Thursday, July 28, 2005

Steal cars, kill cops, but please: no sex!

I've seen this story knocking around for a while now. I'm well aware that there's more important news out there right now - this, for instance. Then there's this. Or how about this?

But there's something about this. . . nonsense that just tickles me. The Grand Theft Auto series of video games, in case you are not aware (or have been living under a rock for the last decade), are amoral entertainment of the highest order. The object of the game(s) is to kill, maim, steal and generally be a naughty person in the pursuit of personal glory. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the latest installment of the franchise, puts you in the shoes of young, black gang member Carl Johnson in the early 1990s. Your objective? Kill rival gangs and take control of the state. Plus some other stuff.

Anyway, why all the fuss? Well, it seems a geek somewhere has written some code that reveals some (gosh, I can hardly bring myself to say it) scenes of a sexual nature within the game. That's it. Apparently this is shocking enough to get Hilary "Keep A High Profile, Only Two And A Half Years 'Til The Next Primaries" Clinton involved, and it's even been debated in the House Of Representatives.

This is utterly preposterous for three reasons:
  1. It's only a computer game.
  2. It's only a computer game.
  3. This game has been on sale since before Christmas with an 'M' (Mature) rating in the US. Which means you have to be seventeen to buy it (18 in the UK). In other words, old enough to have sex.
Elsewhere in the game you can (if you so choose) drag somebody from their car and kick them to death. Or you can run over pedestrians for fun. Or perhaps you'd rather shoot a cop in the head from point blank range or bludgeon a prostitute with a baseball bat and steal all her money? It's all in there, and well advertised.

So what are we supposed to conclude from all this? That creating a bloodbath with a shotgun is tolerated within a video game. As is being a cop killer or a psychopath. But the merest suggestion that two badly animated digitised people engage in sexual acts and Congress want to get involved! This from a country where you can buy an actual gun only a year after being old enough to buy GTA:SA.

Topsy-turvy morality perhaps? It's just a game. It's definitely not for kids - but that's for parents to control. In any case, it couldn't begin to compete with the violence, terror and horror that exists in the real world.

9 comments:

Alex Swanson said...

"This from a country where you can buy an actual gun only a year after being old enough to buy GTA:SA."

Actually, you can do that in this country too. If you're really finicky you can even do so legally.

ph said...

Looks like I have been under a rock. Although it does amaze and cheer me how in this overconnected world people can still be completely unaware of things that they have no interest in.

Anonymous said...

The principled banker wants money and the limits of his 'want' are prescribed only by law.

The nieve young want sex having no knowledge of consequence to themselves or others hearts and minds not to mention the possible reproduction of a child with a right to a decent family that wants and loves. Is Cromwell become the King? What not to understand.
dw USA

Citizen Sane said...

Err, come again?

Anonymous said...

Exactly!

Steve Guzman said...

Yeah... I walked into a local video rental shop and the lady runnin' the place was letting her 4 year old play GTA all day long.

Learn 'em early I always say! No.. kidding here... But, on top of that I think the game kinda sucks. Let 'em play Mario! It's more fun and less mindlessly violent.

Citizen Sane said...

I've enjoyed GTA:SA but I agree with you. Although my preference would be Zelda - genius.

Anonymous said...

Maybe off track but here in US English police are used as example of why we don't need guns here or that guns provoke violence. The posts I read seem old, and a suspect terrorist was shot last week. Do Bobbys carry guns now?
dw

Citizen Sane said...

As a matter of course, British police are still unarmed. But in recent years, and especially since 7/7, it has been increasingly common to see police with guns out and about in London. Not sure about the rest of the country though.