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MADD Targets GTA IV Over Drunk Driving Scene 703

Posted by timothy
from the inability-to-distinguish-real-life-from-pretend dept.
eldavojohn writes "The watch-dog group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has set its sights on the rating of GTA IV, primarily because a player can drive drunk in the game. MADD released a statement saying that 'Drunk driving is not a game, and it is not a joke. Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime and it is also 100 percent preventable.' MADD also is asking Rockstar Games to consider removing GTA IV from distribution 'out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.' Rockstar replied to MADD by saying 'we have a great deal of respect for MADD's mission, but we believe the mature audience for "Grand Theft Auto IV" is more than sophisticated enough to understand the game's content.' As expected, Jack Thompson is making his usual attention-whoring remarks by comparing GTA IV to the polio virus."
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MADD Targets GTA IV Over Drunk Driving Scene

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  • Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:41AM (#23263084)

    As expected, Jack Thompson is making his usual attention-whoring remarks by comparing GTA IV to the polio virus."
    Won't someone finally lock this guy up in a mental institution? This man seriously needs therapy.
  • Dear MADD, (Score:1, Insightful)

    by w.p.richardson (218394) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:42AM (#23263090) Homepage
    Shut up.

    Sincerely,
    Everyone

  • Feh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:42AM (#23263110) Homepage
    The whole point of video games is to do things that you couldn't possibly do in real life safely. In my opinion, MADD should be ENCOURAGING people to drive drunk in GTA IV, using this logic:

    "See how much harder and more dangerous it is to drive drunk? And this is just in a video game...imagine what would happen if you did it in real life."

  • Reality Check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by db32 (862117) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:44AM (#23263128) Journal
    Because the drugs and guns and carjackings aren't choices that are violent crimes right? This is stupid. This is also coming from the worthless group that lobbied to allow the federal government to extort money from the states if they didn't raise the drinking age. Feds collect income tax from state residents, then refuse to give the money back unless the state (who is supposed to be the final authority within its own borders) complies with what the feds want them to do. So screw them, I only hope that one day these people will shut the hell up.

    Don't mistake me, I think they have a good cause, they are just a worthless bunch of whiners. For example, I think stopping all abortions would be a wonderful cause, but doing it through a massive expansion of education and adoption is a far better way than parading around with dead fetus signs, mailing plastic fetuses, making it illegal, or any of the other abhorrent things the anti-abortionists do.
  • Re:Feh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kalirion (728907) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:44AM (#23263134)
    Until somebody gets so good at driving drunk in the game that they feel they can handle it in real life ^_^
  • by cptnapalm (120276) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:46AM (#23263154)
    Has anyone ever noticed that anytime something is labeled "Adult" or "Mature", it is almost inevitably juvenile?
  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:46AM (#23263162) Homepage
    My opinion on this mirrors the opinion of many others. I personally WANT Jack Thompson to be running around acting like a moron. Yes, there are some people that listen to him...but the kind of people that listen to him would share his opinion even if he wasn't around.

    The reason I want him to run around acting like a moron is this: as long as someone like Jack Thompson is the most vocal anti-video game person out there, we as gamers are safe. We are in trouble when someone comes around that can actually put together a cohesive argument instead of the "Video games cause deaths! Just because!" type of argument. By him being this way, once again, the only people that listen to him are the ones that already have the same opinion.

    I would seriously doubt Thompson has been very successful in changing the opinions of folks insofar as video games are concerned.
  • by Kilzfire (932216) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:48AM (#23263196)
    That's funny last night I was thinking the exact opposite of what the MADD organization came up with. I mean the game tells you look this is NOT safe you really should get a taxi. And I not actually knowing how to hail a taxi yet decided to risk it. Sure enough it was a BIG mistake. The car was insanely hard to control I got within viewing distance of one patrolling policeman and he called in a ton of them to put me out of commission. I think Rockstar came through in this virtual world with a true to life scenario showing that drunk driving is not the way to go. I was thinking the whole time...next time I will take the cab this is crazy! What a waste of my time as I had not saved the game recently!
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:56AM (#23263316) Journal
    How to play:

    1. Imbibe alcoholic drink of choice until plastered.

    2. Put driving game of choice in console (or have non-inebriated person do it for you).

    3. Play game.

    This works just as well with GTA IV (or Vice City) as with Mario Kart.

  • PR advice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gription (1006467) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @10:58AM (#23263354)
    Maybe someone should tell MADD that they would probably have better luck getting their message out if they didn't take positions that are somewhere between sophomoric and insane.

    If they really think that people are so completely unable to distinguish games from reality then they should understand that it means that people are so stupid that they can't be educated to stop drinking and driving anyway.
  • Re:Dear MADD, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:02AM (#23263412) Journal

    Shut up.

    "Shut up"? I'd go with "Fuck MADD". Seriously. An orginization that started for a fairly laudable purpose (combating drunk driving and assisting the victims of it) has turned into a neo-prohibitionist organization that spends as much time demonizing alcohol as it does fighting the problem of drunk driving. Even the original founder got fed up with the group and left. She was quoted as saying something like 'I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving'.

    This is an orginization that encourages practices that are (IMHO) un-American. Practices like random police roadblocks (normally associated with military directorships), implied consent laws (5th amendment, what?) and my personal favorite: Getting the drinking age raised to 21. Gotta love the irony -- you can get married, join the military, sign a contract and borrow money from the bank -- but you can't legally purchase booze. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. Besides which, you could make the argument that this is counterproductive in terms of reducing drinking -- prohibit something and you just make it that much more attractive for teenagers.

    Recently I heard that they've come out in favor of mandatory ignition interlock systems for all automobiles -- not just as a punishment/deterrent for those previously convicted of DUI. Yeah, I should have to pay extra money for my car and blow into a tube every time I want to start it just because a small minority of people make stupid decisions and drive drunk.

    Want some sanity on this issue? Take a look a the DUI positions [motorists.org] of the National Motorist Association. Turns out there are ways to combat the problem of drunk driving that don't involve shredding our civil liberties or demonizing alcohol.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by omeomi (675045) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:06AM (#23263462) Homepage
    Won't someone finally lock this guy up in a mental institution? This man seriously needs therapy.

    Somebody should offer to either have his grandchildren play GTA IV for an hour or be infected with polio. I wonder which one he'll choose. Oh wait, I know which one he'll choose. He'll choose the one that isn't the horrible, crippling virus. If I were a polio victim, I'd be horribly offended by his remarks.
  • Re:PR advice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ (241027) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:17AM (#23263632) Homepage

    Maybe someone should tell MADD that they would probably have better luck getting their message out if they didn't take positions that are somewhere between sophomoric and insane.

    If they really think that people are so completely unable to distinguish games from reality then they should understand that it means that people are so stupid that they can't be educated to stop drinking and driving anyway.
    ... Remembering that MADD was founded and is mostly made up of parents who lost their children to drunk drivers. A bit of anger in their message is understandable.

    This: Drunk driving is not a game, and it is not a joke. Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime and it is also 100 percent preventable. that's ok. I agree with that. Hell, I agree with Jack Thompson when he says stuff like "Hay guys, maybe 8 year olds shouldn't play GTA4". (Sprinkle with batshit and curse words to taste.)

    THIS however: MADD also is asking Rockstar Games to consider removing GTA IV from distribution 'out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.' goes well past "Angry ex-parents who have a point" to "Angry ex-parents who are woefully uninformed as to what they're asking."
  • by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:19AM (#23263670) Homepage
    "MADD released a statement saying that 'Drunk driving is not a game, and it is not a joke. "

    Maybe Rockstar should release a statement saying that 'GTA IV IS a video game, and is an amusement.'

    Hey MADD - did you see the word game in the description 'video game' on the box? Did you really think that tiny box included real alcohol and a real car? I am all for reducing drunk driving, but that being the case MADD should be doing things to actually reduce real drunk driving and stop wasting their time on this non-issue.
  • Re:Dear MADD, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:26AM (#23263774) Journal

    She was essentially irrational about it. I pointed out that possession and consumption of alcohol was (generally) not illegal

    This is what kills me. We've become so obsessed with stopping "drunk drivers" that we've lost all rationality about this issue.

    One of my favorite things is to see two or three police cars sitting outside the local pub. They find some excuse to pull over people who leave (dirty license plates being the favorite in winter -- summer it's usually something like "you forgot to signal") and give them a breath test. Anybody a hair over 0.08 is arrested and charged regardless of whether or not they are actually impaired.

    Meanwhile the streets aren't being patrolled (all the cops are outside the bar), so anybody who got drink at home or at a friends house can almost always drive without being bothered -- even if they are so ridiculously drunk that they are swerving all over the road. Meanwhile other crimes aren't being deterred because there's no active police patrols until after last call -- the cops don't have the resources to patrol AND monitor every bar in town, so they opt to monitor the bars the overwhelming majority of the time.

    The last DWI fatality that happened in my hometown was a 15 year old kid who was mowed down while walking home (on the sidewalk). The driver who hit him had three previous DWI convictions, was driving on a suspended license and had a BAC of 0.17. He was seen to have been swerving all over the road and two different drivers had actually reported him to the police before his accident. They didn't catch him in time because all of the on-duty patrol cars were again sitting outside the local pub. They didn't even bother to dispatch one of them when the reports came in about his car swerving all over the road. Guess the fact that some people consume alcohol outside of bars never crossed their mind?

    Yeah, our DWI policies make sense.....

  • oh, i see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smash (1351) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @11:48AM (#23264094) Homepage Journal
    ... mugging, shooting, armed robbery, theft, running from the cops, etc is all a game - but DUI is not. glad we got that one sorted.
  • by Pinckney (1098477) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @04:23PM (#23267670)
    TFA:

    In the critically acclaimed open-world game, players have the choice of patronizing a bar and then attempting to drive drunk. While virtually under the influence, the screen becomes blurred and the controls are more difficult to use. Players also have the option of hailing a taxi or walking. The intoxication effects wear off after a few minutes in the game.

    When I was younger, the science center here in Atlanta had a DUI driving simulator. I'm not sure if it's still there. Regardless, you would drink/smoke/inject various substances and attempt to drive down a street as your car wobbled all over the road. IT EXISTED TO PERSUADE KIDS THAT DRINKING AND DRIVING WAS A BAD COMBINATION BY SHOWING THEM HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO CONTROL A CAR WHILE INTOXICATED. GTA 4 does exactly the same thing. It's not like Rockstar portrays drugs as giving you superhuman powers. *cough* NARC *cough*.
  • by TerranFury (726743) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @07:06PM (#23269316)

    Does anybody actually take a look around the U.S.A.?

    1. Bars have parking lots next to them. They get built in strip malls on highways with no public transportation. I always snicker: Drunk driving is illegal and for good reason, but let's face it: What the hell do you expect people to do? It's not like we have public transportation in this country, and, really, how realistic do you think this "designated driver" bullshit is? The fact is, most people drive drunk occasionally. It's dangerous and stupid, but if you're going to be drinking anywhere besides your next-door-neighbors' yard, it's not like the U.S. gives you many practical alternatives.

    2. The drinking age is 21. Tell me who the hell starts drinking at 21. Nobody. Everyone breaks the law, and everybody knows it.

    We've been engaging in doublethink on alcohol for so long that when facts stare us in the face we can't even see them. Social drinking is a requirement in American culture, but it is incompatible with the way Americans have built their laws, their suburbs, and their society.

    I wish something would clear up this cognitive dissonance.

    ---

    And more directly on-topic: It's obvious that MADD hasn't played the game. Once upon a time, the father of a friend of mine wrote Disney a very angry letter about the movie Dogma, which he said was anti-Catholic. Of course, he'd never even seen the film. MADD is doing the same thing here, I'm sure.

    There needs to be some rule: Do a cursory fact check; then get outraged.

    ---

    Basically, I just wish people would think more instead of relying on stupid emotional animal instinct. The fact is, MADD would prevent a hell of a lot more drunk-driving deaths by lobbying for convenient trolleys that run by the local pubs -- y'know, the way cities used to be built before this [wikipedia.org] happened -- than they ever will by being angry, screaming, and vengeful. They should think about what they are actually achieving, instead of lashing out emotionally.

    Understand that I'm no apologist for alcoholism. I know that's a popular position to take here on Slashdot, but I've seen far too much damage done by alcohol than to just ignore the harm. But you see, I'm practical. Alcohol isn't going away. People who want to drink, will. I will even have a beer on occasion. So let's try to at least make our society compatible with that.

  • by catdevnull (531283) on Friday May 02, 2008 @03:36AM (#23272014)
    So, the good people of MADD are, well, mad about a violent video game?

    Let me see if I have this right--the GTA series is historically riddled with sex, drugs, and violence but adding a little booze is over the line?

    Those are some f**ked up values.
  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday May 02, 2008 @03:57AM (#23272092)

    I love it when activists harm their cause, just like 1980s anti-nuclear environmentalists are to thank for our coal power plants.

    My point is, what a better way to show people the dangers of drunk driving by letting them experience it in a game? People have no idea how bad at driving they would be once drunk. And people tend to use virtual experiences as experience anyways when that's all they've got.

    So let people see how dangerous drunk driving is by letting them experience it first hand in the only way that can be safe, in a computer simulation. It's so much more valuable than ignorance.

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