Grand Theft Auto IV

May 1st, 2008 at 8:20 am by David Farrar

I’ve never played . But the more I read how Gordon Copeland and Family First want to ban it, the more I really really want to get a copy. What I love about the releases attacking a game, film or book is how incredibly useful and detailed they are for people:

Grand Theft Auto IV is scheduled for release this week. It follows on from previous Grand Theft Auto games which included constant graphic violence and sexual situations. Players could re-enact having sex with a prostitute, beating her bloody, taking her money and running her over with a car and shooting at police officers.

Rockstar Games which produces the game says the company is going even further in its pursuit of realism with this latest game in the series and players can buy cocaine, set enemies alight, shoot a policeman, drink drive, and visit strip clubs – all with improved physics and animation which makes the game feel more real, according to reviewers.

I mean can anyone rule out that they really are on commission for the promoters. I mean who doesn’t want to set their enemies alight :-)

Incidentally how many know that there is an autobiography on ? Yes, seriously.

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76 Responses to “Grand Theft Auto IV”

  1. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    RockStar is not taking the censorship battle against their games lying down. Apparently one of the early parts of the game involves killing a lawyer who speaks out against violent killings in video games.

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  2. LabourMustBeLiquidated (290 comments) says:

    Playing GTA is no different really, than watching say, The Sopranos or The Godfather. From a technical point of view I think they are brilliantly made. I sympathise with Family Firsts position on a lot of issues, but not this one.

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  3. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Lobby group Family First said yesterday the game should be banned. “Players could re-enact having sex with a prostitute, beating her bloody, taking her money and running her over with a car and shooting at police officers,” said spokesman Bob McCoskrie. ” It is completely naive to believe that teenagers and young children won’t have access to and be able to play the game. It is also completely unrealistic to believe that young people will not be influenced in their attitudes and behaviours by constant exposure to this type of material .”

    In November last year Superintendent Bill Harrison, national manager of police youth services, said youth violence rates in the Western world had jumped in the past two or three years. He blamed violent video games, in particular the Grand Theft Auto series, as a possible spur for the statistics

    We reap what we sow.

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  4. Grant S (146 comments) says:

    My complaint about “entertainment” such as this is more in relation to our wider culture. Everything is becoming increasingly sexualized and debased along with the subsequent blurring of the divide between right and wrong.

    Why does a computer game have to include procuring illicit drugs, garroting prostitutes, killing police officers? How does some freak who mixes his semen with bovine blood and sandwiches it between two sheets of plexiglass constitute a work of art? How are vile rappers who glorify crime and the denigration of women get to be considered mainstream? The more people tolerate these sorts of crap, the worse things will become.

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  5. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    “Incidentally how many know that there is an autobiography on Gordon Copeland? Yes, seriously.”

    “Slim” Horomia or Mr. Whippy’s biographies would make more interesting reading than Copeland’s. He’ll be forgotten after November, so not to worry.

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  6. swannsong (5 comments) says:

    has anyone played it yet? nope. it hasn’t even been released overseas.
    I suspect Gordon Copeland and family first are regurgitating overseas god-group complaints with little evidence. There is nothing more dispicable in journalistic and/or political circles than opinions formulated without evidence.
    The fact of the matter is Grand Theft Auto IV is a ‘sandbox’ game. It realistically renders a world and then leaves players to do as they please (outside of the main missions). If someone gets their kicks running over prostitutes – that’s their problem. The fact is, in Rockstar’s quest for realism they have done just that – rendered a realistic world.
    Anyone remember those punk kids running down a prostitute in Christchurch last year? It’s the real world.
    New Zealand is also getting a censored version of the game – even so, it’s R18. And i’m sorry, much like the RTD debate, the buck really does stop with R18.
    read it again.
    R18.
    Not for kids.
    Not even with parental supervision.
    R18.
    Am i getting through to anyone?

    If any parent buys this game for their kid, they should probably be sent to a parenting course. I’m sorry but keeping an eye on your kids, their past times and the people they spend time with are part of parenting in the modern world. A think a generation of parents are far too willing to blame evil corporations, boogeymen and interfering politicians rather than rolling up their sleeves and getting their ‘job’ done.
    I certainly keep an eye on what my young ones are up to.

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  7. Jim_Benson (3 comments) says:

    The whole edited version thing is just a good marketing scam. Yes, they did have to cut the game becuase Australia doesn’t have an 18+ game rating. And the developer, Rockstar, is refusing to say what exactly was cut.

    But according to a message to EB Games staff by Take-Two Interactive, the distributor, the only thing removed was a 40second cut scene.

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  8. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    if – note if – video games are considered causative, what is our answer for television, violent books and giving kids toy guns to run around and shoot eachother with?

    So your answer is to expose society to more of it then? Hell, why not just reduce the rating on it to an PG and let the kids just get used to it? Besides the usual social rants about liberal thought, surely society has an obligation to protect the vunerable from this disgusting mockery of savoury entertainment. I think its sick. Where’s Sue Bradford in times like this?

    God, did I just say that?

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  9. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    getstaffed is correct, you reap what you sow.

    It is a principle that applies to every field of life: business, education, government and, of course farming ;). Why would we expect it to be any different with raising children?

    I don’t support banning GTA4 because I believe in freedom of expression. However, freedom can never be uncoupled from virtue and responsibility. When you do uncouple them, freedom is quickly eroded by the need to establish rules to protect everything that was once protected by virtue and responsibility.

    Two problems we must face as a nation are that many of our leaders don’t believe in virtue (and often responsiblity) and often parents aren’t encouraged to be brave in their parenting. So until such time as we get some leaders and confident parents that aren’t afraid to talk about honesty, courage, sacrifice, integrity, charity and genuine solidarity, instead of power, manipulation and selfish individualism, NZ will have to endure an certain amount of social funk.

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  10. dog_eat_dog (781 comments) says:

    Violence belongs in the virtual world, and not played out in real life. Grand Theft Auto is just the franchise that wears it every time this debate comes around – there are much more violent and legal games out there. Scarface, for instance, is themed entirely around setting up a drug empire and killing rival gangs.

    Parents need to start actively parenting their kids, instead of blaming everyone else but themselves.

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  11. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    Violent Bible Book Should be Banned
    The Dim-Post
    Thursday 1st May 2008

    Lobby group Family First is calling for the Book of Isaiah, a collection of Old Testament prophecies linked to recent anti-government protests to be banned in New Zealand.

    A passage from the eighth century BC text was cited as the inspiration for the ANZAC Ploughshares, the activist group responsible for a recent attack on the GCSB spybase in Waihopai.

    A press release from ANZAC Ploughshares released after the incident contained a quotation from Isaiah:

    ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war.’

    ‘This book is directly responsible for inciting terrorist attacks against the New Zealand government,’ said Bob McCoskrie, National Director for Family First NZ. ‘The Old Testament is available to teenagers and young children. There is an overwhelming link between this holy book and the recent surge in spybase related crime.’

    A Dominican Priest is believed to have been involved in the attack. The group breached three security fences and used a sickle to deflate the kevlar hood covering one of the two satellite dishes.

    McCoskrie blamed the easy availability of sacred scriptures like Isaiah on the statistical increase in crimes committed by Dominican Priests and directly criticised the Labour Government for their reluctance to prohibit the import and manufacture of divine tomes.

    ‘We reap what we sow,’ McCoskrie said.

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  12. clintheine (1,571 comments) says:

    Anybody who wants to ban a game because it could corrupt minds is somebody we don’t need in Parliament. We already have too many who want to control our everyday lives in the Labour Party.

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  13. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    swannsong, so what you’re saying is that the type of virtual experiences on offer in TGA are bad for under 18’s while having nil impact on over 18s? Also, do you think the game improves the average quality (and security of life) of NZers who never play the game? In other words do you think that players of the game will demonstrate nil values transfer to their real lives?

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  14. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Two problems we must face as a nation are that many of our leaders don’t believe in virtue (and often responsiblity) and often parents aren’t encouraged to be brave in their parenting

    Hole in one.

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  15. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Can’t wait to get my copy when the PC version comes out!

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  16. nigel201065 (38 comments) says:

    Personally I think Rockstar should thank Family first and Gordon for the best and cheapest advertising in the world. Gordon has just made this game a top seller even before it has even hit the shelves. I just wish I had a shop in South Auckland selling them so I too could reap the profits

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  17. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Swansong said: “has anyone played it yet? nope. it hasn’t even been released overseas.”

    Ummm its been out here for two days, we have it at home. I’ve had great fun running over poor people and hookers so far.

    :-)

    Which of course means that after a week, I’ll be conditioned into a mad killing machine, hell bent on destroying everything I see on K road of course…

    What I freaking hate about Bob McCroskie, is he stands up at the EFB protests, makes an amazing speech about the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, then is so fucking thick/ignorant that he turns around and calls for the bans of games he doesn’t like, advertising he doesn’t like, tv shows he doesn’t like etc. Family first are too stupid/hypocritical/whatever to understand that freedom of speech/expression doesn’t only apply to electoral spending but also to media etc.

    With friends like them, who needs enemies.

    Kinda reminds me of the EFB protests, where I made a banner “Fuck the Whales, Save Free Speech” and some christian fundie comes up to me and asks me to put it away because it offends her, I ask her if why she is holding a “save free speech” banner if she wants to censor me. The silly Christian just couldn’t make the connection ….

    Heres a thought, why can’t parents take some parental fucking responsibility and I don’t know… take control of the media that their kids consume.. rather than expecting the state to do so (and controlling the rest of us)..

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  18. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    MikeE, should anything be banned? Why do we regulate against rape, murder, theft, drug dealing?

    Are you ready to live in a world where the consequence of nil regulation is total anarchy? Of course not, and neither am I. And I’m not keen to live in a world where every facet of our lives is regulated. That would be horrific, and I’m sure you would agree with that.

    So there’s a huge middle ground in which we must make some decisions.

    My contention is that material types which are shown to lead to violent and/or criminal activity should be at the top of the list for removal from the public domain. Why is that so unreasonable?

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  19. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    Society’s problems are not based on the freedoms we have. They are based on the complete inability of many to be responsible with those freedoms.

    The solution is therefore not to reduce the freedoms, but to increase the responsibility.

    The rise in violent crime completely mirrors the rise of the nanny state. If you don’t learn to take responsibility for yourself, how do you learn respect for others? It fucks me off when I hear lefties talking about the “loss-of-community” wrought by neo-liberal economics. It was not the Thatchers, Reagans and Douglases that broke down our community, it was the Callaghans, Heaths, Carters, Johnsons, Kirks and Muldoons. If the State provides everything for you, what need do you have of community anymore?

    As for the Church, they actively abdicated their responsibilities to the State a long time ago, so have accordingly lost any power they had as a moral influence.

    GTAIV is a symptom of the disease, not a cause. Banning it will do nothing, but reforming welfare and education to take it out of the hands of Government might go a long way to solving some of the problems.

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  20. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    getstaffed: MikeE, should anything be banned? Why do we regulate against rape, murder, theft, drug dealing?

    O.o

    getstaffed: My contention is that material types which are shown to lead to violent and/or criminal activity should be at the top of the list for removal from the public domain. Why is that so unreasonable?

    Make sure you put alchohol on that list.

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  21. Scott (1,805 comments) says:

    I don’t agree with Grand Theft Auto IV and can’t understand why so many people think it’s a great thing. Surely some people must be influenced negatively by it? Given the high amount of youth violence in our society today, do we need more violence in our video games?

    We reap what we sow is absolutely correct.

    But apparently some people are very comfortable with the violence and lawlessness in our society today. They must be given their support for this horrendous and antisocial game.

    The Bible puts it well — Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

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  22. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    “MikeE, should anything be banned? Why do we regulate against rape, murder, theft, drug dealing?”

    Because in the case of rape, murder and theft, they involve the use of force against person and property. It’s quite different than raping and murdering individuals in an imaginary environment, or a relay of news of rape, murder and theft such as appears on television (or in the Bible).

    A ban on activities that do not use force against person or property is in itself an act of force against a person and their property. That’s a breakdown, not a reinforcement, of morality.

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  23. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “MikeE, should anything be banned? Why do we regulate against rape, murder, theft, drug dealing?”

    Rape has a victim
    Murder has a victim
    Theft has a victim

    All have legitmate reasons for criminalising it

    Drug dealing has no victim

    No legit reason for criminalising it

    Computer games have no victims

    Again no reason for criminalising it.

    Better someone gets rid of their frustrations and violent fantasies on a computer game than a real person I’d say.

    Then again you religious folk seem to want to send people to jail for moral reasons, rather than if there is an actual victim of a so called crime. Party pills were a fine example of this, where the moral majority decided society was the “victim” when they couldn’t find any real harm.

    Scott said: “I don’t agree with Grand Theft Auto IV and can’t understand why so many people think it’s a great thing.”

    I don’t agree with scoring fat chicks, and can’t understand why some people think its a great thing.

    I don’t like the taste of coffee, and can’t understand why some people think its a great thing.

    etc.

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  24. Fletch (6,408 comments) says:

    BlairM, but one could argue that these games are a practice to rape murder and thieve – and more than a practice, a repetitive daily drill.

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  25. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    It’s probably worth noting that:

    At certain key events in the game, Niko will be presented with a number of positions where he can be principled and merciful or ruthless and cruel. It’s up to players to decide not only how the narrative continues, but how Niko’s character develops. It’s particularly fascinating to realise that if Niko has unleashed his rage and anger, it is a reflection on the player.

    No prizes for guessing which is more…unusual and interesting though. Not sure how far you’d get by being merciful and principled though, though perhaps it’s in the old Don Corleone way…

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  26. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    That was from the Herald, sorry http://stuff.co.nz/4503710a28.html

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  27. Doc (91 comments) says:

    “In November last year Superintendent Bill Harrison, national manager of police youth services, said youth violence rates in the Western world had jumped in the past two or three years. He blamed violent video games, in particular the Grand Theft Auto series, as a possible spur for the statistics”

    …Hmm. So according to the overwhelming empirical evidence presented:

    Grand Theft Auto (released 1997) = Perfectly OK
    Grand Theft Auto 2 (released 1999) = Perfectly OK
    Grand Theft Auto 3 (released 2001) = Perfectly OK
    Grand Theft Auto Vice City (released 2002) = Perfectly OK
    Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (released 2004) = The Devil Incarnate?

    Or – to use a different rationale: “youth violence rates in the Western world had jumped in the past two or three years.” I blame drugs – in particular the teen-binge drinking culture. Consequently, I’m calling for a return to prohibition. The fact that alcohol is R18 is obviously not stopping today’s youth from accessing it, so it must be banned!

    sorry – I don’t think that I can muster any more sarcasm…

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  28. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Fletch: BlairM, but one could argue that these games are a practice to rape murder and thieve – and more than a practice, a repetitive daily drill.

    One could also argue that watching cartoons is a daily reinforcement of that. Have you seen how violent cartoons are? People are exploded, sawn to pieces, hammered into bits. Lots of anger, vengeance and tonnes of negative reinforcement.

    One could also argue that playing with toy guns, where children are encourage to run around and shoot eachother, is more than just a practice but a repetitive, daily drill.

    One wouldn’t though, would you?

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  29. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “BlairM, but one could argue that these games are a practice to rape murder and thieve – and more than a practice, a repetitive daily drill.”

    what? raping and murdering a pixel?

    And is watching relgious movies an opporutunity to practise brutality, you know… like crucifixion? or feeding jews to lions?

    Is reading leviticus practise on the stoning of adulterers?

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  30. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Make sure you put alchohol on that list.

    Indeed. Also greed, envy, lust etc. Starting to sound like the move ‘7’! But does the entrenched nature of anything already on such a list (alcohol) make it wrong to deal with other less entranched things?

    Actually, I like BlairM’s observations about responsibility. We clearly need more of that in NZ, with the carrot being that more demonstrated responsibility leads to more freedom.

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  31. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    i guess it must be election year, ’cause violent games that involve role play come out on the market all the time.

    before this it was rock music, before that comic books, before that… fanny hill, etc.

    O tempora, O mores! – Oh, the times! Oh, the morals! (Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 BC).

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  32. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    getstaffed: Actually, I like BlairM’s observations about responsibility. We clearly need more of that in NZ, with the carrot being that more demonstrated responsibility leads to more freedom.

    That I can agree with. The key is indeed not banning something, but re-introducing the concept of responsibility.

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  33. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    It is there for people who should have the mental ability to judge the difference between a video game and real life.

    The key word is should . Not everyone has that ability – and surely you cannot expect me to believe that no one under 18 will watch/play it. Yeah right, just like porn, alcohol and party pills which are all/were R16+ rated and yet still used by underage children.

    Oh, but they shouldn’t use them, you say – its not the laws fault.

    Copeland and Goskie (whom I usually don’t agree with) are standing up for a moral standard and I defend their right to do so without the sanctimonious and condescending attacks on their relevance. Many Kiwi parents fear for the safety of their kids in today’s society – and so they should be. We can no longer expect parents to have the sole ability to look out for their kids, because its impossible for them to do so – society is saturated with things that many people would consider immoral or inappropriate.

    Why shouldn’t society stand up and defend the parents for once? I do not envy the role of a parent in New Zealand – it’s a hard job, one made harder by tech and blasé attitudes towards the bloody or the sexual. The liberal stance is an easy one to take if all you have to think about is yourself, but when you’ve got children to bring up, I can understand how filth like GTA is hard to sallow.

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  34. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    With games like this I’m always reminded of Psalm 141:4: “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity.”

    It’s pretty sick to derive pleasure from driving over people and beating prostitutes. It’s a sad indictment on the nature of man. Inclined to all kinds of evil, indeed.

    But what is gained from banning these games? If no one played these games, there would be no such games. From the perspective of personal responsibility banning achieves nothing, the opposite actually.

    But, if as Fletch indicates, such games are used by gangs and other criminals as training devices, I can see some merit in the idea. But also: does it work? So even if used that way, has it indeed made mass murderers more effective mass murderers? And wouldn’t it be a better response to develop games so the honest citizen can have a game to practice how to shoot back?

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  35. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    If you really want a shocking blurred line between fantasy, corruption and real life, you should read Absolute Power……

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  36. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Live and let live.

    Give these censorious characters the fingers and get on with life. It’s yours and yours alone.

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  37. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    Doc – where did you get those opinions from? From what I can remember, GTA and other such games have been dejected as inappropiate for years.

    I don’t like the taste of coffee, and can’t understand why some people think its a great thing.

    Neither “fat chicks” or coffee are considered detrimental to mental health, nor have they been linked to increase in antisocial behaviour or violence. While the crusade against rock music in the past has been largely baseless, I do not see the relation between that and the current violence portrayed in TV/film/games.

    The game is crap and it does nothing for society. So, why defend it?

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  38. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    The problem I have with these Copeland/Family First type complaints about video games/art/movies etc is that they simply achieve an outcome 180 degrees from Copeland & Family First’s intention.

    So they want to reduce the sales of GTA4? Then their best option is to STFU. All they’ve achieved here is to give GTA4 a higher public profile and deliver it valuable publicity.

    Personally I’m pretty sanguine about GTA4. It doesn’t do anything for me, and I won’t be a customer. But other people will and that’s their right.

    But prancing up and down banging the drum about how bad it is just (i) makes you look like an out-of-touch fuddy duddy and (ii) makes GTA4 more appealing to the people who might be weighing up buying it.

    Unfortunately Copeland and his ilk are simply naivetes who’re ignorant about publicity & marketing. I respect their right to their opinion about the evils of GTA4 and similar, but if that’s what they believe then their other actions are counterproductive. Fuming in silence would be a better option.

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  39. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    The key word is should . Not everyone has that ability – and surely you cannot expect me to believe that no one under 18 will watch/play it. Yeah right, just like porn, alcohol and party pills which are all/were R16+ rated and yet still used by underage children.

    So should we ban Porn and alchohol then?

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  40. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Manolo:

    Give these censorious characters the fingers and get on with life. It’s yours and yours alone.

    My life is improved if you live yours full of kindless, empathy, charity and humanity. Yours is similarly improved if I demonstrate the same attributes. So we are not islands (despite us currently being seperated by pixels and TCP-IP over fiber).

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  41. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Hoolian: The key word is should . Not everyone has that ability – and surely you cannot expect me to believe that no one under 18 will watch/play it.

    No, of course not. Just as I would not expect anyone to reasonably suggest that people under 18 will buy alchohol, drive cars vicariously and look at naughty pictures. With great freedom comes great responsibility. That is where it becomes the parents duty to help their children make the appropriate decisions and to empower them to decide for themselves if they want to seek out these things.

    I’m lucky, I’ve been a video gamer since I was five years old and picked up a Vic 20. I enjoy playing games and I’m part of the mature, adult sector of the market. I do not agree with people taking my entertainment away because they are unable to instill a sense of responsibility in their children. Or because their parents failed to teach them how to distinguish between fantasy and reality and the harsh bite of consequences.

    I will sit with my daughter as she learns to play games. I’ll spend time with her on the internet and yes, when she is physically capable I will begin introducing her to alcohol in moderate quantities so it does not have the allure of forbidden fruit. I want her to be capable of rationalizing her use of everything, understanding the consequences of them and being able to make intelligent decisions. Along with the ability to say no to peer pressure, just as my parents did for me.

    That is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children.

    Hoolian: The liberal stance is an easy one to take if all you have to think about is yourself, but when you’ve got children to bring up, I can understand how filth like GTA is hard to sallow.

    It is entirely possible that somebody can be liberal and still have children. We simply accept responsibility for ourselves and our own, strive to educate our children and equip them to best deal with the world. It’s called responsibility.

    I agree Copeland and ilk have the right to voice their opinions. Just as I do, and I’m unwilling to allow them further encroachments on personal freedoms.

    Hoolian: The game is crap and it does nothing for society.

    Have you played it?

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  42. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    “My life is improved if you live yours full of kindless, empathy, charity and humanity. ”

    So is mine. I don’t disagree with you on that count.

    What I object to is people trying to tell me what I can do/read/smoke/imbibe/eat/watch/listen to/ on the grounds they know is damaging to my wellbeing.

    I don’t (and will not) accept that.

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  43. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    Hoolian, if you honestly can’t stop your children from purchasing and playing a video game unless it’s banned, then truly our society is far more damaged than the banning of such a game can correct.

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  44. dave (988 comments) says:

    Virtual mark,
    So you want FFNZ to STFU about GTA4? WTF?

    AFAIAA, they havent seen it LOL. Although IANAL, the law needs to be looked at IMHO, and our pollies should HTFU and change it ASAP, LOL. O tempora, O mores, indeed.

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  45. infused (656 comments) says:

    This game is awesome. So were the previous games. OMG I PLAY GTA, LETS GO MURDER PEOPLE!!!111

    No sorry. The game is R18. Blame the parents for letting them play this game.

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  46. Fletch (6,408 comments) says:

    MikeE, Drug dealing has no victim? I beg to differ….
    Pascal, it’s not so much the watching as it is acting out the simulation. In the interview I posted the link to, Grossman makes the point that when an action is drilled into you, instinct takes over.

    For example, in the high school shootings, often the killer only wants to harm one person; a girlfriend or someone who has stolen his girlfriend, but they end up shooting and shooting until all the bullets are gone. Afterwards, the kids don’t know why, but in a game you keep on shooting until all the bullets are used up.

    Well, when the children play the violent video games, they’re drilling, drilling, drilling–not two times a year–every night, to kill every living creature in front of you, until you run out of targets or you run out of bullets. Now, I usually stand in front of an audience, and I say to the audience, “Look, if I decide that she’s one point, then he’s one point, and he’s one point, and he’s one point, and he’s one point, and she’s one point, and she’s one point.

    “Now, what’s my goal? To rack up as many points as possible.”

    So, when these kids start shooting–we’re reasonably confident that in Pearl, Mississippi, and in Paducah, Kentucky, and in Jonesboro, Arkansas, these juvenile, adolescent killers set out to shoot just one person: usually their girlfriend, in one case, maybe a teacher. But, then, they kept on going! And, they gunned down every living creature in front of them, until they ran out of targets or ran out of bullets!

    And, afterwards, the police asked them. They said, “Okay. You shot the person you were mad at. Why did you shoot all these others? Some of ‘em were your friends!” And the kids don’t know.

    But we know. Like a pilot in a flight simulator, like a child in a fire drill–whatever is drilled into them, is coming out the other end.

    Also, it happens even to Police. In weapons training they are encouraged to clean up all their spent shell casings so as not to leave a mess. They’ve found that after a REAL conflict, that officers end up with pockets full of brass shell casings. Why? It’s how they’ve been conditioned in training –

    Back in the old days, when we had revolvers, our cops would get out on the range, we’d fire six shots. Because we didn’t want to clean up the range afterwards, we’d flip out the cylinder, drop the six expended cartridges in our hand, put the empty brass in our pocket, reload, and keep going. Now, obviously, you’d never do that in a real gunfight–you got better things to do. But, guess what? We found out that real cops, in real gunfights, would end the gunfight with a pocket full of brass–and no idea how it got there. The point is, that whatever you do in training–just two times a year, the cops would qualify–and six months later, they’re in a gunfight, and they end the gunfight with a pocket full of brass, and no idea how it got there.

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  47. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Fletch: Pascal, it’s not so much the watching as it is acting out the simulation.

    Then again, allow me to ask you what your stance is on toy guns, waterguns, paintball guns and so forth.

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  48. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Fletch said: “MikeE, Drug dealing has no victim? I beg to differ….”

    All it is is the consensual exchange of goods between two consenting parties, the dealing itself has NO victims.

    What peopel do with said substance afterwards might cause a victim. But the mere act of exchanging money for a substance is a victimless crime, as is the consumption.

    Now if someone murders, beats, rapes or whatever after consuming a drug, drinking alcohol, watching TV, playing a game or whatever THAT is the crime, and that alone.

    Anything else is devloving the responsibility from the individual who commited the said crime.

    Some people are simply bad people, they will do bad things, regardless. Bad people might play videogames, it doens’t mean the games made them bad, it just means that the bad person used the product, same goes iwth other things that we try and ban, rather than looking at the root causes of such issues. Some people are just plain fucked up..

    I grew up on Rambo films, shooting and hunting, video games, easy access to booze etc. Yet I’ve never been in a fight in my life, never hit a woman, never raped, never stolen etc. Why, because my family instilled a sense of responsibility for my actions.

    And ulitimately this is what we should be focusing on, personal and parently responsibility. Not some religious fundamentalists trying to force their idea of utopia on us through the force of government censors.

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  49. infused (656 comments) says:

    “For example, in the high school shootings, often the killer only wants to harm one person; a girlfriend or someone who has stolen his girlfriend, but they end up shooting and shooting until all the bullets are gone. Afterwards, the kids don’t know why, but in a game you keep on shooting until all the bullets are used up.”

    OMG!! A LINK!

    No… maybe because adrenalin takes over? Maybe because they are shit scared? It’s all good to assume eh? The persons pissed off, why kill one when you’re going to be killed anyway?

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  50. infused (656 comments) says:

    MikeE is on the money.

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  51. xy (187 comments) says:

    I’m actually half-way through San Andreas right this minute, and I haven’t deliberately killed or slept with a single hooker. The game story missions largely consist of you hunting down crack dealers who’ve been dealing in your neighbourhood.

    Did you know that in order to complete the game 100%, you have to drive an ambulance and deliver 78 people to hospital while being careful not to injure them by driving too dangerously? Doing this gives you serious mechanical benefits. Obviously this game is a terrible, terrible influence. Other horrible society-destroying things include triathlons and tourism (photograph the points of interest in the thinly-disguised San Francisco.)

    You also have to eat sensible amounts – you get fat if you overeat, which makes missions harder.

    THIS GAME IS ENTIRELY EVIL.

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  52. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    i fucken love all this GTA shit… yeah… kill the cunts…

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  53. Doc (91 comments) says:

    Hooligan: “Doc – where did you get those opinions from? From what I can remember, GTA and other such games have been dejected as inappropiate for years.”

    Yes – that’s the irony isn’t it? there was Rock ‘n Roll, then Dungeons ‘n Dragons, then Videogames… hell before then people were burning books remember?

    But here we have someone blaming a rise in youth crime over the past 2 years on a series that has been around for a decade.

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  54. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    I am talking as a parent. I wont let my son have GTA or any other game that I consider bad in the house. He has shown up with borrowed copy of it once and I returned it to his friend’s parents. They had brought it but had no idea of content. They thought it was a racing car game of some sort. Parents just need to take more interest and some responsibility over what their kids watch.

    Saying that, the state doesn’t need to censor this game. Parents should run their households, not twelve year olds.

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  55. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Could Family First please explain how I’ve lasted reading Shakespeare and classical literature all these years without turning into a homicidal loon? Some folks really need to deal with their psychosis (i.e. the clinically defined inability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy), and learn that corelation (if it in fact exists) DOES NOT imply causation, in a professional setting.

    If my nephew asks for GTA4 in his Christmas stocking, he’s going to be told to rack off. But let’s at least have a reality-based discussion here.

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  56. berend (1,711 comments) says:

    Fletch, I would love to see some sources you quote. You make it appear as if school shootings have a link with one person shooters. I beg to differ. Here some statements from the Finnish school shooter:

    # ‘I am a cynical existentialist, antihuman humanist, antisocial social darwinist, realistic idealist and godlike atheist.’
    # ‘Life is just a coincidence … result of long process of evolution and many several factors, causes and effects.’
    # ‘There are no other universal laws than the laws of nature and the laws of physics.’
    # ‘Evolution is both a theory and a fact, creationism is neither one.’
    # ‘Religious people, your gods are nothing and exists only in your heads. Your slave morals means nothing to me. I’m the god & devil of my own life.’
    # ‘What is the best thing in life? It ends. Well I guess there are some other great things, worth living for, but sometimes you lose them or don’t get them.’
    # ‘Trust no one … and rely on your instincts.’
    # ‘I’m the dictator of my own life.’
    # ‘HUMANITY IS OVERRATED!’

    He “saw it as his job to rid the human race of “failures of natural selection.”

    Did you know that the Columbine school shooters wore T-shirts with the slogan “Natural Selection”?

    There is quite a gap between killing in virtual reality and real life. Not so much for young people so that’s why the censor, quite rightly, made it an 18+ game. But to actually kill people, you need a philosophy.

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  57. Mr Nobody NZ (391 comments) says:

    At the end of the day this is an R18 Video Game. Its a whole lot of fun, a whole lot of entertainment (speaking as somebody who has spent around 12 hours playing it since its release) but quite simlpy its not designed for children. Parents who allow their children to play/watch games like deserve this are completly irresponsible in exactly the same way as parents who allow their kids access to alcohol, pornography or R18 movies are.

    As for the argument of video games causing violence its crap. Video Games don’t make people get a gun and shoot people, or get behind the steering wheel of a car and run people down and more than “THE DEVIL GETS INTO THEM” and makes the commit various crimes. People choose to carry out these actions however where society lets itself down is that we actually pander to this sort of discussion and don’t hold the offender in these case solely responsible for their actions.

    As for games training people to be crazed killers, yes video games do get used by various military organisations for training purposes. However so does actual shooting, military practices etc in the real world so perhaps instead of looking at banning video games the PC brigade should be looking at real hunters/shooters or paintballers. Should you start to ban groups like the NZTGA (www.nztga.co.nz) who use a paintball rifle specifcally built for military/law enforcement purposes and both Paint and Rubber rounds in military simulations like hostage rescues, enemy raid, defuse the bomb etc?

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  58. virtualmark (1,531 comments) says:

    dave … I went with “STFU” because I wasn’t sure if DPF (more initials, groan …) would be okay with “Shut the fuck up” :-)

    But yeah, FFNZ and Copeland have a right to their opinion, but expressing it the way they tend to do just seems to me to generate demand for the very thing they’re trying to get shut down.

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  59. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Craig Ranapia- I agree with you. I would probably have no problems with my 12 year old playing GTA4 when he is older. Some themes he doesn’t need in his life just yet.

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  60. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “Should you start to ban groups like the NZTGA (www.nztga.co.nz) who use a paintball rifle specifcally built for military/law enforcement purposes and both Paint and Rubber rounds in military simulations like hostage rescues, enemy raid, defuse the bomb etc?”

    Further to that, the military are useless at paintball and vice versa.

    We ran a tournament at Big Boys Toys a few years ago, and put 5 paintballers up against 10 in the military. The Soliders lasted about 15 seconds, with one of them screaming “get me out of here, get me out of here” (I mean literally screaming)… I’ve got it up on youtube somewhere.

    The point being, just because it looks like a gun, doesn’t mean it prepares you to use a gun in said situation, and it certainly doesn’t turn you into a homocidal killing machine, unless you are that way inclined already. In which case – you’d probably already be well on your way to commiting crime.

    Brian Smaller – and as a repsonsible parent, I’d hope that you’d be there to explain the game and the issues raised to your child.

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  61. andymoore (74 comments) says:

    Just going to drop my point of view in here.

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  62. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    It’s interesting that so much of the argument revolves around it being R18. R18 is a concept introduced by our society to say that at this age, society has done enough to imbue a child with the required responsibilities of being an adult. Effectively “welcome to society”. People who are argueing for in the banning of this item are admitting that society is failing to pass on these qualities of a mature adult to our children. We should look at fixing this before banning everything we’ve failed to educate our children on.

    Pascal and Brian Smaller give examples of what should be the expected level of parenting. Let’s help all parents reach this level, not try and ban all vice and all temptations. What a bland world we’d make it if we did that.

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  63. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Fletch points out:

    He says in the interview that Govt forces such as the Police, Army and Marine Corp use video games as a training tool; in fact, the Marine Corp has licensed a version of “Doom” for training purposes. He says these types of simulations are VERY GOOD at teaching how to kill…

    The army and marine corps may have a legitimate excuse for being trained in how to kill… but the police? Surely we’d want the police (and by ‘we’ in this context I mean the citizenry generally, in any nation) to be trained how to incapacitate without killing?

    The fact that domestic law enforcement officials are provided with the same sorts of simulations given to soldiers (who are facing an enemy) says it all, really. No wonder Amercians cling so dearly to the 2nd Amendment.

    Given the way NZ citizens armed with weightlifting bars etc have been gunned down indiscriminately by trigger-happy Plods, I wonder if the local constabulary receive similar training? Perhaps GTAIV needs a new category (R18+ (and no policemen)).

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  64. Mr Nobody NZ (391 comments) says:

    The army and marine corps may have a legitimate excuse for being trained in how to kill… but the police?

    The Police “Video Games” that I’ve seen are more long the line of the Shoot/Don’t Shoot scenarios but in full multimedia.

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  65. JBA (22 comments) says:

    Interesting. I’ve played the previous versions. I am an adult, it doesnt make me murderous or think devilish thoughts. i find them a great way to release stress and see them as entertainment, much in the same way i would a DVD like Kill BIll or The Godfather.

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  66. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    This will definitely erode family values!

    A friend bought it, took it home, plugged it in to his tv and got a message saying his TV was unable to play the game, as it was not sufficiently HD enough. So, now he has to buy a more expensive TV and cabling to match!

    Money that could have been spent on the family!

    See!

    Honestly, why are people getting up in arms about this. Personally, I was more concerned about the 3 cops that shot thet unarmed Black man in New York and got off. They fired more than 50 rounds. That means they had to RELOAD, and keep firing! How did they get off, seriously!

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  67. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Mr Nobody NZ says:

    The Police “Video Games” that I’ve seen are more long the line of the Shoot/Don’t Shoot scenarios but in full multimedia.

    Geez they must be pretty useless players then, because they clearly haven’t even reached Stage II – the “there’s no need to fire off a few rounds into a bloke standing metres away and only holding a weight bar / machete / or other weapon that can’t be fired at you” stage :-/

    Meanwhile Right of way is Way of Right asks:

    Personally, I was more concerned about the 3 cops that shot thet unarmed Black man in New York and got off. They fired more than 50 rounds. That means they had to RELOAD, and keep firing! How did they get off, seriously!

    Because, abetted by politicians who know they can use “law ‘n’ order” as a cheap electoral parlour trick every few years, the media’s relentless portrayal of the police in everything from “Cops” to, well, “Law & Order” is a variation on the “Labour good / National bad” meme – in this case “police good / person they’re aiming at bad”. So a jury of 12 people, whipped into a frenzy of fear by politicians eager to convince them that criminals are running amok and conditioned to believe the police are always in the right, make simplistic, stupid decisions about the guilt of people accused and the innocence of police officers.

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  68. Scott (1,805 comments) says:

    So here is a game where we kill cops, murder indiscriminately and have sex with prostitutes. And this is a good thing? I think many of you people that blog just will not accept any moral restraint. I think it is a foul game.

    Many of you are intelligent and represent the well-educated, affluent of your generation. But you will not accept any moral restraint. You want to do what you want to do and will not listen to anyone.

    Because you are intelligent you can rationalise what is in your heart to do. You want to play this game, you don’t want any moral restraint, especially from authority, especially from Christianity, especially from God. Everything else you say is just commentary.

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  69. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Scott.

    I’ve got news for you.

    The invistible friend you refer to as god.

    Hes a figment of your imagination.

    Seek help.

    Now.

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  70. Mr Noisy (27 comments) says:

    Scott

    Ahh, the old equating morals with religion chestnut.

    I have morals, I’m not religious, and I’ve also played the GTA series of games. I don’t kill people in real life, because I choose to apply my morals in real life. Your morals are not my morals, and if you wish to restrain me with yours then you’ll have a fight on your hands. I do listen to other people, when I think that they are worthy of my respect and attention, and that they have something useful to add – unfortunately Gordon Copeland and co. don’t meet this criteria, IMHO.

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  71. SPCS (26 comments) says:

    Grand Theft Auto IV: Who is the NZ Distributor promoting this “Crime-promoting” game?

    For details see:

    http://www.spcs.org.nz/2008/grand-theft-auto-iv-who-is-the-nz-distributor-profiting-from-this-offensive-crime-promoting-game/

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