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Jack Thompson Weighs in on Oblivion 505

Robotron23 writes "Jack Thompson has commenced his attack on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion by seeking appearances on several talk shows. A press release announcing his availability speaks of Take Two not having 'learned its lesson' over the Hot Coffee scandal, before continuing to detail the issues surrounding Oblivion's re-rating, in particular regarding nudity - concluding that the game content will spawn 'an even worse disaster' than occurred during Hot Coffee."
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Jack Thompson Weighs in on Oblivion

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  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:05PM (#15285757)
    That's the responsibility of the developer, not the publisher. But then again it's Jackass Thompson, of course he's only talking out of his rear end without bothering to do any research. How did that man manage to become a lawyer?
  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <[enderandrew] [at] []> on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:06PM (#15285770) Homepage Journal
    He likes to instigate things. He likes attention. Everyone knows his stance, which you either agree with or don't (hopefully it is the latter). Can we just be done with him now? Honestly, the best course of action is to ignore him.
  • Why do we bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gorkamecha ( 948294 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:07PM (#15285783)
    Gah, this is nothing but Troll bait.....We can't stop Jack Thompson from talking to the press. We can't stop the press from listening to why do we even bother to post these. All we get are comments ranging from the useless to the insane (yes threating JAck with violence is an excellent way of proving he's wrong *sigh*). This post included ;)
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:08PM (#15285791)
    Its popular and newly released Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has now been re-rated "Mature" and recalled by the ESRB because Take-Two and its co-publisher have been caught embedding nude figures and scenes in the game which can be unlocked with a code provided by the developer. This is not a modification or "mod" of the game by gamers. It is an unlocking of content that was put there by Take-Two with the unlocking code provided by the developer!

    You have to be kidding me. I hope this guy appears on a few call-in shows. I'd love to ask him some questions.
  • Sorry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:10PM (#15285811) Homepage Journal

    Clearly, Mr. Thompson does not understand the technical nature of the problems he addresses with his hellfire and brimstone approach. In both the Hot Coffee and this new Oblivion case, the consumer must have the desire to modify the game in order to access content which the developers did not intend for the consumer to see. Sure, in the Hot Coffee case, the "questionable" content was there but inaccessable in any way through normal operation of them game. In the Oblivion case, the "questionable" content isn't even in the data of the game!

    Mr. Thompson should turn his efforts elsewhere. My suggestion would be the consumer instead of the manufacturers, because they are far more likely to listen.

  • by Chris Pimlott ( 16212 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:11PM (#15285815)
    This is just ridiculous. If you're going to make an accurate model of a human character, of course you're going to have to start with a naked form and build up from there.

    I can understand people getting offended at "Hot Coffee", which was explicitly sexual, but this is just silly. People are naked beneath their clothing. It's true! Take-Two showed more no skin than you'd see in the world normally, but they made the horrible sin of starting from anatomically correct base. You might as well ban mannequins.
  • Sure... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:16PM (#15285852) Homepage
    "During your interview, jack explains that this game is an even worse disaster than last year's' "Hot Coffee" scandal in that it has resulted in the re-rating of a "Teen" rated game that kids of all ages have already bought and secondly because it shows that the Take-Two and the ESRB and the industry as a whole learned absolutely nothing from last year's scandal."

    OK, as nuts as this guy is, are you kidding me?

    A little bit of topless-ness in a game rated T which was sold to kids of all ages is worse that a full sex mini-game, complete with sounds and visuals which was in a game rated MA which was sold to kids of all ages?

    Remember kids: Jack Thompson says sex mini-games are better than topless-ness. Just make sure the female isn't topless.

  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:16PM (#15285861)
    How can user mods be prevented, also how can a developer be held resposable for a non-sanctioned mod (something that would void any warenty on the product)? That is the real question.

    The "Lesson" is that Hillary Clinton is a stooge or at least bottom feeding to get conservative votes and people like Jack Thompson have declared war on an entertanment industy accusing it of erodeing our morals. Media reflects our culture not the other way around, "fix" our culture and the desire for simulated violence will go away on it's own.

    Just my 2 cents...

  • by TooMuchEspressoGuy ( 763203 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:18PM (#15285875)
    ...on Mr. Thompson's behalf.

    First, get a bunch of gamers together. Give half of them the most violent video game you can think of, and give the other half a bunch of articles/rants by Jack Thompson, and tell each group to play/read for an hour. At the end of that hour, administer a few tests to see how violent each group is.

    I guarantee you that the Thompson group will be much more prone to start bashing in heads, particularly Mr. Thompson's.

  • Re:Overrated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by R2P2 ( 193577 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:19PM (#15285882)
    Actually, the rerating was also because they underestimated the violence level in the game. I'm pretty sure that's the same in both versions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:20PM (#15285891)
    If you RTFA he's 'currently seeking talkshow appearances'. We've established that Jack won't listen to reason, and refuses to do anything but wave his personal flag to anyone who will look in his direction.

    At this point WHY are we continuing to provide him with free publicity? Since we now know how he reacts to critism from the hot coffee incident and that he obviously loves being in the spotlight why give him that satisfaction?

    Ignore Jack and let him try to get his own media coverage. Don't encourage the crappy behavior.
  • Re:Clarification: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:20PM (#15285892) Journal
    It doesn't even look like a real nude woman[1], it's not even close to anatomically correct. It's less realistic than a Barbie doll with the clothes stripped off. Last time I checked, Barbie dolls didn't have an 'M' rating -- they didn't have a rating at all!

    [1] Or like the pictures and videos we've all seen, for those of us who lack a basis for comparison :)
  • by stlhawkeye ( 868951 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:23PM (#15285925) Homepage Journal
    He graduated from an accredited legal program and passed the bar, all of which can be accomplished without demonstrating that one has any ability to think critically and run an ethical lawyering practice.
  • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:24PM (#15285932)
    How much Rockstar screwed us over.

    I WANT to call this guy an idiot (which he is) and say that there's NO WAY that the publisher should be held responsible for a user-made mod. But last time I did that, it turned out Rockstar actual HAD included the "offending" content, and HAD lied about it. All us gamer types were calling Jack a moron for confusing "official" content with user mods, but he turned out to be right.

    So thanks, Rockstar, for being idiots and forgetting to delete the mini-game you had to disable at the last minute to keep your "M" rating. And thanks even MORE for lying about it, making US look like jerks for defending you.
  • by DreadPiratePizz ( 803402 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:28PM (#15285968)
    "Last summer the video game industry was rocked by revelations that Take-Two Interactive, the makers of the hyper-violent Grand Theft Auto games, had illegally embedded in GTA: San Andreas graphic interactive adult sexual material."

    Illegally imbedded? Since when is depicting nuidity in a work of art/literature/film/video game illegal? Pretty sure we can do that given the first amendment. The rating system is not law either, so not showing the ESRB all content is no more illegal. Seems his attitude is a bit skewed.

    "It is also clear that Take-Two corporately and its senior officers, including CEO Paul Eibeler, individually, must now be prosecuted criminally for the knowing distribution of "sexual material harmful to minors" which is a felony in most states and nationally. The undersigned intends to work toward that end immediately"

    Again, the ratings system is not law. Because a game is rated teen does not mean it is intended to be marketed towards kids. If anything, get on the ESRB for misrepresenting the game. Why not sue every publisher who puts out sexually explicit books. It's not the publisher's responsibility to dictate who should buy their material. His statements are outrageous.
  • by Khaed ( 544779 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:29PM (#15285978)
    Agreed! I had the same thought when I saw this article -- "Can we please just ignore him?" The guy just wants us to pay attention to him. Unless you're Penny Arcade. Then he gets pissed if you pay attention to him.
  • Re:Overrated (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:34PM (#15286032) Homepage
    "It's unlocking just like hot coffee."

    Well, not quite.

    What really happened is that Bethesda modeled the character models as naked 3D human models, then superimposed clothes in them when displaying the characters in the game. The modder then found the "naked" 3D models and "removed" the clothing.

    This is not an unreasonable way to implement 3D modeling especially if you're about to do some advanced clothing physics type of stuff which would require the clothes to be modeled separately. I would suspect every modern sports game has the same thing going on for them. My God, *I* am naked under my clothes, too!

    This whole thing is a complete hysteric overreaction by the ESRB and people like Thumper Thompson and Leland Yee, who are out to exploit it to their own advantage.

    This is the sort of stuff that, if it was happening in renessaince Italy, it would've made Michelangelo's David impossible to craft.
  • by keyne9 ( 567528 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @12:52PM (#15286186)
    The ignorant masses do not ignore nutjobs like him. Ignoring him will do nothing to ease the minds of those who would listen to him. Thus, they must be informed of his lunacy.
  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @01:16PM (#15286397)
    Lets face it. One part of most boys development is to make liberal use of our adrenaline & testosterone. Some people play sports, some play video games, some get in fights, some go on murderous rampages, some break things, some hike, et al. The point is that it happens. Now, if there's a better outlet to fast-paced violent video games, then lets find it. IMHO if it means that some bored teenager wants to do -something- I'd rather it be beating the crap out of some virtual enemy than against a real person.

    I think the real issue with the 'older' audience is that they've forgotten these key periods in a young boy's life. I say boys because in general people aren't afraid about girls morals being eroded. Its like there's a magical shield around girls that say they can't be violent offenders or mass murderers. Thats another flaw in their logic.

    Not only that, they've mistakenly attributed the realism in video games as an increased threat to our childrens morals than the 'harmless' nature of games in the old days, like double dragon (The sole activity of the game is killing people).

    If Jack really wanted to solve the problem, he'd come up with a new teenage pass-time that they actually want to do more than games.

    Just to end this thought:
    "Part of the research challenge is to try to learn what positive changes affecting children born most recently are associated with the reductions in both victimization and offending"
    Quote relates to the severe decrease in crime from teenagers recently. ldren.cfm?from=sids []
  • Speaking of Nudity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @01:23PM (#15286465)
    And nudity is bad because...?
  • by pete6677 ( 681676 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @01:39PM (#15286628)
    The best thing to do is just let him keep on ranting publicly, in the press and in court rooms. He does a great enough job making an ass out of himself, much better than anyone else could do to him. For added effect, maybe he can piss off another judge and get a contempt charge.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @01:46PM (#15286706)

    He graduated from an accredited legal program and passed the bar, all of which can be accomplished without demonstrating that one has any ability to think critically and run an ethical lawyering practice.

    Jack is a troll trying to get publicity and popularity by attacking a scapegoat. It's an old trick, with Adolf Hitler being propably the most famous real example and Emperor Palpatine the most famous fictitive example. That's the peer group Jack belongs to. Joseph McCarthy and Fredric Wertham are other good examples of this morally banckrupt tactic of sacrificing innocents for profit.

    For the benefit of Google Spider, let's put it all into a single sentence: Jack Thompson is using the same tactic as Adolf Hitler, Joseph McCarthy, Fredric Wertham and Emperor Palpatine used: victimizing innocents for his own profit.

    Jack Thompson, Adolf Hitler. Jack Thompson, Senator McCarthy. Jack Thompson, Fredric Wertham. Jack Thompson, Emperor Palpatine.

    Any other way we can make the poor spider link the man to his proper context and peer group ?

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @02:31PM (#15287125) Journal
    >I think the real issue with the 'older' audience is that they've forgotten these key periods in a young boy's life.

    I disagree: I think most people remember *exactly* how they were when they were younger and, now that they're older and more mature, are appalled by their own behavior and want to prevent other people from making the mistakes they made. It's just like stage mothers. One of my best friends is a hardcore Christian who is against drugs, homosexuality, and sex before marriage. Know why? Because when we were in college together she was spending every weekend drunk and coked out of her skull, screwing other girls. I keep pointing out to her that she wouldn't be where she is now if she hadn't done those things -- in fact, if she hadn't she'd probably be more like me, raised low-key liberal Christian with no particular urge to bust loose during college, and now as an adult completely permissive towards other people's rights to do whatever they want and vaguely agnostic, rather than who she became: right-wing Christian woman. Needless to say, she does not agree with me at all, because she, like Jack Thompson, thinks she has the right to tell other people how to live their lives. Which is, fundamentally, what this is all about: people who don't think you should know or live what they know or have lived. Santimonious bastards.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @02:38PM (#15287191)

    Grouping Senator Mccarthy with Hitler is truly laughable.

    Hitler claimed that Jews were out to destroy Germans, that there was a huge Jewish conspiracy out to destroy Germany. He then painted himself as the savior of German people, who would exterminate Jews and rid Germans of them.

    McCarthy claimed that there was a huge communist conspiracy trying to destroy the USA. He then painted himself the savior of USA, who would exterminate communism and rid USA of it.

    It's the same thing. Both destroyed people to boost their own careers. The main differences were that Hitler was a lunatic who believed at least some of his own garbage while McCarthy was just a morally corrupt liar; and that Hitler succeeded in getting supreme power in Germany while McCarthy failed to ascend past senatorship.

    True, McCarthy didn't start death camps. However, he did his best to destroy his victims lives, so the lack of camps had likely more to do with lack of power than lack of malice.

  • by raoul666 ( 870362 ) <> on Monday May 08, 2006 @03:21PM (#15287529)
    So _if_ violence is considered a reason to keep kids from playing a game, then, yes, I fail to see why this game wasn't M to start with.

    The violence has to be truly obscene for an M rating. Of course, show a couple boobs, and it gets slapped on right away. I really can't figure out why ripping someone apart is less damaging to a child then seeing breasts, but maybe that's just me.
  • I can say this with all honesty:

    Looking at a breast has never, EVER made me want to shoot someone, slash someone, burn someone, etc.

    Listening to Jack Thompson talk and knowing he's allowed to breath the same air as actual human beings, however, has. Well, only him, really, but...

    So I say we ban Jack Thompson from this plane of reality. Won't somebody think of the children?!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, 2006 @03:52PM (#15287769)
    Allow me to throw my hat in with the rest of the "Why wasn't this already M" crowd. Not because of the blood or violence, actually, but because the game's livestock has realistic asshole textures. The amount of detail that they go into on the horses in particular is, frankly, disturbing.
  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @04:42PM (#15288149)
    No, he need to be confronted and exposed publically, otherwise people will continue to believe him. He's a self-agrandizing moron, but people think because he's a lawyer he knows what he's talking about. More people need to show up and confront him with the fact that he's been disbarred in two states and is for lack of a better words, a nutcase and a leech on society.
  • by Malakusen ( 961638 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @05:24PM (#15288468) Journal
    We need a Trotsky's law or something for whenever someone calls somebody else a Commie, they were at least on par with the Nazis.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @05:36PM (#15288573)

    disagree: I think most people remember *exactly* how they were when they were younger and, now that they're older and more mature, are appalled by their own behavior and want to prevent other people from making the mistakes they made.

    So now looking for boobies is a mistake? I think they're still in denial about how teenage boys are.

  • I couldn't agree more. I'm the rare exception to the rule. I never really looked for boobs as a teen (correction: Real boobs. As in, in person. Pr0n is unrelated, and I never really looked for much of that, either).

    In general, as a teen, I was rather disgusted by/afraid of/confused by/etc. my peers at school. Thus, I avoided social scenes as much as possible. (A /.er avoids social situations? Alert the authorities!) Sure, I WANTED some female companionship, but I found the girls near me to have little to nothing in common so I just stuck to my Internets and video games.

    What I can tell you now is that that was a terrible mistake. Sure, it was fun, but I'm in college now and my lack os social skills has been a great handicap. Boys need to chase boobs. Silly and immature, maybe, but you need to crawl before you can walk. If you don't look for girls, learn to talk to them when you're young, when will you learn to have a realistic and mature relationship with one? If you don't make your mistakes when you're young, you just end up making them later.

    Okay, this isn't perfect. Problems can arise. If a boy ends up too successful in this pursuit of girls, he could end up a father early. Or a number of other bad scenarios. But that's just a fact of life: If you want to get anything, you need to take risks. Bad things can and will happen, sometimes terrible, life altering things. But who are we to deny teen boys their awkward and confusing, but important social development because a small minority may get hurt?

    Sorry to rant, but perhaps South Park put it best (paraphrased). You can't just keep your kids away from other kids and love because bad things can happen. You can't just hide a boy from girls until he's 18 and expect him to know how to get a girl and treat her properly. Mistakes are painful, but they're a part of growing up. When you try to deny kids the chance to make mistakes, you deny them the chance to learn and mature.
  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday May 08, 2006 @09:49PM (#15289761) Journal
    I was eliding a lot in that summary. She was raised in a very conservative, sheltered home in a rural area. I was raised in a permissive (although Christian -- at least one of my parents has been teaching sunday school continuously since the '60's) household. It's simplistic to believe that this is all that drove us to our different approaches, but I really had nothing to rebel against when I was old enough to have the choice, and she did. I had several friends who were children of pastors, and *wow* did they tear things up when they got out on their own. And to be fair I had two friends who were children of pastors who never did *anything* out of line: they were unbelievably well-behaved kids. So it's not simple causality. But, in my own personal sampling, I've only known one person who came from a background like mine and ended up seriously stuck in the sex/drugs/alcohol rut, whereas I know six people from heavily sheltered backgrounds who went *crazy* when they hit college. And I know a lot more people from permissive backgrounds than from sheltered backgrounds. And, to track things forwards, the three people from the sheltered background->CRAAAAAAAZY transition I still know, are now all heavily into exactly what their parents were into: shelter and control.

    See, this is the thing. I expect that if I had kids they'd be like me, and I'd probably be right. The two people I'm thinking of, both daughters of pastors, went off to college and spent the next four years trying to figure out how many things they could stick in which orifices at the same time, and now, they both think exactly the same thing I do: that their kids would be like them. So, it's perfectly rational for them to want to prevent that kind of behavior, which, I have to say, should be prevented coz it's potentially deadly, while it's perfectly rational for me to use the same line of reasoning to say that there's no need for laws or legislation of morality. We take the same assumptions, do the same logic, and come up with conflicting conclusions, because our histories are different.
  • by rtechie ( 244489 ) on Saturday May 13, 2006 @05:01AM (#15323990)
    My overriding thought at this moment is that for us to discuss further, we are going to branch wider and wider. There's a lot here for us to discuss, so I'm going to be short on some points. It may even be worth us leaving this discussion alone - slashdot I find it a poor medium for these discussions

    Meh. Pretty off-topic tho. I supposed I could bump it to one of the mailing lists like atheist-talk talk/ [].

    My understanding is that philosophers talk about "possible worlds". And these "possible worlds" includes the universe.
    When I refer to universe, I refer to that spacial/temporal realm in which we humans are confined. Anything that is outside of space and time (for example, I contend, numbers) is not contained purely within the universe. A timeless and spaceless creator would be outside the universe.
    God, as defined as timeless and spaceless, is within a "possible world" but is outside our universe.

    Actually, in philosophy the term "universe" is generally used to refer to "all possible universes". You don't seem to understand how this blows your argument of a 'causeless cause'. If God exists in a universe outside of the "mainstream" universe this begs the question of the creation of THAT universe.

    Sure, people have motivations and justifications for their reasons - but not good justifications. Just subjective ones that fail if put up to a different subjective standard.


    You and I differ on a much more fundamental point - is there a God? We can discuss that without getting into the questions of whether the Christian God is the true God, or whether we should offer praise to Zeus instead. Let us first establish whether there is a God.

    I'm perfectly willing to concede this point, as long as we strictly limit said God to those attributes that can be inferred by logical arguments (created the "mainstream" universe, really powerful, really knowledgeable) as opposed to evidence. I don't personally buy these arguments, but I'm willing to concede them. But this really doesn't get you anywhere. Let's call this diety Creator.

    The problem that we now come to is you would probably like to add more attributes to Creator. The most important is called "interventionism". The idea that Creator mucked about with the "mainstream" universe after it's creation. This isn't something that can be logically inferred. You have to rely on evidence, and this is where the idea of proving the Christian god by logical argument begins to crumble.

    I would very much like to read these documents, if you can recall what they are (esp. if you have weblinks).

    The two most famous are Prophyry's "Against the Christians" and Celsus' "On the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians". Both are obscure academic publications, though you can get translations on Amazon. Both are basically reconstructions based on Christian counter-arguments. Celsus' is more readable.

    Regarding motivations - Paul, and all the Apostles, had little to gain from Christianity. Paul lived out his days under house arrest, and other apostles met horrible deaths as Martyrs. If I was creating a new religion for fun and profit, I would hardly be willing to die for its cause. That to me says, at least, that Paul believed what he wrote.

    You don't clearly understand the personal motivations that come with being a cult leader, and the fact that most of them end up buying into their own hype. Or Paul could have just been crazy. And the motivations certainly could have been confused. Many people questioned David Koresh's motivations, but in the end he died for his beliefs.

    So, your argument here is that the knowledge of philosophers today is much greater than that of those in the past?

    Of course it is, mainly because modern philosophers have READ the earlier philosophers and know what they knew. Plato, Aristotle, Augustin

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam