Thursday, 27 October 2011

We Don't Know Jack - Looking Back on the Career of Thompson

With the recent announcement of Grand Theft Auto V having occurred a scant two days ago, it was brought to my attention that the date of said proclamation coincides with an interesting anniversary...

On October 25th, 2011 Rockstar Studios announced that there would indeed be a Grand Theft Auto 5. The announcement of a new game in the flagship and hugely successful series isn't much of a surprise, but you might be interested to know that it's also actually the third anniversary of (former) attorney and vehement anti-video game crusader Jack Thompson's disbarment.

Many, myself included, had a good chuckle at Rockstar's sense of humour in this situation. It may not be the most mature thing, but then Jack Thompson himself has never been the most mature person. Here's the thing though, and personally I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but here goes: I'm actually glad that we had Jack Thompson around.

Yeah, you read that right, your eyes deceive you not. I think that Jack Thompson was actually a good thing for everyone that plays and enjoys video games. Why, you ask? Simple; he was so hilariously bad and ultimately ineffective that during his time as the most prominent figure of the anti-video games movement there was no real threat. Certainly in the beginning many were worried when Thompson -- a lawyer who we at the time assumed was competent -- led the rallying cry against games and gamers alike, but when we were quickly shown that he was mostly bluster and that even during the times he wasn't he still was hardly effective we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

I mean, just imagine if Thompson hadn't been there, and the void would have been filled by someone who was intelligent, charismatic, and persuasive. If that had been the case then we might have been in a lot of trouble. But thanks to Jacky-boy among others the movement never really was a huge threat to the industry.

This leads me to a second point, which requires a video: Jimquisition's "Fight in the Name of Childishness"

While I respect Sterling's position in regards to immaturity being more beneficial for fighting against the anti-game lobbies like Fox News and whatnot, I'm also of the mindset that a lot of us tend not to act because we know something very important: for the anti-game lobbyists it's already far too late. We live in a world where video games have become ingrained into popular culture, where many people that are forming the workforce and populace have grown up playing games. They know that the crap-slinging faulty rhetoric about games being smut or violence engines that spawn violent sex-crazed mutants is laughably untrue, because they're part of the generation that grew up with Mario and Sonic. I have no doubt that, within ten years, there will be even fewer people who haven't played video games and experienced them as a major facet of their lives, even if that facet is only entertainment value.

So, how does this relate to my earlier point? Again, I believe that it's only thanks to the delightful antics of Jack and people like him that video games have been allowed to get enough slack to become culturally entrenched. So, Mr. Thompson, on behalf of the community you hate, thanks. Thanks for being the person you've been, and allowing us to play games worry-free. The video game industry, and the gamers owe you a debt. A strange, fucked up debt, sure, but a debt nonetheless.

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