New York Daily News

June 20, 2005

Violent game furor

BY RIVKA BUKOWSKY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

You may have thought "Grand Theft Auto" was the last word in video game violence.

Think again.

The latest in shoot-'em-up video game technology, "25 to Life," allows players to attack police with an arsenal of Molotov cocktails, broken bottles and baseball bats. When weapons fail, players make strategic moves using civilians as human shields.

The game even lets players choose gang colors and create personalized graffiti tags.

"It's the worst in a series of violent and gruesome games that lower the common denominator of decency," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.), who is trying to block the game from hitting stores in September.

The game, created by the British company Eidos, is similar to the best-selling "Grand Theft Auto" series, currently in its fifth incarnation: "San Andreas."

"25 to Life" makes "other controversial games like 'Grand Theft Auto' look like 'Romper Room,' " Schumer said.

Schumer called on PlayStation manufacturer Sony and Xbox maker Microsoft to cancel their licensing agreements with Eidos. The senator also urged stores and retailers not to stock the game.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, slammed "25 to Life" for its cavalier treatment of murder.

"It's outrageous that a company like this would try to desensitize our children," Lynch said.

The game, he said, is likely to "produce cowards that will hide behind a gun."

Representatives from Sony and Microsoft could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Young gamers browsing at GameSpot on Broadway at 33rd St. said the violence and gangster features would make "25 to Life" a hot buy.

"It's like ghetto-ish, I like that," said Bronx seventh-grader Jesus Martinez, 13.

Brooklyn seventh-grader Nashalie Ledesma said she would try the game "just for the fun of it, to see how it is, explore the violence."

"It's just a game," said Ledesma, 12. "It's not like I'm gonna do it in real life. I don't have the guts to do it."

But concerned mom Tori Cage, who was shopping with her 9-year- old son, Dquan, said the game should never hit store shelves.

"They should ban them totally," said Cage, 27, of Maywood, N.J.