Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5) is the highly anticipated installment of the Grand Theft Auto Series. Developed by Rockstar Games, GTA 5 made $800 million in sales within 24 hours of its release. a In all likelihood, GTA 5 will beat out all the competition for Video Game of the Year. GTA 5 allows for players to “choose their own adventure” in a storyline as they jump between 3 main characters, each one unlocking a different part of the story. It is visually stunning and proclaimed as one of the greatest video games in terms of storyline and design. So what’s wrong with it? In a word, everything. To be clear, I have not played it, will not play it and will tell everyone parent, student and person I meet not to play it. Here are 5 reasons why:
***Spoiler Alert: I am going to give specific information about this game, with the intent to spoil any and all curiosity about its content, with the hope of keeping as many students as possible away from this game.***
1) GTA 5 is incredibly violent. If you are familiar with the GTA franchise this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you at all. The general plot is always the same. Steal as much as you can and don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way. GTA 5 takes violence to a whole new level. Rated M for Mature, GTA 5 is beyond gruesome. One of the GTA 5 story lines features an interactive torture scene where players can choose between a variety of instruments (sledgehammers, jump-cables etc…) and must then use game controls to torture an NPC (non-playable character). If the NPC’s heart stops before players get the information they need, players must give the NPC a shot of adrenaline and continue with the interrogation. Players cannot choose to skip over the torture scene. They must play through it.
2) GTA 5 is sexually explicit. One of GTA’s most seductive draws is its free world environment. You can drive nearly anywhere you choose and do whatever you want within its virtual reality. This includes soliciting prostitutes, driving them to a discreet location, and engaging in sexual activity with them. Then a player can make the choice to let them go or chase them down / run them over, murder them and take their money back (if you have never heard of this before…No, I am not making this up). GTA 5, once again, has out done it’s previous installments. In GTA 5 players can visit a strip club, any time they want, and pay for a lap dance, which of course involves full frontal “digital” nudity and that isn’t even the worst of it. In the online article “GTA 5: Why We Should all be Worried about GTA’s Strip Clubs”b Edward Smith writes the following:
“Holding the button down slowly fills a meter indicating how much this stripper likes you. If you grope her enough without getting caught, she’ll invite you back to her house, where you’ll have sex. She’ll also offer discount lap-dances in the future.
Let me reiterate. In Grand Theft Auto 5, there’s a mini-game where you have to touch a woman in secret. Play it successfully, i.e. don’t get caught by her security detail, and you will be allowed to take the woman home and have sex with her.”
Sadly, I am not finished. There is a mission in the game where players must videotape two people engaged in public sexual activity so the tape can be used in blackmail. The scene can easily be described as “digital” soft-core porn.
3) In addition to graphic sexual content, GTA 5 is completely misogynistic and degrading toward women. The GTA franchise is well known for the exploitation of women in their games. Women in the game are portrayed as prostitutes, adulteresses, bimbos and “play-things”. As far as GTA 5 is concerned, women are things to be used.
4) GTA 5 has no morally redeeming qualities. This game is amoral and repugnant. The whole premise of the game is to steal and kill. The newest addition to the franchise is GTA 5’s heist scenarios, where players can choose their role in various robberies throughout the city. Simply put, players have no need to worry about consequences or accountability. Adam Najerb, of the Wall Street Journal, notes:
“Let’s be clear. It’s a nasty, violent genre. There’s absolutely nothing redeeming about GTA V, no uplifting Christian tales of redemption…If you’re a parent or grandparent eyeing something fun for your under-13 kids or grandkids, this absolutely isn’t the right game.”c
5) GTA 5 is too real. The graphics of GTA 5 are incredible. That’s the worst part. GTA 5 is too life like. It creates a false sense of reality for anyone playing. Players can interact in violent, morally bankrupt life scenarios without any sense of consequence.
Paul writes the following in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Grand Theft Auto 5 is none of these things. As a Pastor, youth leader and person, I urge you not to play, or let your children play GTA 5. Furthermore, I beg you to share this information with others.
If you want more information on GTA 5 or other video games, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and Peace,
Middle School Pastor
- http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/09/18/gta-5-makes-800-million-in-one-day (back)
- http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/507677/20130920/gta-5-strip-clubs-worrying.htm (back)
- http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/09/17/grand-theft-auto-v-delivers-on-all-eight-cylinders/ (back)