I have an 11 month old son sleeping upstairs and disc 1 of Grand Theft Auto V sitting in the tray of my 360.
Why am I writing a blog post instead of playing the game? Or the better question: now that I have a son, what do I think of my past opinions about GTA being a valued franchise for gaming consoles… I mean, before I was a parent, I always defended this series as being fun and important to each generation. This is covered ground. I almost feel like I should repost any of the GTA or violence in video games or Jack Thompson posts from the past…
Now that I’m a father, I still wouldn’t change a fsckin’ thing.
Had an interesting conversation with Jolene tonight… it started with “You’re going to play tonight? Good. It’s been a long time… wait, GTA? Isn’t that the game where you rape women?”
‘Oh god, no… those are hookers.’ I swear you could hear audibly hear me roll my eyes.
‘It started in GTA III. Your character could drive up to a hooker. She’s hop in the car and you’d drive off… after the car stopped bouncing, she’d take some money and you’re health would be increased.’
‘And then because you could beat, shoot, or drive over anyone in the game – and take their money – you could drive over the hooker to get your money back.’
“OH! That’s not right.”
Sheepishly, ‘I don’t even know if that’s still around in the game… what I do know is this is supposed to be one hell of a game.’
“That’s not right… this is the image problem with gaming. I mean would you want Kyle to play this game?”
*push goes the hot button*
‘Hey now. No, I don’t want him to play this game as a kid. Know what though? I don’t want him watching porn at an early age. Does that mean I expect people to stop making porn? He’s going to watch football as a kid. If he sees players tackling each other on the field and then decides to sack his 6th grade teacher, does that mean he shouldn’t watch football? Even though he may want to play it for Pop Warner? Why shouldn’t people make a game that they want to just because I don’t want our son to play it until he’s older? Every console on the market right now has a rating system and a way to block content. It’s on us – as parents – to lock that box down. It’s why kids under 17 can’t get into R movies… you don’t stop making R movies because there are kids under 17. And if he goes over to a friend’s house and plays the game there, then it’s on us – as parents – to have a talk with him, to explain what he saw and why it was wrong for him to play a game he knows he’s not supposed to. And then ground him accordingly.’
“You know, he’ll probably end up playing it way sooner than we want him to.”
‘Probably… and that’s why we’ll have to talk to him about it before and after… it’s on us. There was a report today that some guy was counting the “types” of people out for the midnight launch… the biggest group? Kids under 18. No one wants to talk about why there were kids that young out at midnight on a school night… everyone wants to talk about the violence in the game. Some poor guy in London got mugged for the game… same thing happened with launches of the iPhone but because it’s GTA it makes for better press.’
‘Hey, I don’t like broccoli. I don’t expected the US to stop selling broccoli because I don’t like it.’
“No, because I like broccoli.”
‘Exactly. So why should I expect other people to change their product because I don’t like it?’
“…you’re going to blog about this aren’t you?”
Gotta love this woman.
Bottom like is that this perception that the game can cause issues is why I hate the mass populous, when they get on a myopic soap box. It’s un-American to stifle other people because you don’t agree with what they do, produce, or design. Oh, you’re free to complain about it. You can demand that they change and hope that they buckle… that’s very American: you have the freedom to protest, boycott with your wallet, and scream at the top of your lungs when you don’t agree with something. What’s un-American is to expect other people to change their ways because you disagree with them… that’s the problem with religious clashes.
I mean you can expect them to change, I guess… you can also crap in your own hand if you want to… you’ll likely get the same results with either option.
Time to go Jump In and build some Gamerscore.