For clarification, are we talking about the ethics presented by the content or by the form? If we're just talking about content, then I'd like to point out that violent video games exist because violence exists in real life. Part of the value of art is that it reflects the world in some way. Games are an artistic and imaginative medium - to constrain them to only depicting ethical behaviour would be like constraining novels or paintings or films to only depicting ethical behaviour. If we're talking about form and presentation, I refer you to Ravyne's post above.
You're post makes no sense. The problem with games like GTA isn't that they display and simulate negative behavior to and for the player, its WHY they do this. For instance Hodgman's defense that GTA is super clever satire. That's a ridiculously indefensible decision for anyone not invested in believing that so that they can play it without feeling bad about themselves, better to just admit they like GTA for what it really is, but at least it is made with an understanding of the topic.
Okay, which part makes no sense? I thought it made perfect sense when I wrote it in that it is clear English, asks a concise question, and attempts to concisely present a coherent and consistent point. So which of those things does it fail at? Are you saying it's off-topic?
Furthemore, why, in your own words, does GTA simulate negative behaviour? It seems clear to me that you think you know what the (one and only) meaning of GTA is. What do you think the purpose of GTA is and with what authority do you claim to limit GTA's meaning in that way?
COD serves no artistic purpose. Games can be art, as movies can be art, but not all movies and games or drawings are art in the sense that they convey a deeper meaning. Bodice-rippers are an old and popular genre of book but they aren't art just because someone also wrote an erotic novel that was art. Gone Home is art, though whether its good or bad art is up for debate. But GTA is not art.
I take it you're not up on your Roland Barthes. Otherwise you would surely understand that the meaning of a work to individuals in the world at large is independent of its creator's intent. COD may serve no "artistic purpose" (if that is a meaningful term) to you - it doesn't to me, either, and perhaps not to its creators - but that's irrelevant. If COD means something to someone, somewhere, then it has acted as art. The same is true of GTA - its status is art is based on perception, and some perceive it as satire, so for them that is what it is, and their experience is just as valid as your own not-experience. Furthermore, I'd argue that the very fact that we can argue about what the "meaning of GTA" is, and have that actually be a meaningful argument in and of itself, makes it art.
We can have a meaningful argument about whether the browning on a piece of toast is in fact an image of the virgin marry. I guess toast is art now, too. I guess we are just going to define art in the broadest possible sense, which makes the term pointless but w/e. As far as know THE only meaning of GTA, I'm talking about the intended and the majority opinion. Which may or may not be the same. I'm not going to accept the fucking stupid idea that anything anyone thinks about anything is equally valid with everything anyone else thinks about anything. Why the fuck would you ever talk about anything at all given that that was the case. I can think up a zillion ways to interpret anything all on my own, what do I need you for then? The same with Hodgman's stupid shit about anything a grown adult consents to being okay. Are they legally allowed to do it? Yes. Do we follow this principle because otherwise we are afraid someone else could declare our hobbies illegal? Yes. This is basic political shit here guys. Consent based legality exists so that we can avoid having random things declared illegal every time the party in power or the majority opinion shifts, its not an endorsement of any and all activities you have to be a legal adult to consent to. I don't have to know the name of some random post structuralist to be aware of the kinds of ideas he puts out there. Yes, I know that some people think all opinions about all things are equally valid. Those people are called idiots.
But hey, I can't stop you from sucking at the teat of total relativism man, its a free country, and furthermore its probably more productive to write you off as someone with anything valuable to say, even if I COULD somehow stop you.
Just to be clear, I understand the argument, made by plenty of people besides Barthes, that anyone CAN derive any meaning from anything, even say, the eyeball being proof of god, quite serious argument made by Christian apologists referred to as irreducible complexity, while at the same time determining that these people have no idea what they are talking about. However I was clearly under the mistaken impression that people posting in a thread called game ethics, actually believed that it was possible to make an unethical game. I could make a game about murdering Jews in the Holocaust where you roleplay a dedicated Nazi officer, and by your definition, that's like, art. Or something. I'm sure you would totally play that as wicked satire if I included, like GTA, just a slight bit of faux self-awareness to give you an excuse. Because otherwise you would just be admitting that you like GTA because you like robbing fake banks and murdering fake people and not because of its oh so clever satire. Yet I suspect that the reception of this game, purely because of its topic, in a hypothetical world where its "quality" was equivalent to GTA, would not receive nearly the same reception. Much like Hatred didn't. Because as much as you want to shield yourself with relativism when talking about GTA, a post-hoc rationalization in the case of the majority of people that make it, the irony of most extreme relativists is that they are secretly deontologists using relativistic arguments to make themselves seem less hypocritical.
I mean, maybe you are part of the .1% of actual relativists but I've confronted the satire argument 1000 times, whether about GTA or something else and in the end my picture of reality ends up more accurate by dismissing claims of relativism as fake. I would be irrational to accept your argument without the sort of evidence Hodgman insists he needn't provide because he is on the status quo side of the argument. Well its technically true Hodgman, and/or Oberon, that you don't have to defend the status quo, not for theoretical reasons but for practical ones, a position of power needs no defense beyond itself. But such an argument says something about your character.
This probably constitutes some sort of temporary ban offense, if so, go ahead and make it permanent. Because right now you guys disgust me. If I were you, I'd go wash off the slimy shield of faux-relativism quick, lest someone catch its stench on you.