Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hot Coffee

"Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry, stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie." -William Shakespeare
I am sure you have all heard about the “Hot Coffee” sex scandal of the game Grand Theft Auto: San Adreas. But in case you haven’t it appears that Rockstar Games had a mostly complete “Sex mini-game” in the game. Modders have managed to unlock the content and now the media and politicians are in an uproar about it.

Here is a LINK where you can find a video of Hot Coffee mod in action. Go ahead and watch it so you know exactly what everyone is talking about. It’s all over the news at the moment anyway and now you can tell all your friends that you actually saw without having to spend the money modding your XBox and figuring out how to download a patch to it.

From the wording of the re-classification from the ESRB I get the impression that they are changing the classification because the content is actually included in the original product regardless that it is only accessible by a third party patch (and some actual hardware modification for the console systems) in violation of the terms of service.

"After a thorough investigation, we have concluded that sexually explicit material exists in a fully rendered, unmodified form on the final discs of all three platform versions of the game (i.e., PC CD-ROM, Xbox and PS2)," commented Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB, in an official statement announcing the ratings change.

Vance continued: "However, the material was programmed by Rockstar to be inaccessible to the player and they have stated that it was never intended to be made accessible. The material can only be accessed by downloading a software patch, created by an independent third party without Rockstar’s permission, which is now freely available on the internet and through console accessories. Considering the existence of the undisclosed and highly pertinent content on the final discs, compounded by the broad distribution of the third party modification, the credibility and utility of the initial ESRB rating has been seriously undermined."

What about the Sims 2? Isn’t the nudity of the models also included in the original product only covered up by a pixilated blur effect that can be easily removed with a “freely available” software patch?

Remove the blur with "The Sims 2" nude patch.
In "The Sims 2," Sims are blurred when they use the bathroom, take a shower, or enter the hot tub naked. There is a user made nude patch that will get rid of the blur. The nude patch for "The Sims 2" works for Sims of all ages.
The nude patch does edit the exe for "The Sims 2," but makes a backup in case you want to restore the patch at a later point.
Instead of the nude patch, there is a cheat code you can use to turn the blur on and off. To turn off: intProp censorGridSize 0, to turn on: intProp censorGridSize 8
Download "The Sims 2" Nude Patch
-Courtney Marchelletta From

Grand Theft Auto: San Adreas was already ready rated “Mature” and obviously wasn’t intended for children. It is now rated “Adults Only” (a difference in age 17+ to 18+ but also no more Wal-Mart sales.) The Sims 2 is rated “Teen.” You can read all the ESRB rating details here to see what those actually mean.

So to quote Damion Schuber (scroll down to find his 7/12/05 post), “Clearly, the lesson here is: white suburbanite hot tub sex = good. Black gangsta sex in the hood = bad.” He makes another very good point in the same post "almost any game can be deviant if the player tries hard enough - that’s what interactive MEANS. Wanna commit genocide? Go play Civilization. Wall up your neighbors and watch them collapse, sobbing, in puddles of their own urine? The Sims is right up your alley. On the other hand, if what you really want to do is pretend you’re an EMT saving lives, GTA is pretty much the only game in town."

In the end Rockstar is re-mastering the discs without the offending files in order to get reclassified back to be “Mature” (it’s original rating still saying that it is inappropriate for children) and the modders will change their mod to include those files back in. Nothing really changes except that Rockstar is forced to waste some of the millions it’s made on the sales of the game and politicians will another example of how are protecting the children (did I already mention that the game was already rated inappropriate for children?) I'm sure the whole scandal just boosted the game's sales anyway.

And if after all this you find that you actually like the idea of sex video games, you should try Japanese Dating Sims. You can find them at JList. I’ve never played one myself, 30 minutes of a boring game just to watch 30 seconds of porn doesn’t seem like a fair trade.

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