To the Editor:
I don't normally do this but I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you what a great job you're doing with The Escapist. The articles are consistently well-written, researched and thoughtful. Your layouts are always great, and the subject matter provocative.

Please keep it up!


To the Editor:
With all due respect, I must disagree with your assertion that the protection of games under the First Amendment is due to their status as "art."

In fact, the landmark case you cite says nothing of the sort. The Court finds that games are protected speech based on a standard other than the highly subjective question of whether they are art.

The District Court's decision (which can be viewed here: archive/fedctapp/interactive.pdf) simply states: "In order to find speech, there must exist both an intent to convey a particularized message and a great likelihood that this message will be understood." That expression need not be political or ideological, but can take the form of entertainment.

Ico was released in September of 2001. Baldur's Gate II in September, 2000. Instead of those well-respected examples of the medium, the District Court's 2002 ruling based its judgement of expression on violent clips from Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, and Doom. Perhaps wrongly, but not surprisingly, the Court found these examples did not meet the aforementioned standard of expression.

The Appellate Court disagreed, and their comparison of video games with other media is meant to demonstrate that video games utilize some of those same media (music, pictures and writing) in their own construction and thus are capable of the same expression.

There is no description of artistry, and artistic merits are not considered by the Courts.

-B. Doskocil

To the Editor:
Just so there is a chance at correcting a vast overstatement by Trip or, more to the point, to give an appropriate amount of props to the "Real Creators" of the Madden Franchise we are still playing versions of today, the only people who should be claiming they created Madden Football are:

Jim Simmons
Scott Orr
Richard Hilleman
Kirk Toumanian (sorry if I spelled Kirk's last name incorrectly ... it has been a while since I needed it)

There are many others who came afterward, including myself, who have contributed to the Madden Franchise, but Trip's version of Madden existed on the Apple //e. It took almost six years to build, and was a commercial failure on the Apple // and IBM PCs of the day. The Sega Genesis version of Madden, completed primarily by the names above, had very little connection with Trip.

Trip should get huge props for signing Madden when he did - at the time EA signed Madden, he wasn't the #1 Color Commentator as he would become later on. He was, at that time, more well-known for the Miller Lite Beer commercials that he was a part of where he would burst through scenery to talk some more as the commercial faded out. Lost in all of this is that John Madden was a great football coach ... most people today only know him as an announcer, and will probably think that is why he is being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.

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