Grand Theft Auto 5 – A letter to my son….


Dad here, remember me? I need to talk to you about something important, so look me in the eyes and listen up (yes, this is one of the “look me in the eyes” type of talks).

Remember when we started playing video games? Remember how concerned your Mom was with the amount of time we played video games and the effect that might have on you, and how I told her that was crazy, video games weren’t bad for you?

Yeah, well, you and I know that I am almost always right, but, I might have been wrong on the whole “video games aren’t bad for you” bit, and I don’t say that lightly.

As you know I spent a great deal of my childhood playing video games: Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, Super Nintendo, Playstation, Windows Computers, Amiga, Commodore 64; I played most of them.

I also spent a great deal of my time in the 90s defending video games, content in video games, and violence in video games. Fighting against people who said that content in video games could affect how people acted in real life.

For the most part, I still think this is true….but…but…after watching this video I am not sure how I feel about my old arguments. I am not sure how anyone could make a game that allows you to do these things, and if games like this are selling millions, and gamers have a desire to do these things in a game, I have to wonder where gaming culture is headed, how gamers will behave in the future, and whether you and I should even be a part of this group.

I want you to watch this video Fionn. I want you to realize that, even though this is “just a game”, these actions are wrong. Wrong on so many different levels. They are wrong in the Real World AND they are also wrong in a Virtual World.

(Please Note: this video is Not Safe For Work and contains disturbing images)

Now, I am not going to go so far as to say: “some kid will play this video game and it will make him go out and pay for a hooker, then kill that hooker with an axe”. What I am willing to say is: “some kid will play this video game and think that women, and how he treats women, aren’t important, and someone’s daughter may end up hurt because of this game”.

Fionn, this video makes me embarrassed to be a gamer, and it should make you embarrassed to be one too.

I don’t want you to stop playing video games, but I want you to think (and tell your friends to think too) about the games you play and what happens in them. If a game disrespects women like Grand Theft Auto Five I don’t want you brushing it off, or thinking that it is OK. I want you to stop playing, tell people it isn’t acceptable, and stand up for the boys and girls that could be hurt by disgusting content like this.

Can you promise to do that Fionn?




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