"Life's not a bitch, she's just misunderstood."
--the codependent philosopher
So Mothers Against Drunk Driving (aka MADD) publicly asked Rockstar Games to stop selling Grand Theft Auto or at least re-classify it as an adult-only game, on the grounds that the character is able to drive drunk. Rockstar Games responded with:
"We have a great deal of respect for MADD's mission, but we believe the mature audience for 'Grand Theft Auto IV' is more than sophisticated enough to understand the game's content."
Weak. Here are some better options:
"Why, yes, absolutely. While we were spending years and millions of dollars on this highly anticipated title, it never occurred to us that the acts depicted in our game were wrong. Honestly, we thought the police were only in the game for a lark. Thank you for illuminating us, we'll pull the title and put it in the adult-bin next to Custer's Revenge for the Atari. I'm sure the fans will understand."
Or how about this?
"We understand that drunk driving is wrong, and we believe that by giving kids the opportunity to do so in the virtual world, they can hang out at home rather than sneaking off to a friend's house to get drunk and then drive back."
Here's my thought. Yes, drunk driving is wrong... actually, I won't even say wrong. I'll say stupid. Drunk driving is ill-advised. To drive drunk is a bad decision. Yes. Agreed. But I can certainly differentiate between real drunk driving and virtual drunk driving. And if a 15-year-old can't, well, we work around that by not letting 15-year-olds drink. Or drive.
And what about drinking and virtual driving? I like a beer or two while I play Mario Kart. What's wrong with that? Not a damned thing.
I appreciate the sentiment behind Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But the idea that someone will drink and drive in a video game and then think "hey, that wasn't so bad, I bet I could do that for real..."