by Fraser Bryce
There’s always a great deal of controversy every time a new Grand Theft Auto game is released. Most of this stems from parents claiming that the game warps children’s minds and turns them into bloodthirsty psychopaths. Now, speaking from experience, it’s quite difficult to buy a game from a store when you’re under aged and now it is estimated that one in every thirty people in the UK own a copy of GTA. Now, I’m not an expert on the population of the UK, but I’m guessing that quite a few of those one in thirty people are under the age of 18.
So who’s buying them the game? It can’t be the children, they’re not allowed to buy it. It can’t be Rockstar – the Edinburgh based company that created GTA – as they need to make money and buying people the game would have the opposite effect. So who does that leave? That’s right protesting parents – it’s you! You are the people that are supplying your children with the evil disc sent from the depths of Hell to turn children into gang members and prostitutes.
Here’s a handy tip for any parent that is wondering whether or not to buy their child the game: on the box, there is a big, red 18 on the front. Ask yourself this question, parents, is my child 18 or over? If the answer is yes, tell them to get a job and buy it themselves. If the answer is no, chances are that you’re better buying something else instead.
The warnings are there for a reason. It’s not just there to look pretty. In fact, last time I checked, that big, red 18 was put there to stop children buying the game. So, it seems that Rockstar are actually not trying to turn your children into murdering lunatics. Even if you somehow manage to miss the aforementioned big, red 18 on the front, then on the back of the game there’s another one! And that’s not all, folks, this one comes with a brief description of why the game is an 18. So, it’s not as if people are being kept in the dark about the nature of the games that they’re buying, it’s quite literally there in black and white. Also, if your child is so impressionable that they think that killing the police and stealing cars is okay because they did it in a video game, chances are you need to stop them playing their games and have a long, hard talk about the difference between video games and reality.
I feel I’m being a bit harsh on parents now. Most of the time, they’re subjected to endless moaning, screaming and tantrums so it’s understandable if you buy your child the game even if it is just to get them to shut up. But how do 13 year olds hear about games like GTA? Here comes a torpedo of truth folks: video games have assimilated themselves into our culture. I don’t know about you, but in the weeks leading up to GTA’s release, I couldn’t walk 10 feet without seeing a billboard or a bus or taxi adorned with the game’s art – which, incidentally, is making the wait to finally get home and play it all the more painful.
Games are now receiving a level of promotion normally reserved for concerts, albums and films. Games are constantly being referenced and parodied on TV shows. Children are being excluded from friend groups because they don’t have a game that the others do have. So, crazy protesting parents, like it or not, but video games are now part of our culture and the game industry is one of the most successful out there – GTA has made over $1 billion in under a week – and that’s not going to change anytime soon. But, if you don’t want your child exposed to the violence that is often present in video games – don’t buy it for them. Yes, it’s actually that simple.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);