Going back to Jack Thompson, it has been our experience working with him that he’s fairly insane. What was your sense of him?
You know, it’s very important for the structure of the show to find a villain, and he casts himself that way. Like a lot of people on Bulls***, he is a complete ***. He’ll go on anything, and most people we meet are willing to go on anything. If you tell people that your show is called Bulls***, and that you disagree with them, they pretty much know they are going to be called c***pickle. They’re hungry for attention, but also they are really really sure in their position, and he is very very sure in his position. He is simply wrong,
Flipping that on its side, do you think it’s possible that video games, or any other kind of medium, might actually encourage violence?
You know, this is the problem, people in the arts self aggrandize so much that they get themselves backed into a corner. You want to believe, when you are in the arts, and I use the arts very broadly to mean anything you do after the chores are done. When you are in the arts you like to feel like you can change the world, and if you believe that, and state it, and actually push it, you can change the world for the worse. The truth of the matter is there have been so many popular songs that have been about peace and love, and they haven’t turned the world into complete peace and love. Violence still happens. So the bad news is, you can’t just put out “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles and get world peace, and the good news is that first-person shooters don’t turn people into killers.
The fact of the matter is that violence existed before video games, so therefore were done. Violence did not bump up after video games. In fact, it’s gone down. Correlation is not causation, so you can’t use that. You have to be very careful not use the same lies that you are accusing other people of. I would never make the case that video games stop violence, but I would certainly make the case that they did not start it. Even if you add in Columbine, violence by teenagers is down. Billy the Kid and Jesse James did more damage at a younger age than anybody in modern times, and they didn’t play video games. There are all kinds studies that show that after someone has played an aggressive, exciting video game they are more aggressive. Those studies are real, but you have to remember that if you have someone go do a lot of push-ups they are going to be more aggressive too. Anything you do to get your blood going makes you more aggressive, so if you play a first-person shooter it has the same kind of effect as if you run around the block. If you’re excited you’re excited.
I get friends who play video games and they tell me about the wonders of getting into that head space, and to be perfectly honest I’ve played a few, but I won’t claim to have played them. I’ve played for an hour, and that’s just not enough. If you listen to Chopin for an hour or Stravinsky for an hour, or Miles Davis for an hour, you don’t know jack s*** about them. It requires time and constant exposure to the culture. You can’t listen to Stravinsky without listening to the other music of that time, and you can’t understand a video game without knowing the antecedents and the peers of that game.
Read the complete interview at Game Informer.