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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 269 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV Reaches New Lows
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In the four games in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, players win not by fighting bad guys, but by being bad guys. Players of the latest version of the game navigate the seedy underworld of Liberty City, a fictional version of New York City, and commit various crimes from robbery to murder. Since its April 29 release, GTA IV has made record sales and drawn sharp criticism for its violent and sexually explicit game sequences.

In perhaps the worst segment of the game, the player virtually has sex with a prostitute and then kills her either by shooting her or hitting her with a car. Graphic violence is prominent in all four GTA games, but the new version is by far the most sexually explicit. The third version, GTA: San Andreas, became the subject of scandal when an independent computer programmer discovered sex scenes in the game that were not normally accessible to players. After the programmer created and began to sell a software patch allowing players to view the hidden scenes, the Federal Trade Commission forced a recall of the game, and rerated it from Mature to Adults Only.

Gavin McKiernan of the Parents Television Council criticized the rating of GTA IV as Mature. "This needs to be treated as an adult product," he said. "An R-rated movie is a two-hour passive experience. With this we're talking about 71 to 80 hours of game play where you're practicing and completing these [violent] acts."

GTA IV sold 3.6 million copies on its release day, making it the biggest video game release ever. It also broke the previous record for video game sales in its first week, selling about 6 million copies and bringing in over $500 million.


 
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