Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Amoral World of Grand Theft Auto IV

The video game “Grand Theft Auto IV” just came out and is and is going to be a huge seller. All real followers of Jesus should protest and not buy it. Why?

Here’s one reason and, I think, it should be enough. In the game you can hire a prostitute, have sex with her, then instead of giving her a tip beat her with a baseball bat. See here and here to verify this. Now listen to this. “You don’t have to do that to advance in the game.” Gee… it’s just like real life. You don’t have to kill and rape people to advance in life. How profound.

“Some gamers have also reported playing the game with the intention of doing the minimum amount of violence possible - hanging out, making friends, watching the game’s TV shows or going online with the in-game internet. For some, the game’s realism has a sobering effect. “The physics of death feel shockingly real. Bodies can’t be blown apart or torn to pieces, but they react convincingly to explosions and severe impacts. Each death is a decision,” wrote one reviewer.”

Are we supposed to stand up and applaud GTA-IV for giving us a game that, just like in real life, we could choose to rape and kill but don’t have to? If so, then surely GTA-IV is unnecessary since we have real life situations. We don't need a game like this to train us to make moral choices. One could learn the horror of the Holocaust by slaughtering another 6 million Jews, but I suggest that we could firgure this one out in another way.

“”It’s going to be the biggest game of the year,” says Simon Barton from Gameplanet, New Zealand’s largest on-line games retailer. “It’s blown away Halo 3. We sold out of the Xbox version the day before release with pre-orders.” In four days he’s sold around 1500 copies of the game, including about 800 of the special edition package which Gameplanet sells for $150 (compared to $120 for the standard edition). “We’ve just got some new stock of the Xbox version in today (Friday) - that probably won’t last the weekend.”"

One gamer wrote that ”It consistently portrays women as disposable sex objects and it is inexcusable.” One could begin to think that the creators of Grand Theft Auto IV (David Jones and others) themselves view women this way. The game becomes a projection of their own decadence. Purchase it and you’re voting for the degradation of women and filling the pockets of the game’s amoral creators.

Jesus-followers will rightly consider GTA-IV as ensconced in the kingdom of darkness and as advancing the dark kingdom. This game may sell more than Halo 3. Since we can learn a lot about this world we’re living in by just watching what sells, we should pray that a move of God would counter such darkness with light.