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Grand Theft Auto IV is one day away from release, and already Jack Thompson has begun to step up his war on the title. The embattled Florida attorney has written a letter to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, R. Alexander Acosta, demanding that legal action be taken against Take Two and retailers for selling the game. This time, Thompson appears to have an unlikely ally thanks to video gaming news site IGN.

Thompson sent a copy of the letter to Ars Technica, and his demands are far-reaching. "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems," Thompson wrote. "Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."

He then compares the game to, of all things, polio. "Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus... The 'vaccine' that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this. If you doubt me, look at the aforementioned streaming audio/video. It will make you sick."

This is where the story takes a turn, because Jack Thompson provides a link to a video, put together by the gaming news site IGN, called "Ladies of Liberty City." Be careful clicking on that link; there is absolutely nothing there that is safe for work.

The video strips the game of all context and merely shows scenes of sexual content and violence, one after the other. In fact, it can be hard to watch for that reason, and it's a rather numbing experience. The game's lead character, Niko, drives up to prostitutes, honks the horn, then shoots them. You see a simulated sex act, only to have Niko run the hooker over afterwards with his car. The video shows graphic lap dances featuring one, and then two, girls. The language is even worse, including--and excuse the stars, "F*** the s*** out of it, you nasty f******."

"This is clearly an Adults Only game. It's not even close," Thompson wrote. The sexual content shown in the IGN video is only a very small part of the game, and it can be avoided by players. The shootings are all random and, as far as we know, play no part in the actual play of Grand Theft Auto IV. We'll be sure to update the story if there's a prostitute-hunting mission, but the video seems designed to show just how depraved the game can be, and it has given Jack Thompson his best ammunition yet to fight the game.

The video is over the top, and since the acts are shown one after the other, the game can be portrayed as a nonstop sexual experience. When critics slammed Fox News over the coverage of the sexual content in Mass Effect, it was clear that no one involved had actually played the game or even watched a video of the content. With "Ladies of Liberty City," IGN has provided Jack Thompson and the mainstream media the perfect weapon to attack the game: a smorgasbord of sex and violence that can be shown to anyone who doubts the game needs to be stopped.

It's doubtful any meaningful action will be taken, as Jack Thompson has recently been sanctioned and has so far racked up little apart from personal fame, but it's clear that the controversy surrounding the game is far from over.

GTA IV sex video gives Thompson, other critics fresh ammo


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