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London mayor backs videogames in political reversal

Boris Johnson applauds UK industry after previously blasting videogames as cause of "ignorance, underachievement and poverty"

In an about-face not uncommon for the outspoken politician, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has praised the UK games industry while backing this month's upcoming London Games Festival.

It was December 2006 that Johnson publicly blamed videogames for a variety of ills, laying into games consoles as a cause of "ignorance, underachievement... and poverty," amongst young people.

"It is about time, as a society, that we admitted the catastrophic effect these blasted gizmos are having on the literacy and the prospects of young males," Johnson wrote in The Telegraph.

"Millions of seven to 15 year-olds are hooked, especially boys, and it is time someone had the guts to stand up, cross the room and just say no to Nintendo."

However, today, the London Mayor has put his weight behind EA's Be The One event scheduled for October 31 and November 1 in Trafalgar Square.

"I'm delighted that the London Games Festival is back in our city for its third year. It demonstrates the creativity and range of the gaming industry, which, as an important part of London's creative sector, makes a vital contribution to the economy as a whole," said Johnson in the official press release.

"With events across the capital, the festival has something for everyone and illustrates the popularity of this thriving form of entertainment. I am pleased to see EA's Be The One event is returning to Trafalgar Square.

"It was an undoubted highlight of last year's festival, which reinforces London's position at the centre of one the most fastest-growing creative industries in the world."

The 'Be The One BattleDome' will boast multiple gaming pods and screens and will host a series of celebrity and public gaming challenges, as well as live music performances.

As well as EA Sports competitions and the chance for the public to play Mirror's Edge, Spore and Warhammer Online, Johnson will no doubt be pleased that there will also be a number of titles for Nintendo formats, including Littlest Pet Shop, Boogie and SuperStar.

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Latest comments (1)

Dan Griliopoulos Lead Content Editor, Improbable12 years ago
That blithering oaf? We don't want his approbation. Wonder if a particular game company wrote his "statement" for him?
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