The self-styled "media watchdogs" are so very predictable. No sooner has Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned been released for download, than the moral fearmongers get up in arms about it. Responding to the GTA DLC's full-frontal male nudity, Common Sense Media has begun its panicked clucking in response.
"It is even more controversial than its predecessors because this game has full frontal male nudity," warns Common Sense. "The game lets you lead a life of crime as part of a motorcycle gang with plenty of gang violence... relentless foul language, drugs and alcohol, and sexual references...
"Families can talk about why Rockstar likes to push the envelope and garner controversy over its games? Why did they have to put full-frontal nudity in the game if it's not integral to the story? Do they correlate media outrage with extraordinary game sales? Do players expect Rockstar to stir up controversy with each of its titles, including the Manhunt and Bully series?..."
Common Sense asks why? Why did Rockstar put a penis in GTA IV? No, it didn't have to do it, but you know what? It could and it did. A flaccid donk is something we've seen in films and on TV before. It's about time videogames caught up. While Rockstar clearly did it for attention (yes gamers do expect Rockstar to stir up controversy), I think it broke a good boundary and hopefully sets a new precedent for the kind of material videogames can show.
I won't pretend that Rockstar's "penis scene" wasn't a very immature sight gag. However, those who are crowing and complaining because they saw a pecker on a screen for a few moments are being even more immature. A lot of people in the world have a penis. We know it's there, and most of us have seen one. Grow up and get used to it.
Oh, I should be fair and point out that beyond the penis, they actually like the gameplay!