Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Developer: Rockstar North
Price: $49.99 (November 2004)
ESRB rating: M
Summary: Raunchy, violent and portraying
just about every deviant act that a criminal could think
of in full, living 3D graphics- Grand Theft Auto takes the
cake again as one of the year's worst games for kids. The
premise - restore respect to your neighborhood gang as you
take on the equally corrupt San Andreas police.
Note: There are no redeeming qualities
in this game for kids. From glorifying drive-by shootings,
to delivering prostitutes to their johns, this game teaches
just about everything you wouldn't even want your kids to
Overall rating: 0 out of 5 stars
Best for ages: 18+
Entertainment value: High levels of exploration and
Educational value: None
Reading Level: 5+
Ages 3-7: Red
Ages 8-12: Red
Ages 13-17: Red
Violence Amount: Red
I can imagine the research for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
THE SCENE: Your City's state penitentiary.
Prison cell 131X.
DEVELOPERS: So, Criminal X, we're looking
for descriptions of subversive acts to include in our new
video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas-we have
some good ideas, but we need a few graphic details to flesh
it out. Can you describe some of the activities you were
involved in . . .
CRIMINAL X: I don't know why you are talking
to me. I don't want to be here. I hate it here . . .
DEVELOPERS: No, no. [Laughter ensues].
You don't understand. See in our game, no one gets caught
- they don't get put in prison. At the worst they might
get "wasted", which means they have to start the
mission over. We just need some detailed descriptions of
how the blood splattered on the pavement when you shot those
pedestrians . . . we're so close to getting the modeling
just right, but we want to make sure. We're going for serious
CRIMINAL X: [Incredulously]. You want
to put this in a "game"?! For kids?
DEVELOPERS: Well, not for kids specifically-I
guess a few may play it, but that's for the parents to decide.
We don't care about that . . . now about the time you stole
the car to pick up some prostitutes.
CRIMINAL X: This is insane.
DEVELOPERS: Look, just help us out here. We
heard you were involved in a gang. What is the "honor"
system like? How many people did you have to kill before
you gained respect from your cohorts?
CRIMINAL X: [Miserably]. There is no
"honor" in a gang. A lot of times we were high
. . . lots of drugs, fear, intimidation . . .death . . .
DEVELOPERS: [With building excitement].
That's it! See, in our game we are going to have the "good
guy" exterminate drug dealers, you know, some of the
"good" missions. He and his buddy will go into
a house and beat some crack dealers with a baseball bat
until they are dead. That way the players can feel like
they are doing something good-help clean up the neighborhood,
and get their local gang together again . . .
Criminal X: "What kind of a gang . .
DEVELOPERS: Well, certainly not some kids
getting together to play a pick-up game of baseball. [Laughter
again]. No, this is the real deal, of course. These
guys will be involved in stealing weapons from the local
national guard, drive-by shootings, working a prostitution
ring, spray painting "tags" over rival gang members
territory, killing rival gang members, police and pedestrians,
robbing houses-the usual stuff. And, don't tell anyone,
but they might smoke a little of "the weed" themselves-you
know, crack is bad, but who cares about a little pot, right?!
[With a knowing smile and wink]. But the end motive
is really good-see, there is a corrupt cop that actually
set the lead character up . . .
CRIMINAL X: But, he has to kill a lot of people,
et cetera, to get there, right?
DEVELOPERS: [Rapidly]. Yes, yes. But,
think of all the freedom: a wide open city to do whatever
you wish! You can do "good" things with the "bad"-like
driving ambulances and doing vigilante police work with
a squad car. Of course you steal those vehicles do this
. . .
CRIMINAL X: [Mournfully looking at the
bars]. Freedom . . . I wish I had some of that.
DEVELOPERS: Look man, it's just a game-this
is supposed to be funny, like tongue-in-cheek stuff. . .
[Disgusted sigh]. Okay, this is pointless. We're
wasting our time here-this guy doesn't get it. Back to the
office-we can think up better stuff on our own.