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GTA Sex Game Leads to ESRB Fracas 732

Posted by Zonk
from the additional-content-land dept.
At first, it was nothing more than a rumour. A "sex mini-game" in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, left in the code for the PC version and unlocked by inquisitive players. Then, as more and more information became available it seemed as though the sex game might be real. This revelation has lead to California Speaker pro-tem Yee blasting the ESRB for their apparent slip-up in examining all the content in the game. The ESRB has responded by pledging a "thorough and objective investigation" of the claims to get to the bottom of the situation. Commentary is available from Joystiq, GamesAreFun, and Buttonmashing.
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GTA Sex Game Leads to ESRB Fracas

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  • Better Quesiton (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:22PM (#13016324) Journal
    Did the ESRB rate the mini-games that came with MS office apps, namely the flight sim with Excel and the DOOM clone with Word?
  • This is bull (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteveXE (641833) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:23PM (#13016334)
    How can the ESRB or even Rockstar be blamed for this? They removed the content from the game itself, its not their fault some gamers found a way to put it back in. Its funny how these people jump on anyone at anytime for no reason at all. The game is rated mature, and unless I live in some Bizzaro World im pretty sure just about every 17 year old has either had sex or seen porn.
    • Re:This is bull (Score:4, Informative)

      by LGagnon (762015) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:30PM (#13016409)
      Games with such sexual content are supposed to get an AO rating as far as I remember, not a mere M.
      • Re:This is bull (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MooCows (718367) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:33PM (#13016443)
        > Games with such sexual content are supposed to get an AO rating as far as I remember, not a mere M.

        Because sex is, obviously, so much more damaging to the mind of a 17 year old than killing people.

        I wonder if and when this will change in the mindset of people.
        What's causing this 'fear of sex' anyways?
        • Re:This is bull (Score:5, Insightful)

          by schiefaw (552727) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:38PM (#13016482)
          Welcome to America where (in the media, at least) you can kill whoever you like in as messy a fashion as you like as long as you don't show any genitals or say anything offensive while doing it.
        • Re:This is bull (Score:3, Insightful)

          by snuf23 (182335)
          I'm certainly not going to argue that violence is ok and sex is not, however sex does carry with it certain responsibilities. The fear in parents is that their children will be attracted to unsafe and irresponsible sex. Also that sex won't be associated with love but rather just used in a physical manner.
          Unprotected sex can lead to disease including AIDS which will change your life forever and kill you. Unprotected sex can also lead to unwanted pregnancy which in a lot of ways is worse than disease as it im
          • "Maybe he should come down with an STD if he fucks every skank in the neighborhood. Or maybe he can be have his cash taken away to support the kid he fathered."

            I can already see the sequel:

            GTA: Baby Momma Drama

            Hey, can you have more than one woman at a time in the game? I don't have the PC version... :0

          • Re:This is bull (Score:4, Insightful)

            by humina (603463) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:25PM (#13016847) Homepage
            Violence is way worse. You comment on inappropriate sex. Well inappropriate violence leads to your child going out and killing a bunch of people. If I had to chose between my underage child getting pregnant and shooting up a school, I'll take pregnant any day of the week. Of course the idea that a video game will make a teenager more violent than say watching a war that their country started on the TV is debatable.
            • Re:This is bull (Score:5, Insightful)

              by snuf23 (182335) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:51PM (#13017085)
              Note the part in my comment where I state "Now I'm all for more sex and less violence".

              I'm simply replying to the grandparent as to some reasonable concerns about sex as depicted in media.
              No I don't think watching video sex leads to kids becoming an AIDS infested porn stars anymore than playing Doom leads to mass murder.
              The media does project images depicting what is considered cool and kids do react to that. Why else would kids mimic the dress and style patterns media superstars?
              As a nerdy kid who figured out after high school that if I dressed a certain way, talked a certain way and hung out in certain circles I took could get laid - I can say that media imagery impacts how teenagers and young adults behave.
              As someone who also made bad decisions and ended up living a life close to a character from an Irvine Welsh novel - I can say from a first hand experience that cheap sex, drug use and violence is hardly as glamourous and exciting as Hollywood likes to depict it. Scary, depressing and dangerous would be better adjectives. I got out - but not everyone does. I lost several friends because they couldn't get out of the lifestyle, some are dead and some are mentally destroyed.
              The fact is that depictions that show consquences of these types of behaviors are more interesting from a story perspective. A military FPS that attaches meaning to the death of a squad mate is telling a better story (single player at least).
              I don't like the "it's only a game" thinking. It is a game, but games are in my opinion another creative artform just as relevant as movies or music.
              I'm not asking that PacMan put on a condom before he gives Ms. PacMan a kiss in the between level animation, but in the case of a game like GTA - I think it would make perfect sense for the protagonist to buy a condom. It would work within the genre.
          • Larry (Score:3, Interesting)

            by antiaktiv (848995)
            Anyone remember the first Larry game, where you died if you forgot to put on a condom? And got beaten if you forgot to take it off? That sure was a responsible game.
          • by doormat (63648) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:41PM (#13016998) Homepage Journal
            however sex does carry with it certain responsibilities

            Yes, and beating the shit out of someone or shooting them several times in the chest has no long term reprocussions at all. ::biggest_rolls_eyes_ever::

            The *real* reason why sex is abhorred and violence is glorified is because we're a bunch of puritans in comparison to the rest of the world.
          • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:32PM (#13017384)
            Let's hope that no GTA characters come near an orphanage or adoption program for abused children. We might see similar arguments. :-)
            I'm certainly not going to argue that violence is ok and [adoption] is not, however [adoption] does carry with it certain responsibilities. The fear in parents is that their children will be attracted to unsafe and irresponsible [adoption]. Also that [adoption] won't be associated with love but rather just used in a physical manner

            Unprotected [adoption] can lead to disease including [typhoid, rabies, hepatitis C, and mad cow disease] which will change your life forever and kill you. Unprotected [adoption] can also lead to [another mouth to feed] which in a lot of ways is worse than disease as it impacts an entirely new life. [Sex] has a dramatic physchological impact and can't be considered an "easy" solution to [adoption].

            Now I'm all for more [adoption] and less violence and I don't consider the [orphaned] human body something sinful. The fact is though, that depicting [adoption] should also educate about the possible dangers. Maybe virtual [adoption] needs virtual [adoption agencies]. After all your GTA character gets fat if he eats too much junk food and doesn't exercise. Maybe he should come down with a [child transmitted disease] if he [adopts] every [abused and neglected child] in the neighborhood. Or maybe he can be have his cash taken away to support the kid he [adopted].

          • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:36PM (#13017409)
            Maybe he should come down with an STD if he fucks every skank in the neighborhood. Or maybe he can be have his cash taken away to support the kid he fathered.

            I haven't played San Andreas (been waiting for the PC version's price to drop), but with the population I've seen in GTA3 and Vice City, the whole population must be sterile. (Or at least half of it.) Everyone apparently reproduces by full body mitosis whenever you turn your back on them. Even their clothes get in on the cloning action.

            As to STDs, I don't know what ones you think you can catch from the sex depicted in those two games. You're just sitting motionless in the front seats of a car while its shocks bounce it around. The characters don't even touch each other. As far as I can tell, it's the car that's getting off!
        • > Because sex is, obviously, so much more damaging to the mind of a 17 year old than killing people.

          And here I thought that Columbine happened 'cause those two weren't getting any sex.
          My bad.

    • by jamsessionjay (802511) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:32PM (#13016426)
      unless I live in some Bizzaro World im pretty sure just about every 17 year old has either had sex
      You must be new here, may I greet you to slashdot; advertisements for nerds, stuff that won't get you laid.
  • oh man (Score:3, Funny)

    by BilldaCat (19181) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:23PM (#13016340) Homepage
    think of the children!
  • Uhh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:23PM (#13016343)
    GTA: San Andreas is rated ESRB M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs).

    So what's the problem again?

    • Re:Uhh.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jarnis (266190) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:27PM (#13016381)
      Idiotic people whining about a non-issue?
    • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:40PM (#13016505) Homepage Journal
      Exactly. This is like getting all high and mighty because an NC-17 movie has unadvertised sex in it that was left on a master replication print that differed from a screener print. There are no stronger rating in games or movies, so what exactly is the ESRB expected to do? Apologize saying, "Oh, we're sorry. That should have been Stronger Sexual Content"?

      The game is not directed at kids and should not be purchased by kids. It says so right on the damned box!

      Adding a topless woman in a frame of The Rescuers (Disney) ... okay, I could understand why certain people were upset by that incident. But in this case it's nothing more than the Indecency Policeman getting on his moral high horse in order to make it seem as though he's oh-so-very-worried about the delicate values of the people that he so caringly represents. {/SARCASM}

      Wait a minute ... Yee's a D-California??? And he's worried about indecency? Wow! Who would have thought! (Yes, humorless mods, that's a joke.)

      Once again, a politician is out to make a huge fuss to prove to his constituency that he's worthy of re-election. "Molehill, I'd like you to meet your replacement, Mountain. Mountain is going to be my new Public Relations chief and head of my re-election campaign."
  • Larry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:24PM (#13016349)
    I hear that there's also a code you can enter into Leisure Suit Larry that unlocks a secret driving game.
  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:24PM (#13016350)
    Video of the sex game, apparently. [gtanet.com]

    Really. No Kidding.

  • Easter egg! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by egoriot (853407) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:24PM (#13016354)
    If the game had to be modified to unlock this, how is this different from nudie mods? Do vulgar variable names left in debugging information also constitute offensive material?

    Either way, one hell of an Easter egg!

  • scapegoat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gclef (96311) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:25PM (#13016363)
    Honestly, I don't see how the ESRB could have known this stuff was there, without hacking every part of every game file. To get this stuff you have to manually change a couple game files. If it's something you have to consciously hack, and can't even get to in the course of (even wacky) gameplay, then it's not really part of the game.

    Yes, the designers shouldn't have shipped the game with that stuff anyway, but that's not ESRB's fault, that's the coder's. Using this to scapegoat the ESRB is stupid.
    • Re:scapegoat (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:42PM (#13016516)
      Thing is, I'm not even sure you can blame the coder. Lots of games have levels or characters or what-not that are "cut" partway through the design process. These parts are "left in" because removing them introduces more QA problems than simply cutting off all access.

      Then we go even beyond that. Many of those "cut" parts are sometimes accessible through codes or bugs. GTA3, for example, had a ghost town that, IIRC, could be reached if the player input a low-gravity code and flew there using the plane. Occasioanlly, you find 3rd person adventure games where the player can fall between the seams of a level to access something intended to be cut.

      Problem is, this is not the case for San Andreas. These mini-games were cut, likely because Rockstar realized the outcry that might occur when the soccer moms of the world heard about it. Again, probably for QA/testing reasons, the games weren't removed entirely, but simply had all access cut.

      Getting to these areas requires modifying system files; we aren't talking about a bug or a secret code, we're talking about a mod here. The uproar is as preposterous as blaming Eidos/Core for the old "Nude Raider" patches or complaining that a spreadsheet program doesn't add correctly after a library has been edited. Don't blame the programmers. Don't blame the ESRB.

      On second thought, just wait a week, and the hurricane or shark attacks will have pushed this "issue" entirely out of the media.
      • The GTA3 example you gave doesn't require any cheats/hacks/mods or whatever. Flying the plane is difficult, but I've gotten very many minutes of continuous flight without entering a cheat code.

        The ghost town is actually the "movie set" used for the introduction (the bank robbery scene) so every time you start a game, that ghost town is actually utilized. In other words, that area wasn't technically cut.
  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:26PM (#13016372) Homepage
    While I think it was probably bad judgement for the creators of the game to put this in the game, it's not like this is really part of the game anyways, kids aren't going to come across the in normal play or anything. I mean, surely any person who would go through the trouble it takes to get to this easter egg would be able to find far more graphic things on the web.
    • by gremlins (588904) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:35PM (#13016457)
      Kids aren't going to come across it because good parents would not let their young children play GTA. It all comes down to in the end that these idiots don't seem to understand that the games cost about $50 each. Kids can't afford this unless parents are giving their kids $50 dollars and paying no attation to what they spend it on. Mabey a teenager with a job could afford it but then again who cares about protecting them from this game.
    • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:00PM (#13016674) Journal
      This is potentially the death knell for the ESRB. They are quite explicit in their direction to companies submiting games - all content, regardless of how it is accessed must be submitted for rating. Indeed, I'm not even sure if the ESRB gets playable versions of the games, they ask for footage of the most extreme sex and violence in the game. (They have guidelines to let you know what's significant.)

      The only enforcement power that the ESRB has is the promise that if you try to trick them they will refuse to rate your games. If they won't rate your game you can't use their trademarked logos on your games. If you don't have a ESRB logo on your game the major retailers will refuse to carry your game.

      So, here's the problem. GTA 4 is going to come out sometime. When it does there will be huge demand for it. If these claims hold true, the ESRB has a choice - either refuse to rate the game, and risk undermining their authority if stores carry the game anyway (and stores have to choose if they want to sell the game themselves, or risk introducing their customers to the competition if they are forced to buy the game on the Internet), or rate the game anyway and lose the only enforcement tool they have. Either way you have a neutered ESRB.

      Why do we care? Because just like the movie ratings, the game ratings aren't in existence to be a form of thought police - they're there to prevent the goverment from creating thought police. Right now creating and selling an unrated game means you don't have access to Wal-Mart; if the government was in control your unrated game would be banned outright. Goodbye indie game scene.

      The ESRB itself is agnostic about what kids are playing at what age - they just want to make sure that no one goes home and is surprised by what they've purchased. If this report is true, that's one hell of a surprise.
  • Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:29PM (#13016400)
    The game is already rated M because of its violence, but sex in said game has the California legislature up in arms? Of all the "bad things" in the game it's the sex that's supposed to have pushed up to Ao?
    • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Siener (139990) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:36PM (#13016463) Homepage
      Beating up hookers: OK
      Having sex with them: BAD
      • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nogami_Saeko (466595) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:04PM (#13016703)
        Ya, North American "morals" never fail to amaze me when it comes to sex and violence...

        Witness professional wrestling - it's perfectly OK to beat someone with chairs and grind their face into barbed wire until they're gushing out blood, surrounded by screaming fans and such, but if you show a little sex, and the public wants you thrown in jail or worse...

        So which is more harmful to kids in the longrun? Watching adults (and I use the term loosely) beat eachother's brains out on TV (something that you hope they'll never do), or watching some sex (which they're going to do anyway)?

        N.
    • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:39PM (#13016489) Homepage Journal
      Darn tooting right, it's a double standard. "Ao" means "Sex Game", e.g. Leisure Suit Larry or those wacky Japanese "dating sims". No amount of violence will put a game there... but a single tit (or any other form of nudity) will force the game there.

      Remember, this is America, land of the Free -- free to show and sell violence, to all, but not sex. (Remember Janet's Superbowl wardrobe malfunction? Lead to a $550K fine [cnn.com], one of the largest ever.)
    • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Taevin (850923) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:48PM (#13016582)
      I've never understood that tendency myself but it is what happens more often than not. It's okay for people to see or participate in (in a game) the wholesale slaughter of people but if a breast is shown for even a brief moment, all hell breaks loose. Activist groups no one has ever heard of and droves of mortified parents come out from whatever rock they apparently live under. And show a penis, especially an erect penis, and you might as well kill yourself because you'll probably be charged with all sorts of sexual deviancy crimes and never see the light of day again.

      But it's okay because it's all to protect the children. Since there is no way a teenager has ever seen these parts and no reason to ever understand sex until they're 30, we MUST stop these horrible sex shows!
    • by JohnPerkins (243021) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:05PM (#13016709) Homepage
      There was a one-page scene in Mad Magazine, I think in the 90s.

      Movie production studio. Guy rushes into the boss's office: "Hey, RJ, I got the ratings people to give (movie) an R instead of an x!"

      RJ: "Great! How'd you do it?"

      Guy: "Remember that scene where Brad takes Michelle home and makes wild, passionate love to her?"

      RJ (looking excitied): "Boy, do I!"

      Guy: "I changed the script. Now he kills her!"
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:15PM (#13016785) Homepage
      OK, forgive me if I've missed the whole point, but i actually played GTA for about 15 minutes last night, and though I couldn't figure out what the actual object of the game was, this was a typical sequence:
      1. Walk up to a random character. For the sake of illustration, let's say it's a female.
      2. Start mashing buttons. Your character begins punching the female in the face, interjecting with expressions like, "You're just a bitch!"
      3. Chase the character around while still mashing buttons. You will win the "fight." She will then fall over backwards, exposing her panties.
      4. Keep mashing buttons. Your character will then begin violently stomping the disabled and compromisingly-positioned female in the crotch, while yelling more epithets.
      5. At some point, the female character will die (become immobile and cease making noise). If you then step back, you will see a pool of blood emanating from the character's crotch area, where you were stomping on it.
      Wait, so where was I going with this? Oh, right -- depicting sex in a video game is bad.
      • OK, forgive me if I've missed the whole point, but i actually played Pac Man for about 15 minutes last night, and though I couldn't figure out what the actual object of the game was, this was a typical sequence:

        1. Walk up to a random character. For the sake of illustration, let's say it's the pink one.
        2. Start wiggling the joystick around. Your character begins running in circles while you shout out "no, run away, you stupid biatch!"
        3. Keep wiggling the joystick. Your character will eventually be eaten, while you yell more epithets.
        4. At some point, some music will play. Then you get to do it all over again.

          Wait, so where was I going with this? Oh, right -- judging a game based on 15 minutes of play time without reading the manual, trying any of the objectives, or even having the slightest idea that there could be a concept for the game is a stupid idea.

  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Evro (18923) * <evandhoffman@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:31PM (#13016418) Homepage Journal
    Nobody young enough to be traumatized by a "sex game" should be playing any of the GTA games at all to begin with. Once again, blame parents.
  • Ridiculous! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quick Sick Nick (822060) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:31PM (#13016419)
    As a parent, this concerns me.

    I don't care if my child carjacks a senior.

    I don't care if he runs over innocent bystanders.

    I don't care if he joins the mafia.

    I don't care if he kills police oficers.

    I don't care if he picks up prostitutes then kills them to get their money.

    I don't care if he takes a golf club and starts clubbing to death pedestrians.

    But he may never, over my dead body, have adult on adult, consensual sex!
    • Re:Ridiculous! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:46PM (#13016555) Homepage

      That's one of things Europeans just can't understand about America. It's acceptable in America to take kids of 12 or 13 to a Schwarzenneger movie where he blows the bad guy up with a rocket launcher while saying something witty. If the movie involves people talking out their problems while there is a breast visible, then it's adults-only fare.

      -B
  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:31PM (#13016420) Homepage
    Clearly this game was misrated! It's rated "M" implying that it's suitable for no one under 17 when obviously it should get the highest rating of "AO" to reflect that no one under 18 should play it.

    THAT EXTRA YEAR MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
  • by smeenz (652345) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:34PM (#13016449) Homepage
    This is so ridiculous.

    Clearly they wrote the code and then decided to play it safe and comment out the line that calls it before submitting the game for rating, replication, and distribution.

    So someone comes along and adds the call to that disabled code back in and it's rockstar's fault.. how ?

    How is this different from the nude models in Sims 2, or the console command to remove the pixelization when the sims are showering in that same game ? Surely EA Games aren't responsible for that ?

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:34PM (#13016450) Homepage
    If you have to actually mod the game to "unlock" this then I don't see why this is the ESRB's business. The game Rockstar shipped deserved the rating it received. The game with the porn in it is a result of modification by the end user and therefore a different game from the ESRB's perspective. You could easily mod quake 3 so that, I don't know, all the textures are hardcore pornography, but that doesn't earn quake 3 an "adult" rating.

    But, of course-- and this incident just goes to show this-- the ESRB isn't actually about allowing gamers to be informed about their purchases, or about allowing parents to responsibly monitor and regulate the video game usage of their children. Those things are just halfhearted side effects. The ESRB is about feeding and indulging hysteria and media hype concerning video games. With this goal in mind, of course, the ability to mod a game to unlock or insert porn becomes very much the ESRB's business.
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:35PM (#13016451) Journal
    The current attacks on the gaming rating system is having its desired effect, censorship. Not yet of the big titles, Rockstar will still fight for its number one selling franchise. But smaller games? Forget it. Unless it is considered a hot property starring $.50, you can bet it will be pulled!

    Because of people like Leland Yee, the American version of Sonic Gems will be significantly different than the Japanese version:

    Sonic Gems Collection US = no Streets of Rage [gamesarefun.com]

    According to GameSpot, who spoke to Sega regarding this topic, the Streets of Rage games will definitely not be in the US version of Sonic Gems Collection. Ready for the reason? Chances are it's going to piss you off.

    It's because Sega would have had to change the game's ESRB rating from an "E" to a "T" to accommodate the inclusion of the somewhat violent titles, and Sega opted to go for the "E" rating instead.

    So, Leland Yee can sit back and laugh, haw haw.

    I know my girlfriend's 10 year old daughter wouldn't be very interested in Streets of Rage, and I seriously don't think it is going to "affect" her if it were in a game. (Oh look, the little cartoon people are beating each other up, heaven forfend!) This particular case affects mostly people like me, older gamers who really want to play old Genesis games that we may have missed the first time around (I never got Streets of Rage III or Bonanza Brothers.) More broadly, it will effect games that aren't guaranteed sellers and cause the whole market to become more homogenized (while still being just as offensive to those of you who hate the ultra-violent games that are a license to print money.)

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:44PM (#13016538) Homepage
    In the movie world, there's the theatrical release, rated by the MPAA, and then, often, there's the unrated "Director's cut", with extra sex, violence, or long boring scenes, depending on what was cut in the first pass. Games may go that way. Would probably increase sales, too.
  • Rating system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:45PM (#13016546) Homepage
    "M" is no one under 17
    "AO" is no under 18

    So to clarify, running over people, shooting people, killing police officers, stealing cars, etc. are all okay if you're 17. Consensual sex, on the other hand, you have to be 18 for.
    • Problem is (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:01PM (#13016675)
      Walmart (and some others) refuse to stock AO titles. Means if your game gets an AO rating it's inaccessable to a large part of the market.

      Same thing with NC-17 ratings on movies. The problem isn't that kids under 17 can't see it, there are plenty of older movie goers, the problem is most theatres will refuse to show it.
  • sex vs. violence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phriedom (561200) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:46PM (#13016561)
    The US has strange attitudes about sex and violence. GTA:SA has (appropriately in my opinion) an M rating. The game allows you, if you choose, to:kill other gang members, cops and innocent bystanders in lots of gruesome ways (including setting them on fire or beating them to death with a big purple dildo); become a pimp; have sex with hookers; visit a strip club and get private dances; and lots of other mayhem. As part of the plot you need to kill or seduce a waitress at a casino who is into bondage.

    But all of that is done without any nudity. Oh, but now it is revealed that if you hack the game you can see a blocky, pixellated bare boobie. Quick, somebody whip up some righteous indignation and start a fedral investigation! 17-year-olds need to be protected from boobies!
    • by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:00PM (#13016670)
      The US has strange attitudes about sex and violence.

      Ho hum. Yes, we know. This point is made a million times every time a sex/violence topic is brought up re: movies or video games.

      Yes, it is stupid. Yes we know about it. No, there's nothing you can do about it except keep pushing the envelope, minding your own business, writing your congressman to complain when they try to take on the role of guardian of your children, and voting for representatives that will pledge not to do so if elected.

      Complaining about this strange idiosyncracy on Slashdot will not change a goddamn thing.

      However, it will bore the shit out of me and anyone else that has read 2+ articles about this topic, which I would wager is 90% of the Slashdot viewers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:47PM (#13016570)
    If you play the game backwards, satan is telling you to be nice to old ladies ...
  • by multiplexo (27356) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:53PM (#13016624) Journal
    politicians such as LeLand Yee (Dickhead, San Francisco) can find the time to bloviate about non-issues such as this while everything else goes to Hell around them. California has huge problems, the educational system is shot, high-tech companies are moving jobs out of the state as fast as they can, it's difficult to start a business there due to the regulatory environment, the infrastructure is decaying and this useless fucktard is whining about a hack to GTA III, a game which isn't exactly kid-friendly to begin with, that allows you to see some pixellated titties.

    Now, perhaps if this was the My Little Pony game and there was an easy hack to allow my little pony to join a donkey show in Tijuana and violate the PowerPuff girls in graphic detail with animations of horse-jism and blood squirting out of Buttercup as she's bent over the back of a chair and held down by the Mario Brothers and introduced to the animal kingdom then I could see some cause for concern. But for fuck's sake, it's GTA III. Leland Yee is a worthless, grandstanding sack of shit and what's amazing is that with this tantrum of his he manages to stand out from the other worthless, grandstanding sacks of shit that comprise the state government of California.

  • by OlivierB (709839) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:05PM (#13016705)
    Please be kind http://from.free.fr/hotcoffee.wmv [from.free.fr]
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:10PM (#13016743) Homepage
    How's the gameplay?
  • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:37PM (#13016966)
    If you watch to the end of the video, you'll see the note saying "Remember, nice guys finish last".

    Hey, that's good -- she should enjoy it too, fellas. I don't see the problem, they're teaching positive sexual relations here.

    ( Perhaps everybody's up at arms because here in America, we do it missionary only, and *only* when we need a baby. )
  • Blame? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:51PM (#13017081)
    Am I the only one mad at Rockstar? Everyone here seems to be blasting Yee (and yes, he is a douchebag), but Rockstar constantly pushes the limits (on what I think are crappy games, but I guess some people find a value in them). They really have to play by the rules, because they're playing so close to the edge it was stupid and rather negligent (not in the legal sense) to leave the game on there.

    Rockstar does crap like this and it makes it harder to get a good game that uses violence to enhances the gameplay (Resident Evil 4, for example). Take their upcoming game on school bullies for example - it's going to make it harder to put out good-but-violent games.

    Whether or not Rockstar targets young kids to buy this games is up for debate (I think they do) but the fact remains that they left the content on the game and anything like that is supposed to be submitted to the ESRB. As gamers we should be admonishing Rockstar too.
    • Re:Blame? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Friday July 08, 2005 @07:02PM (#13017587)
      I think it was more like this:

      Boss: "Hey, did you get the gore level turned up like I asked?"

      Developer: "No, I've been working on this bonus level."

      Game: *squeak squeak squeak*

      Boss: "Take that the fuck out. This is going to ship to the US, and those wankers can't stand sex."

      Developer: "Comment out this line, and this line, and this value can never be true, so it's out. Perfect."

      Or maybe - just maybe - the fact that it's a black pixel fucking a white pixel from behind is what's really giving the Puritans a wedgie. As someone else said, in America it's only married couples of the same race but different sexes that have sex, missionary only, and only to conceive.

      Of course, if you think that sex is only useful for conception, there have been serious omissions in your education.
  • New warning label (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:01PM (#13017149)
    Clearly they should be required to put a new warning label on the game:

    "Caution: Altering this game may affect game play."

    I know it doesn't seem to be altering the game, per se, and it's using built-in but inaccessable content, but really. If using some third-party hack to access game content needs to be rated, why not using some third-party hack to retexture everyone so they're naked? Should all games then get an "M" rating? If this were part of accessible game content, I could see the problem.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:01PM (#13017151) Homepage Journal
    The unspoken assumption underlying all of this brouhaha is that there is something wrong with a game of this type, and especially that there is something wrong with kids and teenagers seeing it.

    I've never been convinced that this assumption is in any way valid. I didn't believe it when I was a kid, and I don't believe it today. It isn't that I think any of this is particularly good for kids, or for anyone as far as that goes. The point is that it is not harmful either. If anything it is neutral, which means it just doesn't matter. It doesn't matter any more than anything else anyone sees. Sex is an ordinary part of life for all of us, not some deep dark secret that must be kept hidden at all costs. Attempting to hide things that are sexually explicit from someone because of their age is a monumental waste of time. Not only are you going to fail for the most part (unless you lock them in a closet), but there is nothing to be gained even if you were to succeed. Of all the things that are a danger to a young person, seeing naked bodies and sex portrayed on a computer screen isn't one of them.

    When I was a kid I used to think that the sex-phobia exhibited by adults was a sham, a put on, a ruse, a pretention that served to obscure their underlying malice towards the young. I reached this conclusion based upon a simple assmption: no one could actually be as stupid as they were behaving.

    I was 30 years old before I finally realized that yes, people really could be that stupid, and that stupidity can even infect an entire culture. Never understimate the destructive power of idiots in large groups.

    Lee
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yusaku Godai (546058) <hyuga@@@guardian-hyuga...net> on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:45PM (#13017468) Homepage
    GTA, which is packed to the brim with blasting heads off with sniper rifles and running over cops, leaving bloody smears gets an M rating. Fine. But as soon as you throw in some cheesy videogame softcore porn it's suddenly horribly offensive and in need of an investigation? Right.
  • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Friday July 08, 2005 @07:16PM (#13017675) Homepage
    This "anti sex" culture in Government will change... Here is why.

    The current generation in the United States has access to the internet. Now, you can find whatever you want on the internet, this should be obvious. Indeed, you can often find sexually explicit material on the internet when you are not looking for it.

    So, now we have both sexes viewing sexually explicit material when they choose to do so via the internet. (I can remeber being excited in the early 80s managing to locate a copy of penthouse, which myself and my friends would stare at in amazement...)

    However, the current generation that is in government was not raised by these standards - they are far more conservative when it comes to sex. Therefore, they choose to ban it to 'protect the kids' or whatever.

    However, as this generation ages, having had more exposure to sex and nudity, and being far more tolerante of it, so will the current policies surrounding it.

    So, yes, the US government is very reactionary to sex, but this will change - it MUST change because the current younger generation just won't tolerate it when they age.
  • by hchaput (544841) on Friday July 08, 2005 @07:26PM (#13017718)
    So, the big deal is not that there is sex in GTA. You can make a game with sex, and you can sell it. Nobody is stopping you.

    The big deal is this: Parents are trying to raise their kids responsibly by monitoring their media... their TV, their movies, their music, and their games. They don't necessarily want to stop their kids from listening to an album, or playing a game. They just want to know what the heck their kids are getting into. Just a little help, like a rating system, and a way to stop kids from getting particularly graphic content. You may not like it, but that's what parents want.

    Like all other media, parents want laws to force game manufacturers to label their games, and game sellers to restrict sales to minors. The game industry has argued in response that we don't need laws because "we can police ourselves" via the ESRB.

    Well, the ESRB blew it big time, although apparently through no fault of their own. This GTA hack is a glaring example of the failure of self-policing. The ESRB was set up to stop parents from demanding media control laws. Now the ESRB has failed in their mission, and parents are going to start demanding those laws. So the ESRB is furiously trying to protect its reputation.

    I work at a large game company (not Take-Two/Rockstar). We are required to reveal all hacks, easter eggs, hidden features, etc. to both first-party (MS, Sony, Nintendo) and the ESRB. There can be no content on the disk that is not reported to these folks, or there a serious consequences. (I'm told they're serious. I don't know what they are.) If Take-Two did not reveal that this content was on the disk, they have defrauded the ESRB. That's bad news for Take-Two and their cash cow. If this content is on the Xbox or PS2 media, they defrauded MS or Sony, who are now liable for the explicit content. That's really bad news.

    That's why this is a big deal.

    Side Note: This is not censorship. Nobody is banning any games. Adults can buy whatever games they want. Restricting sales of adult games to kids is no more censorship than restricting sales of porn or booze. The censorship argument is a Take-Two argument to whip up support for anything-goes game development so that they can continue to make piles of money selling porn to kids.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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