Jeremy Clarkson on GTA IV: ‘Game’s not to blame’

The Sun is not a newspaper in which one could expect to find a sensible opinion, especially when it comes to videogames. I must confess, however, that I was quite pleasantly surprised when I opened up a colleague’s copy at my other job to find that TV presenter and Sun columnist Jeremy Clarkson was actually defending Grand Theft Auto IV … kind of. In his short piece entitled “Game’s not to blame,” Clarkson shares a belief I think many of us have:

“This week the latest version of videogame Grand Theft Auto hit the shelves — and pretty soon it will be cited as the reason why people feel compelled to lock their children in cellars, why Israel cannot find peace with the Palestinians and why everyone in Britain has been stabbed.” 

Hmmm, I played an earlier version of the game and must say that at no point did I feel the need to go outside and chop off a prostitute’s head.

In fact, as is the case with most videogames, I hadn’t a clue what was going on. I sat there, frantically stabbing at all the buttons, until a message on the screen told me the game was over.

It was annoying. Not dangerous.” 

It’s nice to see someone like Clarkson admit that although he clearly doesn’t “get” videogames, that doesn’t mean he thinks they are something to be feared. I wouldn’t expect a British tabloid to print such an unbiased opinion about the controversial GTA IV, but I am glad it did. This, along with The Guardian and the BBC taking excellent approaches to videogames coverage, makes me wonder just how long the age of media panic over gaming has to last in the UK.

I think the vendettas of such anti-game tabloids as The Daily Mail are soon to be rendered obsolete. To those still using their positions in mainstream press to attack games, I suggest you start doing some serious sucking up to the industry if you don’t want to be the last fossil in the museum. You are outdated, and your time is ending.

Jim Sterling