The Jack Thompson – Lorne Lanning debate at the recent VGXPO in Philadelphia caused a minor sensation in video game land.
Lanning recaps the debate in an interview published this week by gamesindustry.biz. Among the Oddworld developer’s comments:
The end of [Spencer Halpin’s Moral Kombat film] is going to add some of what happened in Philadelphia, so that will be really interesting.
Lanning’s story about a meeting with former Virginia Gov. (and Second Life visitor) Mark Warner is an interesting one:
Mark Warner… had a roundtable one day. A number of people from the industry were invited to go… some people there made the point … “Well, eventually gamers are going to get older, and eventually every politician will have been a gamer, and the whole issue will go away.”
Mark [Warner] just thought that was such a naive comment. Not only is it not going away, but you have to understand the political landscape. The game industry is such an open target that it is easy fodder for politicians. Do not think it is going to go away just because people are growing up.
On video game legislation:
[The legislation] is completely unconstitutional, and their basis that videogames are turning people into killers… there is no proof of, whatsoever. [Jack Thompson] continually recites studies done by organisations and cites cases that have been proven wrong…
It doesn’t matter that brilliant people like Henry Jenkins at M.I.T. has debunked them fully. It doesn’t matter. Jack keeps on saying the same thing…
Lanning blamed Thompson for keeping the issue in the spotlight:
The real debate, in my opinion, is why there is still a debate, and there is really one big reason. It’s Jack Thompson.
The media in this country is broken… The reason we are having this debate still is because of how the mainstream media handles it. They will continually call Jack Thompson every time there is a school shooting… To be fair, though, the media has “go-to” pundits on every issue… Jack Thompson just happens to be the one they rely upon for game industry.
In the case of Jack Thompson, it doesn’t matter how many times he loses [cases]… The only argument is Jack’s business plan.