Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Grand Theft Auto and a Contrived Controversy

The video game industry has decided to change the rating for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to AO for adults only, up from M for mature. This is due to the revelation that a code downloaded from the Internet can unlock secret graphic sex scenes.

The outrage over all of this has bordered on absurd. Talk about a completely contrived issue. First of all, anyone who has the technical skills to download and install code from the Internet can easily access all manner of pornographic material that would make anything in Grand Theft Auto seem tame. Secondly, does anyone honestly think that graphic sex somehow turns this bloody, sadistic, vulgar game from a family title into an adult title? This is a game where you can blow people’s heads off, kill cops, pimp prostitutes and wage gang warfare. Really, how much more adult can it get?

Fact is, parents' groups seized on this to perform one of their usual overreactions and demands for censorship while politicians like Hillary Rodham Clinton opportunistically jumped on board to shore up their pro-family credentials.

But where were they when this game was released? In my mind, it should have had the adults only rating to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant and enthralling game that I thoroughly enjoyed playing. But I wouldn’t let any child of mine near it—even if they were well into their teens. It’s too realistic, too violent and too easily gets into your head.

The message here, as in most cases, should not be one of stricter government regulation but of parental education. Mom and Dad—you gotta watch what your kids are playing. Some of those games are worse than the ratings indicate.


At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you gotta admit, hillary did what millions of rabid right wing kooks and their politicians couldnt do. she got them to change the rating with just a little tough talk. got to respect her for one upping the "family values" people on this.

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

first off hillary is a man secoundly people must understand that you can not push your "family values" on others nore can people say games like this are immoral

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think this is all stupid GTA san andreas was rated MATURE. that means it is not meant for children. the idea of saying that it is the devolopers, publishers,or retailers fault for children being exposed to the game and the sex scene is ridoclus. even if the sex scene is in the game,children are not suposed to be playing it or viewing it. its rated mature. they should be concerned for the parents who bye this for there kids because you need an adult to purchase m rated games (at least at gamestop) And why is clinton persuing this now? there was strong violence. language and sexual themes since the games first came out. i think she is doing this for publictity for her posibble campaign for president I love GTA, rockstar, take2 and always will.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

I have to say that I have difficulty taking anyone seriously on this topic who spells the word meaning "to purchase" with an "e" and without an "u".

At 3:37 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

oh, Maggie ... you're being ridoclus. The game devolopers don't bye that argument, nore do I.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Rob said...

If ridoclus is a new fad, I want in!!!

In all seriousness, what strikes me is that we tolerate all the violence but the moment something becomes too sexually explicit, then that's where we draw the line? We have laws that censor pornography but not laws that sensor violence. I'd much rather have my kids watch violent-free sexually explicit acts than watch people killing, maming or otherwise destroying each other. If they're going to absorb anything, learn it and use it later in life, I'd rather them be screwing around than breaking kneecaps.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

Can we talk about wanting our kids to screw around before we teach them it is ok, Robbie?

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why aren't parents being charged with criminal neglence? if you bring alcohol into your home, and the child drinks it, wouldn't the parent be charged? what about guns? if a neighbor kid comes over while the parents aren't home and the kids find and play with the gun, wouldn't the parents be charged?
alcohol and guns are not illegal, and neither is this game, but there are regulations and laws governing these, parents need to use these ratings and not be blaming the makers (the makers of games, the makers of guns, the makers of alcohol)
it's called being a parent


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