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The Political Games Surrounding Video Games 95

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the good-sense-versus-fascism dept.
Rayonic writes "We all know the issue surrounding those who want to ban violent games, but a TechCentralStation editorial asks - can playing war games influence your political sensibilities? The media, for instance, are usually very ignorant of what goes on during military maneuvers. But a few days of playing Ghost Recon or America's Army might make you more knowledgeable than the average reporter (or even lawmaker), as the writer argues that 'the spread of military knowledge via wargaming might lead to political changes in the way war is perceived by Americans'."
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The Political Games Surrounding Video Games

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  • Sounds familiar... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WinnipegDragon (655456) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:05AM (#9632754)
    Maybe I'm being reactionary, but if 'playing war games can influenece you politcally', are you not opening yourself up to the slippery slope that ends with 'playing video games can make you violent'?

    Video games that people play tend to be a product of their leanings, not the other way around. People who like violence will play violent video games, and fantasy nerds (myself included) will play RPGs. In this case, people who play war games probably like strategy and tactics.

    Chalk this one up to the media looking for scapegoats and excuses to explain personal behaviours yet again.

    • by fireduck (197000)
      the article clearly points out the tenuous link between games and violence (and even references experts who dispute it).

      The only "influence" suggested in the article that actually holds water with me is the following statement "people who have played military videogames ... have some sense of how fast things can happen, and how confusing they can be." America's Army clearly demonstrates how confusing things can be when shots are fired. Beyond that, I see no evidence in this article that games influence a
    • by *weasel (174362) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:15AM (#9632860)
      Actually it sounds like this article is suggesting that realistic military games actually educate the gamers on what warfare is like.

      The thrust of the article is that political second-guessing of military strategy and reaction would be easily identifiable by such educated gamers. Educated gamers know that sending more troops to Iraq would not necessarily mitigate the dangers of roadside bombs and ambushes -- it'd simply present more targets. Also, they'd be more willing to judge the failure or success of a military engagement on the broader scope, and not just make a gut decision influenced by the most recently reported good or bad news.

      I don't know that such education could change a gamer's personal politics but, like any education, it certainly increases the accuracy of their BS detector.
      • There's a march on washington today, wanna go? No, let's just pwn some n00bz
      • Re-reading my reply, I think I may not have made the point entirely clear. The argument regarding violence or political leanings isn't really the issue.

        My argument is more against the concept that exposure to material (A) invokes mental adjustment (B). My take is that outside cases of brainwashing, exposure to any sort of media is unlikely to change one's personal beliefs and/or leanings, and that any argument stating otherwise is pretty much baseless on it's face.

        Using the violence argument might hav

        • by ooby (729259) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#9633853)
          My take is that outside cases of brainwashing, exposure to any sort of media is unlikely to change one's personal beliefs and/or leanings, and that any argument stating otherwise is pretty much baseless on it's face.

          Suppose the son of man with Alzheimer's Disease is strongly against stem cell research. Suppose, then, that by reading a medical journal he learns that stem cell research may lead to a cure for the desease. What is the liklihood that the medical journal has changed his beliefs with regards to stem cell research?
        • by *weasel (174362) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @01:51PM (#9634359)
          You don't think exposure to material invokes a mental adjustment? Do we learn nothing from communication then? Novels, texts, plays, film, music, poetry -- these don't invoke mental adjustment?

          I'd agree that exposure to material doesn't invoke a subconscious adjustment (short of brainwashing, subliminal messaging, etc) - but that isn't quite what you said.

          The violence argument has always set out to suggest that the behavioral adjustment is subconscious and automatic. The political leaning argument (presented here for the first time that I've read) specifically denotes the necessary step of consciously applying knowledge gained from exposure to material to adjust views and behavior.

          The passive/active divide makes them quite distinct imo.
        • I think YOU'RE missing the point, really. We're not discussing the idea that military games INDOCTRINATE (i.e., we're not on the same slope that says violent games lead to violence), we're saying that wargames EDUCATE on how battles are. No change in values is implied, just a change in how much you know.
      • "realistic military games actually educate the gamers on what warfare is like"

        Either that or:

        realistic military games actually educate the gamers on what realistic military GAMES are like.

        From everything I read and hear, knowing how to actually fight effectively is much less important to a soldier than being able to persist in miserable conditions while witnessing (and occasionally causing) massive destruction. It is more important to be able to withstand seeing piles of charred civilian corpses than it
        • by *weasel (174362) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @02:04PM (#9634485)
          The context of that quote was at the strategic or tactical level.

          No-one suggested these games educate their players on the grotesqueries of war.

          It was the author's assumption that military video games provide a reasonable facsimile to actual military endeavors on the tactical levels. The US Armed Forces agrees with that to the tune of repeated lip service and continued funding into game-like tactical training tools, which increasingly find a civilian market.

          The games are thereby educating gamers, not to become soliders, but to understand maneuvers, the inevitability of accidents, and the scope of battle beyond typical war reporting.

          These games aren't going to prepare people to deal with the emotions of seeing friendly fire or civilian casualties. These games will simply prepare gamers to expect friendly fire and civilian casualties as being an inavoidable byproduct of war, and will allow them to understand how soldiers can make such tragic mistakes in the first place.

          The article is talking about wargamers political reactions to actual war reporting here. Not their abilities to personally function during actual war.
          • Ok, but to me the more interesting moral question is not whether this or that tactic or strategy is best, or really understanding tactics or strategies at all, but rather the innate moral issues experienced by soldiers. When the public votes to go to war, or votes with its opinion about the progress of war, I would hope it is not from the standpoint of second guessing military strategies and tactics (which we employ keen minds to study already) but rather the moral issues.
            • I would think tactics and strategies are very closely tied to the morals faced in wars. If it's the military's strategy was to blow a whole city to kingdom come because a few terrorists are causing problems for them. Would you think that would be the morally correct decision? If it was a commander's decision to send some soldiers into harms way in order to take these guys out without civilian casualities, is it wrong to risk the lives of their own blood? Was there a better way to win WWII besides droppi
              • "I would think tactics and strategies are very closely tied to the morals faced in wars"

                Except my point was that strategies are lines and nameless boxes on paper or translucent overlays in a sterile computer graphic environments and as such simple familiarity with them (as through video games or texts) will NOT provoke as visceral a reaction as actually seeing events on the ground.

                I'm not saying we should remain ignorant of military strategy, I'm saying that merely being conversant in military strategy wi
      • Educated gamers know that sending more troops to Iraq would not necessarily mitigate the dangers of roadside bombs and ambushes -- it'd simply present more targets

        So we should reduce the number of targets to zero? I like your thinking!

      • I don't know that such education could change a gamer's personal politics but, like any education, it certainly increases the accuracy of their BS detector.

        I think you nailed it at the end there. Playing Civilization makes a person neither a general, nor a historian. But as you say, if a journo spouts a half baked, trendy meme on a topic they know little about (More troops=necessarily better/quicker/safer outcome), the smell of falsehood is readily apparant to anyone who knows better from experiences th
    • by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:21AM (#9632920)
      I don't think this is the same thing. The political influence mentioned in the article is more like a court case where the jury once though one thing but in light of new evidence (which in this case may or may not be factual) they have changed their mind.

      The games-leads-to-violence scenario leads us to believe that upon initially watching a violent act we may feel one way but after seeing that act performed many times, we now think it is ok.

      So the real difference is more like "Oh, if that's how military operations are performed, I'm not so opposed to them." vs. "It's ok to kill because I see it in that game all the time." Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with changing your mind about a issue becasue you've researched the issue further, but I do wonder how accurate a viewpoint these people would be getting solely by playing video games.
    • "Maybe I'm being reactionary, but if 'playing war games can influenece you politcally', are you not opening yourself up to the slippery slope that ends with 'playing video games can make you violent'?"

      I don't see a direct correlation, no. Being politically biased doesn't mean being violent.

      "Chalk this one up to the media looking for scapegoats and excuses to explain personal behaviours yet again."

      Actually I'm not sure it's scapegoats so much as it scares people. Most parents have kids that drive the
    • Chalk this one up to the media looking for scapegoats and excuses to explain personal behaviours yet again.

      Doesnt it make you curious to know why the media tries to explain personal behaviour with dubious science?

      I'd wager that the media is trying to influence you politically by making assertions that sound plausible, but aren't necessarily true in most cases.

      I like puzzle games. What does that tell you about my political leanings? (no I don't wear a tinfoil hat)
    • I guess that depends on the definition of "Video Game." So many games have already been successful in this accomplishment. The army even created a game to use a recruiting tool. I am a game developer myself. I created www.realworldgaming.com. Right now we are playing a game that has three major topics being discussed. The right to privacy, right to life, and the definitions of terrorism. This game is called AWARE and has almost 1000 players. Then I plan to also release another game called POW Iraq.
  • Substitute... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supercytro (527265) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:08AM (#9632789)
    Substitute books, movies or television for games and you'll see how ridiculous the argument is.
    • Re:Substitute... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WyerByter (727074) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:26AM (#9632962) Journal
      Well, I pity you that you have never learned anything from a book, movie or television show that has changed your outlook on life and thus potentially changed your political views. Either your mind is closed, so open as to hold nothing or you chose material that does not challenge you preconcived notions.
      • Re:Substitute... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jocmaff (714526)
        I think the comment was more for saying that video games are not worse than any of the other items.

        They are certainly very violent items in books, movies and tv. heck just watch the news in the US if you want violence.

        • Re:Substitute... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Romeozulu (248240)
          I'm not saying this is worse or better, but games allow the viewer (player) to interact with the medium, and that creates a very different relationship between the two. Someone who plays a war game might think they know a lot more about it then someone that reads a book, or sees a movie.

          I'm not saying that this is true or not, I'm just saying that allowing interaction really changes the dynamic. Think about small kids and how much more they learn if you let them try things, rather then just telling them
          • When I read a particularly entertaining and well-written book, or watch an excellently made movie, I find myself transported into the story, living as the main character or at least as a bystander to the action.

            I don't think the "interaction" creates much more of a relationship between a person and the medium, generally speaking. It might be more for some people, and less for others. You just cant paint broad strokes like that.
    • so if i read a book about army tactics, my ideas about army tactics wouldnt change? i wouldn't understand them more, and i wouldn't have a better grasp of how they work in the real world? Or are you saying that people dont incorporate new knowledge into their decision making process?

      Or do you just have an extremely low level of reading comprehension?
  • by I_Love_Pocky! (751171) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:12AM (#9632820)
    Does this mean that I will begin to believe that all wars are fought by 13 year olds?
  • Right! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:14AM (#9632850)
    After year of playing war based video games, I like Bush because he pwned teh Iraqi's. Hussein is teh Suxx0r!

  • You can speculate all you want...

    but shouldn't we ask an expert, like matthew broderick?
  • by LordPixie (780943) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:20AM (#9632905) Journal
    I remember back when that whole Elian Gonzalez debacle was busy...well, debacling. When the Feds finally came took him away at gunpoint, I recall looking at the infamous picture [sillygirl.com] and saying "Hey, I recognize that gun from CounterStrike. That's an MP5 ! Quick, flashbang that sucker and cap him with your Desert Eagle !!!"

    Joking aside, games can be a source of factual information. Just like any other form of media. And any new information is going to influence your outlook on everything. Assuming you're actually capable of seperating the fact from the fiction, this is a good thing.


    --LordPixie
    • I noticed that too - I've become worryingly adept at identifying types of gun, and I'm an pacifist from the UK whose only real-world sightings of guns are of those carried by the police officers at airports. I'm hugely pro-gun-control, partially because I've seen vaguely realistic simulations of what these devices can do. Point, pull trigger, kill. Reload.

      I sometimes wonder if politicians were to play realistic, multiplayer computer games, they'd perhaps get an inkling of what actually goes on in warfare a
    • I agree here. I remember reading an interview with a flight sim geek who said his first time flying a Cessna "felt like home". I've also improved my driving by playing Gran Turismo. (well, maybe "improved" is a strong word)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The article suggested that war games might make people more cognizant of the confusion and difficulty of warfare. That's possible, but judging from conversations and message exchanges I've had with other gamers, I think such games have another influence-- to give people an unrealistically _favorable_ attitude towards war and technology.

    Here's what I mean. Many games strive for "realism." Yet the equipment in many games skirts the edge of science-fiction, and the environments are also structured for game en
  • Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrMojado (786565)
    So the opinion is that by simply playing a GAME we are more informed than the AVERAGE guy walking the streets about war. God help us all.
  • You certainly can't understand friendly fire incidents until you have played a FPS online and waited for your team's medics to actual give you some health.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:49AM (#9633194) Homepage
    Back in the day, I played Falcon 1 on my 8088, and later F-117A on my 386. Both games came with very full manuals detailing the planes and their respective armaments. I'm no military nut, but I loved these games for the manuals as much as the game play. To this day, I remember the range of an AIM-120 AMRAAM missile is 21 miles, and a Sidewinder is 7 miles (but more maneuverable).

    One day, A friend of mine in High School was trying to show-up his knowledge by quizzing me about military armaments. It was fun catching him off guard by answering him correctly and talking about how an F-16 could do an Immelmann while a mig-29 could not.

    Anyhow, that's my real-world example of legitimate learning via military video games. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to return to shooting a guy wearing hoverboots with my BFG10000. Okay, maybe ALL military games aren't realistic :-)
    • Off topic, I know, but the F-16 cannot do a Cobra, and that is way more impressive than an Immelmann.
      • A Cobra maneuver is only impressive in an airshow. In a true combat situation it's beyond useless. While it looks extremely cool, it basically leaves you all but stationary. This is an rediculously vulnerable position to be in for a dogfight.

        As my USAF father kept telling me, "Airspeed is life".


        --LordPixie
        • The Cobra has one application in a dogfight, but it's damn useful:

          It's a highly effective way (at least in the sims) of getting some dude who's in your rear cone off your ass--and in fact, if you time it right, a cobra will essentially reverse your positions in that situation. I.e., you're now on the other guy's tail and in missile-firing position. Even if you can't get behind them, a Cobra puts your engine exhaust facing away from your tail and thereby reduces the chance of a successful IR shot.

          Speed i
          • It's a highly effective way (at least in the sims) of getting some dude who's in your rear cone off your ass--and in fact, if you time it right, a cobra will essentially reverse your positions in that situation. I.e., you're now on the other guy's tail and in missile-firing position. Even if you can't get behind them, a Cobra puts your engine exhaust facing away from your tail and thereby reduces the chance of a successful IR shot.

            Even if a Cobra maneuver is successful in getting someone off your ass, th
            • Well, I'd argue that A) if there's a wingman floating around that isn't too busy with YOUR wingman, don't do a Cobra, B) it makes your IR signature less than if someone was staring at your tailpipe, C) I've never experienced (in sims) radar mattering much once everyone's in IR missile range, radar-homing missiles tend to be long-range with a long boost phase that makes them inaccurate at short range.

              Finally, D) why the heck are we discussing this? Last I checked, there were exactly two fighters capable of
        • A Cobra maneuver is only impressive in an airshow. In a true combat situation it's beyond useless. While it looks extremely cool, it basically leaves you all but stationary. This is an rediculously vulnerable position to be in for a dogfight.

          It is not completely useless. It can be used when an enemyaircraft is tailing you closely. When you activate it, the enemy plane will no longer be able to keep you in its sights and will fly past you - at which point, you have the enemy in your sights.

          It is a spec

    • Do you have a reference for the Mig 29 being incapable of an Immelman, it seems highly unlikely it cannot perform that pretty basic maneuver.
    • I have to agree on the Falcon games though...they were great. I remember playing Falcon 4.0 and reading all those spec sheets and stuff, it was great.
      Spend like an hour following NAV points on a mission just to blackout during a dogfight by pulling a high angle at like mach 3.

      Good times.

    • Not to be rude or anything, but as a fellow flight sim junkie, I would like to point out a few inaccuracies in your post.

      1. Missle range is entirely variable, depending on many factors, such as: range to target, launching-aircraft airspeed and altitude, target airspeed and altitude, aspect angle, closure rate, and what evasive maneuvers the target takes after launch. Not to mention IR or radar signature. That's why in modern aircraft, such as the F-16, there is a dynamic launch zone on the HUD that vari
  • BFV (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bobej1977 (580278) * <rejamison&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:01PM (#9633318) Homepage Journal
    I think it's a little bit scary that many people of my generation probably know more about the Vietnam war from Battlefield Vietnam loading screens than they retained from their studies at school. While the information contained there is relatively unbiased, they could just as well inserted politically motivated propaganda there. This would have easily slipped below the radars of the historians who keep such published material from straying too far away from reality.
  • by JavaLord (680960) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:06PM (#9633363) Journal
    But a few days of playing Ghost Recon or America's Army might make you more knowledgeable than the average reporter (or even lawmaker), as the writer argues that 'the spread of military knowledge via wargaming might lead to political changes in the way war is perceived by Americans'."

    A few points about this.

    1. Games can also spread military disinformation. For example an AK in CS might have bad recoil, but the recoil isn't as bad as an AK in real life. I actually asked a friend in the military about this and he said the only real way to fire an AK accurately is to lay down with it. A far cry (no pun intended) from CS where an AK fires accurately for the first 1 to 2 shots no matter what. Of course, this doesn't make for good CS gameplay so realism is thrown away in the name of gameplay. Which is the way it should be, with the exception of America's Army, video games are ment to be fun first, realistic simulators second (or third, or not all).

    2. I think if anything games might desensitize people to war, or make war seem more glamourous. Sure you might play a war game where you storm a hut in Iraq full of insurgance but do you see the innocent people in the background who are hurt or killed? Maybe you work as a sniper, medic, or soldier in the game, but do you ever spend time rebuilding the enemies schools or water supplies? Do you ever face situations like the US soldiers do where most of the time you aren't shooting anything, but anyone can be a terrorist and if shoot the wrong person you don't just 'lose a frag', you might end up in a military court?

    War simulators IMO do not simulate the wars of today. They may be accurate portrayals of WWI and WWII where all the soldiers had to do was find and kill the bad guys which was anyone that was part of the "bad" country you are at war with. Wars nowadays almost always involve "nation building" which doesn't translate into fun video games.

    War games are just another genre of games. They are fun, but I wouldn't expect them to 'educate' the American public about war any more than I would expect the American public to become better drivers from playing Mario Kart or learn martial arts from playing Mortal Kombat.
    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:31PM (#9633613) Journal
      Have you played Full Spectrum Warrior for the XBox? I think it's probably the best war game I've ever played. Essentially, it's urban combat in a fictional middle eastern country. The game was originally developed as a training simulator for the U.S. Army, and then adapted for the general public. You control two four-man fireteams and move from cover to cover to eliminate threats. If you lose a soldier, you lose the game. If you kill a civilian, you lose the game. No, you don't see the "nation building" aspects quite so much, although there are instances where you, say, clear the way for a medical convoy trying to provide aid to civilians.

      I'm not sure if I could say it changed any of my political beliefs, though. I'm a Libertarian, I support the war in Iraq, and my wife just got out of the Army after nine years. I can say, though, that this game does not glamorize warfare. It's dirty, gritty, ugly, confusing, and unfair. If anything, it gives you a better idea of what soldiers really have to face out there. Of course, nothing can ever truly convey that except for being there, but I short of a holodeck I can't imagine a game doing a better job of it than this.

      Still, if you're at all interested in military video games, you absolutely must try Full Spectrum Warrior. If you don't have an XBox, it's supposed to be coming out for the PC soon.
    • I understand that you're trying to make a point, but when Super Mario Kart came out, I think I was ~15, so my dad kept interrupting my play to point out that I should be doing this or doing that and keep my eye on the road etc etc. Thank God I didn't play Mortal Kombat while inside the house...
    • > the only real way to fire an AK accurately is to lay down with it.

      Do you have to buy it a couple of drinks first?
  • it's not all FPS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WebGangsta (717475) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:08PM (#9633387)
    It's funny how today's gameplayers equate war-based games with FPS.

    Remember Balance of Power [the-underdogs.org]? There's a REAL war game for ya.

    • That was my reaction, too.

      Of course, as an old-school wargamer, I think of war as being an excercise in maneuvering hundreds of cardboard counters with arcane drawings on them across hex-gridded maps, while preventing your opponent from doing the same.

      Which convinced me that you should only engage in war if you have at least an hour available per turn. And feel like arguing about the rules.

    • www.grognard.com

      Hexagons, chits, and dice: the only *real* way to wargame. :-)

      -Jeff
  • by metalhed77 (250273)
    It's the right wing equivalent of pomo bullshit.
  • I think what we are talking about here is propaganda. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/entertainmen t_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_84_2844688,00.htm l Quotes an MIT professor he spells it out.
  • Games are still a form of communication/media. Yeah you still have to push buttons and DO things (unless, y'know, you're playing MGS 2...) but you're still taking in information.

    And if you can be informed by passive media, then why not interactive media?

    The bigger question still to be discovered.... Is interactive media a good way to impart emotional states upon the user? Can it be as expressive as passive art or does the interactivity "get in the way" and it would've been better just to have done it pa
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ok.. Maybe I'm crazy here, but that last sentance of the article:

    ""Were we right? You can judge for yourself. But I note that all the anti-videogame legislators mentioned in the Wired News story are Democrats. . . ""

    seems to be implying that the anti-videogame democrats dislike them, not from some misguided belief that if I play combat sims I'll decide to gather a huge stack of weapons and go on a rampage, but because if I play wargames, I might be able to see through the Great Liberal Media Conspiracy to
  • The fact that the game always forces the enemy side to be terrorists should be enough reason to ban this game.

    I can understand American Army vs. American Army from beginning to end. That's fine. WTF kind of properganda is that to make the enemy terrorists automatically. Boycott it. That's like making all enemies in Doom III republicans.

    • Yeah, it sure is horrible that our main enemy in real life is the enemy in a video game based on real life. Bush declared a war on terror, remember?

      Maybe you meant that the enemy shouldn't always be Muslim terrorists (I dunno if that's the case or not, I've never played the game).

      Rob (You're probably trolling anyway)
      • Nope, many of the maps do not have arabs as the terrorists. I dunno how many are vs how many aren't, but i'd guess about half.
    • The fact that the game always forces the enemy side to be terrorists should be enough reason to ban this game.

      Why should that be a problem?

      The game only states that you are up against generic terrorists. There is no indication that these terrorists belong to any specific country or religion, aside from the fact that they use easily reproducable Russian weaponry (such as an AK-47, SVD Dragunov, and so on.) These terrorists wear what appears to be civilian clothing rather than any turban, scarf or whate

      • Er.. the animated series Joe from the mid-80's.

        I could see a "blue army/red army" take on it though. But I have no problem with generic "terrorists" anymore than I had problems playing Cops and Robbers and Cowboys and Indians when I was a kid.
  • I know that video games definitely influence my politics. I oppose the war on Iraq specifically because I learned that the poor soldiers don't have a Save/Restore Game option.

    WTF kind of planning is that? How can anyone reasonably expect the soldiers to give their personal best when they can't even restore a saved game after getting shot by an enemy soldier? This was definitely a war that was rushed to market. Perhaps we should wait for the first patch to come out before continuing to pursue the war.

  • What I learned from playing Ogre Battle 64 is that war is wrong and my choices have consequences that will come back to skull fuck me when I least expect it. I also learned that if your superiors order you to kill an unarmed man, you have every right to disobey that order... because, hey, you gotta follow your heart.
  • TechCentralStation isn't just some news and opinion website -- it's the publishing arm of a DC lobbying and PR group: DCI. [disinfopedia.org]

    Quoted from this article [washingtonmonthly.com] in Washington Monthly:

    "[TechCentral Station] doesn't just act like a lobbying shop. It's actually published by one--the DCI Group, a prominent Washington "public affairs" firm specializing in P.R., lobbying, and so-called "Astroturf" organizing, generally on behalf of corporations, GOP politicians, and the occasional Third-World despot. The two organizations

  • I don't follow the argument. How does banning the sale of this game to minors in any way infringe first amendment rights. So an adult has to buy them the game. This is bad how exactly? Minors aren't generally allowed to buy porn magazines, but nobody argues that this is restricting the right of the porn industry to educate young people on sex.

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