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Are video games responsible?

That unanswered question rears its complicated head again

By James Stevenson and Troy Roberts     November 14, 2003

Recently, a family filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games, the makers of the GRAND THEFT AUTO series. The lawsuit revolves around the death of a tractor-trailer driver, who was killed when two boys decided to take rifles and shoot at random cars on the interstate, just like the game. They later stated that the game inspired them to commit the act. In this week's Gamers' Thumb, we'll take a look at our take on the issue.

Personally, companies cannot be held liable for introducing an entertainment product with adult content. The First Amendment gives freedom of speech so that we can have movies and games about violent criminals. These kids weren't even old enough to play the game with its 'M' Rating. Sure they managed to get their hands on it but their parents should have known, and their parents should have made damn sure they realized that it's just a game, and not something you do in real life. James

Like most people, I

GRAND THEFT AUTO III is heavy on violence.

have a fairly sentimental heart towards these things. I understand that the family is grief-stricken and are looking for someone to blame, but seriously, the blame does not belong on the shoulders of the video game industry. True, GRAND THEFT AUTO is a fairly violent game that does involve a lot of killings and carjackings, but you'll also find this quite often in movies and television. The blame truly belongs on the people who did the killing, not anyone else (unless they're under 18 and then you have to get into it with their parents). True they may have played GRAND THEFT AUTO, but so have I, along with a good many people that I know. We're not out there carjacking and shooting people because it is fun in the game. Somewhere along the way you have to realize what is a video game and what is real life, something these boys obviously never learned. Troy


Nintendo has clarified that they will not be introducing a new system at next year's E3...Nintendo also reported their largest shortfall in 40 years, about $26.8 million...Ubisoft's XIII has gone gold...Infinium Labs has announced that its new Phantom system will have a Windows XP embedded operating-system...Microsoft has denied rumors of an upcoming online re-release of HALO for the Xbox...

On Shelves

For our Games pick this week, I'm going to have to go with MARIO KART: DOUBLE DASH!! The game is the most anticipated GameCube game of the holiday season without a doubt. Game Boy Advance users can look forward to MARIO & LUIGI a Mario Bros. RPG. NEED FOR SPEED UNDERGROUND should provide racing fanatics a thrill. SECRET WEAPONS OF NORMANDY is also going to be a big hit of the week. And PC gamers without an Xbox finally get a chance to play KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC. On the other side, non-PC Xbox gamers can finally play JEDI KNIGHT III: JEDI ACADEMY. Also, Ubi Soft's cel-shaded first-person shooter XIII hits shelves. Also, the Xbox DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION game hits Microsoft's machine. Another great holiday season week's of games.


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