Saturday, August 06, 2005

Jack Thompson : Douchebag Of The Year!

It's been a couple of weeks since I've last posted, but I really couldn't find a topic to discuss on. That was until I went on to IGN today. Apparently, Jack Thompson's tryaid of seeking out of "what's wrong" with video games continues with Capcom's Killer 7. For those who don't know who Jack Thompson is, he's the lawyer from Florida who has recently joined Hillary Clinton on the whole GTA: San Andreas Hot Coffee controversy. But he's been taking this situation many steps further, by scrutinizing other games that have been released, or even yet to be released. A few days ago, he and a group of teenage kids protested about Rockstar's upcoming game "Bully", claiming it will lead to the Columbine-like incidents again, and that this game should either be rated "M" or just not published at all. Now, he's targeting Capcom's Killer 7 because of a scene where two clothed people are simulating sexual acts. Like GTA:SA, he wants this game to be slapped with an AO rating, and further more, to have the ESRB "dismantled" and investigated.

On top of all of this, now he (according to Gamespot) has recieved death threats via e-mail from crazed video game fanatics. While I wouldn't go as far as to say as this man should be murdered, I will say that Thompson seems to be going too far in what he is doing. He is not a politician, yet he's making threats like he is one. I'm starting to think that he has jumped on the bandwagon Clinton has started and is just doing this for monetary reasons. Claims that this is to protect children are starting to seem less likely to me. I think the ESRB and the industry have been doing their part to come up with a ratings system that is clear and understandable. There is only so much a company can do to regulate the sales of M-rated games to minors, that this is more of a problem with retailers and parents than it is with the industry. Game makers are creating these games under the impression that people will follow the ESRB guidelines. When they make M-rated games, they're not making them for kids, they're intended for ages 17 and up. Now, when things such as the Hot Coffee incident occur, when a developer knows something is there, but hidden, that should be disclosed with the ESRB and let them decide on wether or not that the material still falls within the rating guideline. But it probably would have been better for Rockstar to just spend the extra time to take it out. Then again, Rockstar isn't one to give up free publicity.

But why is the gaming industry under so much more scrutiny than the film industry? Game ratings are basically similar across the board with the MPAA's (E= G or PG, T= PG-13, and R = M). So why is it that Hollywood can get away with so much more than the gaming industry can? Did anyone complain about the sex scenes in "Unfaithful" or "Team America"? No. I've seen seen some pretty racy stuff on basic cable .But when game makers even Simulate sex, investigations are "needed" to be made. Thompson claims it's "ridiculous" that people feel his stance on sex is much harsher in games than violence. But really, that's what this whole recent digital witch-hunt has been about. Since the sexual content of the Hot Coffee thing has emerged, politicians and lawyers are scrambling to find the next offender.

Why is it so hard for people to adhere to the ESRB rating system? It's clear as day. Reatilers are starting to catch on to regulating sales, but that's not enough when parents just buy the game for their kids. Like the grandmother who bought her 14 year-old grandson GTA:SA, and was outraged to find out there was the hidden sex game in there. HE SHOULDN'T EVEN PLAY THE GAME IN THE FIRST PLACE, BECAUSE ACCORDING TO THE ESRB, THE GAME IS NOT INTENDED FOR HIM. I've been in Gamestop on some occasions where parents have bought the GTA games for their kids, who look like they're 10 or 11. What the hell? Why can't parents spend 3 seconds to look at the bottom of the game package to read the rating. It's pretty big and not hard to miss. If people weren't so ignorant, I really don't think these "sex controversies" would be happening. It's a load of crap that the politicians are making excuses for the parents such as "they're too busy", and have to come down on the gaming industry whenever something happens. I believe that the industry has been pretty responsible so far, by creating and evolving the rating system. How much more do they need to do to keep politicans happy? Probably make some "political contributions".

The gaming industry really needs to stop lying back and taking the brunt of these attacks. If these politicans and attorneys want games to be rated AO, then perhaps the industry should go after retailers who decide on "blacklisting" AO games. Jack Thompson doesn't realize that because he doesn't like what he sees, and that the gaming companies have to change that to shut them up, that the game companies lose money. I think Rockstar should sue Clinton and Thompson for profit losses, since they're getting some political face-time.

Funny how "free speech and expression" doesn't apply to everyone....