Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Video Game Causes Outrage (but not the one you'd think.)

So in the highly popular Grand Theft Auto series of video games, your thuggish main character can cruise up to prostitutes and have a romp with them in the back seat of his stolen car.

[As long as you're parked in a dark alley, of course. The designers didn't want the the game to be accused of not being realistic. - Editorial Bear]

You don't see anything explicit - just watch the car bounce up and down and listen to the suspension squeak. [Actually, that's not true. In the latest incarnation of the game, you DO get to see all the gory details - Editorial Bear.]

But when the Lady of the Night pulls up her kickers and clambers out of your car, you can sneak up behind her and bash her pretty little brains in with a baseball bat.

That, for the uninitiated, allows you to recover all the bloodstained money you'd spent hiring her 'services' in the first place.

For the curious, here's how to do it:

[Warning, the video is narrated by a foul mouthed Scotsman and, being about the systematic murder of a digital prostitute, is unsurprisingly not rated PG-13. - Editorial Bear]

How to Murder a Prostitute for Dummies

Naturally, little side-games like this have caused some outrage amongst the moral majority - who argue that video games like Grand Theft Auto are destroying the moral fiber of today's youth (even though the game has a 18 certificate, so children of responsible parents shouldn't even be playing it.)

Nevertheless, it's not Grand Theft Auto that's attracted the REAL ire of the religious right. It's the G-rated, family friendly strategy game Spore.

In Spore, you guide the development of life - from single-cell organisms to multi-limbed monsters who discover fire, war with other tribes, create cities and eventually travel to space.

"This entire game is propaganda!" One Christian critic exclaimed. "Aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism!"

Cue the collective *faceslap* of every rational person on the planet.

Yes, it's true, the concept of Spore is based on the concept of evolution. However, Spore has about as much in common with evolution as, well, eugenics.

For example, when Spore's creatures 'evolve,' they don't change gradually, over the course of many generations. A fully formed 'new' creature pops out of the egg of an old one - thus propagating that tired line Creationists use: "Find me the proof, oh Godless heathen, that a dinosaur turned into a monkey!"

It's right there on your video screen, buddy. Unfortunately, that's not how evolution happened in real life.

To be honest, I'm surprised old earth creationists and those who believe in Intelligent Design haven't embraced this game, because Spore has far more in common with their philosophy than Darwin's.

For a start, you play 'God' and you 'intelligently design' your creature through each step of it's evolution. Secondly, as God, you 'intelligent design' the facets you think you creature will be best off using. You even guide their existence and philosophy, choosing between being warlike and aggressive, to create fiercer creatures, or diplomatic and peaceful, generating more resourceful critters.

Quite simply, forget about SimCity or Civilisation. There is no more authentic 'God' game than this. Conservative Christians? Quit your whining and pick up a copy immediatement!

[Thanks to Christine for her Spore pictures. - Kitty Copy Editor]


Coffee Bean said...

Roland, Roland... Why, oh why, are your knickers always in a twist over what Christians have to say? None of those games would find their way into my house and I wasn't even aware of any controversy surrounding them. I can see why there is a problem with them and why some would be speaking out against them but I am really curious as to where you get your information. Are you on some Christian watchdog loop or something? Because most stuff that Christians complain about never makes it anywhere near your standard outlets... tv, radio, etc. I could see where this stuff would bug you with where you are coming from if it was taking up time on CNN and your local news but, I suspect that most of your readers are unaware of any hullabaloo surrounding these games.

AND any self respecting parent who loves their child would not allow that Grand Theft Auto crap in their home.

Coffee Bean said...

Ugh... I meant to say, any self respecting parent, regardless of their religious beliefs, ...

Roland Hulme said...

Hi Kelly! I'm really pleased your back!

I get alerts from "The Odd Christian Says The Weirdest Thing and Gives the Rest of them A Bad Name" hotline. It's very good.

I CERTAINLY wouldn't let my child play GTA... Although I fancy playing it myself (not to kill digital prostitutes, though. That Scottish chap in the video is a borderline online sociopath.)

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