Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
15 February 2006
Will AIAS give Game of Year to GTA: London on national TV?
Kyle of VGM Watch points out that the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) is looking to televise its videogame awards ceremony next year. Just recently the AIAS bestowed its Game of the Year 2005 honor on the violent God of War. Will it be so brave next year?

For now, let's suppose that Grand Theft Auto: London arrives in 2006 on the PlayStation 3 and that it features more violence and sex, displayed more graphically, than any previous GTA. Further suppose that public sentiment clearly makes it everyone's favorite for Game of the Year. Will AIAS give it the award?

It seems to me that there would be immediate pressure from some quarters -- like NIMF and Jack Thompson and maybe even some Democratic Senators -- to denounce giving such lofty awards to a game which openly embraces violence and sex.

Yes, Hollywood gets away with the violence. After all, Platoon (1986), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Unforgiven (1992), Schindler's List (1993), Braveheart (1995), and Gladiator (2000) all have graphic violence and all have won the Oscar for Best Picture. It sometimes even gets away with sexual fantasies some find disturbing, like Best Picture winner American Beauty (1999) which had a middle-aged man disrobing and nearly seducing a high school girl.

Compared to the videogame industry, Hollywood is established and has earned the right in the eyes of Congress to regulate itself with its ratings system. The ESRB is still fighting for relevance.

So, it may not matter if this imagined Grand Theft Auto: London is a dramatic masterpiece that just happens to include graphic violence and sexual situations -- the industry and AIAS will be find itself in a profoundly weak position. A simultaneous attack from NIMF and its ilk, as well as Congressional meddlers, would make it nearly impossible to give the award to a deserving game.
--Matt Matthews at 19:54
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