I personally received my very own Jack Thompson e-mail earlier this week after my report on Wired
's depiction of Rockstar's Bully
. In it, along with calling me "silly" and a "lapdog of the video game industry" (thanks, Jack!), he sent over a PR brief detailing that he was indeed going to pursue this matter in court on October 11th.
Jack is very true to his word. Yesterday, the Don Quixote
of video game violence (as dubbed by ArsTechnica
) weaved his sophistry in a Dade County Courtroom, arguing that Bully
needs to either be re-rated by the ESRB as "M" (or even "AO") or banned. At one point, he went so far as to bring a giant slingshot into the courtroom, which took even the judge by surprise.
Of course, the defense team for Take Two Interactive did not help their own case in any way. At several times during the proceedings, they were apparently making rather snyde remarks, and even went out of their way to highlight the entertainment of video game violence. When comments arose about the force-feedback feature in GTA when the player runs over a body, one member of Take Two's team stood up and exclaimed, "Like a speed bump!" Oh so classy, not to mention professional...
Though the entire session sounds more like a "stranger than fiction" moment, the judge's ruling will be very real. Currently, he has demanded that the video game be produced by 3pm EST today to be play-tested for "Up to or more than 100 hours." The game will be played by a Take Two representative under direct supervision of the court. Should the judge find sufficient reason for an ESRB re-rate, the game will be banned in all Florida stores until that occurs.
Though we all laugh at Jack's rather naive sense of "leave your responsibility at the door, it's the video game's fault" lawyership, I can't help but feel that Take Two played right into the mould he's attempting to define with their antics in the courtroom. Either they are such brilliant attorneys that this all slots into some master plan, or they don't care so much about the outcome and are just trying to promote sales with even more of a "bad boy" image. I sincerely hope it's the former and not the latter, because it's this exact image that makes the rest of us in the industry (who can play our games with level heads and not act like idiots) look bad.
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