Video game's secret sex scenes spark outrage

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Saturday, July 9, 2005

Cover photo of the video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Source: Wikipedia

The National Institute on the Media and the Family (NIMF), a media watchdog group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota issued a "nationwide parental alert" today. This came after finding out about hidden sex scenes in the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The game also has been criticised as being too violent. This is not limited to San Andreas: the entire series has come under fire for its content, mostly the last two games, Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

The sex scenes come in the form of a "mini-game" in which the player controls the male with the task of maximising his cohort's "excitment." The hidden game in GTA: San Andreas is not advertised or easy to find but can be unlocked by modifying the game using a program which has been widely available on the Internet for weeks. But for NIMF and the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the organization which rates video games and rated GTA: San Andreas 'M' for Mature, the hidden mini-game came as a surprise. As such, the ESRB has launched an investigation into the matter.

To unlock the hidden sex mini-game on the Playstation 2 requires an Action Replay or Gameshark. These devices cannot transfer new content to a console but can enable content already contained on the game disc. The presence of this minigame on an unmodified retail version implies that it was created by the game's creators rather than hackers or the mod community.

Rockstar Games, the game's publisher, refused to comment on whether the sex scenes were inserted by their programmers. Rockstar Games has also said, "We thoroughly support the work of the ESRB, and believe that it has an exemplary record of rating games and promoting understanding of video game content. We also feel confident that the investigation will uphold the original rating of the game, as the work of the mod community is beyond the scope of either publishers or the ESRB."

In the game the character may have girlfriends, and at a certain point in his stats he can entertain his girlfriend with some "coffee". However, the "hot coffee" modification unlocks the secret sex scenes after the two share a drink.

The sex scene portrays oral sex and coitus, but genitals are not shown. A video of the secret sex scene can be found here[1] (warning: contains mature content).

It's interesting to note that modifying a video game's source code is a violation of the software licensing agreement. Rockstar announced that it may pursue legal proceedings against Action Replay, whose device enables the hacking of the console version of San Andreas. When it comes right down to it, its much easier (and quicker) to find free adult content on the internet, or download pornographic movies from a P2P network, than it is to crack a video game.

Rockstar Games may be subject to a Mandatory Recall.