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Watchdog clears the streets of ad for gang war game

LONDON - An ad for PlayStation2 game 'Crime Life Gang Wars' has been banned after the advertising watchdog said that it exploited racial stereotypes, glorified violence and encouraged anti-social behaviour.

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The ad for the game from Konami appeared in the London edition of Metro and showed a street scene with five black men lined up; two were holding guns, another was holding a baseball bat and one was holding a hammer.

Konami, the game's publisher, explained that the men represented members of the hip-hop band D12, who were the main characters in the game. It denied it the ad exploited racial stereotypes, arguing that the band had approved the use of their image.

The ad also contained prominent text reading "Rule the streets or fall by the wayside", which Konami said referred to the object of the game.

The Advertising Standards Authority also contacted Metro, which said it believed the ad was suitable for publication because a high percentage of the newspaper's readers played videogames.

The ASA decided that readers could take the image to be a negative portrayal of black men and be offended by it on those grounds. In addition, it considered that the "Rule the streets..." line could be seen to condone violence.

However, the ASA took no action after a complaint about another computer game ad, which featured men leaning out of car windows firing guns and appeared in the Beano and the Dandy.

The Atari UK game 'Driv3r' was rated for children seven years old and over and the complainant felt the game was unsuitable to be advertised in the comics.

After the comics' publisher DC Thomson provided evidence to show the core readership was seven- to 13-year-olds, the ASA decided it did not feel the placing of the ad was inappropriate or likely to result in harm to children.

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