Jack Thompson: Online Game Sales = Deceptive Trade Practices!

I’m certain many of you, the readers, have seen the latest Jack Thompson coverage on Game Politics found here and here. Dennis was quick to point out the FTC provision about credit card ownership being adequate proof of age for online transactions, and the FoxNews contributor was quick to play the free speech card. However, there’s an elephant in the room I’d like to address.

Everything Mr. Thompson has said about games applies to movies on DVD.

Anyone with a credit card can go to Amazon.com and pick up Saw I, II, or III (unrated, meaning the more violent cut than the theatrical one) just as easily as you can order Manhunt 2. The same applies to Best Buy, Circuit City, or whatever other entertainment online store you’d like to site. To the same ends, in-store id checks are equally lacking on these (and other) movie titles. While I haven’t played Manhunt 2, I can only imagine the graphic content is probably on par with the Saw series, which is exceptionally brutal if you haven’t seen the movies. Given that the research on the impact of media is mixed, and that movies have been found to affect young people like games by some studies, why ignore the movie industry?

There can only be a few answers:
1. Mr. Thompson is afraid of the people in the movie industry, as they would likely be viewed as “more powerful” than the game industry.
2. Mr. Thompson is giving undue weight to the unproven link between interactivity and a heightened impact.
3. Mr. Thompson has an unhealthy fixation on and unequivocal bias toward games, which cannot easily be explained.
4. Mr. Thompson’s logic is flawed, for some other unexplained reason, so that he either ignores or actually favors violent movies. (Perhaps he is a Saw fan.)

The simple point being: If you would like to go on a crusade against the media, go on a crusade against the media, not one medium.

Ultimately, the decision should still be left to the parents, and the tools are in place for the parents to make those decisions. It is not up to the government, or Mr. Thompson, to make those decisions for society, parents who are failing to perform their duties as parents, or parents who are actively monitoring their child’s media consumption. And if anyone is to be held responsible, it should be the inadequate parents, not the game manufacturers, game retailers, or game raters. I can only hope that the news media will tire of this issue soon, or that the American people will begin to realize that playing the “For the Children” card has reached a point where it should be accompanied by automatic scrutiny, as it is rarely actually being used to help the children anymore.

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About Mark Methenitis

Mark Methenitis is an attorney in Dallas Texas. Mark received his Juris Doctorate and his Master of Business Administration from Texas Tech University and his Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas.

15 Responses to Jack Thompson: Online Game Sales = Deceptive Trade Practices!

  1. RobbyRacoon says:


    5) Thompson is batsh** crazy and doesn’t make any more sense now than he did before.


  2. Nightwng2000 says:

    Maybe we should create a new “law”, like “Godwin’s Law”.

    The use of “Protect the children” or “For the children” in an argument automatically results in the failure of that argument.

    We can call it “Methenitis’s Law”.


    NW2K Software

  3. I digg what your saying. It’s not just Mr. Thompson, no one is seriously making these charges against film & television. They are old and familiar and we all know about them.

    But since the games are relatively new, we can run all the old scripts against them (just like in TV & movies!). So far we’ve mostly heard noise about them corrupting our youths into a bunch of prostitute beating murderers, but where is the champion warning us about seduction, about kids catching “the gay” from video games? Frederic, where is your heir?

    *goes off to jabber in corner*

  4. somerguy says:

    no I believe 5 should be:

    5. Video games being a newer medium to most people in power means spreading misinformation is easier. This is the key to his crusade.

    Look at all the misinformation he thrown around like candy. This guy is after fame…he loves seeing his name in the news. Look at how he puffs out his chest mentioning any appearance.

  5. Andrew says:

    I can easily explain Jack Thompson’s reason for his unhealthy obsession with video games: he wants money.

  6. jackthompson says:

    Dennis McCauley got it wrong, of course and as usual. The FTC reg pertains to use of a credit card to verify a parent’s identity, not a minor’s age. Go read what he links to at the FTC on his site, and you’ll find you’re wrong.

    It is a violation of bank card agreements to use credit cards as age verifiers, and obviously so since kids as young as 12 have credit cards and since junior can “borrow” dad’s card. Pretty simple stuff, really, if your brain has not been fried by games.

    The last time I sued Best Buy in this regard, they caved and settled and agreed not to sell M games to kids. They are in breach of the agreement, as well as violating Florida’s anti-fraud statute. It’s a shame you all don’t know what you’re talking about. Jack Thompson

  7. jackthompson says:

    Actually, it is up to the government to decided these things, just as it is up to society to stop 7-11 from selling beer to 12 year olds. Duh. That’s why we have a deceptive trade practice law in every state in the union. It’s called democracy, gamer nerds. Deal with it. And grow up.

  8. Matthew says:


    A couple of things:

    1) I liked they way you dodged the question of only attacking games and not violent movies as well.

    2)”since junior can “borrow” dad’s card. Pretty simple stuff, really, if your brain has not been fried by games” – Are you implying that video games prevent children from stealing?

    A response would be nice.


  9. Nathan says:


    Please don’t feed the troll.

  10. Matthew says:

    @ nathan

    My bad, couldn’t resist (it was more poking than feeding anyway).

  11. FunkyJ says:

    Apparently JT said: Actually, it is up to the government to decided these things, just as it is up to society to stop 7-11 from selling beer to 12 year olds

    Show me proof that games have the same or greater effect on a child’s physical and mental development as alcohol, and I’ll concede you this point.

    However, not one single report has ever equated the damage of violent media to the effect of alcohol.

    As Law of the Game says – why don’t you go after all media, and especially movies like Saw, which is more violent than any video game I have encountered?

    The same people you cite in video game violence (when you actually cite someone and just don’t make it up) like Grossman and Anderson say the same thing about all media violence.

    But of course, the MPAA is a lot more powerful than the ESRB, isn’t that right Jackie boy??

    And lets not forget the bastards who wheel you out to decry video games make a hell of a lot of money from film…

    You wouldn’t want to say anything bad about a 20th Century Fox film because then they wouldn’t let you on Fox News, would they?

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