Monday, May 05, 2008

Jack Thompson tells on Take Two, emails his mom

In the most hilarious move of anti-videogame-crusader attorney Jack Thompson yet, he responded to the GTA IV 'murder simulator' by sending an email to Take Two chairman Strauss Zelnick's mom. The email is filled with the usual falsehoods and draconian exaggerations. Following is the email itself as well as the actual facts.

Dear Mrs. Zelnick:
Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don’t know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here.

Currently, GTA 3 and GTA: San Andreas are banned in Australia because of the Hot Coffee drama.
GTA IV is banned in the United Arab Emirates.
GTA 3, GTA: San Andreas and GTA IV all are rated M for Mature, meaning it is illegal to sell it to people under the age of 17. Note that children are generally younger than 17.

Your son last week was reported to have said the following about Grand Theft Auto IV, due to be released Tuesday, April 29:
"We’ve already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn’t write better reviews…"
Taking your son’s thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn’t killed someone yet.

Devin Moore, who was sentenced to death for killing three police officers while trying to escape custody, claimed to be influenced by GTA: Vice City. The Inquirer claims he made this up. His victim's families seem more concerned with suing Take-Two, Rock Star, Wal-Mart and Gamestop than with mourning.
Note that this is the only known case of a criminal on death row who ever blamed GTA.

What you will see in your son’s game, if this iteration of GTA is anything like its predecessors, ..

Jack Thompson apparently hasn't even seen the game. incredible interactive violence aimed at police officers (whom you can shoot in the head and see the blood spray), innocent bystanders (whom you can run over with your car just for the heck of it), and of course the plentiful female prostitutes you can have sex with and then filet with a knife or stomp with your feet in order to get your money back. Experts note that the recent plethora of cop killings is caused in part by your darling son’s entrepreneurial energy. There are three policemen dead in Alabama because of Grand Theft Auto. I was on 60 Minutes about it. I hope Strauss has provided you with a flat screen tv to see the grief of the bereaved families that fills the screen.

Literature that supports the theory that violent video games leads to violent behaviour is flimsy at best. The most recent study even shows that playing violent videogames relaxes you.

Also note that GTA IV has no option to 'stomp prostitutes with your feet'.

The pornography and violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers’ children, but, hey, your son Strauss has recently assured the world that he is "a Boy Scout, everybody knows that." I’d love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Ted Bundy merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now. It should be red and green, for obvious reasons.

The 'pornography' refers to the Hot Coffee mod again, which ironically was originally only some suggestive fully-clothed grinding but modified by a gamer (!) to remove clothes on the participants. This content has been removed from GTA: San Andreas in 2005 allowing the game to keep its M rating.

The quote from Zelnick is from the Breakout Performance financial blog where it is a response to accussations that Zelnick received an high yearly bonus on his employment contract.

With Passover having just come and gone, it is appropriate to note the following from the Old Testament, Proverbs 22:6:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Mrs. Zelnick, did you train up your son, Strauss, to make millions of dollars by pushing Mature-rated video games to children? Any kid can go right to little Strauss’ corporate web site and buy GTA IV with no age verification. Strauss is even marketing the new Grand Theft Auto IV on World Wrestling Entertainment tv shows seen by millions of kids. If you trained up Strauss to do this, then shame on you.

Again, selling Mature-rated games to children is illegal. While the Take-Two website requires entering your date of birth, anything can be entered as long as the age is over 17.

The Take-Two website doesn't actually sell the game online, it only redirects to the online stores that sell it, such as Amazon. Since online stores generally use websites, it would be impossible to buy GTA IV without a credit card, which children rarely have.

The commercials for GTA IV are all suitable for minors (no adult content) and clearly mention the M for Mature rating. Note that WWE matches are usually wall-to-wall violence, unlike GTA IV.

But maybe the explanation for your son’s corporate sociopathy is to be found in Old Testament Proverb 29:15:
"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."
Maybe you, Mrs. Zelnick, were so taken by your handsome son that you spared the rod and spoiled the child. That would explain why he has brought you, by the way he presently acts, "to shame."
There’s another mother you would do well to talk to. Mrs. Crump in Alabama had a son who was a police officer. He’s now dead because a teenaged boy unwittingly trained himself to kill him on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. She has a grief she carries every day that only a mother can know. There are other such mothers in the heartland of America whose inhabitants your son simply sees as commercial targets.

The $600 million 'GTA killer' court case by Mrs. Crump and others has been dismissed by court in 2006. Note that while Jack Thompson was the practicing attorney for this lawsuit, he withdrew from the suit long before its dismissal.

As mentioned before, playing a violent videogame has not been proven to induce violent behaviour. Also, clicking a mouse button for several hours hardly trains a gamer to break into a car, hotwire it, disarm a police officer and fire a handgun.

Note that Devin Moore was 16 years old at the time of the shootings and thus was either illegaly sold GTA by a shopkeeper, or bought the game by his parents. Either possibility would place the blame elsewhere than at Devin Moore himself.

Your son, this very moment, is doing everything he possibly can to sell as many copies of GTA IV to teen boys in the United States, a country in which your son claims you raised him to be "a Boy Scout." More like the Hitler Youth, I would say.
Happy Mother’s day, Mrs. Zelnick, which this year is May 11, two weeks after your son unleashes porn and violence upon other mothers’ boys. I’m sure you’re very proud.

Sincerely, Jack Thompson"

Note the lack of 'attorney at law', since Jack Thompson's license to practice law was revoked in 2005.

I can't even begin to comprehend why Jack Thompson suddenly places the blame for the murder of three police officers squarely in the lap of a retired mother of a very successful businessman, as well as liking her to Adolf Hitler.