Monday, March 28, 2005


I saw Penny Arcade's link to this Mediawise public service announcement. Now I'm not sure how long that link will last, so the page basically shows a shot from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas next to a kid talking about all the horrible things he has done in video games.

Now I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, young kids should not play GTA and similar games. They are not only violent, they glorify the criminal lifestyle as a way for people to get ahead. I remember going to local pizzeria last year on a school inservice day. One of the workers kids, a boy who might have been in junior high, was playing GTA3. Someone had sat him down with a PS2 and TV as a babysitter. Now GTA3 is a great game, but he was way too young for it. It is definitely not something that little kids should be allowed to play and especially not without parental supervision. Now once you get to the teenage years, maybe you can work something out...

On the other hand, the stuff the kid in the PSA is talking about does not happen in GTA. There is no having sex with multiple women. There are no cops wearing body armor. They get all the details wrong. I've played GTA a lot, the game itself is fun and immersive as long as it is just a game. And I know that most gamers have played these games and are only going to see these untruths in the PSA. They'll use it as an excuse to ignore the whole thing. Believe me, there is enough bad stuff in GTA that they don't need to lie about it.

The devil is also in the details.

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