Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The clash of politics and video games

The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments on the constitutionality of a California law that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors.
The timing is perfect, seeing how it’s also Election Day.
Politicians love to pick on video games, especially those with violent or sexual content. They say these games are corrupting our youth. It’s one of those family values-type issues that they think sells well to voters.
You’d think with high unemployment, a crushing federal debt and other major problems, they’d have more pressing issues to deal with.
Video games already have an industry ratings system in place, just like the movies, and retailers like GameStop and Toys R Us do an excellent job preventing minors from buying Mature video games. Plus, parents have to take responsibility for what their kids are playing on their game consoles and PCs.
During oral arguments today, Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical of the California video game law, according to Bloomberg and the New York Times.
So, in honor of Election Day, here are some video games that feature politicians as playable characters.
Up top are President Barack Obama and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as killers in “Mercenaries 2: World In Flames.” (See Vanity Fair article.) The Electronic Arts game is rated T for teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Below is a screenshot of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as basketball players in EA’s “NBA Jam.” The game also features Palin, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, George W. Bush, John McCain and Dick Cheney, among others. (See Huffington Post article.) The game is rated E for everyone.
And finally Obama and other world leaders appear in the PC game “Rulers of Nations: Geopolitical Simulator 2” from Eversim. It’s rated T for teen.

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