I thought about starting this post off with a phrase like, “In this post-Hot Coffee world,” but then I thought better of it and realized that Hot Coffee didn’t really change anything at all. Twits like Joe Lieberman have been harping about video game violence for years and no one cared. Now that Grand Theft Auto (which has had a long history of country-wide bannings) included semi-graphic polygonal sex using invisible organs, it’s the issue of the week, but soon everyone will forget about it, like they always do, and the production of video games for mature teenagers will continue.
One of the Lieberman-style nitwits is Ronald Moten, who leads a group called the Peaceoholics (isn’t that a really stupid name?). The Peaceoholics recently protested outside Take-Two’s (the company that makes GTA) office on Tuesday the 2nd, mostly because of Rock Star’s upcoming game called Bully (think GTA, only set in a private school and neutered down to petty vandalism and fistfights). They had a list of ridiculous demands.
Not to release Bully under any circumstances
Because that would be a good plan of action for Rock Star, right? Here’s a company that’s made huge profits with nothing but extremely controversial games, and now they should scrap a huge project because a small group of easily-excitable parents thinks that it’s a bad influence. Maybe in Moten’s world, Rock Star would give a damn, but not in this one.
Volunteer to sell its violent and sexually explicit games in adult video stores only.
Perhaps I’ve missed something that Moten, being the astute realist that he is, may have found, but why would a group that doesn’t make sex games, but rather violent action games, one of which has a hidden sex scene available only to PC users, volunteer to sell these games in a venue otherwise dedicated only to adult entertainment? That’s like asking the Ben & Jerry to start distributing their product only in Tobacco shops. Violent video games already have M ratings, which means that children can’t technically buy them. Moten knows that there’s no chance of railroading through a similarly legal prohibition on violent games, so he’s asking them to “volunteer.” Again, we don’t do that sort of thing on this planet, Ron.
Let parents return Grand Theft Auto for a full refund until they do a national awareness campaign to educate parents of content and possible effects.
National Awareness Campaign? How about the big “M for Mature” on the game box? What about reading the back of it, for chrissake? And besides, letting indignant parents return the game has fundamental flaws:
- It absolves the parents of any culpability they have in the issue. If they don’t like their kids playing the game, they should have monitored it to begin with.
- It sets a baaaad precedent. If I got a refund every time I was offended, I would demand my money back for seeing Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. But I don’t, because I’m a big boy and I know the consequences of my actions.
It reminds me of a blurb from the Acts of Gord website.
Ninja Scroll is a very dark, bloody, overly violent anime movie with some sexual content. It’s actually quite good, and definitely not a family movie.
So when a 10 and an 11 year old try to rent it, the Gord in his all knowing ways declines to rent to them and suggest they find a more appropriate movie.
They depart to get their father waiting in the car, and he is very unimpressed that the Gord wouldn’t rent this violent movie to them.
“I don’t believe I had to come in here just so they could rent a cartoon!”
“Well, the movie is inappropriate for children.”
“Just give me the movie.”
“If you want, but sir, I must warn you the movie is exceptionally violent and has material inappropriate for children.”
Well he was having none of this. A cartoon is a cartoon, so he rents it and leaves—
— only to return an hour later!
“What the hell is this? You rented pornography to my kids!”
“Actually sir, you rented an inappropriate movie for your kids, not I. I warned you.”
“I demand my money back!”
“I demand you close my account!”
“I demand you pay me $50!”
“I don’t think so there Tim.”
“Pay me or I’ll call the police!”
“For being a bad parent?”
“On me because you’re a bad parent? That’s a pretty big jump.”
“I’m never coming back.”
“Sounds great to me.”
“I said I’m never coming back.”
“Yep. Heard you the first time.”
“Aren’t you going to try and keep me?”
“Because I’m a good customer.”
“No, no you’re not. You’re the type of customer who has lead to the world being one where you blame others for your mistakes and errors in judgment.”
On to the rest of the *snort* *giggle* demands:
Create a fund for victims of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and car-jackings, etc.
That’s all good and fine, except Rock Star has no responsibility for the car-jackings and theft in the world, any more than Nintendo is responsible for turtle-stompings and psilocybin use. To suggest such a thing (as was done with regard to school shootings, as well) is patently absurd.
Make a national apology for misleading and lying to children, parents, and legislators about their intentions and causing insurance premiums to sky rocket.
At what point did Rockstar mislead children, parents, and legislators? I don’t ever recall seeing an ad for GTA that said “Fun for the whole family!” or “GTA 3: It’s perfectly ok to let your kid play it.” Furthermore, where the hell did they get this claim about insurance premiums? Oh, right: Moten’s colon.
Give a written response within five business days of receipt of these demands.
If I was Rockstar, I’d comply with this last one, but I’d make the written response on toilet paper smeared with feces. Wouldn’t Moten just love to get that in the mail?
The Hot Coffee controversy has been done to death, and wiser heads than I have already smashed the complaints to pieces, but I just get so tired of these crusaders who are trying to fix problems in the wrong places. I bet that while Moten was parading like a drunk in Manhattan, his kid was playing violent video games at home. What a twit.