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2004 Frontline Scotland: Vice City
GTAGaming.com - General News | @ 10:46 AM MDT | By Neil
Frontline Scotland: Vice City aired on BBC ONE Scotland last night, and I must say, I'm impressed. The programme presented a balanced analysis of the effects of Vice City, and video games in general, on people's behaviour. While some of the information contained in the show wasn't very recent, it presented it in the fairest way possible, featuring interviews with those opposed to the game and those who claim there is no link between violent video games and violent behaviour.
One person opposed to the game is Jack Thomson, a Miami Attorney representing the victims of shootings in which a man was killed and a woman was injured in Tennessee in 2003. The shootings were allegedly caused by the perpetrators playing Rockstar North's first 3D title in the series, Grand Theft Auto III. Mr Thomson is currently engaged in multiple lawsuits against many of those involved in developing and distributing the game, including Rockstar North/Games.
However, Rockstar Games declined to be interviewed for the programme, and instead, the Entertainment Software Association dismissed any possible link between violent video games and violent behavior.
"The notion that they don't know right from wrong, that they don't know that picking up a weapon and shooting people is morally wrong and that somehow 'a video game made me do it' is just ridiculous."
- Doug Lowenstein, President, ESA
In my opinion the problem does not lie with the video games industry, but with the mass availability of firearms in the United States of America, as Walmart.com will testify. It is clear that such incidents are few and far between, and the handful that have taken place appear to be concentrated in the USA. Such incidents are highly unlikely in other developed countries like the United Kingdom, where much stricter licencing laws are in place. Furthermore, the notion that a person could play a game, and then feel so engrossed in it that they want to carry out a similar act themself is absurd. The view from human eyes is far different to that which is created by a modern games console, no matter how close to reality game developers would like you to believe their latest title is. Also, the fact that Mr Thomson is pursuing Rockstar for a figure in the region of £60million shows that money is an important factor in his lawsuits, yet no figure can be placed on a lost relative. It is purely a product of the American "sue" culture which appears to be sweeping the rest of the world. His pursual of WalMart for selling the game is completely unrealistic, as they also carry weapons which allow people to carry out such violent acts. These types of lawsuit have been around for a long time, often aimed at the movie industry instead. If video games had this effect on one person, why are such incidents isolated in nature?
A RealPlayer version of the programme is now available on the BBCi site. If you'd like to hear Attorney Barry Silver's song about Vice City's violent nature, get it from edgefiles, it's a must-listen! (600k .MP3)
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