Any reader who consistently tracks the political side of videogames should be aware of Hal Halpin. President of the Crest Group, the games industry consultancy that manages The Electronic Consumers Association, Halpin is frequently seen at the forefront of the battles between videogames and their nemeses. In fact, the ECA is a body set up to deal with this very battle.
The ECA represents us, the gaming consumers, the ones who are told what we should and shouldn't buy by attackers of the games industry. Hal Halpin is important to us because when we need representing, he is the man you call. Having also founded such fine Web sites as GamePolitics, the ECA is an intelligent and measured voice for the gaming public.
Destructoid and Hal got chatting about the often insulting mainstream coverage of videogames, the harsh critics that want to paint interactive software as a moral cesspool, and the general problems that face videogames in the mainstream spotlight. He had some interesting things to say, which is pretty good because otherwise this article would be terrible. Hit the jump for our full interview with the ECA's Hal Halpin.
Destructoid: As the man at the vanguard of the games industry's defense, you get to hear and read everything that gets said about it in mainstream media. What aspect of the continued attacks on the games industry galls you the most? What's the most disgusting aspect of what the media is doing?
Destructoid: Games are consistently misrepresented as toys, as something for kids, despite the increasingly mature subject matter and growing age of the videogame playing consumer. If you could choose three videogames to show to the critics as a way of explaining that games aren't just for the chilluns, and can be very adult, intelligent, even beautiful works of art, what games would you
Destructoid: As I understand it, you've also been dealing with the attempts of various interested parties to pass a "videogame law" to protect children from these evil, evil games. Aside from the fact that it, yet again, singles out videogames as opposed to books and movies, why do you oppose the law?
HH: Wow... well, I guess that it the Supreme Being weren't busy enough with managing the affairs of the entire universe and had some time to worry about our little galaxy, solar system, planet and hobbies... he or she would probably judge the game based on other titles and its contribution to culture. In that regard, I don't know how any conclusion could be drawn other than that it is one of the most important works we have produced to-date. For all of the good and bad, it has fundamentally changed the sector and educated tens of millions about interactive entertainment.
Destructoid: What do you make of the Videogame Tax idea that has started to rear its ugly
HH: I think it's far more dangerous a trend than we're giving it credit for. Personally, I find it disgusting and discriminatory. With an epidemic of obesity in the U.S. legislators are focusing on games as the reason, and not transfats?! Seriously. This is just another example of feel-good legislation. Fruitless. Pointless. And it should concern us more...
We'd have loved more time with Hal, but what with GDC and all, he is understandably a very busy man. Destructoid would again like to thank Hal for his time and we hope to be able to speak with him again soon.
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