There he goes again! (Jack Thompson, Take 2)

No Bono! Don’t do it! You’re too Christian!

I loves me some powerful crazy.


You know, the tough thing about this is that it’s entirely possible that both of the following statements are true:

  • Violent gangland video games, for the vast majority of players, are cathartic releases from everyday life that have a de-stressing, pleasurable, and overall positive effect.

  • Violent gangland video games, for a very few sociopathic and deluded individuals, serve as an amplification for their violent fantasies, leading to increased likelihood of acting out. Thompson cites Jason Robida and the “Nut Cases” gang in Oakland as two, quite possibly genuine, examples.

How society balances these two issues is definitely an evolving concern. How different is GTA from, say, obsessively watching Taxi Driver over and over? Probably not that different… but I think quite a few of us would agree that games can be more immersive than movies.

In any case, this is going to probably play out with gangland video games becoming uniformly M-rated, M ratings being enforced at the retail level more uniformly, and large retailers backing off to some extent. Thompson’s suits won’t stand, though.

Edit: Thompson makes two points that I think are quite good in this latest letter:

It will be very interesting if this turns out to be true. We definitely know that teens have a lot poorer impulse control and planning ability than adults. What if Thompson’s correct that teens are especially prone to fantasy immersion leading to acting out, and that games are especially effective at inducing fantasy immersion?

Personally I agree with Thompson that Rockstar is being reprehensible by releasing Bully. I mean, it’s basically emulating an M-rated game (GTA) with T-level violence (“it’s only schoolyard bullying”). But it’s the same dynamic: you’re the bad guy and you can (and should) do whatever you want.

It’s very possible that many childhood bullying specialists really do agree with Thompson that Rockstar shouldn’t release Bully.

Double edit for teh win: But then perhaps the teen brains issue is even deeper yet. This article says:

Which is exactly what doesn’t happen in Rockstar video games (arguably, in video games in general, but especially in real-world sociopathy games like Rockstar’s).


He needs to say “murder simulator” more.

I was convinced that this letter was a hoax, but it’s popping up in a lot of places. And I’m not quite adventurous enough to ask Thompson if he is, indeed, batshit loco.

Porn and guns cant be kept away from kids, so pass all the laws ya want, not going to stop the .001% of crazy fucks from aquiring a game and freaking out after playing GTA10.

When did bat guano acquire this reputation for mental instability?

Yeah, I can just see the kids hanging out outside EB, soliciting passers-by… “hey man, can you boot some games for me? I’ll give you an extra five bucks”

It doesn’t matter if you enforce the ratings or rate every single game AO.

This is why:

When I was in EB over xmas, there was a kid, seven, eight years old at the absolute most. He was playing Call of Duty 2 on a kiosk. His mom came over, and, I shit you not, waited for him to finish playing. When he was done, he said, and I quote, “I like it when they bleed.”

His mother didn’t bat an eyelash. I was torn between saying “What the fuck is wrong with you?” And just managing to keep my mouth shut. The last thing I wanted to do was to get in to a shouting match with some retard mother. And this wasn’t even the white trash you’d expect from this kind of situation, we’re talking well-to-do people who drove off in a lexus.

So do you really think ratings and enforcement will really change anything? I guarantee you it won’t.

Or maybe some parents just don’t see any harm in virtual, still not even close to photorealistic, violence and don’t freak out like you do? That doesn’t make them a “retard”. I’m actually willing to bet that the attitude that mother had is pretty common here in Europe.

I have heard that expression for some time.

Uh, does cod2 even have blood? I honestly dont remember but it felt rpetty sanitized to me.

Oh, and the the whole “I like it when they bleed”-thing. As a peronal anecdote, when I was a smallish boy, me and my friends used to play tons of Moonstone on the Amiga, which was a very gory game with decapitations, impaling, you name it. Now I don’t like violence in real life, and I don’t like real blood, but at the time, having all that blood in the game was really “cool”. Same thing later with Mortal Kombat and its over the top fatalities. Most young (and even older) boys dig that sort of this, and I don’t think there’s anything disturbing or alarming about that. And nobody ever made a fuss about it when I was young.

Now sure, COD2 looks more realistic than some old Amiga games, but I don’t really think the better graphics make that much of a difference in this matter.

I’m curious…what would you suggest as a logical solution to this problem afflicting not just white trash but (gasp!) well off people as well?

Also, do you have any children?

Better yet, were you ever a child or were you just assembled from leftover bits of sanctimonious old farts?

So look, this is the way I see it: Parents are completely allowed to bring up their children however they want. But I hold an unreasonable and illogical anger to parents who obviously don’t care about game ratings. Regardless of whether or not they are good parents, they are parents, and some parents spaz over game ratings and make life difficult for everyone. Because of that, I hold this baseless anger towards all parents who would seemingly ignore game ratings.

Had I actually said anything, I would have simply asked if she knew about game ratings, and knew that the game the kid was playing was M rated. If she said she knew, I would have been totally cool with that.

edit: Also, it’s still proof that enforcing game ratings won’t make a difference. Parents will still let children play mature games, some kids will still commit crimes, and some of those kids will still have copies of certain violent games. Limiting or enforcing game ratings will do absolutely nothing to change this, which is why I don’t support things like this:

In any case, this is going to probably play out with gangland video games becoming uniformly M-rated, M ratings being enforced at the retail level more uniformly, and large retailers backing off to some extent. Thompson’s suits won’t stand, though.

Which is, you’ll note, the same thing I quoted earlier.

Seems that everytime I stay off my computer for abit I miss another Jack Thompson message. I’ve seen plenty of times parents buying games like Blitz The league, Gta, and saying it’s fine.

Although last week a parent was looking at the Warriors for her son, I’m guessing between 8-10, and she asked me and the guy at the register in Eb about it. So I told her about the game since I played it, she then told her son no, thanked us and bought the other T rated games instead.

My parents raised me letting me play any games I wanted E to M. Unless there was profanty or sex which was no deal. Strange enough the only game my mom ever kept me from playing was Hell for the 3d0. Usually if I play Heavy M rated games like GTA,Warriors, I keep the volume low or play when my family is not around. I turned out reasonably well, but then again I’m not exactily the typical young adult.

No shit. You’re a fucking pfreak.

(Sorry. I’ve had a couple of beers, but I am pjoking.)

Great story. Too bad Call of Duty 2 is rated Teen.

So… you think it was GTA, rather than the neo-nazi and white power group affiliations, that lead to Robida ‘acting out’? Because I’m pretty sure he didn’t have CJ’s face tattoed on his knuckles, but he did have 14/88 there.

So it is. But the kid wasn’t a teen (or even close), and it’s still a violent game. The ESRB rating says “Blood, Mild Language, and Violence”.