Pornoviolence was a term first used by Tom Wolfe in 1976, but thanks to the Guardian’s Peter Lyle it’s come to the fore once more. Peter Lyle is the Guardian’s Art and Architecture blogger and has criticised reports that GTA IV is a form of modern art, instead referencing it as pornoviolence.
The critique raises several issues. First off, labelling a game like GTA IV as being pornoviolence is certainly not going to put people off playing the game – in fact, I suspect it is much more likely to do the opposite.
Rockstar has long been the leading light when it comes to using apparent bad publicity to sell games – did you see the furore when they released Table Tennis? The GTA series has been nothing short of controversial from its inception but that controversy has continually fuelled its popularity.
However, one more important issue has been raised – should GTA IV have its very own genre? The pornoviolence tag sits well with me and if high calibre games like Grand Theft Auto were released under a new pornoviolence genre then I for one (and according to Lyle I’m a “media-addled introvert”) would be waiting for the next release to satiate my desire for “a crude, unmediated celebration of the urges to fight, have sex, and make fire ”.