Even before it was released the video game known as 25 to Life was being lambasted by politicians and police organizations for months on end because it allowed you to play as a gang banger and kill police officers. Never mind that you could also play as a police office and kill gang bangers, everyone who ranted about it described the game as a “cop killer simulator.” Senator Charles Schumer wanted it banned before it hit store shelves and anti-video game lawyer Jack “Douchebag” Thompson advocated illegal seizures of the game by police as well as making various threats of lawsuits over it. All of this gnashing of teeth was done without any first-hand knowledge of the game itself—other than a few blurbs on the premise and previews in game mags—and no one had a clue if it was even going to be popular.
Turns out that once it was released it was pretty much trashed by most game critics with the average score on Metacritics working out to a 45 out of 100, which isn’t very good at all. IGN.com said: “The single player is boring, arrestingly conventional and entirely forgettable. The multiplayer is slightly better, though mostly because of its options and not because of its gameplay.” The folks at 1Up.com wrote “Pandering to every college student and aspiring rap artist’s deep-seated Scarface fantasies, 25 to Life is a 3D action-shooter that not only fails to innovate on any level, but rolls back design and technological advancements to the early PSone era.” In short, the game sucks and should be avoided.
So you’d think this would get folks to shut the fuck up about what a horrible game it is before the “forbidden fruit factor” kicks in, right? I wouldn’t be writing this entry if folks were that smart. Nope, instead the folks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund group decided to jump on the bandwagon by calling for a boycott of the game:
“It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people—or anyone—to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day. We’re encouraging parents, caregivers and everyone who is concerned about both law enforcement officers and children to ensure this game never makes it into the homes or hands of impressionable young people.”
It’s wrong to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while people are dieing in real-life? Well why the hell are we limiting this to just one video game then? We should be banning any movie, TV show or novel that has officers and innocent people dieing until we can eliminate all violent crime from our streets!
I’m sure the folks at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund are sincerely trying to do good things, but they’re making an idiotic argument against a game that isn’t likely to sell well to begin with. Or at least it wouldn’t have if so many people hadn’t made such a big fucking deal out of it.
Noting that in the past 10 years, 70 officers have been killed by people under the age of 18, Mr. Floyd said, “While it’s true that players are given a choice between wearing a badge or colors of a gang, the ultimate message carried by the game is that some players are justified in endangering the lives of police officers. That’s a terrible message for anyone, but particularly so for young people who are already confronted with numerous choices that can lead to dangerous consequences. Regardless of your views on free speech or marketplace dynamics, there is really nothing good that can be said about this game. The images are wrong. The messages are wrong. And stocking it in U.S. stores is wrong.
I wonder how much of the game Craig Floyd has actually played? You’d think he’d have played at least some of it before making such an authoritative statement on what the game’s message is, right? How much do you want to bet he’s not spent a single moment with a controller in his hand? And why just this one game? What about all the other games and aforementioned books and movies and TV shows? Has he ever seen The Shield for chrissake? Oh, wait, that’s cops beating up on not-so-innocent people. That’s OK by Mr. Floyd’s standards I guess. I just did a search for the show on the NLEOMF website and found no press releases decrying the show so it must be OK.
We’ve focused on this game right now because children and communities are facing the greatest threat from it right now, but our broader goal is to encourage all parents and caregivers to be more aware of what their children are exposed to or encouraged to emulate. Any type of media that glorifies violence against law enforcement or civilians should be scrutinized very carefully.”
Man, you’d think 25 to Life was the Asian Bird Flu with the way Mr. Floyd characterizes it. It’s supposedly the “greatest threat” to children and communities overshadowing all other dangers they might face! Nothings worse than 25 to Life! Not sexual predators, not terrorism, not playing in traffic! NO! All pale in comparison to this game! If you should happen to encounter 25 to Life you should turn the other way and run screaming down the street in a wild panic as though your life, no, make that your very soul, were in imminent peril!
Man, with that kind of hype I kinda want to try the game out now even though the folks who have played it say it sucks. Why? If for no other reason to piss off the folks like Mr. Floyd here who are too stupid to realize they’re working towards popularizing the very thing they wish would go away. I do agree that parents should be more aware of what their kids are up to whether it’s what video games they’re playing to which friends they’re hanging out with to what websites they’re visiting. This game is rated M for mature and parents should definitely be aware of that and make their decisions accordingly, but all this talk of how evil the game is often has the opposite effect than intended. The game sucks. That alone is reason enough not to play it.
Link found via Kotaku.com.