Anti-Grand Theft Auto Political Advocate Tragically Unfamiliar With Grand Theft Auto IV

Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star has interviewed a spokesman from the Parents Television Council, a group that is lobbying for a $5,000 fine against retailers who sell “M” rated games to youngsters, about the scourge that is Grand Theft Auto IV. It seems that the group’s spokesperson isn’t really all that familiar with the game…

Parents Television Council: “I’ve actually played ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ and it’s right in keeping with previous versions. The series continues to lower the bar and this is the first game that has an alcohol content warning. You get points for driving drunk in this game.”

Mr. Villarreal: “You know that’s not true, right? The game doesn’t have points.”

[PhilmGuy]
(Photo: meghannmarco )

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  1. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Ooh, dis!

  2. mgresser says:

    Such a silly thing. Like we say at Impatient Sufferance, leave this stuff to the parents. You end up looking silly otherwise.
    [impatientsufferance.com]

  3. Ray308win says:

    GTA4 is more like a Real-Life simulation of one of the worst possible living conditions in America. “You get points for Drunk Driving”, untrue wholeheartedly. If you count the “Cash” as points, then you LOSE points as it’s impossible to outrun police in this state and you get pulled over so easily. And they fine you.

  4. Alex Brewer says:

    That’s not really true…aren’t there gamer score points for driving drunk.

  5. Bladefist says:

    These people, everything. used to be with music, turned into video games. Come on people. Where are the parents at?

  6. moorie678 says:

    why is this on consumerist ? whats next “Hooters loses liquor license for selling beer to minors” or “Minors complain for not being able to buy cigarettes”

    All they are trying to ensure is that only mature audiences play this game which is rated M…. the group being familiar about the game or not has really nothing to do with it.

  7. ShirtGuyDom says:

    I remember the first time I got drunk with a pal in GTA IV. The game told me that it was preferable to get a cab instead of my own car. When you’re driving drunk, your wanted level increases if you drive past a cop. Taking a friend to a bar isn’t a required activity in the game.

    It’s ridiculous to think that the game encourages drunk driving, even more so by awarding you these nonexistent “points.”

  8. unklegwar says:

    @mgresser: Agreed. It’s just too bad that the parents aren’t parenting.

  9. Alex Brewer says:

    @Alex Brewer:
    I guess not, no gamer score achievements related to drunk driving.

  10. If anything, it shows that driving drunk is a bad idea. You can’t even walk to your car 5 feet away without falling down 3 or 4 times. If you do decide to get in your car, you can’t even drive straight 3 feet before it totally veers off, and the cops pull you over. Either take a cab or get something to eat and it goes away.

    It’s so funny how many people want to talk shit about this game and they never even played it, just heard things about it on tv or the internet.

    Although, I kind of am for fining video game places for selling this game to kids, I don’t know about 5gs though.

  11. jeff303 says:

    @moorie678: It’s already rated M which means it shouldn’t be sold to minors. Of course it’s up to the retailers to enforce this policy, not the game publisher. Also it’s up to the parents to know that Johnnie doesn’t drive/walk to Wal-Mart and buy a $60 game without them knowing about it.

  12. @Ray308win: I’ve managed to outrun them a few times really… They only get you if you are drunk right in front of them / hit something. If you see a cop, all you need to do is stop the car and wait until they have passed.

    Actually, so far they never arrested me in the game, they shot me thrice, but that’s about it.

  13. RookOmega says:

    First game to warn of alcohol content?

    Eh???

    Everquest 2 has that warning – and it’s been out since 2004.
    (you can get silly drunk in that game, and you get skill points increased by getting drunk – all though, currently, there is no use for this “skill”)

    Shred credibility at the door…

  14. octoSink says:

    That guy is a Tw@

  15. Meg Marco says:

    @moorie678: Because it is about a group that advocates proposed legislation that regulates what consumers can buy and I posted it.

  16. ironchef says:

    strangely they didn’t mention about the hookers and wanted levels in the game.

  17. mgresser says:

    @unklegwar: Seriously, there are plenty of good things our government should be regulating, but why are we always so upset about books, movies, music and video games?
    [www.nytimes.com]

  18. KarmaChameleon says:

    @graffiksguru: Seriously. Shit, the way the screen shakes so bad when you’re drunk, I have to put the controller down and wait for Niko to sober up before I try to move because it starts making ME dizzy IRL. The only time I’ve attempted drunk driving was the very first time when you get drunk with Roman, and I’ve never done it again. If anything it’s turned me even more off from doing it IRL.

  19. Nissan288 says:

    Mario eats mushrooms and pacman eats pills…kids are not that stupid and if they are, they were not meant to be on earth for long…

  20. roche says:

    Who are these stores they are always talking about? I see the Gamestop near me carding kids all of the time.

  21. Phil Villarreal says:

    @moorie678: The reason it’s on consumerist is your mom’s a whore.

  22. johnva says:

    Why am I not surprised it’s this dumbass group again? They seem to be singlehandedly behind virtually every whiny push for media censorship out there these days.

  23. octoSink says:

    I’m 35 and Gamestop cards me.

  24. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    All they are trying to ensure is that only mature audiences play this game which is rated M…the group being familiar about the game or not has really nothing to do with it.

    @moorie678: It has EVERYTHING to do with it!
    Just because I want some company (say Wal-mart or Best Buy) to have better customer service doesn’t mean I can make up stories about their employees beating me up. It’s a lie.
    If you’re going to complain that something is bad you better know what the Hell you’re talking about. Seriously, who heads the PTC, Laura Mallory?

    Furthermore, if a sixteen year old’s parents feel they’re mature enough to play a rated M game that’s none of the PTC’s business.

  25. TechnoDestructo says:

    Didn’t one of the earlier GTA games have a drunk driving mission? I’d swear I’ve played a game with that before.

    Also…is this really the first game with an alcohol “warning” on its rating?

  26. LibertyReign says:

    @Snowrunner:

    Cops don’t really ARREST people all that much anymore. They are more quick to pull you out into the street beat you within an inch of your life, or shoot you 50+ times in a matter of seconds.

    Sounds like the game has a pretty neat level of attention to detail..

  27. Phil Villarreal says:

    @TechnoDestructo: There’s a mission in Vice City where you have to drive drunk, after you get boozed up by the bombmaker who lives in the trailer park.

  28. LibertyReign says:

    @moorie678:

    A free people have no need for thought police. In a free-market system, free people should be FREE to make their own choices in the market place. Wether or not your child has morals has absolutely nothing to do with these government agencies. If you believe that it does, you are not mature enough to buy these games anyways, so don’t worry about it.

  29. FilthyHarry says:

    I got no problem with fining a vendor for breaking the rules. I don’t agree with the rules, but then you don’t to choose which ones apply to you and which ones don’t. Though I’d like to see some fines for the parents for letting their kids go out and buy they game as well. You know, if we’re going to be pointing fingers, lets make sure everyone gets their fair share.

  30. LibertyReign says:

    @ShirtGuyDom:

    And with this ridiculous logic a game like Predator would encourage me to hunt space aliens and collect their skulls.

    Mario Brothers would make me want to eat colorful mushrooms and physically abuse aligators.

    or maybe Major League Baseball for Nintendo would make me shoot up steroids and default on my mortgage…

    wait.. nevermind.. that’s real life..

  31. r4__ says:

    @LibertyReign: Yes, it pretty accurately simulates being a minority in a city.

  32. stinerman says:

    The $5,000 fine is unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment. Many states have tried to restrict the purchase of M-rated games to minors and each and every one have had their laws shot down in court.

    The MPAA rating system is voluntary. I can set up a theatre and allow anyone to come into any R-rated movie and not get in the slightest bit of trouble from Johnny Law.

  33. Starsmore says:

    @PhilVillarreal:

    You’ll rue the day, Trebek!

  34. josh42042 says:

    it possible to drive drunk and get away from the cops – i did just that, although no points were awarded. and i felt bad about it.

  35. eimajuno says:

    I can’t stand the PTC. I went to a conference where the president of the PTC, Tim Winter talked. His message was full of contradictions. Screw them. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Just because you want to shelter your children, does not mean that everyone else wants to be sheltered by whats on TV. I don’t have kids nor do i get offended by stuff I see on TV. And yes, I do have a copy of GTA IV, the best GTA yet.

  36. donkeyjote says:

    @stinerman: Except that no studio would rent you movies if you don’t follow the rating, and the cops/court can get creative (Or not even creative) and charge you with corrupting minors, presenting minors with obscene (read boobs) material, etc.

  37. Nakko says:

    You get points for making mortgage loans to people who really can’t afford them!

    You also get points for cutting unicorns in half with their very own rainbows!

    Man, there’s nothing GTA IV can’t do.

  38. humphrmi says:

    Let me state now, I am a somewhat conservative person. I say that, not because I want to make this about politics, but because I want to demonstrate that not all conservatives share these people’s views.

    That said, as an adult I expect the right to buy any game I want, and I will fight to my last breath the publishers right to sell it. At the same time, I reserve the right to prevent my kids from accessing these games. Lastly, I consider it a collaborative effort to prevent my children from accessing games such as GTA4. I expect that if I do my part, the resellers will do their part, and I will accept nothing short of their culpability if they don’t.

  39. trk182 says:

    I 100% completely support this guy, after all anytime your child does something wrong or you don’t approve of you should first blame someone else, then sue/fine them. Being a parent is just to damn hard, heaven forbid you catch your young child with an M video game and instead of blaming your child you bitch to some 16 yr old clerk making minimum wage. Grow some balls and beat your children America.

    P.S. America means the US, eat it Canada.

  40. Paperclippe says:

    Has anyone read the interview with Jack Thompson and Adam Sessler where Mr. Thompson actually admitted – after all the GTA VI bashing he has done – that he’s never actually played the game?

    That was good for a laugh.

  41. johnva says:

    @humphrmi: Why does it need to be a law though? You could just punish the stores that have policies you don’t like by not shopping there. Or you could, y’know, actually monitor what video games your kids play in your home.

  42. Parapraxis says:

    I think the greatest issue in the game that no one has addressed yet is that the character you play as, “Niko Bellic,” is an immigrant who starts driving as soon as he gets over here.

    WHERE’S HIS GOVERNMENT ISSUED DRIVERS LICENSE???

    “This isn’t Vietnam. There are rules.”

  43. azntg says:

    @Parapraxis: I haven’t played this game yet, so I don’t know the backstory… But, it is legal to drive in the U.S. with an “international” driving license. Here in the US, the AAA generally issues them. In other countries, the same authorities that issues a domestic-use driver license also issue them.

    Maybe Mr. Bellic has one of them ;-)

  44. trujunglist says:

    Ugh… “the game doesn’t have points.” What a terrible, lame ass response. How about addressing the actual content of the statement rather than a minor and retarded point that is not even correct on his part.
    Actually, you DO get points. It’s called MONEY. The point system the anti-M-rated-games-to-minors was referring to is probably the star rating, which is sort of like points too.
    Again, lame. I’m not opposed to GTA, violent video games, or even selling it to minors. Way to completely trivialize everything, starnet moron.

  45. smallestmills says:

    @josh42042:

    I drunkenly drove away from the cops, too. I was pretty happy, coz Dwayne was with me and I didn’t want him to be found in violation of his parole and put back in jail. (Not that that can really happen, but I’m kind of attached to the characters right now.) No game awards, but I gave myself a pat on the back for keeping Dwayne out of trouble.

  46. uberbucket says:

    That rectal ventriloquist Kevin “Virtual Orgasmic Rape” McCullough must have a long lost brother.

    Or is this stupidity just contagious?

  47. joeblack13 says:

    @ trujunglist: you do earn money throughout the game, but not for driving drunk. As people have stated earlier, your character tells you that he shouldn’t be driving. The response may not have been the most eloquent, but it showed how little the PTC member actually knew about the game.

    And your ‘star rating’ fluxuates. Ideally, you don’t want to have any stars, so they’re really not at all like points in the manner you or the PTC is describing.

    Video Games are just the latest scapegoats, like rap was in the early nineties with 2 Live Crew. Making the critics feel foolish is important if only because they will then be more likely to actually learn about the object of their scorn before they open their mouths again.

  48. franksinatra says:

    PWND!!!!1!!1

  49. Parapraxis says:

    @azntg:
    I refuse to believe that. George W. Bush has said that foreigners are terrorists. How can terrorists get drivers licenses and government issued identification from their own governments? If they do, a horrible calamity might result.

    Mark my words!

  50. Televiper says:

    Sometimes I wonder if these groups are just jealous that they didn’t start an effective group like MADD, or Block Parents.

  51. ChuckBlack says:

    Wasn’t MADD sold to some corporation and is a total farce now? A buddy told me he saw that on 60 mins I think.

    Still an effective group tho…

  52. jimconsumer says:

    @FilthyHarry: I don’t agree with the rules, but then you don’t to choose which ones apply to you and which ones don’t.

    What? Absolutely you get to choose which rules apply to you. You are a free person. Just because some idiot with the power to make a law tells you “no”, doesn’t mean you have to listen to him. What makes his opinion more important than your own? The fact that he got himself elected? Hardly. He’s just another guy, like anyone else.

    Each and every one of us has the responsibility to pick and choose which laws we follow. Stupid laws should be ignored, flagrantly. Don’t just bend over and take whatever they tell you. And before some idiot comes along and accuses me of saying it’s OK to kill people, stop there, because that’s not what I mean and you damn well know it.

  53. joellevand says:

    Next, GTA V, Philadelphia, where you are constantly pulled over and beaten up under code DWB (Driving While Black).

  54. mammalpants says:

    Has anyone heard anything from the United Council for Prostitutes? I am sort of shocked because I heard you can do sex things to them in these games. I think it’s time they get off their knees and take a stand.

    As for the PTC, I challenge them all to a round of Turf War. I promise I won’t shoot them in the face. I might run over them with my Taurus wagon, though. Oh, while drunk, too.

  55. M3wThr33 says:

    Driving drunk, while fun, is of no benefit to the player.
    It summons the cops, but you can get away. I ALWAYS DO.

    But the content of the game shouldn’t matter anyway. It’s for adults.

  56. mrpenbrook says:

    @trujunglist:

    It’s not trivial. The comment about points implies that the gamer is rewarded for driving drunk, which is a disingenuous way of beefing up the case against the game.

    Actually, the stats screen tells you how many times you’ve driven drunk, so TECHNICALLY, you do get one “point” every time you drive drunk.

    Anyway, the drunk driving is much less distasteful to me than, say, going out and killing people for talking trash about Brucie. Even Niko thinks that’s a crappy thing to do and calls Brucie out on it.

  57. donkeyjote says:

    @joellevand: They do that in new york too.

    No, the next GTA is GTA V, Boston Massacre. In one mission, you drive around placing led signs… errrr… Hoax Devices to screw with the police. In another, you have to find some traffic counters to replace with real explosives for when the dumb, er, bomb squad shows up.

  58. donkeyjote says:

    @trujunglist: The Star Rating? A point system? Man have YOU even played gta either? The more Stars you have, the more fucked you are. More Stars = More cops looking to shoot your ass 50 times. more stars = near inescapable army tanks and helicopters chasing after up. Ideally, you try to keep the stars low or zero otherwise you die and have to restart the god damn mission.

    And unlike the stars, you do not get points, or money for driving drunk. Hell, you don’t even get money for randomly hitting people anymore, short of missions and killing frenzies.

  59. My nephew has been playing GTA for 3-4 years, and he’s not even 16 yet. As for his character? He’s quite an upstanding teenager, who works 2 jobs, goes to school, saves his money, and is the most RESPECTFUL kid I’ve ever seen to his “elders”

    So, yes- LEAVE IT UP TO THE PARENTS. (or grandmother in this case, because his mother is a drunk whore who deserted him and his brother for a case of the clap and a shot of whiskey)

  60. hejustlaughs says:

    Yeah this game promotes drinking all the way.

    I took Carmen to a club and we both got trashed. While crossing the street she fell in front of a car and got “injured” like 20 feet into the air.

  61. Syd says:

    @TechnoDestructo:

    There’s a mission in Vice City where you inhale vapors caused by an explosion and have to bring that one-armed guy to a hospital… or something.

    But yeah, it was like being drunk.

  62. Saboth says:

    That’s on par for most of these groups…they are up in arms over rumors and anything of mature content: “Think of the children!”. Meanwhile, they have a vague idea of what the product they are against actually has in it. Reminds me of a lady I knew when I worked at a christian college. All of the younger people were stating how much they liked the new Harry Potter movie. She went on to say it isn’t appropriate for children, it tells them to use black magic, worship the devil, and a bunch of stuff not even in the movie. We ask her “have you even seen the movie?” “Well..no, but I’ve heard a few things.”

  63. @franksinatra: Someone had to say it.

  64. Wormfather says:

    @Starsmore:

    ‘Id like to please ask our contestants to refrain from using ethnic slurs, ok so on with the show, here we have Mr. Connery wi…’

    ‘You think your so smart Alex Trebek with your Greasy hair and your Dego mustache.’

    ‘What did I just say about ethnic slurs!?’

  65. Daniel-Bham says:

    Maybe we should start legislating that you can’t buy books or movies with arbitrarily decided ‘mature’ themes without showing an I.D. proving that you are 26 years of age.

  66. MrEvil says:

    LOL, the game rewards you for driving drunk. Anyone that has played the game knows the game actually PUNISHES YOU! for driving drunk. Every cop in the city will instantly give you a one star wanted level even though you appear to be driving the car just fine. Then you realize that it is a bit more difficult to control your car and keep it going straight. Not only that, but the game gives you the option to hail or call a cab to take you anywhere in the city.

  67. trujunglist says:

    @joeblack13:

    Thanks for explaining, I’ve played every Grand Theft Auto.
    I guess you guys are fucking morons too.

  68. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @ChuckBlack: MADD’s founder broke ties with the group and called them “neo-prohibitionist” because they expanded the scope and went totally ultra-conservative. Example would be the “buzzed driving is drunk driving” idea. MADD was also trying to spearhead lowering the legal limit to something like .05.

    Check out http://www.activistcash.com for more information.

  69. mrkniceguy says:

    @Parapraxis: Niko isn’t an immigrant. He’s an illegal alien who just hopped of the boat.

    That’s why I won’t play the game. I want to shoot the illegal aliens, not help them. [*sarcasm detected*]

  70. @Alex Brewer: One, not that I’ve seen on other’s Gamer Profiles. And two, isn’t there something out there known as a PS3?