The week in video game violence starring Jack Thompson

One of the major networks should start a new reality show on video games. They only need to look at one small portion of the industry, which would make the budget small, because that's the only one most of the nation knows about. So, in the past few weeks, Bully, Sims 2, and Killer 7 along with a few flash games have made the news.

Most of this debate is from Miami attorney Jack Thompson. He's the one that has some sort of vendetta against the industry. That, or he wants the financial gain that could come from manipulating people into believing he actually has a point.

To keep things in chronological order, Thompson started with the Sims 2, one of PC gamings most popular franchises ever. It's one of the few to crack the women demographic, with 50% of the players being women. With a T rating, Thompson decided to attack mere days after everyone thought the Grand Theft Auto coverage was winding down, even going as far to state The Sims was worse than GTA due to a code that removed the pixelization from the nude Sims.

It wasn't long before Thompson was shot down because of his own ignorance. There is no nudity when the code is used to remove the TV-like pixels. Just flat Barbie-doll like bodies, with no discernable features. He claimed this gave pedophiles some sort of stage to rehearse their perverted acts. He may be ignorant, but he knows how to twist an argument and garner press. Since his announcement, nothing has been said on the topic besides a small press release from EA.

Next comes Bully, Rockstar's latest title, and if any of these debates continue, it's going to be against this one. Player's control a school kid who has been bullied relentlessly and finally decides to stand up for himself. The rating is not yet determined, though a T or an M is possible. The games sometimes playful, sometimes violent nature was enough to draw protest from the Peaceaholics, who unsurprisingly, were followed by Thompson. He managed to get his face on TV again.

Peaceaholics compared Rockstar to felons, and it seems to have fallen deaf ears. Rockstar has made no statement, and the game is still scheduled for release. An ABC News story put the game in the same category as internet flash games; not even making the distinction these games weren't playable on any major game console.

Now, more recently, Thompson has attacked Capcom's Killer 7, a stylized first-person shooter with strange and wild art design. It's brutal, but after reading an IGN review, he decided the game's sexual content was too much, yet it was obvious he had never seen it. The scene in question is a lap dance, with no nudity. The girl moans a few times and it's over. Even if there was nudity, in a game with the graphical, surreal flair of Killer 7, it wouldn't even be recognizable.

The only thing he really has a case against are the gamers themselves, some of whom were dumb enough to e-mail death threats to the attorney. That's brought questions of whether or not the threats were really stated the way they were, but there's little debate that he has received some. It's easy to understand gamer's frustrations with man whom proudly proclaims he has ended up on TV every chance he gets, but this to too far.

So, what does Thompson write to video game supporters when he receives an e-mail from them? Childish diatribes. There are multiple examples out there, from countless sources, who post the e-mail responses to show just how uncaring he truly is. You have to wonder why he even bothers to reply in the first place. The only thing he's smart enough to do is not threaten to kill anyone.

What's odd is that in the five or so years I've followed his absurd, uncaring crusade, I have yet to run across or read anything on anyone who agrees with him. I admit that I don't visit the proper forums, yet even through a Google search to find some of the letters linked up there and some of the articles, there was still nothing. I went through 11 pages of Google results until I gave up. The only ones who are with him are the Peaceaholics. Does he honestly believe he's winning something?

Comments (13)

Here's a news flash for Matt Paprocki:

I know games don't tend to read anything but gaming and porn magazines, but one of you might want to go out and actually buy Reader's Digest, which has 46 million subscribers, making it the most read magazine in the world. It just so happens that it features this month in the August issue a feature article about my efforts against the video game industry.

Matt, though, says that he's never found anyone who agrees with me. That's almost hilarious. He apparently doesn't read anything other than the incestuous video game enthusiast press. You all should read the countless communications to me since my appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes and the Reader's Digest article supporting what I am doing.

Here's another heads-up for gamer juveniles: Adults run this country, not children. Get used to it.

Matt, you may be laughing about what I am doing, but Take-Two is not. Neither is Congress, whose House voted two weeks ago to wack Take-Two 355-21. Nobody agrees with me? Try 355 Members of the House of Representatives. I continue to find evidence, here at this site and in my email inbox, that the vast majority of gamers are stoners, so silly, so self-absorbed, so self-righteous, and so idiotic are their rants.

Yes folks, that really is Jack Thompson, e-mailing me a similar e-mail and posting a comment to this same post on BC mere minutes after I put it up.

I know games don't tend to read anything but gaming and porn magazines, but one of you might want to go out and actually buy Reader's Digest, which has 46 million subscribers, making it the most read magazine in the world. It just so happens that it features this month in the August issue a feature article about my efforts against the video game industry.

Thank you, I will check that out since, even though you obviously know me so well and what my magazine racks contain.

You all should read the countless communications to me since my appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes and the Reader's Digest article supporting what I am doing.

And I'm supposed to see them how if they were mailed to you?

Matt, you may be laughing about what I am doing, but Take-Two is not. Neither is Congress, whose House voted two weeks ago to wack Take-Two 355-21. Nobody agrees with me? Try 355 Members of the House of Representatives. I continue to find evidence, here at this site and in my email inbox, that the vast majority of gamers are stoners, so silly, so self-absorbed, so self-righteous, and so idiotic are their rants.

Idiotic because we prove you so wrong? And I'm a stoner? How in the hell are you an attorney, spouting off clueless "facts" and sweeping generalizations about people you don't even know? How are we the childish ones? People can see right through you, and making posts like this doesn't improve your standing.

Congress didn't vote to "wack" (isn't it whack?) Take Two. Their starting an investigation. The title is rated AO. They'll find nothing of use.

And another thing. How about fighting for a real cause? You know, like people being killed in Iraq on a daily basis? Real violence? Real people? You seem to be against violence, so why not go after the real stuff?

If you're "all powerful Jack Thompson," why not use your pull and do something meaningful. Slandering me isn't doing much for any of your causes or court cases against the industry, none of which you've won.

I know games don't tend to read anything but gaming and porn magazines - huh?

Jack Thompson is making the classic error of ignoring the facts and never admitting that he's wrong. His website doesn't even link to any of the studies, polls, etc. that he cites. Better luck next time.

Also, it's somewhat odd that if Reader's Digest supports what he's doing, why can't his efforts be found anywhere on the Reader's Digest website?

Jordan Fouts:

On the note of lawyers, legislators and things to be more worried about than naughty pixels: How about those adults running the country actually do their job?

I mean cripes, what's more dangerously jading to a teen - that RockStar puts out a game where you can slaughter imaginary badguys, or that legislators often can't even understand the laws they're passing?


The point is, we know a bid for attention and a big billowy smokescreen when we see them, Jack.

I will have you know I read more then just video game and porn magazines. I mean, I read Maxim... oh wait. But seriously, how about the computer magazines I read regularly (Macworld, PC Magazine), then there is WIRED, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Premiere, Popular Mechanics and Men's Fitness.

Nice way to stereotype Jack. Idiot.

As tcremer states, your Reader's Digest article does not even show up on RD.com.

Either pick up a new cause, or do some research next time you decide to blast a game like The Sims or Bully.

Pranks and wet willies seem rather tame to me in comparison to Rockstar's usual fare of killing hookers and cops.

"naughty pixels" is just a great quote. And I could not agree more with Jordan here. There are far worse things wrong with our society to worry about.

I also have to question if this is truly Jack Thompson commenting here, and on Blogcritics. The email (jackpeace at comcast.net) seems to be legit, but the URL posted to this site and Blogcritics are different.

The IP used for the post here is 65.34.166.156 and is an IP on the Comcast network (c-65-34-166-156.hsd1.fl.comcast.net). So it very well may be a genuine post from Jack himself.

Jordan Fouts:

I have a copy of the RD article Jack's talking about, by the way. It's more about violence in video games (it talks about the menace of GTA:VC but not a word of SA or any coffee, hot or cold) than sex, centered around the 2003 Alabama case of Devin Moore shooting up a bunch of cops. Jack's part in the case is a $600M lawsuit he filed on behalf of the murdered cops' families against Moore and basically anyone related to GTA, including RockStar Games, Sony and Wal-Mart.

Jack says, in the article, of the GTA series: "It's a cop-killing game... Moore killed cops. he replicated the killing scenario in the police station precisely as it occurs in the game."


The article goes on to say how the suit alleges "that the corporate defendants should have known that the games had the potential to spawn copycat violence." Thompson also seeks to prove, in the lawsuit, how video games rewire the brain for conditional response - in this case, apparently, the response to the visual cue of seeing a cop of wanting to shoot him and steal his car.


Personally video games have less to do with my conditioned response upon seeing a cop (giving him the finger) than cops themselves, who generally behave like assholes. And this brings me to the point I wanted to raise: Why do games which involve killing cops have appeal? I mean, will a kid go out and shoot a cop because playing a video game made him hate cops, or will he go out and shoot a cop for the same reason he plays the video game in which he can shoot cops - because he hated cops to begin with? And why would he have anything against cops to begin with?

Jack says, in the article, of the GTA series: "It's a cop-killing game... Moore killed cops. he replicated the killing scenario in the police station precisely as it occurs in the game."

Not that I've played a ton of GTA, but I don't recall hearing of any segment in any of the games that involves shooting cops in a police station. Now, the orginal Terminator flick...

GTA isn't a cop killing game either. Can't wait until a gamer hops on the stand. Feel bad for those people, but it's not the game companies fault.

Why do games which involve killing cops have appeal?

Because people like Thompson make it so taking shots at it every time he can. Then it comes back to the game companies. He gets his face on TV, gets the game in people's hands, then sues them all in a ridiculous, fact-based lawsuit.

The thing is with violent videos games is that I'm all for them. I'm 33 and feel I should have the right to play them if and when I want. Not that I would play GTA as it's not my cup of tea but I don't want some screwball telling me that I can't.

As far as Thompson's lawsuit regading the police shootings... I could name dozens of references to various media where police are killed. And the teen charged in the 2003 shooting? Well, from the article that Jordan linked to the shooter's own dad said, "...had trouble disciplining his son for years..."

It's a yet another case of using (fill in the blank with whatever's popular with youth but not their parents) when there's bigger and long standing problems at home.

LKM:

Wow, this is so awesome. Jack Thompson, if you're reading this: As a non-American, I want to thank you for destroying everything that makes America so great. Please, sir, continue with your destrucion of America's freedom. It will make us look so much better in comparison. I'm glad you adults are running the US of A... into the ground.

And for the record: Yeah, I'm a self-absorbed, self-righteous stoner. I used to smoke tons of weed, and I still do it from time to time. I often read books all by myself, so that makes me self-absorbed. I also think I'm generally correct, which makes me self-righteous. Unfortunately, all that doesn't make you any more right than me. And it seems to me that at least the first two attributes apply to you at least as much as they do to me - of course, I don't know about which drugs you prefer, so I can't comment on that.

Not that any of this - dare I say it - juvenile name-calling of yours has any meaning in the context of this discussion. Arguments matter, not the drug usage of those who make them.

Thank you for linking back to my Aelon.net 'conversation' with Jack. If we want to talk about games destroying our youth, I think we need to see evidence that it's actually happening, and gamers killing people, or killers blaming games isn't that proof, no matter what Jack Thompson thinks.

Here's a fact for you Jack.

Between 1992 and 2002 violent crime commited by people aged 10 to 17 has... decreased. Not by a small figure. 66%. Nearly double the average for the country.

Pay attention to this part Jack. This is where I actually *cite where I got the above information from*.

http://home.earthlink.net/%7Emmales/chap-4.htm
and
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/Cius_97/95CRIME/95crime2.pdf

Here's another newsflash for Jack Thompson 66% of gamers are adults, and the average age is currently 28 and rising.

http://www.d5games.net/advergames/demographics.php

Congress rightly voted to start an inquiry into Rockstar over Hot Coffee, since there was sufficient evidence of deceipt on Rockstar's part. however they didn't 'wack' them, and they certainly did nothing that suggests they agree that the game should be outright banned.

Mike S.:

I know this has been said ad nauseum, but I feel the need to state my statistics...

I am currently 25 years old. I started gaming 20 years ago, on Christmas day. In the last 20 years, I have viewed my fair share of violence, sex, nudity, and other acts of humanity that have been deemed inappropriate by the status quo. Not only in the "evil" video gaming industry, but on websites, movies, television, and pretty much any other medium you can think of.


But here's the part I think you need to hear. This is my life as an idiotic, self-absorbed, self-righteous, silly stoner.

In the last 20 years, I have never been in a fight. I have never drank, smoked, or done drugs of any kind. I graduated from college with a bachelors degree, and a 3.8 GPA. I worked with a federally funded children's group for 5 summers, working with high school students. I have a solid career as a computer technician. I have made something of my life, despite the horrid atrocities that video games brought to my life. That was sarcasm, if you couldn't quite taste it.

You want to know why I turned out the way I did, and why I have never met this majority of people you speak of? Because my parents (You know, the adults who run the country) did their job. If I was playing, watching, or engaging in an activity that they felt was unfavorable, they stopped me. Video games were entertainment, not my babysitter.

And while I'm on the subject, do you think this "majority" sprung forth from the womb of the Anti-Christ? If this majority does exist (Which I doubt), they came from American homes, and more importantly, American parents. When I worked at a video store for 3 years, I watched parents rent these mature games for their kids. On occasion I would be asked if a game was acceptable for their children, to which I would give an honest response. But most of the time, a kid would throw up Grand Theft Auto or some other mature game, and the parent would get it. So who's at fault? The kid who plays the offensive game, or the irresponsible, country running adult who lets him play it? I'd get used to it if you'd actually take some responsibility for what your kids do.

Cody.H:

If Jack Thompson does actually read some of these posts I would like to throw out three simple questions for you, my first being two parts.

1. Do your kids play videogames and if so what are there ages compared to the ratings on the games?

2. Im sure you have seen the commercials for V-Smile which has "videogames" for little kids to learn basics like math and reading would you also deem it evil since it is a videogame?

3. Do you know how stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy use the ESRB rating system to sell videogames to some and use legal ID's for others?

Thank you for your time in reading my post if you ever do.

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by Ken Edwards and Matt Paprocki. Some Rights Reserved.
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