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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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  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:24PM (#13016350)
    Video of the sex game, apparently. [gtanet.com]

    Really. No Kidding.

  • by typobox43 (677545) <typobox43@gmail.com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:25PM (#13016362) Homepage
    You mean like this [wikipedia.org]?

    "Pro tempore or pro tem is a latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English."
  • Re:Uhh.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jarnis (266190) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:27PM (#13016381)
    Idiotic people whining about a non-issue?
  • 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.
  • by sandman935 (228586) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:35PM (#13016454) Homepage

    The game is rated "M". That ass clown, Yee makes it sound as if the game was rated "E".

    Think of the children!

    He's a twit.

  • Insightful? (Score:3, Informative)

    by glrotate (300695) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:37PM (#13016481) Homepage
    The ESRB rates what's submitted to them. Excel wasn't submitted hence no rating.

    The issue with GTA:SA is that it was submitted and given an inappropriate rating. It recieved a MA, Mature Audience, and, __based on the ESRB's own published criteria__ ,it should have gotten an AO, Adults Only.
  • by j-beda (85386) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:47PM (#13016571) Homepage
    There seems to be one here [mybittorrent.com], but I have not tried it.
  • Re:Ridiculous! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zarhan (415465) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:47PM (#13016572)
    I wonder if this is such a big deal over in Europe where the attitudes towards sexual content are much more relaxed.

    I do recall hearing that when GTA 3 was released, the German version had certain "violent" features removed (I think it was the ability to kick or ground stomp NPCs that had been nocked down).


    One good example is Carmageddon 1 or 2.

    In US: No cuts.
    In Britain: All the pedestrians (that you can run over) are zombies instead of humans.
    In Germany: All the pedestrians are robots (and squirt oil when ran over).

    Of course, just about the next day of release a patch appeared to restore original content.

    Also, in Fallout 2, children are missing from the streets so there isn't any child-killing (actually, they are still there, just invisible, so a stray shot could do some damage...)

    So, in US, they cut sexual content, Germany and UK they cut violence. Luckily, these days the Nordic countries are a region of their own in game releases and usually get completely uncut content.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:48PM (#13016577)
    http://files.gtanet.com.nyud.net:8090/gtasa/videos /hotcoffee.wmv [nyud.net]Coral Cache Version (I averaged 63KB/sec, right before I submited on this post).

  • Re:Stupid (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:50PM (#13016589)
    Gah! America needs to grow up, seriously. Consensual sex scenes are far less bad than the violence in the rest of the game. America does seem to get hung up on sex a lot.

    Here in Europe they seem to realize that sex is part of life and that hiding it doesn't seem to do anyone any good at all. I see stuff here on daytime TV that I'm sure they wouldn't allow in Australia/America. Oh wow, there are some tits in an ad, big whoop, take a walk outside or on the beach sometime...
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:58PM (#13016657)
    Try going to the OED. It's "pro tem". I *do* trust the Oxford English Dictionary.

    Also, it's "a lot".
  • by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Friday July 08, 2005 @04:59PM (#13016663)
    The grandparent was asking a perfectly valid question, he didn't state any mistruths or anything similar. I don't see why he should be modded down for it.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:01PM (#13016681) Homepage
    http://www.esrb.org/esrbratings_guide.asp#symbols [esrb.org]

    M is defined as "Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language."

    AO is defined as "Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity."

    So, how exactly does GTA:SA violate M, and why should it be in AO?

  • by OlivierB (709839) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:05PM (#13016705)
    Please be kind http://from.free.fr/hotcoffee.wmv [from.free.fr]
  • Re:Correcting myself (Score:3, Informative)

    by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:13PM (#13016767)
    The difference between AO vs. M is purely perception.

    No, it is not. The ESRB has clear guidelines on when a title must be AO, with clear criteria for meeting that standard. Full frontal nudity, for example, is always supposed to be AO (partial nudity, including toplessness, is not necessarily AO unless it's during a sex scene). The ESRB doesn't publicize these criteria but I've attended several of their meetings on content ratings when I worked in the industry, and I've even still got a few of their guidelines packets lying around...

    There'd be no reason to even have an AO rating if the difference was merely perception.

    Because of these differences, most stores will not carry AO titles, in the same way most video stores do not carry X-rated DVD's. It's just more trouble than it's worth for the stores; they'd have to have a walled-off section for a very small selection of not-very-popular games, they'd have to deal with a lot of negative publicity and the constant threat of government action. (The industry itself deals with this anyway, but individual stores have no reason to want to get involved in it.)

    I don't know if this mini-game would have caused SA to get an AO rating; unless there's nudity along with the sex, I really do doubt it. I've only seen a few screenshots and the ones I've seen have all had the characters fully clothed, just as they are in the rest of the game. I'm not sure "simulated" sex, which is what fully-clothed sex pretty much by definition is (whether performed by real people or digital characters) is enough to get the video game equivalent of an X rating.
  • Re:Better Quesiton (Score:5, Informative)

    by endy64 (891510) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#13016842)
    It's called "Hall of Tortured Souls", here are some obligatory screenshots: http://www.atomic-eggs.com/windows/exc.html#a2 [atomic-eggs.com]
  • Re:Better Quesiton (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr@b[ ]oefr.org ['hto' in gap]> on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:34PM (#13016934) Homepage Journal
    FWIW, there's actually some theories that it's built on the Doom 95 code base...

    Also, that's Excel 95, not Word (to correct the grandparent's post)...
  • by Tired_Blood (582679) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:45PM (#13017029)
    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.
  • Re:This is bull (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:48PM (#13017058)
    Games with such sexual content are supposed to get an AO rating as far as I remember, not a mere M.

    God of War for PS2 has nudity throughout the game and also an (offscreen) sex "mini-game", it's also one of the bloodiest games I've ever seen.

    The rating? Mature (M)

  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:49PM (#13017066) Homepage
    There is a pinball game in Word 97. You can find a number of hidden office things here:

    http://einsteinsbreakfast.com/officegames.html/ [einsteinsbreakfast.com]

  • 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
  • Re:This is bull (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cutie Pi (588366) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:05PM (#13017181)
    Well aren't you special.

    I've known a lot of nerdy guys in their mid-20's who hadn't even kissed a girl. Partially because of this, their self-esteem was essentially zero. Of course, as many girls will tell you, a low self-esteem is not very attractive, thus perpetuating the state of not getting laid for these poor guys.

    I for one have dated a couple virgin nerds and subsequently deflowered them. I found that once they got over their issues, they were quite spectacular in bed. Non-nerds can't compete in that arena, IMHO.
  • MIRROR (Score:4, Informative)

    by BasharTeg (71923) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:07PM (#13017203) Homepage
    Here's a mirror to the video:

    http://basharteg.com/hotcoffee.wmv [basharteg.com]
  • MIRROR (Score:4, Informative)

    by BasharTeg (71923) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:11PM (#13017237) Homepage
    Here's a mirror of the video:

    http://basharteg.com/hotcoffee.wmv [basharteg.com]
  • It's even worse... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:27PM (#13017343)
    Listen to Kevin Smith's commentaries on Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

    You can't even *mention* any details about gay sex without being given an R.
  • Re:This is bull (Score:2, Informative)

    by tsioc (787745) on Friday July 08, 2005 @06:41PM (#13017448) Homepage
    try to remember... sex IS a physical act, it is not love. Love and sex are two very different things. They can compliment each other, and indeed are much more enjoyable together, but you CAN have one without the other.
  • Re:Correcting myself (Score:4, Informative)

    by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Friday July 08, 2005 @08:15PM (#13018002) Journal

    Assuming the donwloaded video is a real depiction, there is certainly nudity. Starts off with nude woman giving a blowjob (we don't see any of his naughty bits). He grabs her head and starts pushing on it, then she gets up and wipes her mouth.

    Then there's a scene with them having sex - apparently, you control the rhythm with the up/down controls, and can change between 3 different positions. Again, the woman is nude, the man is fully clothed. There's an "excitement" meter, which when it peaks out results in the woman crying out and "expressing her enthusiasm", with some hokey feedback saying "That's the spot! Remember, nice guys finish last. You the man, oh yeah, you the man"

    You think that would make it AO?

  • Re:Explain this (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eccles (932) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @12:01AM (#13018934) Journal
    I'll back it up.
    http://www.coolnurse.com/teen_pregnancy_rates.htm [coolnurse.com]
    "The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the western world, despite the fact that our teens are not more sexually active than Swedish teens, or Canadian teens, or British teens. Why? Because we don't educate about birth control in sex education classes, we don't discuss it at home, we don't give teens good access to it, and we don't advertise it in our media. Other countries do, and they are rewarded with low rates of teen pregnancy and teen abortions."

    Or http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_teen_sex.html [agi-usa.org]
    "Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries--twice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and nine times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan."

    Amsterdam is in the Netherlands.

    Google "teen pregnancy rates" and you'll be inundated with evidence that the original poster is correct.
  • Re:Explain this (Score:3, Informative)

    by dangitman (862676) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @12:31AM (#13019062)
    Yeah, like Africa. Sure, much less problems with STDs and teen pregnancy.

    WTF? Many parts of Africa are very conservative and religious, and have many superstitions and taboos about sex. I'd say Africa is the LAST place I would think of that is "open" about sex in the way we know it. France, Sweden, and Australia would be better examples.

  • Re:Explain this (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eccles (932) on Saturday July 09, 2005 @09:22PM (#13023725) Journal
    I believe this because I research, and find stats that support my position. You find a possible reason and take it as definitive, without taking the time to find out it can't be.

    Utah? A grand 1% of the U.S. population. Mormons? 1.9%. Not enough to make a dent in U.S. statistics. Moreover, my cousin just married a Mormon, in her thirties, no kids and no plans to have one -- they're not a coven of rapid breeders.

    http://www.parenthelpcenter.org/teen_problems/teen pregnancy [parenthelpcenter.org]
    "The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually.

    Nearly four in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20--nearly one million a year. Eight in ten of these pregnancies are unintended and 79 percent are to unmarried teens."

    79% is very low?

    Oh, but what about Utah? Read http://health.utah.gov/rhp/pdf/1997report.pdf [utah.gov]
    "Twenty years ago, in Utah, most teen births were to married couples. Today, over half of births to
    women ages 15-19 occur outside of marriage, a figure reflecting national trends."

    And hell, how many of those 18-19 year old married people got married because they got pregnant? I don't consider that "evil," I do consider it a recipe for divorce. Moreover, again from the Utah gov't report:

    "Fathers in cases of teen pregnancy are generally not themselves teens. Infants' fathers were 20
    years of age or older for 42% of births to mothers ages 15-17 and 72% of fathers were 20 years of
    age or older for births to mothers ages 18-19 between 1995 and 1997."

    So we've got older men taking advantage of teenage women. That is getting closer to evil...
  • Re:Better Quesiton (Score:3, Informative)

    by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss.Sean@gmaMENCKENil.com minus author> on Sunday July 10, 2005 @11:19PM (#13030113) Homepage
    Actually, I was reading an old EGM issue today where they say the ESRB takes 50 volunteers, usually non-gamers, and shows them a VIDEO of the worst parts of the game.The testers never actually touch the game. They just see the game's naughty parts and vote on a rating.
  • Re:Better Quesiton (Score:2, Informative)

    by bedroll (806612) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:06PM (#13033585) Journal
    It's a little more involved than that, for either the PS2 or PC version. Even after modders figured out how to do it for PS2 it's still more than "put memoty card in, turn on game, pause, take out memory card, unpause".

    I googled for the PS2 hack and found this (first hit):
    http://www.gta-sanandreas.com/forums/lofiversion/i ndex.php/t42730.html [gta-sanandreas.com]

    I downloaded the file linked in there to get the readme.txt and here's an exerpt:

    [3] Usage for PS2 Owners:
    Open your GTA San Andreas save using PS2 Save Builder (available from www.ps2savetools.com), right click on the file ending in .b (there may be several, if so repeat on each file you wish to alter the censor level for) and select Extract and save them somewhere. DO NOT CHANGE THE FILENAME! Once you have extracted the files delete them from within the save by right clicking on them and choosing Delete (note: only the files you extracted earlier should be deleted). Do not close PS2 Save Builder yet.

    Now simply drop the files, ONE AT A TIME, onto this program, choose the new censorship status, uncensored obviously, and then simply hit the 'Set status' button. Repeat for each file you extracted earlier.

    Now simply drag and drop all your changed files onto PS2 Save Builder and they will be added back into the GTA save. Save in your desired format and transfer back to your PS2.

    Please note: this process will alter the timestamp of your save when you transfer it back and this affects the last saved date shown in GTA: SA and cannot be avoided. IMPORTANT! PS2 owners cannot use the following devices/software for transfering the GTA saves: nPort, execFTPs, Xport (PS2 disc version 2.22 or below), Sharkport (PS2 disc version 2.22 and below), Action Replay (PS2 disc version 2.34 and below) - DO NOT USE THESE PRODUCTS WITH YOUR SAVE

    Keep in mind that this is after someone figured out how to modify the saved game. It requires a saved game modifier. The PC version isn't much better. Someone had to figure out what to modify in the main.scm file, or use the same method as the above link to modify the saved game.

    Again, I submit that I very highly doubt that anyone at the ESRB would've been able to do this without significant help. Help meaning that Rockstar would have to create the hacks for them to use and then provide similar instructions to the above. This is a ratings group, not a bunch of geeks like the /. crowd.

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