Game violence could desensitise young players

grand theft auto 4 (2)NZ Herald 29 November 2014
Controversial video game Grand Theft Auto V could desensitise younger players to extreme acts of violence and cruelty, the Office of Film and Literature Classification has ruled.

New Zealand’s classification watchdog released its report on the R18 game to the Herald on Sunday this week; just days after two of the country’s largest retailers, the Warehouse and Noel Leeming, pulled it from their shelves.

Despite the game offering “unlimited possibilities for rampant acts of extreme violence and cruelty”, the office did not ban it outright because, it concluded in the report, adults would still have the maturity to play it without being negatively affected.

Among the game’s strongest material, the Office said, was when one of the lead characters “Trevor” – a possibly psychopathic drug dealer – tortures a man in order to gain intelligence to be used in an assassination attempt.

“The techniques are water-boarding with gasoline, tooth extraction with pliers, battery with a wrench, and electric shock treatment,” the report said.

It added that the torture, cruelty and violence were moderated to a degree by the over-the-top satirical nature of the game and because they focused on character development.