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Dear Jack Thompson...
 
  

03/29/08 @ 07:47:20 pm, Categories: Baka-chan vs. The Gaming Community, Baka-chan on Games, 562 words, 1048 views  

Now that I have your attention…

I don’t like you personally. I find your conduct to be deplorable. You are impulsive, ill-mannered, and occasionally quite juvenile. All this aside, I can’t help but want to ask some straight forward questions, out of curiosity. Because I don’t think you put your best foot forward a lot of the time. A lot of the things you say or do border on absurdity, and I can’t imagine you have gotten so far in life being only that way…so what changed?

Believe it or not, there ARE some things we agree on. Rap music is vile crap, and I don’t like the kinds of messages that most of it contains. I also don’t believe that minors should be allowed to play mature video games. I don’t think many of them should be allowed to access a lot of the internet, either…but that’s a fight for another time.

I think the major difference in our views is that you think that the game companies are responsible. And I think the responsibility is more personal. Not literally ‘personal responsibility’ because I don’t think it’s fair for kids to be bombarded with ads for the latest mature videogame, hear about how it’s so great from everyone, and then be expected to force themselves not to buy it.

Videogames have a ratings system. It’s SUPPOSED to prevent mature games from being sold to minors, and last time I checked, it’s the policy of most games retailers to try and enforce that. So, where does that leave us? The kids either buy the game online, or have their parents buy it for them at retail. (Since they need their parents’ credit card to buy online, it’s the same thing anyway…)

So, if a parent goes in to Gamestop and buys Grand Theft Auto IV for 12 year old little Jimmy, who’s at fault? Unless I am mistaken, you say it’s Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games’ fault. Why is that? Now, if little Jimmy went in and managed to buy it himself, who’s fault would it be? It should be Gamestop’s, shouldn’t it? They’re not supposed to sell him a Mature-rated game. It’s not the game companies’ fault, because their game isn’t illegal in any way, and it is rated in a way that if everyone else is doing their jobs, little Jimmy shouldn’t be able to have it.

Let’s take games out of the equation altogether.

‘Little’ Jimmy is 19 now. He can buy all the mature games he wants, but right now, he wants some beer. If a clerk isn’t doing their job properly, and sells him the beer despite being underage, the clerk and/or the store is in trouble. Likewise, if he got someone of legal age to buy it for him, that person would be in trouble. Not the beer company.

See how similar the situations are? It doesn’t make any sense to treat games differently. Instead of trying to punish videogame companies for exercising their first amendment rights*, wouldn’t it make more sense pushing for parents and retailers to adhere to the rating system already in place to keep little Jimmy from buying the game?

* I do not make any sort of moral judgment here about these games… Quite honestly, I don’t like them either… But for completely different reasons. They’re just not fun for me.

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A peek inside the mad, mad, mind of Baka-chan. Animator, artist, hater of stupid people, and evil genius. Look upon the undoing of all order in the universe, and tremble.
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