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Nintendo Sued Over Pokemon Gambling Addiction 261

Brain00666 writes "Two parents and their kids are suing Nintendo, claiming that their Pokemon cards "are turning them into pint-sized gamblers." Apparently they're asserting that they were "forced" to spend thousands of dollars to get rare cards." If they win, I'm totally going after Wizards of the Coast ;)
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Nintendo Sued Over Pokemon Gambling Addiction

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am a parent too, and I also buy some of the cards for my kid. But he is NOT addicted to it. Sure he likes to have those rare cards, but it is your responsibilty to let them know they can't have everything.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    pokemon cards and crack............ hmmmmmmmm.............. anyone ever try to smoke pokemon cards.....
  • There can be truly be only one of these rare events per article posted. And as /. gorws its userbase, the goal becomes rarer and rarer. I fear we may soon need phoenix like script tools (IRC) to be successful in acquiring the ever increasingly rare first post article. The stress is growing worse by the day. I'm finding myself spending all my waking hours hitting reload, waiting for a new story to appear, and then to hit "reply", type "f1rs7 p05t d00dz!!" and submit before I'm beaten to it by someone else. Aaarruugghh!!! Must!.. be!.. first!... at!.. any!.. cost!... [click] reload [click] [click] [click] Update dammit!!!! Stupid slow slashdot! AArruugghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1) nintendo doesn't make the cards, Wizards of the Coast did.
    2) Wizards of the Coast was just bought out by Hasbro
    3) RICO isn't a civil tort, it's a federal criminal statute.

    If it was an illegal gambling operation wouldn't that be for prosecutors to charge, not civil attorneys?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most of us here get the point. Doing this type of card trading has gone on for ages, I remember as a kid buying baseball cards hoping to get a rare one, and that was a long time ago. That is no difference than these cards. The only reward that they are getting is what there friends give them. The card makers are not giving these kids money or anything for getting a rare card. There friend sare. So the maker of these cards are not gulity of gambling.
  • I wondered what Pokemon was about, so I watched an episode one Saturday morning. I decided right away that it was "about" collecting cards. You've gotta get them all!

    Actually, I'm pretty sure that the Pokemon Gameboy game came first, which was/is a *massive* Japaneese hit. With the game, there's a red and a blue version (I hear that a new yellow one was just released, too). The goal of the game is to wander around to try to collect all the little Pokemon, and you can use them to fight other Pokemon. The game's quite fun from just the single-player I've played.

    Now, the reason that there are two different colors is that they're the same game, but the pokemon are a little different. In the blue cart, some pokemon that are common in the red one are hard to find, and some aren't present at all. The big draw is that you can link up with your friends and trade pokemon. The popularity and fun of it almost certainly has to do with why it's just fun to collect things, be they cards you pay for in packs, typewriters you track down on Ebay and pay lots of money for, or just little monsters in a game you find and get for free. Of course, Nintendo could have been planning the Pokemon CCG ever since the beginning and just did the rest of the Pokemon stuff to build up hype, but I doubt it. My guess is that the CCG is just a natural progression.
  • by krs ( 407 )
    They were not forced to do anything. If the parents felt it may have let to gambling type of behaviour, they should have stopped the kids from participating in such activities. Why are the suing Nintendo? I'll never understand this American mentality.
  • what would it look like? A guy with a briefcase and a big tire treak on his face?

  • hahah :) man I wish I could moderate this up..

    I think Nintendo is innocent - I mean they are a lot nicer than Microsoft in this respect- the rare cards _do_ exist, while bugfree microsoft programs..

    Let me just say I saw a friend of mine place a 8 of spades on a queen of hearts in windows solitaire once, and leave it at that.
  • Dude, you mean you don't have a daemon that connects to slashdot, reloads continously, and whenever a new story is added it blasts out your first post reply to the new article?

    What kind of hAX0r are you?
  • >well hey, it would be _her(gender neutral)_ life

    No, it wouldn't. "her" implies the female gender. "he" does *not* imply gender, although something else in the context may.

    English uses the same word for the masculine and for unknown gendin several contexts.
  • Well, well... this one looks like blackmail - "you get to be our client or we'll sue you for every foolish case we could invent"...
  • If it's illegal to encourage a minor to gamble, and the parents say that these cards are a form of gambling, should we arrest the parents? They encouraged their kids to gamble illegally, and even gave them the money to do it! This post may also contain unmarked sarcasm, but sometimes it helps us keep a grip on reality...
  • "Torte reform", if such a thing were proposed, would have to do with adjusting the recipes used to create certain layered desserts. The legal term you're referring to is "tort".

  • That's a great idea (and a really cool .sig).

    Unfortunately, I *think* signing up with so many would violate most of the firms' contracts... Of course, if you have enough money they'll write new contracts for you.

    I do think that it would work, though! Scary. Of course, it doesn't protect you from criminal charges... And anyone can get nailed by Tax Evasion (heck, I evade all the taxes I can! ;-).

  • Accrding to the Union Tribune article about this suit, it is the same lawyer firm. So you're not just seeing things.


  • This _has_ to be a joke, because if it isn't, then thousands of companies are left open to be sued over stuff like this. Nintendo is just doing something to sell their cards, and they are right in doing it.

    Scott Miga
  • But there's still a large amount of luck involved,
    and so it might be considered to be gambling.
    After all, to use the guidelines proposed
    by someone else in this channel, to setup a
    lemonade stand,
    there's a cost of entry
    there's risk involved
    there's something you get if you win (profit)
  • Why could it possibly be wrong? If the gambler
    chooses to behave suboptimally (i.e. use
    bad strategy), then the results are their
    responsibility. WRT Nintendo and the kids,
    the kids arn't suffering -- it's the parents
    money that's being spent, all because they're
    giving it to their kids. Where is nintendo doing
    WRT worth, the pokemon cards arn't worthless
    pieces of cardboard any more than a twenty dollar
    bill is a worthless piece of green paper. Value
    is based on perception.
  • Why is it just plain wrong? Would encouraging
    them to set up a lemonade stand to be wrong?
    They might not earn any money. Isn't that a
  • Exactly, I remember four or five years ago when POGs really exploded, the exact same happened. Parents began going nuts because it seemed that POGs encouraged gambling, and some schools even barred POG playing at school. If I remember correctly no substantial decision came as a result of this suit so I expect this [Pokemon suit] to be here today, gone tomorrow and everyone will just go back to playing the games and watching the shows. Perhaps the best is that this isn't on local news. Finally!!! Something stupid that didn't make the news!
  • I bought a book on Chinese swordfighting techniques, and the inside front cover warned that the book "was for educational purposes only, and... practicing these techniques with real blades could be dangerous". All my books on exercise admonish the reader to check with his or her doctor first.

    - freehand
  • I think we could have a very large class action suit for this.
  • So a couple of kids are suing Nintendo because they were "forced" to buy these cards??? Uhhm, don't you have to be 18 or something? Do they parents know they are doing this?... oh.. wait... they do! Nice going!

    Before this story appeared, I thought the funniest lawsuit was the one in which a woman sued the pharmaceutical company because she ate contraceptive jelly and still got pregnant... I guess we have a new winner.
  • Rarity in trading cards is really not a new thing. A few examples:

    WotC's Magic: the Gathering. I believe in the old 15-card boosters at one point there were 11 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare per booster. Rarity is somewhat distributed equally so in a 210-card set you might have 70 rare cards. So, from just the numbers you'd hafta go through 72 packs, like 2 boxes or so, for rare card X that you oh so needed for your deck.

    This was like years ago with 4th edition. Before getting rare card X was a true trial and the odds were far worse. Usually I'd go out and buy the single or trade some rather than try to get lucky.

    Yet even before this, sports cards were truly notorious for this. I remember some extremely rare inserts having odds as high as 1 in a several thousand packs. Oh I remember spending at one point $20 per pack of Topps Finest to pull a Ripken that at one point was worth $20,000+. I'd prolly spend at least $20,000 before I pulled the card probably. I was probably better off playing the state's daily number drawing.

    So why does this surface now somewhat shocks me and somewhat doesn't. I'm surprised because the idea or inserts and rarity of certain cards has existed for 10 years and change now. Yet I'm not that dumbfounded because nowadays you can sue for anything.

    Only thing that lingers is supposedly these kids spent thousands of dollars? Where'd they get this munny, and can I have some?
  • I agree. The following is straight from the article:

    "... say they were forced to empty their piggy banks to buy endless packs of low-value cards in the hope of buying a rare one. ..."

    Unless someone from WotC or NOA was holding a gun to their head or being generally threatening that's not that valid a statement.

    In addition, I don't find marked cardbaord to be much of an investment. Notice the emphasis on "low-value cards". If you want value, go invest in a reliable mutual fund or buy some "pillow" stocks and sleep easy.
  • Maybe it's not too late for me to sue Topps and other baseball card manufacturers. I used to spend all of my allowance on them, when I was trying to get really valuable cards!
  • Just a week ago, two regional news stations serving the Northwest aired segments where they talked about how wonderful Pokemon is for their children. They claimed it was a wonderful, non-violent way for their children to gain social skills. These were parents and teachers making these statements.

    Trading cards are hardly devices for gambling. No more so than collecting comic-books, action-figures, or porcelain dolls. And even if they were gambling devices, I see an addictive vice such as gambling much more understandable than the lack of ethics and personal responsibility that is displayed by those who bring blatantly ludicrous and frivolous lawsuits to court.

    Besides, what irresponsible parent is out there letting Nintendo raise their children in the first place? These are the same idiots who gladly have their children fingerprinted, bar-coded and processed.

  • *cough* Well, I heard Mario and his family were in a detox center after they ate some of the "powerup" mushrooms. 'course word has it they're gonna sue Kooba for that as soon as they recover.

  • Well, WoTC is now owned by Hasbro, so I'm sure there'll be money for a while, but in all seriousness, and knowing the innner workings of WoCT personally (check our web site and you might see what I mean,) I do belive they know how obsurd this suit is. I mean, Magic was just as "addicting" for a long time, you just had a little different group that realized what was going on instead of some overreacting parents, oh but wait, parents never overreact.

    Net. Admin.
  • by BitS ( 8087 )
    I wonder when Nintendo will be sued for promoting drug abuse by eating 'shrooms
  • Yeah, but it's Nintendo's concept, franchise, and brand, and I'll bet you that they make most of the money from it. All the other games, cartoons, and merchandise are all just self-perpetuating sales around that product, which centers around the slogan:

    "Gotta catch 'em all!"

    WoTC didn't start the fire.

    But then again, I don't think there is a fire after all. Just a genius marketing blitz parents should be steering their kids away from.

  • by Splat ( 9175 )
    Peach should sue for sexual discrimination and libel too. Not only is she always portrayed as the "helpless" Princess who needs rescuing, they had the nerve to call her TOADSTOOL here in America. Ladies and gentleman, this is a clearcut case of our video game mascots not getting the respect they deserve. Peach will be represented by Toad, who has also filed suits on behalf of the Goombas for hate crimes.
  • And it's not just the card people who do this. This kind of thing also happens with kids toys. The card manufacturers have every right to print a certain type of card in extremely short supply. If the market goes crazy over the card just because it's rare and the card printer are laughing all the way to the bank because of it, well I say "dumb market" and "smart card printers". You could think of it a a production trick to increase the mean value of each packet of cards.

  • 909a
  • Here's something interesting. PARENTS are the people who drive the whole Beanie Baby frenzies. This is stupid. People and firms that go around doing this junk for publicity should be killed. I hope I never have to meet a person like this. I will probably be forced to kill them. On a side note, I hate government, but as long as we've got it, why don't we pass some stupidity and idiocy laws? I think that anyone who loses a frivilous lawsuit should do jail time! I also hate Pokemon and I REALLY hate beanie babies. I purposely ask people selling them on street corners if they have some of the ones that are (for some reason) worth more than a hunk of gold weighing the same amount as the fabric used to make the cotton ball. They then proceed to tell me how great it is that they have 'such and such' -- why they call them by name escapes me -- and that they'd be willing to part with it for no less than 'ridiculous sum.' I tell them "I'll come back to you when the market falls out of them." OK, there's a bizarre comment!!! ~GoRK
  • It's lawsuits like that make people even like the legal profession even LESS. :-/

    I think this case will be tossed out as a frivious lawsuit. Those lawyers need to heed the words of William Shatner and "get a life."

  • I can understand to a certain extent that this really popular fad can be disruptive for certain kids. I have a nephew who loves Pokemon cards, and I know he does. I am his "favorite uncle" to him simply because I can get the cards like if they were water. But compared to other kids his age (he is 7 years old), he isn't engulfed into these so called addictions that others his age are.

    Seriously, I think it is because it is up to the parents to exert some distractions from the fad. Kids that age will feed on candy until either an adult stops them or they get sick. In this case, the addiction simply comes from parents who simply don't encourage their kids from being fixated on one thing.

    In my area, some school principals are returning kids home if they show up at school with the cards. They claim that the cards are disruptive. While that might work in the short term, the next big fad will just come, meaning principals will have to ban the "Next Big Thing".

    It is really the company's fault that the kids are addicted to the cards. I think that Nintendo has really hit the mark with their marketing strategy, but they are not solely to blame for the addictions. If parents showed more concern in their kids and would have a better solution than "buy what the kid wants so he'll/she'll shut up", the kids would benefit in the long run.

  • Unfortunately, I can't say that "I'll never understand this" propensity to ascribe events like this to the "American mentality." For every moron in the U.S. who is talked into doing this by a sleazy lawyer, there are a hundred who recognize the innanity of such lawsuits. As you may have noticed, there are plenty of U.S. citizens here on calling this lawsuit what it is.

    Why do such things happen in the U.S. and nowhere else? First of all, it's premature to say that such things don't happen elsewhere. Second, that these things happen in the U.S. at all has more to do with the dynamics that encourage law firms to file frivolous lawsuits (hot coffee, stock prices, addictive games, etc.) and nothing to do with the character of U.S. citizens as a whole.

    I'm no flag waver: I too used to think that the U.S. had a monopoly on stupid people, but your comments have given me occasion to reconsider.
  • The complaint is that purchasing a (closed, of course) package of cards is an act of gambling, because the cards inside may be "worth" a little or a lot. With the Beanie Babies you mention, the buyer always knows what toy they are buying before they buy it, presumably. No gamble there.
  • If 2/3 were tournament viable everyone wouldn't need to keep buying packs. We could buy less packs and we'd have good cards. Trade to get others.

    You want them to design better cards so they can sell fewer boxes?

    This is the company that included the "foil premium cards" into Magic sets to pump the collectability back up...

    Jay (=
  • I really have to say.. if the parents willingly allowed and supported their children's growing addiction to "gambling" by buying more and more trading cards, then they should probably not be the legal guardians of those children anymore.

    Seriously! Sueing Nintendo for something that they funded their children in doing. Perhaps they are not aware of somethings in life: Restraint. Parenting. Love.

    If they really loved their children and cared for them as parents should, they wouldn't let Pokemon do the parenting and babysitting.

    Next thing you'll know, parents will be suing milk formula makers for addicting their children to their chemical mixes. Or suing the government for addicting their children to di-hydrogen oxide.

    Time to call child services or parental counseling if the parents have to resort to suing companies to get more money to pay for their habit instead of correcting that habit.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.
  • You don't know the difference between running a lemonade stand (working) and gambling??? The former depends on hard work, good business sense and a bit of luck. The latter is just luck. Teaching children the value of hard work is a good thing(tm).
  • That's the whole basis of gambling, actually. The gambler's debt keeps increasing, so they become more and more desperate for the big win. The casino/Nintendo encourages it by ensuring that there are enough mid value prizes awarded to keep the gambler's hopes alive of recovering their investment.

    Parental supervision is probably the best answer to this problem, but that doesn't mean that what Nintendo's doing isn't wrong, too.

    It's one thing to lure adults into gambling, but kids deserve protection from this. Nintendo has an entire staff of child psychologists -- their business depends on knowing what children like. They know exactly how to manipulate kids into spending all their money on worthless pieces of cardboard. That's just not right.
  • I'm an adult, and I'm responsible for my own behaviour. But you can't apply the same standard to a 9 year old. The point of the lawsuit is that this is a gambling product specifically targeted at children.
  • I shouldn't have said worthless. What I meant was inexpensive. The cards cost Nintendo almost nothing to produce, so the profit margin is quite impressive.

    Re: you comparison to Malibu Barbie. There is a bit of a difference. Every Malibu Barbie package contains exactly the same items. No matter how many of them you buy, you'll never find the rare hermaphroditic Barbie doll. So there's no element of gambling involved.
  • >Why could it possibly be wrong?

    Because the gambler in this case is 9 years old. If the target audience were older I'd have no problem with this. Encouraging kids to gamble is just plain wrong.
  • The latter isn't just "luck." There's a much bigger lesson here, and the parents of these kids have failed miserably at teaching it: SELF-DISIPLINE.
  • The warnings are due to the fear of lawsuits.

    I bought a firearm and the owner's manual was amazing. About every other page was a warning, some of them were ridiculous.

  • You pay to play: You spend tens of thousands of dollars and up to four years earning a computer science degree.

    There is the element of chance: Maybe the economy will crash? Maybe you'll flunk your courses?

    You've got a prize: That cushy job is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Hell, I can claim that working under a capitalist system is gambling (and it really is, if you think about it). Many people are "addicted" to money due to their perception that they "need" as much money as possible to "win" in our society. Shall we file a class-action against every corporation in existence? Hmmm...

  • One of the four firms that were suing dropped their suit when they realized the defendant was also their client.

    It's all there in the article.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Yeah, people don't realize that those prices aren't really the values of the cards. Those are the prices the stores will charge you, but if you have a card, you're not very likely to be able to get that much for it. Back when I played MtG (4-5 years ago), the "dual lands" were worth around $10 each. However, I could never find anybody to even pay $5 for the ones I had, so obviously they weren't really worth $10 each.
  • Well, this is *identical* to baseball cards. They've been popular and legal for nearly 100 years. You buy packs in the hopes of finding one of the valuable cards, which is exactly what this lawsuit is complaining about.

    Since baseball cards are a fairly well-established legal industry, I don't think this lawsuit has much of a chance.
  • Donald Trump (iirc) did this a time or two: interview with all the best firms in the area to disqualify them by conflict.

    But guess how many firms are willing to interview him now?

    The problem is that there are just too many firms out there to do this with, and the amounts that they will expect for that type of retainer rule it out even for the Microsofts of the world.

    Plain cold fact of life: there's about as much money to be made by being on the other side from microsoft as there is from being on microsoft's side, and it will be rather expensive to convince a major firm to give up that potential business--if most firms do it, then the firms that are left get *all* of the business on the other side.

    hawk, esq.
  • Rather than suing for fear, file it in a case with *real* damages.

    My favorite scenario is to name the plaintiff's bar as a class of defendants (the "class" is not always the plaintiffs). The injury needs to be one in which a consumer did not receive an important safety warning, due to the stupid warnings placed defensively all over products (my favorite: the warning on a dry-cleaning bag that the ink used to print the warning was poisonous--with nothing printed on the bag save the warning).

    Normally, winning the suit that caused the warning would be a valid defense. But many of these suits were pressed even though the manufacturor complied with laws regulating the subject, making turnabout fair play.

    But it's all just a pipe dream . . .

    hawk, esq.
  • >This just goes to show the dismal state of our
    >justice system nowadays.

    Not yet. If the courts fail to sanction the attorneys for filing this (which has been happening to this plaintiff's firm with increasing frequency), then it will show a dismal shape.
  • One problem: when you play Clue, you don't have to pay every time, and you don't get money (or something of value) for winning. Your logic is flawed.

    However, it is still possible to have to pay to play, just as it is possible for people to bet on games of Clue. It sounds silly, I know. But the point is this: Any game can be considered gambling, undr certain conditioons. Any game can also not be gambling. You do not necessarily have to pay to play Pokemon or even get packs, nor do you necessarily get any sort of prize (geez; you're telling me a small piece of cardboard is worth tons of money just because it has "Blastoise" printed on it? You're dreaming, pal).

    These things only have value because people are idiotic enough to pay exorbitant sums of money for them. You're telling me a small piece of thin cardboard is worth tons of money just because it has "Blastoise" printed on it? You're dreaming, pal. Pokemon is a game. An innocent game that some people get too wrapped up in (and that can happen in any game). That's the person's own fault and no one else's.
  • Oh, please. Pokemon? Gambling? Not in the least.

    First off, consider the case of my girlfriend. She was beginning to get interested in M:tG. though she hadn't played much. I had plenty of cards by that time, so I made her a deck and gave it to her. She did not pay to play at all. The point: Pokemon fails the first test, because it isn't always necessary to pay to play.

    Yes, there's an element of chance. There's an element of chance in any game; that's why it's called a game. Even something as "innocent" as Parcheesi or Clue has elements of chance, and yet I see no one suing companies that make those. To set that up as a criterion for gambling is just plain stupid. So Pokemon would pass the second test if that test were even valid. But since it isn't, the point is moot.

    And as for there being a prize: Pokemon, while it is possible to play for ante (to use the M:tG term; I don't know what Pokemon calls it) it isn't mandated. So it fails the third test ("there is a prize") because there is not always a prize.

    I suppose you could say that there's an element of gambling in the buying of Pokemon card packs. But I also doubt too many people would call that a game. These kids made a stupid decision. Their parents, who could easily have put an end to it, made a very stupid decision by not doing so, thereby losing thousands of dollars. They have no one to blame for this but themselves.
  • What? These kids have spent "..thousands of dollars.." Where did the money come from? Their folks, of course. And did their parents not know that any of this was happening? Oh, of course not!


    The ear-to-ear grins on the mothers and the kids says it all: "We know exactly what we're doing, and we're gonna make a bundle and get famous too!"

    And of course you can always get some idiot attorney to buy in to this kinda deal...

    t_t_b []

  • by jht ( 5006 )
    I read this the other day, but never dreamed that it would be /. material...

    These are emblematic of the morons and idiots we have for parents here in the US that give America a bad reputation. Can't anyone take responsibility for their actions at any age whatsoever? "Oh no, little Timmy likes his (Pokemon, Magic, Upper Deck, Beanie Baby, etc.) so much that he plays games to try and win more! But he sucks enough to lose! Oh my god, I have the answer - SUE THE MANUFACTURER!"

    I mean, how dumb is that? No wonder Katz spends so much time lately writing about alienated teens. Is it me, or have the parents here in the US become more and more clueless with each generation? I really hope that when my wife and I have our own kids, my brains don't get washed away like these parents' brains have.

    Despite my .sig, I'm starting to wonder...

    - -Josh Turiel
  • OAKLAND, CA-- In a shocking move following the Nintendo Pokemon scandal, Margaret Smith sued Dreyer's, Inc., manufacturer of the famous Edy's Grand® Ice Cream. Smith, 43, claims the frozen treat is too addictive, and is turning her son Jimmy into "a lazy, fat, Ice Cream eating slob."

    "No matter what he's doing, he always has a tub of that ice cream in front of him." claims Smith. Reportedly, the 'Mint Chocolate Chips!®' flavor is the preferred flavor of 17 year-old Jimmy, who added: "I just like it. I don't see what the big deal is." The addictive properties on this particular flavor of ice cream have yet to be studied, as this is the first documented case. Smith insists, however, that it's far too addicting, and warrants a lawsuit.

    Anne Johnson, spokesperson for Dreyer's, declined an interview, but issued a press release stating "We at Dreyer's are comitted to making the finest Ice Cream available, and we want our customers to be delighted with our products. A situation like this makes us particularly sympathetic, however we have not heard any similar complaints regarding any of our products."

    "Horsesh--" says Smith. "They make this stuff addictive on purpose, so people will like it and buy more." When asked if she thought that was the point, Smith simply stated "Absolutely not." She continued: "My son comes home from school, goes to the freezer, and grabs the container. Then he sits down at the computer and spoons it into his mouth while programming. He's lazy!"

    Dreyer's executives were not available for comment.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Children should be responsible, to the extent that they are able. But I recognize that, at certain stages of development children are not quite yet mature enough to handle it.

    In that case, the PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE.

    Read the story, which mentions the kids are around 9 years old. Where in the hell do kids get the "thousands of dollars" they were "forced" to spend? The story says they "emptied their piggy banks" but I think that's just a euphemism-- given child labor laws, I doubt these piggy banks could have contained much, and thus I bet their money came from adults.

    So, why weren't the parents saying no? If the kids were turned into gambling addicts, its the parents who did it. The money burning characteristics of collectable card games notwithstanding, no one FORCES one to buy them.

    And no one certainly forced the parents to allow their children so much money to do so!

  • If they win, I'm totally going after Wizards of the Coast ;)

    If they win Wizards of the Coast won't have any money left for you to get.

    From the article:

    Court papers said Nintendo, along with U.S. distributor Wizards of the Coast....

  • I think that I am really sick and tired of reading about people who are suing for things that they should by no right have the ability to even have a say over. Suing Nintendo for including special cards in the packs with regular cards is obserd. Putting the special cards into the packs is what making buying the cards so much fun. I grew up collecting baseball cards and eventually basketball and football cards. In addition to the regular series or cards, there would be at least one special series. These cards were generally worth more money then the rest of the cards were, and yes they were randomly included in the packs with the regular cards. This was what made the whole experience fun. I couldn't wait to open up the and see if I got alittle something special in there, but I also couldn't wait to see if I got another Don Mattingly card in there. I hardly think that it would be right for me to sue Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, and Don Mattingly for that matter. I really do hope that the American leage system doesn't do something wrong and even give these people the time of day, but of course this is just my opinion and why would we really want to bring logic into American leage matters. We never have in the past.

  • This just furthers my case for the need in the U.S. for torte reform. Stupid lawsuits like this just tie up the legal system and cost taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars a year.

    while we're at it, lets sue the sports card manufacturers. They do the same thing.

    Hell, lets sue McDonalds. Those happy meals are probably just as addictive.

    How about Ty? Didn't they retire beanie babies to make them more valuable?

    Maybe I should sue my ISP while I'm at it. I spend more than 5 hours a day on the Internet, which according to a recent story on Slashdot qualifies me as an addict too.

  • I wondered what Pokemon was about, so I watched an episode one Saturday morning. I decided right away that it was "about" collecting cards. You've gotta get them all!

    Shades of Star Wars and its action figures!

  • No, you are missing the point of the game. It is a GAME first and foremost - you don't buy the cards for the sole purpose of reselling them, you buy the cards so you can play the game. If you take that into acount the above statements really make no sense. The reason these cards become valuable is because they're rare, and they're rare because they're powerful to use in the game. The whole 'game of chance' thing is really a moot point because it's not one in the sense that the game is within the cards themselves, not actually for buying and trading purposes.

    Now okay, it is a trading card game - and trading them may be part of the fun. But who's fault is that? Does the company force anyone to pay x dollars for a card? No. Do they set the prices on the cards? No. That's where it becomes most rediculous - there are so many places to attack this article it's not even funny, but I think one of the strongest points is that the prices are set by an independant company (at least AFAIK). Back in the MtG days WotC decided how many cards to produce but didn't decide that card x would be worth y dollars; it just worked out that way.

  • The American Mentality:
    I have the right to life (mine, screw yours),
    I have the right to liberty (who cares about you),
    and I have the right to happiness (that means I want your money, and more of your money).

    Certainly, the US was not established with this in mind.
    But, to paraphrase a rule from programming, build a
    better form of government, and I will built a better tyrant.
    The oppression of the British monoarchy caused the creation
    of the US government structure to defeat the occurence
    of such a situtation. Now, we have bred a new and better
    replacement: the average US citizen, who is responsible
    for nothing, for they 'obviously' are motivated by horrible
    scars from their childhood, and so shouldn't have to account
    for there own actions.

    Sure, I'm a US citizen. I'm just ashamed to be one.

    Apologies for not being more eloquent, it's late,
    and I can't write that well.

  • Are you kidding, I'm going after my Postal company, they make the stamps and sell them after all, even releasing limited series stamps sometimes.

    Or how about the government, they make all those soon to be rare coins, right?

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • slashdot needs a 'stupid lawsuits' topic.
  • Why are there rare cards? Because they are more powerful within the context of the game.

    Rarity was originally tied to game utility in Magic: The Gathering with the idea of preventing players from having too many overpowered cards in their deck. As we now know (and, frankly, should have been obvious at the time), this turned the game into a contest of wallets rather than a contest of brains. Since then, WotC has introduced other counterweights to excessively powerful cards (e.g. restrictions and bans on certain cards in tournament play, introduction of new cards to defend against power cards) to tilt the game back toward skill.

    It is now generally recognized that tying card rarity to card utility is a Bad Thing, and game publishers that make a habit of it get a "Billgatus of Borg" reputation in the gaming community.

    In a properly designed game, the reason for making some cards rarer than others is to make it more difficult to complete an entire set.

    If all cards would be equally common, they would have to be equally powerful, and that would make a hell of a boring game.

    Say, does anybody know where I can get an "Ace of Spades" to complete my NuPoker deck? (I tried asking my local collector, but he just bent my ear for an hour with a story about some boring old version of poker where you automatically had one of each card in the deck.)

  • Around here in Redmond, home of just about everyone's favorite company to hate, we also have the corporate HQs of both Nintendo of America and Wizards of the Coast closeby. Naturally, every preteen in town is carrying their pukemon cards everywhere they go. Every store in sight carries the suckers (right down to the 7-eleven) and the WOTC Game Centers located in several malls in the area are so infested with the little pokemonsters that no sane person can approach them. Recently overheard at a local Target store was one parent who's kids were bugging her for another collectible toy, and she relented, saying "As long as I don't have to go near that stupid pokemon store."

    On the other hand, I found out today that a stray pokemon card that ended up in our house made a great tool for spackling the wall for painting purposes in the absence of a putty knife... "Gotta Patch 'em All!", I guess.

  • Yes, those are right. I'd just like to emphasis how incredibly popular they are. You old guys who don't have kids wouldn't understand, but I have a brother that's 12. He's obsessed over Pokemon. Wears Pokemon shirts, plays all the games, buys the merchandise, and buys the cards. And that is extremelly common for his age group and below. In the above post, it mentioned the Pokemon movie. It really wouldn't suprise me if that turned out to be a top 10 movie. Think about it, you have millions of kids that HAVE to go to it, and since they can't drive, the parents have to go along. It'll definitly beat the pants off Toy Story 2 that will be released only a week later. And then there's people like my brother, who will see it 20 times. Never underestimate the power of Pokemon.
  • I'm gonna sue Nintendo for the pain in my thumb from 11 straight hours of Zelda-64.

  • Is that gambling any more than crossing a street is? I've personally come a few feet from being run down, after carelessly expecting that a driver would *not* run a red light. {shrug} Or, I occasionally buy goods online -- and to an extent, I could be said to be gambling on trust in the other party, in the shipping / supply-chain, and so forth. Whatever we do is, to a degree, gambling. The question is where to draw the line.

    Is purchasing any form of collectibles gambling? Or, for that matter, shares in, say, AT&T?

    One facet that might be looked at is whether there is any intrinsic value besides resale. If Mr. Gates were to speculate in cars by randomly buying luxury vehicles only to sell them like new an hour later, does that mean that buying cars should be treated as gambling since it *could* be used as such? On the other hand, there's not that much use for, say, a round at video poker other than the mathematical expectation of a (negative) reward...

    Not being into Pokemon, MtG or any other card game (well, except those that involve poker decks and jokers), I'm not able to claim either way: that they're useless except as commodities to trade/sell (and thus become a variation on currency, but one that's a lot less liquid or reliable), or no. If it's the former case, then it's not that much different than buying envelopes for, say, $10 ea that each may or may not have a larger amount of money in them. Now *that* would be more clearly gambling.
  • Depends. If you're out to get somebody; want a lower standard of proof and fewer protections for the defendant; and wouldn't mind sharing in the proceeds, then civil suits aren't that unusual.

    I remember there was a case (tossed out, methinks -- or at least hopes) where somebody tried to sue an off-shore 'Net gambling site, to annull her (considerable) losses, on the grounds that the gambling was illegal under US law. Talk about chutzpah... That's almost as good as the fellow who sued his own company for on-the-job injuries (and hired two lawyers, and so forth...)...
  • the cards could drop in value if the company started printing rare cards en masse. But if this happened, people would be suing the company left and right on the pretext that the company knew that they would be devaluing the cards.

    It was something like this that got me out of the M:TG market a few years ago. If I remember correctly, WotC released a new expansion that reprinted tons of the old cards from previous expansions, and the value of those old cards dropped like a stone. My previously $2000 collection of M:TG was instantly worth about $500. I got out while the getting was good, as I think WotC continued reprinting and instituting tournament rules that made the old cards useless for most players (who play based on tourney rules).

    I don't recall any lawsuits over this, just lots of grumbling, and lots of people getting out of the game. I think that it was one of the worst decisions WotC made, and led to the general reduction of interest in M:TG nowadays.
  • Here's a reference to a similar incident:

    September 11 1998

    Trial Lawyers Swing for the Fences With Allegation that Baseball Cards are Dangerous to Kids []

    According to the August 11 San Diego Union Tribune, Los Angeles-based trial lawyer Henry Rossbacher has filed three class action lawsuits alleging that baseball card companies, by printing limited quantities of certain cards, are promoting gambling among children. Rossbacher says that by limiting the quantity of valuable "chase" cards, and by printing the odds of getting one of these cards on the outside of packs, card companies such as Upper Deck Co. and Pacific Trading Card Inc. have established the "functional equivalent of a lottery." His lawsuit seeks damage awards for all kids who have been lured into buying cards in the past four years.

    "It's just like Joe Camel," says Rossbacher, "They're selling a dangerous product to kids."

  • This is almost exactly the same as the Magic: The Gathering game. Wizards of the Coast (makers of the game) doesn't set the value of the rare cards. From the manufacturer point of view, a Jester's Mask (valued at $20) is worth just as much as a common Goblin (10 cents). The company doesn't make an extra nickel off the Jester's mask, they sell every card for the same amount, not individually, but in packs. Nintendo does the same thing. They get n dollars for a pack of cards whether the pack contains all 5 cent cards or a 20 dollar rare. So the company isn't making any money off it, its all the kids and the market. You can't hold the company responsible because they don't make any extra off the rares. It's not gambling, its kids learning a life lesson.
  • Just 'cos the cards *can* sell for $x doesn't mean they will. Many rares in MtG were/are useless unless someone found a new use for them in a fad deck of the month. {g} And of course unless the kids know the market they're going to be burned regardless. (I let Autumn Willow go for a song, way back when... baka...) Ahem. In any case, store owners aren't obligated to fork over any money at all for rare cards, unless it's to turn around and sell them for even higher prices. Now, since this is WotC, I assume this is the Pokemon CCG. This begs the question, why are the kids buying scads of cards to get rares to *sell* them when they could just be trying to better their decks? I wouldn't blame this on Nintendo, or WotC, since they made a game and not something static like a baseball card set. I don't know who to blame. *Someone* has impressed on these kids that the cards are pure money and have diverted the focus away from playing the game to viewing it as a way to get rich by selling rares... =\ Certainly different from what happened in MtG. (Well, at least in my case and in that of most of the people I met playing it.) - dom
    - dom
  • I definitely agree with theGnome on this one: the idea that these kids were "forced" to spend thousands of dollars on these cards is absurd. How, exactly, does a nine-year-old force his parents to do ANYTHING? I once tried threatening to run away, and my parents helped me pack until I caved in. Nine-year-olds, in general are not capable of manipulating their parents to that extent. It seems to me that the parents are more at fault than Nintendo, because the parents are providing their nine-year-old children with huge amounts of money with which to buy these cards. I remember being obsessed with Magic: The Gathering when I was in 7th grade, but my parents didn't give me thousands of dollars in hopes that I would buy a pack of cards containing a black lotus, or another similarly rare card. The point, my friends, is that Nintendo can hardly be held resopnsible for the bad parenting practices of these parents. Just my $0.02
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:45PM (#1660044)
    A lot of people commenting here are missing the point. I am a parent and my children pressure me to allow them to buy and trade Pokemon. I don't let them. But the issue is not one about parents and responsibility.



    Why do you think you have to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket? Why do you think you have to be 18 to win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (void where prohibited)? Why do you think you have to be 18 to win a Corvettee in a drawing at the mall?

    The lawyers may be slimeballs, but buying Pokemon trading cards is little different from buying lottery tickets. You buy a card without knowing it's value, exactly like 'scratch and win' lottery tickets.

    Arguing that the case has no merit because lawyers are slimy is a non-ingeniuous argument ad hominem. We might as well argue that the makers of Pokemon, Barney, and the Teletubbies all deserve the death penalty because they make ridiculous children's products and because they cause endless pain and suffering to parents everywhere.

    Now you may argue that gambling shouldn't be illegal, and that the government shouldn't interfere in people's sex, social, or recreational habits, but as long as gambling is regulated, anyone who promotes a non-licensed game of chance is breaking the law, just like someone who tries to illegally sell a controlled drug is breaking the law. People who push gambling on kids are no better than people who push drugs on children.

    (Editor's note: The above contains unmarked sarcasm and humor. The views represented above are not necessarily those of Anonymous Coward or AC Inc.)
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:12PM (#1660045)
    I heard this story elsewhere, and someone commented that the law firm that is representing
    these kids has also filed similar suits against
    Magic and other CCG (collectable card games),
    and in the case of the Pokemon CCG, they found
    two likely kids among several 'applicants'.

    I compare this to the suit that the woman that
    sued her credit card companies because she
    lost $75,000 on her cards because she was
    gambling illegally on the net, and they (the
    credit card companies) didn't stop her.
    Law suits are not supposed to make up for
    human stupidity.

  • by Kabby ( 1265 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @03:27PM (#1660046) Homepage
    This really, really bothers me.

    It's not so much that there are 'strange' (for lack of a less offensive word) people that will do something like this, but it's like saying "Well gee, you guys make products that our kids have too much fun with. Make something dull and annoying, not fun and addictive."

    Now I don't blame the lawyers, because if I was one I'd love to handle a case like this either as prosecutor or defendant (is that the correct terminology? I don't know the last thing about the law). But parents like this seriously get to me. I've seen a mother buy a $250 coat for her kid, have him lose it, give him the same amount of money so he could buy it again, and he lost it again! Guess what-- she dished out another $250. I mean jeeze, if I ever lost my coat ONCE my mom would let me freeze to death for a good week so she would be sure I wouldn't lose the next coat! (And I love you dearly for that, mommy).

    Parents have got to teach their kids lessons. It seems we're letting them do anything they want these days. And when that happens (and I know some of you will hate me for saying this, but tell me there isn't a certain degree of truth about it) you have accidents like Columbine.

    Hell, maybe we should let them run the country. I wouldn't mind having a national day declared in honor of video games (I know I'm not alone :).
  • by David Ziegler ( 5030 ) <> on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:35PM (#1660047) Homepage

    In recent history, suits against the tobacco industry have been successful, as it has been proven that there was a physiological addiction to the nicotine. However, before it was ever shown that

    • Nicotine is addictive
    • Tobacco companies know it
    • Tobacco companies hid that fact

    suits against tobacco companies were, for the most part, unsuccessful. The argument of the tobacco companies was that you bought the product, it was your choice to continue using it. However, once shown that there were physiological reasons for continued use, suits against the companies won.

    These kids are addicted simply because it's fun. From the article, it looks like one of the claims of the parents/kids is that schoolmates created an environment with such peer pressure that the kids felt like they had to play, or they would be ostracized. They might as well sue the friends!

    The argument of this case is entirely ridiculous. The kids could have stopped at any time. No "addiction," besides that which was artificially created by the kids' friends. Nintendo will win this one on precedent alone. It's a ridiculous case.

    -David Ziegler
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:39PM (#1660048)
    Nintendo's legal woes will never end. This week Mario sued over unsafe working conditions this week, citing having to work in lava pits, falling down pipes, eating "powerup mushrooms", and dodging fireballs. Mario is also seeking legal compensation after his brother, Luigi, was eaten by a giant fish on level 3.

  • by elflord ( 9269 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:25PM (#1660049) Homepage
    Thus, the lawsuit says, kids are forced to empty their pockets to get the rare cards, which can be resold for $30 to $100.

    Huh ? they aren't forced to do a damn thing. This to me looks like a case where incompetent parents are unwilling and/or unable to regulate their kid's behaviour. If they really spent thousands on these cards, what on earth were their parents doing blindly handing out small fortunes to such irresponsible children ? Geesh, they could buy a gun on the black market with that money.

    Surely, if the parents think it looks like gambling, they should regulate their kid's behaviour. It doesn't appear to be unambiguously a "gambling issue" though.

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:36PM (#1660050) Journal
    I think that the mother says it all, when she says "A 9-year-old shouldn't be gambling to get a rare card". Probably not, but she is the kids mother! If she thinks that the kids are gambling, she's in a position to stop it. In fact, this could be a relatively inexpensive way to learn the hard facts of probability.

    What's more interesting, to me, is that it's really the parents that are gambling, and with much bigger stakes (and longer odds). The civil justice system in the US has devolved into a lottery; people file lawsuits over the most inane things, in hopes that they win big. This is the true outrage here; that people would exploit their children to try to win a legal jackpot.


  • by Hobaird ( 20269 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @07:17PM (#1660051)
    Yes, there's an element of chance. There's an element of chance in any game; that's why it's called a game. Even something as "innocent" as Parcheesi or Clue has elements of chance, and yet I see no one suing companies that make those. To set that up as a criterion for gambling is just plain stupid. So Pokemon would pass the second test if that test were even valid. But since it isn't, the point is moot.

    ------------------------------------------------ --

    One problem: when you play Clue, you don't have to pay every time, and you don't get money (or something of value) for winning. Your logic is flawed.

    Beyond that, this lawsuit is stupid, and old ground. IANAL, but it seems to me that since no particular card has more intrinsic value than any other, the claim is invalid. Case in point: do you remember when Pepsi had the special cans that when you popped the top on them, instead of soda a $20 bill sometimes came out? Soda (purchased at $2.50 for 12 cans) was intrinsically worth a set amount of money to Pepsi, and the $20 was worth $20 (duh!) For this reason, you could get a free game piece (this is true of most contests -- "No purchase neccessary") by mail. That way it isn't gambling. Since the cards only have a value determined by what a collector is willing to pay, they aren't intrinsically more valuable than any other piece of cardboard.

    Also, with the Pepsi, and with the Pokemon cards, if you do lay out your money, you will at least get what you were promised. i.e. 72 oz of soda or a bunch of trading cards. Contrast this with the lottery, where the only value in the ticket is the possibility of hitting a jackpot. By itself, a lottery ticket is a worthless piece of paper. It represents the chance of winning money.

    Finally, to quote Meatloaf, "There ain't no Coupe DeVille hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box."
  • by delmoi ( 26744 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:50PM (#1660052) Homepage
    I wonder if this means that a large company, such as Microsoft could simply have all the major law firms under constant retainer. It wouldn't cost *that* much compared to the billions of dolars rolling in, and it would insure that only crappy law firms could go up against them.

    If I ever get to be a billionare mogal, I'll have to remember to do this :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @03:35PM (#1660053)

    Or even better, file a class action suit claiming that class action suits, because of their unpredictable outcomes, cost, and monetary reward, are, in fact, illegal gambling...

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:10PM (#1660054)
    News flash!

    Business managers sue Microsoft, claiming that they "were forced to spend thousands of dollars searching through box after box of products searching for the rare, bug-free programs Microsoft claims to have produced."

    Abuse is common as contractors may dupe unsuspecting IT management into trading their stable, proven *nix technology for what the contractors swear are "newer, cooler" versions.

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • by Stonehand ( 71085 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:38PM (#1660055) Homepage
    Without making any judgement on the kids'-show-turned-empire, or the trading card frenzies in general:

    If the substance of the charges is true (that the company randomly places rarer cards in packs, that turn into commodities due to this practice), it *is* pretty close to gambling. The factor that in my mind separates it is that Nintendo is most likely making no promises whatsoever about any intrinsic value of these cards; that is determined by market economics. Unlike, say, a raffle or lottery (which promises that a winning ticket *will* be worth a specific prize, or a share of a monetary jackpot), these cards could drop in value if the company said, "You don't like rare cards? Fine. We'll publish 'em en masse, for cheap.", or if the craze simply died out.

    Ya buy, what, marked cardboard? And no promises about the value of such. On the other hand, a casino had better honor its chips...

    Whether or not the government should be in the business of regulating gambling -- as it does --- is somewhat of a side issue, unless Nintendo is specifically trying to challenge that doctrine.
  • by ecampbel ( 89842 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:38PM (#1660056)
    I saw this report on a Los Angeles evening news, and at the end of the report, they added that a while back similar lawsuits were attempted on Baseball card manufactures citing the same reasoning. Those suits were thrown out, and most likely this one will to.
  • by William Tanksley ( 1752 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:32PM (#1660057)
    When I submitted this story, I included some more cool details:

    First of all, the lawyers doing the suing are the same folks who sue corparations when their stock goes down.

    Second, it turns out that one of the corparations being sued here, 4kids, was dropped from the lawsuit because -- guess what -- their defence firm turned out to be the same firm that was doing the suing!

    Those lawyers were evidently unable to check to see that the corporation that they were suing was one of their clients.

    Source: Union Tribune, "Law firm sues own client." []

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:29PM (#1660058)
    Hey, I'm gonna sue Rob for making slashdot! I spend hours and hours hitting reload.. it's costing me friends. My dog left me! The milkman won't come near my house anymore.. the phone company is trying to get an injunction against me... and my employer is upset that I've missed four deadlines.

    Mark my words, Malda... I'm gonna make you pay for this! *g*

    Seems silly? No more so than a bunch of parents suing because their kids are "addicted" to a game. Yeesh. These parents need to take responsibility - if they think there kids are addicted.. maybe they should enroll them in a Pokeamon 12 Step Program. "Hi, my name is fubar, and I'm a pokeaholic"...


  • by 198348726583297634 ( 14535 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:30PM (#1660059) Journal
    Nintendo of America filed a class-action countersuit against all bad parents today, citing the lack of intervention in their kids' lives. P. Toadstool, spokesprincess for the NOA legal dept, cited "poor parenting, bad role-modelling, and short battery life" as prominent points in the NOA countersuit.

    Parents could not be reached at work or in their brand-new Volvos for comment.

  • by Tortolia ( 73062 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @03:37PM (#1660060) Homepage
    Pokemon is, unless I'm really out of the loop, a trading card game.

    The "lottery" explanation that all the discussion seems to be centered around is missing this fundamental point.

    Nintendo isn't making certain cards "rare" to pump up the market value - at least, that's not the ONLY reason, which is what the suit is implying.

    Why are there rare cards? Because they are more powerful within the context of the game. If all cards would be equally common, they would have to be equally powerful, and that would make a hell of a boring game.

    Yes, there is a desire to get "rare" cards. Part of it IS to impress people - but they have a legitimate use within the context of the game.

    The "lottery theory" implies that Pokemon's only purpose is for money. That's not true - it's an actual game that is capitalizing on legitimate cultural trends. As with other CCGs, though, there is a sub-market for rare cards. That shouldn't be the main focus, which it has seemed to become.

  • by theGnome ( 93737 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @01:32PM (#1660061)
    Hey, parents! Wanna know how to stop your kids from buying so many Pokemon cards? It's an absolutely amazing, simple and effective solution... Don't give them all that money! 'I was forced to buy all these packs to get rare cards!' It must be those strobes. Nintendo's putting subliminal messaging technology to great effect. Way to go, boys! *sigh* I have to say this lawsuit really surprises me. If I was going to predict something like this I would have pegged it to come in the middle of the MtG craze. But it's a few years later, times have changed... and now my ten year old cousin usually has more pocket money than I do. - dom
    - dom
  • by Argy ( 95352 ) on Saturday September 25, 1999 @02:16PM (#1660062)
    I think a lot of respondants are missing the point of the suit, ridiculing it for the wrong reasons. I'm not saying the suit isn't ridiculous, but they're not suing simply because the card frenzy is addictive, but because it's an addictive form of *gambling*. Consider the analogy of Pokemon cards to lottery tickets, which isn't a stretch, but at least worthy of consideration. Even when state governments bleed suckers dry with lotteries, they draw the line at selling them to minors. The article mentions Pokemon cards meet the three tests of gambling: "you pay to play ... there is the element of chance, and you've got a prize." Cracker Jack boxes certainly match the same criteria, although when you've got prizes with established and predictable market values of $100 or more, there is a question of where to draw the line. "Contests" like in "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," in reality, are typically limited to adult participants.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes