None of us are averse to hearing a good scandal on TV, though usually it's about a celebrity sex tape or a footballer battering someone outside a nightclub. Video games tend to steer clearer of scandal, or at least, the mainstream media tends to report on it less, such that when they eventually do, you know that something big has really hit the fan. It provokes a weird, conflicted feeling in players, because unlike a celebrity getting busted for drug possession, a gaming scandal can have direct implications on what culture we can consume; if asinine right-wing dishrags like the Daily Mail start a campaign against a video game, it's inevitably going to get support from a brainwashed public and politicians who should know better. Other scandals thankfully aren't nearly as dangerous; they simply are a source of embarrassment for gamers, reflecting poorly on their choice of past-time and the medium's stature as "art". Whatever their wider implications, here are 10 infamous video game scandals...
10. Jack Thompson vs. Gaming
Jack Thompson is public enemy number one of the gaming world, a conservative Florida lawyer who has made it his life's work to try and sue just about every remotely "edgy" video game developer out there. He believes that video games are turning us into murderous psychopaths, and apparently wants to protect us from ourselves. There's a certain irony in Thompson's approach that thankfully makes him more a figure of ridicule than one to genuinely fear; in 2005, he issued a challenge to gamers, that he would donate $10,000 to charity if someone made a video game in which the murder of Take-Two boss Paul Eibeler is depicted. Naturally, some gamers obliged, but Thompson refused to pony up the cash. Thompson ended up being disbarred for his aggressive, senseless crusade against the video game industry, almost always rooted in inaccurate information and even slanderous claims (suggesting that various video games were the direct cause of school shootings and other massacres). Thankfully, he's one of those idiots who only makes himself look more stupid every time he opens his mouth, though knowing the absurdity of America's legal system, it was still a scary time to be a gamer.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.