#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.
#1. The Media Mindlessly Repeat a Hoax About Video Games Causing Limb Loss
Back in March 2012, a website called ThoseGuys wrote about Roxanne Myers, a college girl who played video games for two and a half days straight over spring break. After collapsing from exhaustion, she woke up to find that her sleeping position had cut off circulation to her legs and she could no longer walk. At the hospital, she learned that her feet had gone without blood for too long and would need to be amputated, like so:
Technically, this happened because she STOPPED playing video games.
That's pretty disgusting (and if you click here, it's even more disgusting). It's also proof that too much gaming can literally destroy your body, right? Shit, this is a danger the anti-gaming crusaders hadn't even thought of!
Of course, you know we're about to tell you that further investigation revealed the whole thing to be bullshit. And by "further investigation," we mean "scrolling all the way down." At the bottom of the article you'll see in a normal-size font the cheery disclaimer, "Also, this is a parody of sensationalist media." But this is the Internet -- since when do people scroll all the way down before chiming in? Thus, bastions of journalism like Guyism and the fucking Huffington Post wrote up the story as true, with the same basic conclusion reached every time: "It sounds weird, but it turns out it's totally real, you guys!" Even though the website clearly says it's fake.
And Myers can't say her lines without giggling.
Sure, Myers herself is real, and she actually did lose her feet. However, it's not because she slept funny after saving one too many princesses. She had undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot from deep within the body. Eventually, it got so bad that virtually all blood flow to her feet stopped, prompting the amputation. How do we know? Because she said so:
That's Myers, explaining why she lost her feet and that the revealing interview she gave with ThoseGuys was complete bullshit designed to screw with people who blame video games for everything. Honestly, it almost seems too easy at this point.
Related Reading: You know what isn't a hoax? The Ford simulator, but it might be the dullest game ever invented. What's not dull is the story of this father's quest to put a hit out on his son's WoW character. For more of online gaming's greatest sins, click here.