Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants ESRB to change GTA 4 rating to Adults Only

GTA 4 - Image 1Drunk driving is certainly no laughing matter, and no one knows that more than the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization. After noticing that Rockstar’s recently-released epic Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, Xbox 360) allows players to get their on-screen character drunk and have him drive, MADD released a statement demanding that the ESRB change the game’s rating from Mature to Adults Only. All the details in the full article.

GTA IV - Image 1 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an organization condemning the act of manning any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, recently released a statement decrying the fact that Rockstar North‘s Grand Theft Auto IV (Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360) allows players to get the main character, Niko Bellic, drunk and then let him drive. Because of this, they demanded that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) swap the game’s Mature rating to the Adults Only one.

Here’s the statement itself verbatim:

Each year nearly 13,500 people die in drunk driving crashes and another half a million are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes. This is why MADD is extremely disappointed by the decision of the manufacturers of the game Grand Theft Auto IV to include a game module where players can drive drunk.

Drunk driving is not a game and it is not a joke. Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime and it is also 100 percent preventable. MADD is calling on the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to reclassify Grand Theft Auto IV as an Adults Only game, a step up from the current rating of Mature and for the manufacturer to consider a stop in distribution – if not out of responsibility to society then out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.

It’s to note, however, that while Grand Theft Auto IV lets players get a drunken Niko Bellic  behind the wheel, it also portrays drunkenness as more of a penalty rather than an actual reward. When Niko Bellic gets too much to drink, the screen gets blurry and the controls get harder to use. Add to that the fact that you’re not actually forced to drive, rather, the game also gives you options on how to get home safely, either by walking or hailing a cab.

What about Rockstar, then? What do they have to say about this particular issue? Rockstar Games’ reply:

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. For the same reason that you can’t judge an entire film or television program by a single scene, you can’t judge ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ by a small aspect of the game.

Well, there you have it. What about you, readers? Do you think Grand Theft Auto IV needs to have its rating bumped up to AO? Updates as we get them.

Buy: [ GTA IV (PS3) ]
Buy: [ GTA IV (Xbox 360) ]

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