GTA IV critic busted lying about game

Dan Isett, the Parents Television Council’s Director of Public Policy, was caught lying about the content of top-selling game GTA IV, and his experience of it, by an enterprising reporter who went to the trouble of actually playing it himself.
Have you played the game? “I’ve actually played ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ and it’s right in keeping with previous versions. The series continues to lower the bar and this is the first game that has an alcohol content warning. You get points for driving drunk in this game.” You know that’s not true, right? The game doesn’t have points. “If nothing else, it’s a rewarded activity. Necessary for advancement.” I don’t think so. “But there’s an alcohol content warning and a scene of drunk driving, correct?”
They don't really care about the game; to its critics, it's just a button to push. But when everyone is generally savvier about the game's content than them, especially the media, how can they expect to be taken seriously? "You get points for driving drunk in this game" [AZ Night Buzz] Update: Reuters has a short feature on "Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do ," a new book from a husband-and-wife research team at Harvard Med that argues that the link between aggressive behavior in kids and violent videogames might be the inverse of the common argument.
The researchers found that 51 percent of boys who played M-rated games -- the industry's equivalent of an R-rated movie, meaning suitable for ages 17 and up -- had been in a fight in the past year, compared to 28 percent of non-M-rated gamers.
You have to love the hysteria implicit in the Reuters headline, too, as if the idea that videogames created killers was the consensus view until this new book was published. – Joel Video games don't create killers, new book says [Reuters]

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12 Responses to GTA IV critic busted lying about game

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    Dculberson, I was a little bamboozled by the quote Joel or John added, too. The broad thrust of the Reuters story is otherwise, and that’s a “balance” quote that I think J or J might have misread.

  2. SeppTB says:

    I find them getting angry about drunk driving to be pretty funny. If anything, the drunk driving in the game shows how stupid it is to drink and drive. Its very hard to get anywhere in game driving drunk, you have very little control of the car and go slow, the cops are all over you the second they see you, so you’re pretty likely to end up busted or dead, and you won’t get where you’re going as fast as calling a cab.

    The comments under the linked article have a great one from a mother who says she’s seen hardcore porn in game. Another lie, but she backs it up with the ‘I’ve seen it myself!’ defense.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When you leave a bar in the game drunk, your character will say “oh, I think we should take a cab”

  4. DanDarey says:

    The sad thing is that no matter how many times these idiots get “busted” it never stops them.

    The religious right, The Talk Radio morons, the “concerned” parents, the preachers and moral guardians, the tabloid journalists:

    time and time and time again they are shown to be liars, hypocrites, fantasists, alarmists, anti-rationalists…

    But they never stop.

    We debunk them. We parody them. We prove them wrong on virtually every “hot button” issue.

    But they don’t care. They are fighting “culture wars” even though we’ve pwned them relentlessly, over and over again.

    GTA5 and they will all come out of the woodwork again.

  5. santellana says:

    FACT – children who play GTA IV dig up corpses and use the skulls as bongs for smoking their filthy marijuana – FACT

  6. yer_maw says:

    Some people just LLLLLOOOOOVVVVVEEE telling other people what they can and cannot do.

    School marm fetish?

  7. Jake0748 says:

    Dan Isett – ha ha. Liar liar pants on fire.

  8. Enochrewt says:

    Just like #2 said, the game encourages you to take a cab.

    I’m about halfway through the game now. There are some things I think I’m going to be disappointed about in the end just because there’s no good attempt at a counter-message (as in the drunk driving thing), but I’ll keep my mouth shut until I finish the game and know for sure.

    Boy but anybody that has a beef with Drug companies or HMOs should sit in an in-game car and listen to the PLF radio channel. Spot on and hilarious.

  9. toxonix says:

    I was violent and agressive before I found videogames. Now, instead of plunging long knives into fat people’s fat necks on the way home from a stressful day at work, I go home to my nice warm console and kill Nazis with machine guns.
    The world is safer because of violent games. That means you, fatty.

  10. dculberson says:

    I’m kind of confused… I think. You seem to have used a quote that implies there is a link between children playing M-rated games and violence, after saying the link “might be the inverse of the common argument.” Well, it might just be that I’m parsing it wrong, for some reason.

    Anyway, the thing that gets me is that (a) this is an M rated game, kids shouldn’t be playing it, and (b) the actions in the game all have terrible consequences. You drive drunk, crash, and get jailed, yes, but even worse is that as a result of driving like a maniac and killing people, you die and get arrested a lot. Perhaps children can’t process that in real life, you would also die but not come back, but that’s why it’s not for children.

    Anybody that can process what your character lying on the sidewalk covered in blood would mean in real life is capable of separating the in-game fantasy actions from reality.

  11. SeppTB says:

    #6 – I can see that quote as confusing, the full article explains it a bit better. They were saying the link is the reverse of how media has been portraying it. Rather than kids that play violent video games becoming violent/aggresive, kids who are already naturally more violent/aggresive are more likely to be the kids who play violent video games.

    They found a link between the two, but not evidence thats video games are the cause. It seems to me that they make a good point. Weren’t kids always pretty aggresive and rude to each other?

    The point about consequences is a good one too. Playing GTA4 you see that the crap you do usually doesn’t work. You die, you get busted, you have to try over and over to get it right. Any reasonable person, and yes person here includes children and teens, could figure out that in real life this would be a stupid thing to do, you don’t walk out of jail right after and jump back up in perfect health at the hospital.

  12. stumo says:

    Slightly tangential, but does anyone else remember a (UK I think) public information film on knife crime that used a GTA style game world where someone creates hassle and then stabs someone, and then it fades into a real life scene with the suspect suddenly realising they were standing over a dead body?

    I’ve tried googling it but my skills are weak this time.

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