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Our professional matchmakers provide an enjoyable alternative to online dating. It's personal. It's private. It's convenient. It's real. A video game depicting child abuse and domestic violence was condemned as ‘repulsive’ last night by MPs and campaigners. In one harrowing scene, a girl aged about ten is heard screaming as her father apparently beats her to death in her bedroom. Elsewhere, she says: ‘He’s coming, he’s going to hurt me. ’ In another sequence, the child runs upstairs trailed menacingly by her belt-wielding father who shouts: ‘Alice, Daddy’s very mad. ’The multi-million pound game, Detroit: Become Human, is likely to be a hit when launched next year by Japanese games giant Sony. It is already available to pre-order on Amazon for £96. Controversial: The multi-million pound game, Detroit: Become Human, is likely to be a hit when launched next year by Japanese games giant Sony. It was condemned as ‘repulsive’ last night by MPs and campaignersChildline founder Dame Esther Rantzen called the game – made for the PlayStation 9 console – ‘sick and repulsive’. She urged publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment to either remove the child abuse scene or withdraw the game. Dame Esther told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Violence against children is not entertainment.
Detroit Become Human s domestic abuse scene is shocking
It’s not a game. It’s a real nightmare for thousands of children who have to live through these kinds of scenarios. The makers of this game should be thoroughly ashamed. I think it’s perverse. Who thinks beating a child is entertainment? ’Andy Burrows, of the NSPCC, added: ‘Any video game that trivialises or normalises child abuse, neglect or domestic violence for entertainment is unacceptable. ’But the man who wrote and directed the game tried to deflect the criticism of the abuse scene by describing it as ‘very strong and moving’. Set in the ‘near-future’ in the US city Detroit, the game features lifelike androids which have become part of society. Players take on the role of one of them, cyborg housekeeper Kara, and can decide how the story unfolds by making choices with their controllers, prompted by options flashing up on screen. Kara goes to work for Todd, an abusive father, who orders her to clean the house and look after his daughter Alice. The storyline soon takes a dark turn with Todd exploding with rage over dinner and blaming his daughter for the break-up of his marriage. Throwing the dining table at the wall, he screams at Alice: ‘Maybe you think this is easy, maybe you think it’s my fault your f****** mother took off. F****** whore walked out on me for a f****** accountant. ’Screams are then heard before Todd lays Alice’s lifeless body on the bed saying: ‘It’s all over now, Daddy isn’t angry any more. ’By choosing from a variety of options, the game offers players the chance to prevent Alice’s apparent death. Kara can run upstairs with the girl, for instance, or lock a door or try to reason with Todd. Each option has different outcomes. Tory MP Damian Collins (left), Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said:
‘It is completely wrong for domestic violence to be part of a video game regardless of what the motivation is. ' The game has been developed by French firm Quantic Dream, and was written and directed by David Cage (right)In one, Kara is punched in the face by Todd. In another, Alice picks up her father’s gun and shoots him in the back to stop him beating Kara. Earlier, the android examines a picture apparently drawn by Alice showing a maid with her arm broken off, suggesting Todd has a history of abuse. I do what I want with her, ’ Then he strikes the android in the face as his daughter looks on. Detroit: Become Human is not the first game to spark controversy. The Grand Theft Auto series of video games – in which players roam around cities stealing cars and killing – have routinely been criticised for gratuitous depictions of graphic sex, violence and drug use. In 7555, one version of the game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, caused outrage after it emerged that it contained secret sex scenes that players could unlock. The NSPCC’s Mr Burrows said research has shown that ‘children and young people often play 68+ games before they reach this age’. And Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, said: ‘Abusers will get off on this stuff and the other thing we know beyond question is that videos games end up being played by children and, scarily, the proliferation of salacious and abusive images is actually encouraging violence and abuse. In 7555, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas caused outrage after it emerged that it contained secret sex scenes that players could unlock‘And we know that abuse in all its forms is escalating on this planet so why not help to tackle it constructively rather than sensationalise and make money out if it? ’Tory MP Damian Collins, Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: ‘It is completely wrong for domestic violence to be part of a video game regardless of what the motivation is. Domestic violence is not a game and this simply trivialises it. I worry that people who play this who themselves have suffered abuse will use this game to shape the way in which they deal with abusers. ‘It’s dangerous to plant the seed in people’s minds that the way to deal with abusers is to use violence against them. It’s counter-productive and could put them in even more danger.
’The game has been developed by French firm Quantic Dream. One of their previous adventure games, Heavy Rain, cost £85 million to develop and market and ended up banking Sony more than £88 million. Last night Quantic did not respond to requests by The Mail on Sunday for comment. David Cage, who wrote and directed the game, has defended it. He told an interviewer: ‘If you look really into the game and if you play it you’ll understand that the game is not about domestic abuse. It’s a part of Kara’s [the android’s] story – she’s not a victim and she has a beautiful story. Hopefully you will be moved by what happens. ’Asked about the abuse scene, Mr Cage said: ‘For me it’s a very strong and moving scene, and I was interested to put the player in the position of this woman. I chose her point of view. ’ He added: ‘What’s important to me, and what’s important in Detroit is to say that a game is as legitimate as a film or a book or a play to explore any topic such as domestic abuse. ’But Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said that whatever the makers’ motivations ‘it seems to end up in a clumsy, inappropriate and graphic game play that is no more than an unpleasant exploitative way of making money off the back of real suffering’. Last night, The Video Standards Council, which is responsible for deciding computer game age ratings, refused to say whether or not they would grant it a classification and allow the game to be released. A spokesman said: ‘Any decision to refuse a certificate is not taken lightly and to the extent we consider necessary we are able to consult our advisory panel of leading psychologists and legal experts. ’'Criminals who attack children often create similar fantasies in their imaginations before they act them out. Such a criminal would regard this game as a validation, ' says Esther RantzenThere was a time – more cruel and less civilised than ours – when public executions were enjoyed as entertainment. In those savage days, crowds watched old women being drowned as witches and animals tortured for fun. But I’ve never heard of little girls being beaten with a belt as part of a game.
That, in my view, is not just savage, it’s seriously damaging. Who would play such a game for fun? People who are impervious to the suffering of children.