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According to a copy of a fax obtained by video game site Gamepolitics, Dr. David Walsh of the conservative anti-violent game body the National Institute on Media and the ...

Simon Carless

October 14, 2005

2 Min Read

According to a copy of a fax obtained by video game site Gamepolitics, Dr. David Walsh of the conservative anti-violent game body the National Institute on Media and the Family has officially disassociated his organization with Florida lawyer Jack Thompson, following Thompson's increasingly florid outbursts regarding violent video games. Walsh and the NIMF were most recently active in the controversy over Rockstar's 'Hot Coffee' mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, issuing a 'National Parental Warning', with Dr. David Walsh stating: "We are calling upon Rockstar Games to come clean with the ESRB, the nation's retailers, and especially America's parents." But, following a recent letter in which the notorious Thompson offered money for Rockstar parent Take-Two to make a violent video game which involved attacking caricatures of Take-Two CEO Paul Eibeler and "massacring all the video game industry execs" at E3, Walsh has obviously had enough, saying to Thompson: "Your commentary has included extreme hyperbole and your tactics have included personally attacking individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect." Walsh ends his letter by explaining: "Even though we have no formal relationship your use of my name and your inclusion of my name in correspondence have created the impression that we condone these tactics. We do not. The result is that our position and reputation as a research based, non-partisan, solution-focused organization has been jeopardized. Consequently, I ask that you cease using the Institute's or my name in any way that would give the impression that we support your efforts." The letter sent from Walsh to Thompson was CC-ed to a number of prominent figures, according to Gamepolitics, including Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum; the governor and attorney general of Minnesota, Bill Gates, the CEOs of Target and Best Buy, Pat Vance of the ESRB, and Doug Lowenstein of the ESA. In return, Thompson himself released a statement late Friday, in part alleging: "Dr. Walsh's efforts are funded by Target and by a foundation run by Best Buy lawyer and Best Buy Director Elliot Kaplan. This was revealed in a recent article about Dr. Walsh in the Pioneer Press... I am suing Target and Best Buy over [Rockstar's] Bully game, which both Target and Best Buy are pre-selling. You connect the dots." Thompson also suggests: "The fact is, I have never suggested that Dr. Walsh approves of what I do. I have countless times told people that I believe he is an expert about the dangers of video games. The mistake I made, apparently naively, is in thinking that a person of his expertise would use it actually to help some bereaved families rather than choose to protect his relationship with portions of the video game industry and its reckless retail network." [UPDATE: 4.06pm PST 09/14/05 - added Thompson's response.]

About the Author(s)

Simon Carless

Blogger

Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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