GTA IV Ads Back on Chicago Buses, But Future M-Rated Game Ads Banned

Shortly before the April 29th Grand Theft Auto IV launch, the Chicago Transit Authority pulled ads for the game from its vehicles and facilities. Prompting the move was a rash of unrelated shootings in Chicago and a Fox News hit piece that linked GTA IV to the violence, even though the game hadn’t yet been released.

Just a week later, Take-Two warmed the hearts of censorship opponents by suing the CTA in U.S. District Court for breaching its $300,000 contract. The case dragged on through the summer, but in late September GamePolitics reported that the parties were nearing a settlement.

Chicago Breaking News is now reporting that, as part of that settlement, GTA IV ads will appear on CTA buses for the next six weeks, which should give T2 a little boost for the holiday season. CTA spokesperson Noelle Gaffney explained:

The CTA made the earlier decision to remove the ads from the system following some violence in the city. The CTA felt that, based on the circumstances, it was in the best interest of our customers to remove the ads and further review the circumstances.

But wait – the CTA dropped some discouraging news as well, saying that it will accept no further ads for M-rated games once it works off its GTA IV debt. Here, the agency employs some highly questionable – read: highly political – logic:

Last week, the CTA board voted to ban advertising for video games rated "M" and above. The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, cites a "demonstrable correlation" between intensely violent video games and violent or aggressive behavior.

Thus, Chicago joins Boston among major U.S. cities in which public transit systems will not accept M-rated game ads. Miami also yanked its GTA IV ads after now-disbarred attorney Jack Thompson raised a stink.

GP: Even though many M-rated games are fantastic examples of the creative arts, the transit agencies are essentially equating such games with smut. The industry needs to stand up for itself on this issue. Take-Two was right to sue the CTA over its GTA IV case, but the larger ban on M-rated games in general needs to be addressed by the ESA.

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  1. nighstalker160 says:


    Ever heard of the "state-action" requirement?  Be thankful you’re allowed to actually post here.  God knows I would have banned your ass six ways from Sunday by now up to and including a full IP ban every time you logged in from anywhere.  I think Dennis has shown enormous patience with you.

    Bottom line, you have no First Amendment protection here. There is no state action in regards to this site.  But maybe being so utterly disgraced by your profession made you forget basic Constitutional Law (if you ever knew it to begin with).

  2. NovaBlack says:

    yes jack,… ‘just so everyone knows’..


    your a disbarred lawyer, who was found guilty on 27 counts of misconduct including knowingly making false statements. SO.. ‘just so everyone knows’.. nothing you say is worth listening to.

  3. hayabusa75 says:

    Jack, you’re the last person in the world who needs to be talking about embarrassment.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  4. michelleobamarama says:

    Just so everyone knows, it was completely ON topic, but it embarrassed the Nazis that run this site.

    AE: As interested as I am in new, supposedly constitutionally bullet proof game legislation, it has no business in the comments section of an article about bus ads.

  5. Adamas Draconis says:

    Wasn’t here 2-3 years ago. And I’ve been saying that the transportation companies need to get smacked upside the head for pulling stunts like this ever sinve Miami.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  6. Derovius says:

     I’ve seen some racey perfume/cologne adverts on buses as well, I wonder if they fall under this spontaneously developed conscience.

  7. NovaBlack says:

    once again.

    Its the game industries fault.

    If nobody higher up in the industy grows a pair and actually stands up to stupid decisions like this, then they’ll keep happening. Remember what hal halpin said about DisbarredGuy? It was people pandering to him n too afraid to stand up for what was right that let the situation grow and get worse. Hes like an ingrowing tonail, unpleasant and deeply irritating. If you leave it it just gets worse, so you do something about it n get it pulled!. The same applies here

    It shouldnt be up to us as gamers to continually put in 110% to defend companies who have enough money & public presence to defend themselves in a few well released public  statements.

    But they never do. So this kinda crap will sadly continue to happen. *sigh*




    oh and to point out the hypocracy here. They pull games because of ‘a "demonstrable correlation" between intensely violent video games and violent or aggressive behavior.’ Really? i thought the link was weak and heavily debated at best, and that a correlation means jack s***.

    put it this way. There is a correlation between ice cream sales and shark attacks. More people eat ice cream in summer when its hotter. More people swim when its hotter. People get attacked more by sharks when swimming (compared to the not so many attacks when on dry land).  There is a correlation between ice cream sales and swimming. But is the ice cream causing the shark attacks? BS. (unless they are lactose intolerant sharks angered by chilled dairy products).

    Well tell you what if that weak ass strenuous at best ‘link’ is enough to get game ads pulled, then they should either pull ads for alcohol, or re-allow M rated game ads.

    They are just gonna get sued for this once again.

     I can clearly show ‘a "demonstrable correlation" (in fact causation) between the large ACTUAL (EASILY demonstratable) problem of  alcohol related violence and alcohol.’

    Same logic. So unless the same rules are applied its unfair and hypocritical.


  8. mogbert says:

    Look everyone, it’s very easy.

    From now on, every time the system advertises alcohol, R rated movies, lawn darts, etc… we copy and paste it inot the format of JT’s original complaint and all send them to the trasit authority. Pretty much, all I’m looking for is equality for this medium. An M rated game should eb treated the same as an R rated movie.

  9. zel says:

    What I find funny is that the game’s rating somehow determines the advertisement’s rating. I mean the pic shown in the article is hardly M rated so wtf? I could understand going off the ad rating, you obviously don’t want blood and guts strewn all over a bus, but some random looking guys (well, random looking if you haven’t seen the game at all) in a line up is offensive and causing voilence? come on…

    Personally i think whats causing the violence is people losing jobs, can’t pay rent or their car, bank accounts going dry and the desperation of that is setting people off, what do you expect in a slow economy? If anything playing GTA might help these people vent their frustrations in a virtual setting as opposed to real life. but thats just


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  10. Shadow D. Darkman says:


    Holy crap, you too? Who else has had that glitch happen?


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  11. Neeneko says:

    While the transit authorities actions alone I find displeasing, thing I find depressing about articles like this is the game industry response of ‘at least we arn’t porn!’ as if porn is something too horrible to be associated with.

    I am always unhappy to see a weak and ‘looked down upon’ group getting just strong enough to say they are at least ‘better’ then some other more looked down upon group.  Another good example would be the current slide of the GBL community turning on the poly groups, gays have become just powerful enough that they found someone else to transfer onto.  They are even managing to transfer imagry that they had been painted with (decades ago, gays and pedophiles were linked in people’s minds.. now if you watch the news, esp in the gay marriage debates, poly and pedophile are being associated more and more).

    Do we, as gamers, really want this to happen to us too? 

  12. Benjamin_Snow says:

    Don’t worry guys!  Beer ads, R Rated Movie posters, and sexual products are still A-ok to display in public!


    "We may be human, but we’re still animals" -Steve Vai (World’s greatest guitarist!)

  13. beemoh says:

    You know, I predicted this a few years ago- the vilification of the M rating has begun. If the first-parties and the retailers weren’t so scared of the AO rating, then this simply wouldn’t have happened.

    I’m taking bets on how long the T rating is going to last. I say another seven years.


  14. shady8x says:

    Hey as long as R rated movies and mature books don’t get to advertise this is fine…

    but that isn’t going to happen is it?

  15. TBoneTony says:

    Since the adds were removed because of a false report from FOX News… I wonder when will the time be when FOX News would eventually be sued by the Videogame Industry for all the lies and miss-information being told and spread to an overtly parinoid parents.

    Like I always have said, the Videogame Industry needs to stand up for itself because this is outright discrimination if there are adds for mature rated movies like James Bond, but no adds for M rated games all because of a totally sensationalist news influencing a society based on fear.


  16. Mattsworkname says:

    And you people used to say I was an extremist for saying the industry should be laying the spank down with lawsuits constantly on shit like this. Now suddenly the industry starts to grow a pair and your cheering?

    If the industry had had the balls to stand up to this shit 3 or 4’s year ago? Groups like the cta would be to afraid of lawsuits to dare to pull this shit.

    Maybe the future will see the industry go further by laying in million dollar lawsuits against groups like fox news and any one else who lies about them. Since they wouldn’t do there jobs and research there subjects, taking money out there pockets might get them to pay attention.

    Just a thought.




    Yukimura is still here "Good,bad, I’m the guy with the GUN" Bruce cambell as ash, Army of darkness.

  17. Cecil475 says:

    Sounds good…as long as the other non-child friendly ads are removed too.

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  18. OldManOnTheHill says:

    Cant speak much about R rated movies and such, but up until very recently the MBTA had ads and indeed entire busses (where the entirity of the bus is themed after a product) placarded with ads for a certain Kentucky bourbon.

  19. Bennett Beeny says:

    Obscene grammar?  Like suggestive use of the semi-colon?  An exclamation point and a question mark caught in a compromising position?

  20. SeanB says:

    Anybody know if those 2 Transit Authorities will accept ad’s for R rated movies? How bout music with Explicit Lyrics? News channels? Books with obscene grammar?

  21. ConnorM5 says:

    It’s those filthy conjunctions! Putting together words… I say! Our children must be protected from such trash!

  22. sheppy says:

    For some reason, every mention of he who must not be named reminds me of the Candlejack episode of Freakazoid.

    Steph: Freakazoid, don’t say his name!
    Freak: Who’s name?
    Steph: The persons name, don’t say it!
    Freak: Don’t say Jack Thompson?
    Steph: Freakazoid! Why did you say his name?
    Freak: Cause I thought it would be funny.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  23. JustChris says:

    I know what you mean. I take the CTA trains to work and see them at almost every stop along the way.

  24. Entegy says:

    We had the old iPod ads with the shadow people dancing in a subway station here in Montreal. Then they put up thsoe stupid chromatic ads.

  25. GTCv Deimos says:

    In other news, Apple have 50% more busses to adorn with redundant Ipod Ads. 90% of residence in the greater Chicago area go colorblind, due to excessive "chromatic" ads.

  26. Faceless Clock says:

    The entire debate about video games causing violence basically boils down to the fact that most of the people in positions of power in politics are old and don’t understand a thing about them. They don’t know what they’re for, what they’re about, and they’ve probably never touched one.

    There will always be some people denouncing this or that in movies or books or games or whatever, but the stigma against video games in particular will vanish in twenty-thirty years, when our country’s leadership involves people who grew up with the internet and video games as part of their culture.

    Course, until then, we’ll have to keep reminding the old farts how wrong they and watch their every move.

    The Honest Game –

  27. DeepThorn says:

    I would think they would be smart enough to have rates.  The cheapest adds would be for kiddy entertainment and good causes/non-profits, then everyone entertainment, and normal ads, then teen ads, then mature ads…  (with no mature content of course…)  Then they benefit the good things for cheaper ads, and can rip off the more mature audience ads.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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  28. MasterAssassin says:

    You know I find it funny they pulled these ads but they allowed ads for Blitz 2 which some parents may actually be duped into buying for thier kids cuz it’s a sports game and might not be aware of the actual content. Talk about hypocrisy. Ok fair enough but they should ban ads for R-rated movies as well. Also given that the CTA is on the verge of bankruptcy they should be welcoming these ads.

  29. nighstalker160 says:

    I assume this means the CTA will also refuse to run ads for R rated movies right?  Right!?’

    Didn’t think so…

  30. FOXDIE Mk.II says:

    The news of the image of gaming characters on the sides of buses does not motivate crime, that and the fact that the game hasn’t been out at the time and there was only Fox News’ word for it.  The same Fox News that corellated a minor scene from Mass Effect with the whole game being about hardcore porn.  Okay then…

    Besides, if videogames are linked to violence like that, then none of us would be in this forum because we’d be out doing violent crimes as it "should be linked" with our interest in videogames.


  31. DeepThorn says:

    What are they wanting?  More murders in Chicago?  Jeez what are these fucking idiots thinking…  Wait, I am not Jack Thompson.  I admit that mature game ads cause aggressive behavior, but only in idiots that act aggressive and stupid because of getting pissy about nothing.  I think that R* and T2 need to push that R rated movies shouldn’t be allowed to be advertised as well, and see how the movie industry responds to that cookie.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  32. Krono says:

    "The ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, cites a "demonstrable correlation" between intensely violent video games and violent or aggressive behavior."

    The stupid thing being of course, that a correlation is not a causation. Also it’s not a particularly noteworthy correlation.

    To give you an idea of what a noteworthy correlation would be:

    A year or two ago there was a minor outbreak of fungal eye infections. It was a small number, but far more than is the norm. As part of of the attempts to track down the cause, there was of course some number crunch of the statistics. Said number crunch led to one contact lens solution being pulled from circulation by it’s maker. The reason was that while they didn’t have any causual evidence, the percentage of people with the infection that used that lens solution far exceeded the market share percentage of the solution.

    Videogames and violence don’t have any correlations remotely resembling that thus far to my knowledge.


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