Jack Thompson, officer of the court

When anti-videogame crusader and perennial Overlawyered favorite Jack Thompson (Sept. 26, Oct. 15, etc.) lost his case over “Bully”, he dashed off the following letter to the judge who ruled against him: Dear Judge Friedman: Now that you have consigned innumerable children to skull fractures, eye injuries from slingshots, and beatings with baseball bats, without […]

When anti-videogame crusader and perennial Overlawyered favorite Jack Thompson (Sept. 26, Oct. 15, etc.) lost his case over “Bully”, he dashed off the following letter to the judge who ruled against him:

Dear Judge Friedman:

Now that you have consigned innumerable children to skull fractures, eye injuries from slingshots, and beatings with baseball bats, without a hearing as to the danger, let me tell you a few things, with all respect for your office and with no respect for the arbitrary way in which you handled this matter. I can handle an adverse ruling by a judge. I’ve had plenty of those in my lifetime, and that’s fine. But the way you conducted yourself today helps explain why a great Dade County Judge, the late Rhea Pincus Grossman, could not abide you. She was not the only one . . . .

Next time you promise a “hearing,” I’ll bring a parent with me whose kid is in the ground because of a kid who trained to kill him or her on a violent video game. Try mocking that person, I dare you.

Full text of the letter here courtesy GamePolitics; via Lat who got it from ACSBlog. And a commenter at ACSBlog writes:

Jack Thompson did his part to inspire me to go to law school. I knew that if people of his mental capacity could succeed in the profession, I certainly could.

More: GamePolitics.com reports that lawyers for the game company are seeking to have Thompson held in contempt of court (further update here; h/t RebeccaFrog).


  • Wow! Now that is a letter.

    Would that classify as contempt? I’ve heard tales of judges charging people with it for outside of the court room comments.

  • Idea for a violent video game: Jack Blaster!

    Jack Blaster! features bare-knuckled attorney Jack Thompson firing hot letters at judges. Your object is to keep him from being sanctioned by raising his briefcase. Watch as he gives opposing counsel the one-two punch!

  • I just saw a recent review of “Bully” in the Washington Post. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/16/AR2006101601293.html)

    A couple of quotes:

    “The game, rated T for ages 13 and older, is about climbing — and navigating — the social ladder at school. When a chubby kid with owl glasses nicknamed Pee Stein gets hassled, Jimmy can either leave Pee alone or get in a scuffle to save him. And guess what Jimmy does?”


    “Just as in real high school, Jimmy makes some choices that bring adverse consequences. Skip class, and a chorus of adults will chide you. Stay out past curfew, and you run out of energy. Befriend the nerds, and you’d better be prepared to fend off the bullies.”

    I suspect that the game’s critics have never actually seen the game.

  • Well, I was in line at my local Wal-mart at 6:30 a.m. tuesday to get my copy before the fun nazis made it go away and was truly plugged in from about 7:00 that morning until about 9:30 thursday night. That’s pretty decent stamina for a 31 year old I must say.

    The game is great the first time through but, like many others, will not last to repeat playing. There are many things in the game to keep you busy and the variety of play is pretty large. The humor is teenage and chock full of innuendo and sometimes it gets right to it without being clever. It mostly depends on who is saying the dialogue. The nerds are clever and the greasers are not. Simple as that.

    The graphics are stunning and the play is smooth all the way through. The game is just hard enough to piss you off and just easy enough to allow you to progress at a steady rate. The perfect spot on the difficulty scale. It’s no Ratchet and Klank (of which all are fantastic and highly reccomended games) and it’s no Leisure Suit Larry either but I would say to play it. It’s not bad.

    As for the rating, 14 and 15 year olds would be fine. Maybe a little younger depending on the kids.

    The violence is rather pervasive and extensive in the game but the funny thing is that you have to make the choice in most cases. The idiot in Fl obviously has not played it because at the end of the day there is a very positive message in the game. It’s about sticking up for the little guy. There are some silly things like the perverted gym teacher that cons you into going on a panty raid when you bust him coming out of a magazine store. The kid that is the main character in the game is not nearly as stupid and clueless as the idiot in Fl would have all kids in the planet become and points out the coach’s shortcomings while crapping on him for his behavior. Same thing for the drunk teacher. He gets crapped all over on when he offers the kid a drink. End message – kids aren’t allowed to drink and the adult that allows is a turd. And you be highly screwed if you hit a girl or small child in the game – even on accident. You can clobber the snot out of the mean bullies, but you punch a girl and the cops nail you hard. I don’t know about you, but these sound like pretty good lessons to me.

    Bottom line – at the end of the game I didn’t want to chop sockey someone’s head like I do after a good kung fu flick or Rocky. Jack Thompson is a moron.

    Oh, and, um….

    Your kid is in the ground!! HA HA HA neener neener neener. I’ll make fun of them.

  • I wonder why Jack Thompson would want to bring in a parent when his whole strategy is to divert blame from the only parties who should bear any responsibility for the crimes in question: the kids and their parenting. Last I checked, the society’s-to-blame defense was meant for kids who grew up without a social structure. There’s no affirmative duty of video game companies to raise kids for you, that’s the parents’ duty. Not every crime committed by kids is due to a negligent lapse by their parents, but I think quite a number of them are.

    On the other hand, some people will point the finger at a corporation for any reason whatsoever; I don’t think Thompson’s pathology is as simple as the usual greed, but a delusional believe that corporations are re-programming kids who were snow-white-innocent the day that grandma brought home the latest “murder simulator.”

    On the topic of simulators, by the way, they are an entire genre of video games devoted to simulating sports and experiences that might be out of reach to most people. Most flight-simmers don’t become pilots, most space-sim players don’t because astronauts, and most racing-sim gamers don’t make it to NASCAR or CART. Sports-sim gamers don’t all play the sports they sim, they do it because interactivity is a step up from their usual spectator status. How many of the millions of SimCity players became city planners? How about “The Sims,” which attempts to simulate normal life and social interaction? The game doesn’t reward you for sadistically murdering your family members, but it doesn’t stop you. How many killers is Will Wright cranking out?

    By the way, I’m now playing a game called Defcon, a game about Global Thermonuclear War, in which I get to actually nuke another continent and get 2 points per megadeath, though I lose a point for losing a million of my own people. Yes, a genocide simulator. I wouldn’t want to do it in real life and certainly won’t get the chance, but it sure is entertainment to do it in the privacy of my home.

  • I’d love to hear exactly what his theory is. I was under the impression this was already well-settled law. You can write books on how to kill your wife and get away with it if you want.

    There is no theory of liability that covers someone who taught you how to do something or suggested it. The case of “Bully” should be even clearer because there is no intent on Take Two’s part to influence any behavior.

  • Do we assume that Jack Thompson will never have to appear before this judge again?

    Not only does his letter make him look like (more of) an idiot, but it surely is a disservice to any future client that has to appear in this court with Thompson in tow.

  • Shouldn’t that be “Jack Thompson, Officer of the Tort?” I mean, we know where his true loyalties lie.

  • I’m hearing that Take Two asked the Judge to issue an order to show cause why he should not be held in contempt, and that he fired back with an even more insane letter. Anyone have a copy of his second letter?