Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/23/gtaiv_website_nspcc/

GTA IV website prompts outrage

littlelacysurprisepageant.com

By James Sherwood

Posted in Software, 23rd June 2008 09:11 GMT

Grand Theft Auto IV is once again at the centre of controversy. But this time people aren’t complaining that the game’s too violent, because they’re more concerned about the discovery of a so-called paedophile website.

In the game, an internet café allows the player to access a child pageant website called littlelacysurprisepageant.com. But, rather than showing anything untoward, the site’s actually a front for GTA IV’s police force and displays the warning: “We see it all, we know it all”.

However, clicking on the game’s spoof website is still a thrill because it automatically raises the player’s wanted level to five stars.

Several gamers have already voiced their concerns in a report in The Sun, with one gamer stating that the website crosses the line.

Jason Deschoolmeester, 23, of South Wales, said the website “could lead people to indulge in things like that. It is totally sick. I won’t play it [GTA IV] again”.

Child-protection body the NSPCC has even expressed its distaste for the spoof website. Zoe Hilton, the NSPPC's policy coordinator for child protection, said it’s “disturbing that it is meant to be funny and that it is glamorising something that is really shocking and upsetting”.

This latest attack on GTA IV adds to existing criticism of this year’s must-have videogame, which has already sold about 4.2m copies in the US alone.

In a Croydon Gamestation store, one gamer stabbed another man in the head and neck as they both queued to buy copies of the game on the day of its release. Anti-GTA IV campaigners quickly jumped on the stabbing incident as proof that such games are too violent for society.