Head-to-Head Debate on Videogame Violence


1UP is reprinting an article originally in EGM that had a head-to-head debate between two people on opposite ends of the videogame violence issue: Jack Thompson, a trial lawyer who has become the spokesperson for those seeking restrictions on gaming, and Henry Jenkins, a director at MIT who has testified in the U.S. Senate and helped overturn a decision that stated games were not covered under the First Admendment. This debate covers the ESRB, parental and governmental responsibility, and of course, the idea of games being killing simulators.

EGM: Your attempts to compensate victims of alleged game-related deaths have been unsuccessful so far. Why do you think this is? JT: Lawyers tend to be to the left of normal people, and judges tend to be the left of the lawyers. Federal judges tend to be the left of them. So you have a bunch of First Amendment absolutists who block these kinds of lawsuits. State courts, however, are far more responsive to parents. I suppose federal judges by and large don't have a problem with mental molestation of children with murder simulators. ... EGM: You said there is a big difference in shooting a real gun and doing it in a game, but doesn't the military use simulators to train the Army? HJ: Training is not the same as causing them to do it. This is separate from influence; games can be a resource, a tool that could be used in hundreds of legitimate ways. But we don't get rid of every tool out there. You don't ban flight simulators after 9/11. What about maps? Paper and pencils? Where do we draw the line?
This is a great read and kudos to Marc Saltzman for conducting these excellent interviews; they really flesh out the feelings and thoughts behind this debate.

From The Chatty

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    June 6, 2005 8:19 AM

    I tried to read this but really can't stand Jack Thompson, "Mental Moseltation and Murder Simulaters" I got to this line and just had to stop and it just gets worse from their, the anti-game people seriously need to oust him and get some one he isn't a radical fuck if they ever want to reach a common ground.

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      June 6, 2005 8:24 AM

      The guy is pure comedy gold, if I was Rockstar I would slap his quotes all over my game box. The guy should be given his own game review corner on some website.

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      June 6, 2005 8:31 AM

      JT will do more to hurt his cause than to help it. He's over.