Archive - Apr 2008

April 30th

I Am Lazy

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Memo to Grand Mal Automata: YOU ARE DUMB.

It is one of the great constants of the universe. Like the motions of the spheres, every year or so Rockstar puts out a new Grand Theft Auto game, and every time they do that, the traditional, misinformed chorus of IDIOTS come forward to SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"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." - Eugene Blagmond, Fraternal Order of Police.

We definitely have a real problem with people not valuing human life. For example, real life New York police officers who pump fifty bullets into an innocent man (Sean Bell) then get acquitted of manslaughter charges because, well, we're an authoritarian society in which even when police do wrong, they cannot possibly have done anything different because being a cop is tough.

But by all means, blame the video game. Let's just hope none of the cops are playing it in their spare time either. We'd hate to give them the idea they can do whatever they want in a consequence-free environment.

"The figures show that East European immigrants are not proportionately responsible for any increase in crime. This plays on untrue stereotypes." - A spokesman for the Joint Council on the Welfare of Immigrants, reacting to the fact that in GTA IV, you play an Eastern European criminal.

I'm afraid the police are going to have to step back on the list of people who really have much more important things to worry about than their portrayal in a goddamned video game. Now, if CNN introduced a Flash-based Lou Dobbs simulator on their website, I could maybe see the JCWI being concerned about a video game. But as long as the Lou-ster and his ilk are out there, Eastern European immigrants don't have anything to fear in America as long as they stay out of the sun and avoid continuing-education Spanish classes.

"As for the 'idea people,' the television programmers and ad execs that come up with jewels like 'OMFG,' they have jobs because we are quiet. We have decided to give them our children." - Deirdre Reilly, Gatehouse News Service.

This isn't really about GTA IV. But I found it searching on GTA IV news because she mentions it in a long list of ills affecting society. I just wanted to include it here so that, for one, if she ever Googles her own name and finds this column, I can advise her to replace her picture with one that makes her look less like an electrocuted Joker who took too much Botox, then got in a time machine and went to a prom circa 1987. And, two, to remind her that just because the acronym "OMFG" appeared, apparently, in a Gossip Girls ad* doesn't mean they invented it. It's not like "Febreze". The term had a life, insipid as it was, before advertising.

"There's no reason at all to besot a child's mind with the kind of behavior celebrated in this series of video games... The last Grand Theft Auto game included prostitutes, killing police officers, porn, cocaine and killing people with Gatling guns and chain saws. Still want to buy that game for junior?" - Yael T. Aboulhalkah, Midwest Voices.

Actually, the last eight Grand Theft Auto games included prostitutes, killing police officers, and cocaine. Eight times makes them traditions, and as we all know, you can justify anything by calling it a tradition. None of the GTA games have had porn in them, and I'm pretty sure they took the Gatling guns and chain saws OUT of the latest installment. Just because you can throw around the word "besot" like anyone else with bookmarked doesn't mean you've got your facts straight, dipshit.

"Since the first version was released in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has lowered the bar for graphic and grotesque video game content." - Tim Winter, Parents Television Council.

This is doubly wrong. First, what you mean is, it's RAISED the bar for graphic and grotesque video game content. It's lowered the resistance to it, maybe. Lowered the bar for the acceptability of? I don't know. It's not my goddamned job to straighten out the PTC's mixed metaphors, thank fuck.

But more importantly, grammatical considerations aside, no it fucking hasn't. Enjoy the following list, compiled with loving care by someone who gives a damn, of eight games more violent, grotesque, or offensive than the Grand Theft Auto games, all released during the same year as a Grand Theft Auto game:

1998 (Grand Theft Auto) - Mortal Kombat IV
1999 (GTA London, GTA 2) - Silent Hill
2001 (GTA 3) - The Typing Of The Dead
2002 (GTA Vice City) - BMX XXX
2004 (GTA San Andreas) - Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
2006 (GTA Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories) - Saints Row. Also, Sneak King.
2008 (Grand Theft Auto IV) - No More Heroes (Nintendo Wii)

I suppose it's great that Grand Theft Auto draws the ire and fire of all these morons - it makes so much money with each release that the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world don't dare cave to puritanical fuckwits. And it means that we can safely play the most violent, offensive, and hilarious game known to man (No More Heroes) on our family-friendly, innocuous Wii consoles, in an environment that's completely outrage-free.

In other words, these critics may be stupid, but at least they're stupid.

*Whatever the fuck "Gossip Girls" is. And no, don't tell me.