Screen Play: "During an appearance on a breakfast radio program earlier this week, Screen Play was asked the obligatory question about whether I play violent games like Grand Theft Auto, and what possible appeal they could offer.
In the short time available, I tried to explain that much of the appeal of games like Grand Theft Auto was not their violence but that they offered a playground in which players were given freedom to make their own choices, which of course (controversially) includes anti-social activities, but also the capacity to make more noble decisions.
Violence is undoubtedly encouraged in the GTA games, but like a Tarantino film, the brutality is made palatable by humour and is certainly not the main drawcard of the game - it is fun-loving anarchic escapism.
If it was violence that was the main appeal, the series would have been a flop - the public is savvy at knowing when a game is using shock tactics as a gimmick, and keeps their wallets shut.
But as Mark "Mr Ak" Johnson thoughtfully explores today, another factor must be that gamers are able to distance themselves from the anti-social actions of their character... "