040305 Oh no.

I found this article via Penny Arcade. It's obvious to anyone with even a modicum of debating skills-and common sense-that this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

What constitutes violence in video games?

There's no real debate over that. Any M-rated game has violence levels unacceptable and definitionally harmful to anyone under 17. The industry will rue the day it accepted this labeled scheme.

Someone better tell that to Hollywood. And Television. Why would it be better to have no way of discerning age-appropriate content?

What percentage of all games made would you say are violent, based upon your previous definition of violence in video games?

This gets to a fundamental lie being propagated by the video game industry.
GTA [Grand Theft Auto series] has sold 30 million units, with San Andreas expected to hit 20 million on its own. It's the #1 seller in the world right now. That fact alone does not square with ISA and ESRB's dodge that "the majority of games are not violent or M-rated." What matters is how many units delivered are violent, and to whom they are being delivered.
No, what matters is how many games are voilent, who's buying them, and if they shouldn't be getting them, who's fault is it?

Not to mention the fact that the GTA series, concerns about violence aside, are generally very good games. So if mostly adults are buying a good, though violent product, what does that do to your claim?

If a guy falls asleep smoking, wakes up, realizes the cutains are in fire, and throws gasoline on them, is it the firemen's fault if his house burns down? No? Then how is it the manufacturer's fault if a psychologically unstable child is allowed to play videogames.

How many hate or violent crimes would you say are linked to or directly related to violence in video games?

I have no earthly idea, and no one can guess at that. I can tell you that some crimes would not occur but for the violent entertainment. For the families of the deceased, that is the only statistic that matters.

I'm sorry, I missed the point where you indicate how the vast minority of families speaks for the rest of humanity. Oh, wait. You don't, and they can't. You, sir, begin your response by admitting you have no idea what the answer is.

And of course violent entertainment causes crimes. Among individuals who were unstable anyway. But it takes a lot if pressure to change anyone's mind, even a little.

Does age or sex play a factor in violent, aggressive behavior?

Sure, the sex and violence centers of the brain overlay one another, which is why the increasing mix of sex and violence is troubling. Armies have been known to go on rape rampages after battles because the violence stimulates sexual aggression. How lovely that GTA weds sex and violence in the same game. We are training a generation of teens to combine sex with violence, just what America needs.
I always love it when they try sarcasm.

The games are M rated. Which means they shouldn't be played by anyone under 17 years at least. Not to mention the fact that rape is psychologically about power, not violence. aNd with 20 million units moved, I think we'd've noticed a trend. Even with just one percent of the players, it stll represents 200 thousand rapes, at least.

Is there a correlation between playing violent video games and acting in a violent manner?

Of course. Every parent who is paying attention knows that it is garbage in, garbage out with kids.

The heads of six major health care organizations testified before Congress that there are "hundreds" of studies that prove the link. All the video game industry has are studies paid for by them, which are geared to find the opposite result. Lawyers call such experts "whores."
Oooh, you tell im, girl!

Mr. Thompson, why is it that you are not actually naming any of these studies? Or quoting any? Is it possible that they were made up?

Is gaming escapism?

Yes, just as Ted Bundy escaped into pornography. It is not a release of aggression. It is training for aggression.
Answer the question, Mr. Thompson. Directly, Mr. Thompson. Without ignoring the fact that Ted Bundy was nuts, Mr Thompson. Without acknowledging the fact that less than fifty crimes proven,or even evidenced to be related to videogames have ever been commited, Mr. Thompson. Out of billions of games sold, Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson? Mr. Thompson? Are you in there? Mr. Thompson?

Do you think the interactivity of game violence makes it different than violence on television, which is passive?

Of course, as you actually grow neural pathways called dendrites that enable you to perform more easily the physical acts of violence. Plus, from a psychological perspective, to act out of virtual violence in a virtual setting is far more damaging than just viewing it. You enter into the violence, you become the protagonist.

I'm just gonna quote Cathodetan:

The way Jack puts it, it sounds like Rockstar is actually capable of altering your brain chemistry to make you into a serial killer. In truth, your brain is doing this kind of stuff all the time. Sure, it's easier to commit acts of violence as you get older. It's also easier to hold a beer, click the remote and dance the tango. While video games might improve your hand-eye coordination, there's no proof that Counter-Strike would improve your aim with a sniper rifle.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Different mediums, as they've come along, have had their share of controversy. From pulp horror and graphic novels, to movies, music and television; is this part of a cycle?

Yes, it is the last cycle. These are murder simulators. Manhunt has been called the video game equivalent of a snuff film. I am working with an Oakland, CA prosecutor in a murder trial in which the older gang members used GTA 3 to train teens to do carjackings and murders. The Army uses these games to break down the inhibition to kill of new recruits.
Killing and murder are two differnt things. A soldier is supposed to kill. If they don't have there inhibitions down, they turn into, what are they called? Pussies. If you can't shoot, if you're not willing to kill to defend your country, you shouldn't live in it. God bless America.1

Look at the Institute for Creative Technologies created by DOD to create these killing games. Tax dollars paid to the industry to create the games to suppress the inhibition to kill, and then the industry turns around and sells these games to kids. One instance is Pandemic Studio's Full Spectrum Warrior. If it works for soldiers, of course it works for teens. The video game industry has absolutely no rebuttal to that argument. NONE.
You didn't ask, did you? You're like the kid who doen't ask his parents because they'll say no.

The game is designed to tech tactics. TACTICS. Not to show them how to kill.

Is the self-imposed rating system for video games enough? Is the ESRB working? What is the relevance of a rating system for video games if the powers that be will black-list certain games because of their graphic content?

No, of course it's not working. Senator Lieberman and Dr. Walsh just had their latest "Video Game Report Card" news conference. Underage kids can buy the most violent games half the time. I just successfully sued Best Buy and compelled them to institute a new nationwide policy. They will now ID anyone appearing to be 21 or younger to make sure no one under 17 buys M-rated games. This is a huge development. You really need to report that. It is an industry first.
It's also bordering on unconstitutional. Children can watch R-rated movies in some theatres, if their parents are doing a bad job. They can also watch MA rated programs on TV, if their parents don't use the parental lock, which has been built into almost every TV since around 1998, I think.

Are parents paying attention to what their kids play?

Which means that he'd like to destroy "Gone with the Wind" so kids can't read it. If parents aren't paying attention to what their kids play, that means they're bad parents. By definition. I'm surprised the interviewer didn't pursue this.

Do you think that video games are similar to sports? There are much-touted statistics that link aggression levels to video game playing, but isn't that precisely what happens in any kind of competition?

I'm sorry, but a basketball games goal is to score more points, not maim the other player. That is where sportsmanship comes in. There is no sportsmanship in any GTA game. None.
There's not much sportmanship in modern sports, either. And they didn't ask you about GTA. GTA is about telling a story, not sports.

In this particula case, Thompson seems to be doing something that a lot of internet Trolls do. Taking an isolated incident which may be connected to something, and argueing forcefully that it is proof of an epidemic sweeping the nation, nay, the world.

In 2000, 1,242 kids were murdered with guns and 174 children died from accidental deaths. Aside from stories that get covered in the news [like Columbine], there are few, if any, actual statistics that show how many children's deaths are directly linked to video games. Do the facts speak for themselves? Or is it just that nobody is really keeping tabs?

The federal government found that in the school year 2003, there were 48 school killings. The year before that there were 16, and the year before that 17. Something is going on. I submit that the video game generation is coming of age.

That it? No facs, proof, evidence? Nothing? Just an unsubstantiated opinion? Wow.

I mean, he's not even answering the question. Just quoting an unrelaed statistic, which could be cause by Nabisco changing the about of filling in Oreos, for all we know.
Where does the accountability lie? Are parents responsible for their children's behavior? Society?

There is plenty of blame to go around. The parents must do a better job, but you know what? When we were on 60 Minutes the Sunday after Columbine (we predicted Columbine on NBC's Today eight days before it happened) with the parents in Paducah, Ed Bradley asked Joe James "Isn't this a parent's responsibility?" Joe said "Ed, I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong. I had my daughter in school and in a pre-school prayer meeting where she was shot and killed. If I hadn't raised her right, she'd be alive today."

You see, the industry is selling these games to kids whose parents are reckless. How is that Joe Jame's fault? We need to punish the industry and the parents who are putting innocent people in harm's way.

You just watch. There is going to be a Columbine-times-10 incident, and everyone will finally get it. Either that, or some video gamer is going to go Columbine at some video game exec's expense or at E3, and then the industry will begin to realize that there is no place to hide, that it has trained a nation of Manchurian Children.
I can just imagine Jon Stewart now. "Doom! A doom on you all! Super Mario is poisioning the minds of our nation's doe-eyed children! Rise up! Rise up and fight!"

Mr. Thompson, you never answered the question of parental responsibility. Since, apparently, the idea of parents being responsible for their kids is ludicrous.
Kids took guns to school for 200 years in this country without turning them on one another. President Clinton understood that if we want to do something about gun violence, we need also to look at the stimuli to use those guns. 3000 gun laws on the books. Not a single law on the books to stop the sale of murder simulators to kids. Idiotic.
That's what parents are for.

GTA was not released until 1998. GTA, which was the first game in the series with graphic violence, was not released until 2001. I also note that he's not blaming the spate of late 80s, early 90s ridiculously violent movies.

Carl Sandberg, Lincoln's great biographer, defined freedom as "moving easy in harness." The selfish, childish video game industry accepts no harness. Their freedom is pure license.

Yes, that's right kiddies. He literally wants to take freedom away from videogame publishers. Someone call George W. Bush. And how can game be childish? Someone's missing the point. Parents have no excuse not to look up information on their children's media intake. You can find hundreds of parental organization reviews within seconds online. If not thousands.

They are about to pay a wicked price, and I aim to make sure they pay it.
Here's your firey sword, Mr. Thompson, you're on in six.

Violent videogames are not created for children. They are not marketed to children, or in the prescence of children. I have never seen an ad for the game-or any violent videogame-on Cartoon Network, Nickolodeon, or Kids WB, some of the top three children's networks. By law, videogames are rated by the ESRB. TV shows and movies don't have a compulsive ratings system. And why have you only mentioned one other videogame besides GTA? Do you even know of any others?

Chew on this Mr. Thompson: Of the 20 million copies sold of the game, why has only one alleged incident been recorded? And why has this incident been repeated throughout history, before videogames were invented?
-Why have you never actualy gone to trial? [Thanks, Cathodetan.]
-And what makes the videogame industry more culpable than the movies? Or the television? or popular music?
-Why are the parents, who are the primary filters of their children's media, not under scrutiny? Why can young kids by R-rated moves and DVDs?

1.I'm Bahamian, actually. But I meant it.


I'm surprised the interviewer didn't pursue this.For all we know, this was an e-mail Q&A (and having seen their interview with the guy from Ctrl+Alt+Del, also linked on Penny Arcade, I'd say it's probable). It's probably the reason why the interviewer didn't correct the "age and sex" error that he made. Seriously, when I read that, I couldn't believe that a rational person would make that sort of mistake.

He is a sick individual, Jack Thompson.

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