The Controversy Angle – Selling Newspapers Through Video Games
It is hard to talk about video games for a long time without mentioning Grand Theft Auto. And it is hard to mention Grand Theft Auto without talking about the controversy about the game, a controversy which is whipped up every time people have a difficulty in trying to sell newspapers or attract viewers or listeners to topical talk shows.
You know how it goes – the game encourages violence, and it is responsible for lawless youth. It is a complete logical non-sequitur, but it gets people angry and it shifts blame from more deserving targets.
One of the major elements of the criticism aimed at Grand Theft Auto is the idea that in an average playing of the game you get the opportunity to pay a prostitute for sex and when the transaction is complete you beat her to death and take the money back.
While it is indeed true that you can do this in some of the games, it is equally true that it is more than likely that people playing the game never even thought of doing so before it was reported far and wide on TV talk shows.
Video games will portray things that should not happen in real life, and it is fair to hold the opinion that this is a shame. However, the same moral standards do not seem to apply to classic works of literature and film-making, or indeed to depictions of real life.
In video games, you can indeed do things that are wrong, but it might be more productive to concentrate on the people who are doing things like this for real, without needing the encouragement of a video game.