A video game clerk begged parents not to buy Grand Theft Auto V for their young children in an open letter posted on the gaming site Kotaku on Monday.
Sales of the fifth installment of the detail-rich but violent video game series topped $1 billion after just three days, the quickest game to reach that sales figure.
At least 100 copies of the game were sold at his store, the clerk said, despite his warnings to parents that the game is intended for mature audiences, according to the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
“When I recite the phrases from the ESRB ratings box on the back cover of an M-rated game and it just goes right over your head I feel the need to be more specific,” the unnamed clerk wrote. “So I mention things like a game having a first-person view of half-naked strippers or that the game has a mission that forces you to torture another human being.”
But, he said, parents tell him the game is for an older child or dismiss his concerns because all their son’s friends already have it.
The clerk said he’s not judging anyone’s parenting style, because he’s a parent himself.
“When I look at little Timmy there in my store, I can’t help but picture him as the little boy sitting across the table from my daughter in her first grade class,” the clerk said.
Although he’s spoken to some gamers who played previous versions of Grand Theft Auto as youngsters and didn’t grow up to become violent or misogynist, the clerk said some children bring into the real world lessons they’ve learned in the simulated gangster environment.
“When your daughter comes home from elementary school crying because someone called her a b*tch, you might change your tune,” the clerk wrote.
He asked parents to listen to video game store clerks when they cautioned them about some games’ content.
“When I describe the content and warnings of an M-rated game to you, please don’t ignore me and nod while scrolling through your iPhone,” he said.
[Attractive Young Man With Video Game Control Pad on Shutterstock]