It has long been a fight to get gaming accepted as true medium amongst it’s peers, and the goverment has never exactly been an ally; often condemening our chosen hobby as a past-time that causes violence among kids, or that it is the cause of all the wrong in the known world.
But Gamers’ Voice, which was set up on Facebook in 2009 by gamer-friendly Labour MP Tom Watson and now boasts over 16,5000 members, has helped the cause by holding the first ever “Parliamentary Games Day” with MP’s from the three main political parties gathering to play, and chat about, games on the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.
At the time of the event there was some important voting taking place in the House of Commons, but a total of 16 MP’s still found the time to go to the event with the entire list of attending MP’s standing at: John Whittingdale, Ed Vaizey, Luciana Berger, Clive Betts, Pete Davison, Don Foster, Dr Julian Huppert, Karen Lumley, Jason McCartney, Nigel Mills, Stephen Mosley, Andy Nuttal, David Cairns, Simon Kirby, David Hanson and Keith Vaz.
As an added bonus John Whittingdale and Don Foster were seen getting into a right scrap with fists flying. It’s almost disappointing to note that this was on Wii Boxing.
The MP’s that gathered at the event all left positive feedback with Luciana Berger saying on twitter after the event “Well done to @GamersVoice for organising such a good event” and it was “The best event I’ve been to in Parliament so far in 2011!” Government minister Ed Vaizey MP told the press his view on the event “I think it’s an inspired idea to set it up.”
The gaming industry was also well represented with Ian Livingstone OBE, Miles Jacobson OBE and Jon Hare all attending along with Dr Richard Wilson of TIGA, Michael Rawlinson of UKIE, Gianni Zamo of the Video Standard Council and Dave Green from BAFTA attending as well as plenty of others.
Special Effect also made an appearance to demo their special eye-control technology, which allows even the most severe of disabled people to play games, to MP’s.
SpecialEffect were delighted to have been invited by Gamers’ Voice to attend Parliamentary Games Day and help to promote the positive image of gaming”
“It was a great opportunity to meet and talk directly to MP’s as well as members of the games industry, even though we had some trouble shifting some MP’s from eye-controlled Peggle!”
“The event was a big step in creating a better understanding of video games and breaking down some of the misconceptions about a subject which, as a games charity, we know is incredibly important to many”
All in all the event seemed to go well and hopefully brought gaming a little closer to acceptance by the government as whole, but whether we’ll see the government openly admitting that it was too harsh on games any time soon is doubtful.