In Chicago: GTA IV Ads to Be Pulled From Buses as Transit Authority Caves to Pressure

April 21, 2008 -
As police and city officials in Chicago deal with a rash of recent shooting incidents, the local Fox News affiliate has questioned the posting of ads for Grand Theft Auto IV on buses and buildings of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

And, just like that, CTA president Ron Huberman folded on the issue, telling Fox News through a representative that the ads would be removed.

It's not the first time that Chicago's buses have provided the setting for a GTA controversy. In 2004 Gov. Rod Blagojevich railed against transit ads for GTA San Andreas.

Over the years, GTA transit ads have come under fire in other cities as well. In 2006 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and others forced the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) to pull ads for GTA Vice City Stories. The transit chief there justified his decision by issuing a policy which equates M-rated games with X-rated movies.

In the past, GTA bus ads have also come under fire in Portland, Oregon and Denver.

GamePolitics is awaiting comment from GTA IV publisher Take Two Interactive. We also sought comment from the ESA, which referred us back to T2.

GP: The GTA IV transit ads shown by Fox News depict neither violence nor sex. Does the CTA reject ads for R-rated movies? Suggestive or violent television programs?

As I've written before, the video game industry needs to assert its First Amendment rights in these cases, which essentially come down to selective censorship by quasi-governmental entities.

UPDATE: I should add that in 2003 a group called Change the Climate successfully sued the MBTA when it refused to run ads calling for a debate on marijuana laws. In that case, the U.S. First Circuit Court held that:
There is direct evidence through statements made by MBTA officials that the reason for rejecting the advertisements was actually a distaste for Change the Climate's viewpoint.

This suspicion of viewpoint discrimination is deepened by the fact that the MBTA has run a number of ads promoting alcohol that are clearly more appealing to juveniles than the ads here.


[...] O texto de hoje foi publicado na revista GameMaster de fevereiro desse ano, por ocasião da proibição de Counter-Strike e EverQuest. Porém, selecionei-o para voltar à ativa porque o assunto está mais vivo que nunca, com a recente proibição de Bully e a iminência do lançamento de Grand Theft Auto IV, que já causa burburinho pelo mundo e traz incertezas sobre seu possível lançamento oficial no Brasil. [...]

[...] The hysteria surrounding the release of GTA IV has officially crossed into the realm of the absurd as moralizing groups of busybodies lead (shockingly) by Fox News successfully forced the transit authorities in Chicago to pull GTA IV ads from their buses. In Miami, professional attention whore Jack Thompson forced the Miami-Dade transit authority to yank GTA IV ads from bus shelters. [...]

You all are missing one very interesting angle.

While I agree that the gaming industry needs to do a better job of standing up for itself, in a weird way having the local FOX news affiliate in Chicago get all moralistic and having the CTA pull the extremely tame ads for the game (I live in the Chicago area, I've seen 'em for weeks now ... there are "worse" ads the CTA has run) ... Somehow this all seems to suit the "self-image" of the game. It styles itself as the "bad boy" of video games, with more freedom for sex, drugs, violence, and crime than other games. Cripes, it's only got an "M" rating. You dig around, there's far worse crap out there with way more sex, drugs, violence, and crime portrayed. Just from the looks of it, though, most of the stuff exists for its own sake and not for good gameplay. And if I'm not misremembering, ESRB will, if you push the envelope far enough, actually label something with an "R". People comparing GTA to X-rated material are probably just more scared than anything. It's a new medium. People get scared of new media. But back to the point I was making, I think both the publisher and the developer stand to profit a little bit in this case over the fact that this particular series has a "rep" outside the gaming audience as a "shameful example of violence and debauchery". Think about it. When you step into the world of Grand Theft Auto, you're stepping into the world where your the game's protagonist/antihero is veiwed in much the same way. It's symmetrical. And it reinforces the gaming experience, I'd imagine, to some small degree. (I'm not a GTA fan, so I can't speak from personal experience here ... there have been plenty of other games that are more my type. I've been playing these way too long.)

Below are actual post from kids and adults (around 80-85% kids though) conversing on an ONLINE MESSAGE BOARD regarding Rockstar Games new title - “GRAND THEFT AUTO IV”. This thread or chat sequence is from a conversation started called “Tell me the sickest thing you‘ve done“. Now this game is only supposed to be sold to adults. Many of these adults either buy it for their children, themselves, or both. When asked about the despicable and controversial content, defenders/players of the game deny this form of entertainment does not harm the subconscious mind. In fact they blame parents for their children’s behavior not games, movies, music, etc. While that defense contains some truth, it contradics itself - because a good parent wouldn’t let their child play a game like GTA . So in essense their calling their parents bad.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “GTA” series it involves horrific violence, lewd sex including prostitution, profanity, theft, alluding authorities, and large amounts of other crude and morally depraved acts in a free roam open world atmosphere. That means you have no restrictions, but instead control what and where the player goes and does at anytime in an entire city which contains strip clubs, bars, drug and gun houses, etc. This new game GTA IV has been released on the new High Definition consoles like the Playstation 3 and the X-Box 360, which contain more photo realistic graphics (in other words you pretty much see every bad thing you do. I compiled or copied the post thread so many of you can see what the children (and some irresponsible and mentally unstable adults) are playing. The tone from these players is one of delight and laughter at these acts their admitting to doing in the game. I did not alter the comments, words, or even letters in anyway.

P.S. - LOL means laugh out load for those who don’t know. And Roman and Michelle are characters in the game. Numbered star wanted level is the level of authorities after you which include Police, Feds/Government, and Military. The higher the level the greater the authority will come after you (6 being the highest).

I do not wish to display the name of the board due to legal issues. But it is a well known one.

The comments. Each dash (-) represents a new comment or post starting with the opening post:

- Give it to me, your sickest experiance so far in GTA4. How *beep* up can you get???

- Shot up the hospital. One of the nurses was on the ground pleading and I shot her right in the face. Then after killing everyone inside, I killed all the cops charging in through the front door until I died.

- I cant believe you shot the nurse in the face!

- I cant play till I get home from work, but i am living my sickness through your sickness. So did her head splatter or what?

- Well her head kinda jolted back, and blood splattered all over the ground. And before that, when I first started shooting, there were a bunch of people sitting down. I went up behind some guy, aimed my shotgun at the back of his head and fired. He kinda slumped down onto the ground and everyone started screaming, a few people ran but most of them were kinda crouching on the ground looking scared. I went from person to person with my uzi, killing every single one of them.

Another time I shotgunned an old lady in the face through her windshield. Then I shotgunned her husband in the passenger's seat but he didn't die, and kinda stumbled out of the car. So I got inside the car and ran him over a few times.

- Oh! You guys are sick! lol but seriously tho omg...

- Stop being so sick!

- It's conversations like this that get me all moist and sticky.

- This is funny as hell

- Then get out of here!

- I know this is probably more of a "had-to-be-there" moment. I was going about 90 miles an hour not looking and then i glanced up just in time to see my car plow right into some sort of mime or mexican flamenco musician or something. He was just crossing the road right there in the middle. The reaction on his face and him flying over the hood was just perfect. By the way, it's really neat to see these things from the in-car camera. Also, there's boxes and barriers and cones galore and those are fun to plow thru as well. Also you can cross the bridges into the other boroughs and see what a six-star wanted level is like. I lasted 10 minutes one time. I can't wait to get the rocket launcher. And the helicopter.

- 3 STAR WANTED LEVEL feds are on my hummer, i dive out just as the chopper comes into play, the hummer is blown up by police bullets and takes out numerous fed and civillian cars. I am now on foot. I run up on a slick looking car and as i punch the drivers lights out and drag out the driver, as i do this the feds try to blast me with a shoutgun and in the process blast the driver who is covering me. He hits the floor and his blood is splattered all over the passengers door. I later die on foot. EPIC

- The sickest moment I've had so far was drunk driving. I took Michelle to a bar and got a little drunk but manage to drive her home OK. I thought driving drunk was pretty cool so I decided to take Roman out also. When we got out of the bar we were hammered. It wasn't too long before the cops were on our tail. Eventually the car caught fire and I jumped out, leaving poor Roman in the ensuing flames, which still looked sick. I had to pick him up at the hospital shortly after.

I'm sure that there are crazier things you can do in the game. I've only played for a couple hours, but if you haven't tried driving drunk I highly recommend it.

- Speaking of Michelle and the chicks, do they actually show you being intimate with the hos or dates? Or, is it like in the other ones, where the car shakes and that's about it?

- I have the Australian version, so the car just shakes when you pick up a prostitute. With girlfriends, it just shows the outside of the their house, and you can hear what's going on.

With prostitutes in the uncensored version you can actually see humping though.

- Ok, cool. I'm pretty sure mine is the uncensored version, since it has the "mature" rating/ I'll have to see what happens when I come across a whore.

- I found these two vagrants and I smacked their faces in with a baseball bat. When one of them was running away I got in a car and chased him to a dead-end where I smacked my car into him which smashed him into a wall and you could hear him shout 'BEANS!' as I crushed him.

- Oh, I thought of another one. I accidentally fired my pistol while I was inside my safe house and it gave me a wanted level. I didn't think anything would happen because I was inside the apartment, but funnily enough about thirty seconds later a cop showed up. I killed him, and then proceeded to kill all the cops who attempted to get into the apartment. One of the cops I shot a couple times and he fell to the ground. He started crawling along, and he said 'please...I have children...'

I aimed my shotgun down at his back and fired. It was at that moment that I realised I'm a morally corrupt human being...because I laughed.

- Did he try to make his death funny? You know, by shouting 'MURDER ME!' or 'Shakespeare!' as he got shot?

- Hah, that would've been awesome.

But no all he did was plead for his life before I put him out of his misery.

Tell me more! Tell me more!!!

- I went on the train platform. Killed a few people . I like when they run and scramble. It's fun to shoot them in the back with the shotgun as they run down the stairs. Also fun to shoot them onto the platform as the train's coming in.

Anyway, the police were on my back so I ran down the track (there's a bit in the middle that trains don't come down) and stood there, about halfway between two stations. I knew the police wouldn't come. So I started firing down through the gap at the police on the street below me. They got snipers on nearby rooftops, they sent the helicopters, and I solved all of that with the rocket launcher. When I got bored, I put in the cheat to get rid of the wanted level and ran down the track to the next stop. At the next station, I pushed someone onto the tracks and fell down too. We fought a little on the track, but somehow some other guy started fighting him, and I got up and watched them from the platform. Of course, a train came a few seconds later, killing them both.

I've also annihilated the bowling alley and strip club. Shot the stripper while she was twisting herself around the pole.

- lso fun to shoot them onto the platform as the train's coming in.

Hahaha! Awesome! Man, we're all just a bunch of sociopathic killin' machines! I love it!

You don't spin a menorah.

- i was driving eratically down a hill in a sentinal when i hit a chick and she bounced off a lightpost into oncoming traffic were she was thrown into the ditch like a dead deer.

- I was doing stunt jumps on a motorcylce and got clotheslined by a highway sign. It took me off the bike and I fell into the highway where I got nailed by a semi. THe combination of the clothesline, fall, and truck was enough to take me from full health to dead.

- I dont really aim to do that many sick things but most mornings if im passing the beach I like to take a walk down to the water and punch that pussy in the face who's doing the Tai Chi. He always runs away. I never kill him tho, I like to come back thinking its the same guy everytime I punch him.

Oh actually, after one of my trips to the beach I saw a woman using those binocular things, I walked up and blasted her in the back of the head and then used the binoculars myself.

- As a morning exercise, when I lived in Roman's place, I walked out the door and shot the hotdog stand guy on the opposite side of the street in the head.

I went into the hospital and beat the people lying on beds with a baseball bat. When the cops finally showed up, I killed about a hundred. They were all lying at the entrance, so other cops fell over them.

A fun, though not sick, thing to do is to start a fight at the strip club. I love to do that while Roman is with me and we were supposed to go eat.
- Speaking of the strip club...

I went in to the club, had a nice little hottie take me back to the champaign room for a lapdance. After her dance she says "Ohh, i need to finish myself off after that one."
This offended me deeply, so in retribution I beat the hell out of her like a...well, like a cheap whore. Of course then the bouncer has to show up, and gets shotgunned as well as the few remaining patrons in the club running wild like cattle in a pornographic stampede. Noticing the strippers cowering by their poles I dispatch all but one and as I step on the platform and aim that gun at her head she mutters something about "college money" and I paint the floor with her head. Then I go down in a blaze of glory as the cops rush the place.....

This is what I seek in a game.


Be mindful parents and adults in general. This is what MANY children and deranged or *deranged in the making* adults have access to. I know the majority of players of this game will not immediately go out and start a murderous rampage. But the LONG TERM effects that this content may have on children is the concern. And this crudeness WILL manifest itself if not by action but attitude and speech as you read above... Advertising this game in very public settings will create the urge for kids to get their hands on it. As I have said before if they can't advertise pornography on the side of a bus why this game. It's for Adults only.

Also in harmony with my previous post is the notion or act of murder and crude sex okay especially for kids as long as it's simulated or virtual. I'm not saying I haven't played GTA but:

1. I'm an married and responsible adult in my thirties.

2. I would never BRAG about the atrocities of the game.

It's a guilty pleasure that I play occasionally. But I would never think it's okay for kids to play. And for those defending this game they sound stupid in there defense. Just play the darn game and keep your mouth shut. Defending it is just plain stupid.

[...] Take-Two Interactive has their sights set on the Chicago Transit Authority  today, suing them for the removal of ads for the game that were previously on Chicago buses and bus stops. Take-Two alleges that with the ads having been removed without explination, the CTA has violated Take-Two’s free speech and contractual rights. [...]

"And for those defending this game they sound stupid in there defense. Just play the darn game and keep your mouth shut. Defending it is just plain stupid."

Telling people to shut up about, as if it's something we should be ashamed of, is just plain stupid. It's a freakin' VIDEOGAME. No matter what you do in GTA4, you have not *actually* harmed *anyone*. You have wiggled your fingers and caused pixels on a screen to change color. That's all.

If getting titillated by depictions of sex and violence means there's something wrong with you, then there's something wrong with *all* of us, and we need to immediately shut down a majority of radio and television stations, and start burning books and film reels, because that shit pervades *all* human cultures.

Who exactly are you helping by pretending that your 14 year old -- in 2008, in the age of the Internet, in the age of cable television, when shows like South Park have been playing on the Cartoon Channel for over a decade -- is so naive and sheltered that GTA4 is going to represent his passage out of innocence? There are popular games like Dead Rising, where you literally hack people limb from limb, splashing blood and gore all over the environment. Nothing in GTA even comes close. Any number of TV shows have far more graphic sexuality than *anything* in GTA.

GTA presents a cartoonish, and often intentionally humorous, depiction of violence and sexuality. It's nowhere near as affecting as a good film, and nowhere near as able to influence as popular music, because emotional buy-in is much less intense in a non-linear format. When a little boy has his GIJoes shoot at each other, does that make him a sociopathic murder-to-be? Should we be appalled at depravity? No. It's *play*. It's not real. That's all we're doing in GTA, playing with digital Hot Wheels and action figures. Nobody gets hurt. It's not lowering our 'murder threshold' or tempting us to shoot up heroin and pimp out our sisters.

The ignorant hysteria over this is unbelievable. This is movies/comic books/heavy metal/etc. all over again. My wife, who's into history, points out that this kind of hysteria goes back as far as you want to look, to things like the introduction of the garter belt. Apparently people just aren't very good at learning from the past, and we are indeed doomed to repeat the same stupid shit over and over again.


A good article I gave my 5 to it. Free computer games

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Matthew Wilson not game related, but this is a good interview.07/30/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkFinally, I never misspelled Chipman's name. So, feel free to try your luck again, but pick an opponent you can beat.07/30/2015 - 8:32pm
Goth_Skunk@Technogeek: I paid for the experience of the seat, and upon completion of the movie determined that the extra for the seat wasn't worth it. Additionally, your opinion is not law. You thinking the movie is crap does not make it so.07/30/2015 - 8:31pm
Craig R.1st I heard of Pixels was seeing trailer in theater. Was interested until Sandler appeared, then it became an instant 'Nope'.07/30/2015 - 4:52pm
james_fudgesick burns are not always allowed in the shoutbox.07/30/2015 - 4:28pm
MechaCrashIt's especially funny because I said "you'd have to be a moron to enjoy it," and Goth boasted about enjoying it, as if that does anything to change my opinion of the movie or of him.07/30/2015 - 4:19pm
TechnogeekMatthew: Back when that law was first implemented, I kept trying to come up with a scenario where it would be anything other than an unmitigatedd sisaster. Nothing ever came to mind.07/30/2015 - 4:16pm
Matthew Wilson no duh Sherlock!07/30/2015 - 4:10pm
TechnogeekI can't even make a joke about that. It's like poking fun at Donald Trump's hair.07/30/2015 - 4:01pm
TechnogeekSo you willingly paid more money than you needed to in order to watch a crappy Adam Sandler movie (but I repeat myself), just to spite a reviewer that you can't even spell the name of properly.07/30/2015 - 4:01pm
Goth_SkunkMy one regret was paying extra for a DVX seat, which jostles and vibrates in relation to the action on screen. What a waste of money.07/30/2015 - 3:55pm
Goth_SkunkYes, I did watch Pixels just to spite Chipman. I was originally going to see Minions, but moved it down the list. AND I ENJOYED IT. So nuts to you, MechaCrash.07/30/2015 - 3:44pm
Matthew Wilson@phx works fine for me, but I did it the long way. I upgraded, made a recovery drive, than did a full install.07/30/2015 - 3:24pm
Andrew EisenReally liking Child of Light so far (I play on console so UPlay isn't a concern). Gorgeous aesthetic with a fun presentation and battle system. So far, so good!07/30/2015 - 1:36pm
PHX CorpWell I'm offically on Windows 10 Laptop Wise(I had to download the Windows 10 Media tool from Microsoft to get it now rather than waiting for the update through windows update)07/30/2015 - 12:16pm
ZippyDSMleeI dunno I'd go to see it, seems liek dumb fun, better than half assed serious stuff that has so many holes large enough to drive mac trucks through(coughinterstellercouch).07/30/2015 - 10:58am
Andrew EisenGoth - Wait, you went to see Pixels just to spite Chipman?07/30/2015 - 10:49am
MechaCrashYou can see Pixels, which requires you to be a moron to enjoy it, or you can actually spend that time and money watching something actually good. Gosh, what a choice.07/30/2015 - 10:49am
benohawkHot damn, I'm sold. Why see something you can enjoy on multiple levels when you can nap through half the film and still get it all?07/30/2015 - 10:17am
james_fudgeSo what people are saying is PIXELS is a great movie to see if your are comatose.07/30/2015 - 9:47am

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