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Grand Theft Auto 5 gifted to 11-year-old boy

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

460-GTA5-288687-2754233.jpgA promotional pic from Grand Theft Auto 5. (Rockstar Games)

This week marks the launch of one of the biggest video games in the year - Grand Theft Auto 5.

The drive-around, shoot-em-up, listen-to-the-radio sandbox game is the latest in the popular series that has gained controversy for its mature themes and ability for the player to run amok, doing anything and everything to its hapless virtual citizens.

So far, critics have raved about the game, heaping it with praise. Metacritic, the website that aggregates critics' scores on video games, movies and music currently lists GTA 5 for the Xbox 360 with an average score of 98 out of 100 points.

One store in France started selling the game ahead of its street date, according to FranceTVInfo. The 11-year-old boy weeps, presumably from joy, at the early gift from his parents.

Young children and video game-related gifts are a known recipe for success online, of course.

The classic video of two kids going absolutely nuts after finding a Nintendo 64 under their Christmas tree is perhaps the best known. Other examples include this boy who tackles his mother in a fevered bout of joy after unwrapping a Nintendo DS on his birthday.

In this case, though, the boy's age sparked criticism of his parents and whether it was an appropriate gift at all.

"Parents need to pay more attention to rating labels," wrote Kotaku's Jason Schreier. "Kids who can't even look at Grand Theft Auto V's box without flipping out should really not be playing this game. There are like, hookers. And murder."

"Honestly, I think it depends on the maturity of the kid. Some kids are just more mature and are raised correctly," wrote KH91 in Kotaku's comments section.

"I agree to an extent. But honestly...11 years old?" replied another user, FwamingDwagon. "That's just too young. 14 is pushing it, and 15 I think I'm okay with playing an M-rated game such as GTA V as long as they're emotionally mature enough to handle it. You're right though, there are some people under 17 that are actually more mature than some people over 17."

GTA 5 is rated for players 18 years of age or older, according to PEGI, Europe's video games ratings system. In North America, the ESRB rates it M for Mature, with an age restriction of 17 years or older.

The ESRB's ratings page for GTA 5 lists its potentially objectionable material as including: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs and Alcohol.

Retail stores are not supposed to sell games to youths younger than a game's rating without express consent from a parent or guardian.

What do you think of this video? How young is too young to play a video game -- or watch a movie or television show, for that matter -- if a child is younger than the rating's recommendation?

Tags: arts and entertainment, video games

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