The whole Vice City “racism” thing

Well, a lot has happened regarding this issue since I last talked about it.

Rockstar Games announced they were going to remove the offending material. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg got involved. Haitin-Americans have filed a lawsuit. Florida legislators demanded the game be banned. The State of Florida announced they wanted to investigate Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for possibly violating state hate crime laws.

There were protests outside a Wal-Mart in Florida (and outside the Rockstar New York offices). Yet Wal-Mart is continuing to sell the game. It would seem they only censor products that might offend middle America (e.g. too much sex) or that criticize Wal-Mart itself (some artist’s album was banned because it contained a critical song).

CNN reported on the whole issue. I suppose this is hardly news anymore – they’ve been reporting on the games biz for quite some time now.

Jane over at Game Girl Advance has commented on the issue.

Finally, I’ve been quoted out of context, and some bulletin boards discussing this issue have linked to my original post.

This had a bit of a chilling effect on me, and has made me think a lot about this kind of post. And you know what? I’m not going talk about this kind of thing any more. Or at least I’m not going to add my own comments. Rockstar Games has a pretty tight communication policy (it usually involves ‘no comment’). The more I explain and defend my stance on this whole matter, the more I may appear to be defending Rockstar Games. And that is something I neither want nor should do.

It’s too bad. I modified my original post a bit. I was also very much tempted to quote another line from Vice City – one from the opening cut-scene. But that would be mean (especially to Cubans), and might be misconstrued as being something other than a mere joke.

Update: the New York Post has an article up that advises readers to sell Take Two stock. It mentions the following regarding to the content of GTA and Vice City:

This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy – or than any lie the feds think Martha Stewart ever told them, or any line in any song that Bruce Springsteen ever sang that rankled a cop in the Meadowlands.

Update 2: Thad “lead programmer on GTA3 Xbox” Frogley has commented on the New York Post article, as has Penny Arcade.

Update 3: jvm, occasional reader of this site, has written to Slashdot about two opposing views on the New York Post article, one on the Video Game Ombudsman, a site I don’t know, and one on his own site, Curmudgeon Gamer.

Comments 1

  1. Aubrey wrote:

    There’s also a rather good rant at Penny Arcade about the NY Post article, today.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to get into it. Every time I try to think of something to say on the matter, I realize it could be misinterpreted, suffice to say that I’ve heard the arguments from all parties, and all parties are being git-faced stupids.

    Posted 03 Jan 2004 at 2:17