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It's funny.  Laugh. Entertainment Games

Jack Thompson Rescinds Offer 430

Goalmaster3000 writes to tell us is reporting that Jack Thompson has rescinded his offer of a $10,000 donation to charity if a video game were made to fit his model. Recently a group of GTA modders cooked up a scenario to fit the bill but apparently Thompson is claiming that his piece 'A Modest Video Game Proposal' was intended as satire that the video game community was not bright enough to grasp. Perhaps Thompson was just afraid he was going to have to sue himself? Update: 10/17 20:02 GMT by SM: It appears that the Penny Arcade crew has taken the next step by donating the promised $10,000... in Jack Thompson's name.
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Jack Thompson Rescinds Offer

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:17PM (#13810714) Homepage
    The fact that the guy thinks he needs to explain that his request was satire just means he didn't understand that what he got back was infact satirical. You might say he's being sassed, and doesn't even realize it.

    • by s388 ( 910768 )
      well, afterall, he is an idiot, you know.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by portwojc ( 201398 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:27PM (#13810815) Homepage
      Well it sounded legit to me. Of course in this day and age people have forgotten about "Put up or shut up". It sounds like the put up part has been breached but thankfully the "shut up" portion remains. Hopefully that part will remain.
      • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by syle ( 638903 ) <`syle' `at' `'> on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:33PM (#13810863) Homepage
        People don't say, "I will donate $10,000 to charity," as satire.
        • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:49PM (#13811012) Homepage
          It seems he probably originally did mean it to be satire... He was thinking "Do this outrageous thing that you won't do, and I'll donate $10,000". It turns out it's not that outrageous, and it was easily done. He thinks it's outrageous, because the theme is killing people that are supposed to be "on our side", but he doesn't realize that it's just a game, and games can go beyond the realm of what is acceptable in "real life" and still they themselves be acceptable.
          • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Interesting)

            by modecx ( 130548 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:14PM (#13811192)
            Totally, if he wanted to say something outrageous, he shoulda' said $100 Million! $10,000 sounds like a bet some lawyer would make on a golf game between his buddies, or how much he spent on cocaine last week--and $10,000 is entirely possible for most lawyers. Maybe it would be satire if he were homeless, and it would also be somewhat ironic if a homeless person said he would donate $10,000 to the Salvation Army, for instance. This guy's just an ass.
          • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Jambon ( 880922 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:21PM (#13812668) Journal
            It seems he probably originally did mean it to be satire...

            If only the money was satirical [].

            I think it would be hilarious if Rockstar would release the mod. Even with no fanfare as a download from their site, it would be a hilarious rebuttal. It seems that with this man logic doesn't work. He is convinced gamers are all like this kid [].

            • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

              by xgamer04 ( 248962 )
              It seems that with this man logic doesn't work.

              I think that there is a perfectly, ahem, logical explanation for this. If Mr. Thompson is seen consistently saying things that are absolutely false, it makes him appear crazy. Mr. Thompson knows this. Being a lawyer, he knows what is needed to prove someone guilty of slander or libel. If a person consistently makes untrue statements, it is actually harder to prosecute them for these charges, because it is harder to prove that a person who acts like this act
        • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ebuck ( 585470 )
          As a lawyer, you would think that he KNOWS what a contract is.

          As a non-lawyer, I wonder if you can sue to break a contract because your intent wasn't to honor the contract, but to make a satrical point. I doubt it.

          If you enter a contract without intent to deliver, there's a host of laws you violate. Good thing that his contract was with the "public" in general, as that's the least likely group to sue for grievences, and the least likely to be defended under these circumstances.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:31PM (#13810843) Homepage
      It wasn't satire. If you read half the things he writes (by the way, his site looks severely cripple lately. Any explanation?), you'd understand that this man could actually be quite violent given the way he reacts to intelligent defense of game(r)s.

      I honestly thought the guys who made Postal2 would make his game and put on the box 'Jack Thompson's (insert title)' just to call him out. It wasn't a joke to him, he wanted to know if the game industry would make itself the target instead of cops, hookers and other gangs/inmates to see if gamers would start killing eachother instead of a second grader bringing a gun to kill a fellow student. The man is honestly sick and twisted in a very bad way.
      • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ebuck ( 585470 )
        I have to agree with you 100%.

        He emailed Penny Arcade looking to vent his spleen against one of thier comics that played apon his request and the issue of video game violence. In the email he included his phone number. Can't remember if it was Tyco, but one of the board members called him to discuss the offer and clarify some of the vague points of his offer. He demanded to know how they received the phone number, threatened to sue them if they called again, and chewed the guy out on the phone.

        Jack Thomp
        • Minor Corrections. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:31PM (#13811347)
 12 [] Gabe was talking to Jack via email, suggesting a charity which would have liked to received the money, which Gabe is active in promoting. It is backed by gamers, but isn't pushing videogames (any more than other toys) upon children. Jack noted that Gabe's phone number was in his email, and took it upon himself to call Gabe and personally chew him out and threaten Gabe.
          • by Iriel ( 810009 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:52PM (#13811518) Homepage
            Oh I know, actually Gabe told Jack that $10,000 is pretty weak from a famous Miami lawyer when their charity has already raised half a million (in money, toys, etc.) in two years from the gamer community. That's what pissed off Jack. Then Jack accused their charity of being hollow because they're supposedly some flush-with-cash game company and that Jack's donations mean more in the ethical sense. When Gabe (Mike) emailed him back to clarify that they are not flush-with-cash at all, Jack called back and spent the entirety of the conversation screaming because Gabe asked him if Jack would have to sue himself for proposing such a horrifically malevolent game. Part of the way in the conversation, Jack hung up.

            Check out the transcripts of emails between Jackie T. and Scott from VG Cats. It's even worse.

            If this guy wants to play with fire, I suggest somebody put up a site to publish all of Jack's threats and verbal abuse (plus nonsense) and see if he gets institutionalized. I seriously think that man is pathologically violent.
        • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Informative)

          by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @07:33PM (#13813065) Journal
          You got it backwards. What happened was that Gabe sent Jack Thompson an email pointing out the large sums of money gamers have donated to Child's Play. Gabe's cell phone number was listed in his .sig, and Jack Thompson called him, and proved he was the jerk we all know him to be.

    • Contact him (Score:4, Informative)

      by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:49PM (#13811494) Homepage
      John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
      1172 South Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
      Coral Gables, Florida 33146
      August 5, 2005
      Patricia Vance

      source: []

      Make sure to write any letters or make any calls in the same civil manner as he himself has shown others.

      Make extra sure.
      • Re:Contact him (Score:5, Interesting)

        by not_potable ( 916929 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:26PM (#13812272)
        Wow. I actually just spoke with this man, at the number above. He asked me who I was, and I made the mistake of saying that I wanted to ask him some questions about his proposal to the (oops) "internet community". He then started raising his voice, saying that he made this proposal to the "gaming industry", not a bunch of modders working out of their basement. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. He told me to get a dictionary, and hung up. Ever the cool-headed one, he.
      • DON'T CONTACT HIM! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:41PM (#13812801)
        So telling people to harass someone is "informative" and a good way of proving our point(s)?

        Given what we know about his replies already, lets not drag ourselves to his level. The egomaniac craves attention, and guess what examples of the things those "evil gamers who oppose me do" he is going to bring up next? And we already know that he doesn't want to have a civil debate or discussion, so why even bother talking to a brick wall?

        He also has been on a losing streak lately, and now you have to add more fuel and "creditability" to his fire. He may be nuts, but encouraging people to harass him just makes us look bad. Even more so when we are reduced to his level of "acting civil."

        Seriously slashdot, enough with the spamming/calling/Ddosing of people we don't like; please grow up and be more mature about dealing with things like this. I don't have a problem with informative emails(i.e. non-emotional and informative complaining about company X's defective product or really restrictive DRM), but this one is really asking people not to be civil with the intent to hammer him. Stuff like this and intentionally Ddosing sites(i.e. needing to check the RIAA's site several times, "just to make sure it is still up")make no real progress with the issue at hand.
        • Furthermore, given the examples we've seem so far, he seems to get pretty worked up whenever he's brought to task. I can almost see the vein in his head twitching. No telling when something is going to burst. I would suggest that he be left alone simply to avoid the first /.ing of a human.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stienman ( 51024 ) <[moc.scisabu] [ta] [sivada]> on Monday October 17, 2005 @04:33PM (#13811841) Homepage Journal
      It doesn't matter if it was satire or not anyway. This game doesn't count - his original "challenge" requires a nationwide boxed retail distribution by summer of next year. The game was going to be created - of that no one should doubt. It is unlikely that a publisher would publish it, and more unlikely that any retailers would carry it.

      But even if all that took place, it doesn't matter - this entire debate is being orchestrated by him. When he stops talking, there's nothing to fill the void - there aren't any pro-game people working the press. When he is talking, the debate is always about how bad these games are - not about how good they are.

      The upshot:

      If the gaming industry wants to gather public (not just gamer) support, they need to stop reacting and start acting.

      This particular challenge is one he can't lose no matter how the industry reacts. "Are you still beating your wife?"

      • Best case scenario: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by justin12345 ( 846440 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @07:53PM (#13813171)
        I believe the mod in question is a GTA mod, so Rockstar should get together with the modders and host the mod on their servers. Make the mod downloadable in exchange for a charitable donation. Tens of thousands of gamers would no doubt donate hundreds of thousands of dollars downloading the thing. The charity wins and Rockstar gets a single piece of good publicity (as they are pretty much the "worst offender" when it comes to violent games).
  • by ifwm ( 687373 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:18PM (#13810725) Journal
    A lawyer lied, and people are surprised?

  • I can believe it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neuro.slug ( 628600 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:18PM (#13810727)
    With a name akin to Swift's famous "A Modest Proposal", I can believe that Thompson thought it to be satire all along. However, the bit about promising to donate to charity was uncalled for.
    • Exactly. I can't believe this was taken as seriously as it was. Whenever someone headlines something with "modest proposal" it's generally satire - especially when it is morally outrageous and absurd. For those who aren't sure, google "modest proposal" and read the piece by swift.
    • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:27PM (#13810816)
      The problem is that he isn't Swift. Very few people can write satire that effectively. Unfortunately, the people who can't are those who keep trying.

      I think that there is a case for promissory estoppel here, under contract law. If his satire were good, then maybe he could get away with calling it that, but his satire sucked really bad and it should be treated seriously as a result.
    • I have to wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:54PM (#13811046) Homepage
      If he can actually do that. I mean, he's made the offer, you make this game I give $10,000 to charity. I kind of wonder if he actually has the legal ability to just go "ha ha only kidding" at this point and back out.

      I mean, the feeble "it's satire... really" identifier in the title doesn't change the fact that what follows is several pages of Mr. Thompson very personally fantasizing about violently killing his enemies. And I think the feeble attempts to pretend he was writing satire would mean even less from a legal perspective. Is "gotcha... it was just a joke!" a recognized defense in contract law?

      I mean, I am not a lawyer, but then, Jack Thompson appears to only be a lawyer in the most superficial sense. So I would be very curious to see whether Thompson has stumbled into some kind of self-constructed legal trap by putting the offer to donate to charity into his work of "satire". If you post a public notice promising to donate $10,000 to charity if someone does thing X, are you in any way committing to this? Like, those public notices saying "$1000 reward for information leading to the capture of the kidnapper of Media Heartthrob". Are those public notices legally binding to the person who put them up? If so, I'd be very, very interested to see what happens if that group of GTA modders, or the people working on the sprite flash game [], actually complete something. Since both of those games entered production before Thompson issued his retraction, is there any chance they could go to court and try to claim Thompson's offer legally binding or his retraction legally invalid?
    • Yep, it's not too hard to figure out.

      In "A Modest Proposal," Swift published a "suggestion" that was actually an exaggeration of
      his political opponents' viewpoints, which allowed him to cleverly point out the viciousness of that rhetoric. What made it so clever was that someone who didn't know Swift wouldn't be able to tell whether he was a serious guy just outside the mainstream of public opinion, or if he meant it ironically.

      Now, Jack ain't too bright. He probably vaguely remembered "A Modest Proposal"
  • by matr0x_x ( 919985 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:19PM (#13810735) Homepage
    So a satirical response to a satirical comment gives us what...

    Ah, the irony!
  • Satire People (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brokenarmsgordon ( 903407 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:20PM (#13810743)
    Well, I can see his point. Political statements are more important than people [].
  • Idiot (Score:5, Funny)

    by BartulaPrime ( 744634 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:20PM (#13810749)
    So, he thinks we weren't bright enough to realize his "satire"? Well, at least we're bright enough to know the difference between video game violence and real-life violence. Otherwise, we'd be bunny-hopping our BMX bikes over his front yard fence and blowing him away with my machine gun.
  • This man is a moron (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tomchu ( 789799 ) <tomchu@tom c h u . com> on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:22PM (#13810762) Homepage
    I saw the entirety of a back-and-forth e-mail conversation that a 14-year-old gamer had with this moron. It was hot on the heels of the Hot Coffee debacle, and the kid was actually very well-spoken. He brought up excellent arguments, rebutted points made by Thompson, and continued to press his original point.

    Thompson kept trying to weave out of the argument, and eventually ended up calling him names, telling him to grow up because he was just a pathetic child, and other crap unbecoming of an attorney. The kid completely won the argument by not only proving that gamers were not just idiotic 14-year-old kids, but also because Thompson resorted to mere name-calling when he couldn't win his argument.

    What a fucking moron.
  • I'd love to see a development company sue Mr. Thompson for the time they've already put into implementing his proposal. At the very least, Mr. Thompson should donate the $10k already. But then, douchebags aren't known for their generosity, only their keen eye parody. Er...I think.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:23PM (#13810779)
    He is nothing but a common troll. He lives on attention. YOUR attention. Stop giving him page hits; stop giving him political capital; stop giving him the time of day.

    Really, why is it necessary to point this out?
    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:38PM (#13810912)
      He is nothing but a common troll. He lives on attention. YOUR attention. Stop giving him page hits; stop giving him political capital; stop giving him the time of day.

      Really, why is it necessary to point this out?

      - He is a lawyer.
      - He is in a position of power.

      This makes him a threat and/or newsworthy according to Slashdot and many other people.

      It is necessary to point it out that he's simply a troll because people don't understand the fact that whatever he does is simply vapour (based on his "status"/loudness). If you want his detailed history of vapour, just check out his Wikipedia entry, including the sections where he lost an election since his platform was based on personal attacks.

      Anybody who reads this message: Just don't make further postings in this thread unless you really have to. Given that you have to wait ~2 minutes between postings, you might as well have the time spent on a posting on something worthwhile.
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:49PM (#13811015)
      Slashdot isn't the audience he wants. He cannot influence those in the know, only the people that have no clue that he's spouting utter nonsense. What Slashdot does has no effect on him (except maybe increase the number of pages that will call him an asshole and a liar if someone types his name into Google). Only the mainstream media reach his audience.
      • True. Gamers aren't his audience.

        Rather, gamers are the show that he presents to his audience.

        Some dysfunctional kid blows up a taco stand, and also happens to be a gamer? Jack Thompson is there, ready to present this kid to the rest of the world as a time bomb built by the Evil Gaming Industry(TM).

        Some moderately anti-social kid gets pissed at Jack Thompson for his absurd misrepresentations of kids like him, and fires off a profanity-laced rejoinder? Jack is there, ready to use the kid's outrage to show
    • Write to your members of Congress, inform them that you vote and you actively follow the issues that are important to you, and then tell them that if they associate with Jack Thompson, you will vote against them when they are next up for re-election. It might be helpful to include links to Jack's initial offer, and the open letter ending his association with NIMF.

      Initial offer and game description: []

      NIMF letter: 1 []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:24PM (#13810786)
    Jack was a neighbor of mine a couple of years back. I can tell you from personal experience that I was not surprised to see his latest lie. The guy is a world-class asshole. And I do in fact believe the son of a bitch has my router (wood working variety) he borrowed.

    The guy spouts to be an expert in everything under the sun. But once you call him on it, you come to know he only has a superficial understanding of things. If you can imagine a slimy car salesman, that's Jack.

  • Backfire (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:25PM (#13810801) Homepage Journal
    Someone should have made a game where you kill the CEO and the family, but they come back as zombies, and then you play as the zombies and go torture and kill the lawyer "Thomp Jackson"
    • I was going to say that we should use an anagram of his name and ran his name through an anagram generator to see what would come up that we could us. To My surprise, "PHANTOM JOCKS" came up. Think maybe Jack Thompson had some problems growing up and this is just all the fault of soom repressed memmories? Or his he trying to get revenge on the geek community for something?
  • Ah yes. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:27PM (#13810813)
    Jack Thompson, increasingly, resembles nothing more so than one of the least competent of slashdot's trolls.

    MAN 1: I am going to kill you and rape your family!
    MAN 2: ...
    MAN 1: What, don't you know satire when you hear it? You have no sense of humor at all. Idiot.
  • Typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by RancidMilk ( 872628 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:28PM (#13810822)
    "Jack Thompson Rescinds Offer" Should be: "Jack Thompson steals $10k from Charity"
  • by fallen1 ( 230220 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#13810832) Homepage
    since it goes with Shit. This basically sums up Jack Thompson's entire knowledge of the video game industry he has set out to try and destroy.

    No, I don't think very young people should be playing violent videogames all day, every day but it is not Jack's problem. It is not the government's problem. It is a PARENTAL problem and should be dealt with as such. Parents should take fracking responsibility for raising their children and when their children become delusional, homicidal maniacs they should CONTINUE to take responsibility since it was THEIR parenting techniques that helped little Johnny become what he is today. It takes all of 5 to 15 minutes out of your hectic day to check in on what your child is playing, watching, or reading and if he/she is constantly going over to Billy's or Sandy's house then, as a parent, you had better damn well trust that Billy's Mom and Dad are raising their child like you are raising yours so that your philosophies match (ie. so that little Johhny doesn't run over to Billy's house to play GTA: San Andreas every day because Billy's parents don't give a shit what Billy plays).

    Sorry for the rant but I'm past the point of believing the crap about it takes a village to raise a child. How about it takes a concerned parent (single or plural) to raise a child. If your job takes away too much of your parenting time then perhaps you should do without the new BMW and Lexus in the driveway and spend more time with your child, less with your paycheck -- eh?
    • by lysium ( 644252 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:59PM (#13811087)
      Sorry for the rant but I'm past the point of believing the crap about it takes a village to raise a child. How about it takes a concerned parent (single or plural) to raise a child.

      See, that responsibility is important and all, but the nuclear family is a relic of the past age. If the parents you mention fail to be concerned enough, we as the metaphorical village get stuck with the sociopathic loser for the next 30-60 years. Their responsibility becomes our responsibility.

      Also keep in mind that nothing in American society comes close to the "it takes a village" philosophy. Our society is still nuclear-family at its core, and will not be changing any time soon.

  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#13810833) Journal
    In general, this is a 'contract to the world', an offer of reward on completion. It's often called a "race across the desert", a unilateral contract with neither consideration nor quid pro quo. The first one who completes the contract gets the reward. If revoked prior to completion, you generally have no recourse. If that is not the case, there are two common ways to sue, or offer as a baseline for negotition, for failure to fulfill his end of the promise.

    First, if you complete the contract first and give sufficient notification of such, and it is prior to his unilateral revocation, you can argue that he breached the contract. As the first person across the line, you are typically entitled to the reward. Breach of that may entitle you to estop the contract. In other words, entitlement to fulfillment of his promise.

    Second, if you say that you relied on his contract and had sufficient reason to believe that the contract would be fulfilled (i.e. there is precedent for this type of contract, e.g. auctions for services to be rendered; or it would be unreasonable economic policy to not enforce payment because your reliance on his statement was reasonable and it would be poor form to permit his type of statement when it incurs your type of economically inefficient reliance), you might be able to sue for your costs, your lost opportunity, or his benefit.
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:46PM (#13810990)
      "estop the contract"

      In my line of work, an "e-stop" (Emergency Stop) usually means that a potentially dangerous machine just got shut down in a hurry to prevent damage. This frequently involves a bright red, mushroom shaped button, prominently placed on a console or control panel. It is really too bad that we can't E-Stop the average malfunctioning attorney the same way:

      Citizen 1: "Whoa, Bob! That Jack dude is running wild again!"

      Citizen 2: "Quick, hit the estop!"
  • Tycho (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:30PM (#13810841) Homepage
    Tycho called this one already. When Penny Arcade's last Jack Thompson comic came out Tycho wrote the following:

    "Of course, he's not serious. Machination is too glorified a word for what he's doing. Ruse would make it seem debonair. He's essentially holding money hostage from charity, and if someone did make it, even as a joke, he would say that it didn't conform to his "design." This sort of thing is usually called a shell-game." 14 []
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:31PM (#13810844) Homepage Journal
    A lawyer offering to give money to charity? Who could fall for that?! ;- )
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 )
    I'm over here on the other side of the Atlantic, so perhaps that's why I haven't heard of this Jack Thompson fellow. Who exactly is he, and why should I care what he has to say?

  • Email Conversation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drijen ( 919269 )
    The emails sent from the 14 year old, can be found here: [] There is also a great wikipedia article ( ey) [] ) that relates his history, and well, exploits.
  • Jack's game scenario (Score:5, Informative)

    by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) * <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @02:41PM (#13810940) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe that Jack Thompson offered 10 grand to charity if a game where animals hump your leg was made.

    Oh, it wasn't that at all? Well, you know if someone had fucking LINKED THE ORIGINAL THING THAT JACK WROTE then I would have known that. Goddamn.

    I found this description of the original hoo-hah:

      Essentially, the game involves Osaki Kim, a father whose son was "beaten to death with a baseball bat by a 14-year-old gamer." The guilty party was "only" sentenced to life, even after finding a connection to video games and the murder, so O.K. (as Thompson abbreviates) goes on a killing spree to avenge his son - he kills the publisher (Take This, a not-so-subtle reference to San Andreas publisher Take Two), followed by all parties involved in the trial, merchants of GameStop-like store and arcades - and, of course, any cops that get in his way.

    You're welcome.
  • by sxtxixtxcxh ( 757736 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:12PM (#13811179) Homepage Journal
    if by "jack thompson" you mean "penny arcade"... 17#2834 []
  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:20PM (#13811243) Journal
    Jack Thompson is an ass of the first caliber, and deserves whatever shit he gets. Nevertheless, Tycho is being unfair to him in one respect.

    This vile "challenge []" Jack Thompson has put to the supposedly monolithic "game industry" is like a topographical map of the twisted fantasy realm he inhabits. I could excerpt it, but I don't want to be accused of selective editing. The reality is that what he suggests is grotesque. I mean that it is literally disgusting. Of course, the violent acts he's cobbled together here from other games are robbed of a narrative context in which they make sense. Killing Gamestop and EB employees, though? That's not metaphor. He's not being metaphorical. He is batshit fucking loco insane.

    I'll grant that, no problem. But can someone describe for me the "narrative context" in Postal 2 which justified such actions? Or even Manhunt [] , which, god help me, I actually paid money for and played all the way through.

    (If you never played Manhunt, the idea is that you're a convict secretly rented out to a snuff film producer to take part in a game so shocking and post-modern that it was considered a classic of short story literature in 1947 []. You get extra points for exterminating your hunters in as gruesome and vicious a manner as posible.)

    So to recap, no love lost for Jack Thompson, but Tycho should be a little more honest when it comes to the really disgusting games out there.
  • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:29PM (#13811331) Journal
    Slashdotters seem to think video games have no effect on people. Thompson sees them as horrible killer-trainers. Personally, I fall somewhere in between.

    I love playing Halo. It's exciting and fun, and the "violence" is pretty mild. I have played Unreal Tournament and GTA (older versions), but gave them up because to me, they were too sadistic. They didn't make me want to kill people, but they made me a little more inclined to be a jerk.

    It's the same with TV. If I watch a show like "The Shield" or some pissy reality show where everybody hates each other, I get a little bit into that angry, "screw you" mentality.

    Think about your personality and attitude. Me, I'm very laid back, because my dad is laid back. I like goofy jokes because my dad does, and my friends growing up did too. (I also watched Monty Python.) I can see how these influences shaped the way I am.

    Most of us spend several hours a day using some kind of media - music, TV, internet, video games, etc. Just like the people we're around, these virtual friends DO shape our mentality, somewhat.

    I will never be a homocidal maniac, regardless of what I watch or play. But I do know that seeing examples of people who laugh, who love and forgive each other - whether those are real people or on TV - makes it easier for me to do the same. Exposing myself to hours of anger and selfishness makes me likely to replay those thoughts and words. Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean that everything is equally good for me.

    Does anybody else see that?
    • by wfolta ( 603698 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:37PM (#13812787)
      I don't think that games turn people into killers. In fact, I enjoy Unreal Tournament 2004, WoW, etc, which obviously involve "killing" to reach your goal. But I do support the parent posting's observations...

      I think that in their rush to defend an anything-goes mentality, other posters in this thread overlook obvious connections:

      1. Olympic and all world-class athletes use visualization as a part of their training. They imagine themselves doing their sport in as vivid a detail as they can. For example, a weight lifter imagines walking up to the weights, feeling the bar, gripping it, heaving it upwards, etc, etc. They imagine the perfect performance again and again, and it helps to shape their reactions to achieve it.

      Your brain does not know the difference between real and imagined. That's why you can get angry "just thinking about that jerk that cut you off this morning". Obviously, higher-level functions allow us to reason and realize "it's just a memory/game" but our instincts and reflexes may not be so lucky.

      2. Read Blink and see how what we view affects how we act. In particular, the experiment where people were primed (unknowingly) to be either rude or polite and how unbelievably strong the effect was. The experimenters expected noticable but minor differences and found HUGE differences in reaction that astonished them.

      In light of that, someone who spends HOURS trying to grief others and demolish them (or get steamrolled themselves) in vicious ways will, as the parent comment says, definitely be more likely to be jerks. Or worse. And that's the difference, say between sports and video games: you cannot demolish 20 opposing basketball teams in a long night of playing. You can easily do this in video games, including some of my favorites.

      Again, I'm not going to kill someone because I play violent games. But please don't ignore obvious and deep issues to say that video games (or porn, or whatever) have nothing to do with anything. (Read Blink's description of gender and racial biases that are very unconscious but can be accurately measured and can be affected by our experiences and then think about how games or porn present various different classes/professions/races/genders and imagine how being "primed" in this way would affect attitudes and interactions, even if they never were consciously accepted and acted upon in open ways.)
  • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:39PM (#13811413)

    From today's CNN:

    Wow, look how the crime rate has absolutely skyrocketed as violence in games has increased. Someone send these figures to Jack so he can use them in his jihad.
  • by ahoehn ( 301327 ) * <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:44PM (#13811457) Homepage
    It might be worth noting that the good people at Penny Arcade have already made up for Thompson's retraction [], and donated $10,000 to charity in Thompson's Name. He he. Gotta love those PA kids.
        Here's the quote from the PA site: "You know what, Jack? We're going to be the men you're not. You said that your insulting, illusory ten thousand dollars would go to the charity of Paul Eibler's choice. We've got a good guess that he'd direct your nonexistant largesse toward The Entertainment Software Association Foundation, a body that has raised over six point seven million dollars over the last eight years. We've just made the donation you never would, and never meant to. Ten thousand dollars' worth. And we made it in your name.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @03:51PM (#13811512) Homepage Journal
    You cant stop it. In the 70s or so, it was comic books that they blamed. In the 80s, it was music and hair-metal that got the blame. In the 90s, it was Television and MTV and etc, and now its video games. People in America seem to have a common problem, for the most part. They can't realize that they are the ones causing their own problems.
    • Actually, it was the late 50s, early 60s, when Dr. Frederick Wertham published "The Seduction of the Innocent", about the evils of comic books. That led to the comics code.

      But in either case, it's just more fricking McCarthyism in action. Are you now or have you ever been top ranked in Quake Arena?
  • Very strange man... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaestroSartori ( 146297 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @04:11PM (#13811660) Homepage
    ...this Jack Thompson fellow. And I say this as a games programmer, although not one who's ever worked on a violent game of any sort. Anyway.

    When all this fuss kicked off over the last few weeks, I read a bit of what he has to say. And to be honest, reading what he says to people in private correspondance (and to an extent in his public statements) you get the impression that he's a rabid loon. Then on Penny Arcade, I spotted a link to an audio interview [] some guys did with him. I downloaded and had a listen. And to give the man some credit, he comes across much better in person. I'm much less surprised that he gets the attention he does, having listened to him - he comes across as a slightly opinionated but earnest and frank concerned guy, worried about the effect games have on kids and teenagers. At least, he does initially.

    After a while though, when he's gone past the fairly logical point of discussing M-rated game sales to minors with someone who agrees with him, he starts getting a bit out there. EA in cahoots with the porn industry, deliberately aiming for them to make porno skins for The Sims? Please. Thing is, because he *seems* reasonable, people who don't know too much about games probably think he *is* reasonable. And in small doses, for short periods of time, he probably is. But disagree too much, scratch the surface of his arguments, and things suddenly get a lot stranger...
  • Technicalities (Score:4, Informative)

    by mliu ( 85608 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @04:20PM (#13811739) Homepage
    In my opinion (IANAL) after looking at the letter, I don't think, following the letter of his proposal, that the requirements have been met.

    His proposal was as follows:

    The video game industry says Sticks and stones can break my bones, but games can never hurt me. Fine. I have a modest proposal for the video game industry. I'll write a check for $10,000 to the favorite charity of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc's chairman, Paul Eibeler - a man Bernard Goldberg ranks as #43 in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America - if any video game company will create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game in 2006 like the following:

    Osaki Kim is the father of a high school boy beaten to death with a baseball bat by a 14-year-old gamer. The killer obsessively played a violent video game in which one of the favored ways of killing is with a bat. The opening scene, before the interactive game play begins, is the Los Angeles courtroom in which the killer is sentenced "only" to life in prison after the judge and the jury have heard experts explain the connection between the game and the murder.

    Osaki Kim (O.K.) exits the courtroom swearing revenge upon the video game industry whom he is convinced contributed to his son's murder. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay" he says. And boy, is O.K. not kidding.

    O.K. is provided in his virtual reality playpen a panoply of weapons: machetes, Uzis, revolvers, shotguns, sniper rifles, Molotov cocktails, you name it. Even baseball bats. Especially baseball bats.

    O.K. first hops a plane from LAX to New York to reach the Long Island home of the CEO of the company (Take This) that made the murder simulator on which his son's killer trained. O.K. gets "justice" by taking out this female CEO, whose name is Paula Eibel, along with her husband and kids. "An eye for an eye," says O.K., as he urinates onto the severed brain stems of the Eibel family victims, just as you do on the decapitated cops in the real video game Postal2.

    O.K. then works his way, methodically back to LA by car, but on his way makes a stop at the Philadelphia law firm of Blank, Stare and goes floor by floor to wipe out the lawyers who protect Take This in its wrongful death law suits. "So sue me" O.K. spits, with singer Jackson Brown's 1980's hit Lawyers in Love blaring.

    With the FBI now after him, O.K. keeps moving westward, shooting up high-tech video arcades called GameWerks. "Game over," O.K. laughs.

    Of course, O.K. makes the obligatory runs to virtual versions of brick and mortar retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and Wal-Mart to steal supplies and bludgeon store managers and cash register clerks. "You should have checked kids' IDs!"

    O.K. pushes on to Los Angeles. He must get there by May 10, 2006. That is the beginning of "E3" -- the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- the Super Bowl of the video game industry. O.K. must get to E3 to massacre all the video game industry execs with one final, monstrously delicious rampage.

    How about it, video game industry? I've got the check and you've got the tech. It's all a fantasy, right? No harm can come from such a game, right? Go ahead, video game moguls. Target yourselves as you target others. I dare you.

    Here is what was made:

    Mild mannered Christian attorney by day, Jack Thompson moonlights as Banman, a homicidal hero who cuts through immorality and beauracratic laws with an automatic rifle. Utilizing his Schwarzenegger sized personal arsenal and his trusty Bannedwagon, Banman fights the evil videogame industry's dirty tactics. From destroying trucks to make sure the children are kept safe from violent games, to fighting off an armed rebellion of lesbians, feminists, and female golfers led by General Janet Reno, Banman puts it all on the line to protect the homeland.

    Jack Thompson meanwhile sets himself hard to work at protecting the youth through the power of the lawsuit, finally going after those evil Super Mario Bros. B

  • Not trying to troll (Score:3, Informative)

    by propagandize ( 894243 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @04:41PM (#13811910)
    I really no very little about Jack Thompson, but I was curious what he wrote. While I don't agree with much of anything he seems to stand for, I was able to find what I think is the original text he posted at =0.1497723.

    From that text:
    ...I'll write a check for $10,000 to the favorite charity of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc's chairman, Paul Eibeler - a man Bernard Goldberg ranks as #43 in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America - if any video game company will create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game in 2006...
    While Hellfish seems awfully creative, I don't know if they qualify as a video game "company" and they don't seem to be "selling" the module (and as an even more minor point, it's not 2006).
  • by TheZalm ( 129363 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:26PM (#13812274)
    Jack strikes me as an extremely fearful man. It could be argued that most of what he does is driven by fear. He's afraid of gamers. He's afraid of the world. So he became a lawyer so that he could feel powerful. And look at his responses to e-mails. He obviously feels threatened by VGCATS and Penny Arcade, and he has a fight/flight reaction (He tends to choose fight). Its obvious to me that these violent, threatening responses that he makes are caused by FEAR.
    He pictures the gamers of the world as these horrible violent people that might shoot him or his family at any time, and so he wants to stop it. He imagines that we're all violent and that video games made us this way. He's afraid, so he strikes out. Like a cornered dog.

    But what he doesnt seem to get is that, yeah, there are violent people, and yeah there are gamers, and yeah there are a few gamers that are also violent, but they are the VAST MINORITY. Most gamers are peaceful! It's like saying "HEY, all these murderers had something in common. They ate sandwiches. Sandwiches make you murder!"

    Someone should draw him a venn diagram...
  • by CFTM ( 513264 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:55PM (#13812883)
    I think we ought to use Mr. Thompson for own ends. Seeing as he is so keen to sue people, maybe we should sign his email address up with every major spammer across the world and see how he reacts. I bet he'd have his legal dogs of war on their asses by the end of the week, maybe if we got really lucky the spammer and JT would use all their energies trying to eradicate each other leaving the rest of the world in peace. Oops, I hope JT doesn't decide to sue me for writing this!

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak