Ridiculous lawsuits are a common news topic in video games, maybe because the medium and the discussion has such a heavy online component, where outrage spreads fast and embarrassments can be permanently recorded with ease.
But even as gamers' outrage mounts, much of it an understandable reaction to the consumer's shrinking say in a changing marketplace, nearly every public response to every lawsuit against the industry matches the one most had—rightfully so—to the claim against Kane & Lynch 2, a forgettable sequel-for-the-sake-of-a-sequel from nearly two years ago: Shut the fuck up.
Shut the fuck up, China, because Kane & Lynch 2 didn't speak well of video games either. Shut the fuck up, dude who sued Ubisoft, alleging his story was stolen by Assassin's Creed. Definitely shut the fuck up, Zynga, claiming you owns anything with the suffix "ville." The popular reaction to all of these is the same. They come to the court of public opinon bearing a heavy presumption against their validity. Any validity.
It's how we've been conditioned, from reading subjects other than entertainment. Seriously, when is the last time you read the story of a civil judgment for the plaintiff and said to yourself, "Good. I'm glad they got theirs." The cause isn't helped by oleaginous creatures like John Edwards, a lawyer who took on these cases—with some very sympathetic clients, mind you—before he was elected to the Senate, or by the constant bombardment of ambulance-chasing advertisements on 24-hour news networks or sports radio.
Yet personal injury is a very real thing. The woman in the infamous McDonald's hot coffee case suffered—let's not fuck around here—third degree burns on her crotch. She needed a goddamn skin graft. That's not ow-my-neck after getting tapped on the bumper. And yet, for a culture that likes to puff up in such a fuck-the-man posture in Internet comments and Facebook posts, as soon as someone decides to actually sue the man, then they're a whiner or, worse, trying to hit the lottery.
About the most sympathy you'll see is when EA decided to sue the maker of a helicopter that appeared in Battlefield. Gamers really didn't know who to tell to go fuck themselves—EA, a longstanding monolithic symbol of oppression, or a private company lawyering up to preserve its creative ownership of a vehicle built with taxpayer money. And that's a huge company taking on a huge company.
This isn't to suggest that the claim originating in China, the lawsuit against Assassin's Creed or, most risibly, Paul Christoforo, of the infamous "Ocean Marketting" fiasco, have cases worth respecting, to use three very recent examples.
But it does make me wonder what, if any, legal action would garner the sympathy of the public.
Hey folks, Something Negative is a rant. Love it or hate it, we all need to blow off steam on Fridays. Let yours out in the comments.