The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has become the latest group to call out Grand Theft Auto IV over the game’s edgy content.
As reported by The Telegraph, the NSPCC charges that the game trivializes pedophilia via an in-game spoof of an underage site.
While playing GTA IV, players can enter Internet cafes and access parody websites. One of these, www.littlelacysurprisepageant.com triggers a message from the Liberty City Police Department and automatically elevates theplayer’s "wanted level" to five stars. The high wanted level triggers a massive police search for the player’s character (see video). In real life the URL forwards to Rockstar Game’s official GTA IV site.
The NSPCC’s Zoe Hilton told The Telegraph:
It is disturbing that it is meant to be funny and that it is glamorising something that is actually really shocking and upsetting. I just think it is in very poor taste and they should withdraw it.
GP: While we commend the many good works of the NSPCC, this seems like a non-issue. The spoof website is part of GTA IV’s parody of the online environment, which also includes such faux elements search engines, scams and dating services. Moreover, there’s no underage content to be accessed and the high-level police alert triggered by visiting the site makes it an annoyance more than anything else.