Jack Thompson’s son bought a video game at a local Best Buy.
But not just any video game. It was, according to the game-hatin’ attorney, BioShock, the M-rated hit published by longtime Thompson target Take Two Interactive.
Thompson the Younger, by the way, is a mere lad of 15. From today’s Thompson press release:
The Best Buy retail clerk who sold this “Mature” game to Thompson’s 15-year-old son is Alysia. She asked Thompson’s son for his ID. He said he had none. She said, “I don’t really care.” She has a piercing through her right eyebrow, and she can be easily identified by Thompson and by store officials. She should be fired immediately. So should the store manager whose very same store sold Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to Thompson’s son when he was 10 years old (!) in a sting that he and his father arranged, just like this one.
…Just as Thompson and others have been saying and as the Federal Trade Commission has been suggesting, the notion that major retailers, and especially Best Buy, are effectively age ID-ing kids is a sham.
GP: Thompson might be a whiz at filing federal lawsuits against the Florida Bar (we said might), but his statistical skills are sorta lacking. A sample size of one proves that Best Buy doesn’t enforce its game rating policy?
And the FTC hasn’t been suggesting anything. What the FTC said, quite definitively, in its April, 2007 report was that major retailers like Best Buy had a 65% success rate in turning down underage buyers of M-rated games. As GamePolitics noted at the time:
The FTC report applauds the game industry’s ”significant progress” in limiting retail sales of M-rated products to underage buyers, while noting that movie and music retailers made only “modest progress” in this area.
Nor was this Junior’s first foray into the game sting biz. Although we don’t recall the GTA purchase Thompson references in his press release, GamePolitics did cover a November, 2005 incident in which the Thompson kid purchased The Warriors, also at a local Best Buy. As readers may recall, back then The Warriors was the Take Two game du jour which Thompson claimed would lead to the fall of Western Civilization.
Speaking of Best Buy, the National Institute on Media & the Family lauded the company along with other major retailers for their ratings enforcement in the watchdog group’s December, 2006 Annual Video Game Report Card.
And earlier this year the big box retailer quietly added game content ratings from another watchdog group, Common Sense Media, to its online store, apparently in an effort to provide an additional resource to parents.
We note also that the header on the e-mail GP received from Thompson regarding the Best Buy caper made mention of another of Thompson’s favorite targets:
This should get things hopping. I’m going to take [Take Two CEO] Strauss Zelnick out with this.
Parse that as you will.