After calling on Take-Two to prevent its upcoming PlayStation 2 game Bully from falling into anybody's hands, Florida lawyer Jack Thompson is now trying to get his own hands on it, and before anybody else at that.
Thompson filed a petition today with the 11th Judicial Circuit Court asking for Wal-Mart and Take-Two to furnish him with an advance copy of Bully so he can have "an independent third party" play the game and determine if it would constitute a public nuisance in the state of Florida (in which case it could be banned).
"If Bully is indeed safe for children's play, then petitioner will be the first to say so," Thompson said. "If it is not, then not only will the underlying action be brought sounding in Florida nuisance law, but also possibly and most likely in fraud as well."
One of Thompson's complaints centers around retailers like Wal-Mart accepting preorders for the game without age verification, because the game has yet to receive a rating.
"Is it a 'Mature' game not appropriate for anyone under 17 or is it a 'Teen' game sold to everyone," Thompson asks. "The ESRB refuses to say and appears to be withholding from the public the rating of the game in order to quell controversy for its corporate collaborator, Take-Two. ... This withholding of rating information from the public about a game that the ESRB has had for over a year is outrageous, made more so by the fact that Wal-Mart is actually pre-selling Bully with no rating whatsoever for the game, to anyone of any age!"
He added that preselling a game that hasn't been rated yet is "akin to a pharmaceutical company selling a new and controversial drug without prior FDA approval," and he accused Take-Two of instigating "a new wave of successfully orchestrated harassment" against him. So far that wave consists of a series of phone calls he received Tuesday morning from a caller who identified himself as "Peter," called him a sexual deviant, and threatened his life. Last December, a 16-year-old gamer in Texas was charged with a misdemeanor for threatening to torture and kill Thompson.
Take-Two had not returned a request for comment regarding Thompson's petition as of press time.