Note: I did not steal this text. I simply uploaded it on another website before newgrounds, and encouraged people to spread it.
Good day, dear reader.
I write this text in order to inform you about a matter that is important to me: Discrimination against videogames.
Ever since the dawn of videogames there has been a lot of critism around them. People claim that they unsocial, brainwashing, misleading and whatever. I don't claim that those accusitions are wrong. But what I think is wrong is that recently the critisism around videogames has gone from not being liked by the public to not being accepted at all. Almost as if it is a disease.
I realize that popular culture always meet a lot of criticism. But never as much as videogames have recently. I believe that there are two main reasons for all of this: A: The public believes anything they hear from someone who is "qualified", and B: Because of a man named "Jack Thompson", who just happens to be "qualified".
Jack Thompson is a attourney from the United States Of America who focuses mainly on, of course, violence in videogames. He is constantly attacking videogames for portraying extreme violence and having sexual content, to mention a few things, claiming that videogames teach children to kill mindlessly. Although I respect his opinion I do not respect the fact that he doesn't have any good arguments at all. He has said a lot of things, like how videogames has a mental impact on children, giving them a fictional view on violence. He simply calls violent videogames "Murder Simulations".
He also claims that in every school shooting videogames are involved. But what he does is put empashis on those school shootings in which this is true. But even though the people responsible for some of the school shootings may have played violent videogames, it doesn't necesarrily mean the videogames where involved at all. In my opinion he just assumes so and then tells everyone else he is right.
What I believe is Thompson's biggest scapegoat is the controversial videogame-series "Grand Theft Auto", where the player can basically run around and kill anything in sight. He has on numerous occasions sued, or threatened to sue, the company Rockstar, who creates the games. All of the Grand Theft Auto-games are of course rated M For Mature in most countries, and should therefore not be available too children. But it has been proved that most stores in high-income countries sell videogames and movies to children below the required age. But the way I see it, this is not the videogame-producers' fault in any way whatsoever.
As long as the game is rated M it shouldn't be a problem for them at all. But it is.
How Jack Thompson has even gotten as far as being listened to is obviously because of his reputation. Because he doesn't have anything other than that. He has blamed Grand Theft Auto for school-shootings more times than I can count. I recall watching the news after a school shooting and the reporter was speaking with Jack Thompson on the phone. It was only a couple of minutes after the shooting and no proof, facts or anything at all had been put forth at the time. But it only took Jack Thompson a minute to start talking about how the shooting obviously was caused by videogames.
He also tried to have a Life Simulation-game called "The Sims 2" stopped, because it apparantly shows nude people. He called the game a paradise for a pedofiles. But once he found out that The Sims 2 doesn't actually show any sexual content at all he stepped down on this case.
Another thing he recently did was to try to stop schools from using a partygame that is directed at teaching named "Buzz! The Schools Quiz" for alternative education. The game doesn't show any violence, sexual content, religious content or offensive language and is made especially for schools. His only reason was that "Videogames have caused more damage than good".
However, what probably is his most extreme claim ever is how videogames where responsible for 9-11.
The only thing he had to back this up was that some of the terrorists had played flight-simulators to train, and that some of them used to play violent videogames. He did, of course, not have any proof of this at all. And even if they did indeed play videogames he didn't have any proof that the games where the reason for them killing themselves and thousands of other people.
Something that disturbs me is that Jack Thompson calls himself a "videogame expert". Because he only focuses on the violent part of games. Games are a whole lot more than that. Even if there is violence in them.
A lot of games that Thompson has "attacked" attempt to show realistic violence, in order to create a effect. The producer of the videogame-series "Metal Gear Solid" has said this about violence in his games:
"I don't think there are many games that tackle violence head on. When you hit someone or inflict pain, faces get disfigured for example, and I want to make games that show that sort of thing.
..."If you don't see the pain, you can't understand what you've done, and you'll pass through battles without taking responsibility for your actions. I don't want to ignore that. I want players to think, even if it's just a little, about what violence and war are."
And that is the case for most games. They don't want to provoke violence, but rather fight it, But I do realize that there are games that involve extreme, imorral violence and that reward you for killing as much as possible. But these games are also rated M and should not be available to children. And altough they may be somewhat realistic there is no mistaking these games from reality. The fact is that most people play videogames in order to take a break from reality. I personally have no problem dividing these games from reality, and I'm almost convinced that all sane people in the world don't have so either. There are always those few individuals that react differently to things. But they never speak for the people, and that shouldn't be the case with videogames either. So Jack Thompson takes those people who may have been affected by videogames and make a example of them. But as mentioned, he can't even prove that these few people really where affected by games.
So I guess that is pretty much what I have to say... for now.
I hope you realise that Jack Thompson is a person that should not be taken seriously, and in my personal opinion, doesn't deserve the title of a lawyer. Because he doesn't do what lawyers are supposed to: argue.
But even though that is true he still gets to make a movie about videogame violence, and gets to appear on television on numerous occasions, adressed as a videogame expert.
I fear that he will eventually have a strong impact on the videogame community and that is why I want everyone who can to go against him and his beliefs.
Thank you for listening to what I had to say, and remember: Jack Thompson is a dick.