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  Jack Thompson on Murder-Simulators  
 
 
Posted 2005-02-28 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Jack Thompson is an infamous Miami, FLA attorney who fervently believes that video games train kids to kill. He has blamed Halo (which he inaccurately calls a "sniper game") and Grand Theft Auto for certain shootings in the U.S., and credits himself with predicting the Columbine massacre eight days in advance. CBSnews.com columnist William Vitka recently interviewed Thompson, and while I disagree with many of Thompson's statements (particularly his grandstanding), he does leave me with some food for thought:

"[Video games] are murder simulators...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...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."
 
     
 
   
 
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  8 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by Orneryboy
February 28, 2005 @ 1:27 pm
     
 
So what does he propose as a solution? It seems as though he just has a personal vendetta against the videogame industry, and he doesn't really say anything constructive.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by gatmog
February 28, 2005 @ 3:02 pm
     
 
Indeed, Orneryboy, as this blogger shows.

He's all too happy to be interviewed by CBS and to proclaim the rise of the "Manchurian Children", but as soon as someone who sounds like a video game supporter asks some legitimate questions he's a complete prick about it. The man is a media whore, plain and simple. Maybe he's aiming to write "The Man who put Video games on Trial" on his resume?
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Yermum
February 28, 2005 @ 5:07 pm
     
 
Murder absent consequence in a game is unethical and trains the impressionable 13 year old that the societal prohibitions against killing that they've been learning about since their bedtime stories are not as set in stone as mommy and daddy led them to believe.

The solution is not to ban these games, however... In the same way as we've set up media literacy programs to make youths aware of the tactics used on them by the advertising industry, youths should be educated on the affects of gaming. Surely there is already enough research around to put together a curriculum.

And by the way, in my experience, Halo is a sniper game... just ask Jos.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Yermum
February 28, 2005 @ 5:53 pm
     
 
Having read gatmog's link... methinks Jack Thompson has been playing too many "shoot yourself in the foot while acting like a complete asshole" simulators.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
February 28, 2005 @ 5:59 pm
     
 
Thompson seems to acknowledge some responsibility on behalf of the parents, but essentially holds them powerless against the conspiracies of the game industry. Which is sensible from his perspective. There isn't much money to be made from suing parents.

re: Halo as a sniper game... just wanted to clarify for any readers not familiar with Halo that there is indeed a sniper gun in Halo, but that the game is not about sniping. There is a very wide array of weaponry in Halo. It is no more a "sniper game" than it is a "machine gunner game" or a "plasma rifle game." Yermum's comment is a dig at those who prefer the sniper gun above all other ordinance in a multiplayer game.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Yermum
February 28, 2005 @ 6:09 pm
     
 
Yermum, is in fact one of those who prefers said weapon to the exclusion of all others. He may be a camper, but he's a self deprecating camper.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Jonathan
March 1, 2005 @ 1:47 am
     
 
While he is a media hound i think it is only fair to rebute his claims. There is of today no solid conclusive factual evidence that videogames CAUSE children to act with violence. It is an easy copout because it lets people get angry at 'those faceless game makers' and not at the true culpret of murder. human suffering (sickness mental, physical), poverty, addiction, inequality, ignorance, hate, greed, poor or no education, fear and others. Personaly i cant even imagine ending another life. Even those who i seriously dispies. Who have cause harm and death i cannot see myself kill.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Yermum
March 2, 2005 @ 4:14 pm
     
 
Just in time comes this feature from Gamasutra asking developers about their moral and ethical responsibilities as game creators.
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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