Valve Democrat, Activision Republican, EA Split

Who on earth picked a fucking donkey as the Democrat's symbol. You may as well have selected a cock and be done with it. Pah!
Some of you may have been following the US presidental deathmatch – even for us Imperial Old Countryiers it’s a popular spectator sport. Consequently 1UP’s Rory Manion’s recent post makes for fascinating reading. By delving into Fundrace, they’ve worked out who’s donated what to various political candidates. The announcement in the title is because all nine donations from Activision went Republic, all three from Valve went to the Democrats, while EA were split between both, with the Republicans just ahead. Clearly, we’re joking. God knows what people who didn’t donate plan on voting. Interesting highlights include Will Wright giving $3,500 to Rudy Giuliani. Do go read.

Clearly this inspired us to have a crack, which we did for half an hour. We found quite a few people, before having second thoughts and feeling a bit creepy. Finding stuff out about relatively non-public figures in the industry, we thought it better not to post ’em. Well, except one. And it’s a fairly fun one.

Okay, we put it beneath the cut as it added EXTRA DRAMA.

On our nosing around NCSoft’s details, we hit the Garriott Brothers’ donations. Since Richard (Ex-Lord British, now General British) Garriott’s talked about his Libertarian leaning before, I was a little surprised to see where he’d put his $2000 dollars. In fact, scanning down 1UP’s list, he was one of the few developers to do so. It went to Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, brother Robert Garriott put $2,325 behind Barack Obama’s campaign.

We leave you imagining the intense inter-family Garriott political discussions.


  1. C0nt1nu1ty says:


    no, no I deleted my rant
    It is interesting that the video game industry doesn’t vote Democrat as a block like Hollywood (pretty much) does

  2. Andrew B says:


  3. David says:

    The three Activision CEO’s giving money to Mitt Romney is a little mind wobbling seeing as Mitt refered to the videogame industry as a cesspool. And is anyone else just a tad disappointed to find out about Will Wright’s Giuliani contribution? It might not be him right? He’s probably got an evil clone or something – yeah that’ll be it. Maybe that’s why spore’s taking so long too.

  4. twb says:

    If Giuliani were a Sim City player, he’d be the sort who hammered on the disaster buttons every thirty seconds or so.

    The one takeaway from this list is that game industry developers shouldn’t be allowed near any levers of power, judging from the number of Ron Paul donations in that list. Unless they actually believe that the United Nations is funding a secret Mexican army to invade America and kill all home-schoolers. In which case they should make that game.

  5. The Fanciest Of Pants says:

    I need to drink hard liquor until the part of my brain that knows Will Wright is a republican, dies.

  6. Lambo says:

    Why is Valve spending over 3 grand on donations!!! That should be put to a REALLY important use. Like funding a new level in Half Life ep 3!!!!!

  7. Nuyan says:

    Guiliani. Gees, I agree with twb’s views on Guiliani as a Simcity player.

    I, as European, always find it so incredibly weird that people give money to politicians and all the money that is invested in those campaigns is sickening. Even more sick is actual companies donating money and influencing the policies of politicians. Ah well.

  8. Allen Varney says:

    Here in Richard Garriott’s home town of Austin, Texas, he held several fundraisers in the late 1980s and early 1990s at his mansion, Britannia Manor, for progressive candidates in city government and (less frequently) Democratic candidates for state office.

  9. cliffski says:

    At least nobody seems to be donating to both sides. Thats the thing about political donations that really fucks me off. I’m all for people backing what they believe in with (small) donations.

  10. dhex says:

    sim city is a pretty technocratic/statist view of urban life, so wright giving money to the president of 9/11 doesn’t strike me as particularly out of character.

    i.e. we all have hobbies. (go ron paul!)

  11. Phil says:

    The mass of Ron Paul donations is a surprise – you’d have thought the Solider of Fortune team and possible Tom Clancy but the sheer amount of ultra libs suggests some people aren’t keeping their flights of fancy to work hours.

  12. Stromko says:

    Will Wright’s donation definitely stuck out in my mind from that article, but I figured he’s a warped genius who has his own, inexplicable reasons. In other words, it doesn’t make him a bad person, no matter how red/blue one’s worldview is.

    That article also seems to suggest that many in the games industry either don’t take anti-gaming legislation seriously, or aren’t acting in their self interest. Food for thought I suppose.

  13. mezz says:

    A surprising number of people giving money to Ron Paul (over half of the people giving from Activision sent money his way), so I don’t think it’s really fair to call Activision Republicans, seeing as he was excluded from many of the Republican debates for actually having something new to say. (Or at least that’s what it looked like to me from the the little I saw on the news over here in Europe.)

    In fact looking over the numbers, far more people gave money to Ron Paul than to anyone else. Look’s like he’s got a fair number of fans among game developers.

    Re twb: I didn’t hear anything about any Mexican armies invading America, where was this! (BTW, I’m not a Ron Paul fan (I’d have probably gone for Obama), just great to hear someone playing with some new ideas for once.

  14. twb says:

    mezz — the “Ron Paul Republicans” hold extreme views on US/state/local sovereignty, with a particular hatred for (in no particular order) the United Nations, the North American Free Trade Act, the US Department of Education, Jewish neoconservatives, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Green Party, all non-Austrian economists, most Austrian economists, the principle of eminent domain, local school boards, abortion-rights supporters, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the vast majority of Western philosophers from Ockham onwards.

    Basically, to go to one of their meetings is to hear all sorts of conspiracy theories about imminent UN invasions, federal assaults on (religiously-motivated) home-schoolers, dark tidings of a Mexican-controlled superhighway splitting the United States in two, and so on. It’s like Deus Ex for slopeheads.

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of good people with very rational concerns about American domestic and foreign policy who have bought into Paul without realizing just how crazy he and his core supporters are. The vast majority of his electoral support seems to come from techno-libertarians who would be better off voting for vanilla Lib party candidates, and from moderate Republicans who can’t find anyone in their party to support.

  15. dhex says:

    hey twb, some of us are more, ahem, cosmopolitan than that.


  16. Stromko says:

    It’s only natural for people to focus on the most extreme of a given politician’s supporters. There’s a strong chance they’ll be the ones calling the shots, by virtue of being the most committed to making their voices heard, over and over and over, constantly.

    Of course I’m being cynical, but to my mind that means I’ve been paying attention.

  17. twb says:

    dhex — Absolutely, and I hope that I made it clear that most Paul supporters *are* people with valid and well-thought-out concerns. The group I’m referring to are a tiny, tiny fringe within the already small Libertarian-Republican Venn overlap.

    Paul got a lot of play by opposing the Iraq war and addressing a lot of Libertarian hot-button issues, so it’s natural that many Libs would see him as one of them. But the truth is that he’s also culturally right-wing and closer in many respects to the paleoconservative side of the GOP than the techo-libertarian side of things. Having followed Paul for about a decade now, I have to admit that his sudden national prominence manages to make perfect sense while also mystifying me.

    I’m no supporter of Paul’s policies (e.g., return to the gold standard, dismantling NATO, banning abortion, replacing the income tax with excise and customs taxes), but they definitely force us to confront political issues in a completely new and often enlightening manner. Personally, I think the GOP would benefit from a Ron Paul-style figure with none of the baggage that he hauls around. And I think that Paul’s solid showing in the primaries indicates that a non-trivial number of Republicans agree.

  18. Coyote says:

    Hollywood is overwhelmingly democrat for professional reasons, from what I’ve heard. After all, you can meet the top producers at a political event without needing an appointment. One (rare) Republican actor once quipped, “If Speilburg, Geffon, and Streisand decided to become Republicans tomorrow, there’d be a massive paper shortage in southern California for people changing their political party.”

    But then, most people vote by their pocketbook anyway, so what’s a level of indirection?

  19. Benjamin Barker says:

    I applaud Gabe Newell for supporting Christopher Dodd– one of those long-serving, experienced senators who would probably do a great if boring job running the country but has no celebrity and thus could never get elected. But maybe Gabe Newell is just from Connecticut, I don’t know.

    @ coyote: saying “democrat” as an adjective instead of “Democratic” is considered a bit offensive (though you also used a small “d” so maybe it was on purpose).

  20. dhex says:

    quick question: using “democrat” is offensive?

  21. twb says:

    dhex — Using “democrat” as an adjective (e.g., “democrat party”) is a longstanding tic of the right-wing that gained popularity in the late 1990s.

    Linguistically, there are Democrats who belong to the Democratic Party, and Republicans who belong to the Republican Party. By referring to the Democratic Party as the “democrat party” (which can’t be done to the Republican Party since the adjective and noun forms are the same), it implies that the Democratic Party lacks core (democratic) principles. (In other words, the Republican Party is the party of the Republic; the democrat party is the party of people who call themselves democrats.)

    It also drives Democrats nuts for reasons that aren’t easily explained, which amuses those who use the term. See also “death tax,” “anti-abortion vs. pro-choice,” and so on.

  22. Coyote says:

    Sorry – unintended slight. I never knew such things. But I live in a state overflowing with republicans, so without belonging to the Democratic party, I wouldn’t have known. Even my wife is a member of the party, but I am not. I joke that we end up canceling each other’s vote, but I think she votes against the party as often as she votes for them.

  23. dhex says:

    (In other words, the Republican Party is the party of the Republic; the democrat party is the party of people who call themselves democrats.)

    i was raised in a union democrat household and we used democrat all the time.

    shit, like the above. i wouldn’t say democratic because my household was uh more like a feuding warlord state. at least, i don’t remember getting to vote on anything.

    now i’m all sorts of confused.

    (and sorry for the uk people who couldn’t care less.)

  24. Cigol says:

    Ron Paul seemed cool from the debates I caught on youtube, but I could care little (and know a whole lot less) about their domestic issues so whether he’s the crazy old coot as described I wouldn’t know.

    Still, it’s a moot point considering how easily senator Palpatine has walked away with the Republican candidacy. All that hard earned money gone to waste…

  25. Garth says:

    As a Canadian, I have to admit I always find it funny to look at what people from the U.S. consider ‘right’ or ‘left’ wing. It all looks like extreme-right to us (using the Royal We).

  26. malkav11 says:

    Frankly, I’d just as soon not know about the political leanings of game developers, any more than I need that sort of info about authors or moviemakers. What matters is if they can produce quality games (or books or movies). They could be totally unpleasant in real life and that in and of itself should not affect my enjoyment of the fruits of their labor.

    That said, I don’t think I can watch any more movies with Tom Cruise in them after learning how nutty he’s gone with Scientology. (I know a bunch of other actors in Hollywood are Scientologists, but most of them aren’t as openly psychotic about it.)

  27. Ben Hazell says:

    Dhex – “and sorry for the uk people who couldn’t care less”

    You kidding, your election is far more entertaining than ours ever are. It’s like watching Star Wars instead of Emmerdale.

  28. FaceOmeter says:

    @ Ben: LOL!
    so true

  29. Hieremias says:

    As a Canadian, I have to admit I always find it funny to look at what people from the U.S. consider ‘right’ or ‘left’ wing. It all looks like extreme-right to us (using the Royal We).

    Ha, I agree. On another forum someone stated they didn’t like McCain’s chances because he’s not right-wing enough for many Republicans.

    I thought, only in America would John McCain be considered “not right-wing enough”.

  30. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    :) yeah, as a PLAIN OLD ENGLISHMAN I can’t claim to know what i’m talking about, but as far as I can see the two party system in America gives a choice of “far to the right” and “a bit less far to the right”. But hey!

    Obama is on to something, though, innit *Subtly brainwashes American readers*.

  31. James O says:

    Hah, I knew I loved Will Wright. His support for Giuliani doesn’t totally surprise me, either – Wright’s embrace of user-created content and his enthusiasm for Wikipedia makes me think of him as a definite pro-market believer (i.e. spontaneous organization vs. top-down statist socialism), and Giuliani is a small-government pro-trade Republican. Plus, Giuliani is a social liberal on top of that, which I would imagine also describes most Silicon Valley types. Maybe we can even work in Giuliani’s authoritarian streak and compare it to the nature of the ‘god games’ Will Wright is famous for (i.e. the player is a super-authoritarian.) ‘America’s mayor’ and the man whose game created a legion of virtual mayors – a nice pairing, I think .

    I am a bit surprised, however, at how many donators checked ‘R’ in the party box, though I wonder if that would have been the case had Ron Paul not been running. The number of Ron Paul supporters is unsurprising (what with his successful internet campaign, which technological types like game developers would certainly be exposed to,) but other than that I was expecting the industry to work out more like Hollywood with all ‘D’s. I suspect the Democratic parties’ enthusiastic support for censorship/limitations on game content (including, amongst others, Leland Yee, Hillary Clinton, Rod Blagojevich, and Joe Lieberman) played a part in this.

  32. sh33333p says:

    Why I voted for Obama:

    He’s a constitutional lawyer. He voted AGAINST the Iraq war. Hilary voted for it. I’m not a Democrat and I distrust all politicians in general, but the Republican party has made it clear that they are all either batsh*t crazy religious nutjobs, or just generally in favor of invading countries and killing people without end, especially brown people.

    I knew the reasons given for the Iraq invasion were a complete fabrication. I was calling bullsh*t on Bush in 2002.

    It was plainly obvious to anyone paying serious attention what was going on at the time, and I have little sympathy for the excuses of people like Hilary Clinton who do whatever is politically convenient at the time, and then play the fool later on.

    If you voted for the Iraq war you fit into 3 groups:

    1. Was not paying attention – your political career should end and you should never again be allowed to hold political office or make decisions that affect the general public.

    2. Was paying attention but didn’t care about the consequences – see #1

    3. Was paying attention but thought it would be over quickly. – Idiot – see #1

    BTW I’m a 20-something high school and college dropout. Wealthy Ivy Leaguers really have no fscking excuse.

  33. Jeremy says:

    “(and sorry for the uk people who couldn’t care less.)”

    The Guardian podcasts have to same problem of talking about the “Democrat party.” I know it’s unintentional, but it still creates a glitch in my brain when listening to an otherwise interesting newscast.

  34. PiotrSkut says:

    “yeah, as a PLAIN OLD ENGLISHMAN I can’t claim to know what i’m talking about, but as far as I can see the two party system in America gives a choice of “far to the right” and “a bit less far to the right”. But hey!

    Obama is on to something, though, innit *Subtly brainwashes American readers*.”

    That’s funny, because in our family here in the US we joke about the typical European multi-party systems as being a choice between the liberal party, the more-liberal party, the even-more-liberal party, and the communists. ;)

    Obama, with his strangely “powerful” speaking style in which he appeals to people’s emotions without actually saying anything substantive, and the degree to which people swoon over him because of it (I’ve seen pics of morons literally crying after hearing one of his speeches), gives him a creepy, almost Hitlerian vibe to me. I certainly wouldn’t vote for him regardless, but that factor only reinforces my distaste.

  35. Windlab says:

    Hey, this is an English gaming blog – we’re British, (or at least gamers) so why the interest in American politics?

  36. Jim Rossignol says:

    Mmm, because US politics never affects the rest of us, does it?

    Also, just because we are British, Windlab, doesn’t mean all of our readers are.

  37. Jason says:

    @twb: I’m not sure where you learned those “facts” about Ron Paul’s message, but many of them are completely wrong and untrue.

    Please, if you are going to call someone names and condemn them, take the courtesy to get the points of condemnation actually correct. The man has hundreds of essays and House speeches published that you can read if you need to know what he believes and why so many people support him.

    Just, please do some research before you bash with such reckless abandon.

  38. yutt says:

    @twb: Uh oh. You criticized Ron Paul on his Internet. Prepare for scorn!

    FWIW: I agree with everything you’ve said.

  39. Mr. Softpants says:

    Blizzard are big spenders!

  40. Max Paean says:


    Characterizing the adherents of a political ideology as ‘extreme’ without offering any argument against the ideology itself is what they call ad hominem, and is among the lowest forms of discourse.

    PS: Though it shouldn’t make any difference, I am not a libertarian, paleo-con, or anything else – I simply find this kind of attack distasteful. There are perfectly reasonable avenues of argument against Ron Paul’s platform, but none of them include the false premise of racism or extremism.