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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 Sulphademus on 5/1/2008 1:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying its good or bad; I'm just saying that it is and these people, Mr. Thompson, like to think that it isn't.

I would also say that teenage promiscuity is unrelated to TV or Movies or Video Games.

RE: Irony
By FITCamaro on 5/1/2008 2:05:28 PM , Rating: 5
I would also say that teenage promiscuity is unrelated to TV or Movies or Video Games.

I would say its highly related. Kids see shows and movies where sleeping around is shown to be acceptable, even cool. Plus they see sluts like Paris Hilton all over the media glamorizing it and acting like its no big deal and cool. Finally, hip hop and rap music encourages it as well in their lyrics(not all but a lot). All these things are the "cool" and "in" things so kids get the idea that this is how they should behave to be accepted. Yes good parenting is a stop gap against this but unfortunately, there's very few good parents anymore.

RE: Irony
By Ryanman on 5/1/2008 3:22:37 PM , Rating: 5
actually, as a teenager, let me say that I want to have sex because I've heard rave reviews from everyone else. Not becasue it's on CSI : D

RE: Irony
By tdawg on 5/1/2008 4:26:03 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly! Kids derive their desire to have sex from other kids that have done it. While media may play a small part, it's peer pressure and high school perceptions that get kids to have sex before they're necessarily ready.

RE: Irony
By AlphaVirus on 5/1/2008 2:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
I would also say that teenage promiscuity is unrelated to TV or Movies or Video Games.

Thats what Jack is not understanding.

Sex has been around..hmmm..if scientest are correct, millions of years. Caveman anyone? Dinosex anyone? So all of this was way before tv and movies. Tv and movies just started making people think sex was a bigger problem than it should be.

RE: Irony
By FITCamaro on 5/1/2008 2:30:56 PM , Rating: 1
Humans are not cavemen or animals anymore. We have evolved. We have self control. We don't act entirely off instinct as animals do.

Teenagers mainly do what is considered cool and what will make them popular. Having sex is one of those things these days thanks to mainstream media. Back in the days when having sex as a teen was heavily frowned upon, it didn't happen as much. Now its pretty much considered "cool" for someone to sleep around. I've heard girls joke about "I'm such a slut". That's sad.

I'm not saying all sex as a teen is wrong. I'm just saying promiscuous sex is running rampant these days, both in teens and adults, and its a problem. All its doing is creating a mountain of welfare cases for the rest of us to pay for since people are stupid and don't use proper protection. And not having access to the protection isn't an excuse. If you need it and don't have it, you shouldn't do it anyway because you want to. You just shouldn't have sex.

RE: Irony
By AlphaVirus on 5/1/2008 2:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this is the cycle.

DNA has I-want-sex-genetics
the more and more kids you have the stronger this gene gets
news portrays sex as bad so adults think its bad for kids
kids watch the latest MTV show and little Katy thinks sex is cool between her and her young friends
those same kids go to school and discuss with their real life friends and thus
public sex among teens is accepted.

Sex is something we have been doing forever, groups like MADD and fools like Jack should stop making it seem as if GTA is a ploy to destroy little kids lives.

RE: Irony
By FITCamaro on 5/1/2008 3:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
groups like MADD and fools like Jack should stop making it seem as if GTA is a ploy to destroy little kids lives.

Agree 100% there.

RE: Irony
By Sulphademus on 5/1/2008 5:15:03 PM , Rating: 4
Well, I believe we have evolved technologically and societ..icaly? But genetically? Not so much.

Our bodies are still made to start reproducing at 13ish. And it wasn't all that long ago that that was common. Back in dino-days early and frequent reproduction was probably very important to the survival of the species.

I don't think the concept of 'maturing too quickly' even came about until recently. It requires a cushion society for that to occur. No one there to hand you free bread or babysit your kid? Too bad. And over the centuries the evolution of society has added more and more cushion.

The biggest thing though is that now, children are a liability. Children were labor in the middle ages. That doesn't work nearly as well in an office as it does on a farm.

Advancements in contraception (please google the methods they used to try!) are pushing down the unplanned pregnancy rate. The percentage of teenage mothers in the USA has dropped dramatically since the 1950s when you just couldn't talk about such things.

Of course this could mean anything about the rate of sex itself. I'm sure though that alot of it has to do with the increased availability of effective contraception.

Society has changed alot. Science is unfathomably different. Our DNA is fairly the same.

RE: Irony
By jeff834 on 5/1/2008 11:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
Having sex as a teen was frowned upon and didn't happen as much when exactly? In the 80s? Nope. 70s? Nuh uh. 60s? LOL yeah right. When was Romeo and Juliet? Late 16th century? Must have been before that. Is it much more visible now than it was? No doubt. I mean back in the 50s when 16 year old Susie got pregnant she was sent away somewhere and never talked about. In the 70s and 80s you heard about pregnant girls but they were sluts you didn't really know. Nowadays, seeing a pregnant girl or two in a highschool class isn't uncommon, I knew a couple myself, but I think it's more our perceptions of things that have changed than the actual sexual activity that occurs.

I lost my virginity at 16 and many of my friends around the same time, but we all used protection and so do most middle class suburban teenagers in similar situations. Teenage pregnancy runs rampant where people are poorly educated. Learning about sex ed in school isn't good enough parents need to make sure their kids know the score and hang out with the right people.

RE: Irony
By robinthakur on 5/2/2008 7:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
Either that or if you're gay you really don't have to worry about getting anyone pregnant. I'm not saying its an answer for everyone but hey... :)

RE: Irony
By snownpaint on 5/2/2008 10:39:53 AM , Rating: 2
Haha.. We are animals.. A little more civilized, but still hunters and foragers. Read the news, not CNN or Fox, the human race for the most part are still barbarians. As for a reduction in sex life, I think the 21st century has way less sex then past. In comparison to the 60's -70's.. You want to talk about sex. This was off the charts after the pill came out. STDs caused a scare, but it is so much fun, I doubt it will ever be to the level the conservatives would like to see it. Trying to hide it or curb its presence in the media, is like not talking about or noticing your nose. I would say holding it back only breaks the flood gates.

RE: Irony
By Coca Cola on 5/1/2008 2:46:57 PM , Rating: 1
to those that are typing out his name, just refer to him as "that crazy bitch", don't capitalize

his name, don't give him a title (Mr.), he's not especially don't feed him

violent video games after midnight :) my opinion, but oh well

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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