Watchdog Group Deletes Misinformation About GTA IV From Parental Alert

July 21, 2008 -

Here's something you don't see very often: a media watchdog group actually scaling back  the Grand Theft Auto IV fear factor in the interest of presenting more accurate information.

But it's true. The Parents Television Council recently issued a a video alert which warns parents about the violence and sexual content in GTA IV.

On July 11th GamePolitics reported on the alert, which is narrated by PTC president Tim Winters. Among his criticisms of the game, Winters repeats the oft-heard, "You get points for [insert nasty activity of your choice]..."

In the latest edition of, the player is a thug who gets points for having sex with prostitutes, running over pedestrians and even shooting police officers.

There are no such points in the GTA series, of course. Never have been, despite the frequent assertion of such by watchdogs. At least two GamePolitics readers, hayabusa 75 and NecroSen, wrote to the PTC to voice their objections. Lo and behold, a few days later the PTC edited the "You get points for..." line out of the video.

GamePolitics received this comment on the change from Gavin McKiernan, National Grassroots Director for the PTC:

[Winters] misspoke.  He knows there are no points in GTA and we of course want all of our productions to be completely factually accurate so we corrected it.

Catch the edited video alert here.

GP: While the viewpoint of the PTC is often at odds with that of gamers, credit is due for taking the trouble to correct this error. Kudos as well to the GP readers who contacted the PTC to point out the misinformation.

32 comments

No Longer in a Metal Mood, Pat Boone Trashes Video Games

July 12, 2008 -

In a commentary for WorldNetDaily, singer Pat Boone frets that video games are part of a social upheaval which will cost America its very soul:

[While the presidential race takes place], there's another campaign in full swing, one perhaps even more crucial, one that will certainly determine the future of our country. One that will determine the direction and morality of our young. One that quite possibly will cost America its soul.

 

It's the campaign, in the world of entertainment to absolutely throw off every restraint, abandon every moral guideline, exploit every taboo and be free to portray and present anything human beings are capable of. In prime time and full color and without any regard for the sensibilities of parents or ministers or censors, or anybody else. On TV, in movies, in music even and especially in video games.

 

Target? Our young, virtually every age from grade school through college. The next generation – our future.

It seems that Boone serves on the board of watchdog group the Parents Television Council, a frequent critic of video game content. And while he singles out video games as especially worrisome, he mentions nary a one in his column, focusing instead on TV shows like Gossip Girl, Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City.

The good news is that Boone has a suggestion. If modern media content troubles you, just wind the clock back, oh, 70 years or so and listen to old radio shows:

Many adults, fed up completely... are doing the logical thing: tuning out and turning off. My friends Ed and Jean Lubin, whose three kids are mostly grown and on their own now, just told me they're spending their evenings out on their patio listening to old radio shows! Classic shows like "The Green Hornet," "The Lone Ranger," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "Abbot and Costello," "Jack Benny," dramatic and comedic and music shows from a time when entertainment was just that – entertainment...

GP: Gosh, he hardly sounds out of touch at all.

What's really ironic is that on the album pictured here, Boone sings lounge lizard arrangements of tunes like Alice Cooper's No More Mr. Nice Guy. Now, when Boone still actually had something of a career in the mid-70's, Alice Cooper was regarded by the mainstream much as Marilyn Manson is today.

89 comments

Parents Television Council Issues Video Alert on "Sick" GTA IV

July 11, 2008 -

Watchdog group the Parents Television Council has issued a "entertainment alert" condemning Grand Theft Auto IV as well as the CBS TV series Swingtown.

PTC president Tim Winter narrates:

Unfortunately, sex and violence often go together in today's media environment. That's especially true for many of the violent video games that are now flooding the marketplace. Topping them all for worst content is Grand Theft Auto. 

 

In the latest edition of, the player is a thug who gets points for having sex with prostitutes, running over pedestrians and even shooting police officers. And our research shows that many chidlren are able to buy this adult-rated video game far too easily. That's because the retailers don't have any consequenced for abiding by their own rules. We're asking major retailers to not carry this sick game at all...

 

You can also write Congress to ask them to pass the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act which will give teeth to the current ratings system.

Via: GameArgus

GP: Thanks to Matt Paprocki for the heads-up!

80 comments

With Controversy Comes Increased Online Traffic to Torture Game

July 2, 2008 -

 

When violent video game controveries flare, it's often said that critics are unintentionally increasing traffic to the game in question.

Such appears to be the case with The Torture Game 2.

The amateur, online game has been attracting no small amout of attention lately, including a parental alert from watchdog group the Parents Television Council.

The free game is available at online gaming portals Newgrounds and Kongregate.

But a message posted by Newgrounds guru Tom Fulp documents that the controversy is actually bringing many new players to the game:

The latest controversy has been surrounding The Torture Game 2, a fun little ragdoll physics engine that lets you do all sorts of horrible things to a lifeless dummy. Sensible Erection put together a gallery of all the fancy artwork you can create with TG2... at which point Derek Yu made a post about it on TIGSource and a whole debate erupted.

 

MSNBC picked up on the TIGSource debate and posted their own article about the game, but the real fun came when FOX News weighed in with a Fair & Balanced video, expressing their disgust while showing real-time footage of the person being tortured. Hey! At least we slapped a MATURE rating on the game and made you click a link to view it... Fox just dumped it into every living room in America!

 

As a result of their efforts, many more people are now enjoying The Torture Game 2.


 The Fox News video mentioned by Fulp appears at left.

NIMF's David Walsh Interviewed in Game Informer

July 2, 2008 -

Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, is the subject of an  interview in the July issue of Game Informer.

The politically-connected Walsh, whose organization delivers its Annual Video Game Report Card each holiday season, is described by the magazine as "one of gaming's most thoughtful and reasoned critics." He dishes on a number of topics, including:

  • ESRB ratings (watchdog-ish, cautiously supportive)
  • his criticism of the Grand Theft Childhood book (disagrees with its premise)
  • his thoughts on video game legislation (opposes censorship)
  • Jack Thompson (publicly distanced himself from Thompson)

Regarding legislation, Walsh told GI:

I'm not in favor of censorship. Once we delegate to the government what we can and can't say and freedom of expression - and video games are a form of expression - that's a very slippery slope. I think government can have a role. I think the role they've been playing is the "bully pulpit" to raise awareness.

As to Thompson, Walsh said:

Extreme positions create a lot of heat but very little light. Television and talk radio love extreme positions. So there are folks out there who do not hesitate to take positions that they can't defend. You get the these food fights going on that talk radio loves, but don't really advance our knowledge and understanding whatsoever. It got to the point where I had to publlcily distance myself from Jack Thompson. 

Distance himself, indeed.

The high-profile split with Thompson came in October, 2005. The story was broken by GamePolitics, and set Internet tongues wagging for days. Read Walsh's letter breaking ties with Thompson here.

Parents Television Council Issues Warning on Torture Game

July 1, 2008 -

Last week GamePolitics reported on the controversy surrounding The Torture Game 2, an amateur online offering in which players inflict injury upon a defenseless human-like figure.

One News Now reports that media watchdog group the Parents Television Council has issued an alert to parents about the game. The site quotes PTC exec Gavin McKiernan:

The Internet can be a great resource for kids...  [But] parents need to be aware that there's [sic] so many negative things they can be doing – from chat rooms, where they expose themselves to sexual predators, to violent and depraved games and so-called entertainment like this.

 

 ...any kid who's sitting around playing the Torture Game or whose parents are allowing him to play Grand Theft Auto at home, is opening themselves up to a lot of potential negative repercussions that they may not realize for years.

 

 

68 comments

Why is National Institute on Media & Family Jumping into the File Sharing Debate?

March 5, 2008 -

In an unusual move, the National Institute on Media & the Family issued a newsletter alert last Thursday under the heading, "Does your teen understand illegal downloading?"

We found this both surprising and unsettling, for a couple of reasons.

First, the file sharing debate is a hot button issue between media content owners and consumers, and it's not one that's going away any time soon. Nor is it a simple issue. And while reasonable points can be made by both sides, the tactics of the content owners and their apparatchiks have been little short of draconian at times.

But even beyond the various arguments to be made, our question is simply this: Why is an organization founded and operated by a child psychologist (Dr. David Walsh), an organization which has historically attempted to relate modern digital media to developmental and emotional health issues, getting involved in a fight which is fraught with elements of politics and class struggle?

We note that the non-profit NIMF recently agreed to partner with Microsoft on PACT, a video game usage contract between parents and kids which also enjoys the backing of the National PTA. It is unknown whether NIMF's relationship with Microsoft is related to the non-profit's position on downloading. Figures compiled by Microsoft, however, are cited in last week's newsletter:
 

Parents have understood for millennia that they must teach their kids values like honesty and that you cannot just walk into a store and take stuff. Modern parenting includes preparing kids for honesty in the digital age.


 

Microsoft released results from an online survey showing that teens are less likely to illegally download or share content from the Internet when they understand the laws protecting intellectual property. However (and here’s the heads-up for parents and teachers), 49% of those surveyed said they did not understand the rules for downloading music, movies, images, literature, and software. Only 11% of teens surveyed said they “understood the rules very well.”


Attempts to reach NIMF for comment were unsuccessful. However, we will update if we hear from the organization.

GP: Let's be clear: we don't support copyright violation or illegal downloading. Nor, on the other hand, can we get behind many of the heavy-handed tactics employed by content providers. The bottom line? NIMF should stick to what it does best and let the wealthy media corporations fight their own battles.

 
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Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
Matthew WilsonIf you have not read http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/ you should. It is a bit stats heavy, but worth the read.04/16/2014 - 2:04pm
Matthew Wilsonthe issue is when is doesn't work it can screw over millions in new york city's case. more often than not it is better to let the free market run its course without market distortion.04/16/2014 - 9:36am
NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
ZippyDSMleeEither way you get stagnation as people can not afford the prices they set.04/16/2014 - 8:47am
Neenekowell, specifically it helps people already living there and hurts people who want to live there instead. As for 'way more hurt', majorities generally need less legal protection. yes it hurt more people then it helped, it was written for a minority04/16/2014 - 8:30am
MaskedPixelantehttp://torrentfreak.com/square-enix-drm-boosts-profits-and-its-here-to-stay-140415/ Square proves how incredibly out of touch they are by saying that DRM is the way of the future, and is here to stay.04/16/2014 - 8:29am
james_fudgeUnwinnable Weekly Telethon playing Metal Gear http://www.twitch.tv/rainydayletsplay04/16/2014 - 8:06am
ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
 

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