Friday, May 19, 2006

Hitler Never Played Video Games - Part 2

Where was I? Oh yeah, Jack Thompson's an ass.

To me, the idiocy of using religion to promote government action on violent and obscene media is eclipsed only by the outright hypocrisy of it, without even getting into the whole "Separation of Church and State" debate. But before we get into that, let's take a look at the issues being fought.
According to Mr. Thompson, violent video games are "simulators" for destructive behaviors, and argues that in every instance of school shootings, the kids involved are found to be video gamers, therefore it must be the games driving them to this behavior. Wow.... there's a thought, kid's playing video games! Who'd have thought? Using this kind of ass-backwards asinine logic is like saying "We interviewed 10 crackheads, and found that, astonishingly, ALL ten were jobless! Therefore, EVERY jobless person you see on the street must be a crackhead. Or here's a simpler example... what if they did a rigorous study and found that every single kid involved in school shootings happened to really like roast beef sandwiches... would you then tell me that roast beef sandwiches drive people to kill?? That's a perfect parallel to what they're trying to tell us about video games. Perhaps Mr. Thompson forgot to ask the other 99.9% of the school population if THEY played video games, afraid he might find that, perhaps, a whopping majority of them ALSO engage in this carnal activity, without ever having the urge to blow away their classmates. How about reporting on the fact that, out of all these shootings most, if not all, of these shooters were considered "outcasts" by their peers, who were never accepted by the popular circles and usually came from broken homes or abusive parents? Why not? Because it's much harder to sue the jocks and socialites, or the parents and guardians, than a big game company. And you won't get as much media coverage. Jack Thompson is a D-level politician fighting trivial battles because he doesn't have the talent, clout, or intelligence to take on the bigger issues. He's like the big stupid bully that picks on the weaker nerds because he knows he can win, only to be laughed at and mocked when the nerd outsmarts him. How about fighting for better education? How about fighting for better family counseling? Or... oh my God, dare I say it?? How about fighting for better FUCKING GUN CONTROL LAWS!! How exactly is it fair and just to sue a game company for putting out a game (which is fictional entertainment) because some unstable lunatic can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but it's wrong and unconstitutional to sue A) The gun company for producing a product whose SOLE purpose is to kill, and/or B) the lazy-ass father who can't keep his "hunting" guns out of the hands of his kids? It only makes sense in the narrow-minded head of a religious fanatic. Without going too far off course, let me give you a little glimpse into the mind of a religiously-run entity: The website Christ-Centered Game Reviews is a site dedicated to rating games of all kinds based on their moral standings. Here's how they rated the "appropriateness" of the content in my favorite current game, Oblivion:

Violence: -4
Swearing: -5
Blaspheming: -5
Sexual references: -4
Magic use: -5
Prejudice against other races: -1.5
Characters sleeping in their underwear:-3.5

So, to compare: Blaspheming, Swearing and Magic use gets a -5, but Violence gets a -4, and Prejudice gets a -1.5! It great to see their priorities are straight. Lets also keep in mind that 1) It's a Medieval fantasy roleplaying game, so of COURSE there's going to be some sort of violence; 2) The swearing they're referring to is made up of mostly fictional words created for the gameworld, and doesn't even begin to compare with games such as GTA or even some WWII shooters I've played; 3) The blaspheming they allude to refers to the nine in-game gods that characters worship, and not the Catholic Church's one and only God; and 4) Characters sleeping in their underwear??? Is there really a whole category just for this?? Give me a freaking break. Besides, it's not underwear as in frilly lingerie, it's like a permanent loincloth, used only when the characters aren't wearing any armor... which I would imagine is hard to sleep in. Idiots.

So the question remains: If not video games, what should these people really focus their efforts on? What is the real threat to the moral fiber of this great country...neigh, this great WORLD? Well, if these delusional fanatics and politicians were rational sorts, I would suggest things that, oh, I don't know, actually MATTERED, like the aforementioned real causes for teenage violence - the need for better education, better parental guidance, better counseling, maybe creating afterschool programs to help promote social skills; as well as the obvious things like better gun control or harder punishments for individuals responsible for putting guns in the hands of teens. Then of course there are other equally important issues with today's society, such as poverty, hunger, healthcare, etc., areas in which a real man with conviction can do some real good, things that people like Thompson wouldn't know the first thing about.
Having said that, however, I realize that these are NOT rational people, who base their actions on rational thought, and therefore we must try to think on their level to come up with a viable solution for them to support. Stay with me people, I know it's tough. (Please note the numbers used for this comparison are the most accurate I could find on the internet and may not represent exact figures, so don't sue me if I'm wrong!) I put forth the following argument: Let's assume we go strictly with the "games simulate violence and cause deaths" argument. There have been around 12 instances that I could find on the internet of deaths relating to video games, and most of them to the player him/herself due to stresses brought on by excessive playing, not behavioral modification. OK, let's round that up to 15, just to be fair. 15 deaths, in the world, EVER. NOW:

• According to, football attributed to 15 deaths in America in 2002 alone, that number having gone down from 23 the previous year. That's just players, and doesn't include the anti-social behavior it causes in fans, such as beer-chugging face-painted maniacs, violence erupting in stadiums, betting and gambling, football dads pummeling coaches and rivals' dads, etc. According to this data, it's clear football needs to be eradicated from society if we are to survive as a civilized world. Hell, wipe out ALL the major sports, better safe than sorry.

• According to, around 98,000 people die in America each year by the actions (or inactions) of doctors. Surely a man who's 650,000 times more likely to kill you than the dreaded video game is a force to be reckoned with. Line 'em up, I say, I don't care how much good they've done, doctors are clearly a major threat.

• According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 16.5 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. were killed in an automobile accidents in 1996. That's in ONE year, PER 100,000 people, in ONE country. Obviously automobiles are also a menace, and car companies should immediately halt production.

• According to the CDC, approximately 438,000 people die prematurely each year due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Again, that's each year, in the United States alone. Why this malevolent behavior is still allowed to this day is beyond me.

And my personal favorite:
• According to historians, RELIGION accounts for several BILLION deaths throughout the world's history. This includes, but is not limited to: The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew, The Thirty Years War, Nazism, Islamic Jihads, various civil wars based on religious differences throughout the world, and general religious intolerance/fanaticism. Christianity alone makes up a huge percentage of these conflicts.

So, it seems that Mr. Thompson's platform to eliminate violent and malevolent practices turns out to be a much bigger CAUSE of it than any of the issues he fights. Which is no surprise when you think about it; If one man can fight so feverishly for such an insignificant cause in the name of religion, think of what a few, or many, or a nation, would do.

And people wonder why kids play video games to escape reality.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hitler Never Played Video Games - Part 1

(This blog entry eventually grew too big to be absorbed in one sitting, so it was necessary to break it up into parts, sorry for any inconvenience)

This entry was prompted by a recent news article about Jack Thompson, notorious lawyer and part-time politician known for his unwavering, if misguided, battle against "harmful influences" to minors, including movies and video games. The article stated that Mr. Thompson posted an open letter to Bono, headman of the band U2 and possible buyer of the software publisher Take Two. For those that don't know, Take Two is responsible for publishing such games as, you guessed it, Grand Theft Auto, a title repeatedly heralded as the single largest contributor to anti-social behavior in young adults.
Here is a portion of the letter:

"Dear Bono:
I write you as a fellow brother in Jesus Christ, appreciative of your bold witness to the transforming truth of the Gospel, in both your words and your deeds. You daily "fight the good fight," serving Him as salt and as light in an unbelieving world. You inspire other Christians to confront the "culture of death" that surrounds us all, and I thank you. Because of what you do, it is easier for me to do what I have been called to do.

I write to encourage you, respectfully and in a spirit of brotherly love, not to purchase Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. . . .

Bono, whom are you going to believe as you make a decision whether to buy Take-Two? Are you going to believe the liars who got caught lying, or are you going to believe a fellow believer in Christ who has been targeted for actual harm by Take-Two and its dissembling Philadelphia lawyers at Blank Rome? . . .

I am trying to keep you, dear brother, from being run over by a careening bus. I do this to help you. A brother in Christ has now warned you. Now, do the right thing, in His powerful name I pray.

In Jesus Christ, Jack Thompson"

I'm writing this blog basically for two reasons: One - as a reputed video gamer myself I feel the need to defend my hobby and the companies that support my hobby; and Two - To convey my strong distaste for Mr. Thompson's methods and tactics in trying to convince people to see his viewpoint.

Now, I am neither a politically active person nor a religiously active person; in fact, this one example pretty much exemplifies WHY I am neither. This one man embodies the very worst of BOTH entities, the double-standards and hypocrisy of a slimy underhanded corrupt politician/lawyer, and the fanatical Bible-thumping brainwashings of a religious zealot. The fact that this man is still around spewing his absurd accusations after years and years of being humiliated in the public eye is surprising to me. Need a sampling of his purported crusade against indecency? Go to and type Jack Thompson. Enough said.

So what exactly does he have against video games? Well, besides a majority of them containing indecent and violent content (content which, mind you, is equally prevalent in today's movies, tv shows, commercials, music, news reports, magazine ads, etc.) It turns out video games kill. Oh yes, according to Mr Thompson, video games are linked to several deaths across the globe, and therefore must be eradicated from the face of the earth. These deaths occurred either by violent or antisocial behavior being mimicked in real life by players of a game, or directly to the player by suicidal tendencies inflicted by stress over a game, or by physical stress of prolonged gameplay in excess of several hours.

To put it simply, there are those that feel that video games are greatly contributing to the moral decline of today's society, and must be censored, regulated, or altogether removed from store shelves. This of course goes against every anti-censorship movement's belief that the government should mind it's own business when it comes to the media we enjoy. But even beyond that, its such a ridiculous accusation to say that a game is responsible for a person's actions, just as it's preposterous to blame a movie for a crime committed while imitating a scene. The bottom line is this: These people are unstable to begin with, and are just as prone to commit a crime after watching an episode of "The Simpsons" as anything else. The fact that these things are linked to video games, a typically shunned activity in the grown-up responsible circles of society, is as factitious as blaming Ozzy Osbourne for a fan's suicide back in the 80s. Removing the catalyst will not necessarily remove the danger; the person will simply find some other outlet for his malevolent ways. And of course, the reverse is also true... There have been plenty of psycho-bastard characters from our history doing naughty things well before any of Mr. Thompson's suspects ever hit the streets: admittedly I'm not up on my history facts, but I'm pretty darned sure Hitler never played video games, Genghis Khan never listened to gangsta rap, and Vlad the Impaler never saw a Quentin Tarrantino movie.
And would you look at that.... these people are more horrendous and evil than anything you'll ever see in today's age... so what does THAT tell you?

Part two will discuss the sheer stupidity of a campaign against video games, and asks the question, "What is the REAL threat??" Stay tuned.