The New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification has been inundated by phone calls about Grand Theft Auto IV, but not by angry consumers. Worried staff at gaming shops have been calling to ask about what to do about lax parents.
"They were saying, 'What do we do?'," said chief censor Bill Hastings to the New Zealand Herald. According to Hastings, staff have been in a flutter about adults queuing to buy a copy of GTA IV for the twelve year old child standing right next to them.
Hastings advice was simple. "If it's perfectly obvious the parent is buying the game for the child, don't sell it to the parent. If a game is R18 it's R18 for a reason and it's illegal to make it available to anyone under that age."
Unfortunately, as anyone who's worked in retail knows, putting that into practice is not that easy. While adults in New Zealand could face three months in prison or a $10,000 fine, the law has yet to be enforced since its introduction in 1994.
And based on our experiences yearned from countless summer jobs behind a counter, you're more likely to get punched in the face by an angry parent if you decide not to sell the game. Especially as they think you're questioning their ability to raise their kid. Which, to be fair, you are. Which, to be fair, is right.
The New Zealand version of the game is the same edit submitted to the Australian board. Gamespot says the only difference between the uncut versions was a camera lock during sexy time with a prostitute. The camera is placed behind the car during the sinning, similar to GTA III, so you can't see the digital action.