Bus Driver Suspended for Playing Handheld While Driving

September 25, 2008 -

A Honolulu bus driver has been relieved of his duties for playing a handheld video game while operating the bus. The incident came to light after a concerned passenger shot cell phone video of the man, who can be seen playing what appears to be a light-colored Nintendo DS or PSP.

The driver was placed on unpaid leave while the bus company investigates. The KGMB-9 news report features an interview with Denita Waltz, the passenger who took the video:

The whole experience was terrifying. He was continuously playing his video game on the bus. Continuously. At times he was driving, playing with it. At times he was sitting there playing with it. He was a hazard. He was playing his video game. He was speeding on the highway. He had his legs and feet up on the dashboard.

 

It was a very petrifying moment. And when the bus did stop I kept on telling my son, 'Hurry! Get off the bus. Just get off the bus..

GP: It's a good bet that he wasn't playing Bus Driver.

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EA's Free Gas Stunt Angers Politician, Police, Local Residents

September 5, 2008 -

A member of Great Britain's Parliament had harsh words for Electronic Arts after a marketing stunt for Mercenaries 2 gridlocked her district during the morning rush hour.

Hoping to draw attention to the game, EA gave away £20,000 of fuel at a station in North London. The Telegraph reports on the ensuing traffic jam:

A petrol station which gave away free fuel has been temporarily shut down after motorists flocking to its pumps caused traffic chaos...

 

Norman Tidiman, from Hackney... said: "I saw a girl who stopped because she wasn't going to make the lights, and the man in the car behind her got out his car and started to bully her.

 


Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone (left) was not pleased with EA:

Whilst a lucky few might have got some free petrol, hundreds of local residents have faced misery on their daily journeys this morning. They deserve an apology for being the victims of such an ill-thought out media stunt...

 

Trying to recreate Venezuelan-style fuel riots on the streets of London is completely irresponsible and downright dangerous...

An EA rep told the Telegraph that police ultimately shut the event down as too disruptive. Mercs 2, of course, is set in Venezuela, where petroleum is a huge economic force. As in a similar event held in Los Angeles last week, the station was decorated to match the theme of the game.

The BBC has more, including a video report.

11-year-old Girl Saves Family, Credits GTA

September 4, 2008 -

Okay, so a pre-teen probably shouldn't be playing Grand Theft Auto.

But, as MyWebTimes reports, 11-year-old Audrey Plique's GTA gaming sessions may have saved her family's life after their car rolled over on the night of August 27th. Karen Norris, Audrey's mom, explains:

She just knew, from playing 'Grand Theft Auto.' She saw on there that when a car rolls over, it can blow up. She knew that could happen to us...

 

She showed the kind of bravery and courage you don't expect from an 11-year-old. She stayed composed. She sounded upset, but she knew the things she had to get done to help her parents and her siblings.

Audrey was just glad that she was able to save her family. It's unclear whether she saved her progress in GTA.

Via: Kotaku

GP: Thanks to several GP readers who pointed us toward this story. And, why yes, I do suck at PhotoShop...

128 comments

Thai Cabbie Killing: We Have To Ask...

August 11, 2008 -

Over the past week there has been much written about accused Thai killer Polwat Chinno (at left, supposedly re-enacting his crime for investigators).

Police in Bangkok claim Chinno's alleged murder of a taxi driver was sparked by his playing of Grand Theft Auto.

On that score our attention was caught by this excerpt from yesterday's edition of The Telegraph

After the stabbing, [Chinno] tried to steal the taxi with the dead driver in the back seat, but did not know how to drive. Neighbours in Soi Jaran Sanitwong in central Bangkok called police after Polwat constantly pressed on the horn as he reversed into a dead end. When police arrived Polwat had locked himself in the car.

...all of which begs the question:

If Grand Theft Auto supposedly trained this 19-year-old man to kill so effectively, how could it be that it didn't train him to drive very effectively? After all, we'd estimate (conservatively) that GTA players spend at least 25% of their game time cruising around the series' open environments in a wide array of vehicles.

 

In New Zealand: Another "GTA Made Me Do It" Case

May 30, 2008 -

The lawyer for a 25-year-old New Zealand man who pleaded guilty to beating a police officer and stealing a patrol car has blamed his client's crime in part on playing Grand Theft Auto - and the judge apparently agreed.

As reported by the Dominion Post, attorney Cris Nicholls argued at the sentencing hearing for Tim Reid that his client's behavior was influenced by the game.

From the news account:

[Reid] committed violent offences and compulsively played Grand Theft Auto. Mr Nicholls said a video game that showed violence toward police was a public safety concern, with the game promoting the behaviour...

 

Wellington District Court judge Denys Barry jailed Reid for five years... He said Reid was hardwired for violence and anti-social behaviour and programmed by his recreational pursuits.

GP: Reid, according to the report, began smoking pot at age five. He had been physically and sexually abused while growing up, and continues to abuse drugs and alcohol. He has priors for assault and robbery. Moreover, he is a 25-year-old man, not an impressionable adolescent.

Yet a video game is to blame?

 
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