One of the things I love about media on the net is that there is a feeling of connection and accessability to those who create it. Take the comic strip for example. I read somewhere between 35 and 50 comic strips in a given day. I have never made contact with a cartoonist who deals in pulped dead tree format. However, just about every link to a webcomic on this site belongs to someone who I've exchanged emails with, and many of them are fellow snarkoleptics.
Furthermore, just about each one of them is coupled with a blog by the artist, allowing everyone who reads their work the same window into their lives that each of us provide.
It is for that reason that I feel a personal sense of victory when a story such as this comes along.
I've provided some of the dirt on Jack Thompson (forgive me for not producing all of it as it is in its very nature is hateful to me and furthermore can be found easily if one were curious). I feel the need to tell you a bit about Tycho and Gabe, the creators of Penny Arcade. I've been reading their work, which is fantastic if you happen to like that sort of thing, for about five years now. They represent what is to me the archetype of internet personality; that one can be agressively antagonistic and yet still be a right-minded philanthropist. They, like so many others who enjoy spending time sitting in front of a glowing box with a piece of plastic in their hand pressing buttons, were deeply and personally offended by the demonization of gamers by people like Jack Thompson. Having exhausted the "put forth a series of logical arguements supporting your position" route of dealing with the issue, which had been essentially a reaffirmation for a reader base that already agreed with them, they turned to another means. Two years ago, they began a charity known as Child's Play Their mission was twofold: to collect money and toys to donate to children's hospitals, and to put forth in the media a positive image of the video game community. Through their efforts in the first two years of the charity over half a million dollars in cash and toys has been raised. This year promises to be even bigger. Gabe mentioned that to Thompson in an email and told him what he thought of his measly ten grand, and Thompson called him up and yelled at him.
So anyways, back to the matter that I blogged about a few nights ago. Someone made the game Thompson proposed as a mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He then says that the whole thing was a satire, to "highlight the patent hypocrisy and recklessness exhibited by the video game industry’s willingness to target cops, women, homosexuals, and other groups with some of their violent games." (OK, so it's satire, but you still put money on the table, regardless of its intent) When he put forth the proposal, he said something to the effect that if the game industry truly believed that the violence was harmless then it wouldn't have any problem making a game that targeted itself and its audience. He was notably silent in his retraction as to the proof that this provides that gamers have no more problem with themselves as targets in games than anyone else.
Penny Arcade's response to Jackie Boy's "Modest Proposal" and subsequent reneging after someone called his bluff? They donate the ten thousand dollars themselves, in his name. He's at the moment pressing legal actionagainst them. With any luck the publicity will ruin him. Just a bit more luck and it'll raise even more awareness of Child's Play and even more sick children will be pleasantly surprised come Christmas.
Commentary on things that aren't about videogames possible tonight