Rockstar "Spazzed Out Like Little Babies" Says Simpsons Game Writer

October 29, 2007 -
Is there a simmering feud in Game Developer Land?

GamePolitics readers may recall the dust-up between EA and Rockstar at the recent Leipzig Game Convention. Rockstar objected to satirical GTA references in the upcoming The Simpsons game (see: Rockstar Bullies EA Over Parody).

Specifically, a poster for Grand Theft Scratchy, a GTA parody which appears in The Simpsons, drew Rockstar's ire.

A trio of writers on the game have fired back at Rockstar on Geoff Keighley's Game Head program. Matt Selman (left) explained the controversy:
The game begins with Bart wanting to play a game called Grand Theft Scratchy. Of course this is a parody of Grand Theft Auto. And Marge immediately takes it away from him. She tries to clean up the town and stop the game from being distributed in Springfield because Marge is against video game violence. She uses horrific violence to stop video game violence... in a video game.

Thats called irony... The people who make Grand Theft Auto, they spazzed out like little babies.

Writer Matt Warburton (right) chimed in:
They're supposed to be rockstars... That's not a big Rockstar move, to be afraid of The Simpsons making fun of their game.

Selman also dinged Rockstar a bit for the delayed release of GTA 4:
We couldn't get our game out in time, so we're afraid that the gamers -- who are not morons -- are going to get confused by an Itchy and Scratchy poster of Grand Theft Scratchy - they're going to think that's the same thing as Grand Theft Auto...

EA lawyers are afraid to use the name Grand Theft Scratchy in promoting the game... [Rockstar's] games are full of satire, lame attempts at parody... basically putting the words sixty-nine in wherever they can find it...

Selman eventually paid homage to GTA, but couldn't resist a parting shot: 
Their games are amazing. Trust me, I'll be the first person in line to play Grand Theft Auto 4... in five years when it comes out.


Poor Jack. Dennis hasn't made a story about him for a while. He must be getting lonely.

does anyone remember simpson's hit and run. It was a bad GTA knockoff and they used the marge agaist games thing there too. They can't be original can they.

[...] That’s why I just love hearing their response to a GTA parody in a Simpsons game. Seems they like dishing out more than they like taking it. [...]

@jack thompson, attorney

/yaqn. Can't you come up with any new material? Honestly.

I second that, Benji -- only replied since he lied outright, and no responses, according to Jack, means that he's right.

But, in the eyes of the law, they weren't making a parody of GTA, they were making a parody of the silly hoopla that surrounded GTA. Because they wern't making parody game, instead using the parody to fuel the rest of their game, its not fair use. Its a lot similar to the Penny Arcade American McGee/American Greetings parody.

Showed this to my aunt (A PD, as well as a far better lawyer that JT probably dreams about being ;))and as we all already knew with the GTA IV thing, they don't really have any room to complain.

Gotta admit, the situation makes at least a FEW of you guys giggle, right? Will anyone remember this little dust-up when GTA IV rules gaming for a while?

I'm honestly still a bit ashamed of rockstar....

but its their IP and they can be bitchy about it if they want to.

This shows a very poor sense of humour from Rockstar and really is quite hypocritical. They parody a hell of a lot. They have the legal right to do so and the Simpsons have the legal right to parody GTA.

I'm sure Rockstar was ok with the satirical version of GTA but when you use it to sell your game, like EA did, then that's just not right. If Rockstar satired Madden on one of their games and used it to sell their game, EA would be the first one calling their lawyers.

@ brokenscope

Yeah, they can bitch about it, but I'm not to fond of all that legal action. Isn't parody protected?

fuck Matt Selman He is the only piece of shit here.
The simpson show has been unfunny for years now.

but they can't end the fucking series. The sad fact that they need to rip something off Oh I mean parody A good franchise is sad.

fuck the simpsons. fuck you all to fucking hell.

Sour grapes...

I am not saying rockstar is right it's just the simpsons have to be retarted.

British people are very sensitive about the word "spaz."

Harden the fuck up R*

It is true though that the Simpsons has sucked for years. Just let it die already.


i see your point, but satire comedy shows that have adverts including clips of their satire, would surely be guilty of the same?
using bits of a game to advertise it is (imo) hardly 'not right', and if the bits of the game include sattire, then so what?

the simpson's show does it all the time, with satire being in loads of their adverts.

@ pen gun

You seem to have some deep rooted issues with The Simpsons. Did they abuse you when you were little? Point on the Krusty doll where The Simpsons touched you.

If you were ranting against Family guy I could understand, but geez! The movie that just came out wasn't bad. It really gave the series a shot in the arm so I think it has a few good years left.

Simpsons Road Rage ripped off Crazy Taxi. There was one case where Sega sued Acclaim (or whoever developed it) for saying it was too similar.


I think this was a battle between lawyers, not so much between the developers themselves.

@ Comstock

I'm not. A spastics a spastic and no amount of nannying is going to make call them anything but what they are: Spazzes.

As I was saying, Strauss Zelnick should buy Hypocrisy, Inc. He's the biggest hypocrite in the video game universe. Just ask EA. Jack Thompson, right again.


I have to agree, Rockstar did whine a little too much about this. Oh well, this won't stop me from buying GTAIV whenever it comes out.

Bah. EA is huge. They should go ahead with the Grand Theft Scratchy campaign and have their lawyers counterslap R*'s lawyers if they complain.

Failing that, sic Madden on them.

Haha. John Madden scares the shit out of me.

It deos seem like Rockstar went a bit too far on this one, though.

Exactly how would Grand Theft Scratchy harm the GTA name, R*, or TT? I guess someone at R* thinks they are the only ones who can satire anything. Unless, of course, this is all instigated by slimy lawyers.

Wasn't it The Simpsons that accused Family Guy of ripping them off? Seems they think it is only okay when THEY do it...

I'm certainly confused as to WHY Rockstar is opposed to this particular parody and not others. I mean, "The Simpsons Hit and Run" was clearly a GTA parody. And "Grand Theft Walrus" from The Simpsons Movie was a parody as well.

So why this one?

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Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as


Purely because it is competing against it from a rival firm on the same media type. When it was a film/tv spoof it is fine. When it is a game that competes for money and sales, that's another thing.

As for Simpsons Hit and Run, they probably weren't bothered because it was a complete bag of s***e. This new game might actually be half decent?

Yeah, something about this doesn't sit quite right with me. It doesn't seem characteristic of R* at all.

If it is a genuine stance being held by the company at large...grow the hell up, guys. You've made your name on controversy and parody. First mission of GTAIV ring a bell?

Also, someone give pen gun a tranq. What the hell is up with that, dude?

Yeah, they spazzed out like a little baby, Selman. And that was enough to totally outwit your camp and make you run off with your tails between your legs. But at least you can zing them a few times during an interview.

If Rockstar can dish it out, they ought to be able to take it. Otherwise, someone get Ice Cube and Brian DePalma on the phone and have them queue up for lawsuits.

Honestly, it's hypocrisy on Rockstar's part. In any PS2-era GTA game they not only pepper their game world with parody posters, they have spoofs of movies on the radio stations and lines from other movies deliberately placed in the dialog. But then EA does the same thing and it's suddenly wrong. Give me a break.

Yeah, I got to agree. Rockstar were really chumps this time. You'd think that since they do it quite a bit themselves that they wouldn't mind a little back, but you see here that they're just babies.

I'm wondering if it's more about them not just being properly informed about the parody earlier on and such. I mean, it's hard to support something you weren't informed of at the right time and nothing gets my dander up faster than something I created being parodied without my permission.

If you ask me the EA guys are being worse than Rockstar in any event. Sure Rockstar's crying foul over something that seems trivial, but going on TV and calling them babies (who the hell still calls people babies? What are they 10?) and taking shots at the game series they want to parody? Yeah, that's a real good way to get them to see your side of things.

I don't really care about this so-called 'feud'. At the end of the day, they're taking cheap shots at R* for taking so long to create a good game.

Yet EA have been around since 1982 and haven't made a single game worthy of sniffing R*'s shit. Maybe once EA decides to actually let their developers make a good game instead of rushing a shitty one out in a matter of months, then sticking a licence on it and hope no one will notice the game is not a faithful recreation of their favourite movie/TV show but is in fact dogshit, then maybe I'll give two shits about what EA have to say.

In other news, Lindsay Lohan called Paris Hilton a nasty name.

Film at eleven.

Pen gun -- when calling someone or something "retarded," it helps if you know how to spell the word.

/Yeah, I went there.


Nah man groening wanted to end the simpsons a while back but he's legaly bound the let fox ride the shows corpse all the way down the murderhorn (woot simpsons reference). Its kinda sad that other shows from the simpsons staff stable like futurama and the critic die out in their prime, its like the simpsons is feeding on the life of the other shows like some prime-time vampire.

And as for family guy i quite like it though i find its jokes are VERY hit and miss and most of em are done better in robot chicken.

What I want to know is, where is this "spazzing" coming from? Developers? Lawyers? Did some legal hound at TT overreact and fire off a quick whiney C&D letter before thinking about it for a second?

Who exactly on the R* team is bitching about this?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

As for EA, it sounds like their lawyers panicked too...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

"Is their a simmering feud in Game Developer Land?"


Haha I like it.

Define 'spaz'. It probably means something completely different over in the States.

Spaz is like a slang word for somebody who "freaks out" over nothing, gets overly excited or angry for what is seen as little to no reason.

It's probably derived from the medical condition where someone suffers spasms or seizures, which has led to many PC hounds trying to keep people from using the term "spaz".

Anyway. It was rather lame of Rockstar, BUT only EA would actually instantly kowtow to Rockstar's insistence, so there are two parts to this idiocy.

Using a parody of a franchise as a marketing tool 101:

Scary movie. That's one.

Ah, R*, you keep the freefalling in people's esteem up, will you?

@las, attorney

EA is only concerned with in-game advertising and gathering data off your computer to support more targetted advertising. They don't care about the games, just milking them for as much as they can. That's the nature of business, of course, but they've got to be one of the worst. How many other companies have class-action lawsuits filed against them by their own employees?


No, that was last year's EA. This year, they're actually pulling out some decent shit.

I think I might know why Rockstar is doing this. EA bought Renderware. The gaming engine Rockstar has been using for years. When EA bought it, Rockstar had to come up with their own engine. At the same time, EA gave less support for games that they where already working on for the Renderware engine. I would be pretty pissed at EA too if I where them.
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