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August 9, 2011

Games blamed for London Riots

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Written by: PlayEject
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As the riots in London spread across the country, everyone is having their say as to why they have gotten so out of control. Reported in the London Evening Standard, one Police Constable has quoted that the popular gaming series Grand Theft Auto is to blame. From the safety of PlayEject towers we discuss this and what the fascination is with games being blamed.

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Scenes from the London Riots

For anyone who’s not aware, a protest for a victim killed by a Police gunshot in Tottenham, London, was thrown into dissaray when emotions ran high and rioting broke out. Since then gangs of looters, rioters and troublemakers have been running loose not only in London but all over parts of the country. Emergency services crew have been attacked, shops small and large have been robbed of their stock and unsurmountable damage has been caused to buildings and livlihoods.

The statement by an unnamed Police Constable from the Tottenham area has put the blame on Grand Theft Auto by saying:
“These are bad people who did this. Kids out of control. When I was young it was all Pacman and board games. Now they’re playing Grand Theft Auto and want to live it for themselves.” quote taken from London Evening Standard

London Riots games to blame gta PlayEject

Nico in GTA4 – is he to blame?

A fairly sweeping statement which basically suggests that everyone who is involved in the riots is there because they want to act out scenes from Grand Theft Auto while everyone who is not part of the riots is a ‘good person’ because they haven’t played the devil’s game. Harsh.

We’re fans of the Grand Theft Auto series and we can safely say that if a riot was happening around us, we would be cowering in the corner and whimpering and not setting fire to cars. So are we alone in this?

Well aside from the generalisation of the statement, there’s a massive flaw in the anti-GTA comment. To our knowledge (and we’ve completed the games) there’s not one scene of rioting or looting in any Grand Theft Auto game. Yes you can hi-jack a car, go crazy with weapons and gamble (amongst other things) but rioting is not a part of the games. So the statement has come from an inexperienced GTA player (we are assuming).
London Riots games to blame gta PlayEject
We’ve already admitted to liking GTA and therefore going to Hell so either we are going against the grain or there’s others that are of the same opinion as us. As another generalisation from the other side of the fence, we enjoy the odd racing game. That doesn’t mean we all own Porsche’s or Lambo’s and burn around the motorways at 100mph – nor we do drive our very sensible Volvo’s and Golf’s above the speed limit in our local residential areas. But say 1 person was caught driving too fast on a motorway with a copy of Forza on the passenger seat – what reaction would that get?

We can say that aside from the excitement and joy of playing a video game, the reason we all play games is for the escapism from reality and being able to do things that we aren’t normally able to do. Driving the fast cars or being part of a living world in GTA or taking an army and leading them through war to come out the otherside.

Now that statement alone could be arguement for those of a certain persuasion or unbalanced mind to take it to the next step and try to actually live out their in-game experiences. Perhaps that is a fair comment to make. But surely that cannot be classed a generalisation on all people who play certain games. Otherwise these games would never be made, let alone a series of sequels released worldwide.

Another argument against the Police Constable’s comment is that way before video games were ever even created, there was a little known ‘riot’ called World War 1 & 2. To our knowledge Hitler didn’t own a Playstation, let alone the original top-down Grand Theft Auto!!

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