Dan Houser Buys Truman Capote's Brooklyn Estate

March 21, 2012 -

How fitting, then, that the Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser is the proud new owner of the Brooklyn Heights mansion at 70 Willow Street where Truman Capote once laid his weary head after a long night of socializing with New York City's who's who. The house that once belonged to the author of the gritty true crime bestseller In Cold Blood sold for $12.5 million according to city records obtained by The New York Observer. It was also apparently the most expensive real estate purchase in Brooklyn history.

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GTA V Announcement Timed with Thompson’s Three-Year Disbarment Anniversary

October 25, 2011 -

A friend of mine (a developer who will remain nameless) said that the Grand Theft Auto V announcement was oddly timed. I didn't understand what he meant at first until our readers and Twitter began mentioning that today's date coincides with the official start date of former Florida attorney Jack Thompson's disbarment date. On September 25, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court’s disbarment order for Thompson was signed. It went into effect 30 days later, on October 25, 2008.

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Former GTA Director Plans Game Based on Iran's Islamic Revolution

August 11, 2011 -

The former director of the Grand Theft Auto series, Navid Khonsari, is working on a new game that will explore Iran's Islamic Revolution. The game is called 1979 and will be set in an open world where protagonists can make moral choices that affect what is going on around him. Khonsari, who worked on Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas, spoke to CNN about his plans for the game recently and why it is important to him.

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London Evening Standard Corrects Game Blame Headline, Daily Mail Runs with It

August 9, 2011 -

The revolving door that is blaming games for bad things that happen in the world spins and spins... First, after blaming video games for the riots that have plagued London for three days, UK Newspaper The London Evening Standard, ran a bold front headline page yesterday suggesting that Grand Theft Auto had inspired youngsters to run rampant through the street, committing acts of violence, looting and general public displays of destruction.

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Study: Violent Game Players Less Sympathetic to Others

April 5, 2011 -

A new study from Simmons College researchers comes to the conclusion that children exposed to more violent games for longer periods of time are less able to sympathize with others. The new study published in the Journal of Children and Media surveyed 166 Boston, MA and southern New Hampshire schoolchildren. The study was overseen by Simmons College professors Edward T. Vieira and Marina Krcmar. They examined the relationship between violent games and kids' attitudes toward violence.

The duo surveyed children age 7-15 about their favorite games, how many hours a week they played, and questions to gauge their ability to sympathize with others, to see things from another person's perspective, and whether they saw violence as an appropriate response in situations where it would be deemed justified or unjustified. The favorite "violent games" included Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Counter Strike, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and World of Warcraft.

Cypress Hill Singer Sues Rockstar/Take-Two Over 6-Year-Old Game

December 15, 2010 -

Would you believe yet another musician is suing a game developer/publisher?

Joining the ranks of No Doubt, Courtney Love and most recently, Axl Rose, Michael “Shagg” Washington, backup singer of rap group Cypress Hill, has filed suit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two.  He alleges that the main character of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was created using his image and life story.

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Grand Theft Childhood Author Challenges Research on SCOTUS Case

October 30, 2010 -

The author of Grand Theft Childhood offers an intelligent, thoughtful rebuttal to the arguments (and the research data) being used by the State of California in the U.S. Supreme Court's review of Schwarzenegger v. EMA.

Cheryl K. Olson (Sc.D., Asst. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School) offers an update that takes on the evidence that California is using in the case, and the conclusions drawn by politicians in their arguments. She also says that the law may very well backfire should the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling be overturned.

 

Below is a taste:

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Rockstar Trouble in Brazil

October 20, 2010 -

A Brazilian court has ordered Rockstar Games to halt the worldwide sales of Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes From Liberty City. The Third Civil Court in the city of Barueri ordered an injunction because it allegedly uses a song without the composer's consent. The song, "Bota o Dedinho pro Alto," which was performed by an 8-year-old Brazilian boy that was composed by his father.

A court statement says the game makers do not have the rights to "Bota o Dedinho pro Alto," which is sung by an 8-year-old Brazilian boy and was composed by his father, Hamilton Louren. The court concluded that the song in the game, "Daniel Haaksman" (performed by Kid Conga feat. MC Miltinho) infringes on the other song.

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Rockstar Wins "GTA Rothbury" Libel Case

October 4, 2010 -

Earlier this summer the UK’s Daily Star fabricated a story claiming that the next entry in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series would be based on the July 2010 crime spree committed by ex-con Raoul Moat (pictured)across the NorthEast section of the UK and that the game would be named GTA Rothbury.

While the paper later apologized for the incident, and the piece’s author insulted gamers, calling them “grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another,” the paper has been ordered to pay undisclosed damages to Rockstar and Take Two Interactive. According to the Guardian, Rockstar has accepted “substantial” libel damages as awarded by a High Court.

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Music Producer Condemns Music, Games for Impact on Kids

August 11, 2010 -

Musician and record producer Mike Stock lashed out against the current state of pop music, stating that the “industry has gone too far” as it serves up “soft pornography” to children.

Stock, perhaps best-known as one member of a trio of songwriters and producers known as Stock Aitken Waterman, which produced and wrote songs for an impressive list of musical acts ranging from Elton John to Judas Priest to Bananarama, saved some of his blame for videogames, stating:

Before children even step into school, they have all these images. The pop videos and computer games like Grand Theft Auto confronting them, and the parents can't control it. Talking to mothers' groups, they were saying that even they have lost faith in brands like Disney.

Daily Star Apologizes for Fabricating GTA Story

July 26, 2010 -

Only the Daily Star could make the New York Post look like the New York Times.

We’re a little late to this one, but last week that bastion of accurate reporting, the UK’s Daily Star, ran an article insinuating that Rockstar was making a Grand Theft Auto game based on the criminal actions committed earlier this month by ex-con Raoul Moat, who killed one and injured three across a six-day spree throughout the NorthEast UK. 

GTA Rothbury, as the game was called by Star writer Jerry Lawton, contained a series of animated quotes from relatives of the victims, outraged by the thought of a game, book or movie based on the criminal’s exploits, as reported up by CVG.

The story was eventually taken off the Star’s website entirely (since it was made up) and the newspaper issued an apology (thanks again CVG) stating:

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GTA Said to Inspire Molotov-based Attempted Arson in MA

June 30, 2010 -

Claiming they were motivated by a Grand Theft Auto play session, a pair of Raynham, Massachusetts  boys were arrested after allegedly attempting to set fire to two buildings with Molotov cocktails.

The 12-year old and 16-year old tried to burn down a garage and an apartment building early Sunday morning with stolen gasoline poured into bottles, according to Enterprise News. The younger of the two suspects told police that “they got the idea from a video game they had been playing earlier in the night.”

Police Chief Lou Pacheco told the paper, (in a solemn voice, no doubt), “They appear to have crossed the line from virtual reality to reality.”

The boys were arraigned on charges of possession of an explosive device and attempted arson before being released to their families. The two are also suspected of going on a tagging spree as well, though thankfully there was no mention of the boys playing Mark Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure prior to that undertaking.

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Four Year Old Plays GTA, Stays Nice

June 9, 2010 -

Writer Matthew Orona let his four-year old son play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and documented the action for an article on Bitmob.

Asked by his father to jack a car waiting at a red light, the boy “quickly looked up at me with disgust and refused, stating that the car was already owned by the person driving it.” After finally grabbing an unoccupied car, the boy, unfamiliar with the controls and driving a bit too fast, ran over a woman on a sidewalk. His reaction? “He was incredibly ashamed of himself and profusely apologized.”

The boy rounded out his time by attempting to complete missions which aided other citizens, piloting a police car, ambulance and fire truck. While driving an ambulance he passed a fire house with a shiny red truck out front which mesmerized him, as it would any four-year old boy. Rather than ditch his passengers however, the boy completed his mission by bringing the ambulance occupants to the hospital before asking his dad to guide him back to the firehouse.

Orona summed up the experience:

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No Apologies: A Writer’s Cocaine-Fueled Game Addiction

March 23, 2010 -

A young man with a promising future as a writer seemingly gave it all up to in order to give in to the unhealthy combination of Grand Theft Auto IV and cocaine.

The Observer has an article up written by Tom Bissell, the former essayist himself. Bissell begins by outlining the period from 2001-2006, which saw him author two books and a series of magazine articles. During this time he says he “rarely felt disciplined,” and his productivity seemed to happen in spite of itself.

The author's dive into gaming kicked off with GTA: Vice City, which he called, “the first video game I can recall having to force myself to stop playing,” before he moved on to GTA: San Andreas and eventually GTA IV. When the latter game came out, a friend introduced Bissell to cocaine and the pair played the game for 30 hours straight.

Bissell attempted to put a finger on the attractiveness of the game:

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Grand Theft Auto Suspect Busted Playing… Go Ahead and Guess

January 22, 2010 -

A 30-year old man suspected of stealing an SUV was arrested by police in his home while playing Grand Theft Auto III.

Tampa Bay Online has the story on Michael Ray Ekes of Haines City, Florida, who was busted after the stolen vehicle was found in front of his home. For some reason Ekes was asked what he thought of GTA III. The suspect replied, “It’s a blast.”

Sheriff Grady Judd offered the pearl of wisdom that, “Crime is not a game.” He continued, “Real-life crime has real-life consequences – and I hope he goes to prison for a good long while, where they don't have 'Grand Theft Auto' video games.”

At the time of his arrest, Ekes was free on bail on two counts of grand theft auto and was on probation for a series of other offenses.


Thanks to no one in particular for sending this in

41 comments

Boys Pulls Robbery, Likens it to Real Life GTA

January 6, 2010 -

Armed with a BB gun, a 14-year old California boy stole a pair of bicycles and after being apprehended reportedly told deputies that he felt like he was playing a real-world version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Bakers Field Now reports that the minor was arrested by Wasco police officers after a brief chase, which he compared to an episode of Cops. He told officers that he considered “shooting the deputy in the eye,” but was scared that he would be shot in return if he missed. According to a newscast, officers also attempted to taser the boy, with “little effect.”

No word on how the boy was able to manage fleeing with two stolen bicycles.

Thanks Jack!

26 comments

40 Hour GTA IV Marathon Earns Indian Youth Laudits

October 20, 2009 -

An Indian youth recently spent over 40 hours straight playing Grand Theft Auto IV, and instead of a one-way ticket to ReStart, he received congratulations and a spot in the record books.

That’s because Chirantan Patnaik of Mumbai set a Guinness World Record with his gameathon, surpassing the previous GTA IV-specific endurance mark of 28 hours and one minute, which was set by a U.S. gamer last year. Patnaik lasted a total of 40 hours and 20 minutes reports ZeeNews, with Guinness rules mandating a 10-minute break every hour.

Patnaik prepared for his binge by running and practicing yoga. He added that avoiding coffee and eating dates (the fruit) helped him stay alert during the session. An avid gamer, this was the first time Patnaik had played GTA IV.

Indian gaming portal Zapak sponsored the event and provided observers. The company’s COO, Rohit Sharma, offered the following about Patnaik:

We have always believed in the potential of Indian gamers. Chirantan's success is a proud moment for the Indian gaming industry. This will encourage more youngsters to take gaming seriously.

25 comments

Reheating Hot Coffee: Take-Two Reaches $20M Settlement with Investors

September 2, 2009 -

Take-Two Interactive announced yesterday that it has reached a $20 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed over the 2005 Hot Coffee scandal.

Although T2's press release is regrettably light on details, securities are mentioned, indicating that  this case is related to loss of equity value caused by Hot Coffee and its fallout.

Venture Beat has dug up a link to the complaint, Feninger vs. Take-Two. Kotaku offers an explanation of the details:

The nut of the allegations contained in the 34-page suit, is that Take-Two was spending more than it was bringing in and couldn't survive until the next Grand Theft Auto. So, the suit alleges, the company pushed Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas out the door knowing that there was pornographic material in the game because delays would have cost the company too much. If the material was known to be in the, the suit continues, major retailers wouldn't have sold it.

The outcome, according to the suit, was inflated stock prices based on bad or uninformed information from the company and a plunge in stock values when the truth came out.

The suit also alleges that Take-Two lied about the included sex scenes, nicknamed Hot Coffee, when they first came to light, with the company the scenes were "the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes.'"

GP: We should point out that, as the record shows, the notion that Take-Two lied about the origin of the Hot Coffee scenes is a fact, not merely an allegation. In one the sleaziest moves ever seen in the game biz, Take-Two tried to pin the rap for the hidden sex scenes on its biggest fans, the GTA mod community. To be fair, there was a different management team in place back then.

27 comments

Did 7-year-old Learn to Drive From Video Games?

August 1, 2009 -

Last Sunday morning, a Utah police officer chased a car that blew through stop signs and narrowly missed a pedestrian.  Imagine the pursuing cop’s surprise when the car came to a stop and out popped a 7-year-old boy.

On Thursday, Captain Klint Anderson of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office spoke of the incident to Fox News.  Young Preston Scarbrough told police he had taken the family car because he didn’t want to go to church that morning (he later told his mom he just wanted to give driving a go).

Fox News: “How did he even learn how to [drive]?”

Anderson: “Well, we’re not exactly sure except that his father has grounded him from one of his video games which involves operating vehicles so…”

Fox News: “Something like a Grand Theft Auto, something like that?”

Anderson: “I have no idea.  I didn’t ask the father what game it was but some of those video games are pretty realistic.”

The following day, the Scarbrough family appeared on NBC's Today Show.  Preston’s father, who initially thought the police sirens outside were coming from one of his boy’s video games, confirmed that the little lawbreaker had been grounded for four days with no TV or games.

We’re going to throw away those driving video games for sure.

Preston, for his part, explained how he learned to drive.

Watched my mom. Watched my sister.

Video of the Today Show segment can be seen here and here.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen

80 comments

7 Years in Jail for Teen; Prosecutors Say "Door Checking" Assault Inspired by GTA

July 24, 2009 -

An 18-year-old Maryland man is heading to jail for seven years for a crime which prosecutors allege was inspired by Grand Theft Auto.

Hometown Annapolis reports that Nathan Wade Hartley, Jr. "door checked" two young brothers last August. Hartley, who had three friends in his car at the time, drove at the boys (ages 11 and 15), striking one by opening the driver's door of his Honda Civic and hitting the other with the front end of his car. The boys were critically injured in the assault.

Deputy State's Attorney John Mark McDonald commented on the case:

This was particularly disturbing... It just makes me worry about what he will do in the future... The only reason these kids are alive is luck or grace or whatever you want to call it.

Maryland radio station WTOP-FM has more:

A teenager is headed to prison for what prosecutors say was a senseless crime inspired by a video game.

 

In the popular game "Grand Theft Auto," players drive virtual cars and intentionally hit pedestrians by smacking them with open car doors. It's called "door checking," and prosecutors say 18-year-old Nathan Hartley decided to try it with a real car last summer.

GP: Is "door checking" possible in GTA? I'm having trouble locating any videos depicting it...

UPDATE: PS3 Attitude spoke to prosecutor McDonald, who denied linking the crime to GTA:

The suggestion came through the Defendant. I have never seen Grand Theft Auto, and had never heard of ‘door-checking’ until this case. It was a defense he set forth in attempting to waive his case back to the juvenile court. The State did not introduce the game into the prosecution of this case. It added nothing. My comments on the game were to rebut his reasoning for doing what he did.

I did not suggest that the game was to blame for his conduct, and would not. The blame lies entirely with Nathan Hartley. I stated as much in court. As I indicated, I have never even seen the game and I was not passing any judgment on the game. I was simply arguing why I felt his justification was not valid.

GamePolitics was in touch with Hometown Annapolis reporter Scott Daugherty, whose original article seemed to suggest that prosecutor McDonald make the GTA link to the crime. Here's what Daugherty told us:

It's been awhile since I've played GTA and the prosecutor has never seen the game. According to the prosecutor, Hartley's defense attorney referenced GTA in court as a defense... I guess the old, "it's not my fault, the video games made me do it," defense.

 

While I don't recall being able to specifically door check someone in GTA Vice City (the last one played), I do remember clipping pedestrians as I drove down the sidewalk. If you hit one they would fly off to the side.
 
That is the best I can offer.

BBFC Says It Investigated Crystal Meth Recipe in GTA IV

June 22, 2009 -

The British Board of Film Classification, which last week lost the battle for control of U.K. video game ratings to industry-favored rival PEGI, once investigated whether Grand Theft Auto IV contained a genuine recipe for manufacturing crystal meth.

The Times reports that the discovery prompted "crisis talks" with developer Rockstar. In testimony last year before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, BBFC head David Cooke discussed his organization's review of GTA IV:

We did examine [GTA IV] extremely thoroughly and we are the only regulator I know of who looked, for instance, at the particular issue where... there was a concern about whether you were being given instructional information about how to make the drug crystal meth.

 

We actually took independent advice on the point and eventually were able to satisfy ourselves that some of the crucial ingredients and techniques were missing so it was not a genuine cause for concern.

UPDATE: College News (leave it to those crazy college kids) explains where the so-called crystal meth recipe can be found in GTA IV:

The suspected recipe for crystal meth can be discovered in the video game as a posting on the fictional Web site Craplist --a parody of the popular real life Web site Craigslist.

27 comments

ABC News: 9 Video Games That Went Too Far

June 4, 2009 -

ABC News has posted a web feature on controversial games, listing nine titles "that went too far." The games chosen by ABC's Ki Mae Huessner are:

  • Rendition: Guantanamo
  • Six Days in Fallujah
  • Faith Fighter
  • RapeLay
  • Miss Bimbo
  • GTA IV
  • Manhunt 2
  • Super Columbine Massacre RPG
  • JFK Reloaded

Although Ki Mae interviewed me for the piece, I'm not clear as to the criteria she used to narrow her final list down to nine. Still, it's a thought-provoking article and should serve as a good starting point to discuss what makes a game controversial.

Columnist Equates Violent Games With Acceptance of Torture

May 7, 2009 -

With the national debate over the use of torture raging on, could a steady diet of violent entertainment color some Americans' view of what has euphemistically been dubbed "enhanced interrogation"?
 
Writing for the liberal-leaning Huffington Post, Kari Henley opines:

If we are going to truly come to terms with abiding by moral codes against extreme acts of violence, we first have to start in our own living rooms... We say we "don't f**#$ torture," yet Grand Theft Auto is our favorite video game.
 
Let's face it: Americans are repeatedly exposed to serious scenes of violence when we go out to the movies, watch nightly TV shows, or unwind with video games, all of which drastically decrease overall sensitivity to violence.

To be fair, Henley’s views on the supposed desensitizing effects of violent entertainment appear to come primarily from the claims of longtime video game critic Dave Grossman. After spending a few paragraphs on violent TV and movies, Henley returns to video games:

What about these modern X-Box and online video games? While I happen to enjoy the "G" rated Wii, over 11 million people are spending their time engrossed in the World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto where the point is to go around and kill people in a calculated way. Tell me again why this is supposed to be fun and relaxing?
 
It's time to put torture in its place as unacceptable, period, both in our nation's military practices, and in our nation's entertainment standards.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...

Insurer Not Liable For Damages in Sniper Case Said To Be Inspired by GTA III

May 4, 2009 -

An appeals court has ruled that the parents of Tennessee brothers who went on a 2003 sniper spree which they claimed was inspired by Grand Theft Auto III are personally liable for damages caused in the incident.

One driver was killed and another seriously wounded when the brothers, then 15 and 13, opened fire on vehicles traveling along I-40.

The Knoxville News reports that parents Wayne and Donna Buckner, facing lawsuits in the case, hoped to have their homeowners' insurance settle the claims against them. A county judge agreed, but the Buckners' insurance company, Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance, appealed the ruling. A state Court of Appeals judge reversed the decision, leaving the parents liable in the case.

From the newspaper account:

According to lawsuits filed in the case, the boys claimed they never intended to hurt anyone when they began firing .22-caliber rifles at the trailers of rigs traveling on I-40... They insisted their sniper fire was inspired by the video game Grand Theft Auto...

The boys spent a few months in a juvenile detention facility for their crimes.

The Buckners' insurance company balked when brought into the lawsuits that followed the shootings, arguing the policy specifically excluded damages resulting from injury or damage "reasonably expected or intended by you."

A 2003 lawsuit filed on behalf of victims by Jack Thompson against Rockstar, Take-Two Interactive, Sony and Wal-Mart was later withdrawn. For additional details on the original case, check out David Kushner's 2005 article for Salon.

GTA Chinatown Wars Sales Are a Major Disappointment

April 17, 2009 -

Sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars have been a major disappointment, according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Citing data released yesterday by NPD group, SAI reports that only 88,704 units of the critically-acclaimed DS game were purchased in March. Published estimates by video game industry analysts had suggested that GTA: Chinatown Wars would sell in the 200,000 - 450,000 range:

So how did Take-Two flub a sure thing? Chinatown Wars was built for the wrong console. The title -- whose gameplay centers around drug dealing, cold-blooded murder, and sex -- is only available on the Nintendo DS, who's primary audience is children. Parents refused to let their kids play, and the adult DS audience just isn't that big...

 

Chinatown Wars may yet find life down the road, but all in all a rare misstep from Take-Two. And the winner here might actually be Sony (SNE): The Chinatown Wars disaster will likely scare other publishers away from making new adult-themed games for the Nintendo DS. Some may redirect efforts towards Sony's PSP, which targets a somewhat older crowd.

Reacting to the poor numbers put up by GTA:CW, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz reduced earnings estimates for Publisher Take-Two Interactive:

What Happened? Take-Two exported their most valuable IP onto the most widely distributed gaming platform, and created the most highly-rated title in the history of that platform...

 

The disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers.

Keith Olbermann Takes On Glenn Beck Over Grand Theft Auto Rant / Pittsburgh Police Slayings

April 9, 2009 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics pointed out that in 2008 conservative talking head Glenn Beck held video games and popular media responsible for real-world violence.

In the wake of Sunday's horrific murder of three Pittsburgh police officers by a paranoid gun owner, however, Beck has insisted that his own media rants on gun control couldn't be blamed:

Blaming anyone except the nut job for what happened in Pittsburgh is crazy.

In this clip MSNBC's liberal commentator Keith Olbermann points out the obvious contrast between Beck's willingness to blame video games for real-world violence yet reluctance to admit that his own fervent anti-gun control rhetoric may have helped influence the Pittsburgh killer.

Thanks to: GamePolitics reader BlindJustice15...

108 comments

Report: Dad Finds Ecstasy Tablets in Used Copy of Grand Theft Auto

April 8, 2009 -

A British man who purchased a pair of used Grand Theft Auto games discovered what appeared to be ecstasy tablets wrapped in plastic and hidden in one of the game manuals.

The Telegraph reports that Richard Thornhill, 34, bought the second-hand games at a GameStation in Gloucestershire:

When I opened the box up, the cling film wrap fell out. I could not believe it. I have two children and my son plays Xbox all the time. He could easily have opened the box and found them.

I dread to think what the consequences would have been if he had. He is only 12. He could have died. It was a pre-used game, but that should not make a difference. My wife is beside herself over this because she keeps thinking about what could have happened and so do I.

The retailer and local police are investigating.

Police Officials Angered by GTA Mods Featuring Realistic Cop Cars

April 8, 2009 -

A Grand Theft Auto modder's authentic depictions of real police vehicles have angered law enforcement officials in the Washington, D.C. area.

NBC reports that GTA videos of police vehicles from Prince William County, Montgomery County, and Fairfax County are available on YouTube:

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But don't tell that to some local police jurisdictions that are upset over YouTube videos depicting their cruisers in a video game...

One video even shows a digital officer getting out of a Fairfax County Police cruiser to gun down citizens on the street.

The Fairfax County Police Department finds the videos in very poor taste," said spokesperson Don Gotthardt. "One of the reasons we find it in poor taste is because of the way the officers are depicted."

THANKS TO: GamePolitics reader mdo7 for the tip!

32 comments

Husband Killed Wife, But She Was The GTA Player

March 31, 2009 -

Wait - isn't the Grand Theft Auto player supposed to be the one who turns violent?

It doesn't always work that way, apparently. The Telegraph reports that a British man stabbed his wife to death, in part over her predilection for playing GTA all through the night:

Malcolm Palmer, 62, turned on the mother of his three children after she became hooked on the violent Grand Theft Auto driving game. He was forced to sleep on a sofa in their conservatory as Carol Cannom, 46, stayed up all night with the 37-inch plasma television screen she brought into their room for her all-night gaming sessions...
 
[Their son] would play... until midnight, after which Ms Cannom would take over, regularly staying up until five or six in the morning, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

"Carol quickly became hooked. He was very unhappy about the amount of time she was playing on the PlayStation," said John Pini QC for the prosecution...

Defence lawyer Timothy Spencer QC told the court: "The genesis of this tragedy bizarrely lies with the purchase of the PlayStation."

60 comments

Video Games Get the Blame in Colorado Shooting Spree

March 28, 2009 -

A Colorado police officer has suggested that a troubled 22-year old man who went on a random shooting spree last October may have been influenced by violent video games.

The Denver Post reports that the police investigator made the comment in regard to Stefan Martin-Urban (left), who killed two people and wounded two others before turning his gun on himself:

When Stefan Martin-Urban... pulled a pistol from behind his back and methodically shot strangers, his behavior was eerily similar to characters in the video games he played obsessively.

Those games, authorities said Friday... are the closest police and FBI investigators can come to an explanation for Martin-Urban's actions that killed two and injured two.

"It could be that he was simply acting out a part in a video game. Maybe he had interjected himself into a game in his mind," Grand Junction police Sgt. Tony Clayton said.

 

Like the thugs in "Grand Theft Auto" and warlocks in "World of Warcraft," Martin-Urban showed no emotion...

Sgt. Clayton's remarks notwithstanding, there are indications that the killer was, like so many other random shooters, a mentally disturbed person who gained access to a gun. From the story:

He had no criminal record and had not exhibited any psychotic behavior. But unbeknown to anyone who might have been alarmed, Martin-Urban had purchased a 9mm semiautomatic Ruger...

The only other clue that something wasn't right was his computer log: He spent an inordinate amount of time playing games where the object is to kill and steal.

He played the games as many as 12 hours a day during the last few months of his life. He holed up in a hotel room in Europe during a family vacation last summer and played the games while his mother and sister went sightseeing.

"In the last year, he had no friends. No boyfriend. No girlfriend. No pets. He was consumed with the video games. He spent an enormous amount of time playing them," Clayton said...

Martin-Urban lived mostly in isolation...  after enrolling in a state college... He stopped going to classes within two weeks.

His father had committed suicide in Alaska four days before the previous Christmas...

He had a profile on YouTube where he wrote that he lived in a world "that some people choose to call 'reality.' " His favorite videos included a prophecy that a 2,000- mile-long spaceship containing cosmic beings was going to appear in the Earth's atmosphere three days after the shooting.

In regard to the YouTube video, a local TV station speculated that Martin-Urban may have been part of a cult which predicted that the world would end within days of his rampage.

The Denver Post report also notes that Martin-Urban was a Grand Theft Auto player and even theorizes a link between his GTA play and the fact that most of his victims were getting into a BMW at the time of the shooting:

One of the fanciful cars in the game — the silver Blista — has taillights that resemble a BMW's.

The Rocky Mountain News reported last October that Martin-Urban's aunt worried that he may have been suicidal.

GP: Martin-Urban's self-imposed isolation, his retreat into obsessive gaming, his dropping out of school, the trauma of his father's suicide, and his apparent fascination with the bizarre cult video would seem to be red flags that Martin-Urban was a deeply troubled young man.

 
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Papa MidnightIt's not bad so far, but I am honestly not sure what to make of it (or where it's going for that matter)07/28/2014 - 9:44pm
Matthew Wilsonis it any good?07/28/2014 - 9:36pm
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MaskedPixelanteNah, I'm fine purple monkey dishwasher.07/28/2014 - 4:05pm
Sleaker@MP - I hope you didn't suffer a loss of your mental faculties attempting that.07/28/2014 - 3:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, so my brief research looking at GameFAQs forums (protip, don't do that if you wish to keep your sanity intact.), the 3DS doesn't have the power to run anything more powerful than the NES/GBC/GG AND run the 3DS system in the background.07/28/2014 - 11:01am
ZenMatthew, the 3DS already has GBA games in the form of the ambassador tittles. And I an just as curious about them not releasing them on there like they did the NES ones. I do like them on the Wii U as well, but seems weird. And where are the N64 games?07/28/2014 - 10:40am
james_fudgeNo. They already cut the price. Unless they release a new version that has a higher price point.07/28/2014 - 10:19am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, It most likely is. The question is whether Nintendo wants to do it.07/28/2014 - 10:12am
Matthew WilsonI am sure the 3ds im more then powerful enough to emulate a GBA game.07/28/2014 - 9:54am
Sleaker@IanC - while the processor is effectively the same or very similar, the issue is how they setup the peripheral hardware. It would probably require creating some kind of emulation for the 3DS to handle interfacing with the audio and input methods for GBA07/28/2014 - 9:30am
Sleaker@EZK - hmmm, that makes sense. I could have sworn I had played GB/GBC games on it too though (emud of course)07/28/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, the DS has a built in GBA chipset in the system. That is why it played GBA games. The GBA had a seperate chipset for GB and GBColor games. The DS did not have that GB/GBC chipset and that is why the DS could not play GB and GBC games.07/28/2014 - 7:25am
IanCI dont think Nintendo ever gave reason why GBA games a reason why GBA games aren't on the 3DS eshop. The 3DS uses chips that are backwards compatable with the GBA ob GBA processor, after all.07/28/2014 - 6:46am
Sleakerhmmm that's odd I could play GBA games natively in my original DS.07/28/2014 - 1:39am
Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
 

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