Journalist Calls Out PTC on GTA IV Drunk Driving Claims

May 9, 2008 -

Taking  the Parents Television Council up on an interview offer, Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star spoke with Dan Isett (left), PTC Director of Public Policy about Grand Theft Auto IV.

Along with a number of other watchdog groups, the PTC has been highly critical of GTA IV in recent days. Villarreal, however, reports that Isett's knowledge of what is actually in the game is a bit lacking:

Isett: I’ve actually played ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ and it’s right in keeping with previous versions. The series continues to lower the bar and this is the first game that has an alcohol content warning. You get points for driving drunk in this game.

Villarreal: You know that’s not true, right? The game doesn’t have points.

Isett: If nothing else, it’s a rewarded activity. Necessary for advancement.

Villarreal: I don’t think so.

Isett: But there’s an alcohol content warning and a scene of drunk driving, correct?

Villarreal: Yes. Did you play that part?

Isett: No, no. I didn’t get that far...


Comments

Oh dmr9748 that's a great idea! A kind of Top Trumps website for the anti gaming people!

You know, with the exception of Experiance points in RPG's like Mass Effect and Final Fantasy, and the point system in the Meta Game for Halo 3, I can't recall any major, non-puzzle based game in the last 10 years that seriously used 'points' as a reward, except the Ace Combat series, but that's an arcade stlye flight simulator.

These groups are stuck in 1984 where games were Pac-man and Donkey Kong and were about as deep as Steam Boat Willie. It would be like people complaining about Casablanca because it had alcohol, shootings and Nazi's in it, saying that it glamourized them. The fact of the matter is these people still think video games are the Original NES and think that everything for them should be child friendly, about a deep as a thin crust pizza, and as mindless as your average sitcom.

By that token then we should only have silent films, The Honeymooers on TV, and Perry Como on the radio. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the censorship that they want to impose to at it's heart bornout of ignorance and fear; two things that almost always lead to tolitarianism. If people start saying that they want it there way or not at all then they will only except victory, even a phyrric one.

All this guy needs now is an Amazon book page.

TIP TO THOSE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW DRUNK DRIVING IN GTA4 SUCKS:

Try the motorcycle. I had no problems driving that while drunk.

haha! hilarous. that is classic!!!

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptTaking  the Parents Television Council up on an interview offer, Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star spoke with Dan Isett (left), PTC Director of Public Policy about Grand Theft Auto IV. Along with a number of other watchdog groups, the PTC has been highly critical of GTA IV in recent days. Villarreal, however, reports that Isett’s knowledge of what is actually in the game is a bit lacking: Isett: I’ve actually played ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ and it’s right in keeping with previous versions. The series continues to lower the bar and this is the first game that has an alcohol content warning. You get points for driving drunk in this game. Villarreal: You know that’s not true, right? The game doesn’t have points. Isett: If nothing else, it’s a rewarded activity. Necessary for advancement. Villarreal: I don’t think so. Isett: But there’s an alcohol content warning and a scene of drunk driving, correct? Villarreal: Yes. Did you play that part? Isett: No, no. […] [...]

Me: Then how do you know it's a "rewarded activity?"

Dumbfounded Twit: It's in the game, so it must be.

Me: *whacks over the head with a shovel*

i feel like I should get to read the rest of the interview...I could use a good laugh.

they need to do their fucking research before saying anything, and its quite obvious they havn't.

Y'know that right to free speech that everyone keeps talking about when the government tries to introduce legislation that would fine retailers for selling games to underage kids?

That same rule applies to guys like Isett. There's nothing in that part of the constitution that says you can only speak if you know what you're talking about. These guys (and gals) are after self-promotion and they'll jump on whatever bandwagon is at the front of the parade to look like they're leading the charge.

What I want to know is this... In all these recent artcles about GTA it always seems to be about protecting the children. Children shouldn't be playing an M-rated game in the first place, so how about we put the pressure where it belongs, on the parents.

“I reject the argument that an M-rated game is comparable to an R-rated movie. One, it doesn’t require 30 hours of continuous game play to make your way through an R-rated movie.”
So if there existed 30-hour long R-rated movies then we would have problems?

Wow.

First, the PTC doesn't condemn FOX News for passing on false information to Parents regarding Mass Effect.

Now, one of the groups own top dogs intentionally misinforms Parents about contents of a video game.

Really, PTC. Is this the type of "moral superiority" you want to present to Parents and others?

Shameful. Just shameful.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Those oppurtunistic politicians and activists with their ultra-violent-murder-simulator-rape-high-score BS.. They make me sick!

Just stop it!

"Villarreal: Yes. Did you play that part?

Isett: No, no. I didn’t get that far… "

DOTA Voice: OWNAGE.

"Skyler Says:

May 9th, 2008 at 10:07 am
“I reject the argument that an M-rated game is comparable to an R-rated movie. One, it doesn’t require 30 hours of continuous game play to make your way through an R-rated movie.”
So if there existed 30-hour long R-rated movies then we would have problems? "

And there are 30+ hours of the Sopranos episodes available on DVD as well.

Not to mention that games have a "Save" feature, which means one DOESN'T have to play 30 continuous hours.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

I think it's great when these people are shown getting owned.

C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!!

Villarreal: Yes. Did you play that part?

Isett: No, no. I didn’t get that far…

Villarreal: Don't you think it's massively irresponsible to use your implied authority as a Director of Public Policy to advise parents on issues that aren't even factually supported?

Isett: LOL.. Nah.

Who would play for 'points' these days anyway? This isn't Asteroids...

Proof positive that the PTC guys are clueless.

@ Nightwng2000

sums it up exactly!

He didn't get that far? I got to that in my first couple of hours of play. I hated it and will do whatever necessary to avoid having to do it again.
Niko couldn't even walk straight while drunk, there's no way I would even try and drive a car like that. I made him walk it off, and even once the camera stopped swinging around like a "Blair Witch Project" rip-off and I decided to have him drive the rest of the distance. What a mistake! He still couldn't keep the car on the road. If anything, it seemed like the game was trying to drive home the concept that even when you think you're safe to drive, you're not.

@Nightwing2000

But the Sopranos is not rated R, it's rated TV-MA, for 17 and above.... wait a a sec....ZOMG! TV-MA! M! There's a sort of consistency between two rating systems so all but the dimmest of parents should be able to understand them.

"Isett: If nothing else, it’s a rewarded activity."

Umm, heck no it isn't. I tried drunk driving once in GTA...never again. Seriously, how can he possibly consider blurry vision, sloppy controls and police jumping on you at almost every turn a reward for drunk driving.

If I'm rewarded with something in game I expect it to make game play easier, not damn near impossible to do even the simplest task...LIKE WALKING!!!

@ Altair

You're doing it WRONG.

@ the article

OHHHH BUUUURRRRN

I think we need to start up a website that rates well known journalists, activists, publishers, etc. on multiple levels including, but not limited to, how honest they are, how much propaganda they spread, use of facts, and several other categories that helps everyone understand if a certain individual is someone that we should listen to or someone that we should ignore.

This guy, on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being poor to 10 being excellent), on the use of facts he rates a 2, honesty a 7, and the spread of propaganda an 8.

This means that he will abuse facts by twisting information around in order to skew everyone's view but will make an honest statement if he is caught doing so as long as you draw the statement out of him.

Should we listen to him? Probably not. Could he redeem himself? There's a good chance.

Well, you could say its a rewarded activity on the grounds that your friendship percentage with whoever you got drunk with gets higher. When they're percentage gets high enough you get perks. Of course drinking with them isn't the only way to make them like you, but still...

Drunk driving is probably the thing I try hardest to avoid in GTA4, I think nothing of blasting cops or stabbing prostitutes, but drunk driving makes me feel physically sick.

If nothing else, this guy has no concept of what a reward is. I imagine these people playing a game like GTA the way they claim it is meant to be played and wondering why they die around the time they get 5 points (stars).

Let me clarify what a reward is. A reward in a game is something that makes the game easier. Invincibility, an attack bonus, health restoration, extra money, a new ability or weapon, etc. That's a reward. Trying to walk straight and stumbling into a wall is not a reward.

I love how these guys go on about how the game rewards you for things you do that are 'wrong'.
"The game rewards you for killing cops!"
"Yeah, by sending more cops after you... who will eventually kill you. Kinda like real life." (Granted, it's far easier to escape in the game, but still)
"The game rewards you for drunk driving!"
"By making it easier to crash and get arrested for driving drunk. Kinda like real life."

Idiots, I just played that part and no, you don't get points for the drunk driving.

Seriously, I waited till Niko acted like he was sober, when the screen stopped shaking and such, and even then, he wasn't fully, and the driving, oh lord, don't think I'll try that again any time soon, that was a pain in the butt.

But thats the same kinda logic that they use saying you get points for killing the cops, what a load.

It's always sad to see some crazy people out there telling the news things like , "you get points for drunk driving!!!!!". You and I know that it's not true, but the parents and politicians that are trying to ban our beloved video games hear that and assume it's the truth.

Me: And you dont think its a little irresponsible to be preaching all this stuff if you have nothing to back it up with?

Isett: Meh.

The sad thing is that these people don't need to do research.
These people (PTC, MADD)are behind powerful brand names. What they say has to be true, right?

"No, no. I didn’t get that far…"

This is why I hate these kinds of people.

When Niko gets drunk in the game I wait till he sobers up, because the camera is all screwy and makes it hard to control what your doing.

He didn't get that far? I had the option to drive drunk less than an hour into the game (probably 30 min if I wasn't captivated by the cutscenes). I'd say he didn't play, but watched youtube vids.

On a side note, my first option to drink and drive.. I opted not to, because I wanted points:

I was on a date (first date w/ Michelle) and chose to be responsible and take a taxi back from an Irish Bar in Bohan(?)... because I felt I had a better shot at "warm coffee" if I didn't drink and drive... I was right and got points (+5 GS) for not drinking and driving.

HAHAHAHAHA!!! Isett declares he's a game cuz he has a Wii at home, yet goes to a friends house to play a rental of GTA.

Isn't the PTC one of the groups that was chiming in with JT that the ESRB should play a game "through to completion"? Yet here they are politically grandstanding with nothing but conjecture and baseless opionion.

Thank you Phil Villarreal for being a true journalist. You're doing what the ESA should have done YEARS ago.

I'm curious as to why they keep referring to violent games as though one gets "points" for doing nasty things.

First, when has the promise of "points" ever really driven someone to do something? If I say to someone driving a car in the city, "I'll give you ten points if you run down that old lady over there," they don't start revving their engine. Points mean nothing.

Which brings us to the second point. Developers realized long ago that nobody really cares about points anymore, at least not in games such as GTA or Call of Duty. And when they do involve points, there has to be some way to use those points to get something out of it, like the studs in LEGO Star Wars or the money in the career mode of Guitar Hero. Thus, there are no points where there doesn't need to be points.

And the clear fact that needs to get through their heads: THERE ARE NO POINTS IN GTA! Stop saying we get points for killing people, because any retard who plays the game for ten minutes can see it's not true.

CONTINUATION

ME: So you havent gotten that far have you?

THAT GUY: Yeah..my life is quite feeble no?

ME: Yes

THAT GUY: I will cry in that dark corner alone now...Thank You.

[...] via Gamepolitics.com [...]

So far I haven't run into a drunk driving "scene", the first time you go to a bar with Roman the game even tells you you can hail a cab instead of trying to drive. I've never been required by the game to do it, there's no achievement for it I'm aware of (got the 360 version), the game does keep track of how many times you get the character drunk, but it also keeps track of how much time you've played, how far you've run on foot, etc. etc.

Spiral Gray said: "That same rule applies to guys like Isett. There’s nothing in that part of the constitution that says you can only speak if you know what you’re talking about."

You're right, except that when statements are made public, like the PTC does, you can commit libel and/or slander. I'm not disagreeing with Spiral Gray. Most people, if they say "I think GAME X's content is pornographic," that's an opinion protected by the Constitution, but if they claim that a Game X IS pornographic, they are potentially liable under civil law.

The tricky part is to prove that defamation has a negative impact on your product. The truth is, the extra controversy only increases a game's sales. I think the game publisher and developer take a beating in the long run, especially in stock sales.

My conclusion is that these self-authoritative groups had better do some research before they claim things as fact. In a courtroom setting, the simple questions of "did you play it? Where is that in the game? Do you have video of this (and cite the source)?" are the most important and will win the case for the plaintiff.

The funny thing is, the game actually suggests you call a cab.

One word to describe this:

OWNED

OMG! Journalism! Run!

@Dave

Wow, I wish now that Villarreal would've dropped that line on Isett. "You see, even the game is aware of designated driving."

So good to see more game critics blatantly admitting of their lack of experience of the games. It still is not as bad as the Mass Effect debacle where that book author was like "LOL NO" when asked if she played the game before.

People thinking that GTA IV rewards you, in any _positive_ fashion for driving drunk obviously haven't tried to do it in the game.

1) The game does indeed suggest that you take a cab.
2) The police are EVERY-GODDAMN-WHERE when you're tipsy behind the wheel.
3) If you get busted driving your friend home for anything, drunk driving or other offense, you LOSE relationship "points" with them.
4) Anyone who is prone to getting motion sickness while playing a video game will probably blow chunks looking at the screen while trying to drive drunk in the game. It gave me a headache, and I have never, ever, had any adverse physical reaction to playing games in the past.

Everyone I know that has tried driving drunk in game has had the same reaction as me: "Never again". I haven't heard a single person, anywhere, say that it was an enjoyable, positive experience that they would like to repeat. If anything, it's a hell of an ad for NOT driving drunk in real life.

Saying the GTA IV promotes drinking and driving is like saying the movie Trainspotting glorifies heroic addiction, or the Normandy Beach segment of Saving Private Ryan glorifies war. It's absurd.

Isett: But there’s an alcohol content warning and a scene of drunk driving, correct?

Villarreal: Yes. Did you play that part?

Isett: No, no. I didn’t get that far…

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Just like every other anti-game person out there. They don't know what they are talking about.

They think that "reward" for gamers are like some kind of adrenaline rush or some effect like get high with cocaine or crack.

"They think that “reward” for gamers are like some kind of adrenaline rush or some effect like get high with cocaine or crack."

I don't know about you, but I totally trip balls when I win some points--cheese my f-ing brains out.
 
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