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Ice-T identifies with CJ from GTA: San Andreas
Nelson George: Video games are more important than hip-hop

In Alix Lambert’s book CRIME: A Series of Extraordinary Interviews Exposing the World of Crime - Real and Imagined, rap star Ice-T and author/filmmaker Nelson George speak on a variety of topics surrounding criminal tendencies and mentality, as excerpted by The Guardian.

The two touch on various topics, with one being of particular relevance today with the recent release of the latest chapter in the Grand Theft Auto video game series. “I love them,” proclaimed Ice-T. “The best one is Grand Theft Auto, which is just fucking mayhem. I'm in the Scarface game, which teaches you how to sell drugs, and I was in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I played a cracked-out rap star who had his lyrics stolen and the person that stole them became a star. So I went on crack and by the end of the game I get my reputation and my mansion back. You start off as a kid in South Central LA, you build up your rep and then you get a gang. It's definitely some crazy shit.”

As Ice-T confesses his passion for video games, Nelson George takes it to the next level as he said, “Video games are more important than hip-hop. There's no doubt about it. The violence and nihilism that everyone thinks is in hip-hop is pumped up about 18 times in video games. That's really what's driving young male culture, that's really the new rock'n'roll.”

Ice-T spoke on the second Grand Theft Auto game on the PS2, “The Vice City games are the worst shit ever - in a good way. It's so intentionally wrong that you've got to get into it. You go, "Oh my God, if I'm out of money I just rob a liquor store. Inside this world, all the things that you think about, you can do.”

George continued, “The funny thing about this debate is so many hip-hop critics are fixated on rap and not talking enough about video games, which aren't a racially determinant form. Obviously those Grand Theft Auto guys were very canny because they tied in to Scarface, they tied in to hip-hop. I mean, Def Jam has a line of video games. Hip-hop became subsumed into the games.

As a filmmaker himself, George draws parallels between video games and movies. “With video games the relationship to the culture is different, they're much more like movies. They're a really interesting hybrid. The Grand Theft Auto dudes were all about figuring out how to tap into urban culture. Video games, like movies, take in so many disciplines.”

While both hip-hop and video games have been scapegoats for violence, Ice-T turns it around and sees video games such as Grand Theft Auto as outlets for aggressive feelings. “Does that make you want to do it in real life? No. To me it diffuses it. People say video games make kids violent. I don't think so. It can be an outlet for that aggression. It's a masculine thing. Human beings have some weird blood lust, it roots back to us being animals. It's ill, though.”

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RE: its about time
By MrBlastman on 5/20/2008 9:12:08 AM , Rating: 5
People will always use the latest trend as an excuse for their kids misbehaving. It is like America has forgotten how to raise a family and watch over their young ones in a responsible way. Instead, they feel the government should watch out for them and tell them what is good and bad.

This is a very bad notion indeed, but it is where the world is headed already and it comes closer and closer every day. Just look at Great Britain, with all the security cameras everywhere (I think there is one camera per citizen now but don't quote me on that). So rather than suck it up and face the fact that kids don't raise themselves and their Atari is not their Nanny (yes, I'm old), they cry shenanigans and wanton despair the moment they see some kids go shoot up a school shouting - The games did it! The games made them do it! They put voices in their heads!

... Sad, well, more than sad but really depressing ... In our childhood haldol-influenced society, where parents are quick to medicate and spare the rod and spoil the child, it is no wonder that when the kids grow up their lack of responsibility is so pronounced. But gee, it isn't the parents fault, it is the poor teaching, poor programming on TV and VIDEO GAMES THAT DID IT.

I think, or hope, you are getting the point now. It isn't the games at all; there are plenty of 30+ year old gamers out there that are responsible citizens. They hold jobs, they have a family, and they spend time with their children. They participate in sports and other activities with them raising a wholesome family. These gamers are people whom have been playing video games since the Coleco-vision and 2600 were the hot item.

They aren't going around blowing the world up in an alcoholism-induced tirade. No, they sit at home on their couches and with a snide one-eyed grin, they lock and load their favorite firearm, take aim and launch forth destructive cataclysms of mushrooming body-part fountains. All while drinking their favorite soft drink or eating a chocolate bar - If you watch closely, you'll even see them chuckle. It is stress relief plain in simple.

The difference is, though, that these 30+ year olds whom grew up as gamers know the real truth, and also realize their kids are important and how they treat them, watch over them, care for them and quintessentially nurture them influences the end-product.

I wish more people would see this, rather than being quick to sue or point the finger and ask for Uncle Sam the parent to watch over their family for them.

RE: its about time
By MAIA on 5/20/2008 10:24:41 AM , Rating: 5
I'm 30, a gamer, a father and I couldn't agree more with your opinion MrBlastman.

Teaching our children is a lot more complicated than blaming their behaviour just because some play violent games. The parents should have the time and patience to give proper education. It's not the school, it's not the state, it's the parents.

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 10:48:59 AM , Rating: 4
Same here, but a year younger :)
I agree completely. I play violent games, but only after the girls bedtime. My four year old is an avid gamer, but I always play with her on her games so she can ask what is going on and I can help her.
I just feel she needs to learn about ways of the real world, before she learns about action without consequence.

RE: its about time
By daftrok on 5/20/2008 11:44:50 AM , Rating: 3
And that's the toughest part. I think that's why most parents today are either too lazy or oblivious to try to raise their kids properly. They just think that if they go to school and you go to work and just talk for a 1/2 hour at home everything will be all right.

Another explanation why parents (older parents) don't tackle these issues is because they can't relate to children these days what with the video games and the internet and texting and omg rofl wtf lol. That's why I feel older parents should play games. Not the kiddy games, the adult games. They can see what makes it fun and what they need to talk to their kids about. Like if you shotgun a guy's head off you have to tell your kids "this is just a game don't do this in real life unless it's Bin Laden".

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/20/2008 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 3
Or giant aliens...I teach her to kill those too :)

I agree on your point though. The older parents I know are awful/ill informed about games. Zoe plays Mario Kart/Smash Bros online with her cousins and can hold her own. She also likes to play other games, like Guitar Hero, but its amazing how so many people that are just 5-10 years older than me, think that all games are about killing...I laugh, because these are usually the same people that sit there kids down in front of CSI/Soapnet/MTV while they do their own thing.

RE: its about time
By MightyAA on 5/20/2008 7:32:17 PM , Rating: 5
40.. 3 kids, and 30 years of gaming :P... Need to remember that Ice-T won't help the gaming cause much. They hate him too for "Cop Killer" because they take the fantasy of his lyrics for non-fiction..

Regardless, he's right. To many people now and these days assume a child doesn't understand the difference between "fantasy" and reality. If your kids don't know, that's because you failed as a parent to allow kids to explore the fantasy part of their imagination. One oddity I've noted is that the parents themselves against games like this often too have a problem figuring out fiction from fact taking things literally; they're often the very religious bible thumpers that are the most outspoken..

RE: its about time
By Bender 123 on 5/21/2008 12:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
I always enjoyed the the irony of T playing a police detective on Homicide...

RE: its about time
By Etern205 on 5/20/2008 11:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Agree with the both of you, but I'm a hell lot younger than the both of you. ;)

The first game that I've ever play when I was 15 was Solider of Fortune and blasting those heads off with the shotgun was the coolest thing I ever saw. After than it was GTA 3 and from that point on my favorite game genre is FPS because it makes me felt like I was actually part of it. Of course there are other games that I've played including racing, adventure, and educational. Some of them includes violence in it, but it didn't make me go out and randomly start killing people.

The problem with today like what most of you have said is parents are not watching their children properly. And if something goes wrong they put the blame on society.

Games does not introduce violence to a child in the real world!

RE: its about time
By TimberJon on 5/20/2008 2:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a parent, but I grew up in a group home, and around much less "aware" individuals. Later on I was noticed as not belonging in that environment at all, and ended up assisting the staff doing their jobs monitoring the ones that needed all the help. At the same time I was trusted with babysitting the normal children of the couple that ran the group-home network in the state of CA. So while not being a parent I grew up with great morals and a solid foundation of what is right and wrong. I matured quickly while being completely addicted to video games. It did not make me aggressive, but that coupled with blockbuster hits, helped me to realize that any crime I commit could be traced to me, and anything that I lie about will be found out about and end up to be just not worth the trouble.

To instill that kind of thinking in your children is to save their a$$ from all kinds of trouble. Let them know their FINGERPRINTS are on everything and even if you use gloves.. you could have shed a single hair, or skin flake, Etc... Make an example every time they mess up with a discussion on how they will get caught every time, and to not take risks because of the potential for benefit.

Most movies and games are made to make money for their entertainment value. Great writers/directors also seek to educate and share things the average person doesn't know with complex ideas, like techniques, true secrets, physics, Etc.. through their movies. It is there where you can learn alot from these sources. For those who can absorb and analyze everything they observe, you can filter relavent info and use it in real life.

Playing video games requires a level of maturity! Not self control. Your ability to excercise self control comes from your understanding of the system, which branches from your life experiences. You can gain a concentration of life experience in a short amount of time with a clear understanding and exposure to video games, novels (not the dragon/wizard fantasy ones...) and movies.

My 2¢

RE: its about time
By Synastar on 5/20/2008 11:34:12 AM , Rating: 2
I 100% agree. There will always be something. In the 50's, it was Rock & Roll and Elvis' suggestive hip shaking. Some aspect of pop culture will always be blamed as the instrument of the fall of society. Video games are just the latest target due to their interactivity. Honestly, there's nothing in GTA IV that hasn't been done in motion pictures dozens of times over often much more graphically than in GTA.

RE: its about time
By mathew7 on 5/21/2008 3:58:32 AM , Rating: 2
Like others that replied to this post, I see the same thing:
People focus on cause, not on solutions.
I cannot say that the cause (videogames) is real or not for violence, and nobody can say for sure. Group tests show some results, but those results are too varied, as you can have a group of 1000 people that all become agreesive, and other 1000 people that don't change. But you only show the results for the 1st group. It is a matter of preception. The conclusions are drawn by the "goal" of the analyst.

And the solutions are not bannig (although it's easy), but careful explaining of why it's wrong.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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