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Where do 2012's presidential candidates stand on video games?

Rick Santorum

Richard John "Rick" Santorum hasn’t said much about games recently, but in 2006 he used them as a proving point for his bipartisanship and ability to work with others using an... interesting analogy. During his run for Congress in Pennsylvania, he ran a political ad that showed him walking around a wrestling ring as wrestlers beat each other senseless. This was a metaphor for Washington. Near the end of the video, Santorum explained that he was “working with Hillary Clinton to limit inappropriate material in video games.” And then he punched a guy in the face, without a glint of irony.

That never really went anywhere; obviously, as we’re all still enjoying limitless inappropriate material in our video games, but it’s still worth noting that he thought it important enough to bring up in a political ad. He also lost that election, so there's a chance that he might have reevaluated his priorities since the ad ran.

Newt Gingrich

Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich might be the most conflicted political candidate when it comes to videogames. He has, on several occasions, come out strongly against them, saying, “I think the fact is, if you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are, in fact, endowed by our creator, that our rights come from God, that if you kill somebody, you’re committing an act of evil.”

To us, that sort of sounds like he’s saying that committing an evil act in a videogame is the same as committing an evil act in the real world, at least on some level, which is obviously troubling.

He also went on a long rant about games in 1999 after Columbine, pointing a finger at the entertainment industry by saying, “for a generation Hollywood and computerized games have undermined the core values of civility. It is time they were stopped by a society which values free speech enough to protect it. One of the great founders of CBS News, Edward R. Murrow, producer, had a wonderful saying, just because you have the right to say it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to say,” which is a somewhat strong attack on freedom of speech in general.

He went on to say “…and let us say to the Nintendos and the other games, if you are going to be sick, we are going to find a way to protect this country from you. And whether that means exposing movies to liability litigation, whether that means exposing computerized games to litigation, whether it means challenging the Democrats to cut off the fund raising in a verse. Don’t tell us you care about children and have the people who are corrupting their lives raise your money while you tell us you care about traditional values. Don’t tell us the freedom of speech means the freedom to be so depraved, so violent, so disgusted that our children grow up in a country where they think that killing somebody else is a reasonable behavior. And it’s true on television. It's true in the movies. It’s true in these games. I will challenge the lawyers of America: don’t tell how you could protect those who are bad, tell how well you can help us find some solution to bring Hollywood to its senses and to bring the computer people to their senses. And I’m not for censorship, but I am for the society setting standards and shaming those who refuse to have a standard that makes sense.”

To be fair, a lot of people blamed Columbine on videogames, and the fact that he didn't say that much about them in the past ten years might mean he let that grudge slip away.

But for all of the negative things Newt has said about games, he might be the most informed politician. Gingrich is an avid fan of science fiction and technology in general, and actually gave a speech in Second Life several years ago, praising the game and its community. Odds are he didn’t know about the darker side of Second Life (which includes flying dildos and the like), but it’s still interesting. And confusing. 


Rick Perry

James Richard "Rick" Perry already dropped out of the primary race, but he is still a candidate for vice presidency, so we left him on this list. We also left him on for another reason: he’s actually the most pro-gaming candidate around. As governor of Texas, Rick Perry tried to make the state into the Hollywood of gaming by constantly incentivizing developers to hire in-state with tax breaks and bonuses. There were some restrictions, including a clause that dissuaded developers from bashing Texas in their games (what?), but he was definitely pro-gaming industry, even keynoting 2008’s E3. 

114 comments

  • vent - November 2, 2012 6:44 a.m.

    Gary Johnson is not a serious candidate, and Ron Paul isn't even running. Get a clue.
  • KA87 - November 2, 2012 6:15 a.m.

    I just noticed this because of all of the nasty political comments, but if video games make you a murder or lazy, then I have to wonder what politcs did to all of those crazies that posted those political comments.
  • RonnyLive19881 - November 1, 2012 4:08 p.m.

    No love for Gary Johnson? Man...
  • Aarononymous - November 1, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    Old article is old. Didn't even bother to delete the now-irrelevant primary candidates (including Ron Paul), or add sections on the slightly-less-irrelevant third party candidates like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.
  • Cwf2008 - November 1, 2012 11:50 p.m.

    It's new, and they deliberately put in those candidates just so we could see their stance on games. Obviously you can't read.
  • kyle94 - November 2, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    This is an old article originally written back during the Republican primaries. Just look at the comments originally written 8 months ago.
  • Billiam101 - November 1, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    So why didn't you Gary Johnson? Not that I support the man, I just like to see equality in representation of the candidates.
  • Billiam101 - November 1, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    *why didn't you do
  • ericmatrix1 - November 1, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    Okay it is an honorable and worthy cause to get ppl (kids) to play less video games and Adults and kids alike to stop spending as much time and money on them. But one must also take into consideration how much Gaming and Entertainment possitively affect our Economy. And is that not one of the biggest sociopolitical issues of our day? I say, make it MANDATORY for people to buy and play games, and do it IN school so that kids will be more interested. Give incentives for doing good work. If you get a certain grade on the test, you get to play the game during the day at some point. kids will be more involved, make better grades, get better jobs, become better politicians, and help the economy. BOOM. Eric for President. :D lol
  • TheNobleRobot - November 1, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    Forgive me for saying, but even as an avid gamer, I'll vote for someone who I agree with on actual issues like tax policy and marriage equality before giving half a shit about how they feel about gaming. It's not the 90s anymore, no one is trying to ban or censor video games. The president's policies have as much impact on video games as they have on books and television. Imagine asking the candidates about their views on the movies. Yeah, it sounds exactly as stupid.
  • 7-D - November 1, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    I love games as much as any of you, but to be honest I think a few less platinum trophies and a few more books would do wonders for a lot of kids out there.
  • Thedigitalg - November 1, 2012 1:26 p.m.

    Vote Obama, Americans! You are a long way from the beauty of European-style government, but at least he's taking you in the right direction! Just don't join an exclusive club like the EU and you'll be good.
  • Bansheebot - November 1, 2012 1:07 p.m.

    I can't wait until 50 years from now when people will realize that the Vyleent Vid-ja Games didn't turn every person whoever so much as picked up a gameboy into a murdering sociopath. They'll probably be too busy fighting against the society ruining aspects of robotic A.I. pets.
  • winner2 - November 1, 2012 1:01 p.m.

    Oh, politics? Sorry gonna go this other way now...
  • PevMaster - February 28, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    Despite being a Republican (can't stand the left-wing commies in England and Australia) I'd vote for Obama this time. The others all seem like cunts.
  • profile0000 - February 28, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    Well, you need to stand out in a Primary election, I suppose. The best way to do that would be, in theory, acting like a insane cunt. That's how American politics generally work: Fight for personal ideology in Primaries, fight for party ideology in the General election, and then do basically what the last guy did once you become President. Isn't it wonderful?
  • wheresmymonkey - November 2, 2012 3:09 a.m.

    Hey we're not commies. We're socialist's there a difference. If the reports coming out of the states about the crazy shite the republicans want to do with the rights are women are true. I'm happy to ive in the UK. Sounds like the USA is on the virge of becmnog the monster it rebelled against in the first place. Land of the free.. unless you're a women,or poor, or not a christian, or an immegrant. Unlike the UK where people are free to live and worship how they want, the poor are given support and women are allowed to do whatever they want tiwth their own bodies. Welcome to Britain. we're now more american than america.
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - February 27, 2012 10:39 p.m.

    Pssst. Nobody mention the Meadow Mountain Massacre to Romney. It's so cute that he thinks violence didn't exist before videogames and movies. Oh crap here he comes. *Cough* *Cough* Hey Mr. Romney, nice weather we're having today, right?
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - February 27, 2012 10:40 p.m.

    Whoops I mean Mountain Meadows.
  • db1331 - November 1, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    I read that as "Mountain Dew Massacre." I was like, "WTF where was I during that?!"

Showing 1-20 of 114 comments

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