Bulletstorm, a violent new video game released on 22nd February, could turn players as young as nine into rapists, says US 'news' channel Fox News, in a report that blames video games for an increase in sexual violence.
It's true to say that Bulletstorm won't appeal to the easily offended. Its graphic violence - gaming website The Escapist calls it "the only game in which you can blow off a man's bunghole" - isn't just near the knuckle; it'll practically tear your hand off.
"If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm's explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant," clinical psychologist Dr Jerry Weichman told Fox News. "Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems."
But it's the game's alleged linking of sex and extreme violence that risks turning every pre-teen video gamer into a potential sex offender, Fox claims.
Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told Fox News: "The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." (Square brackets Fox's own.)
In a diatribe reminiscent of the early '80s frenzy surrounding video nasties, the 'news' channel lays the blame for just about every social ill on violent video games.
Real violence with real guns appears to trouble the channel far less, with one of its leading political pundits, Bob Beckel, joining other right-wingers in calling for the US government to "illegally" assassinate WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
But it's the games industry, argues Fox News - not an increasingly violent and gun-obsessed society - that's responsible for this unravelling of civilised values, because games developers demand the same level of regulation that's applied to other media.
Like films, video games are subject to age-related classification. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board - the body responsible for dishing out Bulletstorm's 'M' rating for mature audiences - has the power to hand down $1 million fines to companies which flout its rules.
The ESRB spells out Bulletstorm's less-than-savoury content quite explicitly in its parental guidance on the game. Too explicitly, it seems, for Fox News, which deemed it "too graphic" to reproduce in its entirety.
Instead, Fox pulled out the juiciest - and, frankly, most sexually explicit - snippet from the ESRB's review:
"The dialogue contains numerous jokes and comments that reference sexual acts, venereal diseases, and having sex with one's mother (e.g., "Guess I know where the ol' gal got that limp."). The names of some Skillshots are infused with sexual innuendo (e.g., Gag Reflex, Rear Entry, Drilldo, Mile High Club); one Skillshot (i.e., Fire in the Hole) allows players to shoot at enemies' exposed buttocks."
We dare say the marketeers at Epic Games, Bulletstorm's creator, couldn't have done a better job themselves.