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PTC issues whiny little warning about GTA IV

4:36 PM on 04.23.2008 // Jim Sterling

As expected, the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto IV has seen the scaremongers and crybabies of the world come out in full force to stamp their little feet in protest. Once again, it falls to the Parents Television Council to issue one of its "alerts" to let concerned civilians know that "porn and gratuitous violence through a videogame" is on the way.

Since the first version was released in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has lowered the bar for appalling video game content. And now, the game’s fourth installment, Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City, is set for release April 29th. We urgently need you to take action today to keep this brutally violent video game out of the hands of children.

As usual, the PTC warbles on about beating prostitutes to death and the overplayed "Hot Coffee" incident which they claim displayed "realistic sex." That pretty much proves that the writer of the warning has not actually had a sexual encounter of his own, if he believes GTA's portrayal is accurate.

The PTC's warning calls on all like-minded loudmouths to pressurize retailers into not stocking the game, or at the very least hiding it from the innocent minds of children who have no idea what violence is and must grow up completely ignorant of everything bad in the world. That way, when they grow up, they will exit their protective social bubbles completely prepared for real life. 

The "alert" also demands that Take-Two ensure the game cannot be modified in any way (an impossible suggestion, as well as a stupid one) and finally uses the inaccurate theories of Dave Grossman to bring up the ridiculous "murder simulator" argument. All in all, a typically ludicrious read that I thoroughly recommend. In fact, you can read it in full, right after the jump.

Since the first version was released in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has lowered the bar for appalling video game content. And now, the game’s fourth installment, Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City, is set for release April 29th. We urgently need you to take action today to keep this brutally violent video game out of the hands of children.

The Grand Theft Auto games include constant graphic violence and sexual situations. 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. This modification in the 2005 game was not disclosed to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) when they classified the game M, which carried a suggested age of 17 and up for purchase.

The PTC is asking its members to call on all major retailers:

1) To reconsider any decisions to sell Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City.

2) To insist that Take Two Interactive (which publishes the game) and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) actually review all playable content before issuing a rating for the game. Given Take-Two Interactive's reckless or intentional misleading of the ESRB and ESRB’s failure to respond quickly in the aftermath of the “hot coffee” mod fiasco stemming from the previous edition of GTA, retailers must be reassured, in writing, that the rating given the game is accurate and that there is no hidden or modifiable content in the game.

3) To insist that the game not be displayed in view of minors, and retailers must check photo ID before sales.

4) And finally, to call on retailers not to not market this video game to children.
Legally, stores can not 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 kill. In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Paducah, KY, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman , a West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger stated:

"Certain types of these (video) games are actually killing simulators, and they teach our kids to kill in much the same say the astronauts on Apollo 11 learned how to fly to the moon without ever leaving the ground... All you have to do is see what kids are being scripted to do (on the video games) to get the high scores, and you know that in a very short period of time, their dark fantasies are going to become your tragic realities.”

We must demand that retailers do their part to keep socially irresponsible games like Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City out of the hands of children. Please take action today. And please share this email with every concerned adult you know.


Timothy F. Winter
Parents Television Council

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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