Cody Owen says he won't be getting the new Grand Auto Theft game, preferring to play motorcross games instead.
Cody Owen says he won't be getting the new Grand Auto Theft game, preferring to play motorcross games instead. The Northern Star

Buckle up for video violence

CODY Owen may only be 14 but he has already outgrown graphic video games designed for adults, such as the just-released Grand Theft Auto IV.

These days he prefers all things motocross but admits to playing violent video games in the last six months.

Grand Theft Auto IV, rated MA15+, has come under fire from parent groups for its graphic representation of sex, ultra-violence and criminal activities, including stealing cars, recovering stolen drug shipments and murdering civilians. The game was released worldwide at midnight on Tuesday.

This latest version of the video game from producers Rockstar Games centres on a thug called Niko who comes to Liberty City (very similar to New York City) to kill, stab, shoot, plunder and destroy pretty much everything in his path.

The storyline might be important to adult gamers but to the average teenager, the attraction seems to be in the graphic violence of the game. And they're not all over the age of 15.

Cody said he started playing the game with a friend who had a couple of older brothers.

He doesn't really like violent video games any more since his grandmother pulled him into line.

"Some of my friends know the games are just a game but I think some of them are stupid enough to go out and try and do the things in the game in real life," Cody said.

Kids were attracted to Grand Theft Auto IV because adults were making such a fuss about the game, according to Southern Cross University's associate professor of media studies, Dr Karen Brooks.

"Adults make such a fuss about them as it becomes part of the attraction for kids," Dr Brooks said.

"It's not often a computer game gets so much attention and the more attention it gets, the more and more underage players want to be involved."

The attraction for adults was living vicariously through the main character.

"It's never been proved that playing violent games makes someone violent," she said.


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