Is Jack Thompson right?
Written Saturday, August 18, 2007 By Geoff WhiteView author's profile
"Does your sister look like this??"
Jack Thompson has now gone and put his foot in it again, attacking BioShock for encouraging people to kill little girls. While he may be able to get away with it while it’s a realistic city, BioShock is a complete fantasy world, which happens to be underwater. And the things that you kill are geneticly modified freaks- and those are the most ‘human’ ones. As you can see from the picture, they don’t exactly look like your little sister.
So next time you return to the other underwater world which we clearly must live in, please remember not to start killing little girls.
Anyway, here is the original article:
Well there has been another tragic shooting in an American College. The first point of this Editorial is to pass on best wishes to all those involved in the shooting, and to say RIP to those unfortunate 32 who lost their lives on that sad day.
"Bad Game. Bad Game!!"
Now many of you will know the name of Jack Thompson. He is an ‘attorney’ who spends his life saying how video games are responsible for the minds of these killers. Now, while I am no more of a shrink than Gloria Estefan, I am a gamer and I have gone through my teenage years with these violent games around me. So, I will at least be putting my views forward on the matter.
First of all, I will start of by agreeing with Mr Thompson. Video games are getting a lot more violent. I’m guessing that the best 360 examples of this will be Gears of War and the soon to be released Grand Theft Auto. The main point of these games is going round and either assaulting or killing someone/something. And now that the graphics on these games are getting better and better, it is almost to the point where you’re playing in a virtual reality world. And for those gamers who are old enough to grasp the difference between this world and the real world, this is great news.
However, these games are clearly marked with an R or 18 certificate, indicating that they are not to be played by people under the age of 18. This means that the shops shouldn’t be selling these games to any person underage, or anyone they think should be buying the game to give to someone under the age of 18. This is the same law that applies to films, cigarettes and alcohol. Yet everyone knows that people under the legal age get these goods, and whilst they might complain, no one has ever said that they are responsible for a killing spree.
"Should have got the other taxi..."
Personally, the only time that I have ever gotten violent playing a computer game was on the lovely Dead Or Alive 4 game (a fighting game for those that don’t know). The 360 game was so annoying that I would literally feel myself getting wound up within 5 minutes of playing, and eventually the controller got smashed through frustration. Did I fancy going and going all Bruce Lee on someone though? That’s a big no. I have sat and played Rainbow 6, sitting camped out with my sniper rifle in hand, lying perfectly hidden out of sight, my target walking into the crosshairs and a split second later dropping like a fly. Have I ever been tempted to go and lie in the boot of a car and take pot shots at people going about their daily lives? Again, going to have to say no to that one.
"They were really tough. Honest."
I am, however, a sensible (allegedly) 23 year old, who is switched on. I have gone through enough of my life to know what is right and what is wrong. I have also learnt the skill of being able to put things in context. Can that be said of an 11 year old though? They have only just got out of the phase of thinking that the opposite sex is evil and should be avoided like the plague. Yes they will have a basic principal of right and wrong – like kicking the dog probably isn’t wise, especially if it’s a Doberman. I know that when I was growing up, a violent film or TV show was far more likely to get me into the mood in which I would misbehave. I would always stay up and watch WWF (the good old days- not this WWE rubbish) with my mates, and afterwards it would always be straight into recreating the match-ups and slamming each other round. I guess you could say Mr Thompson would call the WWF responsible for this. I wouldn’t though. What we were watching seemed cool to us at the time, and created heroes. Yes we wanted to be like these people, and we did the things that they did (without the Spandex). But even then, this was just kids playing around and having fun, this was never about violence. Same went with films- when watching the original TMNT films, we would all run round trying to beat the shell out of each other, but knew that doing it with daggers or a huge piece of bamboo probably wasn’t the best idea. So as a kid, I could easily tell the difference between reality and what I saw on the TV/cinema screen. The same must surely go for computer games? Yes there is that added bit of controlling what is happening, and therefore ‘sinking into character’ a lot more. And while playing FIFA may make you dream of running up to the field behind your mates house, with two jumpers for goalpost, and then recreating that magically 35 yard wonder strike you got with David Beckham against Brazil in the 92nd minute to win the world cup, I’m fairly sure that 99.99% of people don’t play GoW and then dream about killing 12 people with a chainsaw in 20 seconds. And yes, there will be that 0.01% of people that do have that dream. And I bet that you’ll find that these fruit bats have some major screw-ups in their heads. Maybe the game will contribute to magnify this problem in their head, but it won’t plant the seed from which the tree grows.
So yes, the media may play a part in these tragedies. Whether that be news, films, TV or videogames. However, these should all be kept away from people that aren’t mature enough for it. It clearly states that on the packaging. I still don’t think that young children should be playing GoW or GTA. They may think that they are ready, but personally I think they won’t have experienced enough of life to make that call until they are 16. I know a lot of young people will be arguing with me here, and saying that its BS and that they are mature for their age (if you’ve said that its BS because you’re mature, you’ve shown you’re not by the way), but its only when you get passed this phase when you’ll be able to look back and see what I mean- a bit like 6 months after you’ve passed your driving test you’ll look back and realised you sucked just after you passed your test.
But I’m not stupid enough to say that all children will became fully trained assassins overnight because they played Hitman, or that listening to Marilyn Manson will make you want to eat a baby. Yes, they may enhance a mood a young person is in, but I highly doubt that they enable a young person to replicate what they do in the game. If so,watch out for increased pregnancies worldwide when the next Leisure Sweet Larry game is released.
So basically Mr Thompson, here is my final point. If you think that all kids can be manipulated by games, then you obviously have a very weak and impressionable mind yourself. Maybe your parents failed to teach you the difference between right and wrong, games and life, and good and evil- but that doesn't mean every child will be of the same mindset. And if you playing games makes you want to kill someone, then maybe you need to have a little sit down with Dr Phil. Yes, these kids probably shouldn’t be exposed to games until they are a bit older, but to blame these tragic deaths on videogames- stop being such an idiot.
Anyway, maybe Tim Buckley has discovered the answer!