Gaming Goes Grassroots

The VGVN defends more controversial games, like the Grand Theft Auto series, against government regulation on the grounds that they are forms of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

By Kyle Cheromcha

WASHINGTON, D.C. – You don’t see the terms “video games” and “grassroots politics” in the same sentence very often, but one organization is out to change that.

The Video Games Voting Network, an association dedicated to getting the gaming community involved in political issues affecting the industry, has grown to over 200,000 members for the first time, according to a statement released last week.

Through letter-writing campaigns and other grassroots efforts, the VGVN opposes government attempts at excessive censorship and regulation, according to Michael Gallagher, CEO of the Electronic Software Association, the industry trade group that runs the VGVN.

“Our industry is fortunate to have these dedicated individuals helping to preserve the rights of computer and video game consumers and makers,” Gallagher said in the press release.

Founded in 2006, the organization tackles policy issues on both state and federal levels. It holds that video games deserve constitutional protection as free speech under the First Amendment. And there’s no shortage of battles, either – last year, its members mobilized 46 separate times to fight potential regulatory legislation in 35 states and on Capitol Hill.

“I would love for people who are passionate about games to apply that passion and knowledge to spreading awareness about the industry,” said Frank Lantz, Interim Director of the Game Center at New York University. “Just getting out to vote is not enough.”

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