Ineresting article on the new Grand Theft Auto game and its favorite audience — kids 12 to 14 years old:

Like its predecessors, Grand Theft Auto IV is rated ‘M’ (for ‘Mature’), and stores are only allowed to sell it to folks ages 17 and up. The game industry’s ratings board has even spelled out the types of content that could make parents squirm. The game, to be released Tuesday for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, hits all the hot buttons: It contains ‘blood,’ ‘intense violence,’ ‘partial nudity,’ ‘strong language,’ ‘strong sexual content’ and ‘use of drugs and alcohol.’

The game’s developer, Rockstar, has mostly kept quiet about the storylines of its latest game, set in Liberty City, a satirical version of New York City. Previous installments of the best-selling games have all followed the paths of young strivers who go from rags to riches, building careers as gangster kingpins. On the way, there tend to be a few zillion explosions, flattened pedestrians and rival gangs that need to get squeezed out.

Rockstar did not respond to requests for comment last week. But one of the game’s writers, Lazlow Jones, who has also appeared as a radio deejay in the games, spoke on a local D.C. radio station this past week and put it as plainly as possible that the game is ‘too intense’ for kids.

“If you let your child play this game, you’re a bad parent,” he said. “The thing is, Rockstar does not want kids playing this game.”

The article also notes that the game’s launch may affect the debut of Marvel’s “Iron Man” movie. A video game dampening movie ticket sales. Would’ve been crazy to imagine that a few years back.

Also some good stuff in there on research of kids playing violent video games. Hey, just go read it yourself. What am I? Cliff’s Notes.