GTA IV GAME OVER?
Grand Theft Auto IV is a sandbox-style action-adventure video game and was released
worldwide on the 29th April 2008 for PS3 and later was released in 2008 for Xbox 360. It
includes special add ons and features such as ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’ and ‘The Lost and
Damned’. The game is set in a redesigned rendition of Liberty City, a fictional city based
heavily on modern day New York City. It follows Niko Bellic, a war veteran from Serbia. He
comes to the United States in search of the American Dream, but quickly becomes
entangled in a world of gangs, crime, and corruption. The big question is, is this twisted
and corrupted game ruining the minds and behaviour of its audience?
The certificate of the game is 18, and according to research the average gamer is 28 year
old males, this shows that the game is likely to contain strong language, images and
perhaps nudity, not intentionally to be seen by young children, but how do we prevent the
eyes of young children catching a glimpse of such crime and violence?
There are two sides to every argument. Some people such as parents, teachers and critics
believe that violent games such as Grant Theft Auto cause disruption and corrupt the
education of the youngsters involved in the gaming world. Violent video games get a lot of
negative press coverage. There are several audience effect theories that help critics back
up their view point. The desensitisation theory shows that the more mediated violence we
are exposed to, the less shocked we are by it in real life, this could lead to youngsters
agreeing that violence is ok and a perfectly fine way to deal with their problems in life, and
could lead to an increasing percentage of crime happening in the future, this is also
backed up with the copycat theory, this idea of people acting out what they see being
acted in the media, this is the mostly recognised theory and gets the most coverage.
Violent video games are readily blamed by the media and some experts as the reason why
some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior.
‘Thailand Bans GTA in Wake of Cabbie Killing
August 5, 2008
AFP reports that Thai government officials have now banned the Grand Theft Auto series
following the recent arrest of 19-year-old GTA player Polwat Chinno on murder charges.
"The police are empowered to immediately arrest shopkeepers if they find any GTA (Grand
Theft Auto) games on sale," Ruangsak Jaritake, a police spokesman, told AFP.
"GTA is banned mainly because of its obscene content -- under the criminal law article 287
that prohibits reproduction, distribution or possession of such material," he said...
“Any game seller found stocking the game could be sentenced to three years in prison and
a fine up to 6,000 baht (180 dollars). Stricter penalties are in place for online sellers who
could receive five years imprisonment and a 100,000 baht (3,000 dollars) fine.”
It would appear that Chinno was playing an unspecified earlier version of Gran Theft Auto -
not GTA IV, given the local Thai distributor's announcement that it will not import the
The New Era Interactive Media company, the only legal distributor of the games, said
earlier Tuesday it would remove the game from sale in Thailand.
"We have stopped selling Grand Theft Auto and inform all legal vendors to withdraw the
game from their shelves," the company said in an online statement.
"The company will not import GTA 4 (the next in the series) to distribute in Thailand," it
source taken from http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/08/05/thailand-bans-gta-wake-
Grand Theft Auto gets negative press due to its ferocious features of third person shooters
and features such as ‘open world’ graphics which make these games very realistic and
easily to become absorbed in to the realism of the game.
‘Police Dismiss Video Game Link in Portland Shooting Rampage
January 30, 2009
It appears that investigators in Portland, Oregon are not focusing on rampage shooter Erik
Ayala's fondness for violent video games.
[Local newspaper] The Oregonian prompted controversy on Monday, January 26, when it
reported that "one of the things that bought Ayala joy" was playing violent videogames.
Slater said a copy of the videogame Grand Theft Auto was found at Ayala's apartment, but
said police were not pursuing a link between videogames and the shooting.
"There were a lot of videogames in the apartment," said Slater. "Of a wide variety of the
kind you might find in any 24-year-old's apartment."
In regard to the video game angle, GamePolitics has learned that anti-game violence
activist Jack Thompson unsuccessfully attempted to involve himself in the Ayala case.
Thompson forwarded GP a copy of a January 26th e-mail in which the disbarred attorney
complained to Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer that detectives weren't acting on his
theory that video games prompted the rampage:
Dear Chief Sizer:
I have information that would be useful to establish further the apparent causal link
between the violent video game play of alleged killer Ayala and the recent incident at the
Some detective in the Bureau with whom I spoke has been compromised by the video
game industry, and he was anticipating my call.
I think your Bureau and you put public safety ahead of the pro-video game bias and
gaming activities of this detective.
Please have some responsible detective contact me on this, as these incidents tied to
games are popping up all over the place. Thanks.
As GamePolitics has documented over the years, Thompson characteristically makes
contact with law enforcement personnel in the wake of shooting rampages to suggest that
violent video games played a role.
Those contacts between Thompson and law enforcement officials have at times become
In 2007, for example, Thompson sued the Ohama Police Department for information
concerning a troubled 18-year-old who opened fire at a local mall. Last year, Thompson
threatened to sue the Public Safety Department of Northern Illinois University following a
campus shooting spree committed by a 27-year-old man with a history of mental health
problems. In both cases, the disbarred attorney sought evidence of video game play on the
part of the shooters.’
However the press and critics find it easy to land the blame of crimes like these on the
influence of Games such as Grand Theft Auto and other third person shooting, violent
games, but do not take in to consideration that the criminals are very likely to have traces
of mental health problems in their genes and other problems and these lead to violent
action to be committed.
An other side to this debate could be that computer games are not very educational and
can disturb the minds of young children when it comes to their literacy skills. Not only video
games are said to have this impact but other uses of technology such as facebook, msn
and twitter. The use of short writing such as ‘laughin and u’ when texting and talking over
the internet has become apparent in essay writing and other pieces of work written by
youngsters. This can be seen as a major problem when it comes to the education of these
people. On the other hand many scientists and psychologists find that video games
actually have many benefits – the main one being making kids smart. Video games may
actually teach kids high-level thinking skills that they will need in the future.
Apprently video games give your brain a real workout as in many video games, the skills
required to win involve abstract and high level thinking such as quick thinking, multitasking,
strategy, estimating, mapping and many more. Often video games come with a story line in
which you have to follow to complete the mission which also includes a lot of reading and
Technology in this day and age is constantly improving and becoming more sophisticated,
this allows gamers to computer technology and the online world. Finally, and this is a very
controversial point, but violent video games may act as a release of built up aggression
and frustration in yourself and video games such as GTA allow this diffuse of stress.
Games can provide a positive aggression outlet the same way as football and other violent
I personally believe that video games do not have such a large impact on gamers
behaviours, no tests or proper research has been carried out to prove this theory, and I
believe that serious crimes committed by gamers are caused by other elements such as
mental illnesses or traces of aggression in the family tree. However games can have a
slight impact on younger children when it comes to making moral decisions and games
can blur their concept of right and wrong, however proper teaching and parenting can
easily control the actions carried out by young children that are seen as violent or vicious.