A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game features all manner of violence, drug use, and foul language. Kids who play this game will be able to steal cars, kill a prostitute after having sex with her, shoot cops, and sell drugs. While clever pop culture references to the 1980s make the game creative and appealing, the graphic nature of its storyline makes it shocking. Parents also need to know that the star rating given to this game is based on quality of gameplay within this adult genre of gaming and not an endorsement of the violence within the game.
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What's it about?
The controversial Grand Theft Auto series continues with GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY. And while it changes locales from the previous entry, it doesn't abandon the series' trademark recipe of drugs, sex, and violence. Players control Tommy Vercetti, a recognized member of a big-city crime family, recently released after time in prison. Rather than returning home, Tommy settles in Vice City, a near-perfect replica of mid-1980s Miami. With a surging drug trade, profitable prostitution rings, and brutal violence, Vice City looks like a perfect fit for a guy like Tommy. Sure enough, it's not long before players are pimping women, selling drugs, and strong-arming rivals with the help of shotguns, AK-47s, Molotov cocktails, and a deadly chainsaw (among other weapons).
Is it any good?
If you've heard of the Grand Theft Auto series, it's likely you have formed an opinion on whether it's a fun, groundbreaking, and popular game, or if it's exploitative, x-rated schlock. The game's contents are so objectionable -- and nevertheless well-made and engaging -- that it can't help but be polarizing.
But as offensive as the scenarios presented in Vice City may be, the game's amazing detail, ease of play, deep story, and sprawling game environment make it easy to spend hundreds of hours exploring and exploiting in this adult-content world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the presence of adult content in video games. Does the interactive nature of the experience make it more influential than books or movies? Is it appropriate for game developers to address such mature subjects as drug use and prostitution in what was once considered a children's medium?