In 1997, Rockstar Games introduced the game Grand Theft Auto, a fictional game based on characters stealing cars, committing crimes, and completing given tasks. The game included but was not limited to violence, drugs, run down cities, and much more. All of this was to the parent’s dismay as teens and young adults were the games featured players. But even after 16 years of disapproval from many, GTA is still thriving among video game players everywhere.
Many reports have been made since the first release of GTA about it causing users to commit acts of violence in the real world. Additional releases, including Grand Theft Auto II, III, and IV, as well as the many versions of the game based on fictional cities such as London, Vice City, and San Andreas, have also come under criticism. This was no surprise to many considering the violent nature of the game that is used as entertainment in order to create a fun experience for players.
One of the first reports based on a major crime was in 2005 when the defense for a 20-year-old, who murdered three police officers at the age of 18, was built on childhood abuse and Grand Theft Auto. In one scenario of the game, characters are encouraged to outrun, beat and kill police officers, sometimes while using the officer’s own gun. In the real world of crime, the suspect allegedly stole a police officer’s gun. shot three victims and fled the scene in a the officer’s police car, seeming awfully familiar to a crime presented by the game. The defense was built after the suspect was reported as saying, “Life’s a video game; everybody has to die sometime.” The defense did not hold up as the suspect was found guilty. A civil suite was filed by the suspect’s family who claimed playing Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City made him commit the crime.
Another crime where GTA was used as a defense was just this year when a young boy reportedly stole his parent’s vehicle and drove it into a parked van a block away. The parents looked to blame the game, stating that their son normally presents good behavior but, after playing the game, had suddenly become violent and showed no regard for his actions.
Many reports have also been made before and after these events where robberies, assaults, carjackings and murders were blamed on the game. But can GTA really cause players to commit violent acts in real life situations?
Apparently many consumers have thought so as Rockstar Games has had a long list of lawsuits against them over the game, totaling over $1 billion. However, the biggest percentage of civil lawsuits has not held up in court, so apparently the justice system does not believe that a violent game is a good enough reason for the felony crimes being committed.
Rockstar Games has now released GTA 5, the most recent Grand Theft Auto to hit retail shelves. They have also now released an online playing version of the game. Recent reports claim many technical issues with the online version of the game but, despite its issues, gamers are still excited over the two most recent innovations in GTA. Over time, many feuds have been created in the last 16 years since Grand Theft Auto’s release date, though this delinquent game is still raising cane and making money — two tasks that are expected to continue along with the future of Rockstar Games.
Written by: Crystal Boulware