Killing children in GTA


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We have this recent news item on EG that GTAV is getting pulled from shelves in Australia because it allows violence to women.

And everyone is acting rather cool about it. Let's look at the top comments:

"Don't agree with this. If the sole purpose of the game was to kill prostitutes then I'd think differently, but as a sandbox game it is what you make of it. There are some questionable tasks to be performed in the campaign, but killing sex workers is not one of them."


"Nowhere in this game does it force you to do this. There is no narrative in the game that leads to this. No story mission or side mission that encourages this behaviour..."


"Weird, I spent the 40+ hours of game time in GTAV gunning down hundreds of male criminals, cops and private militia for constant rewards, yet I can't recall ever deliberately murdering a woman, sex worker of otherwise, for a reward in the game."


"Oh ffs...ban all violence portrayed in all media and lets all live in a brave new world...blah blah blah...now I'm off to murder my cat..."


"I don't have any issue with GTA V making it possible to kill people. I don't have any issue with GTA V having some of the people you can kill be sex workers... this is, in fact, just a game and not real life, and the best way for anyone who would be upset by these acts to avoid taking offence from this game is either not to play it, or just not to kill sex workers while they do."


"Ah ok so it's fine to shoot, run over and murder men but women is a no go. Got it, women need special protection otherwise your sexist. That's the message right?"


"Did anyone tell them that you can also kill men?"



So, I agree with all these comments, in principle.

But you could just as easily make the exact same comments to defend having children in GTA who can be tortured and killed.

In fact, here's the same arguments but with regards to children:


"Don't agree with this. If the sole purpose of the game was to kill children then I'd think differently, but as a sandbox game it is what you make of it. There are some questionable tasks to be performed in the campaign, but killing children is not one of them."


"Nowhere in this game does it force you to kill children. There is no narrative in the game that leads to this. No story mission or side mission that encourages this behaviour..."


"Weird, I spent the 40+ hours of game time in GTAV gunning down hundreds of male criminals, cops and private militia for constant rewards, yet I can't recall ever deliberately murdering a child for a reward in the game."


"I don't have any issue with GTA V making it possible to kill people. I don't have any issue with GTA V having some of the people you can kill be children... this is, in fact, just a game and not real life, and the best way for anyone who would be upset by these acts to avoid taking offence from this game is either not to play it, or just not to kill children while they do."


"Ah ok so it's fine to shoot, run over and murder men but children is a no go. Got it, children need special protection otherwise your ageist. That's the message right?"


"Did anyone tell them that you can also kill adults?"



Can the two stances be picked apart?

Is there a possible way to defend the inclusion of female civilians in GTA and not defend the inclusion of child civilians? Or can you not defend one without defending the other?

For me, I can't say I'd allow women to be killed in GTA and then say I wouldn't allow children to be killed. The only difference for me is a disgust reaction - the idea that you could torture and kill children in a GTA game is sickening to me, but since I've seemingly come to terms with the same kind of torture and murder being possible with adult civilains (which should sicken me too), I can hardly use that as a reason to argue against the inclusion of children.

What's your thoughts on this? I see people acting all cool about women civilians in GTA, but I just can't imagine them acting the same way if kids were the issue.
#1 at 15:02:13 - 05/12/2014
Trip SkyWay
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Its a really interesting thing to think on,as you say the second batch of quotes envoke a totally different feeling. The adult/child line feels different to me from the male/female one in this. Perhaps due to the belief adults are more capable of looking after themselves.

Having said that I don't really think having prostitutes in the game, especially where violence is your primary interaction with characters in the world, is a great idea.

#2 at 10:17:03 - 06/12/2014
evilashchris
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At least next gen GTA lets you hoof cats.

Don't tell PETA.
#3 at 16:23:18 - 06/12/2014
frod
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It's a shame the gameplay doesn't stand up enough such that they have to resort to gratuitous violence every single time. Just my 2p but I've not seen the point of each GTA sequel, they don't add anything of substance and the basic gameplay is a bit long in the tooth these days.
#4 at 21:17:40 - 06/12/2014
Bremenacht
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That they bring back prossie-shagging&killing for what seems like every GTA seems to indicate that Rockstar feel they have a valuable prossie-shagging&killing audience out there that can only be retained through further prossie-shagging&killing, in higher resolution.

So what was an edgy, headline-courting piece of very black humour is now a gaming staple for some people. Dare I even say it... a gaming trope? I don't like the shag-a-shipmate thing in Mass Effect for the same reason. It was different and interesting simply for being in a game to begin with, but bringing it back suggests they're seeking to retain a shag-a-shipmate audience, and I expect to see it again.

I find this very sad. Gaming isn't about pressing A to fuck (and maybe murder) a character in a game, to me. The idea that there are many people out there to whom the idea of being able to fuck characters in games is important enough to make a big fuss over is troubling. Is that really an audience a developer wants?

It's not even a feminist thing - it's just a sense of what gaming is about, and more relevantly what it's *not* about.
#5 at 13:43:11 - 07/12/2014
peej
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Call me unobservant but are there actually any kids in GTA V?

Can't say as I've noticed enough to actively seek them out to run them over.
#6 at 11:45:00 - 08/12/2014
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peej said:Call me unobservant but are there actually any kids in GTA V?


No, there aren't.

Which either means:

1) adding kids is feasibly difficult (which I doubt)

or

2) at some point Rockstar drew a line of acceptability, and child murder was deemed unacceptable, while woman murder seemingly was seemed acceptable


I mean, this thread could easily have been about raping in GTA. People defend the ability to murder civilians in GTA, but would they defend the ability to rape in GTA? And if they defended one and not the other, how did they decide to draw the line?
#7 at 14:47:04 - 12/12/2014
nekotcha
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To be honest I'm not sure Rockstar themselves know where the line is. I would completely defend the right of developers to depict violence, murder, rape and other awful crimes, because like films, TV and other art forms they're a reflection of real life and as a result need to be able to talk about all of the things that happen in real life, even if those things are almost too appalling to contemplate.

But that said, I've never gotten the sense that Rockstar are trying to talk about these issues in any sort of mature way - they just hide behind the artistic freedom argument because it's an easy way to explain away what, to me, seems more like a desire to exploit the shock value of these actions as a cheap marketing gimmick, as Bremenacht says.

To address the specific question of depicting children being killed in games, I think in some cases at least, there's an argument to be made about free will and the ability to make an informed decision about the risks of being in a certain place. In other words, you could suggest that any adult characters getting shot at or otherwise attacked have at least a reasonable chance of understanding the risks they put themselves in by being in that place, whereas with children, the assumption would be that they're victims of circumstance without the agency to get themselves out of it. That doesn't really apply to all games though - it's hard to argue that many of the victims in GTA are anything other than innocent civilians and victims of circumstance too.
#8 at 16:13:24 - 12/12/2014
frod
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looks like EG jumped on the AATG bandwagon with their editorial today
#9 at 16:35:44 - 13/12/2014

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