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Extra Credits: Politics

The Extra Credits guys tackle how gamers can affect political change. They even get a game-playing Congressman—didn't know any actually existed—to offer some advice.

Extra Credits: Politics

Extra Credits: SOPA & PIPA

I love that Daniel (the narrator guy) starts the video by saying that Extra Credits is a bit late on the whole SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) & PIPA (Protect IP Act) debate because it saves me the trouble of having to say it myself. That said, a lot of us (myself included) still do not know the particulars of the bills and just how close we came to one of the largest legislative cluster-you-know-whats in U.S. history.

Extra Credits: SOPA & PIPA

PETA targets Mario and Tanooki suit

PETA targets Mario over Tanooki suit

For those who don't know, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has taken on Nintendo and Super Mario because Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS features a Tanooki suit. According to PETA, this as good a time as any to call attention to the plight of the adorable tanuki.

Western developers need religion

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron Screenshot

I have been comfortably Agnostic for years, but my departure from Christianity hasn't erased the experience of having practiced it. I couldn't deny the influence my time within the church has had on me, and wouldn't; to do so would be to deny a fundamental piece of myself. From this perspective, I can't help but wonder if Western developers are doing themselves, gamers, and culture as a whole a disservice by continually minimizing and ignoring the role of religion in Western society.

What Blackwater should do

Blackwater (Kinect) Screenshot

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo has ended but produced a deluge of coverage and critique as journalists and bloggers debated the merits of this hotly-anticipated sequel and that oddly-named, overpriced new platform. All the games got some coverage, but many sank beneath the tide of information. The announcement by Backbreaker publisher 505 Games' upcoming "FPX" Blackwater seems to be one such.

Of Microsoft, gamers, pots, kettles and Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshot

When Xbox Live's director of policy and enforcement, Stephen Toulouse, stridently vowed to ban any Call of Duty: Black Ops player who sports a swastika emblem online, I can't say I felt any particular way about it. As an fence sitter on the subject of censorship, I much prefer to let others do the hard work of untangling that Gordian Knot.

Boycotts, blandness, and re-beating a dead horse

Left 4 Dead 2 Screenshot

Been out of action for a while, so I'm catching up on some old news. I did the pre-order deal for Left 4 Dead 2 with three friends, which nets us a discount and the Scout's bat from Team Fortress 2 as a melee weapon. I'm genuinely impressed with what I've seen so far, so hopefully my purchase is justified. In effort to quell some the unrest over the release of the sequel so soon after the original, Valve recently flew two of the most prominent boycotters out to their headquarters for some hands-on time with the game. Now if I'm understanding this correctly, if I complain loudly enough about one of their games Valve will fly me out to their secret bunker and let me play it before anyone else. And so, I'd like to announce my boycott of Half Life 2: Episode 3....

Protesters arrested at Army's videogame recruitment center

The Army Experience Center is the latest effort by the Army to use games to recruit teens and young adults. This has drawn the ire of parents and anti-war activists.

ADA Amendments Act: good for gamers with disabilities?

It's a new year, and the ADA Amendments Act is now in effect. These Amendments are a response to the Supreme Court's erosion of protections and rights in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 over the years (see Sutton et. al vs. United Air Lines, Inc, Murphy vs. United Parcel Service, Inc.. The Supreme Court argued that, if a person's condition is controlled with "mitigating measures"—medication for high blood pressure, for instance—the person does not have a disability...even if that person is fired or otherwise discriminated against because of their condition).

The Amendments spell out just what "disability" means, but what's most interesting is the wide variety of things the act defines as "major life activities". They "include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working." They also involve "the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions."

What do these specifications mean for gamers? As Suzanne Robitaille writes in For the Disabled, More Power for Play, the Amendments "will also clarify that a major life activity doesn't just include work. The act expands this definition to include communicating, reading, and other activities of central importance -- such as plain old fun."

Obama and Palin coming to Mercenaries 2 as playable characters

This has April Fools joke written all over it, but this is October so... what the hell? Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin are playable characters in the upcoming DLC for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. I can understand why no Joe Biden, but why no John McCain? It's ironic that the candidate with actual military experience is excluded in favor of the Vice-Presidential nominee with more star power.

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