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The video game industry goes political (and it's about time)

The Entertainment Software Association is starting a political action committee. And as Don Reisinger explains, this is great news for all parties involved.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
Bring on the dancers! ESA

A story in The New York Times yesterday reports that the video game industry has finally woken up and realized that in order to stay strong going forward, it can't rely on 13-year-old pimple-faced kids to promote its agenda.

According to the report, Michael D. Gallagher, chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry's lobbying arm in Washington, told the Times that its political action committee (PAC) will be up and running by the end of March and will represent Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, among others.

We will be writing checks to campaigns by the end of this quarter," Mr. Gallagher said. "This is an important step in the political maturation process of the industry that we are ready to take now. This is about identifying and supporting champions for the game industry on Capitol Hill so that they support us."

Am I the only person who thinks it's about time this industry has woken up and realize that political payoffs are the only way to get somewhere in this country? If you want to finally destroy these idiots who think we should kill creativity in video games, look no further than your friendly congressman from the 10th district with his hat in hand.

Gallagher claims that this newly formed PAC will donate between $50,000 and $100,000 to national candidates this year that the organization believes are more sympathetic to the needs and beliefs of the video game industry.

Sure, that doesn't sound like a ton of money to drop on your favorite politician, but what the video game industry has that Jack Thompson and the rest of his cronies don't is voting clout.

Think about it: when Nintendo released the NES to the United States, people who were trying to enjoy the '80s (and probably failed) turned to Mario and his buddies to carry them through the night. Since then, these people grew into an extremely important demographic for lawmakers--the 25 to 40 group.

Let's face it: the old fools who have no idea what video gaming is all about are dying off by the minute and those people who actually value video games because they recognize the entertainment valued provided by them, should be around for quite a while to carry that torch. And in such an important political year that holds the next four years in balance, now is the perfect time for the video game industry to capitalize on the weakness of politicians who are looking for votes.

The video game industry has been walked all over by a bunch of so-called "political activists" for too long. First, these clowns claim that video games promote violence. Wrong. No study has ever corroborated that claim. Next, the idiots say that video games are stunting the growth of our children. Have they ever played Brain Age? Finally, the fools tell us that obesity can be directly traced to video game playing, and parents have used them as a crutch to get away from little Johnny every now and then. First off, if you want to blame anything for obesity, call up fast food restaurants. Secondly, if parents want to use video games as a crutch, why should all video game players suffer? Hell, my parents tied a bone around my throat and told me to play with the dog. Was that a better crutch?

More than anything else, the video games industry's decision to get into the political game is probably one of the most important steps it has ever taken. When running loose like a band of geeks, it had no clout and politicians found it more politically behooving to support the anti-video game agenda than the ESA's. But now that we're in an important political year and even video games' most staunch critics like Hillary Clinton have gone agnostic, the tide may finally be shifting in the ESA's favor.

Something big may be in the works, and we have insider deals with crooked politicians to thank for it.