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Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Anger: Censorship

Ever heard of an Attorney named Jack Thompson? If you are not a game industry follower, you most likely have not. He is one of Hillary!’s constituents in regards to the scourge of video games on the youth of America . He is most notable for being extra-strength shrill and for issuing a rather stupid challenge. In this challenge he said that if someone would make a game based on the idea of killing all of the game execs involved with GTA, he would donate $10,000 (a paltry sum in game development terms) to charity. It’s stupid and foolish, but mostly stupid. It is foolish because he didn’t know, or care to know, that there are lots of people in the world of games that would take him up on the challenge just to make him eat his words.

I hope they taste good! If not, maybe try a little salt.

A group of modders went ahead and made the game. In a delicious turn of irony, they used GTA as the base game in which to humiliate Mr. Thompson. Of course, Mr. Thompson doesn’t have the stones to pay up.

This would be a funny story if it ended right there, but it gets even better!

The guys at Penny Arcade (a fine site/comic for game industry followers, BTW) PAID the bounty for the deadbeat and even did so in his name. They put up a pic of the check, which they put “For Jack Thompson because Jack Thompson won’t” in the memo. Of course, this set off Mr. Thompson including an attempt to get the Penny Arcade guys arrested. Scroll around on the linked page and other pages around it for the full story. It is not to be missed!

Can it get better? Why, Yes... yes, it can!

America's National Institute on Media and the Family, a pro-censorship group despite their protestations, has published an “open letter” to Mr. Thompson asking him to stop referencing them in his screeds. When the a right proper collection of nutjobs like this has a look at what you are doing and says “ewww, go away and stop ‘helping’ us”, you’ve been isolated and made irrelevant.

So now we can go back to ignoring Mr. Thompson, except to point and laugh.

All this is humorous and all, but the subject is dead serious. In my post calling out Hillary! and her cohorts I point out that violence has dramatically decreased since the introduction of the PlayStation (PS1). This claim is based on The Bureau of Justice Statistics. Still these crusaders find fertile ground in the ill-informed masses. They say that violence in video games is the cause of all our ills and that if we just ban GTA our kids will brush their teeth and go to bed (alone!) on time without complaint. If we just crack open the door of censorship, all will be right with the world.

The industry has to do more to refute the claims of the censors. Maybe the mod community will step up. Too bad it has to be outsiders and wannabes; the industry itself is dropping the ball.

Who will be our Dee Snyder?

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