It's defintely illegal here, but a lot of places don't follow the law, so it's like it doesn't even exist.
Most parent's buy the games for younger kids, say a 10 year old wants this game and the father buy's it for him then when he's playing the father realize what he bought his son, a violence, and ummm other underage stuff.
I ignore them all the time. I just think its stupid. It's not like I'm going to go out and shoot a lot of people just because I played GTA. That is not logical...nor possible. The lawmakers just want to make the whole world kiddie-proof...>_<
Most of the arguments here are valid, and largely the same, I just get a rise out of parents and activists who are shocked when they see games like GTA in motion. There is a reason why games have an age suggestion on them, but parents don't believe that, and can we really blame them?
Perfect Dark for the N64 is an example of "mature" games of the past. We look at Perfect Dark and realize how tame it was. Little blood, a bit of cursing, which is certainly a world away from GTA: San Andreas, but I think part of it is context. Perhaps parents have a bloated sense of confidence in themselves, and believe that the ESRB largely just make stuff seem worse than it is.
I do not ignore game age ratings. Why would I? Especially now that I have a little sister. The ratings are not so much for me, but for my little sister. Everything that she gets or that I get her... I make sure it's appropriate for her. I hate the fact that most parents ignore the ratings on the games and let their kids get and play whatever they want. But then, once they realize what their children are playing, the have the guts to sue the companies! Insane, really. I mean, they are there for a reason. Maturity and the capacity of what a child can and cannot take mentally. We shouldn't ignore the ratings. Especially for the younger ones.