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Grand Theft Auto Made Investors Blush

Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, who publish Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, part of the GTA video game series whose claim to fame is armed robbery, car-jacking, general auto theft, murder, and other assorted mayhem, has agreed to pay $20 million to investors who sued the company for including questionable moral content in the San Andreas edition.

What was that questional content, you ask? Perhaps one of the many car-jackings, robberies, or murders?

Nope. It was an "optional" sex scene.

A programmer on the game included a hidden scene, in which the star of the game can accept an invitation for "hot coffee" from a woman. Hot coffee apparently means sex.

When a computer hacker released a key of sorts that unlocked the hidden scene, parents found out and got angry. The company's stock suffered. And then investors grew angry.

So let me get this straight: Parents, who for years have been OK with their kids playing this game series that sometimes features extreme, cold-hearted violent crime, were appalled that the San Andreas version included something so immoral as two animated characters gettin' it on?

And investors, who for years were happy to pour their money into a video game series that sometimes features extreme, cold-hearted violent crime, were upset not over the morality of the sex scene but over the fact that the scene's discovery caused them to lose money.

Hypocrites annoy me.

BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, I've played Grand Theft Auto, and I enjoyed it.

What? I never pretended the game had high moral character!

Coffee's good too.

Follow me: http://twitter.com/jamesburnett.


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Actually, it's not about morality at all it's about responsibility and the way the "hot coffee" fiasco was handled from the get go.

Software developers left an "easter egg" in the software that let the "hot coffee" scenario to occur.

The video game industry is ruled by a rating system very similar to the motion picture industry.

Grand Theft Auto was rated "mature" based on the violence, the car jacking, the killing etc. If the "hot coffee" content had been disclosed to the rating board, it would have garnered an "adult" rating.

Sales statistics show that films and games that notch it up to that next level of rating suffer a significant drop in sales. Yes, there are some parents that actually read the label and care.

But Rock Star games lied when the "hot coffee" hack was made public. They claimed that third party sources actually hacked the game to add the sex scenes rather than just unlock content that the developers made. As I said this was a blatant lie and exposed the fact that Rock Star did not abide by the game rating system.

So, the developers got caught with their pants down on this one and the investors have every right to be pissed about the company flaunting the rules of the rating system and handling the bad publicity with outright lies.

James B.

Wavemancali, you take all the fun out of standing on a soapbox.


Only when you write about topics that I have very detailed knowledge on :)

Jeni Hill Ertmer

Between this post and your other post about the robbery at the church, about all I can say is "Go figure!" Try as I may to comprehend what kind of logic exists in some people, there are still things -like this and the people getting robbed in a church -of all places -that occur and really leave me scratching my head.

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