GTA 5 has some players quite upset. The video game series Grand Theft Auto was an instant success when it debuted in 1997, and it has been going strong ever since. Grand Theft Auto, also called GTA, is set in a virtual city, and may have been based off of major cities like Miami, New York City and various parts of California.
Each of the games in the popular series allows players to play a criminal character, trying to go from a lowly thug to a big time career criminal. Players progress through the story line by completing missions, all of which are very illegal, and players can also explore the virtual city on their own as GTA is also an open world game, which allows for free roaming. The latest version is GTA 5 and it has some people in an uproar over virtual rape. Rockstar, the game’s creator, has been contacted by numerous press outlets, including VGN, for the company’s reaction, but as of yet they have refused to comment on the charges made by players that they are being virtually raped.
The types of crimes someone can commit in grand theft auto are widely diverse. A player will sometimes need to murder the occasional thug, or random person in the street; players can go looting. Blowing up the occasional building is to be expected. Grand Theft Auto has come under attack with the release of each new game of the series. As the graphics and game play improved, so did the types of crimes that could be committed. GTA 5 is the newest game that has sparked some serious outrage and has both gamers and critics asking if Rockstar has gone too far.
Offensive language, often racial, has always been a cornerstone of Grand Theft Auto. In the first few hours of GTA 5, the N-word can be heard several hundred times, which critics are saying is far more than the typical offensiveness of its predecessors. Highly sexual scenes are also quite common in the series. The game had a backlash of criticism when players discovered that they could actually pick up a prostitute with a car in the game, take her to a secluded area, and engage in sexual activity. In the newest addition to the racy series, there are strip clubs where players can pay for a lap dance. The strippers encourage groping as well, but the players better not get caught by the bouncers!
However, the new trend is so disturbing that it leaves people wondering about the implications of virtual crimes. Rockstar is refusing to comment on the accusations of virtual rape, and GTA 5 players continue to engage in it by re-programming their avatars. Players are recording the virtual rape on their computers, and uploading it to YouTube, as well as other popular social media networks. Through these videos it is abundantly clear to see that virtual rape is indeed occurring in the game.
In what is a truly distressing act, the players who are doing the virtual raping modify the game’s code. This enables them to do things that the typical gamer with a game right out of the box could not do. Once they have coded their games, the attackers then choose a man who is either completely naked or naked from the waste down as their character. They can “lock” that character onto another player (mostly women, of course) and proceed to engage in an animation that thrusts the man’s pelvis back and forth. Versions of this can be seen easily on YouTube.
Players are unhappy and are speaking out about it. When the virtual rape is taking place, there is nothing the other player can do about it. They are basically stuck for as long as the attacker sees fit. In 2012 a video game blogger contacted Rockstar with what he perceived to be a virtual rape. Rockstar reviewed the act in question and responded that the episode was “meant to depict and imply cannibalism, not rape.” Because highly sexual themes are rampant throughout the series, and eating other human beings is something that has not happened yet, people are not buying it. Since Rockstar denied that a virtual rape took place in the other game, some players are asking if the company will do the same when–or if–they ever comment on these allegations about GTA 5.
GTA 5 is not the only online game in which virtual rape has been an issue. In 2013 player Kim Correa experienced a virtual rape playing the online zombie apocalypse game DayZ. She described the disturbing activity to the media. Correa reported that two armed men cornered her character, had her strip, killed her character and simulated sex with the character’s dead body. What’s even more eerie is that the virtual rapists could, and did, talk to her throughout the entire act. So, it became more than just a virtual attack, they began virtually assaulting Correa. Correa stated “I definitely don’t want to say what happened to me verbally is as important as if it had happened in real life, but it means something. And I’m not sure what it means.”
Interestingly, Rockstar will not hesitate to ban users for cheating or for “abuse.” They recently banned players for hosting modded lobbies and/or otherwise cheating the game. Apparently, they are quick to react when it comes to cheating but refuse to comment on the fact that their players are disgusted about the trend of virtual rape taking place in GTA 5.
The new trend of virtual rape in the GTA 5 and the upcoming games in the series has definitely left both fans and critics alike upset and wondering if Rockstar will some clean about the fact that its video game is being used to carry out rape fantasies on unsuspecting and unwilling players. This is not what Grand Theft Auto fans signed up for, and people are questioning whether or not Rockstar is going to put an end to the virtual rape and virtual victimization that GTA 5 now has. Because, while it is true that it is just a video game, people should never have to feel victimized in any situation.
By: Lauren DiDonato