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Thompson Vs. Jenkins On VG Violence 103

Posted by Zonk
from the go-blue-team dept.
1up.com has a feature up including side-by-side interviews with Anti-Gaming Muckraker Jack Thompson and Prof. Henry Jenkins. The site manages to ask both proponents some tough questions, and they get some realistic answers in response. From the article's Jenkins interview: "Education is the key, not legislation. If you heavily regulate the industry it will narrow what games are in the market, and retailers will only carry content that is suitable for the youngest of players. Retailers won't carry a Mature-rated game if you move to an enforceable system. We saw this with the comic industry in the '50s. The other way to approach this problem is to put the burden on the consumer. We have to educate."
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Thompson Vs. Jenkins On VG Violence

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  • My experience... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@TOKYOgmail.com minus city> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @08:44PM (#12732042)
    Is that videogames don't make you any more prone to violence or less empathetic. I've been playing violent video games since I was four years old. Last week, after killing some mice that had infested our shed, especially the baby ones, I felt genuine distress at having just ended something's life that didn't deserve to have it ended. It was something on my mind for quite a while. I was playing Mortal Kombat at 5 years old, and I have always known the difference between fantasy and reality. Legislation is definatly not the key to solving this kind of violence - it seems to me that violent videogames are an excuse rather than the real reason. Remember comic book violence of yesteryear, or how videos were ruining society? I will say though, videogames make you more paranoid. By far - I always have the need to scan rooftops for snipers.
    • Not only is it not the solution it's unfair. There is no government regulation on which movies you can watch. It is an industry (and society) dictated rating system with no government involvement. How many of our freedoms do we have to give away before people realize what our nation is becoming?
      • Why do I have a sinking feeling that most people would rather just go along with whatever they're told, no matter how much freedom is lost?
    • by Seumas (6865) * on Sunday June 05, 2005 @10:09PM (#12732476)
      Cleary, videogames make children violent.

      Abusive parents, negligant parents, abusive students at school, being teased, beat up, shoved into lockers, having problems ignored by teachers (basically making it a breeding ground for you to get beat up), competition for girls, attention, drinking, drugs, grades, religious ideaologies that teach you to hate anyone different than you, etc... clearly those things don't combine to make a poor little kid violent. And that's why you only see popular, beefy, successful, town-beloved jocks going on shooting sprees and never neglected outcasts from violent/dangerous/abusive homes.
    • Huh? They did not have the types of games when I was growing up that they have now. So I can't really weigh in and say "I played violent games, and I'm ok."

      About the most violent thing I can think of that I played was Doom. Which is comically cartoony compared to stuff like Manhunt or the newer GTAs. Or hell, any modern FPS. Mortal Kombat is also NOTHING compared to what we have now. Go back and play it. Not only are the situations found within ridiculous, but the graphics are downright tame. I've
      • There were violent movies, books and comics. I was born in a violent part of my city, and I'm not violent.

        The problem is not with enforcing game ratings. The problem is believing that violent games cause violent tendencies.

        Alcohol, in excessive amounts, has been known to cause violence and reckless behavior in individuals. Smoking causes second-hand pollutants which endanger other people. How does playing Metal Gear Solid 3 on my PS2 harm anyone directly?

        Why should there be any blame with respect to game
        • There were violent movies, books and comics. I was born in a violent part of my city, and I'm not violent.

          Well, I could run to a local college library and pull up a slew of case studies that say actual exposure to violence during various stages of development produces a variety or reactions, one of the possible ones being an increased propensity towards violence. Exposure in this case being domestic abuse, growing up in a war zone, going to war, witnessing gangland violence first hand and the like with v
          • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Monday June 06, 2005 @01:18AM (#12733317) Journal
            Guess what leads to a greater propensity towards violence? Poverty, injustice and indifference. All I'm saying is that there are far more causes of violence, and keeping 'violent' games out of the hands of children is pretty low on the list.

            Violent experiences are real. Violent images on a TV screen generated by the latest from Carmack is fake. I think most 10 year olds can tell the difference (even with the improvements in graphics).

            The pro-gaming expert has nothing to do with my opinion. I was stating what the problem was as I saw it, not as he saw it.

            You may not have said it explicitly, but you did so implicitly. By saying that the blame should be put on parents for buying those games, you are implicitly saying that buying those games for kids is wrong. That is to say, you agree that violent games cause violent tendencies. Unless you have something against Valve, I can't see why else you would think so.

            Let's see. Smoking causes lung cancer. Exhaled pollutants from smokers includes part of those carcinogens. Anyone near a smoker could be taking that in those pollutants. What am I missing?

            I don't see how parents buying their kids kegs on the weekends are doing anything wrong. If they believe that their kids can handle it and are old enough, why not? We're all not the same. People don't grow alcohol-resistant organs from 17yrs 364days to 18yrs 0days. It's a rule of thumb that's been extended too far. The good thing about parents who buy kegs for their kids is that they can control the intake. Better in their house than somewhere outside with no one who can assume responsibility.

            I read the comments just fine thank you. Just because I disagree does not make me a karma-whoring slashbot. The word you're looking for is dissenter [reference.com].
            • Guess what leads to a greater propensity towards violence? Poverty, injustice and indifference. All I'm saying is that there are far more causes of violence, and keeping 'violent' games out of the hands of children is pretty low on the list.

              Yup. Poverty is another risk factor. Indifference and injustice, now you're just trying to turn a phrase. If you can point out where I said violent video games caused an increase in risk, I'll eat my hat. You can't, because I never said that. I didn't even imply i
              • The whole poverty thing was in response to your volunteering to going down to your local library and getting case studies.

                Like I said later on, you implied it. By saying that there was blame to be put on parents, you are saying that there is blame to begin with, i.e. that violent games for kids is wrong, at least in part.

                There is a difference between "It shuts up the social conservatives who can then shift the blame onto..." and "It shuts up the social conservatives, shifting the blame onto...". The forme
              • Look up contributing the delinquency of a minor in your local law books.

                Why do federal highway regulators believe that people grow alcohol-resistant organs from 20yrs 364days to 21yrs 0days? (This question is to all, not just to you.)

                • The same reason people think minors grow nicotine-resistant organs and the ability to think critically about politics on the eve of their 18th birthday, and they magically obtain driving ability on the eve of their 16th birthday (except in some states, where something in the groundwater makes them incapable of driving at *night* until a couple years later)...

                  Which is that they're too lazy to stop and think about what it is they're trying to measure. They think "Gee, you really should be mature before you s
            • I don't see how parents buying their kids kegs on the weekends are doing anything wrong.

              Any parent that does such a thing is simply afraid of being hypocrtical. They are more than likly alcoholics. The "do as I say, not as I do" mentality has been lost from such a home. Obviously such "parents" never have and never will know the first thing about parenting.

              If you're gonna tell me the "do as I say, not as I do" mentality doesnt work, and that parents should "set an example" then you simply have an
      • FTA:

        EGM: So, what's next on the agenda for you?

        JT: [A lawsuit regarding] a multiple loss of life by a teenager who played Vice City.

        This is a typical argument against games. Suppose it could be proved that the same teenager ate hamburgers. Are they going to sue McDonald's and Burger King?

        There's no evidence, either experimental or logical, to imply that the violent game caused a violent behavior. The causation could well go in the other direction. Probably people who have a tendency to violent behavio

    • The claim is that there's some correlation, not that all people who go through this process no longer have any empathy, ever. It could be that 15% of people are 40% less empathetic, or something like that.

      While the experience of one person is not totally without merit, it's very close to that when working with a correlational claim.
      • Man, you are thinking too hard. Just interview Osama Bin Laden or any other famous terrorist what their favorite video game is. I guarantee you none of them play video games at all. They just got bottled up anger for society.

    • by mellon (7048) *
      So let me get this straight. You've been playing Mortal Kombat since the age of five, and you feel remorse _after_ killing baby mice? And this is supposed to prove that Mortal Kombat doesn't deaden your empathy?

      Sorry, man. It may be that in fact Mortal Kombat doesn't deaden your empathy, but if you want to prove it you need to bring out the big guns and switch to humane traps that don't kill the mice.

      Personally, I'm pretty amazed at how many chances to make games that don't *require* killing to play
      • Actually, I should have been a little more concise with my story. My father and the cat killed most of the mice. However, there was one baby one left, still writhing and trying to be alive. I thought for a moment wether or not to simply put it out of it's misery. The baby mouse was going to die anyways. So, I took my foot and quickly jammed it down to crush it's head and end it's life quickly. I figured that to be a much less painful death than the cat playing with it for a while before it died, but it stil
        • Yeah, what you said makes more sense now. :')

          I don't think you should worry too much. From my side, I find all the simulated blood and gore disturbing, and when I was playing Matrix and got shot in the back, it was really disturbing. I used to really enjoy adventure games back in the day, and even D&D (which is pretty bloody - you just go around killing things to amass experience points, very much like the Matrix). So anyway I'm not terribly surprised that someone else takes it the way I do, and
          • Er, one thing my Buddhist background compels me to mention is that although I don't think you should worry that you're lacking in compassion, I think you should pay attention to your instincts. You reacted negatively to the whole killing thing. In my traditions, we would say that that's a very fortunate reaction to have, and one worth developing.
            • It was the physical killing. Still, videogame killing doesn't really bother me, because nothing is actually being hurt - no life was ended. People in videogames respawn. It takes away all the emotion from it, really.

              That guy, cracking down on video game violence, probably thinks he actually is cracking down on the root of violence.

              Now, I do understand that there are some very mentally disturbed kids out there that should not be playing video games, especially violent ones. And I don't think any kid/teen n
      • Re:My experience... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Cornflake917 (515940)
        But killing is all there is to most of the new games I've seen.

        This shows just how much our society salivates for violence. There are plenty of non-violent games out there, but it seems like all the popular games always involve blowing the crap out of your enemy. Look at the biggest selling games in the U.S. (GTA:san andreas, Halo2, Half-life 2, Doom 3). Nintendo is big on making games that involve very little violence. You would think people might welcome this, but instead, Nintendo is slammed as t
        • Nintendo is big on making games that involve very little violence. You would think people might welcome this, but instead, Nintendo is slammed as the "Kiddie game" company.

          Example: the most violent thing you could do in Animal Crossing was hit the animals on the head with your bug-catching net. After you did it a couple times, though, they'd start crying and run away.

          Still, that'll teach that froggy bastard not to send me stupid stuff in the mail anymore. "I hope you like it, ribbit," indeed...

    • "Is that videogames don't make you any more prone to violence or less empathetic. I've been playing violent video games since I was four years old. Last week, after killing some mice that had infested our shed, especially the baby ones, I felt genuine distress at having just ended something's life that didn't deserve to have it ended."

      I can tell you a similar story. Most of us probably could. It seems to me that most video game players can relate to this mentality. Which begs the question: Have the pe
      • Oh I can relate to it.

        The only question I have is, is it relevant to the argument?

        I grew up on the 8-bit and atari generation. By the time the SNES and things like doom hit, I was in my teens. Now, I'm in my 20s. The games have grown more and more realistic, in fact they strive for realism. I see no current indications of this trend reversing.

        So, are our experiences... are the current studies which can't show any statistically significant relationship between violent video game play and later violent
  • Every time I see something written by this guy I get the excruciating need to land a neat headshot on him. I call that his plan backfiring.
  • Oh Bullshit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@TOKYOgmail.com minus city> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:02PM (#12732137)
    Jack Thompson pisses me off.
    In fact, it's a counterproductive sales tool because millions of kids want the Mature-rated games.
    Why do kids want M rated games? I can think back to being a kid. "This game looks fun, I think I'll play this." First off, it wasn't specifically that the game was rated M that I wanted to play the game. However, I got told by my mom "No, you can't play that - it's for older kids." When you're not allowed to have something that you want, then you want it even more - that's how the human mind works, especially in children. I don't think he gets this.
    • "Why do kids want M rated games? I can think back to being a kid. "This game looks fun, I think I'll play this."

      Not to mention that this guy is like 50 years old... they didn't even HAVE video games when he was a kid...
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:08PM (#12732156) Journal
    EGM: Your attempts to compensate victims of alleged game-related deaths have been unsuccessful so far. Why do you think this is?

    JT: Lawyers tend to be to the left of normal people, and judges tend to be the left of the lawyers. Federal judges tend to be the left of them. So you have a bunch of First Amendment absolutists who block these kinds of lawsuits. State courts, however, are far more responsive to parents. I suppose federal judges by and large don't have a problem with mental molestation of children with murder simulators.

    Playing the Left/Right game? Give me a fuckin' break. This guy is probably just saying these things to try to make money, but in the process he is really trying my restraint. I suppose he might throw in extra insult by trying to say that such a feeling demonstrates his point.
    • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@TOKYOgmail.com minus city> on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:15PM (#12732200)
      See, I don't know if you've noticed, but a big secret of the liberals for a long time has been that we all like molesting people. Mentally, physically - doesn't matter. We like it and encourage it.

      But what the hell is mental molestation? I think this guy's just going for an emotional kick.

      Also, I don't know if this guy's noticed, but the Communist party - which preaches about the violent overthrow of the US government - is protected under the first amendment. So videogames should be as well. But, just because the speech is free does not mean you have to listen. Parents can still stop their kids from playing these games if they're really that worried. By this guy's standards, I should be shooting my mouth off while killing my teachers with a glock. It's all BS.
  • I agree... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OSX1337 (789865) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:12PM (#12732180)
    Both government and home have shared responsibilities here. Parents are negligent in letting kids play these games for hours at a time, but even if we do everything right to keep a kid away from these games, his classmates are playing them. He could just play somewhere else. We have an aggressive industry taking advantage of derelict parents. The whole youth culture is immersed in this stuff. So go on a negligent parent power trip and leave my games alone. I am an informed gamer with no misconceptions about the violence in GTA:SA and with parents that know I can deal with spurting red polygons and (gasp) swearwords. Get off my cloud.
  • tough decision for the yanky government on this one - if they educate they risk having a public that will start asking questions (and we can't have THAT now can we!) </sarcasm>

    I really hope that people get the right to choose rather than being told what they can and cannot do... that is not freedom, it is slavery!

    Just from an outsiders PoV it seems that the american people are more and more putting the burden of things onto someone elses shoulders... eg - manufactures of drills warning not to put th
    • As an American, I agree. It's really fascinating too. The "American Dream" is all about working hard and making your own way, and creating opportunity and executing until you earn your fortune. There's no greater symbol of what America is supposed to be about than the "self made man".

      But at the same time, so many americans are quick to complain about how they're being victimized, there are so many people eager to try get rich quick schemes, and there are so many people who don't want to take any responsibi
  • by nitrogensixteen (812667) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:47PM (#12732388)
    Thompson states that if the industry does not change, there will be a Columbine to the factor of 10. Does this not sound more ridiculous than Fallujah x2?
    It should.
    Thompsons statement regarding terrorist training through videogames such as Full-Spectrum Warrior is, I hope, hyperbolic prima facae to most of you. Much, much, more training and planning goes into acts of terrorism than Thompson seems to give them credit for (it's a little bit more than shoot the enemy when you see him pop up on the screen).
    Saying that restricting the export of tactical videogames to foreign countries under say, the EAR or ITAR, would obviously not stem the tide of violence in Iraq and around the world just as restricting violence in videogames will not stop these children, who are under severe emotional strain or experiencing deep depression, or even beginining to show signs of a personality disorder, from acting out violently. Columbine was perpetrated by children who had severe social and emotional problems, and who were left alone to create pipe bombs and amass weapons in their basement. This was partly a failure of supervision by the parents and, OC partly beyond their control. Columbine had nothing to do with videogames.
    Shame on Mr. Thompson for invoking terrorism as a reason for restricting videogame sales.
    Don't cheapen their sacrifice, ambulance chaser.
  • by teksno (838560) on Sunday June 05, 2005 @09:49PM (#12732396)
    murder simulators

    that has got to be the biggest spin of all time...

    look, jack even said education was part of the solution, and henry made a very good point... Unlike the previous generation, at least many young parents today have grown up playing games, so they will know that not all games are appropriate for young kids.

    i know my mom was very interested in what games i was playing while i was growing up and even more interested in what i was watching on TV...

    my father was in the coin op business since the 70's. ive grown up around video games, hunting, guns, and the military...if any one should be ready to snap and go on a personal black ops mission...its me. and frankly, i think i "normal".

    i can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. and i dont take joy in seeing others suffer.

    this burden lies with the parents. if they would take a proactive role in their childs life alot of stuff like teen violence and teen pregancy would be on the decline instead of the rise.

    but now since both parents are typically working, who is doing the parenting...britney spears and tommy lee...tommy verciti and lara croft...Jenna Jameson and ron jeremy...

    people need to look at what they are doing within their own family units to solve the problem. do your kids play violent video games...are the games you child plays approiate for his age...this just takes some good old fashioned parenting. thats it thats all.
    • but now since both parents are typically working, who is doing the parenting...britney spears and tommy lee...tommy verciti and lara croft...Jenna Jameson and ron jeremy... I wish I had parents like that... Maybe not the first two...

      DISCLAIMER: IANALC (Little Kid)

    • I think it's definitely important on the "murder simulation" point to bring to bear America's Army and Full Spectrum Warrior, and particularly their use by the military.

      The army's looked at the usefullness of video games as training simulations, we've seen it on slashdot time and again. Overall, however, they've found that they don't work. At least not games in the way we get them as consumers. They have more immersive simulations that involve functional firearms with projections of targets, which are basi
      • Game's teach the entirely wrong reflexes to make people better killers. Just about everybody who uses a computer is familiar with the "Undo" effect. You make a mistake, you immediately reach for the mouse to hit undo. After a while, that reflex can get to the point that you try to hit undo in programs that don't have it, and even when you're not at the computer (I once spilled a glass of water, and it hadn't even fallen over and I caught myself thinking, "Damnit, undo."). You're not going to be any better

  • Why can't we just fine the parents of kids who do crap like this? Send them to jail? How's that for incentive to make sure your kid doesn't end up a mess? Your kid goes on a spree and kills a bunch of people, then himself, you do time.

    Why are we so interested in this country in telling people they can't do something just because someone else did something wrong? Why can't we have some sort of incentive for parents not to ignore or abuse their kids? We're dealing with symptoms instead of causes, which hurts
  • These interviews are awesome examples for anyone who's studied logic.
    I suppose federal judges by and large don't have a problem with mental molestation of children with murder simulators.
    Dirty trick, Jack, you should write speeches. Presupposition works; most notably when logic doesn't.
    If this is true, why is the military using them to create killing simulators?
    More with the loaded questions? Ass. I'd like to see someone prove that the military uses video games to increase soldier bloodlust.
    A cyberterrorism expert has found that games such as [THQ's] Full Spectrum Warrior, or Full Spectrum Command as it's known in the military, is being used by al Qaeda to train their troops. These games don't just teach skills--they break down the inhibition to kill. [..] the way you break [the inhibition] down is to put a soldier in a VR setting, which will be far more effective in the long run.
    I guess he's trying to prove it then. I love a good poke at our God-fearing patriotic American emotions by using the "a" word. Well, Jenkins says it best:
    If you read what the media researchers have found, none of them believes games can turn a normal kid into an antisocial menace. [..] The contributing factors are mental illness, kids going off mood-altering meds, domestic violence, broken families, poverty
    Ugh. Thompson is taking the "we know for certain" attitude copped by millions just before they make a dumb decision. Jenkins seems to be holding on to the scientific argument: "we don't know but we so far haven't been disproven"

    Why is it always the It's-not-our-fault's vs. the libertarians?
    • by gilzreid (95884) on Monday June 06, 2005 @02:07AM (#12733512) Homepage
      Did anybody else notice how strange Thompson's comments on statistics are? e.g.

      "...a Gallop poll found 71 percent of all U.S teenage boys who played Vice City were twice as likely to have been engaged in an act of violence."

      What? 71 percent were twice as likely? Is this some kind of maths problem?

      And:

      "Well, let's look at deaths in and around schools. In 2004, there were 48 in number. In 2003, there were 16. In 2002, there were 17. Yes, the death rate in which murderous actions have taken place has gone down, but there are other factors such as the shortening of ambulance response time, better medical techniques, and so forth."

      I really don't think 3 years of statistics where the first two years are the same gives much of an idea of the trend. Look at say 20 years, so that we could at least compare the statistics for times before violent games were common. Violent games existed way before 2002.

      Giles
      • After all, it was just a poll, not a research or a study conducted to find the relation between video games and aggressiveness.

        I have no idea how they arrived with that figure by just conducting a survey/poll. A survey alone wouldn't answer that violent games are the cause for teenage violence. How can they be so sure with the reliability of the answers? After all, maybe aggressive teenagers just like to play violent games. That doesn't mean that violent games are the one who causes them to become aggressi

      • Did anybody else notice how strange Thompson's comments on statistics are? e.g.

        "...a Gallop poll found 71 percent of all U.S teenage boys who played Vice City were twice as likely to have been engaged in an act of violence."

        What? 71 percent were twice as likely? Is this some kind of maths problem?

        I don't agree with it, but the wording is correct. He's saying that out of a control group, 71% that played vice city were twice as likely to commit crimes than people who did not.

        Think of it like this. Yo

        • I don't agree with it, but the wording is correct. He's saying that out of a control group, 71% that played vice city were twice as likely to commit crimes than people who did not.

          He's saying nothing about "violent crimes", it's probably a loaded survey in which raising your voice or swearing at somebody is considered "violent".

          Personally, I think a much more interesting study would look into how watching soap-operas & reading romance novels fucks up young women, leading them to become petty, backsta

      • "Well, let's look at deaths in and around schools. In 2004, there were 48 in number. In 2003, there were 16. In 2002, there were 17. Yes, the death rate in which murderous actions have taken place has gone down, but there are other factors such as the shortening of ambulance response time, better medical techniques, and so forth."

        Holy crap, I didn't even see that. Why doesn't he say something like "the number of people shot in and around schools" rather than the number of deaths? Methinks he's doing it

    • What bothers me even more is that we let people who were in the military, who have no inhibition to kill (after all they're not only playing "murder simulators", they're being pushed around by their instructors so they REALLY don't hesistate) and maybe even a few kills under their belts roam the streets. I mean, those people are dangerous! They could snap any moment and they are trained for actual warfare! We can't let those people walk on the same streets as our kids! They are a menace, we have to stop the
  • Luckly I went to the game section to read this becasue it was not on the Slashdot homepage.
  • The Basic Facts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SpiritMaster (869780)
    The basic facts are, that for all intensive purposes Jack Thompson is a zealot. If you read the interview it is clear the further along you read, that in his view "controlling the sale of games to minors" quickly degrades into "Violence of any type on games is bad and terrorists will use it against us!".

    The notion that the console/game/rating system ect... are all in 'chaoots' seems to make me think that perhaps he working under a conspiracy theory. While I grant you that all the companies have a vested i

    • There's a reason he's working with a conspiracy theory: They're invincible. Notice how he throws the terrorism card in the deck as well.

      When you're operating under a conspiracy theory, all opposition from any quarter is a part of the conspiracy, or controlled by the conspiracy. If the judge rules against him, he's in cahoots. If the jury doesn't give him a verdict, they were paid off.

      With most reasonable theories, counter evidence is counter evidence. With conspiracy theories, counter evidence, in fact, b
  • A couple of years ago, when he was on Mike Reagan's radio program, I called in and ate his lunch on the air. His arguments consist of a series of one-liners. If he's giving a speech, it doesn't sound half bad. If his arguments are challenged, he can't support them.

    He's a media whore, he's in it for the money; nothing more.

    Whenever you see him on TV, whenever you hear him on the radio, whenever he's making a public appearance confront him. Expose him for what he is.

    LK
    • What did you say
      • He was talking about one of the school shootings, I think it was columbine. He went on to say how Doom conditioned the shooters to be ready to kill other people. I rebutted that there are only Demons and Zombies in Doom and that's what you shoot.

        His response was that they modified Doom so that the demons and zombies looked like some of their classmates.

        My response was that if they were playing a modified game, then you can't blame iD software because it's no longer the product that they released.

        His resp
  • I don't personally believe that playing violent videogames leads to violence. I've never seen any compelling evidence for it, and frankly think it would be hard to empirically demonstrate one way or the other. Nonetheless, I admit that one could make a well-reasoned argument against videogame violence, even though I wouldn't agree with it. After all, there are differences in opinion among rational people.

    But Thompson makes no such rational arguments. He doesn't even make arguments that can be evaluated at

    • >I don't personally believe that playing violent videogames leads to violence

      Like somebody else once said about cartoons, not once have I ever had the urge to hit someone with an anvil..

      • "Like somebody else once said about cartoons, not once have I ever had the urge to hit someone with an anvil.."

        I have, many times... argggh!!! But I know it will just make the person look like an accordian and they will blow into their thumb to restore themselves....

        Waste of time... what I think would be better is to make the person try to catch me on an ACME rocket, and then he will be blown up while I eat my birdseed LROFLRO pwned!!!
  • by wyoung76 (764124) on Monday June 06, 2005 @05:36AM (#12734021)
    Calling the VGs "murder simulators" is at best somewhat true, and at worst downright inaccurate.

    In the vast majority of cases of murder or maiming or other violent acts, the victim is usually known to be screaming out in pain, or anguish, or some other sort of emotion which is not portrayed in these types of games.

    This stark contrast to reality is being ignored, and in the process we will see plenty of extra curbs to the choices that we make for ourselves.

    In other jurisdictions, video games all fall under the corresponding censorship legislation, and as such is treated in just the same way as books, movies, magazines, etc. We have different classifications of movies, and we don't see the movie studios getting sued because of parents purchasing/hiring adult movies for their children. The same similar practise should be in place for video games.

    I agree that there is some level of responsibility placed on the retailers to ensure compliance, but beyond that anyone can create/sell anything so long as it is legal. The burden of responsibility of consumption of the product still largely lies with the people making purchases.

  • Is this Irony? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by boot1973 (809692)
    JT: ...even if we do everything right to keep a kid away from these games, his classmates are playing them. He could just play somewhere else..

    EGM: Does your 12-year-old son play videogames?

    JT: Not anything above an E

    So by his logic his own son is playing violent video games somewhere else.
    Perhaps he'll turn into a homicidal maniac and kill his dad?

  • This entire discussion is full of people telling how sane they are, and that they are sad when they kill animals, and so on and so forth.

    We understand that you don't have violent tendencies, and that you played Mortal Kombat when you were a teenager. That has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARGUMENT.

    People generally agree that young children should not be exposed to violent media. The question that is being put to you is not, are video games making people kill, but rather, do we really want young children to
    • So answer the question at hand:

      Will we use legislation, education, or some other method to make sure children are not exposed to video games which are inappropriate for them?

      I'll take 'some other method'. I'd like to call it parenting. It's a radical concept: you actually watch what your child does, monitor what they watch, read, etc, and when they try to get something you do not feel is appropriate for them, you tell them no, and take it away.

      At no point in this process does the government, the indus

  • by dogles (518286)
    Does anyone here really believe that GTA can have no negative impact on a 13yo? Sorry, I just can't buy that. He may not go out on a killing spree, but the game certainly equates violence with humor, rewards mysoginistic behavior, and enforces racial stereotyping. Is it that hard to imagine an impressionable mind getting the wrong ideas from this game?

    I don't think Jack Thompson is approaching the issue in the right way, and I don't think he'll be successful. But I do think enforcing ratings at stores is
    • I used to play Leisure Suit Larry back when I was 12. And I have no trouble getting women. Oh wait...
    • Does anyone here really believe that GTA can have no negative impact on a 13yo? Sorry, I just can't buy that. He may not go out on a killing spree, but the game certainly equates violence with humor...

      So did the Three Stooges, Wile E. Coyote, and every other slapstick movie or cartoon ever made.

      I find it interesting that the kind of violence people are most opposed to is the most realistic kind, the kind that actually shows the consequences. If Bugs Bunny drops an anvil on Elmer Fudd, and Elmer Fudd grow
      • Which lesson would you rather have your kids learning? (1) Attacking someone can hurt them, make them bleed, send them to the hospital or morgue, and send you to jail, or (2) dropping heavy objects on someone else's head is funny but won't cause any serious injury?

        GTA hardly shows the true consequence of a life of crime. If it were, it would not be much fun. In real life, jail or death does not mean "lose $2000 and all your weapons". When you shoot someone in the head, you wouldn't expect an ambulance t

        • GTA hardly shows the true consequence of a life of crime. If it were, it would not be much fun. In real life, jail or death does not mean "lose $2000 and all your weapons". When you shoot someone in the head, you wouldn't expect an ambulance to show up 30 seconds later to revive them to full health. Your analogy is misleading.

          It's true that no video game, including GTA, is entirely realistic in its portrayal of violence. But my point stands: just about every video game has some element of violence, but it
          • Any child who knows cartoons and slapstick movies aren't real also knows video games aren't real.

            I'm not arguing that. I'm saying that violent media makes a bad moral argument, one more at risk of being applied in the real world. GTA is about playing as an antisocial psycopath. That's what makes it fun. Children's cartoons generally make simplistic (positive) moral arguments. GTA's morals, defined in terms of what is rewarding behavior within the game, are hardly something you'd want a kid to adopt. Te

            • GTA is about playing as an antisocial psycopath. That's what makes it fun.

              GTA is about completing missions that usually involve committing crimes. Anything more antisocial or psychopathic than that is up to the player.

              GTA's morals, defined in terms of what is rewarding behavior within the game, are hardly something you'd want a kid to adopt.

              The same can be said of Super Mario Bros. You wouldn't want a kid learning to eat magic mushrooms and stomp on turtles, would you? Yet that isn't a side effect of
              • GTA is about completing missions that usually involve committing crimes. Anything more antisocial or psychopathic than that is up to the player.

                Uh, if you don't think commiting violent crimes is antisocial and psychopathic, you might want to look up the definition of antisocial [reference.com] and psychopathic [reference.com].

                It's no more likely than a kid watching Pirates of the Caribbean and deciding to become a pirate.

                Like a kid watching "Like Mike" and deciding to become a basketball player? I find it interesting that you

                • Do you really think there is no danger of an immature mind drawing the wrong conclusions from an onslaught of such media?

                  Not as long as that media is controlled with an analog stick or directional pad. Maybe someday we'll have the technology to put someone in a fully immersive video game without them ever knowing they're playing a game - then I'll be worried about people learning the wrong things from video games.

  • It makes me so angry when govenments censor games.

    At 35 I can marry, have weird sex (if I choose), have kids, get into debt, take mind altering alcohol, pay taxes, watch contact sport (if i choose), watch horror films, read books and look at all manner of art.

    I can make decisions, and am held resposible for my actions, it is assumed I know right from wrong.

    Yet, the Australian government thinks I need my computer games censored.

    The classification guidelines are supposed to allow me to make an informed ch
  • by one-egg (67570) <geoff@cs.hmc.edu> on Tuesday June 07, 2005 @07:14AM (#12745144) Homepage
    This guy is a master at using statistics to lie. For example, he cites an alarming rise in violent deaths "in and around" schools: 17, 16, 48 in three successive years.

    A quick Google [google.com] search leads us to the widely reported data: this is actually "school-related deaths", and it includes suicides. First problem. But the second and biggest problem, highlighted prominently in "How to Lie with Statistics", is what happened in the two [schoolsecurity.org] years [schoolsecurity.org] before those three: 33 and 31 deaths, respectively.

    So instead of the alarming trend of 17, 16, 48, we have the highly varying trend of 33, 31, 17, 16, 49 (the Web site I'm quoting gives a different number). That last number is certainly worrisome, but hardly proof by itself. Especially when you look at this year's [schoolsecurity.org] count of 37. So what we have is a dip and a blip, not a trend. Of course, Thompson will probably take credit for the latest drop.

    ...and of course there's the question of whether those school-related deaths were related to video games at all. But it wouldn't suit Thompson's agenda to investigate that possibility.

  • The most striking feature of the article, IMHO, is a contrast between fairly reasonable (though still flawed) statements from Jenkins and obviously bogus statistics, personal attacks and broken logic from Thompson.

    I support enforceable game ratings, and there are valid reasons for them - for example, while parenting matters the most, there needs to be responsibility from businesses providing content, whether it is movie theatres or game sellers, etc. But I disagree with almost everything that Thompson sa

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