January 5. The Daily Mail couldn't make it a week into 2012 before it posted up its latest tirade against those mind-corrupting video games.
This year's debut target is BioWare's The Old Republic. You know, that game set in the globally adored and highly fictional Star Wars universe - the one with aliens, Han Solo and magical glow-sword-weilding monks.
Well apparently gamers have been using EA's online opus to 'torture and abuse' a female 'slave' character. And, to quote the Daily Mail piece, they've been "ENJOYING IT."
The AI companion in question is Vette, a character that accompanies Sith players - the all-evil baddies of the galaxy - on their quest to kill everything.
Vette is described as a 'survivor' and a 'slave'. Pair her up with a distant relative of Darth Vader then - probably the most iconic villain in film and pop culture history - and most people would say it's a given bad things are going to happen to her in this fictional video game story. Well, not the Daily Mail...
"The game has dialogue written specifically FOR players who choose to treat their companion like this," it writes. "Vette continues to respond in a lifelike fashion after players have been torturing her for hours.
"The character comes with a 'shock collar' that allows gamers to ensure 'obedience'."
Of course Sith players - including female Sith characters overlooked in the article - can choose to treat their slave Kindly. However the Mail points out that "the option to treat the character decently does not seem to have been enormously popular with players".
How exactly has the Mail polled the 1 million-plus Old Republic player base to come to this conclusion? Ah, it's read a tongue-in-cheek blog post by Kotaku writer Mike Fahey about his Old Republic role-play.
Still, at least the Daily Mail's looking out for good old fashioned family values. Hold on, what's that on the side of this article? "Monokini-clad Lucy Mecklenburgh swaps chilly Essex for the sunny Caribbean"... "Gentlemen prefer big bottoms: How slim Michelle Williams used padded pants to get Marilyn Monroe's hourglass figure" and our personal favourite... "Danielle Lineker shows off sideboob tattoo... as she finally unveils her bikini body".