White House "Gaming Advisor" Says President is Interested in Games

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White House "Gaming Advisor" Says President is Interested in Games

President Obama's "game guy" talks about education, censorship and Civilization.

President Obama is "interested in" video games. How do we know? Because Mark DeLoura, the White House's senior adviser for digital media, says so. In fact, he says the president has a lot of thoughts about the role of gaming in the United States. Speaking at this week's GamesBeat 2013 conference, DeLoura talked about gaming presence in the White House, both inside and out of the oval office.

DeLoura worked in senior positions at Nintendo, THQ and Sony before heading to Washington to counsel the president on, among other things, the business and culture of video games in April. Apparently it hasn't been easy to get White House staffers, who are normally very serious and focussed on their work, to talk about games or play together. "Some people do play games in the White House," said DeLoura. "I'm trying to find those people and collect them, Pokémon-style." DeLoura says he has been trying to organization a weekly game of Civilization. I admit, I would love to see how that game plays out.

As for the commander-in-chief, DeLoura said president Obama thinks video games have a lot of potential as teaching tools, but "He [Obama] wants to see Sasha and Malia playing a game that teaches them something." DeLoura, whose team is currently looking for ways to bring gaming into classroom, added that he feels the private sector has not adequately invested in educational video games. DeLoura says the team has found a few gems, including Minecraft, but there needs to be a wider array of effective options.

DeLoura also addressed the issue of censorship in regards to the gaming industry. DeLoura feels the first line of defense for young players and their parents is a uniform game ratings system. DeLoura believes there is a lot of confusion when discerning whether a game's content is appropriate for children, especially when advertisements target young players.

Source: GamesBeat

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Well, I think I can understand the president's hesitance. To someone with limited experience in gaming in general, a few things would probably stand out like red flags immediately, not least of which being the way people harass each-other. Sad though it is, I'd say he'd be a lot better off just letting his children play Minecraft and seeing what they build.

Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

Don't forget about Surgeon Simulator.

But seriously, it's really positive to see this kind of discussion going on. Hopefully the transition of gaming into a widely accepted form of entertainment takes place sooner rather than later, and with someone like Obama in charge it looks like it will. Four more years anyone?

If Minecraft can be regarded as a teaching tool I'm curious to see what kind of educational mainstream games we'll be getting in the future.

Congratulations on your 69th post, btw.

"Mr. President, here is how much money video games are bringing in, in taxes"

Boom! committee to appease both sides of the gaming argument formed.

The Pokemon comment made me laugh. It's like that teacher you had who used to use pop culture to keep the kids interested in class. Also Civilisation is the last game you want to be playing in a high stress long hours job. No wonder he can't find anybody...

CardinalPiggles:
Don't forget about Surgeon Simulator.

But seriously, it's really positive to see this kind of discussion going on. Hopefully the transition of gaming into a widely accepted form of entertainment takes place sooner rather than later, and with someone like Obama in charge it looks like it will. Four more years anyone?

It's his second term.

The only president that got elected past the legal two term limit was FDR. That was because he got shit done.

Also, no one wanted Theodore Roosevelt to come haunting them while riding a giant bear that shot out large sticks from his eyes Saxton Hale like.

OT: great idea, let the world leaders play Civilization. but not multiplayer, just single player.

And let them know just how much a dick France and India can be.

No, fuck off Ghandi, I need that oil for my manufacturing plants....... is.... is that five stacks of tanks near my capital?

fuck you Ghandi.

Those people in the White House should play Democracy 3. I'd love to see reactions of different politicians when they see the impact their policies have on the society.

I've rocked a typing educational game on the C64 with some rabbit in it as a kid, fun times.

Comenius Logo was really dope in grade school aswell. Too bad early IT education is horrible in general. Atleast it was when I was a kid.

How awesome would it be to be the President of the USA, to play a game of CIV IV with your staff and to play as Stalin, only to nuke the crap out of everyone else?

Forcing teaching onto something otherwise fun = ruining fun since forever.

This is literally like demanding that books teach kids. What is this emphasis on making kids learn when they're at play or just doing something they generally enjoy?

This better be leading up to a new Metal Wolf Chaos game.

Kalezian:

The only president that got elected past the legal two term limit was FDR. That was because he got shit done.

FDR was elected to 4 terms because there wasn't a constitutional amendment in place yet that said a person could only serve 10 years as President. But yes with WW2 going on and all, he got crap done.

Considering most of the people in office in the USA are old enough to collect SS..... Yeah this is not going change in a positive manner anytime in 2000 anything.

Also I do not know if they know how capitalizm works but, if nobody wants to but the product nobody will make it. So either pay developers to make the product or give up on it.... Oh wait we keep cutting education funding so there is no chance in hell we will pay for software development.

Well it doesn't surprise me since he apparently modeled the Healthcare website's debut after Diablo 3's

Kalezian:

CardinalPiggles:
Don't forget about Surgeon Simulator.

But seriously, it's really positive to see this kind of discussion going on. Hopefully the transition of gaming into a widely accepted form of entertainment takes place sooner rather than later, and with someone like Obama in charge it looks like it will. Four more years anyone?

It's his second term.

The only president that got elected past the legal two term limit was FDR. That was because he got shit done.

Also, no one wanted Theodore Roosevelt to come haunting them while riding a giant bear that shot out large sticks from his eyes like Saxton Hale.

Well that and they actually amended the constitution after FDR died so that the president couldn't serve for more than two terms. Because apparently, actually accomplishing anything

is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed.

Thomas E. Dewey, R-Governor of New York

...

I could have sworn Obama already had an interest in gaming because he was interviewed on a G4 show back when he was a Senator. Maybe that was about something else then. I hope he's at least played a few games. Playing Civilization with other world leaders sounds hilariously awesome

Lt. Rocky:
This better be leading up to a new Metal Wolf Chaos game.

A new one? I'd settle for an American release of the old one. Fucking Sega and their hilarious irony

Michael Epstein:
DeLoura feels the first line of defense for young players and their parents is a uniform game ratings system. DeLoura believes there is a lot of confusion when discerning whether a game's content is appropriate for children, especially when advertisements target young players.

We already have a uniform game ratings system, and it's about as effective as it'll ever be. As any GameStop employee can tell you, the real problem is that parents don't give a shit. You can warn 'em about the content of a game, explain the rating right to their face, and they'll buy it anyway... and then proceed to blame Rockstar for selling their kids "filth".

P.S. Thanks

and then it turns out that his favorite games are battle royal and the hunger games.

good luck and good night america..

Fappy:
Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

maybe they should start sticking stickers of giant well formed titties on the boxes.

thats the only thing that works keeping mothers and fathers repulsed enough to not buy it for their little angels.

All games teach something. Unless it's a remake (even then, it teaches 'Remakes typically suck')

Fappy:
Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. The ESRB rating are pretty damn clear cut. I don't see anyone complaining about MPAA ratings being inadequate.

Fappy:
Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

Micalas:
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. The ESRB rating are pretty damn clear cut. I don't see anyone complaining about MPAA ratings being inadequate.

Pretty much, but he sounds more to the point of "M rated games are marketed to kids, so why on earth would anyone care about the ESRB?" What the hell does "M" mean if 8000% of kids playing it are 13 or under?

The last sentence is pretty important: DeLoura believes there is a lot of confusion when discerning whether a game's content is appropriate for children, especially when advertisements target young players.

I'll be honest, I came into this expect doom and gloom, but this is actually alright. Except for that last paragraph 'cause we don't need a uniform ratings system (we have one dude), but because we need parents to learn to give a shit about it.

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I would bet money that the reason they started talking about gaming at the White House level is because of gun violence/gun control. It's nice to see that DeLoura is looking beyond that. Well, other then the fact that he doesn't seem to understand the ESRB and the big letters on the boxes...

As far as using games for education, with any luck someone will point him to this:

This is one of the many reasons why I think Civilization and Rome: Total War are some of the greatest games ever.

If we started solving world issues with a game of Civilization, I think the world would be a better place.

... Or dead in two years. One of the two.

Kalezian:
The only president that got elected past the legal two term limit was FDR. That was because he got shit done.

You realize that the limit was only made legal because of FDR right?

Before that, it was simply tradition, one set by George Washington, to step out of the running after your second term as President.

Fappy:
Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

What I gathered (feel free to disregard this entirely if you feel it is necessary, as it is my opinion on the matter) was that he wasn't saying it is confusing, but that confusion is present, which at this point in time is truly a wonder that it is but go figure. Also, with those content labels, you wouldn't happen to be talking about Proctologist Simulator 2013, would you?

More on topic, I think it's good to see that more awareness is being brought up among those who don't really understand video games rather than the usual business of painting games in a bad light and using them as a scapegoat for criminals (which is odd considering, at least from what I've seen, it's media pointing the finger and not the criminals themselves).

Doesn't every game have something to teach people? Sure the lessons aren't as strong as say typing of the dead or as creative inspiring as minecraft.

I like to think every game has something to teach us even if its something as small as "Kids dont do drugs" from your pal Trevor.

Oh and in before Obama nuke North Korea in Civ 5

(It is North Korea right? I can never remember who the bads one are.)

Obama's a gamer? =D One of us, one of us....LOL jk

Don't we already have a uniform rating system for games? One that's more accurately and reliably applied and better enforced than the rating system for movies?

DVS BSTrD:
Well that and they actually amended the constitution after FDR died so that the president couldn't serve for more than two terms. Because apparently, actually accomplishing anything

is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed.

Thomas E. Dewey, R-Governor of New York

...

Yes, because 3 terms of Reagan or 6 terms of Clinton is certainly something I'd have wanted to see. Not to mention that all accepted models of the GD show FDR's policies as either having no effect or causing more problems, and any growth seen during the WWII period was strictly a result of forcing unused resources, mainly women, into the job pool since many of the most productive young males were pressed into military service. This doesn't even get into the pressing of the courts on his part or the fact that three of the most appalling in structure supreme court decisions come from his presidency because of his threats.

Epic_Bubble:
Doesn't every game have something to teach people? Sure the lessons aren't as strong as say typing of the dead or as creative inspiring as minecraft.

I like to think every game has something to teach us even if its something as small as "Kids dont do drugs" from your pal Trevor.

Oh and in before Obama nuke North Korea in Civ 5

(It is North Korea right? I can never remember who the bads one are.)

There is no north and south Korea in Civ 5 , just Korea. There is most likely a mod for it out there though.

And north are the crazy ones we should be concerned about.

"senior adviser for digital media"? This is a position that exists? Presumably a well paid one? Good to see all that tax money is being well spent...

"Some people do play games in the White House," said DeLoura. "I'm trying to find those people and collect them, Pokémon-style."

so, does that mean he's been going around the halls, throwing pokeballs at people?

come to think of it, that's actually an improvement compared to the past decade or so

ravenshrike:

DVS BSTrD:
Well that and they actually amended the constitution after FDR died so that the president couldn't serve for more than two terms. Because apparently, actually accomplishing anything

is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed.

Thomas E. Dewey, R-Governor of New York

...

Yes, because 3 terms of Reagan or 6 terms of Clinton is certainly something I'd have wanted to see. Not to mention that all accepted models of the GD show FDR's policies as either having no effect or causing more problems, and any growth seen during the WWII period was strictly a result of forcing unused resources, mainly women, into the job pool since many of the most productive young males were pressed into military service. This doesn't even get into the pressing of the courts on his part or the fact that three of the most appalling in structure supreme court decisions come from his presidency because of his threats.

Except you're wrong. Conservatives bring up studies that show that because it fits their narrative, and liberals bring up studies that show how much they helped because it fits their narrative. The important result of FDR, economically speaking, was what Krugman calls "The Great Compression" where income inequality in America dropped drastically as unions gained power and wages stayed relatively similar after the wage controls of WWII were lifted. Then there is the idea of a social safety net, his ability to shift the US in to war mode before we entered the war, and the public works projects, which put people to work and increased money circulation, which is what is needed when banks become fearful and don't want to lend money.

OT: I wanna see a Civ game played by White House staffers now!

Fappy:
Is he saying the ESRB rating system isn't adequate? What's so difficult about seeing a big "M" on a box and reading that it has "gratuitous medical gore" and "exposed rectums"!?

My thoughts precisely.

And, don't forget, the rating system is entirely voluntary on our part - we choose to agree, as an industry, to rate our games (we never get any credit for that in the press). Also, ESRB has no legal standing, so a game store can sell an M-rated game to a kid with impunity. Having said that, all game retailers (as far as I know) have signed an agreement to not do that, but there's not much they can do if the kid is standing next to (clearly-non-gamer) mom or dad when they buy a copy of GTA or CoD and then immediately hand it to 12 year old Timmy.

If anybody in authority really wanted to do something to stop underage kids playing M rated games, they would push for the ratings system to be both compulsory and legally enforceable with hefty fines, or whatever. That won't happen though, because if anyone tried, they'd have the gaming equivalent of the NRA on their asses to prevent it from ever becoming law because, as we all know, a large percentage of the online gaming community are.......

.... under 17. EA, Rockstar, Activision and the like would see a sharp dip in M-rated profits if this ever happened, and I don't think they'd like that very much...

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