Griefer Nation

Griefer Nation
You Don't Know Jack

Dave Thomas | 15 Nov 2005 11:00
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Jack, I just want to say one thing: Don't sue me.

I wouldn't be your first. You've brought down the righteous hammer of justice on such varied personalities as Howard Stern, Rockstar and 2 Live Crew.

Since you are a real lawyer with a real degree from a real law school, I figure you have the tools to go after me, too. But wouldn't that just distract you from your war on videogames, your battle for decency? Anyway, I'm just trying to set the record straight here, say something about you that hasn't been said before, say something that might make sense out of all the information published about you on the Internet. I just want to try and understand why you hate videogames so much. So, like you Jack, I'm just doing my thing, and you know, curiosity is my only vice.

All Work and No Play...
Who is Jack Thompson? He calls himself the "Miami attorney the video game industry loves to hate - and with good reason." The good reasons typically cited by the industry, when the industry does choose to speak with a common voice, which is never, runs like this: Jack Thompson is a rabid game hater and just doesn't get it. He is convinced that games make people do things like become snipers and rampaging high school students. He is combative and humorless, and worse than that, he selectively uses facts to make his case to impressionable journalists, like those that work for CNN.

Fortunately, if you want to know more about Jack, he's not a particularly private man. He likes to go on television and hate games, post to online forums and hate games, and send out the occasional open letter explaining why he hates games. He even has an autobiography coming out which, we can only assume, provides a little more detail about why he hates games.

He's also got a growing entry in the Wikipedia, the weird mix of raw fact and scurrilous gossip we've come to refer to for all things historical. And by that, I mean I'm going to rely on the Wikipedia a lot, even though I think some of it might be wrong. This might sound like a lazy compromise but I really think of it as good old booze-soaked journalism. Sure, you can dip your sources from the sharp quote factories of the industry analysis and pundit pools. Or you can rely on the inside source, nicotine-stained and world-weary.

And what does my inside source have to say? A lot, really. The man is a Florida-based medical malpractice lawyer. But his story is so fantastical at times, it would be at home next to classic tales like "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Jack's beanstalk is media attention, and his giant-killing forum is the courtroom. While he's fired legal shots at such massive targets as Sony and Nintendo, he's made most of his noise in the media making claims about videogames' harmfulness to youth and malicious indifference in the game industry. And along the way, he does things like accusing the Japanese of using games as a modern Pearl Harbor attack on American kids, demanding that Bill Gates personally pull Rockstar product from the Xbox and calling the FBI when someone makes a juvenile buddy icon depicting him. Really, Jack does things your grandma probably thinks sound reasonable, but leaves the average gamer scratching his head wondering why this guy has it out for games.

Jack Attack
Keeping track of Jack's activities is like trying to document an evening of binge drinking for an entire fraternity on a lost weekend in Vegas. You can make some general observations about "Mai Tai's here. Barf there." But you're really just dipping your toe into the raging river.

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