Amazing irony: Daily Mail gives GTA IV 5/5

The Daily Mail is one of the last and most volatile bastions of anti-videogames ignorance in the UK. Demonizing games at every opportunity, this “newspaper” is responsible for the infamous “BAN THIS SICK FILTH” headline that ran following the murder of Stephen Pakeerah, in which the rag called for the banning of games that hadn’t even been released at the time.

Yet, while still insisting that Grand Theft Auto IV is “a sickening glorification of gangland savagery,” (it claims that’s an understatement) The Daily Mail has actually given the game a 5/5 review, stating that “There’s no denying, however that this latest version of the Grand Theft franchise is a phenomenal technological and creative achievement that is set to generate more money for its British designers than any Hollywood release in years.”

In a way, it’s no surprise that The Daily Mail would perform such a stark 180 degree turn since it is, after all, a tabloid, and it’ll ape whatever opinion it thinks is popular. So, the paper that has regularly encouraged the banning of videogames is now saying things like this:

“Killing is occasionally optional, dialogue and cut scenes are devoted to Nikos’s inner turmoil and while criminality and violence are certainly glorified, its perpetrators are somehow not. Even Niko has sufficient soul to see his employers for the scum they are.”

While I’ve applauded The Guardian for its genuine pro-gaming stance, The Daily Mail gets no such kudos. This is, after all, the paper that got Anne Diamond to call for the banning of Resident Evil 4 and make an absolute mockery of modern videogames. All I’ll say is that if this is the start of The Daily Mail realizing that alienating gamers with its ridiculous witch hunting is a stupid business decision — it’s about bloody time.

Jim Sterling