Columnist: GTA IV “Stimulates Dark Impulses”

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, columnist Katherine Kersten has a lengthy whine about Grand Theft Auto IV:

Games like GTA IV stimulate and glamorize our dark impulses. They create a taste for the psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others. They encourage us to strip our fellow human beings of their dignity, and view them merely as objects of violence or sexual desire.

The hazards of violent games will only increase as new, more advanced technologies like the Wii system take hold… you can act out a game physically.

The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?

And when his young son looks to Dad as a role model — well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?

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  1. 0
    onkown2 says:

    Stop comparing games with real life problems, I am 14 years old and when I play I dont think about picking up hookers and killing them. I play this game for fun, and for me picking up hookers is not one of my interests.

  2. 0
    Necromancist. says:



    Listen carefully now.

    Listening? Good.

    You haven’t played any GTA game whatsoever, no? Didn’t think so. And you’re not psychic? You can’t read minds? Didn’t think so either. Also, HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER A EFFING ROCK FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS? Thought so.

    These kind of people piss me off more than anything. They’re not with the times. They don’t know what games are about, nor are they willing to find out. They are nothing but sad, bitter individuals who whine about things they don’t understand rather than let us have our fun. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, I don’t claim otherwise, but that doesn’t mean we have to like those whose opinions are moronic.

    Go back to your alcohol-centered little bubble universe, and leave us gamers alone to do whatever we want in thE V-I-R-T-U-A-L-W-O-R-L-D. Got it now? I hope so, because if i need to go over this one more time, I’m going to ascend into psychic energy for the sole purpose of going manó-a-manó on Idiocy and saw its bollocks off.

  3. 0
    BrandonL337 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Opens with an S&M sex scene”

    oh I think I know what their talking about, In the opening cutscene their is a moment when Niko is knocking on a door in his boat and it cuts to a scene with some perv and a girl wipping him although it wasn’t a “sex” scene

  4. 0
    gta fan says:

    she is a sad old woman who talks crap just coz she didnt have games in her days stuppid old hag i got no time 4 ppl like her trying to ruin games 4 otha ppl

  5. 0
    gta fan says:

    im a gta fan and im out raged @ this women.
    hasnt she got anything better 2 do than crittisize video games,i cant stand people like that they are fucking twisted sad twats people these days need to get a grip on themselves. who would in real life would go out and do what they say gta inspires no one i prove my are for fun and enjoyment, no one is a bad person or a bad father if they play grandtheft auto,
    for fuck sake who does this woman think she is, im going to give her a piece of my mind she talks crap

  6. 0
    Helpless Kitten says:

    I got the chance to view a bit more of GTA today. I was actually somewhat impressed. The television show within the game (in this case a poker match) was filled with such biting satire I was left nearly breathless. Anything that contains that level of political and cultural commentary MUST be defended. It is a matter of pride as an American and a respect for the liberties that make this country great!
    I may not like the game. I may never even chose to play it on my own. But it is against everything I believe in to silence a group who are truly making relevant comments. This is not just some juvenile fantasy fulfillment (there have been games that fall in that category) but rather an actual dystopian social satire and as such it DESERVES the protection of freedom of speech.

  7. 0
    mrflickwood says:

    I very rarely post responses to blog, but this one just got under my skin for some reason. Here’s a transcript of the email I sent:

    GTA IV “opens with an S&M sex scene”? Obviously, I haven’t been playing the same version of the game that you have. The one I’ve been playing opens with an eastern European man arriving in Liberty City aboard a ship, then meeting his cousin once he gets into town. As a matter of fact, I haven’t encountered any graphic depictions of any sexual activity more sinister than a lap dance, so please send me a link to a place where I can get the version you’re playing. I only play so I can give in to the dark impulses I have about beating up hookers and killing cops with rocket launchers, so I’m looking for all the gratuitous violence and sex I can get.

    I understand that your blog is essentially an opinion piece, and that it doesn’t qualify as news per se, but isn’t a little bit of journalistic integrity still necessary? I would not comment on specific details of any work; movie, book, video game or otherwise without first having personally reviewed and understood its content. It is painfully obvious reading your blog that you did not do this in the case of Grand Theft Auto IV. I also take issue with you asserting that my relationships with my wife and children suffer because I play this or any other game. As others have pointed out to you in separate correspondence, the research you quote as proving a causal connection between violent media content and aggressive behavior is inconclusive at best.

    Go play the game. Likely, your opinion of it won’t change, but at least you’ll be equipped with facts rather than rumor, speculation, and the ranting of others who have jumped on the bandwagon of condemning violent video games.

    Thank you for your time,

  8. 0
    Christophe Janson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others” “fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers” Seriously, when i play gta i just wanna see how fast i can hit someone with a car, and have some fun chase scenes. It’s not like i can unzip and take a piss at my victims while they beg for mercy. Maybe she is talking about the wrong game?

  9. 0
    Kyle says:

    I’ve played all the PS2 and PSP GTA’s and…I don’t fantasize about murdering passers-by or roughing-up strippers…what kind of moronic sick psychotic freak do you have to be to fantasize about that stuff? Honestly if that’s what you do in your spare time, you’ve got bigger problems than anything a video game can cause.

  10. 0
    Iliad ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Im a bit annoyed at GP.
    I live in minneapolis and I saw an article in the st. paul pioneer press where the columnist mentions grand theft childhood, and tells parents the evidence points the other way and they need to chill out, among other things.

    That wasn’t looked into but this one gets posted?

    Anyways, I cant even put into words the incredible amount of hatred and contempt for this pitifull excuse for a human being… Ive been playing these games my entire life and if anything, its ensured me the ability to be a loving, kind, and competent husband/father.

    Id love it if she payed a visit to a high school /college to see how much better the gamers treat the girlfriends than.. well.. any other social group, its one of the prime things I pride myself on.. and for this.. “woman” to say those things based on complete ignorance leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

  11. 0
    IrreducibleParadox says:

    Or else GTA IV might be considered as an educating uncensored commentary on the ruthless elements of society. The game could be viewed as an expression unconcerned with the constraints of political correctness putting instead freedom as its prerogative. Whereas in a confined environment, like with a plant in a small pot, growth is constrained by exterior limitations uncensored creations avoid putting a persons mind in a box. Now if a person walks around all day in GTA doing nothing but roughing up prostitutes you’d have an excellent method of diagnosing a potential illness. But to claim that the freedom of expression in itself is a cause of disease requires considerable amounts of evidence to be accepted by me.

  12. 0
    MooseKnuckles says:

    The writer just met failure.

    If you’ve got the time, read this article from my gaming website.
    The poster pretty much covered everything and anything anyone could have possibly said about this disgrace of a story.

    Dark impulses is a modern term for human instinct and behavior. Bottom line.
    I may play GTA for hours, but have no sort of impulse to shoot a cop or whip out a couple lines of coke or rape a hooker.
    And I’m sure everyone reading this post can agree with me.
    Ms. Kersten, stay off the internet and please give up writing.

  13. 0
    Deatheater says:

    Who is she to judge what 32-year olds think!?

    To Ms. Kersten:

    Your opinion is nothing more, nothing less, than a BIASED, ONE-SIDED VIEW OF OUR INDUSTRY AND THE PEOPLE WHO KEEP IT ALIVE.

    If you think that we gamers talk about killing like it’s a hobby, then you’re missing the whole point. Why don’t you focus on other things, like the GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS!? I think that’s far worse than what 32-year olds are thinking after playing GTAIV.

  14. 0
    Kovitlac ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmm, does watching the Crime Network on tv do the same? No? Then shut the fuck up. I play these violent games (although not GTA in particular), and I can honestly say that I never once got into a fight in my life. Yelling some, yes, but I never ever came to blows with another person.

    I hereby conclude that video games encourage LESS violence in the real world :)

  15. 0
    Haze says:

    She has violated the media ethics by A. Not quoting her sources and B. Providing her own opinion.
    I wish the media still had ethics, where they would not post opinionated rubbish and only posted the news.
    There are no scientific studies, and if their were she should only quote them not give her own opinions.
    I hate fascists, she should move to a country where they have cencorship if she does not like it.

  16. 0
    Tristram ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Rob 413

    Hate mail will just prove her, and everyone else’s point. “Gamers gone mad: attack nice conservative lady after she criticizes their hobby”…we will see it on fox right after JT comes in as a religion expert to tell us why violent video games cause Islam.

  17. 0
    Rob 413 says:

    this bitch = IDIOT she sounds as dumb as she looks.

    I hope she realizes how much hate mail is heading her way ^^


  18. 0
    Jack Wessels ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    In fact most of the violence over the past 2000 years have been because of Thompson’s good friend, the Bible. The Crusades, the burning of witches, the KKK is also religiously based.

  19. 0
    Michael ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I see why she is a columnist and not a psychologist. *sheesh*

    The fact is that people have dark impulses anyway. Everybody has that dark pit within themselves. For some people is comes out only when they are drunk and they bash their wives … or out at the pub when they get into a fight. Some people watch horror movies to indulge their dark fantasies. And others safely enact on the dark impulses in a fake, fictional world.

    When will people get it! It’s AN OUTLET. Would she rather people get drunk and bash their wives?

  20. 0
    Mr. Minnesotan says:

    I live in Minneapolis. The Star Tribune’s letters to the editor frequently features people arguing against something Kersten said.

  21. 0
    Ichi says:

    Actually this lady is another know nothing and I say that politely. I sent her a polite email asking her where her sources come from and if she has ever played the game and how there is no explicit sex in the game. It’s for GameTrocity my blog and if she gets back to me I hope to put a post on it.

    On the case of the article, one has to wonder how she says research shows kids are effected by violence and how she has no research that is cited so I think she pulled it out o her bum just to make herself sound credible.

  22. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s a videogame lady, not a freakin’ demon projector. Oh and great job neglecting all the lovely young LADIES who play GTA and other videogames. Sexist much?

  23. 0
    Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?”
    This is insulting beyond words, to think playing game would make you a terrible husband and human being…

  24. 0
    Jack Wessels ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Yeah, I read the article too. The thing that really made me mad was this paragraph:

    “Adolescents who play violent video games tend to be more hostile, to argue more with teachers, to get into more physical fights, and to do more poorly in school, one national study reports.”

    I’m the least hostile person in my school, I only argue with teachers who I’m friendly towards and it’s almost always constructive, I’ve never been in a fight, and I’m in the top of my class.

    I know that I’m just one statistical point on the bell curve (whether at the ends or the average, who can say?), but if we go with Thompson’s method of statistical sampling (i.e. his son buying an M-rated video game), we can say with confidence that video games increase intelligence and decrease aggressive behavior.

  25. 0
    JustChris says:

    This article is funny in a different way. Because unlike other people that warn about the effects of GTA IV, this columnist is obviously aware that it is mostly played by adults. But she warns adults as if they were kids. I read the whole article, and she finds out through surveys GTA players average age is between 29 to 32, so it’s not just a number she pulled out by chance. She thinks that it’s a LESS comforting fact than thinking it’s only the youth that want the game. At an age of 32, obsession with fantasies is caused more with your mental disposition than your general maturity.

    There are weirder fantasies out there that adults practice, and most do not originate from some video game. I don’t believe most BDSM fetishists got their start from fighting as Spawn or Voldo in Soul Calibur. I can’t safely raise a family knowing I blast undead corpses and shoot video game cops? I can’t have a girlfriend if I play Dead or Alive and see digital boob candy?

    Granted, some video games do make you see things a different way. When I was playing Tony Hawk 3 a lot I’d make up skate combos around the things I see in town. But you’d need to be very delusional to act on these thoughts. I know I would get scraped knees and broken bones if I tried those crazy combos, since I don’t know how to skate for real and have no interest in doing it.

    “all of us have a potential for coarseness and cruelty that may emerge after months or years of immersion in lurid and prurient games.”

    Has anyone ever conducted experiments on playing video games that tested the long term effects over years, or months?

    Her final verdict in the article is “don’t marry a gamer, he’ll treat you like trash”. Yeah, just let the stereotype of a socially inept gamer get worse, and then gamers will be even more socially inept because they get rejected. It creates a vicious circle! :p

  26. 0
    Tristram ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ David D. Where do you work? Correction facility? IRS?

    @ Joe Actually I think she has kids so that assumes she had a husband at some point. She is pretty much into the “traditional family Christian yada yada values” so I’m pretty sure she would be married.

    But who really knows?

  27. 0
    lorenzo says:

    its these so called conservatives that worry me the most. Normal people just don’t come up with this kind of twisted logic.

    Incidentally, I still haven’t gone off the rails in GTA. Liberty city is so well rendered, i’d feel…. bad. I might be a hired killer [in the game] , but I’ve got to sleep at night.

  28. 0
    David D. says:

    “(They) stimulate and glamorize our dark impulses. They create a taste for the psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others. They encourage us to strip our fellow human beings of their dignity, and view them merely as objects of violence or sexual desire.”

    Actually, that’s my workplace. That’s why, at age 45, I go home and play videogames.

    (Am I the only one who thinks that writing that paragraph got her excited in a particular kind of way?)

  29. 0
    JC ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    By going how many people love to use their age as an argument on “experience” as to how long they’ve lived on the planet as proof of their point, I’m going to assume the 32 years is some marker she establishes to be knowledgeable about people that age. This I believe is why she is at least 10 years older if not older that 32 years mark.

    I said I doubt she has a husband, judging by her remarks. I didn’t say I know for sure. People with extreme emotions like her is rare to come across that “supposed” husband. We all have our own “perfect” partner, I just find it unrealistic. That’s my reasoning.

  30. 0

    I’d say that the Wii system is more cleverly put together than “advanced” (technologically speaking). There was a lot of intelligence and thought put into using the various pieces of already existing technology together in such a way to build a solid video game system that average people actually want to buy — something not so intimidating, something intuitive, and works well.

  31. 0
    John Lee says:

    This woman is assuming that any 32yo man who plays violent video games also fantasizes about murdering people and abusing women… and how the hell does she know that?
    Where is her evidence? Did she do some kind of psychological study? No, she’s just a “journalist” who wrote this article because GTA is a well known and easy target. There are other games – and media in general – that are far more violent and get far less attention because they’re not called GTA.
    Violence imagery does not alter behavior. All these anti-violence activists and parents groups think that they’re protecting children by sheltering them, but I think the opposite is true. The more you coddle someone and shield them from how the world really is, the more naive they are as a child and the more gullible they’ll be as an adult.

  32. 0
    Jack Wessels ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wii system… Advanced?

    It’s painfully obvious she has no idea what she’s talking about. Claiming that every person who plays this is suddenly going to wish they could go on a homicidal rampage is insulting to the human race. If we’re so stupid that at the age of 32, or in my case 17, that we can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality than we should still be living in caves trying to make fire.

  33. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yep. Every time I see a woman I suddenly go into GTA mode and attack them like some psycho. Please. Hehhehhehhehheh.

  34. 0
    Karsten ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yes, the Wii lets you act out a game physically, but so does the PS2 that has an Eyetoy – or the Rockband or Guitar Hero games. Also, the Wii has more sports games than any gaming platform out there and it is also a very family fríendly gaming unit.

    It also sound like Mrs. Kersten thinks that all 32-year old men must be phantazising about “murdering passersby and roughing up strippers”. Generalizations much?

    As for these men’s wifes I hope, guess, feel and think that they know the difference between playing a video game and acting out something in the phantasy/imaginiation realm of the game and doing these things in REAL life.

    And I hope the little boys’ dads teacch the little boys to distinguish phantasy in a game from reality in real life —

  35. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So she has NO proof and claims to have mind powers? If I had mind powers I would be doing something cool instead of ranting about videogames.

  36. 0
    SithLibrarian says:

    She lies.
    You know? GTA4 brings family together. Just yesterday, I played GTA4 with my brother, sister in law, mom and dad. We passed the controller around for two hours. I’ve never heard my mom and dad laugh so much before.

  37. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Maybe we should be asking why all these fucking wierdos have these “dark impulses” in the first place? That sound good?

  38. 0
    kaemmerite says:

    Everyone who talks about this game always says husbands/fathers/brothers/sons/boyfriends/etc.

    So what they’re saying is no female in the entire world plays Grand Theft Auto?

    That’s pretty sexist.

  39. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    LOL. My wife played more GTA than I ever did. I hate gender stereotypes.

    Humans have dark impulses. This is a fact, and is unchangeable – and anyone who tells you differently is passing a collection basket.

    What better way to expunge them than by playing a video game?

  40. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here’s what I posted:

    I’m curious. You talk about the game as if it’s video games are the only violent media glorifying the “bad guys” and their actions. When in fact, we have always had the urge to fantasize about being “the bad guy”. Movies about gangsters and “great” criminals, TV shows like The Sopranos, and even themes where the “good guy” indulges in a little unnecessary cruelty as part of their trade (Batman, the Punisher, etc). Even books that follow the great criminal masterminds, elevating them to the realm of “anti-heroes”.

    These are the stories that allow us to explore our “bad” selves, safe in the knowledge that it’s pure fantasy. We get to “stick it to the man” without actually doing so. We get to outwit the authorities. We get to engage in risky and outrageous behavior that would get us 20-life, and when it’s time for dinner, turn it off (or put the book down) and go back to our lives.

    I’ve heard some stats that many women fantasize about being raped. At first, it’s a disgusting concept. Who would want to be raped? But when taken into context of a fantasy, it begins to make sense. It’s a horrible act, but that may be it’s allure, as long as it remains in the realm of fantasy. It doesn’t mean that those women would ever dream of wanting to be raped in real life, but in their dreams, it’s becomes part of the act when you’re a “bad girl”…

    Also, as callous as it may seem, the targeting of prostitutes in games like GTA4 is not, as the media portrays, intentional. You can kill anyone. The media love to fixate on prostitutes and police officers being killed, as if it’s almost extra sinful to kill them, ignoring that in the game, you can kill anyone. Or you can kill no-one. It’s up to the player. Yes there are missions where your job is to kill, but your targets are always fellow criminals. You are never “required” to kill bystanders.

    Instead of thinking whether player are being “trained” to kill innocents (or motivated to be more aggressive, etc), we should be asking why when a person who has never played violent video games before can so easily jump into the idea of it being OK to run over pedestrians during a racing mission. People who wouldn’t hurt a fly, sit down, and without prompting, shrug at the idea that maybe driving 60 down the sidewalk is fine. I don’t if I’d call them heartless.

    Perhaps another view would be that they are instead making that disconnect between fantasy and reality, and so they don’t see the people in the game as “real”, and therefore not worthy of the usual compassions they would extend to their fellow “real” humans…

  41. 0
    Tristram ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    And that in itself is a bad thing?

    I suspect sending her emails is pretty pointless, except for helping us vent our rage. From what I have read on her, she seems pretty convinced in her point of view through emotional attachment rather than any rationality.

  42. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ helpless kitten

    ”And while I was disgusted with what the player was doing that was something he was choosing to do, much like someone choosing to unleash a tornado on their “SimCity”.

    best example ever!!

    surely the critics cant pick and choose their arguments. Either it makes you violent or it doesnt. so the fact i loved to send volcanos, tornados , ufos and giant robots to stomp over my city killing millions of virtual people means that im a violent person in real life? does it heck!

    And like you said, its a CHOICE. im getting fed up with the ‘cop killing / hooker killing simulator’ argument. I can go the entire game without killing either if i wish.

    hardly a good ‘simulator’ .

    (putting aside the 3rd person, giant floating aiming retucule, auto aiming and tracking of the floating reticule, auto reloading, recoilless guns, ability to fly 50ft off a clif in a car because its ‘cool’ and land unscathed, die and return to life at a hospital after being shot by 10 bullets, recovering from said bullets halfway through a fight by walking over a glowing medpac, driving erattically down the pavement and through people’s front lawns, past cop cars, without them blinking etc etc.. the list goes on ..)

  43. 0
    Vinzent says:

    “The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?”

    First off, most women I know are onkly interested in gangstas, wealth, and dnagerous men.

    Second, it’s called change. Society has to do it every once in a while. Women are going to have to learn to judge wether or not the gamer is still a good man or if he is a dangerous psychopath. I’ll give you a hint, does his shirt have sleeves?

    If we were to stick with dogmatic views of our potential mates, then women would have to start cleaning, get back into the kitchens, and keep their mouth shut when the men are talking.

    But the funny thing is, society changed and we learned to adapt.

  44. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve played every Grand Theft Auto game out.

    I wouldn’t dream of taking a life.

    I abhor violence against women unless it’s in self defense

    I’ve raised a lethal weapon toward another person.

    MY police record remains clean.

    Wow, what is wrong with me eh?

  45. 0
    Chaplain99 says:

    I dunno… I mean, women my age play video games, right?

    Does turning women to the dark side make them sexier?
    Excuse me for the sexist joke, but I think it had to be said.

    Anyway, bringing out our “darkest impulses” is one of the reasons why people play violent video games; we can’t do this stuff in real life, but we *want* to do it anyway, so we act it out in video games. Harmless, virtual video games.

  46. 0
    Sai ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    OH! So close! The word you were looking for was “simulate.”

    Also for the last time people, there is no rape in this game, and there are strip clubs in real life. You also, just like in real life, can’t take out a weapon in the strip club or the bouncers will beat the crap out of you.

    The only consequence I’ve ever felt from GTA was finding myself driving a little faster than usual if I go somewhere after playing.

  47. 0
    Shih Tzu says:

    I used to live in Minnesota. “Lengthy whines” are pretty much the only thing Katherine Kersten’s got. Aside from GTA, other things that annoy her are atheists, Muslims, and homosexuals! I think she’s there to keep conservatives from throwing the newspaper across the room, but most of the right-wing nuts I’ve run across think the paper’s full of commies anyway.

  48. 0
    Neeneko ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    My own email to the columnist:


    You have probably already received many (some better written then this, many probably worse) emails about your opinion piece but I wished to chime in too.

    Putting aside just how amazingly insulting your article was to the many people who play games like this (including many wives, girlfriends, and daughters).. you do realize that your line of reasoning is the same basic one use to, say, stop women from having rights in many countries like leaving the home, working, or revealing their face to other men?

    Even you admitted that such violent impulses are normal. Normal everyday people have a sadistic side and will revel in playing with it. But significant evil is done when we try to completely suppress or ignore this. Shelter someone from a topic and then introduce them to it late in life and you tend to get wild and do things they shouldn’t. You see this all the time with highly sheltered people discovering pornography, violence, alcohol, etc late in their development. Repress something completely only leaves you with the two extremes.

    GTA style games let people get out these impulses in a safe and healthy way. In fact the game can be a good bonding experience between couples and can even be a good way for younger players (who let’s face it, have a lot of frustration and angst) to get their aggressions out in a healthy way INSTEAD of taking it out on real people.

    I am also not sure which ‘research’ you are referring too, but the only studies I have seen have been pretty dodgy and fail to show causation (at best they show a correlation). The studies do not rise to the lofty level of ‘confirming’ that video games have the effects you mention.

    Lastly as an active member of the bdsm community I am particularly disturbed that you use “S&M sex scene” as some horrible eye catcher to catch the reader. Wonderful example of your own pandering to puriant interest in an mock-indignant way. I would be more worried about teenagers trying to emulate, say, street racing found in so many games and movies then I would S&M considering such behavior is far riskier and kills more teens per year.

  49. 0
    Rav3 says:

    helpless you should try reading the article they have on people being affected by games, theres this dude that says he cant in any way bring himself to kill anyone in gta unless its a direct mission objective, else he feels guilty and gets a sense of relief when hes caught.

    quite interesting

  50. 0
    Nash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    10 dollars says she has not even played the game…

    the least that these experts can do is play the freaking game, then criticize to get publicity…sheesh whats the world coming too? (dont answer that)

  51. 0
    Helpless Kitten says:

    Just recently I finally had an opportunity to watch someone else play GTA.
    The guy who was playing shot a man off of a motorcycle and I was amazed to watch as the victim crawled to the side of the road begging for mercy. What really amazed me was that other “civilians” in the area started running towards the injured man, yelling for help and trying to do what they could to aid him. This was some rather impressive crowd behavior in my opinion and I realized at that moment that I simply could not play this game the same way I see others playing it. I also realized that I did not have to play the game the same way he was playing it.
    GTA provides an amazingly open environment in witch to act but the thing I noticed was that mindless violence and murder were not, in fact, rewarded in any way. From what I could see killing “civilians” and causing property damage is a choice, not an objective. And while I was disgusted with what the player was doing that was something he was choosing to do, much like someone choosing to unleash a tornado on their “SimCity”.
    There is a lot more thinking I need to do on all of this but I am hoping that I can eventually come to a better understanding of both sides of the issue of game violence.

  52. 0
    n0e ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?”

    My girlfriend watches me play the game because she finds it funny when I get myself killed. It’s called understanding the difference between reality and non-reality. The game is meant for entertainment value and these twits are getting on their high horses and spouting fictional content as if it were true to anyone that will listen.

    As for a kid? I don’t have one, but if I did play these games and had a child, wouldn’t it be better that I spend time doing something they enjoy doing as well? Isn’t being involved with your kids life and doing things that interests you both meaningful anymore? So what if it’s a game such as this, at least then you’re there to help them see the difference between right and wrong, real and not real.

    These people that bash video games without every trying them or even bothering playing any video game just amuse me with their ignorance.

  53. 0
    DeusPayne ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Who would’ve thought. Another person bitching about GTA looks like she was born before cars were invented. Maybe THAT’s why they don’t like GTA, it glorifies those new fangled horseless carriages.

  54. 0
    Rav3 says:

    why did the mention of the wii remote, GTA 4 and sex evokes images of a strap on wii remote attachement?

    i guess thats what she imagined.

  55. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I only wish that article had a comments section. How dare that silly old bitch say things like that and insult me and countless other gamers.

    “The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?

    And when his young son looks to Dad as a role model — well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?”

    I am a week away from 28 and am a Father to my partner and I’s son. What gives her the idea that I spend my free hours doing what she says? In all of my time (well over 150 hours) spent playing any of the previous GTA titles, I have visited a prostitute once (because one of my friend’s thought it was funny). The only passer-bys I have killed have been by accident. Guess what, in real life I don’t fantasize about anything she suggests.

    When my son looks to me as a role model, he is going to see an honest, hardworking man, which is what I am. How DARE she imply that due to my choice of entertainment I am some kind of a degenerate thug?

  56. 0
    Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “The hazards of violent games will only increase as new, more advanced technologies like the Wii system take hold… you can act out a game physically.”

    Lady, most people would KILL to have that game on the Wii.

  57. 0
    TheEggplant ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here is my e-mail. I am wondering if it is a little to bullish.
    Not like anyone there is actually going to read it.

    “WOW. This is probably one of the most ignorant and out of touch editorials I have ever read.

    The desensitization of entertainment is one of the most parroted myths around today.

    The fact is people are built for survival. This means that they will do some pretty awful things to ensure their own comfort. If we are ever to move beyond these primal instincts we need to be willing to examine why they have such a strong hold over us. This not only means through scientific study, but also through cultural mirrors. Grand Theft Auto is hyper-violent. It uses extremes of dark comedy to illustrate what goes on around use everyday, everywhere.
    I find it disappointing that so many commentators, such as yourself, are quickly jumping on a bandwagon of dim-wittednes rather than using their platforms to encourage discovery outside of what someone might be aware.”

    As for all the comments about movies:

    Truly Ron Howard is the harbinger of the apocalypse.

  58. 0
    Overcast says:

    No freakin’ way…

    Is she serious? Let’s see… in a given year – how many stories are in the ‘news’ – including newspapers that help boost human dignity? How many stories in the news are about others dominating and degrading each other?

    How much of the news targets, exploits, and uses the ‘thrill’ of murder, violence, death, tragedy to boost sales?


    Get a clue woman. Seriously – open your damn eyes.

  59. 0
    JC ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is probably the first time I’ve seen another person worry about what ADULTS are playing. I guess she felt the “for the children” concept got old for her? I’m not sure why she worries about 32 year old males, perhaps she has a son that age? I doubt she has a husband currently, especially at that age.

    However, she apparently has dark thoughts when thinking of a game like GTA and passes it as proof that having dark thoughts will cause infidelity. If anything, wives cause infidelity not games. I digress though, I can’t believe she’s choosing to use her age as wisdom, she can’t argue her age on grown men’s thoughts, it’s plain silly.
    The son looks to dad as a role model and sees a man who supports him, when he looks at you [the columnist], he laughs and is glad he isn’t a whiny old hag.

  60. 0
    Gameclucks says:

    By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes.

    What’s done cannot be undone.

    Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep,
    Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,
    The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

    Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Out, damned spot! out, I say!

    Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

  61. 0
    DavCube ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “The hazards of violent games will only increase as new, more advanced technologies like the Wii system take hold… you can act out a game physically.”

    These accusations are getting as tired as the jokes upon the name itself… this isn’t virtual reality, and the remote’s setup is in no way ‘realistic.’

    “The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?”

    …no comment. Just no comment.

    “And when his young son looks to Dad as a role model — well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?”

    That’s a bad thing for a child regardless of what video games the adult plays, isn’t it?

  62. 0
    RJ says:

    Wow! What kind of husband and role model? How about one that works two jobs? Or one that averages about 4-4 1/2 hrs of sleep a night during the week so that his family is taken care of? And one that no matter how tired he is, makes sure he spends time with his kids and wife, helping with homework and around house before trying to get sleep to start all over again. Not to mention one that makes sure all games his kids play are appropriate for their ages like parents SHOULD do. Nahhhh, I’m not a good role model after all I guess.

  63. 0
    Valdearg ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ nighstalker160

    That is a great letter. I would just once like to see anybody who’s been sent a letter similar to this try and defend thier arguments in a rational and public manner. Then we will see how quickly the anti-game movement dies.

  64. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    ”The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father.”

    lol what?

    The average 32-year-old man who PLAYS GOLF— and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father.

    The average 32-year-old man who READS BOOKS— and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father.

    The average 32-year-old man who ENJOYS FRENCH COOKING— and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father.

    the points are entirely unrelated

  65. 0
    Thomas Riordan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why do these people so worried about everyone else being a psychopath always look like they’re about to go on a killing spree themselves? I mean look at her. She looks like she’s about to give into a few “dark impulses” herself.

    And Jack. I know we’re all waiting for the day we hear he’s in the clock tower with a Wii Zapper and a copy of Grand Theft Auto.

    Another day, another moron jumps on the “GTA 4 will destroy us all” bandwagon.

  66. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Advanced systems like the Wii. ROFL.

    I RTFA, and it is hilarious. She even went all “Godwin’s Law” on GTA.

    Roman Gladiators, Medieval Executions, Rwanda Genocide, Nazis, and ….GTA 4???! That’s a logical train of thought there.

    Her, JT, and Kevin McCoullagh (not sure the spelling, the Online Virtual Orgasmic Rape guy) should all team up. Imagine the combined force of their sexual repression. They would be able to create the worlds most extreme hyperbole.

  67. 0
    CenturionRyan says:

    People are gabbing of about GTA to the point where you want to take every single lie they’ve made, turn every one of them into a single nail, and crucify them.

    No doubt if we did that, however, we’d have a religion founded by anti-games activists that centres around Jack Thompson’s sacrifice for the sins of those video game playing criminals.

    This would in turn cause us to ask ourselves; “Was it worth it?”

  68. 0
    Raybees says:

    Ignore Katherine. She’s the S’Trib’s right-wing reactionary Ann-Coulter wanna-be. She’s written screeds even more off-base than this.

    Move along, nothing to see here…

  69. 0
    DaKaveman says:

    Obviously she must be a) a transvestite because she knows what an
    average 32 year old man thinks

    b) uninformed

    c) stupid. obviously she belives everything she

    d)all of the above

    All i want to know is how these people even hold there jobs when they make statments like this, is there no way to hold these people responsible for the bullshit that comes out of there mouth.

  70. 0
    Tristram ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ beemoh

    I would assume she would only find those qualities if she was smart enough to look for a man with such qualities.

    I’m curious as to why so many of these writers ignore women…they are discussed as victims and targets, but I wonder if female gamers are immune to all these evils that are supposedly welling up in men. I mean, everyone talks about how negative these violent masculinist fantasies are, but all the arguments assume that the game is reinforcing something already there, thus eliminating women from the picture entirely. I wonder what happens when the narrative is reversed and we ask what a husband finds when he looks for all those same qualities in his GTA playing wife… or if both of them play the game… for people brining up so many feminist issues in their critiques of the game, these journalists and bloggers are all showing a remarkable gender bias.

  71. 0
    Canary Wundaboy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If these types of games turn us into psycopaths, then how come we havent had 2 million more murderers appeare after GTA4 was released?

    Ill tell you why, because THESE GAMES DO NOT CAUSE VIOLENCE.

    Jesus H Christ.

  72. 0
    Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why don’t we ever hear any of this stupid bullshit from movies like The Godfather. I fully believe that if GTA4 would have been a movie rather than a game many of these same people would be jerking off to it and calling it art.

  73. 0
    meeee says:

    so the more advanced technologies like the wii are going to make us unfeeling muderers? yes last time i was playing cooking mama i had a massive urge to stab someone in the eye with a ladel

  74. 0
    mjnam ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It was so much better back before such immersive technologies. A father back in the 50s then could hide his disappointments and fears deep inside like God intended only to come out in a flurry of alcoholic rage when the Dodgers would lose the World Series again. Those were better days when abuse and ignorance and hatred could be hidden behind closed doors and drawn curtains. Those were the days of role models and, dare I say, heroes.

  75. 0
    Joseph4th says:

    I think I should write an article about how uninformed, out of touch, columnist write columns that inspire hatred in the main stream gamer audience who would other wise be content to sit at home playing video games and not bothering anyone.

    I was going to say I would be just as qualified to make those kind of judgments as she is and with just as much research to back me up. But then after thinking about it, I am way more qualified than she is on the subject.

  76. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So by playing GTA, I am suddenly unable to provide love & fidelity to my woman?

    Since just about every man in his 20’s and 30’s plays games, I guess we have TONS of women in empty, loveless relationships/marriages!

  77. 0
    Jonnyboy says:

    You know what. I think you guys should give her a piece of your mind. Send emails to her telling her why you disagree with her. Do fill her mailing account with Hate mail because that does not help our case any. But if we do show her why we disagree with her and make our valid points maybe we can get a decent responce from her…. who knows lol… but if she does not comply… hey… flood it lol.

    The last people you want to mess with is gamers. I think Jack Thompson is starting to learn that. But who knows?

  78. 0

    The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers

    Phew. For a second I thought she was describing an average 32-year-old-man. Instead, she described an average 32-year-old psychopath. So, I’m safe.

    I want her to explain, in detail, how GTA4 is so evil, but The Godfather series of movies is considered a classic (and I know a couple schools — High Schools — which show those movies for appreciation classes).

  79. 0
    Eville1 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    She hasn’t known what a 32 year old thinks in twenty years. No matter how hard she tries to hide her age.

    And what’s with the “men and boys.” I want to know if any women play GTA.

  80. 0
    Dave says:

    i love how the star tribune never puts comment options on articles that may actually cause a debate. She’s just another mouth in my states second fastest dieing paper, don’t get worked up over her.

  81. 0
    Setesh says:

    Just sent her an e-mail (you should too:
    I find your article rather distasteful.

    “The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?”

    Do you think that these people are created by violent video games? Or perhaps it is more logical that they are attracted to them because of their pre-existing mental health. Where did all the sicko’s of society come from before we had video games? Do you have any kind of research or statistics to support the idea that the total % of the population who exhibit violent and unhealthy behaviour as a result of their mental state has changed very much since the introduction of violent video games? Banning video games is cutting off the head to cure the headache, it’s attacking a symptom, of a problem I don’t think has changed at all since the creation of modern society.

    In addition, the media is a reflective entity, if what you see in the media bothers you, you should look back at society and decide what in society is causing the problem, there is not supply before there is demand.

  82. 0
    Vake Xeacons ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Obviously, we can tell who’s got the dark impulses. We, as gamers don’t have them. And if you want to know what it stimulates a desire for, I’ve got one word for you:


  83. 0
    TheGreg says:

    Rockstar is good at making computer games.

    Rockstar is NOT good at mind reading.

    Rockstar could never make a game that personified my darkest imagineings. It would not sell and i’m fairly sure it’d put the developers into therapy.

  84. 0
    Dark Sovereign ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You know, she might have had a better case with GTA: SA, but this one is written to where everybody is a clear person. There are no “objects”.

  85. 0
    Jeremy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And another one jumps on the bandwagon … and another one and another one and another one jumps on the bandwagon … hey what you going to do another one jumps on the bandwagon


  86. 0
    GrimCW ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “The hazards of violent games will only increase as new, more advanced technologies like the Wii system take hold… you can act out a game physically.”

    Wait… GTA4 was on the Wii? where the hell is this version?!

    tells me right there she’s neither seen the game, nor the consoles its on.
    why is it all the old farts out there think these games are making people violent?
    especially the ones that HAVE NOT PLAYED ANY OF THEM?
    how can you judge something you haven’t tried?
    its like fanboys praising their favorite console, but never even trying the others.
    i’ve all 3, and of the 3 i like the Wii most for its innovative controls (despite its lacking good games so far aside from Manhunt, metroid and VC titles)
    the 360 has grand online, and the PS3… well… its big and plays blu ray (its best feature really) is all i can say really, its nothing spectacular at all IMHO.

    i was playing Duke3D when i was 9… why aren’t i hanging out in strip clubs, all day/night getting lap dances, handing out my money to strippers, and talking big while toting a lot of guns?
    i’m even former Navy and i don’t do any of that….

    wow… so much for violent games make violent people…

    i can see it being true if you suffer a mental instability already, but thats true for anyone.
    I get pissed off if i hear most rap music. why? i dunno, but it makes me wanna break something.
    does that mean rap makes everyone angry and violent?
    doesn’t seem too.
    but just cause it effects me, i guess i should go back and fight it some more making false claims on something i know next to nothing about eh?

  87. 0
    Helpless Doom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, I’m a husband. And my wife bought the game, I never have fantasies or dark thoughts about stripping my fellow man of his dignity. If I can distinguish reality from polygons, why can’t she? Maybe she has the issues.

  88. 0
    Topher ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I found these entertaining for a while but now its just beating a dead horse. Not everyone who plays these games are insane psychopaths. Ive played video games since I was about 5 when I got my first game boy and I played GTA 3 when it came out. I was way under the legal age to buy it but Im now 21 and I dont get the urge to drive into the city, pick up a hooker, and then beat her to death for my money back.

    That would be against the law and I would go to jail. I guess I didnt play enough cus Im not an amoral monster yet.

  89. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIn the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, columnist Katherine Kersten has a lengthy whine about Grand Theft Auto IV: Games like GTA IV stimulate and glamorize our dark impulses. They create a taste for the psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others. They encourage us to strip our fellow human beings of their dignity, and view them merely as objects of violence or sexual desire. […]

  90. 0
    Jonnyboy says:

    Once again we have a person who has never even played Grand Theft Auto 4, and continues to ridcule it for absurd reasons. How many 32 year olds do you think are out there that play video games and have weird fantasys such as this? This lady is bluntly assuming that if you play grand theft auto 4 you will have these kinds of weird fantasys, that will infact effect you in real life and then later on effect your children. I don’t know about you but I can tell that this video game, is in fact A GAME! And why do people keep saying stuff about the sex in this game? There barely is any. And it not like you even get to see anything. Im sorry but how stupid can these people be to judge something without even playing it. This goes back to the never judge a book by its cover thing….

  91. 0
    InsidiousMrMoo says:

    Her email is at the end of the article if anyone wishes to speak your mind to her.

    I love how they bring up sex in the game when a vast majority of the stuff is pretty tame. I also love how she brought up the wii and its simulated movements which could provide more realistic sex/violence in games, because we all know that by holding down the b trigger and pushing our wiimotes foward and backwards for 10 mins will make for a realistic sex simulation :P.

  92. 0
    Setesh says:

    Wow… you think people would be upset about the murders or genocides going on around the world, or the fact that so many institutions need, or that like 15% of the population posses 80% of the world’s wealth through corporations… but no… this new video game is the reason the world is the way it is! Oh my! If we could only stop our children from playing the new Grand Theft Auto! Heaven forbid WE SHOULD SPEND TIME WITH THEM AND PARENT THEM!!!!!!!!!!

  93. 0
    beemoh ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    >What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?

    She’ll find love, steadiness and fidelity, like she’ll find in every other normal human being. Next question, please!


  94. 0
    InsidiousMrMoo says:



    Sorry for that.

    Seriously though how can she sit there and pretend to know what kind of Father/Husband I am? So what she is saying that by playing GTA I am living at my darkest dreams? I’m sorry I thought for a second there I was playing it because it was a fun game.

  95. 0
    TheRoosterRngr says:


    You know, that is all I am hearing and you know what? Not appealing.

  96. 0
    Deaf RaGe says:

    “— and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers —”

    And she know this how? Maybe she is the one “fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers”.

  97. 0
    Hypocrite says:

    @Tristram – While it may be difficult for you to comprehend, yes, Katherine Kersten has a husband; additionally, she does have children.

    Kersten is exactly as she has been described by other readers of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune; a ranting fear-monger who is absolutely convinced that this latest “threat” will destroy the moral fabric of our nation, plunging our nation into a morass of debauchery and anarchy unequaled since the dreams of Bacchus. Her column is the Star-Tribune’s response to complaints that they had a liberal-bent, and her screeds are always written in the same strident manner.

    Ms. Kersten is the worst type of Christian; she claims to speak for all of us while maintaining a world-view that my faith finds unacceptably narrow. Her world is one where ideas are threats, where questions are sins, and where differences are unacceptable. Frequently, Ms. Kersten speaks to us “as a Christian,” – but her’s is not the faith of my father, my mother, nor any of my ancestors – it is a faith of fear and oppression. This faith has two good qualities going for it.

    1) It is consistent.

    If this were 1980, Ms. Kersten would be warning us of the evils of “Heavy Metal Music.”

    If this were 1950, Ms. Kersten would have informed us of the corrupting influence of “Comic Books.”

    If this were 1930, Ms. Kersten would see it as her moral duty to warn against the licentious nature of “Swing Dancing.”

    And, ironically enough, if it were the late 14th century, Ms. Kersten would be warning us that the availability of an English translation of the Bible constituted a severe threat to our immortal souls.

    2) History has proven time and time again that these ideas can not last.

    I’ve written Ms. Kersten on the topics of video-games and school violence in the past (this is not her first time speaking on either subject) and have attempted to correct her mistaken views; to date, I have never received a response. I take comfort, however, in the knowledge that we will one day be the generation in power, while accepting that we will also fall into the same traps our parents and grandparents have; we should simply hope that we can be the first generation to respond to new media ithout fear.

  98. 0
    Conejo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    you know, all the worst societies had newspapers (or something akin) and since she works for a newspaper, it’s obvious she is a violent, murdering psychopath.

  99. 0
    Nith ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Adults have killed Adults…
    …For thousands of years.

    Kids have killed Kids…
    …For thousands of years.

    Adults have killed Kids…
    …Kids have killed Adults…
    …For Thousands of years.”


    Knowing that bit of truth, maybe Katherine could tell us how GTA4 has allowed our ‘dark impulses’ to be shown, when, as history shows, video games have only been around for 40 years. Yet, mankind has gone to war against itself for a few thousand years in every part of the world. If Katherine believes this shows mankind’s dark impulses, she never knew(know) the horros of the Nazi Regime of Germany from 1934-1945.

    GTA4 has NOTHING, on what the dark impulses of the Nazis were capable of doing. Maybe, to save from looking like an idiot, she should learn HISTORY.

  100. 0
    TheEdge ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And how in sam f*ck does she know what the average 32 year old thinks!?

    I don’t understand most of these idiots think people only play GTA because of the sexual content and hooker slaying,when you could probably find the hooker killing online,and can definitely find sexual content and then some.

  101. 0
    nighstalker160 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So I took the opportunity and sent her an email, which I’ve posted below. I’ll let you guys know if I get a response. Email is as follows:

    [quote]Ms. Kersten:

    I feel I must comment on your recent Grand Theft Auto IV column. With all due respect I must disagree with your basic assertions on several grounds.

    Research has not “confirmed” in any way that aggressive tendencies are increased through the playing of violent video games anymore than they are increased through the viewing of violent movies. There are multiple studies suggesting that there might be some kind of effect and multiple studies suggesting there is little to no effect that persists beyond actual playing time. This is hardly confirmation of a hypothesis by any scientific standard.

    Secondly, I have played video games for most of my life, receiving my first Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988 at age 4. Since then I have owned multiple systems and played a plethora of violent games. I have not had a potential for “…coarseness and cruelty…” emerge “…after months or years of immersion in lurid and prurient interests…”

    I hardly consider my interests lurid or prurient. I am not a fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise but I have played the games, have you? They are no more lurid or “prurient” than movies such as Goodfellas, the Departed (a Best Picture winner), Scarface, or even Gangs of New York. It is ultimately a “crime drama.” You are not rewarded for random violence, to the contrary, each act of violence increases your “Star [or Wanted] Level” which results in increasing law enforcement response including police pursuit, helicopters, the FBI and even the United States Army. There is no faster way to lose the game than to engage in random violence.

    In regards to your comments regarding the Wii, again it strikes me that you seem to have never played the system. The Wii is hardly the sophisticated simulator that your article makes it sound like. The gestures used on the Wii amount to little more to minor wrist movements to flick the “Wiimote” or pushing your arm towards the TV and back or twisting your arm to rotate the remove. You can not “act out” any real activities with the system at all.

    I am a gamer, most of my friends are gamers, most young adults nowadays are gamers. We have been playing games, many of them violent, for years if not decades. There has not been an explosion in violent crime or depraved activity. How long is this “emergence” supposed to take? 20 years, 30, 40? The reality of the current situation has undermined the basic presumption that violent video games lead to violence, it simply has not happened despite decades of use by millions of people.

    Now, I am not saying kids should be playing Grand Theft Auto, it is rated M (17+) for a reason. It is comparable to an R rated movie and the content descriptors on the back of the box will make it clear to any responsible parents that their 12 year old should not be playing this game. The problem I, and many gamers see, is that parents do not read these descriptors. I have been in game stores where parents have been informed of the rating by the sales clerk only to be told “don’t tell me how to raise my child” or, and in my opinion worse, been treated to a display of “I don’t care, just give it to him.”

    Video games are merely the latest media to be subjected to this kind of treatment. In the 1950’s your parents generation was threatened by Elvis Presely and those “long haired freaks” such as the The Beatles. Just as the “Devil’s Music” has survived, I must argue you are fighting a battle that is already lost.

    Thank you for your time. [/quote]

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