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24th April
2008
  

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Grand Theft Auto IV brings out the nutters

Grand Theft Auto IV game With the Grand Theft Auto IV launch less than a week away, the expected wave of nutter publicity continues with an alert issued by watchdog group the Parents Television Council.

According to PTC president Tim Winter:

Since the first version was released in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has lowered the bar for appalling video game content…

In past versions, players could re-enact having sex with a prostitute, beating her bloody, taking her money and running her over with a car; shooting at police officers; and, by using a code easily accessible on many internet sites, having a realistic sexual encounter on screen — complete with audio commentary.


In the alert, PTC urges its members to pressure retailers not to carry GTA IV. Or, if retailers do choose to stock the game, PTC suggest that it be displayed where minors will not see it.

Based on article from Game Politics

On the side of a bus kiosk in South Florida, there is a poster. On the poster is a drawing of a man. The man is sneering, but he's not doing anything remotely pornographic or violent. He's not doing anything, really. There are some words on the poster, too. They're not obscene. Nor do they incite violence. The poster is an ad for Grand Theft Auto IV.

And anti-game nutter attorney Jack Thompson wants it torn down and wrote: I was shocked today to see a six-foot-high advertisement for Grand Theft Auto IV, a hyperviolent video game… on the side of a Metro Miami-Dade bus stop located… near Children's Hospital. In fact, the advertisement was adjacent to a kids' park…

The Grand Theft Auto games have been obsessively played by a number of teens who have then copycatted the outrageous, sociopathic violence in the games and killed innocent people…

The ESRB descriptor on GTA IV indicates this game contains “Strong Sexual Content.” The sale of this game to any minor will constitute a criminal act violative of… Florida's “Sexual Material Harmful to Minors Law”…

 

27th April
2008
  

Credibility Theft...

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Jack Thompson gets Miami to ban Grand Theft Auto IV bus adverts

Grand Theft Auto IV game A complaint by games nutter, Jack Thompson, has prompted Miami's transit authority to remove ads for Grand Theft Auto IV from local bus shelters.

Miami thus joins Chicago as the second major US city to pull GTA IV ads from its public transit system in recent days.

GamePolitics reported on Thursday that Thompson had complained about the GTA IV ads to Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez. The GTA IV ads were apparently removed sometime on Friday afternoon.

Hugh Chen, Miami-Dade Transit's deputy director of operations, told GamePolitics on Friday evening, via e-mail: The posters were removed after a review of our approval process and contract… Be assured that the circumstances around placing and removing these specific posters were reviewed before action was taken. We are governed by our contract with our shelter contractor and County ordinances.

In the wake of this success, Thompson is proceeding to get all GTA IV ads pulled from all US transit systems since such ads clearly violate promises made by the [ESRB], found right at its web site, not to place “Mature-rated” game ads in venues that will be seen by teens.

However, Thompson's contention about the ESRB appears to be incorrect. An ESRB spokesman told GP on Friday, Considering the overwhelmingly adult demographic profile of mass transit riders… the placement of GTA IV ads in these types of outlets would typically not be in violation of [Ad Review Council] guidelines.

 

28th April
2008
  

First Amongst Nutters...

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New Zealand nutters get wound up by Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV game Family First NZ is calling for the latest version of the Grand Theft Auto video game series to be banned in NZ.

Grand Theft Auto IV is scheduled for release this week. It follows on from previous Grand Theft Auto games which included constant graphic violence and sexual situations. Players could re-enact having sex with a prostitute, beating her bloody, taking her money and running her over with a car and shooting at police officers.

Rockstar Games which produces the game says the company is going even further in its pursuit of realism with this latest game in the series and players can buy cocaine, set enemies alight, shoot a policeman, drink drive, and visit strip clubs – all with improved physics and animation which makes the game feel more real, according to reviewers.

In Australia the graphic violence contained in the game was modified to meet an MA15+ rating, still with warnings of strong violence, strong coarse language, drug and sexual references. The Australian censorship board warned that as the violence is relatively frequent, causing blood spray and injury detail, the impact is strong.

It is completely naïve to believe that teenagers and young children won't have access to and be able to play the game, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ: It is also completely unrealistic to believe that young people will not be influenced in their attitudes and behaviours by constant exposure to this type of material.

Family First says that with concerns in the increasing rates of juvenile violent and sexual offending, it is time we acted to protect our young people and communities from the effects and influences of these extreme types of video games.

So-called 'entertainment' and freedom of expression should never be at the expense of the safety of our community, appropriate emotional and moral development of our children, and promoting acceptable attitudes towards women, violence and law enforcement, says McCoskrie.

However, such is the popularity of the title that big electronics stores are planning midnight openings to cash in on demand from gamers.

 

29th April
2008
  

Update: Elvis Lives...

Rockstar boss likens anti-games nutters to anti-Elvis nutters

Grand Theft Auto IV game The boss of Edinburgh video game company Rockstar North has said critics of the forthcoming Grand Theft Auto IV title are the same kind of people who complained about Elvis.

Leslie Benzies, the president of the Capital-based firm, made the claim amid waves of protest aimed at the game, which is due to be released tomorrow.

Benzies said the Grand Theft Auto games were victims of the same kind of misplaced moral panic that had greeted the early days of rock'n'roll.

He added: There is a big fear factor here. It's (like) the coming of the railways, it's Elvis shaking his hips. It's cars going over 25 miles per hour and making people explode. We've had such a beating over the past three years, by the US government, the British government, the Daily Mail. 'You kill prostitutes' – that's usually the objection. I ask if they've ever played the game. Invariably they haven't.

Benzies' reaction comes after top neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield, said yesterday that the rush of continually winning and losing at computer games produces "hits" of dopamine – a euphoria-inducing chemical that has also been linked to drug dependency. She added the long-term result could be damage to a part of the brain that is key to forming personality.

However, another leading neuroscientist, Stafford Lightman, professor of medicine at Bristol University, says there is "no evidence at all" for Baroness Greenfield's theory about the longer-term personality effect.

See review from the New York Times

Grand Theft Auto IV is a violent, intelligent, profane, endearing, obnoxious, sly, richly textured and thoroughly compelling work of cultural satire disguised as fun.

It calls to mind a rollicking R-rated version of Mad magazine featuring Dave Chappelle and Quentin Tarantino, and sets a new standard for what is possible in interactive arts.

It is by far the best game of the series, which made its debut in 1997 and has since sold more than 70 million copies.

 

1st May
2008
  

Update: Drunk in Charge of a Blame Campaign...

Supporting international hype for Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV gameAmerican Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has issued a statement critical of the opportunities for virtual drunk driving in GTA IV :

Each year nearly 13,500 people die in drunk driving crashes and another half a million are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes. This is why MADD is extremely disappointed by the decision of the manufacturers of the game Grand Theft Auto IV to include a game module where players have to drive drunk.

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% preventable. MADD is calling on the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to reclassify Grand Theft Auto IV as an Adults Only game, a step up from the current rating of Mature and for the manufacturer to consider a stop in distribution – if not out of responsibility to society then out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.

See full article from Game Politics

A member of New Zealand'
s Parliament has called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto IV . Independent MP Gordon Copeland told Scoop:

Sadly New Zealand has become a violent society. Our criminal courts are almost log jammed with cases involving murder, manslaughter, rape, and other heinous crimes. Our jails are overflowing. A recent study has indicated that, on a per capita basis, New Zealand is now twice as violent as the USA.

As David Rossman, one of the world's foremost experts in the field of violent crime, has said These (video games) are actually killing simulators and they teach... to kill in much the same way the astronauts on Apollo 11 learned how to fly to the moon.

Simply stated, it is time to reverse the tide of violence in New Zealand. We have to have the courage somewhere, sometime, to say “no” and I agree with kiwi parents and the police, that this is not a bad place to start.

See full article from Spong

Kevin Brookwell, quoted in Canada's The Calgary Sun newspaper said:

From the Calgary Police Service perspective, we see these types of video games as a grave concern.

Because of the lack of consequences and even reward, (youth) don't understand the impact violence can have . In some cases, those very games may be training grounds for people to commit criminal activity.

 

8th May
2008
  

Update: Cultural Poison...

Catholics get into Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto IV gameTeenage boys are going wild this week over a more dangerous cultural low: Grand Theft Auto IV . The new video game from Rockstar Games is flying off the shelves, and all the early reviews are glowing. GamePro magazine calls it the pinnacle of interactive entertainment and game design.

Yes, young lads, you can visit strip clubs and get lap dances, pick up prostitutes, go on assassination missions and conduct gangland-style executions. The New York Times applauded the game'
s winsome procession of grifters, hustlers, drug peddlers and other gloriously unrepentant lowlifes.

WhatTheyPlay.com is a resource site for parents, and interviews with children find they like the series for its wide-open play, particularly the vicarious experience of the thug life. I'
m never going to be a car-jacking, whore-murdering gang member,
said one, so I guess it'
s very interesting to see what your life could be like, if you chose that path. It'
s amazing to become so immersed in the game experience and really be able to feel like a criminal.


The violent content also attracts children as a way to vent anger or stress. One boy explained: “Last week, I missed homework and my teacher yelled at me. When I went home, I started playing [Grand Theft Auto] Vice City , and got a tank. I ran over everybody. And I smashed a lot of cars and blew them up.

There'
s something odd about our culture when we try to prevent children under 17 from seeing violent or sexually overt material in a two-hour R-rated movie, but we'
re cavalier about selling the same experience - actually, a more offensive experience since it'
s entirely non-judgmental - in an M-rated video game that will be played every night for months.

There'
s only one word to describe parents who would buy this game for their children: Disgraceful. But retailers, too, must be pressed to check ID before selling the game to children who most assuredly will seek to purchase it. Legally, stores cannot sell children pornographic magazines or handguns - but they can legally sell video games to children that contain pornographic content or that teach children how to gun down cops.

They can choose to line their pockets with the proceeds of the sale of this cultural poison to youngsters. They can join the chorus of consequential deniability, too. All they have to worry about is their conscience.

 

10th May
2008
  

Update: Nutters Bussed In...

Take-Two sue Chicago Transit who pulled Grand Theft Auto IV ads

GTA IV bus advertThe publisher of Grand Theft Auto 4 IV is suing the Chicago Transit Authority, accusing it of pulling ads promoting the video game without explanation.

The video game's publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. sued the transit authority in Manhattan federal court for violating its free speech and contractual rights, saying it pulled its posters within days of the ads first appearing on April 22.

Take Two accused the authority and its sales agent, Titan Outdoor LLC, of violating a $300,000 (150,000 pounds) ad campaign agreement that included running Grand Theft Auto 4 IV poster ads on the sides of buses and transit display spaces throughout the Chicago transit system scheduled for six weeks between April and June.

The suit seeks an order for the transit authority to run the ads as well as monetary damages of at least $300,000.

The advertisements were removed following a report by a Fox News affiliate that questioned why the ad was allowed to run after a wave of violent crimes in Chicago, the suit said.

 

30th July
2008
  

Update: GTA IV Ad OK at ASA...

ASA find against those whinging about Grand Theft Auto IV advert

Grand Theft Auto IV game A TV ad for the release of Grand Theft Auto IV (Cert 18) in association with Microsoft Xbox. The ad showed a man walking towards the viewer with the background scene and his clothes changing frequently. In the background there were several scenes of people firing guns and cars exploding. Towards the end of the ad, the man broke into a car by smashing the window and then drove away.

Issues:

  • 10 viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive and harmful, especially to children and young people under 18 years of age, because it condoned violence and criminal behaviour.
  • 7 viewers complained that the ad was scheduled inappropriately because it could be seen by children. Two viewers pointed out that the ad was shown during televised European football matches, which, they believed, were watched by audiences with a large number of children and young people.

The ad was cleared for TV by Clearcast who said the ad merely focused on the hero as he walked down a street. They maintained the action in the background was cartoon like and over-the-top as a graphic representation of a popular computer game, which was in its fourth version. Clearcast acknowledged that stealing a car was a criminal act but believed its depiction in the ad was extremely unlikely to encourage emulation in viewers or cause widespread offence. Clearcast believed, had the ad been for a film, viewers would not have complained. They said numerous film ads that contained violent images had less stringent timing restrictions.

Clearcast said the game Grand Theft Auto IV carried an 18 rating. They said they automatically gave games with 18 ratings an "ex-kids" restriction and they therefore were not shown around programmes made specifically for children. In addition there was a warning to broadcasters for sensitive scheduling because the game was available for only adults to buy. They had considered that the current ad contained no violent scenes and was not threatening in tone. They also believed it did not glorify the trappings of a gangster lifestyle. They had nonetheless taken a cautious approach and had given the ad a post 7:30 pm restriction.

ASA Assessment

The ASA noted that the main character did not engage with the background sequences and, in any case, they did not depict inter-personal violence or graphic scenes of injury. We considered that viewers were likely to regard the background scenes as dramatic action sequences associated with the game and they were unlikely to be seen to condone violent behaviour. We also considered that the sequences shown were relatively mild and fleeting and were therefore unlikely to cause harm to children by condoning violence. Although we noted the ad's climax featured a depiction of car crime, we noted Clearcast had given the ad a post-7:30 pm restriction, which reduced the number of unaccompanied children and young people who might see the ad.

We acknowledged that some viewers might object to the themes of the actual game itself. However, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm by condoning violence and criminal behaviour.

We concluded that the ad had been appropriately scheduled and the post-7:30 pm restriction was sufficient and did not find the advert in breach of the code.

 

4th August
2008
  

Update: Robbery and Blame...

Thai student kills cabbie in robbery and blames Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto IV game A Thai student has stabbed a taxi driver to death supposedly acting out a robbery he copied from the online game Grand Theft Auto .

Neighbours called police in Bankok about 2.30am after being woken by a constantly blowing car horn and saw people struggling inside a pink taxi.

Police arrived and saw Polwat Chinno, 19, trying to steer the taxi backwards, but the street was a dead end. The teen locked himself in the car but they finally persuaded him to get out.

There was blood all over the vehicle. The body of the taxi driver, Kuan Pohkang was on the back seat. He had been stabbed about 10 times. Two sharp knives were found nearby.

Police said Polwat confessed to being addicted to the online game GTA and said killing seemed easy in the game. He imitated a scene where a criminal kills a driver for his car to escape police.

I needed money to play the game every day. My parents give me only 100 baht a day, which is not enough. I am also fed up with them fighting. They are civil servants and do not make good money, he said.

Today [Saturday] my mother gave me 500 baht, so in the evening I went to the Lotus superstore and bought knives. He flagged down a taxi and when it arrived at the destination, he pulled out a knife and held it against the driver's neck. He said he did not mean to kill him but the driver reached for a metal bar under a console and tried to hit him. He stabbed the driver several times, killing him, then dragged the body onto the back seat and sat behind the wheel.

He could not drive, but thought it would not be hard. He was still struggling with the car when police arrived.

 

5th August
2008
  

Update: Deflecting Blame...

Thai distributor pulls Grand Theft Auto game

Grand Theft Auto IV game Distributors of Grand Theft Auto yesterday suspended sales in Thailand after a teenager allegedly killed a taxi driver in a bloody frenzy, re-enacting scenes from the blockbuster video game.

Police who caught the 18-year-old at the scene said he confessed to having planned the attack to find out if robbery was as easy as depicted in the violent game.

Phalawat Chinno, who played the game obsessively for hours every day, bought two knives and chose his 54-year-old victim carefully as he believed he would be too old to fight back, police said.

The secondary school student said the killing was a robbery that went wrong. New Era Interactive Media, the Thai distributors of Grand Theft Auto, which recently launched its fourth edition, has asked shops to withdraw copies from sale and video arcades to suspend the game.

We are sending out requests ... to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games,
said Sakchai Chotikachinda, the marketing director of New Era.

 

6th August
2008
  

Update: Grand Theft Auto Ban...

Thai government react to blame game

Grand Theft Auto IV game I have been seeing a lot of coverage on the killing of a taxi driver by a Thai teen who says he was inspired by the new release of the violent video game called Grand Theft Auto . The English language news stories left out much of the detail about the victim and the accused murderer. The Thai news had interviews of the families and other people involved.

The story is very sad for many reasons. On the victim's side, they are a poor family and the man was the only person making any income, and not much because driving a taxi does not pay very well. He became the chosen victim because he was older and smaller than the first taxi driver the killer approached.

The killer's family is also poor but the teen had always been known as polite and very nice, even getting the dek dee (good child) award at school. The mother was a house maid and the father a security guard. The kid was alone a lot and the parents never really knew what he was doing all that time he was playing violent video games.

The 18 year old confessed to the killing, which means he won't face the death penalty as some western media incorrectly reported. He gave a detailed account of how he planned for the robbery and chose the victim, although he said the killing was not originally part of the plan but he did it when the victim fought back.

The distributor of the game in Thailand has stopped all sales and is requesting that internet shops return the game for replacement with a different game.

I saw on TV this morning that GTA has been declared illegal. Police will search internet cafes and if any are found to be making the game available they will be fined 20,000 to 100,000 Baht.

 

7th August
2008
  

Update: High Scoring Video Games...

Thailand recommends a list of violent games

Grand Theft Auto IV game As if pulling Grand Theft Auto IV from Thai shelves wasn’t overreacting, the Thai Ministry of Health has drawn up a shortlist of the ten most dangerous games.

1. GTA
2. Man Hunt
3. Scarface
4. 50 Cent - Bullet Proof
5. 300
6. The Godfather
7. Killer 7
8. Resident Evil 4
9. God of War
10. Hitman

Game Politics has cheekily pointed out that this is is exactly the same as that produced by Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy also used to blame all the world's ills on video games.

 

9th August
2008
  

Update: Follow That Cabbie...

Spain cabbies call for games ban based on Thai killing

Grand Theft Auto IV game Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reports that an association of Spanish taxi drivers has called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto .

Josep Maria Go๑i, secretary general of the Catalan Taxi Federation, has requested that the Spanish government pull GTA titles off the market.

Go๑i makes it clear that the Taxi Federation's request is based on the Thailand murder case.

The cabbie spokesman didn't stop at GTA , however, calling for a ban on all games with a high level of violence or which "celebrate" drug trafficking or prostitution.

GameSpot points out: There are no actual missions in GTA IV which require players to rob, stab, or kill a taxi driver...

Malaysian Ban It

Based on article from gamepolitics.com

The head of a Malaysian consumer rights organization has called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto and similarly violent video games.

The move comes following the murder of a Bangkok cabbie last Saturday. Thai government officials were quick to link that killing to what they said was the 19-year-old suspect's Grand Theft Auto play.

In an op-ed for the Star Online, Mohamed Idris, president of the Consumers Association of Penang, writes: It was recently reported that the Thai authorities have banned a computer video game known as Grand Theft Auto... Violent video games and television programmes have previously been linked to expressions of violence and aggression in young viewers. It is time for the authorities to act.

If this particular video game is available in Malaysia, CAP calls on the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to immediately halt its sales and ban this game. The Ministry should also warn the public and any stocks that have already been sold should be recalled.

 

10th August
2008
  

Update: GTA Brainstorm...

Thailand to investigate violent video games

Grand Theft Auto IV game The Thailand Department of Special Investigation will host a conference on violent computer games and youths on Thursday, in a bid to find measures to address the issue.

The move follows a brutal murder of a city cabbie by a schoolboy copying Grand Theft Auto. Experts will brainstorm ways to end this kind of behaviour.

No doubt some kneejerk policies will result

 

13th August
2008
  

Update: Empowering the Vulnerable...

Thailand rants about copycat game violence

Grand Theft Auto IV game Creators of violent video games should be prosecuted if copycats take their content into real life.

It's high time game makers face the legal consequences of their creations, a top Thai government official says.

This reaction comes in the wake of a brutal slaying of a city taxi driver by a teenager obsessed with blood-and-guts shoot-'em-up game Grand Theft Auto .

When a player copycats a crime he or she sees in the game, the game maker should be prosecuted, says Somchai Jaroen-amnuaysuk, the deputy director of the Welfare Promotion, Protection and Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups Office.

Prosecutions will automatically force game makers to act more responsibly, Somchai says.

Dr Somprot Sarakosas, a former spokesman of the Human Security and Social Development Ministry, agrees the government should explore legal avenues against all parties responsible for such violence: At the same time, everyone, especially the Education Ministry, should make children aware that games and real life are two different things.

National Culture Commission chief Preecha Gunteeya says the government has to do something to control violence-packed games, including imposing a rating system. We must regulate gaming cafes, too he says.

 

16th August
2008
  

Update: The Rating Game...

Thailand to implement age ratings for video games

Grand Theft Auto IV game The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will ask the Culture Ministry to form a panel to rate computer games, following the Aug 8 murder of a taxi driver by a teenage schoolboy.

Yannapol Youngyuen, head of the DSI's bureau of technology and cyber crime, suggested distributors of computer games be asked to help screen game content, saying the planned rating panel would find it very hard to keep pace with new computer games.

'Rating by the ministry has proceeded at a very slow pace. The ministry should study overseas ratings as a guideline and adjust them to suit Thai culture and values,' he said.

Police Colonel Yannapol also said there are many computer games which are more violent than GTA, such as those which focus on cop killing or rape. He maintained, however, that on-line games are not the major cause of teen problems.

Yannapol also  pledged to make a serious effort to suppress illegal on-line games.

Lertchai Kanpai, managing director of Asiasoft, said currently there are 57 games active in the Thai cyberspace. Though all of them passed Microsoft's screening, some are quite violent: A bigger threat, however, is illegal game software which bypasses the violence rating.

 

19th August
2008
  

Comment: A Dangerous Game to Play...

Thai response to taxi driver murder rated K for knee jerk

Grand Theft Auto IV game Polwat Chinno killed taxi driver Kuan Pohkang with his bare fists and knives in a grisly 2am plan to steal the hard-earned money of his victim. The media descended on this story of bloody murder when the killer confessed, but pleaded that a video game made him do it. Authorities took him at his word, issued a hasty ban on exactly 10 games and vaguely promised new restrictions further down the line. Far from showing concern, this reaction emphasised the huge gap between the real technology revolution and what the country's leaders appear to know about it.

First of all, it is most troubling that authorities and the media latched on so quickly and conveniently to the alibi of a confessed, vicious killer.

They were far too quick to accept the word of Mr Polwat. He is an adult who told police he planned and carried out a reprehensible killing for a small amount of money. His claim that the video game Grand Theft Auto made him commit the crime sounds more like a novel legal defence than a credible motive. Tens of millions of people around the world play that game - tens of thousands in Bangkok.

Early evening on any given day, the top floors of the city's many shopping malls are filled with youths playing a myriad of computer games - many of them violent.

An earlier ban on this particular violent game would not have saved the murdered driver. More to the point, there is no evidence or reason to believe the ban will save any lives in the future.

The Public Health Ministry quickly assembled a list of Top 10 Violent Games - not by research or reason, but by a quick Googling in which bureaucrats accepted the first hit, an obscure list from a local US politician trying successfully to get his name in the newspapers and his face on the TV news in an election cycle.

Such a ban is also self-defeating, since new games come on the market regularly. In any case, a police ban is only another business hitch to the video pirates and shop owners involved in underground distribution.

 

4th September
2008
  

Update: Thai Games Ban...

Players of violent political games ban violent fictional games

Hitman Triple Pack PC games Video game repression has surged in Thailand following last month's killing of a taxi driver by a 19-year-old man who told police he was re-enacting Grand Theft Auto .

Jesada Chandraprasert  who pens Cnet's Technology Thailand blog, reports that five games have been officially banned by the Ministry of Culture:

  • Hitman
  • 300
  • Killer Seven
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Fifty Cent: Bullet Proof

In a story broken by GamePolitics, Thailand stole its list of "dangerous" games from an outdated list offered by Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy during the 2007 holiday season. The five banned games constitute half of the list.

Their official press release at the Government's Web site clearly states that they see gaming as a problem which is obsessive and has an (adverse) effect on the behavior of children and teens....

Chandraprasert also reports on a recent government and law enforcement conference which was held to discuss the video game issue - with ominous overtones:

The conference, held at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center on August 21, had an audience of over 1,500 people, mostly public officials and the police. The main focus of this conference was to find solutions to unregistered gaming stores (basically an Internet cafe like a setup where people can go in and game all day long on computers, not the traditional arcade) and "dangerous games". Their aim is to eliminate the "dangers" associated with said problem within 90 days of the conference.

 

10th September
2008
  

Comment: Grand Credibility Theft...

Grand Theft Auto blame cited in trial of violent attacker

Grand Theft Auto IV game A teen has attacked four women supposedly in an imitation of violent computer game Grand Theft Auto , a court heard.

Ryan Chinnery, 19, prowled streets in his car targeting females he thought were prostitutes after 'becoming obsessed' with the game.

He assaulted his victims, none of them hookers, by night in a two-month period.

And the court was told he may have been influenced by the virtual reality game, in which a character drives around on “missions” — including approaching prostitutes who can be beaten up.
Dragged

A copy of Grand Theft Auto was found at his home by police. Yesterday Chinnery was told he faces a long prison sentence after he admitted two sex attacks. Two similar offences were left on file.

Prosecutor Eleanor Laws said Chinnery's love of Grand Theft Auto may go some way to explaining his attitude towards women. Prostitutes in it can be subjected to violence. There may be some connection with the defendant admitting spending a lot of time playing that game.

Judge Philip Statman adjourned sentencing until October 22 pending probation and psychiatric reports. The case will fuel debate on the effects on youngsters of violent computer games.

 

30th September
2008
  

Update: Nutter Credibility Theft...

New Zealand Board of Review clear Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV game New Zealand's Film and Literature Board of Review has reconfirmed the earlier decision of the Office of Film and Literature Classification to grant the "uncut" version of GTA IV an R18 classification in New Zealand.

The nutters of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards had applied for a review of the classification and claimed:

  • that players are encouraged to commit wantonly breach the criminal law and commit acts that are crimes against persons and property
  • that the constant stream of obscenities in the game advances misogyny, and demeans, degrades, and dehumanises women in particular
  • that the dominant effect of the game is to titillate, entertain and engage players within the mindset of an action drama that glamorises: criminal activities, the infliction of extreme violence or extreme cruelty, drug-taking, the killing of law enforcement officers and innocent members of the public etc.

In upholding the R18 rating for the game, the Review Board considered a submission from Stan Calif, director of First Games. The Board accepted Stan's point that committing acts of crime in the game are not without consequence - such acts always draw a rapid Police response - and found that the game does not promote or encourage criminal acts. The satirical nature of the game also helped lessen the impact of violent acts in the game.

 

7th October
2008
  

Update: Survey Games...

Thai newspapers addicted to nonsense surveys

Grand Theft Auto IV game A survey from the Thai Culture Ministry revealed that children spent around 2 hours a day playing computer games. About 80% of them choose the combat-style, action-packed games, some of which come with graphic and violent images. The addiction can affect their personality as they become more prone to bursts of anger and violence. Without proper guidance, some are unable to distinguish between fantasy and the real world.

But why do children prefer to spend hours and hours playing these games? A survey conducted last year showed that:

  • 79% of youngsters said they became addicted to computer games to relieve stress
  • 68% said they were lonely
  • 21% cent said that they wanted to improve the computer skills
  • 18% said they wanted to meet new friends in cyberspace.

[So 80% of Thai youngsters suffer from stress? Strange that no youngsters play games simply because they are fun]

Now that the youngsters have told us about their problems, it's time for the adults to step in to help them. The adults should provide them with better and constructive recreation activities to help them deal with stress. Constructive activities such as sports or music for instance can also help them develop their thinking and personalities during their formative years.

 

7th November
2008
  

Update: A Worrying Mirror...

Grand Theft Auto takes the rap for sex assaults

Grand Theft Auto IV game A judge attacked a violent video game as he jailed a teenager. Ryan Chinnery had subjected four women to degrading sex assaults.

Sentencing Chinnery to eight years, Judge Philip Statman said: It is not for this court to enter the controversy as to whether such conduct is encouraged by pornographic material and video games such as Grand Theft Auto. But there is a worrying mirror of conduct between that which pornography presented to you and that which you have carried out.'

He said: You were driving alone at night to select a female victim, replicating that which was in your fantasy. You have sought to dominate and humiliate women to gain sexual satisfaction. You thrive on the feeling of power and control.

Maidstone Crown Court was told that Chinnery had a secret dark side when he would spend hours playing video games, watching pornography and taking cannabis.

He attacked his first victim under a railway bridge, groping her breasts and pulling down her trousers. A month later, Chinnery stalked another woman, dragging her along a path before he was scared off by passers-by. He set upon a third woman as she made her way home from work – grabbing her arm and fleeing only when another man approached. In August last year, he grabbed a 42-year-old woman around the throat as she walked home at 2am. Her arm was broken in the struggle. Her clothes were torn off and she was sexually assaulted.

Patsy McKie, from Mothers Against Violence, said last night: The Government must ban these games as soon as possible. The only people they benefit are the makers, who cash in on the misery they have generated.

 

22nd November
2008
  

Update: Last Ads in Chicago...

Chicago buses forced to restore GTA IV adverts but ban future M rated game ads.

Bus advert for GTA IV About six months after the Chicago Transit Authority pulled ads for the violent but popular gangland video game Grand Theft Auto IV, triggering a lawsuit from the gamemaker, billboards for the game and its brooding, East European anti-hero have begun reappearing on the sides of CTA buses.

Take Two, whose subsidiary, Rockstar Games, publishes the title alleged that the CTA violated its contractual and constitutional rights by removing the ads, which were timed to appear around the game's release on April 29.

The lawsuit was settled in September, according to court records, and as part of the settlement agreement, the ads will reappear on buses for the next six weeks, CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said.

In an e-mail, Take Two said that the terms of the settlement are confidential but that a replacement advertising campaign is running in Chicago.

Last week, the CTA board voted to ban advertising for video games rated "M" (suitable for those aged 17+) and above. The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, cites a demonstrable correlation between intensely violent video games and violent or aggressive behavior.

 

2nd December
2008
  

Update: Ratings Theft...

Claims of an uncut PC version of GTA IV in Australia

Grand Theft Auto IV game This week will see the Australian launch of Grand Theft Auto IV for PC, and in a statement, Rockstar confirmed to GameSpot AU that unlike the console versions currently on sale, the Australian PC retail release of GTA IV will be sold completely uncensored.

Grand Theft Auto IV PC has been rated MA15+ strong violence, sex scenes, coarse language, and drug references by the Australian Classification Office. The PC game is unedited in any way and identical in content to the international version, a local Rockstar rep said.

Update: Confirmed

28th December 2008. Based on article from refused-classification.com

Rockstar obviously came to the conclusion that they had over reacted because when it came time to get the PC version rated they submitted the uncut game. This was rated MA15+ (Strong violence, sex scenes, coarse language and drug references) on November 8th.

 

23rd June
2009
  

Update: BBFC on Meths...

BBFC become a talking point over checking out crystal meth recipe

Grand Theft Auto IV game Wow, we've all heard the stories of how “bad” Grand Theft Auto games are for our society, but as it turns out, the BBFC once investigated whether Grand Theft Auto IV contained a genuine recipe for manufacturing crystal meth.

The Times reports that the discovery prompted crisis talks with developer Rockstar. In testimony last year before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, BBFC head David Cooke discussed his organization's review of GTA IV:

We did examine [GTA IV] extremely thoroughly and we are the only regulator I know of who looked, for instance, at the particular issue where… there was a concern about whether you were being given instructional information about how to make the drug crystal meth.

We actually took independent advice on the point and eventually were able to satisfy ourselves that some of the crucial ingredients and techniques were missing so it was not a genuine cause for concern.

REALLY? The recipe for Crystal Meth. Inside GTA IV? Good job BBFC, perhaps this is just one example of why you're no longer in control of ratings in the U.K.

 

3rd June
2010
  

Update: Game Over for Chicago Buses...

Chicago Transit Authority ban on mature games adverts found to be unconstitutional

Chicago bus with GTA advertThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) won a partial victory earlier this year by obtaining a temporary injunction against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) over an ordinance that attempted to prohibit Mature (M)-rated game advertisements

A Judge has now permanently banned the CTA from enforcing or directing enforcement of the ordinance. In a ruling handed down on May 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered judgment against the CTA.  It was also ruled that the ESA was entitled to recoup reasonable attorneys' fees and costs related to the lawsuit.

Ordinance 008-147 took effect in January of 2009 and prohibited any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated 'Mature 17+' (M) or 'Adults Only 18+' (AO). The ESA had argued that such a ban was unconstitutional.

 

4th June
2010
  

Update: A Cure for Bullshit...

ASA censures religious centre for nonsense claims of miraculous healing

manchester miracle centreA circular for Mount Zion Restoration Ministries was headlined Come and See and had the strapline Real life testimonies from London Miracle Centre . The front cover featured pictures of three individuals, whose testimonies of miraculous and prayer-assisted healing were printed inside the circular, under the headings Miraculously Healed after Near Fatal Car Accident , Cancerous Cells Disappear After Prophetic Healing Service and Miraculously Healed of Cancer . The front cover also featured a picture of a man in a tuxedo with the caption 'Jesus Wants the Best for You in Life' Senior Pastor, Dr Abraham . The same picture appeared again inside the circular with the caption Senior Pastor: Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel . Issue

One reader challenged whether the:

  1. advertiser could substantiate the claims that they had cured cancer and the serious complications suffered by the car accident victim;
  2. ad was irresponsible and could discourage people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions; and,
  3. use of the term Dr misleadingly implied that Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification.
  4. The ASA challenged whether the testimonials featured in the ad were genuine and could be independently verified.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

We noted that the ad featured three testimonials that claimed Dr Abraham had cured cancer and serious head injuries sustained in a road accident. However, we also noted that we had not seen robust, independent evidence that demonstrated that Dr Abraham had successfully treated these conditions. We therefore concluded that on this point the ad was misleading.

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad stated ... I have seen the dead raised and I have witnessed nearly all types of healing miracles. Church ministries are like restaurants. Here ... we serve miracles. We also noted that the testimonials referred to series medical conditions, and suggested that Dr Abraham's healing abilities were responsible for curing them. Two of those testimonials also described explicit refusals to visit a GP, go to hospital or undergo emergency surgery. We therefore considered that the ad implied that Dr Abraham was able to treat serious medical conditions by healing alone, and we concluded that the ad could therefore discourage some people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions.

3. Upheld

The ASA noted Mount Zions explanation that Abraham Daniel Joel had a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics. However, we considered that consumers were likely to understand the term Dr to mean that Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification. Because we understood that was not the case we concluded that the use of the term Dr was misleading.

4. Upheld

We noted that the CAP Code required advertisers to hold signed and dated proof for any testimonial that they used, and stated that claims made in testimonials must be supported by independent evidence of their accuracy. Because we had not seen signed and dated copies of the testimonials used in the ad, or independent evidence that verified the claims made in them, we concluded that the testimonials were misleading.

 

 Update: Engrossed Players, Grossed Out Teachers...

Association of Teachers and Morality Lecturers has a whinge about Grand Theft Auto V


Link Here 17th September 2013  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Collectors PS3 The Daily Mirror has a bit of fun with the new Grand Theft Auto V and spouts:

In the 18-rated violent crime game's most shocking scene yet, the player is instructed to pull out his victim's teeth with a pair of pliers

A brutal scene in a new computer game where players carry out gruesome torture techniques has been condemned by teachers.

Today sees the official release of Grand Theft Auto 5, one of the most highly-anticipated games of all time.

In a torture scene in the PEGI 18-rated crime game, the player is instructed to pull out a victim's teeth with a pair of pliers. Gamers then pour a flammable liquid over a victim tied to a chair. Players then smash the victim's kneecap with a monkey wrench and give him electric shocks using spark plugs as he pleads for mercy.

Alison Sherratt, president of the Lecturers and Teachers Association was suitable 'outraged':

Up until now we've been warning of the dangers of children seeing these games but saying it's the parents responsibility to keep children away from these video games. But this scene takes things a step too far and the games makers need to consider what they are producing.

Children in our playgrounds are displaying more violence and we have conducted polls and found they are viewing games like GTA. My concern is that little brother or sister walk in to the room and start watching something like this because an older brother is playing it. They don't understand the difference between reality and fiction because it's so awfully graphic and real. and they do copy it. They imitate what they see and this scene is taking it way too far.

Labour MP Keith Vaz says he is astonished by the torture scene in GTA 5 and contributed a sound bite:.

I am astonished at the level of violence depicted in this game.

It is worrying that this type of content could be accessed by young people, particularly considering the previous links to real-life violence. It is important that the video game industry takes steps to fully inform the public about the level of extreme content. Responsibility also lies with parents to ensure that their children do not access these types of games until it is appropriate.

 

 Extract: Peter Hitchens Recommends Grand Theft Auto V...

If the Devil invented a game...it would be GTA V


Link Here 23rd September 2013  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Grand Theft Auto V PS3 If the Devil had his own bible, it would probably take the form of a computer game. It would be sly and witty, enjoyable and slick. It would start with small, almost funny misdeeds.

It would offer the player the joys of money, successful violence and easy, responsibility-free sex. There would be drugs which didn't fry your brain or burn holes in your nose.

You would be made to feel brave, while not actually needing to be. None of your pleasures would be paid for in coin, pain or grief. Hell hound: An image from the heavily hyped and violence-filled new computer game Grand Theft Auto V

Everyone else in the game would be disposable and forgettable. And it would contain one big lie. You would come out at the end happy and unharmed, and wanting more.

As I understand it, this is roughly what happens in the new, much-praised Grand Theft Auto V.

...Read the full rant

Comment: Good Publicity

23rd September 2013.  See  comment from  mediasnoops2.wordpress.com

Hitchens panders to the American pro gun lobby by linking the US navy shooting to violent video games...

...Read the full comment

 

 Offsite Article: Is Grand Theft Auto too Popular to Complain About?...


Link Here 30th September 2013  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto V PS3 For the first time in the GTA series' history, commentators are falling over each other to lavish praise on the game. This has completely eclipsed the naysayers and detractors. The moral outcry has simply failed to materialise. But why?

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

 Update: Stimulating Conversation...

Primary teacher whinges at playground conversations supposedly stimulated from playing Grand Theft Auto


Link Here 14th February 2014  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Xbox 360 Primary school kids are supposedly initiating games involving simulating rape and sexual intercourse scenes from adult video game series Grand Theft Auto, a school has warned.

Pupils have also been having conversations about sexual acts and play acting extremely violent games resulting in injury , according to staff at south Wales primary school Coed-y-Brain. They were also having detailed playground discussions about drug use.

Headteacher Morian Morgan sent a letter to parents expressing his worry about some of the pupils' concerning playground behaviour at the school. He blamed the worrying behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series which sees players take on the role of criminals in America's dark and seedy underworld.

I think some of the parents will tell you that they have been equally naive. But I must stress it's not a matter of me condemning parents at all. . ..[BUT]...

 

 Comment: A Bafta for the Makers of Grand Theft Auto...

And the fine achievement is greeted with nothing but miserable whinges from the likes of Mediawatch-UK


Link Here 17th March 2014  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Xbox 360 The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has honoured Rockstar Games, the company behind the Grand Theft Auto series, with its illustrious Fellowship award. They will now be presented with the prize for their revolutionary approach to games . They have also been commended for bringing the medium to the masses .

But this fine achievement is met only with a barrage of whinges from moral campaigners, courtesy of course, the Daily Mail.

Pippa Smith of Safer Media, a religious campaigner against violence, sex and bad language in the media, said:

We have had a lot of concerns about Grand Theft Auto, and we would not agree with this at all. A Bafta Fellowship is a very prestigious award and it is giving out a very dangerous message.

Grand Theft Auto is obviously hugely popular and makes an awful lot of money, so as far as the gaming industry is concerned, it is a big money spinner.

But it is horrifying that they are being recognised in this way. We know for sure that people are affected by the violence in these games, and in this particular case players are even encouraged to kill prostitutes.

Vivienne Pattinson, director of lobby group Mediawatch UK, said:

My biggest criticism is that we know that children who are a lot younger than the age limit of these games are playing them. Gaming companies have a very important role to play in making sure that under-age children are not exposed to these games.

They are marketed in places where children are likely to see them, on the sides of school buses for example, and for Bafta to be giving them an award at a time when there is still a lot of work to be done in protecting children from this kind of violence is wrong.

I can appreciate the quality of these games are good. But we cannot just hold our hands up and say that the content doesn't matter.

Offsite Comment: GTA, The Baftas And How The Daily Mail Make Morons Like Mediawatch-uk Look Even More Ridiculous

the bothersome blog logo 17th March 2013. See comment from bothersomeblogger.wordpress.com

  So the Daily Mail is whipping up outrage over the Grand Theft Auto games being given a BAFTA award. This is a classic example of the Daily Mail trying to make outrage over absoloutly nothing. To demonstrate that there outrage and controversy they've wheeled out two of their favourite rent-a-quotes, Pippa Smith from Safermedia and Vivienne Pattison from Mediawatch-uk.

...Read the full comment