Popular teen game now rated Adults Only

2004’s top selling video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, already allows players to blow out cops’ brains, slit hookers’ throats, and pick up prostitutes. But it gets worse; players can now actively participate in virtual sex.

A few months ago, Dutch video gamer Patrick Wildenborg discovered hidden code in the PC version of GTA: San Andreas and unlocked part of the game creators had locked. In June, he went public with the “Hot Coffee Mod,” a gaming modification that can be downloaded off the Internet which unlocks the hidden code and allows players to participate in a completely new element: interactive sex.

GTA: San Andreas, a best selling video game, has always allowed player-controlled character CJ to hook up with a variety of women. If a date goes well, CJ’s new girlfriend invites him to her house for “hot coffee.” The game’s camera remains outside while CJ enters the house, but muffled noises from inside leave no doubt about what “hot coffee” really means.

When the “Hot Coffee Mod” is activated, the camera follows CJ and his girlfriend into the bedroom for a controllable sex mini-game.

President of the National Institute of Media and the Family, David Walsh, comments, “Everybody has known about the hyper-violence in Grand Theft Auto since it was released… What we discovered…is that there are explicit pornographic scenarios in which the player literally directs the pornographic scenes--becomes an actor in porn scenes of explicit sexual activity.”

After the release of the modification, Senators Hilary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Lieberman called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation in order to determine whether the game’s content warranted an “AO” (Adults Only) rating, stricter than the “M” (Mature–17 year old) rating the game originally carried.

After intense pressure from politicians and media watch groups, the video game industry changed GTA: San Andreas’ rating from “mature” to “adults only.” Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy immediately pulled all copies of the game from their shelves nationwide. Most retailers will not stock adult games.

GTA’s producer, Rockstar Games, has stopped making the current version of San Andreas and is working on a new, more secure version in order to keep an “M” rating. The company also promises to offer an update that would make the “Hot Coffee” hack useless in the PC version of the game.

GTA: San Andreas was 2004’s top console game, selling more than 5.1 million copies in the US after its release in October. A recent Gallup survey found that 71% of teenage boys have played one of the ultra-violent games in the Grand Theft Auto series. Survey results also found that boys who played these games were twice as likely to get into a physical fight as the boys who had not played. Labeled this year’s worst game for kids, San Andreas received a zero on a 1-5 “Family Friendly” rating scale ( Tom Loftus, columnist for MSNBC, stated, “Parents who buy this game for their children should have their heads examined.”

This time, game makers have really gone too far. Parents, pull the plug on GTA: San Andreas, regardless of whether your child accesses these sex scenes or not. It’s time we send a clear message to the gaming industry that we will not tolerate their corruption anymore.

Take action: Write to stores such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target, commending them for maintaining a “no adult rated games” policy and encourage them to not even let remade versions of GTA: San Andreas back on their shelves. Pray that this incident will cause the ratings board to be stricter and more thorough in their review of video games. Pray also that parents and teens will be so disgusted with the perversion of the gaming industry that they will stop buying games containing indecency. Plus, forward this article to a friend to help make others aware.

MTV, Plugged In, Associated Press, BCC News, Media Family

Parent's Television Council, Plugged In, Zap2it, Entertainment Tonight

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