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More on "Grand Theft Auto"

By Scott Tibbs, January 29, 2006

CNN reports that the city attorney's office in Los Angeles is suing the makers of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas". Once again, Rockstar Games is being accused of misleading people due to the infamous hidden sex scene in GTA. But was Rockstar games really misleading anyone when GTA was released?

The following is the description under the rating for GTA: "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs." This was for the "M" rated version, which is comparable to an "R" rating in movies. GTA has since been upgraded to an "AO", which is comparable to NC-17.

Following is the rating for "Monster's Ball", which features a graphic sex scene involving Halle Berry: "Rated R for strong sexual content, language and violence."

Notice any similar phrases?

What is the point? Video games often get a bad rap, while movies and television do not get as much scrutiny for the content of their product. Democrats are especially guilty of focusing on video games while having blinders to what is coming out of Hollywood, As I said in my radio editorial on WFHB last month, I am sure this has absolutely nothing to do with significant campaign contributions to Democrats from Hollywood.

Often, our public servants do not even have the complete facts about the video games they seek to restrict. Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson (D-Bloomington) issued a statement in which she said that "Right now, kids can walk into just about any store and get their hands on a video game in which they can... rape women". While I do not deny that video games are much more violent and have much more sexual content than during the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, I do not know of any modern game that allows the player to engage in sexual assault. I questioned Senator Simpson about this via electronic mail and her legislative aide was unable to provide the name of one video game that allows the player to do that. The aide suggested that Sen. Simpson was misquoted.

There are a lot of video games that are not appropriate for minors, just as there are a lot of movies that are not appropriate for minors. That is why the MPAA and the ESRB have ratings systems for their respective products. I do not see Senator Simpson proposing legislation to mandate that stores not sell R or NC-17 movies to people under 18, so why the focus on video games? Many stores such as Best Buy already strictly enforce the video game ratings system.

Ultimately, parents are responsible for what the games their children play, the movies their children watch, and the music their children listen to. Passing more laws and expanding government not only will not solve the problem, but may actually make it worse by encouraging people to shift more responsibility for raising their children to the government. We have seen over the last several decades the devastating effect that has had on society.