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Jack Thompson sets about Halo 3

Anti-gaming gadfly back in action

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Everyone’s favorite anti-gaming gadfly Jack Thompson is back in action, GamePolitics reports, with yet another lawsuit against the purported public nuisances created by violent video games.

Apparently neither dissuaded nor cured by past court orders for psychological testing, the obsessive anti-gaming lawyer made famous (infamous?) by past attempts to shut down Halo and Bully sent his fifteen year-old son on a sting operation into a Best Buy store in Florida to purchase a copy of an unnamed video game with a mature rating. He didn’t get carded, as agreed to previously by Best Buy, and a lawsuit was born.

Microsoft and Best Buy are both named as parties to the suit.

Halo 3 is widely expected to be the most successful video game in history, and Thompson, if nothing else, has a nose for publicity. Once again, he is trying to get a federal court to class violent video games as a public nuisance, based on a Florida law designed to combat drug dealing and prostitution. Never one to let go of past battles lost, Thompson apparently is still obsessed with the Lee Boyd Malvo case, as evidenced by the facts cited in the complaint.

Halo 3 is a video game that allows the virtual reality player to rehearse violent acts resulting in the death of one’s virtual victims. Lee Boyd Malvo, the younger of the two “DC Beltway Snipers” was trained on Halo to kill residents within Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. His “mentor,” John Muhammad, knew the efficacy of the first Halo video game in this regard, because the Army in which he served used this same murder simulator to train snipers to kill. Malvo learned well on Halo.

Unfortunately for Thompson, the suit says as much about his own mental state as it does about the minds of the young adults who form the target market for games such as Halo 3 or the True Crime franchise. Courts have scorned his nuisance argument in the past, and we can't see any reason why this suit won't get the same treatment.

Not that we mind - after all, Thompson understands the value of entertainment as much as anyone.®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office.

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