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

I wonder where these folks were when Vice City featured the "Boomshine Saigon" mission, in which the utterly smashed Phil Cassidy blasts his arm off and starts spouting bizarre Vietnam-inspired messages about black crows coming to take him away while the screen spins and dilates as Tommy Vercetti tries to drive him to the hospital? That was one of the most surreal gaming experiences I'd ever had, yet I never heard nary a word of complaint against its portrayal of the dangerous use of explosives.
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Fangamer

I find it amazing that someone (or some organization) would make a national campaign of railing against a form of media without observing it for themselves. It takes a good deal of work to put together a national campaign like this, would it kill someone in office to sit down a play the game first?

@ Simon Roberts

That was a mandatory mission in the game, and it is quite clear that these type of people don't play the game; so they would have no idea that it's in there. Besides, the naysayers focus on the optional, non-important aspects of the game.

When you get drunk in GTA4, your friend tells you probably shouldn't drive and suggests you call a cab. If you ignore him and drive drunk anyway, it's very difficult, you're likely to crash and/or hit pedestrians, and if the cops see you they will pull you over and arrest you.

That's totally the same as the game requiring you to drive drunk in order to advance, right?

Why didn't the interviewer tell him that? His response of "I don’t think so" is so disappointing. I wanted to hear that ignorant asshole get *shut down*. It was a perfect opportunity, wasted. :(

You'd think the PTC would have learned it's lesson years ago about false information when they paid the WWF/E three million to settle a lawsuit brought against them due to the BS they were spreading.

Wow he was not right about anything. Including them lowering the bar. If anything the bar has been raised. The violence is barely graphic, any negative behavior is punished, and, most importantly, the graphics sure are pretty.

Isett = Fail

I've never even played the GTA games, and this is rediculous! Made me laugh, though :D Asshole. He judges a game and insists he knows everything about it, then admits he hasn't finished it. GP, please tell me you made this whole thing up...this can't be court!

@Kovitlac

Actually, this is par for the course. The 'experts' have seen 5 minutes of video, have never played the game, and are latched onto an idea that can easily be proven as wrong.

Just a normal day in the week for Game Politics I think.

So you admit you are a shit talker then? Well I never imagined...

Adding to Simon Roberts' post, an LiveJournal friend of mine pointed out that in Saints Row, you could get drunk and high while driving and nobody said anything about that then.

No, Isett, don't bullshit us. You think we were born yesterday? You didn't get this far in the game because it was impossible for you, for the simple reason you simply didn't put the game inside the console. Heck, if you've read the back cover of the game, I'd already be surprised. Moron.

First thing I did when I played the game was check up online and find out how to drive drunk. Bad idea. The only reward I can see is pulling off a god-awesome stunt and posting a video on YouTube.

Just about every crime you break in a GTA game is a punished behavior. You rack up money (Might as well be points, I guess), but the higher that wanted level goes, the harder it is to do anything except hide under a bridge and hope the cops keep driving into the river instead of taking the ramp around the other side. Its fun going on a rampage, but if you're in the game to finish it (which is what I generally consider the "reward"), you're not getting very far by making a big scene all the time.

I actually drove drunk in the game for the first time today. Not only is it not a 'rewarded activity' but it's incredibly stupid from a gameplay perspective. The police are all over you if they even get a hint that you're driving drunk and, since you're weaving all over the road the odds are very high that they'll catch you. Then, since you can't even walk straight they'll either lock you up (confiscating your weapons - a decidedly BAD thing) or put you in hospital - neither of which are 'rewards' as far as I can see. Personally, I don't play the game with the goal of getting jailed or shot - maybe Dan Isett does.

In fact, as others have said, the game consistently punishes 'violence for its own sake'. The best course of action is almost always to keep the level of violence low. For instance, when you're tasked with killing a gang and the police show up you'd be crazy to start shooting police. The only mission I've seen where this isn't the case is the bank robbery, where you have to defend yourself by shooting cops.

bitch FUCK MOTHERING slapped

This guy obviously doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

In other news, ignorance has once again reached never before seen levels...
 
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