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Adams: Obama Victory Doesn't Mean Game Censorship Is Done

In a detailed opinion piece posted on Gamasutra, IGDA co-founder and game designer Ernest Adams has been discussing what a Barack Obama presidency means for video games and censorship, noting that "our most aggressive critics have not come from the right,
In a detailed opinion piece posted on Gamasutra, IGDA co-founder and game designer Ernest Adams has been discussing what a Barack Obama presidency means for video games and censorship, noting that "our most aggressive critics have not come from the right, but from the moderate left." Adams, who co-founded the IGDA partly to fight back against government and state censorship of games as a medium, then lists some of games' most vociferous critics and explains why we shouldn't let our guard down: "Tom Lantos, our earliest Congressional critic, was a Democrat. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat. Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore, who took on the music industry, is a Democrat. Joe Lieberman is a Democrat... sort of. These people would never dream of threatening to impose a government labeling system on books if the book publishers didn't set up their own, yet that is exactly what they did to video games. Part of this is simple "triangulation," as Bill Clinton called it. In order to avoid appearing too far left, Democrats need an issue that will appeal to social conservatives. They can't argue for censoring books or movies or TV, or they'll lose the support of their base. Video games are a safe target. Nobody important cares about them. Unlike movies, games don't have a lot of rich, popular, and very good-looking people standing up to defend them." While Adams notes that there is plenty in the economy and foreign policy areas to keep Obama busy in the near future, he does urge caution for the longer term: "There's nothing to be happy about in any of that bad news, but at least we can take some comfort in the fact that video games are not anybody's major concern at the moment. I don't think it's safe to relax, though. The economy will come back; Obama will end at least one war; and perhaps he and Congress will do something about education and health care. In two years there will be another Congressional election, and both sides will be trying hard to prove that they serve the public better than those other guys. When that happens, video games may be back the firing line again. We'll have to be ready." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including lots more discussion on the political climate and what game developers can do to ensure further censorship of games doesn't occur.

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