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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Leaving Liberty City

As I placed my Grand Theft Auto IV disc into my Xbox 360, I hoped that Rockstar hadn't tried to rock the boat too much with their newest title in the GTA series. I was hoping for a little more GTA III and less San Andreas. Unfortunately, the game ended up being far too close to the latter in terms of the game's sexual overtones. The truth is that my responsibilities as a father and as a husband preclude me from following certain norms in society. And for all the fanfare and praise rained down on GTA IV, I can't play the game.

The real question is: how much will I truly miss by passing on GTA IV? Much of the game's features that had me excited had nothing to do with any content involving ass-slapping strippers, prostitutes offering a variety of choice services, or Roman's incessant talk about "titties". I was looking for epic game-play, interesting missions, and excellent multi-player modes. And though all these things are still found in GTA IV, they are permeated by constant overtones of sexuality in the form posters, billboards, radio advertisements, mission cut-scenes, and available adult entertainment offered to players looking for such things.

Would I have played this game five years ago before marriage and kids? Yes. And though I could have played it now as a married father of two, I don't think that any single game is worth it. In the future, I'd love for Rockstar (and other game developers) to place user-selectable filters in their games. These filters would allow players to select the amounts of gore (this already exists in games such as Gears of War), coarse language, and sexuality that they'd like present in the game. I know this would make games much more accessible to everyone and would ultimately reduce many games' criticisms.

After deciding to put Grand Theft Auto IV aside, I wondered whether I should continue maintaining this site. Could I run a true game-related site without playing games like GTA IV? I wasn't sure. But after speaking with a friend this morning, I don't see why I should have to give up my site and my hobby because a few blockbuster titles will be released each year that are geared towards adults exclusively.

As such, The Greedy Gamer will remain in operation. There will be one small change though. I'll no longer be playing any games that contain nudity, partial nudity, or sexual content as stated on the ESRB site. I'm sure many of you think I'm crazy. There will be some huge games that I'll be forced to miss due to this new stance on gaming. But I'm cool with that. Just as I believe game developers should have the choice to make games about anything they wish and containing any content they wish, I also believe that every gamer out there should ultimately have the choice in which games they play.

Before I return to our regularly scheduled programming, I did want to make one last statement.

Dear BioWare and Bethesda Softworks:

Could you please do me a big favour and make Mass Effect 2 and Fallout 3 sans nudity, partial or otherwise? I'd really like to play those games. Failing that, any chance you could tuck the sexual content into some back corner of the game that can only be uncovered by only the most devout of players who aren't getting laid on a daily basis?



Until next time, I'll be keepin' it clean...


For what it's worth, if violence, coarse language, and some in-game sexuality don't bother you, you really need to buy GTA IV today. You will not find a better game out there.