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Jack Thompson Claiming Games Industry in Collusion with DoD 289

mytrip brings us a Wired blog about Jack Thompson's recent press release, which claims an "unholy alliance" exists between the gaming industry and the U.S. Department of Defense. Game Politics also has a discussion of Thompson's main points. From Wired: "Jim Blank, the head of the modeling and simulation division of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, says that commercial games don't meet the demand of the military, adding, 'first-person shooter games really don't apply in this environment.' Blank's point is that game-like simulations are a valuable tool for training soldiers in situations that would be too expensive to simulate in reality."
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Jack Thompson Claiming Games Industry in Collusion with DoD

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  • and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:22AM (#21848700)
    Yes, they use video games to train. Yes, they use video games to market to recruits. Yes, they are in the business of war.

    Somehow adding video games to the mix makes it more unholy than it already was?

    Whatever. Will someone just shoot this guy already?
    • Re:and? (Score:5, Funny)

      by TitusC3v5 ( 608284 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:52AM (#21848904) Homepage
      Whatever. Will someone just shoot this guy already?

      Don't be alarmed, everyone. That's just the video games talking.
    • Re:and? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:39PM (#21849188)
      By Thompson's logic, cars are training simulators for driving tanks and APVs and and RISK is a training simulator for conquering and destroying to build a fascist global empire.

      Why is this guy still allowed to tie up the media and court system? Why isn't he in jail or disbarred or institutionalized? He is the Jerry Falwell of videogames and at least Falwell finally had the decency to fucking die.

      • It seems you never learned about the Kriegsspiel the Prussian army used in the nineteenth century to train officers.
      • and RISK is a training simulator for conquering and destroying to build a fascist global empire.
        RISK? What about Highschool Athletics?
        • High school athletics are a training simulator for getting killed in someone else's plan for conquering and destroying, etc. Would-be grunts play football. Would-be Caesars play chess.
    • Re:and? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @01:11PM (#21849424) Homepage Journal
      A madman is a madman until someone kills him and turns him into a Martyr.
    • What the brass doesn't understand is the underlining fundamental difference between using virtual reality to train solders and using traditional means. The army is always fighting the last war. They don't understand the new war until they lose. It doesn't matter which country or which army. As long as you are in the business of ripping apart meat (killing enemy soldiers through body incapacitation like bullets or IEDs) for the benefit of the rich, the flag or holy book that you use is of secondary imp
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by macdaddy357 ( 582412 )
      This conspiracy is much bigger than he knows. It's not just the DOD. The gaming industry is also in cahoots with The Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission, The Order of the Illuminati, the Masons, The UN Security Council, Israeli intelligence, Vladimir Putin, The Fnords, Martians and organized crime. It's a monster like the Hydra!! OH NOES!

      Jack Thompson will never take this down alone. It's a shame Ronald Reagan is gone. There is nothing he couldn't do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:25AM (#21848720)
    ...and we're coming for you, Jack. We're all out to get YOU, Jack. Boo!
  • ...that you, since you have been attacking computer games as the spawn of evil itself for quite some time now, want to say that the DOD and thus the United States of America is bad and threatening our children, should your elaboration be interpreted in this way, yes?

    Just for the record, of course...
    • by innerweb ( 721995 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:53PM (#21849306)

      I am pretty sure that was meant to be funny, but the truth of what is really being said is startling.

      He is anti-american, like so many other neo-cons. The reason they want to change so many things of such consequence is they do not like the US. They want a new country with their rules in place. Something much more akin to the fundamentalist Muslim countries or Mussolini's government. A place where their ideals and beliefs reign supreme without that bothersome interruption from people who would think or believe differently.

      I guess the scary part for me is that at one time, when I started learning about the neo-cons, I agreed with much of what I had learned. It was not until much later when I started seeing through the lies that I really got a grasp on what they stand for. It almost lends plausibility to those who believe they are trying to create a new world order. Because it sure seems like they are.


      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        i guess its a lot easier to throw around a term like "neo-con" that dumbly lumps people into a group then to actually parse each individuals perspective in the group as to their beliefs.

        please don't think that i am a "neo-con", or defending that particular POV. i guess in this current cycle of election-mania i felt the need to vent about the oversimplification of political rhetoric that bombards us daily from the news outlets.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by nuzak ( 959558 )
          i guess its a lot easier to throw around a term like "neo-con" that dumbly lumps people into a group then to actually parse each individuals perspective in the group as to their beliefs.

          We tried that. And they said "those liberals can't agree on anything."

      • What's startling is that people confuse neo-con thinking with free market. neo-conservativism is (when looking at it from a purely economic point of view) anything BUT free market. It's anti free market and anti free speech.

        About as un-american as I could imagine, to be blunt.
  • by NeverVotedBush ( 1041088 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:33AM (#21848764)
    The DoD is just copying what the aliens already did. I heard that if you do really well in the alien video game, it sends a signal out and pretty soon a talking spaceship lands to take you away to fight evil aliens.

    See, the game is just a simulation of the real fight and the aliens need to find someone to save them. If you are the best, they come get you to go fight their war using the fabled "Death Blossom" maneuver.

    (Not to be confused with the fabled "Turd Blossom" maneuver used many times over the last seven years by the Bush administration.)
  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:33AM (#21848766)
    Hasn't he been disbarred yet? Seriously if it was you or I going on like this month after month we'd probably at least get a month commited for evaluation. He's got something wrong with him and instead of looking inward to see what it is he projects it outward and thinks everyone needs to be saved from the demons that plague him.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:39AM (#21848800)
      Freedom of speech and all that. Yes, I hate it as much as anyone that this guy can spew his drivel and waste valuable oxygen by continuous breathing and add to the carbon dioxide problem that way, but he still has the right to keep talking.

      I think the 1st is more important than silencing him. He ain't that important.
      • Sure he's free to speak, but what about all the people paying attention to him, quoting him, featuring him, etc... are they just capitalizing on this or are they fucking nuts too? I even have to wonder about me, reading this story and actually making a post.
    • Hasn't he been disbarred yet? Seriously if it was you or I going on like this month after month we'd probably at least get a month commited for evaluation.

      He has been committed to a psychiatric evaluation [], which he somehow managed to pass, and the Florida Bar has been trying to get him disbarred [], so far without results.

      The man is the real-life equivalent of GNAA. In a way, it is admirable how he takes trolling to the level of art.

  • And the QUEERS! They're in it with the aliens! Do you know what they're doing to the SOIL?



    Seriously. How has this man not been clubbed like a seal yet?
    • Last time I checked it was still illegal for some reason. And so far nobody has deemed him important enough to do time for killing him.
      • by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:06PM (#21849012)
        But his whole thesis is that video games make people violent, and obviously he's pissed off a lot of said video gamers. How is he still alive?
        • We like having our enemy being so insane not even the people who share his opinion (video games = bad) will listen to him. Killing him would only create a void where someone else (maybe even someone competent) would step up.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          They're still running around trying to locate the BFG first?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Dogtanian ( 588974 )

            They're still running around trying to locate the BFG first?

            No, no, The BFG [] wouldn't harm a fly. It's the maneating giants that you need if you want to get Jack Thompson.

            Though personally, I'd have thought it easier just to get some sort of big fucking gun than to get a fictitious character from a Roald Dahl children's story to do the dirty work.. :)

        • by jadin ( 65295 )
          I think you hit the nail on the head. As long as he is alive, he is proven completely wrong. Love live Jack Thompson!
    • I'm not sure what your point is? If you're saying the gaming companies don't take money from the military to make customized versions of their games for training, or that the military doesn't use games for recruiting, then you're wrong.
  • by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:39AM (#21848796)
    What will the extreme left wing, anti-war, anti-military establishment, conspiracy theory maniacs that are pro-pornography, pro-simulated violence in video games do? DoD using video games with subliminal messages to create new breed of professional military recruits and only Jack Thompson, evil video game critic to stand in the way. It's like being a Republican and realizing the only candidate that believes in what he's saying is Ron Paul. Guess the Democrats got that with Kusinich (sic). They both kind of remind me of Ross Perot, but I ramble....
  • Parsimony... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:40AM (#21848802)
    Really, folks - which is a simpler explanation for these graphs:

    Violent crime rate []

    Video game sales []

    That (presumeably violent) video game use correlates with a massive secret drive towards violence, that is somehow counterbalanced in the overall violent crime rate, or that this (now) extremely common form of entertainment is at worst, on average, a similar factor in people's lives as movies or books?

    True, the ever-shifting and politically influenced definition of violent crime may have shifted definition over the years too, but I highly doubt any theories on that line would be able to mask the accusations Thomson makes about the use of video games in society.

    In order to match Thomson's account to reality in any way, you'd have to start making up any number of wild inventions to force the facts into place... kind of like what he's doing here.

    Ryan Fenton
    • Small amounts of lead can stimulate people to behave in a more violent way. The majority of the decrease occurred in the early 1990's - roughly the age when when kids who were no longer exposed to leaded gas were in their teenage years. The vast majority of violent crimes are committed by men, aged from 13 to 40. So once the unexposed kids grew up, they diluted the violence pool so to speak, and have been lowering the rate ever since.
    • I'm not sure the graphs clearly show what you think they show.

      The first graph shows Violent crime dramatically dropping from 1973-2003.
      The second shows a dramatic increase in modern Video Game consoles from 2000-2003.

      If you notice on the first graph, right around the year 2000, that dramatic decrease is getting much less dramatic,
      Almost like the steady decrease is being slowed down by the sales of game consoles.

      Who's to say the violence graph doesn't just start increasing after 2005, once people have had a
    • Your post is simply a rehash of this erroneous analysis []. It was discussed here [] and debunked here []

      Essentially, this is how you should look at that first graph:

      "Mr. Ferris makes one of the biggest errors in statistics by not accounting for other factors that changed over the same period. In fact, I could plot the same graph showing a steady increase in youth incarceration rates beginning in the mid-1990s, but it would be equally flawed (although somehow I doubt that it would get as many diggs). The point is that an analysis of crime needs to use multivariate regression. Simply making a two-dimensional plot and attributing the subsequent drop in violent youth crime to playing video games, as some people have unfortunately done based on this graph, is simply wrong when more significant factors like economic conditions, youth incarceration, and passage of state laws that try children as adults dramatically increased over the same period. In fact, it's theoretically possible for exposure to media violence to cause a small increase in violent youth crime and yet to observe the same downward trend when these other factors have a larger and negative influence on violent crime rates. Just my two cents. "

      My personal opinion is to agree with you, but your analysis of that data is too simplisitc.

  • by Steeltalon ( 734391 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:48AM (#21848880)
    Two points: First, War as glamorous and consequence free... Wow, I don't think that I ever heard about anything like that in movies that I've watched for my entire life and many of the books that I've read. Seriously, didn't this moron ever watch Patton? Secondly, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the VT shooter was established to have not been a gamer. Granted, Fox News (never one to let the facts get in the way of their "reporting") opted to have him on right after the shooting, before any facts had been established, so that he could talk about how games were responsible for it. As I recall, however, the shooter's roommates said that they'd never seen him play any games. I really wish that the main stream media would out this guy publicly.
  • by Killer Eye ( 3711 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:57AM (#21848938)
    Jack Thompson is someone best ignored. I think it is better to stop making headlines every time he goes off his rocker, and let him not be heard, than to give him free publicity for his stunts.
    • by thewiz ( 24994 ) * give him free publicity for his stunts.

      Free? Do you realize how many man-hours and bandwidth are consumed? Someone takes the time to post the story, someone else sends a link to Slashdot, then hoards of trolls spend countless hours responding to the story with posts about "Has he been disbarred yet?". Free? I think not!
  • WTF is a "correlation" between the DoD and the game industry?

    This guy must have a secretary, because he's obviously too stupid to type his own editorials.

    The only news here is that anyone bothers to publish his rants.
    • WTF is a "correlation" between the DoD and the game industry?

      As the game industry becomes increasingly refined, the DoD becomes more incompetant?

      Joke intended, humorless mods...
  • This guy makes wacky pronouncements over and over again which amount to nothing. Why publicize him even further? Slow news day?

  • Madness? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ichigo 2.0 ( 900288 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:20PM (#21849102)
    This. Is. JACK THOMPSON!
  • some people are in serious need of a real life,

    and i'm not talking about the gamers.
  • If there's an "unholy alliance" involved here, it's between Jack Thompson and Satan.

    On the other hand, having such an obvious loon leading the charge against video games is probably a good thing. It's not hard for anyone to pick up on the fact that not all his dogs are barkin'. If the anti-violent-video-game crowd really want to have any chance of success, they should muzzle this idiot now before the rest of them get thoroughly discredited by association.
  • by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:42PM (#21849206) Homepage
    Isn't there supposed to be a point where these people disappear from the conversation after their actions prove they're not relevant?
    • You know, what conventional media needs is a moderation system, like Slashdot has. If that were the case, Jack Thompson would have been modded into the Underworld by now.
  • by Tiger4 ( 840741 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:52PM (#21849286)
    DOD makes extensive use of modeling and simulation. That is clearly no secret. The difference between commercial gaming and useful training simulations is the entertainment aspect, as the article states. Real Life, as we all know, is not Entertaining when it comes to Real Work. Actually carrying a weighted field pack, up and down hills, through brush, up stairs, wading streams, drop to the ground, run and roll for cover, etc. all take effort, and sweat, and physical coordination. See Kinesthetic learning [] It might be exciting (especially when the other guy is shooting at you), fulfilling, and "fun" in an intellectual way, but not entertaining.

    Most importantly, Video games don't do that with any accuracy at all. They can show you what it looks like, they can help you learn the approximate timing, they can maybe remind you to keep looking around for more bad guys and not just focus on the one in front of you. But that is all. At best it shortens the training time needed in the real world training course, much like a football coach has a "chalk talk" in a classroom before you suit up and take the field. Worse, too much application of simulation can induce negative training, in short, teaching them to do the wrong thing in order to win the game.

    As for the Industry taking cues from the DOD, I wish they would. For starters the Physics models used in gaming are a joke and have been for years. If police and soldiers and criminals in real life could run like they do in games, shootouts would look like the Superhero Olympics. Every car chase would be the Indy 500 Cross Country Demolition Derby. If the aliens ever show up, they'd have good reason to want humans stomped out, we'd be too dammed dangerous! No, Game designers might get ideas from military scenarios (Call to Duty 1 - N anyone?), but they aren't using real situations. And if anyone could even vaguely show the FPS games were imprinting "Go Army" on any brains, major heads would roll. The fact the school shooters were using the games just shows how "out of it" they were. They didn't know the games weren't useful or accurate for training, so they used them, which somehow means the games were responsible after all.

    Thompson is just taking out some ire on innocent bystanders for doing something he already hates. Yet another example of a political control freak.

  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:53PM (#21849292)
    It apparently took him years to realize that America's Army is out.
  • Wait (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MerrickStar ( 981213 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:54PM (#21849314)
    If he's speaking out against the Department of Defense, a branch of the government, doesn't that mean he's in league with the terrorists?

    Could it be, that one of the most complained about things on /. could take care of an other?

    The Patriot Act gets Thompson tossed in Guantanamo for an unspecified period, then there's one less problem to worry about.

    Probably too good to be true, but we could dream.
  • The guy is an absolute nut case, and is totally irrelevant. He is about to be disbarred, has made numerous clearly paranoid statements in the past, why the hell does his ridiculous ranting gain credence by being submitted to /. time and time again?

    The next time someone submits a Jack Thompson story, please make the headline the following: Jack Thompson Bleats Again.

    And the body of the text can be: Jack Thompson, well-known corrupt and insanely-paranoid former lawyer, makes another outrageous statement.
  • How long before Jack Thompson is sharing a cell with Jonathan Lee Riches []?

    Maybe Riches can sue him for trademark infringement.
  • Jack Thompson:Deep End :: Quick Brown Fox:Lazy Dog
  • Try competition -- seems to me the DOD is writing their own games in competition with commercial manufacturers.

    What a nut.
  • In a press release sent out yesterday, controversial attorney Jack Thompson claims he has found a correlation between the gaming industry and the US Department of Defense, who, he adds, are using videogames to teach "an entire generation of kids that war is glamorous, cool, desirable, and consequence-free."
    All that schooling, and he never learned that correlation does not equal causality, and correlation with small populations are as meaningless as his opinions....
  • by mormop ( 415983 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @02:18PM (#21849884)
    If Call of Duty taught me anything (which I doubt), it'd be that war a crap thing to be caught up in as death can come at any time from someone you hadn't noticed hiding in a bush or a doorway. This random "died from being in wrong place at the wrong time" with no respawn is probably more likely to convince people of the benefits of couch-potatodom than it is to get them to sign up.

    At least after being killed on the screen you can respawn a few times before crossing the floor to the fridge to extract another beer while you comtemplate the fact that you earn more sitting in your office than a soldier does in Iraq without having to put up with being shot at. On the other hand, if you are still at school and can't tell the difference between a game and reality you're more than likely better off in the army as they're probably getting pissed with soldiers who go "off message" on their blogs.

  • game-like simulations are a valuable tool for training soldiers in situations that would be too expensive to simulate in reality

    OK, I'm not a military man, but it seems to me that the first and most important lesson you want to teach troops is how not to die. Knowing how to squirt death around (preferably at the other guys, not your own side) is fine, provided you aren't dead or injured.

    What video games teach is that you can do pretty much anything with impunity. The worst thing that happens to you is a

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Saturday December 29, 2007 @02:27PM (#21849956) Journal
    No no no. See, when you really need to worry is when you find the military in collusion with shower curtain manufacturers. That never ends well (even if there is cake).
  • There are these game makers in an unholy league with a gov agency. A lawyer than attacks them with monster guns. Of course, you have to kill the lawyer, since you know that he is in league with the others and is just faking it.
  • Parts of Hollywood have been in bed with the DoD for years. Want to make a movie about the military, or featuring lots of military hardware? If you portray them in a good light, you get to borrow lots of real hardware (and personnel) for your production. If they don't like what you've written, you are on your own.

    Since military simulation s/w is big business, it wouldn't surprise me that the DoD steers contracts to organizations that they consider friendly.

  • Parental Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rai ( 524476 ) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @04:01PM (#21850732) Homepage
    Keep in mind, Jack started this anti-game crusade after he discovered his son was playing them. So like any batshit crazy parent void of reason, instead of actually acting like a sensible parent and monitoring his child's activities, he's attacking the whole industry like a mother grizzly bear separated from her cubs. I guess he thinks it's easier to sink the video game industry than teach his kid the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, fantasy and reality...actually, I'm not so sure he can tell the difference between those last two. Here's hoping somebody adds a "Jack Thompson's Grave" level to Dance Dance Revolution until we have the real thing to get down on.

Trap full -- please empty.