There are many controversial themes that can influencethe users of Grand Theft Auto. Here is a list of the themesthat are used in Grand Theft Auto which hold a possibleinfluence on the users of the game:DrugsProstitution/Strip ClubsKillingDrinkingTheftDriving Wrecklessly
DrugsDuring the game the player finds themselvesin many drug dealing situations. Usually afterthese missions they will have earned asubstantial amount of money. As well as thisother people will be taking drugs anddescribing them in a positive way. This mayintrigue the player in taking drugs or havingsomething to do with drugs in real life thinkingthey may make lots of money, or want to usethem recreationally.
Prostitution/Strip ClubsThe game includes side activities which youcan do with the characters friends. One ofthese activities is strip clubs. This is where youcan go on your own or with other characters topay for women to give them promiscuousdances. This appeals to the typical maleaudience and therefore might influence theminto going out to real life strip clubs andspending large amounts of money for their ownpleasurable benefit.
Killing Another action you can perform in the game is killing peopleusing different weapons or techniques. You are mostly asked tokill or assault someone on the majority of story missions within thegame. This usually results in some kind of reward such as a car,weapon, money, revenge or sometimes a house. When you killsomeone on the “free roam” mode, things may fall out of thevictims pockets such as weapons or money. This helps thecharacter progress through the story by enabling them to havenew ways in which to buy weapons or use the weapons droppedto kill more people. This could influence the players of the gameto kill people in order to find a reward or get revenge.Story about GTA 4-Influenced murder“On 27 June 2008, police arrested six teenagers who went ona crime spree in the town of New Hyde Park, New York. Thegroup mugged a man, knocking his teeth out, attempted tocar-jack a woman driving a BMW and smashed a passing vanwith a bat. According to the Nassau County Police, the teensclaimed they were inspired by Niko Bellic perpetrating violentcrimes in Grand Theft Auto IV.”
DrinkingAs a side activity in the game the player can go to pubs or clubs with friends andwill become heavily drunk. When this happens the view becomes wildly distortedand movements almost unpredictable. The players also have the ability toaccess cars whilst still drunk. This may be conveyed to the audience as acomical moment as they are laughing at the silliness of the situation. Thereforethis may influence the players to go out and get drunk in real life, and maybe tryto steal a car to see if it is like the game. However the game does not actuallypromote drink driving to the players, if they are seen driving by police whilstintoxicated they will gain a “wanted” level and be arrested and fined, thecharacter will also make remarks like “I shouldn’t be driving” therefore showingto the audience that this should not be done.“The organisation Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) sharply criticized an in-game option that allowsplayers to drive while intoxicated and called for a stricter rating on the game that would effectively banits sale in the United States. "Drunk driving is not a game and it is not a joke," MADD said. "Drunk driving isa choice, a violent crime, and it is also 100 percent preventable." MADD is asking the EntertainmentSoftware Rating Board to bump Grand Theft Auto IVs rating up to AO for Adults Only from M for Matureand calling for Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games to consider stopping distribution out of a senseof social responsibility, or out of respect for those whove been hurt or killed by drunk drivers. The ESRBdescribes that the game includes "Use of drugs and Alcohol".”Story about GTA 4 Drinking and DrivingControversy
TheftStory about GTA 4-Influenced murder andtheft“On 4 August 2008, BBC Newsbeat reported that an 18 year-old student had been arrested in Bangkok, Thailand after hekilled the driver of a taxi while attempting to steal it. Bangkokpolice captain Veerarit Pipatanasak stated "He wanted to findout if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in thegame." According to local sources, the student was playingthe game in an arcade and wanted to rob the taxi driver toget money to continue playing the game.As a result of this incident, the game (along with the wholeseries) was subsequently banned in Thailand.”Different missions and side missions throughout the game requireyou to steal different valuable items for a reward. This usuallyinvolves stealing a car, stealing drugs from other drug lords, andone mission requires you to rob the city’s bank. These missions allend up in rewarding the player with mass amounts of moneywhich comes in handy to their progression of the game. This mayintrigue the players into stealing in real life to earn money
Driving RecklesslyThe in game driving system enables the user to navigatetheir way around the games world. This gives them freedomto do more on the game when free roaming. The player isalso able to shoot weapons out of their window at other carsor passers by, which is helpful when being chased by policeor other gangs. As well as this the player can break roadlaws such as speeding, passing red lights, hittingpedestrians, and resisting arrest. This may influence a personinto doing this in real life to get a rush of adrenaline and afeel of freedom.
“The VSC was established in 1989 and fulfils two basic roles:It is a standards body for the video and video games industries and has aCode of Practice designed to ensure that both industries show a duty ofcare in their dealings with customers and the public generally. It provides itsretailer members with a staff training course dealing with age restrictedvideos, DVDs and video games.It acts as an administrator of the PEGI system of age rating for video games.PEGI is used in over 30 countries. It is the UK regulator responsible for the agerating of video games supplied in the UK (using the PEGI system). In fulfillingthis role it uses the name Games Rating Authority (GRA).”From the Video Standards Council
Copyright Law – governing the ownership ofintellectual property, including music andphotographs, Copyright protects only the particularmanner of an author’s expression inliterary, artistic, or musical form.There are many elements within the game thatwould need to obey copyright laws. These are suchthings as vehicles, products, music etc. A lot ofvehicles within the game look like real life vehiclestherefore in order to make sure no complaints werefiled Rock star would have made sure the vehiclesare named differently to avoid complaints andlawsuits from vehicle manufacturers. This would bethe same for the food, drink and clothing productsthat can be purchased within the game. Howeverthe in game radio station will have had to getcopyright rights for the songs to be able to usethem. Royalties are paid to the band in order for thegames company to sell the games soundtrack.
Liable Law – governing what can andcannot be said in public about individualsThe game does not purposely affectanyones life by keeping the world of thegame in a different place by using differentnames. Instead of New York it is calledLiberty City, as well as this no-one in reallife is mentioned on the game. As well asthis, because the game is set in a locationinspired by New York, Rockstar have takenout the ability for users to pilot aeroplanesdue to the controversy of the 9/11 terroristattack.
Child Protection Law – governing howchildren should be protected by the stateCruelty to Animals Law – governing howanimals should be treated in societyBoth the Child Protection and Cruelty toAnimals Law have been treated the sameway in the game. Grand Theft Auto, so far,has never included any children or animalswithin their games. Animals such as ratsare shown within the game to represent theclass of society a player might be in. Aswell as this seagull can also be seen flyingaround in the sky, however neither of theseanimals can be killed. Although one sidemission is to kill 100 pigeons or moreknown as “flying rats” that are scatteredthroughout the city. By using the term“flying rats” Rockstar has so far seemed toavoid any animal Cruelty controversy. Asfor the Child Protection Law no childrenhave been added or used at any point inthe game therefore creating a lesscontroversial game due to the amounts ofviolence and other illegal mayhem causedwithin the game.
“This adult rating is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where itbecomes gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence.In general terms it is where the level of violence is so visually strong that it wouldmake the reasonable viewer react with a sense of revulsion. This rating is alsoapplied where the level of sexual activity is explicit which may mean thatgenitals are visible. Any game that glamorises the use of real life drugs will alsoprobably fall into this category.” This is how the Video Standards councils definesan 18 rated game. Therefore by looking at the mass amounts of violence, sexand drugs in Grand Theft Auto it is clear to say that this is why the age rating forthe game is set so high.