MADD Protests GTA 4 Over Drunk Driving

By Chris Faylor, Apr 30, 2008 10:32am PDT Riding the wave of controversy, Mothers Against Drunk Driving marks the latest organization to protest yesterday's release of Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, X360).

Specifically, the group takes issue with "a game module where players have to drive drunk" as "drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime...not a game."

Though Shacknews is certainly understanding of MADD's concerns, the staff has yet to experience a mission where drunk driving is mandatory. In fact, the game recommends that players make use of a taxi once drunk.

Due to this content, MADD is calling on the Electronic Software Ratings Board to re-rate the game as an Adults Only title, as well as asking developer Rockstar to "consider a stop in distribution."

Grand Theft Auto IV is not the first title in the series to feature drunk driving. In 2002's GTA: Vice City (PC, PS2, Xbox), a mission from Phil Cassidy called "Boomshine Saigon" required players to drive to the hospital while drunk, causing blurred vision and loose driving controls.

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31 Threads | 86 Comments
  • Like many M.A.D.D supporters such as myself and my family, I believe they are an organization that brings forward much needed effort to change the laws regarding drunk driving as well as it's advocacy services to assist families that have suffered the loss of family and friends as well as educating people into the effects of drunk driving related incidents.

    Recently, I received an email from M.A.D.D like I always do, but this time it struck a sour note with me. I feel like the organization maybe loosing its focus a little.

    Here is the email I received:
    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 have to 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.

    If you are concerned about the content of Grand Theft Auto IV, please contact the retailers below and voice your opinion.
    Best Buy
    Circuit City
    EB Games and GameStop


    First off, let me start by saying I totally support MADD in every way possible. My wife is a victim/survivor of a "drunk driver" related accident which killed her first husband. We attend the vigils, walks, donate money, time and whatever else we can to support MADD and the message it conveys. My heart goes out to everyone and anyone effected by a drunk driver.

    Now onto my rant:

    I used to work at a Video Game Store as a store manager, and I as well as my informed staff, would not let ANYONE under the age of 17 without ID, purchase the Grand Theft Auto game or games similar. It is part of the process that is handed down from corporate. If they got their parents to come in, or an adult purchase it, I would inform them of the violence and whatever else that runs throughout the game. If they still choose to purchase it for the kid, hey that is all their responsibility. I have enjoyed playing the GTA based games.. does that make me a bad person..NO, so why should I be disadvantaged about having a video game censored or taken off the shelf. IT IS UP TO THE PARENTS TO TEACH RIGHT FROM WRONG.

    With that being said, this censorship everyone has with the video game industry has to stop. Everyone is worried about "Rockstar" and the whole Grand Theft Auto game that teaches teaches our youth bad things and I am so sick of hearing about this. It is just as bad as my fellow, but extreme Christians that want to burn Harry Potter books because they teach witchcraft, or the gun activists that want to remove my right as an American to own a gun. Sure, burn the books that spark imagination, or take away my freedom to read whatever you want. Go back and look at Australia's crime levels since they took away guns from their people.. crime and violence against non-gun owners by gunned attackers skyrocketed... and gun free zones around the U.S just breed more criminal activity and gangs. As far as drunk drivers go, we need tougher laws... none of this 9x LICENSED, drunk driver convictions. MADD should focus on the drinking of Alcohol, the effects of drunk driving, and the consequence of those actions as well as taking these efforts to the extreme in order to get laws changed. At this point I am preaching to the choir... but STOP holding manufactures of product to blame.

    I drink beer occasionally, I shoot my guns at a range occasionally and I play video games of every kind, and have so for a long time. Has it made me a criminal, violent, think I have super powers or a drunk.. NO...


    Watch what they watch, observe what they buy, and pay attention to what they do and who they hang out with! There are even programs to help monitor your children's internet habits, but do people take that extra step... NO, the majority does not. They demand the creators of the games do it for them because they have no time to teach their children themselves. The same thing goes for movies and cartoons that are no longer aired because they tend to send the wrong message. "What message is that? I grew up on cartoons and video games" I turned out fine (eyes are twitching as I say this.. lol)

    Our School systems do a good job at sending positive messages to tour children. They can only teach from 7:30pm-3:00pm, but you have no idea how many parents do not take an ounce of interest in their children's affairs after school and simply consider school a daycare center. Too many parents feel from 7a-3pm "out of site, out of mind". These same parents complain when something bad happens to their kid because they think the school should do better. Again, IT STARTS AT HOME!!

    Why should M.A.D.D waste their efforts on turning the rating on the game to 18, when you can even look at the movie theater rating system when a 17 year old can go into an R rated movie just the same. Take a closer look at the movie theater rating system:

    Movie Theater Ratings: NC-17 (equal to mature on video games) An NC-17 rated motion picture rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience. An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

    Rated R (equal to Adult on video games.. but still lets 17 year olds in) An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.
    Notice, that they almost say the same darn thing?? So I may see more "Boobs" in an R flick over an NC-17 flick.. but they both have the same outline.

    PARENTS NEED TO TAKE A ROLL IN THE UPBRINGING OF THEIR CHILDREN, IT IS NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S RESPONSIBILITY!!! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Teaching YOUR children starts with YOU.

    You don't want your kids to watch it, see it, or read it, turn it off, or block the channel from your TV, not mine!

  • I was looking into the claim there is no mission at all that "makes" you drive drunk the only time it has you drunk is when you go to a bar. Even then the game says "You should take a cab"

    MADD and all the other people hating on a GAME need to get a life. it is already rated M and stores are doing there best to make sure that only people that are 17 can buy it. But here is the thing we have a really stupid parents out there they will buy there kid this game and say go ahead it is not all that bad. I mean the ESRB review the game and gave it a M rating they never put a AO rating on a game because stores wont sell it, ergo companies do not make money. all MADD need to do is worry about real people drinking and driving and leave the games to us professionals.

  • screw MADD, screw any mother who has an opinion for that matter... im sure theres chores to be done around the house? get off the computer and do some dishes, change a baby, do some laundry, vacuum, etc etc. furthermore, i cant remember the last time i didnt drive via the aid of a couple of road sodas and i never killed ANYBODY i wasnt trying to. i'm starting a group G.A.M.W.T.T.F.M. - Guys Against Moms Who Talk Too Fucking Much. go do some damn dishes suzy home maker and let the people who actually work worry about things you have to pay money for.

  • OK so I can understand their outrage if there literally is a mission where you are required to drive drunk. I don't think it merits a re-rating or a pulling from the shelves, but I can understand their outrage.

    The easy fix for this is: Rockstar comes out and confirms whether or not there is a mission like this.

    But like others have said - if this is the case and driving drunk is prone to failure in the game then this might be a good time to point out how the game might actually discourage people from driving drunk in real life. The same way none of the GTA games promote cop killing, because shooting a cop in the game is the fastest way to get cops to come out of the woodwork to gun you down.