Insights from the UK and beyond
End of the road for violent games?
So says Dan Houser, the producer who co-created the Grand Theft Auto computer game series, one of the most successful of all time.
While sales have gone through the roof, the gangster game has attracted waves of criticism from newspapers, parents’ groups and politicians, including Hillary Clinton.
She says the series demeans women and contributes to a “silent epidemic” of sex and violence in the media that could harm children.
“They’re playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them. You know, that’s kind of hard to digest,” she said in a speech in 2005.
With the fourth instalment finally here, Houser is unrepentant about its trademark mix of fights, car-jacking and bad language and says computer games are unfairly singled out for criticism.
Violent TV shows like “The Sopranos” or films like “The Godfather” win handfuls of awards, while games with adult themes come under intense fire, he says.
“Most of it’s just Ludditism and people having a fear of things they don’t understand,” he said in an interview. “We see games as being an emergent art form…that will eventually supplant or challenge movies.”
Supporters say there is no established link between computer games and violent behaviour.
And anyway, games with adult content are given a rating which means shops can’t sell them to children.
Do you think there should be stricter controls on violent video games or is the focus on games rather than TV, films and the Internet unwarranted?