The Political Game piece by Dennis McCauley of GamePolitics helped highlight a little story from Boston this week about controversial advertisements on the MBTA public transportation system, known as the T, for GTA: Vice City Stories. As a Boston native and resident it behooves me to give a little more context to the T and, more importantly, The Boston Herald who hyped this story.
None of the organizations or politicians demanding the T pull the ads have a leg to stand on without admitting to massive hypocrisy. GTA: Liberty City Stories, released last year, had advertisements all over the T and nobody said anything about it. There is also a profusion of liquor advertisements and far more potentially "objectionable" advertisements on the T. The head of the T, Daniel Grabauskas, promised to begin the process of amending the MBTA's advertising guidelines to prohibit M- and AO-rated games in the future. How are liquor ads promoting something that can only be purchased by someone 21+ appropriate for the public transportation system, but games for 17 year-olds and older inappropriate?
A little context probably needs to be given to how this story got to this level. The Boston Herald and their reporters pander to the lowest common denominator and have been the ones pounding the drums of war on this issue. The Boston Globe may initially report on a story, but The Boston Herald sensationalizes it. If you live in a two newspaper town you know there is typically one standard paper (The Boston Globe) and one white-trash yellow-journalism fear-mongering newspaper (The Boston Herald). The Boston Herald is dying, having laid off most of its staff, and in its death throes hypes trash to gain attention, attempting to sell bundles of newspapers nobody will buy, which are then given away for free on the streets to keep circulation numbers artificially inflated. As long as Boston politicians finally learn to ignore The Boston Herald -- the same way the readership and citizenry of Boston has -- then issues like this will not occur again. What's even better is for all their faux outrage now, in early November The Boston Herald said GTA: Vice City Stories and GTA: Liberty City Stories "may be the most entertaining games available for the PSP."
(Update 1: Fixed a few minor bits of the grammar)