Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mr. Thompson

Jack Thompson, any gamer knows the name, the lawyer who at one time claimed he wanted to keep adult themed games out of the hands of children. An honorable mission. It seems he's given up on that plan, instead favoring the idea that he can ban video games entirely. Whoops!

He's currently in an outrage of Take-Two Interactives Grand Theft Auto IV, and Manhunt 2. These games aren't even released yet, nor do they have a release date. What makes it even crazier is that there is no footage of gameplay.

I've tried contacting Mr. Thompson several times. I've been civil each and every time, even going so far as to help him publicly if he'll rethink his methods and crack down on retailers, parents, and maybe the ESRB.

You see, he's going after the game studios, the people who make the game... he's never going to stop them. And they're not the problem. Parent's shouldn't let their kids have these games, and they should pay attention to what their children are playing. Also the retailers shouldn't be selling the games, I've been carded at a couple of stores for M rated games, and some I haven't. The game makers have little to no power over what happens after the game is put out to the ESRB. The ESRB slaps the rating on the game, then it goes to retailers, who should be carding whoever buys the game, but parents should be ensuring their kids don't get their hands on these games.

Let's go into some details on Jack. He's called video games "murder simulators", he claims that by playing games like Grand Theft Auto (one of his favorite targets) that a child can become a deadly marksman. When a kid (it's always a kid) goes out and kills someone, he immediately goes to the public claiming the kid "trained on a murder simulator". Let's say I've "trained on a murder simulator", I've played Doom, GTA, Halo, Gears of War, and I'm not desensitized by it.
It has not made me a good marksman, or instilled violent tendencies in me. I can shoot a gun, with a .22 rifle(I know, weak) I can hit a wasp flying around at about 50 feet away. That's a damn good shot, I know. You want to know how I got such good aim? Practice, I've been shooting rifles and BB guns since before there was such a thing as an FPS... long before someone came up with the terms "pixelante, killology, and murder simulator". I practiced shooting guns, I learned long ago, after my parents deemed me responsible enough, and they taught me about gun safety. I've never even thought about pulling a gun on someone else.

Can videogames make someone a good shot with a gun? Not necessarily. It can show you very basic mechanics of how to aim, it can't magically make you a better shot. When you aim a gun in many games (GTA not included) the camera usually zooms to a down the barrel shot, or down the sights. If you apply this to real guns, you learn you need to get in close, keep your hand steady, and line up the shot. But it doesn't show you how to line up your sights, where your particular sights mark the shot to go, or anything about angle.

Why doesn't this apply to Grand Theft Auto? The notorious killing machine? Because when you aim in that game, the camera stays put, and a big red arcade style targeting reticle pops up, so GTA will NOT teach you anything about aiming.

I've lost my train of logical thinking, the theory that video games drive people to commit crimes is absolutely ridiculous. I've played all kinds of games throughout the course of my life, and never have I re-enacted something violent from a game, or hurt anyone due to it. It's all about mental health, the environment, and the parenting. I was raised in a positive environment, well educated, with wonderful parenting, and I'm not a psychopath looking to video games as a scapegoat.

That's all for now.

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