Here at GTANet, we try our best to avoid covering every bit of GTA controversy that spews forth from the media, simply because there's far too much of it, and most of the statements made are little more than a copy+paste of opinions we've all heard countless times in the past. Instead, we prefer to focus on those articles, columns, and broadcasts that we find particularly interesting.
The following story, for example, is considerably interesting:
Katherine Kersten (a columnist with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune) has joined the ranks of pseudo-media personalities complaining about the evils of Grand Theft Auto IV. Unlike most columnists that rage against the GTA series, however, Kersten does make a point of focusing on the thirty-some male, acknowledging that the average gamer isn't a fifteen year old reclusive hiding in the basement. But here's the twist: If you play games like Grand Theft Auto, you're a bad father, a bad person, and a bad influence.
The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?
And when his young son looks to Dad as a role model — well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?
The article also talks about humanity's "dark side", reminding us of ancient history (Romans and all, no pun intended), Nazi Germany, the Rwanda genocide, and so on, suggesting that GTA IV "stimulates" our "dark side".
Our own age has witnessed the horrors of genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda. These atrocities were not perpetrated by a handful of human monsters, but by thousands of ordinary people.
Contemporary Americans are not immune from sadistic impulses. The renegade U.S. soldiers who humiliated and maltreated prisoners at Abu Ghraib were reportedly imitating the pornified culture from which they came.
Games like GTA IV stimulate and glamorize our dark impulses. They create a taste for the psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others. They encourage us to strip our fellow human beings of their dignity, and view them merely as objects of violence or sexual desire.
Needless to say, I'm a bit disgusted that this columnist is attempting to draw relationships between a videogame and genocide... if it wasn't for the constant references to the "dark side" (and me immediately imagining Darth Vader cruising through Liberty City in a smashed-up Trashmaster), I'd almost be angry. (She also happens to be the first individual I've ever seen raise the Nintendo Wii as a possible point of controversy.)
If you love dipping into every little bit of controversy that surfaces in relation to GTA IV, and for more coverage of the gray area where the world of politics and the world of videogames collide, be sure to check out GamePolitics.com.
Related Links: GamePolitics.com Post, Star-Tribune Article