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The latest campaigns against the Grand Theft Auto come as little surprise to anyone, but still serve up interesting societal questions

Perhaps the biggest video game release of the year, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV is an iconic example of the power of the video game industry.  EA Games is desperate to acquire Take Two, almost entirely out of a desire to get its hands on the lucrative franchise.  Sony is hoping the system will help re-energize Playstation 3 sales.  And movie executives are fearful that the game will ruin their summer blockbusters by stealing away their viewers' time.

The power of GTA IV, though, as always is not merely in sales, but in shock.  On top of its extreme violence, usage of profanity, drugs and alcohol the new game pushes the envelope featuring masturbation, fellatio and intercourse -- though stopping short of full nudity sex scenes.  In an era, seen by some as prudish, in which parents are more appalled by sex, a biological function, than severed heads it seemed inevitable that the game would draw some high profile criticism.  Now the critics have come out, both with some familiar and unfamiliar faces.

First up is a new foe -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  The group is incensed at the game for providing depictions of driving intoxicated.  It is lobbying the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to change the game's rating from "Mature" to "Adults Only."  Such a change seems unlikely, but if it happened, it would mean that the game would be unable to be carried at many major retail stores.

MADD released a statement saying, "Drunk driving is not a game, and it is not a joke.  Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime and it is also 100 percent preventable."

The organization is also trying to convince publisher Take-Two Interactive and developer Rockstar Games to stop distribution of the popular game "out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving."

In GTA IV players can "drink" at bars and then afterwards have the option of hailing a taxi, walking off their intoxication, or throwing caution to the wind and driving drunk.  When driving drunk the view blurs and its harder to steer.  Players recover from intoxication after several minutes in-game.

Rockstar shot down MADD's requests in a public statement in which it said, "We have a great deal of respect for MADD's mission, but we believe the mature audience for 'Grand Theft Auto IV' is more than sophisticated enough to understand the game's content.  For the same reason that you can't judge an entire film or television program by a single scene, you can't judge 'Grand Theft Auto IV' by a small aspect of the game."

Meanwhile a familiar foe of the video game industry is rearing his ugly head.  Jack Thompson, scolded by the Florida Supreme Court for his record of junk lawsuits against video games is back at it.  He's calling on a Florida U.S. attorney to sue Take Two and retailers for offering the game.

He raves in his letter, "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems.  Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."

Then in a comical moment he compares the game to the polio virus.  He continues, "Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus ... The 'vaccine' that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this.  If you doubt me, look at the aforementioned streaming audio/video. It will make you sick."

As "evidence" Thompson offers up a link to a graphic video from IGN entitled "Ladies of Liberty City," which is viewable online, and definitely not a good idea for those of you reading at work.  While the only likely ramification of Thompson's tirade is the furthering of his public reputation of somewhat of a joke, it does continue to illustrate the controversy over whether video games merit the same depictive rights as other forms of graphical media.

However, controversy certainly isn't stopping customers. GTA IV is expected to set both sales and profit records, as analysts predict it to sell around 9 million copies, and make $400M USD at launch.


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RE: Irony
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/1/2008 12:29:11 PM , Rating: 3
Hmmm, maybe I should have done that :) I took Michelle to a bar on our second date and got plastered. She asked me to take her home, so I hopped back in my SUV and drove her home without getting into an accident or getting pulled by the cops. I guess that saved me fare for the taxi :-)

Didn't bother her though... and I scored with her the next night, so all is well in Niko's eyes (DualShock3 FTW) :)


RE: Irony
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/1/2008 1:14:51 PM , Rating: 5
Haha I'm so not interesting in the random dating minigame. I took her bowling once and figured this was the dumbest shit I've ever seen in a video game (I haven't played the Sims much) -- there's no story value in doing that right?


RE: Irony
By BladeVenom on 5/1/2008 1:39:05 PM , Rating: 5
If you hated that, you'd best steer clear of Japanese PC games.


RE: Irony
By afkrotch on 5/2/2008 12:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but in those type of games, you have sex with them. Fully mosaic'd out and all.


RE: Irony
By nugundam93 on 5/5/2008 1:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
the ones most fun are those with full animation, like in sexy beach. some just have stills with sound (background music, voices). :D

i sure did waste some time playing them too way back. hahaha.


RE: Irony
By AlphaVirus on 5/1/2008 2:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
there's no story value in doing that right?

I questioned this, I do not know but it does not hurt to have a female to tag along. I'm hoping towards the end of the game, she will turn into a Bonny and Clyde deal. :)


RE: Irony
By AlphaVirus on 5/1/2008 2:24:23 PM , Rating: 5
I did the same thing "Hey a martini glass on the map, must be a bar" so I took her there. After the date was over, he is stumbling around but I was not about to leave my car so I hopped in and drove off. The car started to drift and swerve and the visuals began to blur. This was fun and all but it actually made me slow down to prevent crashing my car.

I would have scored the next date but I accidently pressed the L1 button and fired my pistol off while driving her home. She starts to scream and hops out the car...lets just say she does not like the violent lifestyle.

I still am trying to get her to go on another date with me. After I spent all that money on nice clothes, shoes, etc and finding the nicest neighborhood to steal a decent car.


RE: Irony
By afkrotch on 5/2/2008 1:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
lol.

I want to play this game so bad, but our local store (AAFES) is sold out. It'll probably be another month or two before I see it on the shelves again.

Have no fear, for play-asia is here. I want to get Minna no Golf 5, as the US version (Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds has terrible voices), and Fate/Tiger Colosseum along with GTA IV. Yes yes, I love my PS3. That's not to say I hate my Xbox 360. I blew $240 on a single game and two XBL point cards in Feb. That's more than GTA IV, Minna no Golf 5, and the F/T Colosseum game. $40 USD more.

Another week and I'll be getting drunk and driving over ppl's moms...in-game of course.


RE: Irony
By AlphaVirus on 5/7/2008 2:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
Its almost been a week, have you been able to purchase GTA4?


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














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