Monday, April 2, 2007

GTA: Lightning rod for controversy

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The first Grand Theft Auto IV trailer hit the internets last week, almost broke many a server, and already has made some enemies (He Who Shall Not Be Named doesn't count). Picture from

You know, can't a good game series just get a break sometime? Can a trailer for their new game simply come out without getting people up in arms?

apparently not. As Kotaku reports, apparently some politicos in NYC are up in arms because the new game is set in a not-quite-so-hidden parody/homage/send-up of NYC, Liberty City.

This is nothing new - the mayor of Las Vegas was very upset because the newest Rainbow Six game, R6: Vegas, is set in Las Vegas and has you playing as an anti-terror team in hotels on the strip.

my beef with all of this? If this was a gangster movie, or a mob movie, or any other sort of police thriller movie set in NYC...wouldn't it 'reflect poorly' on their city too? So what's the disparity? Oh, wait, the disparity is in the gap that exists between those in charge and those making and playing games - generationally and in knowledge of the subject.

This gets back to the root problem that many people don't understand that video games are made for all ages and maturity levels. This is why people are up in arms about GTA getting into the hands of children, this is why it can get into those hands, and this is a problem that will only be solved after the generation ahead of mine gets to be even older and have more influence than the baby boomers. It will be solved by the time I'm a parent, because there will be a whole generation of parents who know that video games are like movies, and that the kids shouldn't play GTA as much as they should watch The Matrix or listen to NWA.

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