For those that don’t know, Jack Thompson (notice the subtle URL) is the lawyer-cum-vigilante who is trying to make himself the face of the anti-video game movement. He gushes over these idiot laws over video games passed all over the country. (Side note to our Governor, Jennifer Granholm; you lost my vote.) He’s basically the latest incarnation of the hysterical crowd that first blamed music, then blamed movies, and are now blaming video games for people’s lack of responsibility. His equation usually goes like this: innocent child (think teddy bears and butterflies) plays big, bad video game, the goes on a Natural Born Killers-style rampage, slaughtering person, beast, and plant.
According to his website (see subtle URL above), he’s also a psychic. He predicted “…in an interview by Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today show three weeks before the Beltway Snipers were apprehended, that one of the snipers “might very well be a video gamer as young as 15 trained on a game switched to sniper-mode or God-mode.” Nevermind that he says this about every crime spree to anyone who will listen; luck often favors the undeserving. Hell, even John Edwards gets one right once in a while.
The fact is Jack Thompson is not a psychologist, he’s not a doctor, he’s a lawyer and has much to gain from his notoriety. He conveniently ignores statistics that refute his claims and uses straw man tactics in his attempt to make a point. Oh, by the way, good luck to Mr. Thompson on his case in the Grand Theft Auto murder case; that guy got convicted because he’s a murderer, not mentally deficient.
Which brings us to Penny Arcade. Gabe and Tycho, the two proprietors of Penny Arcade, are about the most generous gamers you can find. They have donated about half a million dollars through their charity, all raised through grassroots efforts among gamers. Jack Thompson, as far as I know, has offered ten grand and donated none. They sent him an email (scroll down) with their phone number on it. Jack called them (article). I’m not exactly sure what law you sue someone under for emailing you, but if Jack can figure it out, I have about (counting…. ) 45 spammers I’d like to contact.
Jack Thomson is so bad at spreading the word about violent video games, even the people he’s quoting are asking him to stop using their names. As the Dutch would say: Als alle gekken konden vliegen hadden we een permanente zonsverduistering – If all fools could fly, the sun would be eclipsed forever.
May Jack drift into irrelevance as quickly as New Coke.