Take two to three hours of Grand Theft Auto Five every day for around three weeks, and you’ll likely confront all sorts of issues.
If you’re one of the 32.5 million buyers/players of Take-Two/Rockstar’s record-smashing hit game, there’s no way you skipped that (in)famous line of Trevor’s during that (in)famous torture session in “By the Book.” That whole sequence was a controversial, dark take on satire, and it was sick!
Somewhere in Kyoto, though, a nine-year-old boy was sick due to Grand Theft Auto V, but it wasn’t that torture scene in particular that resulted in his malady. It was caused by an obsessive playing of the game, strictly enforced by his, let’s face it, crazy stepfather.
Maasa Kawabata, 28, was arrested by police in January on suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child, the Yomiuri newspaper reported. He forced his stepson to play the ultraviolent game for as much as three hours daily, without breaks, over a three-week period.
Obviously, engaging in such sedentary activity over so long a period isn’t ever a good thing for the human body, which, of course, anyone would’ve expected Mr. Kawabata, a nurse, to know. The little bit of irony was that he wished for his son to die, something you usually would not encounter down the busy corridors of a Japanese hospital.
Kawabata married the boy’s 31-year-old mother in October 2012, and reportedly coerced the boy into playing computer games when his mother was away at work. Investigators also told local media that he called the lad “stupid” and a “moron,” and told him to “die.”
Sure enough, the boy, the oldest of three, began to complain of headaches, stomach pain, and nausea. A doctor diagnosed a problem with the child’s autonomic nervous system, which resulted in a faster-than-usual heart rate, high blood pressure, and malfunctions in the digestive tract, brought on by the stress of extended gameplay.
The Grand Theft Auto series of video games boasts infamy for its massive popularity and continuous commercial success as well as its intense controversy, coupled with criticism of its excessive urban violence and stock, stereotypical, misogynistic interpretations of the roles of females in its game world, which draws heavily from real-world locations such as Los Angeles. It has managed to get a consistent “M” (Mature) rating since its first game in 1997, meaning a nine-year-old shouldn’t be playing any of its titles at all in the first place.