ONE of the creators of Grand Theft Auto has revealed that he pleads with parents in game shops not to buy the ultraviolent title for their children.
Scots games guru Brian Baglow said he recently begged a woman not hand over a copy of GTA 5 to a seven-year-old.
Videos from the latest version of GTA 5, made by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, have appeared on YouTube showing a hatchet massacre and a shotgun shooting spree.
One psychologist yesterday described the photorealistic carnage as “jaw-dropping”.
Mr Baglow, 44, was the writer for the first game and helped create most of the features of GTA that have made it one of the most successful video games franchises in history.
He said: “I’ve had toe-curling arguments in shops with parents who were buying GTA 5 for their kids.
“When I see it happening I feel compelled to say something and I do.”
He added: “I remember seeing a woman arguing with one of the shop workers who knew she was buying the game for her seven- or eight-year-old kid who was standing next to her.
“But she just wouldn’t listen. It was sold to her and then she turned around, handed it to the kid and said, ‘there you go son’.”
Mr Baglow himself argued with the woman that the violence in the game meant the child should not play it but she refused to listen.
The founder and director of The Scottish Games Network, which brings together all those involved in the interactive entertainment sector in Scotland, said: “These games have an 18 certificate for a reason.
“I think there’s a misconception, especially in the UK, that all video games are for kids.
“If you’re happy with your kid watching films like Saw then that’s your choice but I don’t think they realise that games are part of that same industry.”
Last month, a new version of GTA 5 was released to take advantage of the massively improved graphics of the Xbox One and the PS4.
Sickening videos have appeared in the past few weeks on YouTube which show first-person perspective massacres using a shotgun and hatchet.
The films – uploaded by “8 Bit B******” – a team of video games enthusiasts from High Wycombe, Bucks, show pedestrians and police being shot and hacked to death in slow motion.
Professor Patrik (corr) Holt, a Research Professor of Computing and Cognitive Engineering at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen said: “The video with the hatchet was jaw dropping!
“I couldn’t believe it. The gore was very detailed.
“There isn’t any evidence that children playing this would imitate it on any level but they certainly would become desensitised.”
Another leading psychologist from Nottingham Trent University, Mark Griffiths, said the footage was like something from a 18 certificate movie and should not be on YouTube.
“I think people who play games like GTA and Call of Duty play them because they already enjoy violence in the first place and they are attracted to it. If they act violent it’s likely that they were predisposed to violence already.
“Having said that I wouldn’t allow my children to play it because we are more easily influenced when we are younger and we can become desensitised to it.
Alec Chaney, 27, a member of 8 Bit B******, said: “At the end of the day the user has control over their actions. The game isn’t for children and you’re not forced to be violent in the game.
“That’s why I created a GTA nature documentary video which shows all the different kinds of sea life in the game. I wanted to show that there’s so much you can do in the game and that it’s not all about violence.”
“It’s really good to see a non-violent aspect to the game and the fact that it’s by far our most viewed video shows that people aren’t just interested in the game for violence.”