3 Portal 2 Is Criticized for Mocking Adopted Kids
At first glance, Portal 2 doesn't seem like it could possibly offend anybody. It's a science-oriented puzzle game with no blood or guts, and one character spends half of her time trapped inside a potato. The bad guys are computers and adorable little talking turrets. So you can imagine the shock of TV news viewers who heard the story of Neil Stapel and how the game deeply affected his family.
"My wife's side of the family are bipedal robots killed repeatedly for science."
He told cameras he was watching his adopted daughter play the game back in May of 2011 when the unthinkable happened. Suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, one of the characters in the game uttered a crude slur aimed right at his adopted child:
According to Stapel, hearing a character in his daughter's favorite game utter "Fatty, adopted fatty, fatty fatty no parents" traumatized both of them. Granted, the child's insistence that she didn't even hear the line didn't mean she was a normal 10-year-old kid with a 10-year-old's attention span. No, according to Pops, it's because she was "not ready to talk about it" and had already locked her pain deep inside.
You could hydrate the sun with all them tears.
Sure, you might think that one person out of 7 billion seeing red over a silly one-liner from a game loaded with silly one-liners would mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, but luckily for Stapel, the local news team he complained to had literally nothing else to talk about, so they turned his sob story into a full-blown investigative report.
"Thanks for watching. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to grab a bottle of scotch and stare at my journalism degree."
WBTV even contacted Sony about the supposed controversy, who told them to contact Valve, since they made the fucking game (this clearly meant that Sony was "passing the buck" and avoiding the issue). One parent hearing one line he didn't understand (the insult was uttered by the game's villain, an established idiot whose lame attempt at an insult was quickly shut down by one of the heroes) clearly meant that Valve had unleashed a torrent of anti-adoption sentiment that the good people at WBTV Channel 3 could only hope to contain.
2 Grand Theft Auto Supposedly Encourages Drunken Driving and Car Surfing
If you're a concerned group of parents, the Grand Theft Auto series gives you all of the ammo you'll ever need. This is a game where the player will carjack somebody and then run over 15 or 20 innocent victims on the way to a level where they'll murder 30 cops. There's cursing, drug use, prostitution, torture, crude stereotypes -- the games really do cover all of the bases. So of course some of the loudest complaints are about how they encourage reckless driving habits.
Which ignores GTA's unflinching depiction of rash driving's consequences.
Specifically, there's one mission in GTA IV that allows you to drink and drive; if you do, the screen gets shaky and blurry, and your car handles even shittier than usual. Luckily, the effects wear off after a few minutes, because your character is Serbian and therefore bleeds harder alcohol than anything some pussy bar could serve him.
It's all very silly, and those of you who've played the game probably barely remember that sequence. But according to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but for Awkwardly Misspelled Acronyms), it was the worst thing ever. They came out and demanded that the game be pulled or rerated to Adults Only, because if kids are going to imitate GTA, we don't want them to be drunk when they start ramping their cars into office buildings.
Though hopefully a few drinks would throw their aim off.
But that was only the second-silliest GTA-related moral panic. The first involved concerns about the rash of car-surfing injuries caused by the game. What, you didn't know that was a thing?
There was a 2009 study published by the Journal of Neurosurgery that somehow managed to link video games to a rising trend of dumbasses standing on moving vehicles. Why? Because you can do it in Grand Theft Auto ... kind of? If you try really hard?
Car surfing is a bad idea, and it rarely ends as neatly as it does in the game. You would think most players would understand that. But according to this study, car surfing spiked periodically in the past 10 years, not coincidentally around the times of GTA releases. Their conclusion: Kids car surf in the game and decide they want to do it themselves in the real world. Just like everything they see in a video game.
Unfortunately for the almost hard-working researchers behind this study, a previously published report by the CDC had already debunked their claims. Looking at reports published all around the country since 1990, the CDC discovered a whopping 99 injuries from car surfing total (with 58 fatalities). And 1999, the deadliest year for car surfing by far, only featured eight deaths ... and happened to be two years before the release of GTA III, the first GTA where you could really car surf. We suppose you could blame GTA II, but it looked like this:
"It's directly responsible for teens looking down on everyone."
So while we don't have exact figures to back it up, we're guessing more people got into classical opera thanks to Grand Theft Auto III than they did car surfing and driving drunk.