the Yeti.

via Venezuela bans violent video games: a first-person guest essay – Boing Boing.

Jul 012009

What it has banned is spending virtual currency for real world items. In other words, it is more about defending the real world currency than anything else. I have mentioned in the past that many people in China regard the QQ coin (Tencent’s virtual currency) as solid enough to put savings in. Sounds like maybe the government thinks that is a bad idea.

This is a government restriction on the use of the quasi-Paypal-like currencies (mainly QQ coins) that are used extensively in China to pay for virtual game stuff. As announced they can now only be used to pay for virtual stuff, and you can’t buy real things with them as game companies were allowing to happen, nor can you gamble. This therefore is not about what gold farming clients do: use real money to buy these virtual currencies; it’s the mirror image. And it’s not about the major trade in gold farming such as World of Warcraft, which relates to other types of virtual currency. And it’s not about buying/selling in-game items. And it’s not about the power-levelling of avatars. Bottom line: it’s not about gold farming.

ICTs for Development

[via a commenter, via Blue’s News]

Jun 252009

The headline reads, “Confirmed: Second Life, online adult games to banned outright in Australia“. But I don’t know enough about the issue.

If true, it’s boneheaded. I dont think Australia bans books and movies intended for ages 15+, do they?

A spokesman for Censorship Minister Stephen “Goebbels” Conroy confirmed to Fairfax newspapers that “under the filtering plan, it will be extended to downloadable games, flash-based web games and sites which sell physical copies of games that do not meet the MA15+ standard.” In Australia, the MA15+ rating means that the content is restricted to those aged 15 and above. Australia does not have a R 18+ or similar rating for computer games, with all adult games automatically being classified as RC (Refused Classification.)

A commenter in the thread notes,

The reason it’s news now is because Conroy just got around to answering the latest batch of Senator Ludlum’s questions on notice in which he confirmed that games will be blacklisted – prior to this, many knowledgeable people in the debate assumed that they would somehow make an exception for games. See QON 1496(13) from the Hansard of Monday, 22 June 2009.