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Friday, March 24, 2006

From Screen To Print

I just borrowed a work printer to run off a copy of my Lovecraft interaction fiction's full text. It occured to me that this is one of the simple differences between this format and the standard Zork format. With the latter, you can't just simply print out the whole story, with all it's variation ... at least not terribly easily. Between a parser being in between the printer and the text as well as all of the reader response messages (You pick up the lantern. You already have the lantern. There is no lantern.) ... it doesn't seem terribly feasible.

This is important to me because when I write things, I still need to see a print version to edit towards the end. Can't explain it, but without a piece of a paper with a margin wide enough to jot down some notes ... the brain gets all cramped. I'm not the kind of person who can't read a novel on a computer screen ... but sometimes a cursor just isn't enough for editing your own text.

This is a bit premature, because I think I'm still going to add in a few new sections. No printer at home, though, so this is a good chance to review what's already in place. Came out to 14 pages, single spaced, albeit with non-conventional formatting. I was surprised it was that long, though.

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Everyone Loves A Rant

As is her way, Alice has transcripted the latest rant session from the GDC. Some excellent quotes:

Justin: Chris Crawford: what happened to so embitter you?

Chris Crawford: When you guys can do people stuff, do it. You can’t do it.

Audience: huh?

(Seamus:) You go to the Fairmont. You hang out, have a coupla 9 dollar beers. Pretend that you like the guys who screwed you 6 years ago at some other company. And you hear a whole bunch of people bitching and moaning about how their awesome games aren’t getting published by those jackass publishers who wouldn’t know a good game if it smacked them in the head. I used to really be into this.

Now all I can say is let’s just stop fucking ourselves and realise what’s happening here. We don’t HAVE a good business around most of the ideas we wanna make. We can’t go to guys like EA who, incidentally, are really smart - and present them a business case for some of these ideas. I made a decision about 2 years ago to wear a suit and tie every day. I guarantee you that you can feel the IQ flowing from you body down the tie. It’s all down to sacrifice. But I went there because I thought we might be able to hack into Hollywood a bit, help the game biz. In fact, Ted Price can give a talk at DiCE about finance, and I’m talking about off balancesheet financing. That was a great moment in my career but I’m not bitter about it.

Also.. Eric says we have a bit of time left over. I wanna see if Chris Hecker.. ?

Chris Hecker.
You guys couldn’t fill up the time? Now you want me to do something about it??

Heckler: how often do developers get MORE TIME!

Q: Cheesy award ceremonies. That important? Why?

Heckler: it’s just masturbation!

Seamus: and that’s bad for you? Well that’s fine. Hehe. No. The ceremonies.. that “Hollywood horseshit” is critical to a business system. It gets the word out. It builds a biz around things you’d never otherwise try. You get celebs going to see Brokeback Mountain, a film that OTHERWISE would have totally offended a bunch of red states.. but now they go see it.

(Frank:) So what’s wrong with this? Why does the phrase ‘the player will be able to go anywhere and do anything’ sound like nails on a chalkboard to me? It’s based on a very naïve and unsophisticated understanding of how simulation, how representation works. You have a thing, a part of the world, and you have a simulation of that. There’s a gap in between, the gap is made up by all the differences, the way that this is not this.. the immersive fallacy is this idea that computer simulation allows us to close this gap and makes these things identical. But this gap is an essential part of how this representation works, this gap is where the magic happens.

I especially like the last one. I mean, I'm all for free form and player emergent play and all that fine old stuff. But I also think that the drive to make perfectly believable, ultimate interactive, emulations is distracting.

Sorry for the lack of last names, that's how Alice reports it.

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Sony Song And Dance

Not being at GDC and trapped behind a corporate proxy, I'm getting some of my conference info from MTV, of all places:

During his presentation, Harrison cued an undersea demo of thousands of fish gathering in swirling schools, each using their own artificial intelligence to flock with matching species and zip through the deep. Later, on the GDC show floor, a Sony rep said the demo's 5,000 fish were flocking with a sophistication of autonomous artificial intelligence that would have limited the pool to just 50 if the demo had been built for PS2.

An unannounced PS3 car game was shown in equally stripped form. A sporty two-door was placed on a sun-cracked desert flat and an unseen gun let loose. This demo showed damage applied in procedural stages, meaning the destruction of the car was not a canned animation but rather a series of cracks, breaks and drops cued by the unique pattern of that particular play session's gunfire. The bullets at this demo punctured the passenger door enough that it swung open, causing the passenger window to shatter, the side mirror to crack off, the bumper to drop to the ground and the hood to pop open.

The next demo was an oversea aerial battle from "Warhawk," a title from developer Incognito that was promised to be playable at E3 in May. Incognito product director Dylan Jobe used a PS2 controller and PS3 devkit to steer a fighter through "hundreds" of enemy planes and a herd of lumbering ships. Jobe pointed out the game's procedurally rendered ocean (now waves — instead of a car — reacting on the fly to attack) and volumetric, ray-traced clouds.

Insomniac president Ted Price played a "Doom III"-style level of his company's PS3 first-person shooter "Resistance: Fall of Man," and introduced a non-interactive teaser trailer for his company's first next-gen "Ratchet and Clank." "If you do everything right, the PlayStation 3 can do more per frame than any system ever invented," Price raved as he blasted enemies in "Resistance" with a weapon perhaps best described as a porcupine bomb.
-- PlayStation 3 Demo Breaks Gaming Ground

I dunno, sounds an awful lot like when the PS2 was coming out and Sony released demo vids of islands being formed in seconds or whatnot. Seems like the ramp up to console releases always have big, big promises that are usually accompanied with slideshows and mpegs ... but that doesn't always mean much for the final product.

I just can't get excited about the next-gen stuff until it matures a bit.

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Nintendo Innovates

Yeah, I know. Not Earth-shattering news or anything, but Reuters thought it kinda was. They bring up tons of stuff covered elsewhere about how Nintendo has made gaming more casual and appealing to a broader base. It's interesting, I think, that Nintendo has figured out how to grow up with the hardware design so that everything looks less like a toy ... while at the same time making games which are less "hardcore" and yet totally addictive.

I still can't decide if I'm going to sneak out and get Metroid: Hunters. A wifi shooter is too good to pass up, so it's inevitable that I'll get it. However I'm trying to finish the Lovecraft IF, I've started poking at an Unreal mod (though I said I wouldn't) AND I'm finishing up some design doc type stuff for the Torque 2D Mac project I was working on ... it's like I need to take a vacation just to get side work and gaming done.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Flint Sues Over Grand Theft Auto

Little late to the game (hehe) perhaps, but the city of Flint is suing for damages over Grand Theft Auto. The problem? Surely it's got something to do with crime or kids becoming dangerous villains or kicking grannies or stabbing hookers?

No, it's that the Flint retirement board put half a million into Take Two stock as an investment and then got to eat almost half of that when the whole Hot Coffee brouhaha tanked out.

The city attorney states this lawsuit won't cost Flint anything. I'd say that's about as good of a gamble as the previous one.

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Lost: Three Different Suns

The same question posed to a philospher and a scientist can create very different results. My philosophy teacher learned us in the dangers of a priori thinking by asking how to prove that the sun would come up tomorrow (I will try to get through this without any Annie jokes). You can assume that it probably will, based on your past experiences and how the Earth moves and whatnot ... but you can't actually prove that it will.

Whereas the scientist wouldn't give such an obvious question much thought, knowing precisely how improbable it would be for the Earth to stop turning or the Sun to vanish or ... well, whatnot.

And so we come to our dear little Sun on the island. Which is it? The obvious answer to Sun's mysterious pregnancy is that there is no mystery. The scientist would say that it's logically improbable for it to be anything but conception by two fertile parent ... one of them likely not Jin. Occam's Razor and all that. The philosopher, however, might point out that all that being true ... you can't necessarily prove the case that Sun's child isn't the result of something ... less predictable.

Which is what the island seems to be based on. Do you accept things with some faith, even if they aren't logical? Or do you push ahead with your previous beliefs and knowledge and accept the practical? Simply ... are you a Locke or a Jack?

Given the oddness of the island ... I'm leaning to the former right now. Course, I don't know what that does to any existing theories. Imaginary horses and backward talking hallucinations are one thing ... but now we're messing with immaculate conceptions? Or maybe nanosurgery?

Best counter argument I've had to this is ... "Why Sun? Why aren't all the women being ... um ... changed?"

Which I could only respond with, "The island is not a slut."

Not my best comeback. Still, I don't know where it fits with what's going on with the island, but I'm sure it has something to do with it.

Oh ... and Henry Gale is totally evil.

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Dell Denies Denial ... Buys Alienware Anyway

After trying to make it seem like they were just so not interested, Dell went off and bought Alienware. Doesn't sound like a big deal though, since it seems they will be keeping the two brands seperate from each other and that the XPS lineup isn't going anywhere.

Course ... that's what they say now. Easier to just make the purchase and let Alienware's profit line pay off some of the loss and then slowly merge the two together down the road.

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Put Your Guild Status On Your Resume

hat's Wired's advice:

In this way, the process of becoming an effective World of Warcraft guild master amounts to a total-immersion course in leadership. A guild is a collection of players who come together to share knowledge, resources, and manpower. To run a large one, a guild master must be adept at many skills: attracting, evaluating, and recruiting new members; creating apprenticeship programs; orchestrating group strategy; and adjudicating disputes. Guilds routinely splinter over petty squabbles and other basic failures of management; the master must resolve them without losing valuable members, who can easily quit and join a rival guild. Never mind the virtual surroundings; these conditions provide real-world training a manager can apply directly in the workplace.

And that's exactly what Gillett is doing. He accepted Yahoo!'s offer and now works there as senior director of engineering operations. "I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job done," he says. "Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise, I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task." His story - translating experience in the virtual world into success in the real one - is bound to become more common as the gaming audience explodes and gameplay becomes more sophisticated. The day may not be far off when companies receive résumés that include a line reading "level 60 tauren shaman in World of Warcraft."
-- You Play World of Warcraft? You're Hired!

I've mentioned my modding and hobby dev stuff to potential employers in the past, but that's usually on the "I'm an addict" angle, not the "I am a Guild Lord" angle.

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Video Game Urinal

Bored while relieving yourself? Who isn't? Enter the video game urinal, which features a "pressure sensitive pad that when activated produces images and sound on the forward facing screen." I wonder if BatJack believes that this will train kids how to urinate on people.

(via newlaunches)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wild Tangent introduces WildCoins micro-payments

Dean's San Jose Blog, of which I'm becoming an avid reader, talks about a new twist for casual gaming:

But St. John says that casual gamers ought to have more options. So he has created WildCoins, which are worth about 25 cents. One coin will get someone a chance to play a game once or twice. Using digital rights management technology that can track games at 25 cents a pop, Wild Tangent can turn off the game once the coins are used up. So gamers can play a bunch of games for just 25 cents each. If they want to buy and own the game, they can do so at any time and their used WildCoins will go toward the purchase.

But this new system of paying for games doesn’t come with the hassle of micro-payments. Instead, the gamers buy a roll of coins for $10 each. So the credit card transaction is $10, not just 25 cents. And big companies such as Coca-Cola can run free promotions by purchasing lots of WildCoin rolls from Wild Tangent. Coca-Cola can then turn around and give away the WildCoins. This lowers the cost of entry from $20 to just 25 cents for playing a game, and it means that developers won’t lose all of their sales to the free games that gamers can enjoy so easily.
-- The Beast From Redmond Strike Again

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Metroid Hunters Review Via IM

The Brother found Metroid Prime: Hunters at Target, after being told by Best Buy employee that they would get sued if they sold it before the 30th. Never let it be said that high school education is being wasted by Best Buy management. His reactions over AIM follows (broheim is not his real IM, if you were thinking of spamming):

[12:23] *** "broheim" signed on at Tue Mar 21 12:23:44 2006.
[12:30] inkless1: so have you tried it yet?
[12:30] inkless1: you're playing right now
[12:30] inkless1: aren't you
[12:57] broheim: yup
[12:57] inkless1: how is it?
[12:59] broheim: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
[12:59] inkless1: wow
[13:10] broheim: I haven't tried deathmatch yet. I've just made it through the first part of the first single-player level.
[13:10] inkless1: oh wow
[13:10] inkless1: I just fig'd you were playing MP
[13:11] broheim: I wanted to get used to the interface first, though I did just have my first boss encounter with one of the other bounty hunters, which is probably pretty close to the deathmatch
[13:12] inkless1: how is the touchscreen? Are you thumbing it or something?
[13:13] broheim: yeah, using that little thumbpad on the wrist strap. It actually works pretty well. You use the thumb to look, the cross to move, left shoulder to fire, double-tap the screen to jump
[13:32] broheim: MP is pretty sweet-- It picked up my WiFi settings and ran with them, even taking my Nickname. It found a match much more quickly than MK, giving up on finding three others and just settling for the one it found.
[13:32] broheim: I definately need more practice, because I got pwned.
[13:32] inkless1: heheh
[13:33] inkless1: it's all those youngin's and their cocaine juiced reflexes
[13:33] broheim: But the controls seem to work pretty well. Circle strafing wasn't a problem. I think I might want to adjust the sensitivity on the touchscreen. But no lag, and the framerate clicks right along
[13:34] broheim: aw crap, I've gotta go to work
[13:34] inkless1: life isn't fair

So far it seems another success for Nintendo and their WiFi platform. Poor Mario Kart ... it's so last month. I don't know if I'll pick it up soon or not ... I'm desperately trying to focus on the interactive fiction these days and playing with Guild Wars PvP is bad enough.

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Doctor Who

I've been walking around since Friday humming/singing a mashup of the Doctor Who theme ... driving The Girl crazy in the process.

So we were both relieved when I finally got around to seeing the new Doctor Who last night. Doctor Who ranks with shows like Voltron or Robotech ... early gateway media into more hardcore science fiction. Doctor Who has a pretty long history, probably apexing with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor (for the unitiated, The Doctor's replacement actors are explained by "regenerating" a new body after death ... all part of being a Time Lord) and hitting a low, low point with Paul McGann's Eighth which featured motorcycles, romance and stolen Alice Cooper sets.

With all that history, the new show has big shoes (or a long scarf) to fill. How would a former pop star work alongside a veteran actor? The answer is ... pretty well. There are some rocky bits, for sure ... at times Rose seems almost bipolar in her mood swings between growling and grinning as she becomes the next companion for The Doctor and a few moments of "living plastic" seem to cut a little close to the campiness that doesn't help sell the show. However, the show maintains a sense of whimsical almost Douglas Adams-like (who, himself, used to to write for the show) tone which almost feels tounge in cheek from time to time. And yet, in just two episodes the show starts to get a backbone.

So I'm excited to have an old friend back. They're already into like, season three, across the pond ... so there's plenty more to come.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's Hard Out There For A Monk

After about an hour or so of playing with an non-prot monk, I get this on the chat:

Wa/E: You need to be a better tank. Not hard with that prof.

Wow. Had the fine, sagely, wise veteran of Guild Wars Random Arena not immediately not signed off ... this would have been my response:

ME: But I'm sure that Monk / Whatever was hard for your skills to kill
ME: Without me, like, saving your ass
ME: Every 5 seconds
ME: Yeah. I count. So ---- you. ----wad.
ME: Next time ... be a prot/boon monk. Because you are ----ing worthless as a Warrior.
ME: Which, BTFW, isn't hard with that prof.
ME: As, you know, a ----ing warrior.

Sorry. It's just that I've played, over the last 48 hours, as a lot of different noob type people. The only time I get flak is when I'm playing a monk in manner someone else doesn't agree with.

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Mario Kart Arcade

Bing Bang Blog has the sweet rundown on the full-sized Mario Kart arcade ... which I am officially putting on the birthday list. Less than 60 shopping days left, people.

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Randolph Carter

I've managed to sneak in some time to rewrite portions of the upcoming horror interactive fiction. Rewrites have become pretty easy since the code seems completely stable now, just about as easy as actually rewriting a story. Most of what remains is going through the tangents and cleaning stuff up, although I'm still changing out major portions and might end up tacking on a few new endings (or extending current ones) before letting anyone read it.

The new processor and fan for the CheapBox is being withheld until I get this finished. Must motivate self. Somehow.

The story is based on The Statement of Randolph Carter, and this is for a number of reasons. The story's structure lends itself to what I wanted to try first ... and that's the main thing. Course, Randolph is fairly well known to readers of Lovecraft, so I hope I'm not going to muck things up too much.

Couple Lovecraftian things I found while stumbling for research:

- This, um ... indie film based on the same short story

- A guy posing as Randolph Carter to pull a reverse e-mail scam

- Thomas just put up the "Innsmouth Blues", a piece he did with Electroplankton.

I'm kinda resisting the urge to update the code a bit to make things a little easier, since I know from experience that it could introduce new bugs. Probably just take notes for the next piece.

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PSP Causes Bus Driver To Kill!!

Well, not actually.

But if it happened here in the states, that's probably how it would read.

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Puppy Games Java Competition

Puppy Games, of Tribal Trouble fame, is holding a contest for java game developers. The Mad Evil Work Proxy (or MEWP if you will) has gone into overdrive, but I did find a copy of the rules over at gamedev. Only a $100 ... and glory ... are in contest here, but there aren't many restrictions outside of the usual "nothing you can't distribute" and "we have to be able to run it".

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Retcons and Comic MMO's

BusinessWeek has a feature on the potential of upcoming MMO's for Marvel and DC superheroes and mentions and interesting aspect of working with these licenses ... their often long and winding fictional history:

Not to mention, Marvel and DC are both blessed and cursed by their history and highly recognizable properties. These heroes, with their long histories (Superman dates back to 1938), have given birth to the term "retcon" (Retroactive Continuity). In short, it means that the turnover of writers over a long span of time made the stories so incomprehensible, and characters so god-like, that it necessitated stories to specifically written to fix things by either modifying histories or using cataclysmic events. This isn't exactly the kind of firm foundation people think of when they want to jump into a virtual world.


Although it is still too early for details, DC has announced is that Jim Lee would be heading their project. While it is exciting to see how a famous comic book artist will handle building whole game worlds, it also opens up new and exciting opportunities. How would an MMO show off the art of Jim Lee? Perhaps it would be a cell-shaded game to preserve the comic book feel? What if this was just the beginning? DC and Marvel could potentially tap into their pool of artists and bring in guest artists to put together areas and characters. Imagine running through a city zone specially drawn, designed, and populated by Todd McFarlane's creations. Or maybe a unique buildings, streets or missions put together by well-known talent that will remain in this virtual world for fans to visit and interact with. Such a thing wouldn't just be a game, it would be a three-dimensional comic book museum.

As for the problem of continuality... there's no rule that says that the video game has to be linked in to the comic books in every way. This is both Marvel and DC's chance to start with a clean slate. All the heroes without a lot of heavy backstory to weigh them down. Perhaps this will be the best way to put them back into their places in modern mythology. Here is a chance to bring everything to back to a point when things were new and wondrous... the ultimate retcon. Instead of wanting to be Batman when he flies by in a high-tech jet, players can aspire to be like him. Imagine walking down a Manhatten street, watching Spider-Man swing by, sitting down next to Wolverine and Beast at a local pub, then rushing out to help the Fantastic Four beat down a giant sewer monster. Or maybe you don't even have to be heroic. Perhaps you would rather use your powers to strengthen Magneto's ideology. The point is, fans may soon have the opportunity to choose whether they want to join Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, or become a fresh recruit for the Green Lantern Corps.
-- The (Online) World Will Always Need Heroes

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Monday, March 20, 2006

GDC Rolls Out The New Tech

Voodoo Extreme lays out a couple of the new tech announcements being trumpeted at the Game Developer's Conference. Namely GPU powered physics engines and "ambient intelligent" technology which ... well, doesn't sound as cool as a physics engine not stealing all my CPU cycles.

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Microsoft Still Considering an Xpod?

The San Jose Mercury's Dean Takahashi dug up some information for an upcoming book and states that Microsoft is planning a game and media handheld for around 2007 aimed directly and Nintendo, Sony and Apple's similar products. This isn't the first time such rumors have floated, although they were recently associated with the Origami ... a connection which now seems unfit for the new Tablet PC.

Course, in consumer electronic terms ... 2007 is a long way away. Sony is supposedly rolling out a new PSP for Christmas and Nintendo will have it's DS Lite and even more titles for it's increasingly popular wifi service. With Microsoft starting to show a little Nintendo creativity with Viva Pinata and more hardware design experience under it's belt ... should be interesting.

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Fishing Tourney Malfunction

Yesterday was supposed to be another Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing: Wild World. The bulletin board announced it quite clearly. Odd thing is ... it just never happened. Joan showed up, so the game knew it was Sunday. Everything else was going on as normal ... just no event.

Maybe the game realized I've been keeping a tuna in storage ... just in case Lobo gets another whopper sea bass out of the ocean.

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V for Vendetta

Saw it over the weekend. Good, not really great. Way better than Matrix 2/3 and not as good as Matrix 1 ... if that helps. The plot is not as washed out as some reviews suggest ... but the third act definately drags on without much to add to the movie. The W. Bros script relies a lot more on characters and dialogue than explosions and special effects, but that's probably more thanks to Alan Moore than anything else. I'm likely to read the graphic novel now, which I imagine is better in every imaginable way.

Interesting to see Hurt, a la 1984, now in the role of Big Brother. The allusions to modern day politics aren't as dull and obvious that the producers could have made them, with only a couple of exceptions, which is nice. All in all you won't regret paying a movie ticket and it's definately worth the rental ... but there will be better movies down the road.

Three Years

Three years ago we started bombing a country pre-emptively to wage a war with gross incompetence from our government (not our soldiers) and erroneous information from our leadership and media.

Just in case anyone had forgotten.

Barack and FEPA

Via the VGN, which I've also added some deep links onto the sidebar, I sent some of our Congressmen a letter saying I didn't support the Family Entertainment Protection Act ... which is essentially the federal version of the Illinois law which got slapped down and will likely cost the state over half a million.

Barack Obama replied:

Dear Joshua:

Thank you for your letter opposing the Family Entertainment Protection Act. I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is currently charged with rating video games according to age appropriateness. However, many retailers do not stringently follow these ratings, which can rage from "E" for "everyone" to "AO" for "adults only. There has been some significant Congressional activity lately in response to growing concerns among parents that video games have become too sexually explicit and that violent content has been made too easily available to minors. Among these bills is S.2126, the Family Entertainment Protection Act.

The central element of the Family Entertainment Protection Act is a prohibition against any business for selling or renting a Mature, Adults-Only, or Ratings Pending game to a person who is younger than seventeen. The bill also calls for an annual analysis of the video game rating system, and authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate misleading ratings. Under the bill the FTC would also be able to conduct annual, random audits of retailers – often referred to as ‘secret shopper surveys’ – to determine how easy it is for young people to purchase Mature and Adults Only video games. Finally, the bill gives consumers the authority to register complaints with the FTC.

I understand the concerns of those who believe that Congress is meddling too deeply in this issue and that the proposed legislation could raise free speech problems. All members of our communities, in my view, do have an obligation to ensure that children are protected from harmful material, but that should never come at the cost of denying others their constitutionally protected rights. The challenge here is finding the right balance between these two principles. My colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee are reviewing S. 2126 to see if it meets these challenges, and I will follow their analysis closely. As this process continues, I will certainly keep your thoughtful comments in mind.

Thank you again for writing. Please stay in touch as this issue develops.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

I responded thusly:

Subject: FESA

Having received your response about the Family Entertainment Protection Act it is at least somewhat reassuring that you've given the matter considerable thought.

There are couple other concerns of mine which I don't think have been brought into the public debate. On a simple fiscal level, I don't think the FEPA makes sense. The extra cost of auditing and regulating a business which, to date, has not shown capable of causing any increased public harm seems gratiuitous ... especially considering the fact that Congress just raised the debt level to an all new record high.

Protection simply for protection's sake is not in the public interest, but contributes to wasted. Unless FEPA can prove, without a doubt, that it solving a public harm issue, I don't see it's justification as anything but a false moral front.

The same money spent helping kids eat healthier would save more lives and healthcare spending.

Thanks for your time,

Josh Birk

Programmer, gamer, voter.

Although I think I mispelled received in my version. Whoops. At any rate, I think it's important to keep on message with this that a) some of us do think this is a serious issue and b) it's not worth the cost.

Tired of politicians pushing the video game button whenever they want to appear more moral to voters, at the expense of free speech and taxpayer's money.

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