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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- More Smutty Than Even Previously Thought?

Meet Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. If you've never heard of it, it is one of the most popular-- and most adult-oriented-- video games out there, rated M for "blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs."

Well, there's quite a hubbub today in the gaming community over a graphic (and secret) sex scene found in the game.

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The Boston Globe:

Enough with the endless controversy over violence in video games. Instead, let's talk about sex.

Raunchy, full-contact sex -- the sort of thing you'd see in a porn movie, only with cartoonlike, computer-generated images.

According to some software-savvy game geeks, you can find this kind of seamy excitement hidden inside one of the world's most popular computer games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

As if Grand Theft Auto lacked for controversy. It's already the computer game that critics of the industry love to hate because of its relentless brutality. GTA has inspired a spate of legislation in such places as Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., all aimed at keeping violent games out of the hands of minors.

Basically the controversy boils down to whether Rockstar Games (and the Take 2 Interactive coding crew) included the pornographic scene in the original version, or whether computer coders merely hacked the game to add it. It appears as if the explicit scene was included in the original game.

Either way, it is hidden from the typically computer-illiterate gamer. But how many kids today are not computer whiz material?

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The game already carries an M for Mature rating, but:

...the presence of such a scene could well get the game rated AO (Adults Only). That kind of rating could cause major retailers to shove the game out of sight under the counter -- or maybe to not carry it at all.

Grand Theft Auto is big business, too:

Last year the video game industry raked in $7 billion in U.S. sales alone, with the controversial yet highest-selling title, "Grand Theft Auto," taking in $2 billion in sales.

Two billion. For one game!

It is because of, not in spite of, the graphic violence and sexual content, that the Grand Theft Auto video game series has been so successful.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) is taking extraordinary steps to prevent minors from renting or buying these games.

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New York's Chuck Schumer (D) and California'a Leland Yee (D) have both prioritized cracking down on video games.

Democrats across the country, typically proud of their permissiveness/tolerance toward cultural decay/progress, have determined that targeting video games is a political winner with the suburban mom crowd. Hillary Clinton got into the act recently, as well, arguing that Grand Theft Auto is part of a:

"...silent epidemic of media desensitization that teaches kids it's OK to diss people because they are a woman, they're a different color or they're from a different place."

Meanwhile, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the industry's self-policing watchdog, is looking into the "Hot Coffee" modification and the game itself.

Ultimately, parents, not the government, must take charge of screening the content their children consume. The video game industry almost always classifies its games with appropriate ratings; however, if and when the industry fails to police itself, it will inevitably face the wrath angry parents (via vote-seeking politicians). Warning labels on products are an important tool for parents, but they have to mean something to be effective.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 July 2005 10:56 AM

Comments

GTA:San Andreas is not the only game I know of that has taken the sex theme a little to far. Last years horribly disappointing Fable allowed players to woo and marry men or women. Hell, you could even commit bigamy. It also allowed the player to have sex with their spouses, but always blacked out the screen when the act was taking place (sound effects were all that remained).

There is also nudity in this years God Of War (which I highly recommend to anyone).

All in all I am not all that worried about sex in video games. Parents really need to take the lead in monitoring what their children buy. I know that the scene in GTA is hidden, but honestly no parent should allow their children to play GTA in the first place. Leave the games like GTA to adults with sociopathic tendencies.

Posted by: Micah at July 12, 2005 05:09 PM

WOW!...I can see that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is keeping a stiff upper lip about it!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 12, 2005 05:24 PM

Hey, it's the next Clintonian Sister Souljah moment.

Posted by: Mick Wright at July 14, 2005 05:19 PM