Grand Theft Auto IV, one of the game’s most anticipated titles, which is projected to make over 400 million in US Dollars, has been launched. Enter controversies and knee-jerk criticisms, stage left. First up is Tim Rutten from the LA Times.

One of the hallmarks of a healthy consumer society is that its older generation habitually despises and decries the entertainments of the young. The young, in turn, elevate their aesthetic rebellion to respectability over time…

There’s a new world of entertainment here… But what does it contain? In this case, [protagonist Niko Bellic] kills, maims, has sex, then kills and maims some more, while also stealing various forms of transportation…

Where earlier generations of youthful art crossed boundaries… they also affirmed something else, some alternative or countercultural value…

What “Grand Theft Auto IV” affirms is the pleasure of eschewing decency for obnoxious violence… One of the most interesting things about this game is that it’s the product of a global youth culture whose frame of reference has been shaped by mindless American action films, by post-apocalyptic Euro-American fantasy fiction and Japanese graphic novels…

A fairly out of touch man ranting on the ‘youths of today’, pretty much knocking anyone who has seen Die Hard, read Brave New World or flipped through the pages of a volume of Naruto. All three of those things I mentioned are cornerstones in today’s society, Die Hard being called the greatest action movie ever while Brave New World was written decades ago and Naruto the world’s most popular currently-running Japanese graphic novel (manga), or at least in the top five. In short, the guy sounds like he was born in 1901 and society stopped being decent in 1932 when Huxley wrote his aforementioned book. Congratulations Mr. Rutten, you’re a rake.

Next up Eugene Blagmond from the Philly, speaker for their police union:

The glorification of killing of any police officer is just wrong. I mean, it desensitizes people to the real mayhem that’s going on out on the streets, and we already have a real problem with people not valuing human life.

People don’t seem to have a problem turning guns on cops, and this game — I know it’s just a game, but people sometimes have trouble separating reality from fantasy.

According to the FBI violence against police officers has gone down in the past 10 years. Oh, and members of Philly’s finest boys in blue have been noted buying GTA IV. I the only person having a problem with reality and fantasy is Blagmond.

Lets hear from John Douglas if Grand Design Productions:

If adults want to do it, that’s their choice. But that’s not where the problem is… Personally, I think it’s sick and twisted… They should be putting this stuff behind the counter so that the adults that want it can come in and ask for it, like they would an adult magazine…

Now, bear in mind Douglas’s company is ‘faith-based.’ In case my point isn’t clear, the guy’s a bit of zealot. Religion and video games are like films and religion: they really shouldn’t mix because it just annoys people.

Wait, it isn’t over! Gordon Copeland of the New Zealand Parliment wants the game banned in his home country:

Sadly New Zealand has become a violent society. Our criminal courts are almost log jammed with cases involving murder, manslaughter, rape, and other heinous crimes. Our jails are overflowing.

A recent study has indicated that, on a per capita basis, New Zealand is now twice as violent as the USA…

Simply stated, it is time to reverse the tide of violence in New Zealand. We have to have the courage somewhere, sometime, to say “no” and I agree with kiwi parents and the police, that this is not a bad place to start.

Kiwi parents and police could not be traced for comment. I can’t imagine why. Oh wait, its because video games cause about as much violence as a steak. A steak is a valued piece of food that every man, rich or poor, would enjoy. GTA IV is the same thing, though you tend to need a console to play it, but selling it to some guy desperate for it also works. Banning a video game as your first step to reducing violence is like stopping rape by banning apples. Maybe look at law enforcement reguarding firearm checks, drug control and such before going after something that has less impact than an ant on a tree?

UPDATE

What Tatyana Timoshenko, the mother of a recently slain New York Cop, had to say:

For some people, it’s a game. But for me, it’s not funny. It was for real. It was my son. This game teaches children to kill, then they wonder where criminals come from.

Funny thing, GTA IV is rated M for Mature. A mature person isn’t a child. And since GTA hasn’t caused North American society to slaughter anyone in a police uniform (as the FBI research proved), why not save that anger for the person killed your son, not random people that didn’t have a single thing to do with it?

Follow-up with York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

The kids are playing these violent games that don’t exactly teach the kind of things that you’d want to teach your kids.

Yes, that is a quote from the mayor of New York, a man who clearly isn’t a wordsmith in his spare time. But anyhow, there seems to be a point that is missed in regards to Grand Theft Auto in general. While you get ‘rewards’ for committing crimes (money) you can instantly lose that money when you’re arrested by police or get hospitalized during your attempt to elude police. If anything that teaches kids that crime is just another example of ‘easy come, easy go’.

Finally Pat Lynch, president of the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President:

Being involved in a shootout in a video game has no consequences and that is the wrong message to send to young people.

Yeah, that would the the wrong message. Thank goodness that if you get into a shootout in GTA your have a very good chance of getting killed or arrested, huh?

From Canada, I’m Busterman Zero. Good luck, you’re going to need it.

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