Grand Theft Auto roundup

by Ted Frank on April 28, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV debuts at midnight tonight to spectacular reviews, and the litigation is sure to follow…

  • Overlawyered favorite Jack Thompson (Mar. 21; Feb. 22; Sep. 27, etc., etc.), whose antics could fill an entire sub-blog, has sent an obnoxious letter to the mother of Rockstar’s boss, Strauss Zelnick, accusing it of being pornography and training for murder. A new book, Grand Theft Childhood, as documented by WaPo’s Mike Musgrave, suggests that the fears of corrupted childhood are overblown, though Lord knows I wouldn’t let any teenage kids I was responsible for play this game.
  • As someone who purchased Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the first day it was out for the Xbox 360 original Xbox, I am a member of a plaintiff class in a class action settlement over the Hot Coffee mod where players can access the Internet and voluntarily modify the game to make it slightly more offensive to the easily offended. (To imagine that one can find p0rnography on the Internet!) In the settlement, I get, well, nothing, and the attorneys will ask for about a million dollars; worse, individual “representative” class members who suffered no injury will get $5000 that could have been used to buy more music rights for Grand Theft Auto IV. We’re frequently asked what we can do if we’re unhappy with a class action settlement where we’re a member, but this settlement was sufficiently appalling that I actually retained an attorney and he served an objection on my behalf on Friday. Further updates to come.

Update: I incorrectly said I bought San Andreas for the Xbox 360. Of course, San Andreas was never available for the 360. I bought the June 2005 release for the original Xbox.

Update: More.

{ 4 comments }

1 Jason Barney 04.28.08 at 1:02 pm

The GTA franchise is well-known for lampooning and parodying everything in sight. I wonder if we will discover any trial lawyer lampooning in GTA IV? I’ll get my copy this week!

Actually I remember one of the “radio stations” GTA III (you know, the station you can tune into while driving a car in the game) had a lawyer ad—something about jumping in front of a bus and having them help you with collecting, saying, “after all, that’s why they buy insurance…”)

2 Tristan Hagen 04.28.08 at 8:10 pm

“[...] though Lord knows I wouldn’t let any teenage kids I was responsible for play this game.”

It’s not that bad, really. There’s, uh, more visceral games out there. Condemned: Criminal Origins comes to mind.

3 Joe Bingham 04.28.08 at 9:34 pm

Good for you. You should get to deduct that from your tax returns.

4 Rob 04.29.08 at 9:00 am

How did the class action suit ever happen? Right on the box “Strong Sexual Content”. They were told right when the game was purchased.

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