August 18, 2017

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Video Game Release Faces PR Challenge

Video Game Release Faces PR Challenge

The popular video game Grand Theft Auto is set to release its fourth version amidst a storm of criticism regarding the game’s violent images and their potential impact on children. Activist group the Parents Television Council (PTA) is currently running a campaign against the game, and the Chicago Transit Authority has agreed to remove its advertising from buses.

Grand Theft Auto depicts the nefarious activities of criminals in various large cities, where the goals of the game involve drug deals, stealing cars, and some sexual content. A recent study found that games with strong violence put children at risk for aggressive behavior and criminal activity.

Rockstar Games, the makers of the Grand Theft Auto series, did not comment on the controversy.

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  1. ledrew@thornleyfallis.com'
    Bob LeDrew

    Rockstar did exactly the right thing. There’s always SOMEthing responsible for violence. In the 40s it was comic books, so they got censored. In the 50s, rock & roll. In the 60s, someone claimed that a serial killer had watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” before he committed one of his murders. Hitch’s wise response was supposedly “I wonder what he watched before the others?”
    Video games, as a 60 minutes story pointed out, are huge. GTA has sold 35 MILLION copies.
    Even the ressearcher who says there’s a link between video games and impulse control is VERY cautious. From “60 Minutes”:
    Walsh says this diminished impulse control becomes heightened in a person who has additional risk factors for criminal behavior. Moore had a profoundly troubled upbringing, bouncing back and forth between a broken home and a handful of foster families.
    “And so when a young man with a developing brain, already angry, spends hours and hours and hours rehearsing violent acts, and then, and he’s put in this situation of emotional stress, there’s a likelihood that he will literally go to that familiar pattern that’s been wired repeatedly, perhaps thousands and thousands of times,” says Walsh.
    “You’ve got probably millions of kids out there playing violent games like Grand Theft Auto and other violent games, who never hurt a fly,” says Bradley. “So what does that do to your theory?”
    “You know, not every kid that plays a violent video game is gonna turn to violence. And that’s because they don’t have all of those other risk factors going on,” says Walsh. “It’s a combination of risk factors, which come together in a tragic outcome.”
    This is just the latest edition of a hysteria being created. The questions that should be asked here are who’s creating it, and to what end. Cui bono?

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