Cubans and Haitians are protesting the storyline of the Rockstar Games title “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” because the game allegedly urges players to “kill the Haitians” and “kill the Cubans.”
The “Grand Theft Auto” series has already drawn real blood (and a lawsuit); two Tennessee teenagers say that they were mimicking the game (GTA-3) when they took their guns to the freeway and began shooting. The 14- and 16-year-olds pleaded guilty to charges and were sentenced in August.
Last month, Rockstar asked a judge to dismiss the $246 million law suit (which also names Wal-Mart and Sony).
In another case involving the series, a group of California teens was recently charged with multiple instances of robbery and murder. They reportedly played games like “Grand Theft Auto” before committing their crimes and have stated that it was their favorite.
Sony came under fire in Canada earlier this year over its series Syphon Filter 4 (also Playstattion 2). Game players were instructed to “mow down” terrorists, who were identified as being from Quebec. The firm pulled the game.
The evidence linking violent media with violence seems mixed. But does the the good outweigh the bad?
So much of the research focuses on college-aged students. But research with younger children suggests that they have difficulty differentiating between reality and fantasy; critics also note that media-inspired violence (TV) rarely shows the consequences of violence, and gamers are rewarded for violent acts.