Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jack Thompson, IGN, and the ladies of Liberty City

Posted by Andy at 18:59. Category: General

Guess who's back? Back again? Jack is back; tell a friend. As expected, Jack Thompson has emerged from the underside of whatever rock he's been hiding under for the past few years, just in time to go after Grand Theft Auto IV for -- guess what? -- excessive sexual content in Grand Theft Auto IV.

As noted in a recent Ars Technica article, Wacky Jacky has an "unlikely" bit of ammo for his case against GTA IV: a video, produced by IGN, highlighting the strip clubs and prostitutes that exist in Grand Theft Auto IV. For some ungodly reason, though, IGN seems to have thought it was a good idea to make a four minute video out of it, showing Niko and his "encouters" followed by him hunting down the ladies shortly thereafter.

From the Ars Technica article:

The embattled Florida attorney has written a letter to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, R. Alexander Acosta, demanding that legal action be taken against Take Two and retailers for selling the game...

Thompson sent a copy of the letter to Ars Technica, and his demands are far-reaching. "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems," Thompson wrote. "Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."

He then compares the game to, of all things, polio. "Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus... The 'vaccine' that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this. If you doubt me, look at the aforementioned streaming audio/video. It will make you sick."

While I'm certainly no fan of Jack Thompson or his ridiculous antics (and I'd love to argue the point that "innocent 17 year olds" are only a year away from being legally able to engage in such lude acts on camera for money... or in some cases, poorly-made t-shirts), it's hard to blame the man when IGN practically hands him a gift-wrapped video of inevitable controversy. Really... what the hell is IGN thinking by producing a video like this, removing all contextual elements of the game, and having Niko engage prostitutes and then hunt them down?

While it's unlikely that those in a position of authority will do much of anything in response to Jack's complaint, there's no doubt that the controversy will continue as we get further into the summer months. As usual, you can expect us to keep you updated on whatever whimsical nonsense spews forth from the great gooey geyser that is mainstream media.

Related Links: Ars Technica article, IGN "Ladies of Liberty" video

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