Yesterday on Australian TV, a Channel 7 news program reported that there is a ‘black market’ version of GTA V. The report went on to describe developers as ‘hackers’ and ‘underground geeks’ allowing people to attack NSW Police. NSW Police also claims to be seeking action against the designers of the game or mod.
NSW Police Minister Troy Grant expressed his concerns with the GTA V mod which is based on the LSPD First Response Modification. Grant said the GTA Mod desensitizes people to the real risk police face and he finds it offensive. Meanwhile, Channel 7 made no effort to research the mod properly or consider their choice of words, offending many gamers.
The news report went on to claim that video games had influenced people to kill before. Citing the 2001 death of Police Officer Jim Affleck in Campbelltown as being influenced by Need for Speed. With a very small amount of investigation, one finds that the prosecutor mentioned Need for Speed in court. There was no further validity to the persecutor’s actions being influenced by Need for Speed or any other video game.
In addition, the entire argument that video games cause violence has all but been thrown in the trash. Multiple studies have found no evidence that video games cause aggression or increased violence in youth.
Further, science has backed up what gamers knew all along and proven that video games can help train the brain. Certain games can train the brain to become more agile and encourage strategic thinking. Ray Perez, program officer for the Office of Naval Research’s warfighter performance department said
We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory,…They allow the player to focus longer and expand the player’s field of vision compared to people who don’t play video games”
What’s the real story on this GTA V mod?
The core of the NSW Police mod came from The LSPD First Response Modification (LSPDFR). The mod is a police modification for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. It turns the game into a law enforcement simulation which allows you to conduct traffic stops, engage in high-speed pursuits and enforce the law.
Community Founder, Sam at LSPDFR said in an official statement
In reality, LSPDFR is a mode which allows you to play as a police officer within the game – players can make arrests, pull over speeding vehicles and respond to emergency situations.
The NSW GTA V mod began in a passionate clan and community named Emergency Australia GTAIV Mods (EAGM). Notably, EAGM and LSPDFR show great respect for Aussie Emergency services and many clan members are in fact employed in NSW Emergency Services.
Gaz, a member of EAGM spoke with Pedestrian.tv and said
Some of them are actually current serving law enforcement personnel working Australian police services, as well as other career paid and volunteer staff from other emergency service branches as well as just enthusiasts.”
In addition to that, the clan’s focus is role-playing Police, Fire & Rescue, EMS and other call outs which involve heading out into the GTA world and you guessed it, not killing people. The mod adds realistic NSW emergency services uniforms and vehicles including cars, trucks, helicopters, and motorcycles.
Of course, it’s possible to kill people and officers in the mod however that’s always been possible in GTA. Just as it’s always been possible to kill innocent people, it’s up to personal player choice what people do and how they choose to play the game.
One thing is for sure, this mod is about to get a lot more downloads than it did before. Good job Australia, always on the ball. Hopefully, the NSW Police and mass media can open their minds to see what mods like this really offer. Communities like LSPDFR and EAGM empower law enforcement in reality. They offer youth the chance to play as the good guys rather than opening them up to more violence.