STOP MASTURBATING AND LISTEN!
Yes! You! You with two browser windows, one on here and the other open on dirtyasiancheerleaders.com! Stop masturbating for ten ****ing minutes and listen!
Right, EVERYWHERE I go lately on the net, people are talking about Jack “Stick up my arse the size of an elephants first dump of the day” Thompson. You know, the lawyer who is trying to get games banned, while lying about them and emailing web comic authors and then claiming they were the ones who are harassing him?
Now I want to point out that I am SICK TO ****ING DEATH of hearing about Jack Thompson, yes I know the guy is a ****ing narrow-minded idiot with all the social graces of a Tyrannosaurus at a high-society dinner of today. And let me make this metaphor a little clearer, most T-Rexs’ are have now had their fossils compressed in to a thick black substance known as oil. So Jack Thompson is a thick black liquid whose only use is to be burnt off. Now imagine this black liquid at said high-society dinner, and its lack of social etiquette. That is Jack Thompson to the letter.
However, the thing is, no matter what Jack says, it does not affect me and many EN forum members at all. Why? Because we live in the UK, where he has zero power and influence over how our games are rated. To be fair, he technically doesn’t have any over the ones in the USA. But he’ll probably accredit the rising of GTA: San Andreas age rating to “Adult Only” there to himself. Officially, it was because of the “hot-coffee” mini-game that was left in the game, despite all access to it being disabled and the only way to actually view it being a mod for the PC version and cheat devices for the Xbox and PS2 versions.
Now I am going to tell you something that you should all think is COMPLETELY ****ING OBVIOUIS but it seems to me that many Americans are far too concerned with their “freedoms” that they ignore something that would actually WORK. If you legalised the ratings for computer games, people like Jack Thompson wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Now yes, I realise this goes against everything some Americans feel very close to their hearts, but just stop moaning and listen. If the games ratings were made by your government, that would mean Jack Thompson would NOT be able to blame the companies making the games for getting them into children’s hands as this new LEGAL system would mean if they DID have it there would be only 2 ways they could have gotten it.
1) Their parents bought if for them, and so they would be at fault.
2) Someone at the store sold it to them illegally, and it would be their fault that the child got hold of the game and they would be open for prosecution.
“But Lothar” I hear you cry. “Such a system is against our civil liberties and would not work.” WRONG! Such a system is already in place FOR YOUR ****ING VIDEOS AND DVD SALES AS WELL AS FOR FILMS! And it works there yes? Want another example? We have had such a system in place for many years and it works fine! Hell, I work for a place that sells computer games and DVDs, so I have personal experience in this system.
I’m not going to pretend the UK is better than the USA, because NO country is “better” than any other country, perhaps aside from ones where companies like Nike pay children 50p a day to put together the shoes they sell for £50. But that is a rant for another day. The UK is smaller, has worse weather and we still insist of having a royal family despite the system being about 200 years out of date and them not actually DOING anything aside from acting like ****ing snobs. But one thing I like to think is that our Government is slightly more sensible than America’s. Because of two things:
1) NOBODY is allowed to carry a gun around with them, in most cases nobody is allowed to own a gun unless for VERY specific purposes (farmers using them on their livestock in case of disease and what have you). I know some Americans love having guns, but listen to me. Less guns = less people getting shot. There is very rarely a gun related crime in the UK, I think the highest case of people getting killed by guns was around 70, and that was at least 5 years ago since then the number going down.
2) Games, DVDs, videos etc are rated by an independent Government body. They are not run by Government, but think of it as the Government hiring them to do the job and following their expert guidance. So I can’t sell porn to a 6 year old, because I’d get a £5,000 fine and jail time.
These two laws are the only ones that are actually different to the ones in the USA, and nobody in the UK feels that either are infringing on their rights. They are just common sense. For example, I can start a fight in a bar and I am 100% certain that the bloke I am fighting isn’t going to pull out a M9 Berreta 9mm pistol and give my face an extra orifice. While the second one means that lawyers CANNOT blame the games developers and publishers for the fact a kid has gotten hold of a game or for the content being too violent or rude or whatever, because they are backed by a LEGAL system that EVERY game has to go through, so it the Government has said “yes this game can be sold to people at this age, the developers and publishers have agreed to this so it isn’t their fault.”
Though I must point out, there are actually two ratings systems for the UK. The BBFC system which is the legal one used for DVDs and so on (the official BBFC site can be found here) and there is also the voluntary PEGI system, which us used in all European countries but has no actual legal backing here in the UK at least (I do not know about PEGI’s legal status in other countries). The right to bear arms and the legalised ratings of games are the only two laws I know of that are very different to those in America. And I can tell you, neither of them make me oppressed, nor indeed feel oppressed. They’re just common sense. The main thing about the second one is that lawyers like Jack Thompson cannot build their careers on being ****ing ignorant pricks. Lawyer over here just get on with their ****ing jobs. Oh sure, we still have idiots like the journalists at The Daily Mail reporting that games are evil and everything, but they can’t take the companies to court as it is a waste of ****ing time. The few cases against companies over here that have made it to court have just gotten thrown out! So despite their moaning, its all legal and fine and there is not a god damn thing that they can do about it except print retarded articles that nobody pays any attention to.
Some of you will remember an update that I typed up almost a year ago to the day (at the bottom of this page about the Daily Mail saying Manhunt was the reason someone killed their friend (it wasn’t as you can see by reading the update). I believe Jack Thompson offered his services to the family of the dead for free. Never happened because the case was so ****ing idiotic it never made it to court because the parents of the dead child had been the ones who bought the game. Rockstar had done **** all wrong and because of the legal rating system, Thompson could not touch them. This would happen more in America if the rating system was legal, and eventually Thompson would just shut up and not bother games companies again. I know in similar cases in America have been thrown out because of “breach of the developers freedom of speech rights” or something (I don’t know what specifically) but it’s a lot easier and costs a lot less to say “Hey look! Our legal age rating system says the game can only be bought by anyone over 18. WHO THE HELL BOUGHT THE GAME FOR THE KID HMM!?” Plus it’s funny to watch the lawyers quickly run away from the court as they don’t dare say “It was the parent’s fault”, as they can’t sue their own clients for millions of pounds/dollars.
Our system isn’t perfect however, I must admit. Some games don’t need the legal age ratings, since they’re ****ing harmless, like Sonic games, Mario ones, RTS games and so on. But somehow, the (rather brilliant) Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay game managed to get no official age rating at all, despite being submitted to the BBFC. The game has a lot of swearing in it, and can be sort of gory when compared to others, yet didn’t get anything. In contrast, Max Payne 1 and 2 got legal “15” ratings and I’d say Riddick is on the same level of content. But nobody tried to sue Starbreeze over Riddick, so I guess it’s a moot point.
So Americans, I would put forward the idea that a legal games rating system would in fact be a good thing, as it would stop cocks like Thompson being able to threaten legal action to every game company on the planet just because a game has guns and tits in it.
As for you, Mr Thompson, I have a proposal for you. If you’re so intent on suing games companies, sue EA for Crimes against Humanity. Have you played the latest Medal of Honour game? Or tried to play TimeSplitters: Future Perfect and Burnout 3 online? EVIL!