It seems every week, the biggest news to come from the video game industry involves Grand Theft Auto. It’s annoying for the gamer to deal with when there are far better things to be discussing, but politicians and so-called “watchdog” groups never seem to have enough. So, here we go again, another backlash, this time about the hidden content in the latest entry in the series, San Andreas.
Supposedly, on every commercial copy of the game, there is game code that involves a rather explicit sex sequence. You cannot access it without downloading the necessary mod. In other words, it was never intended to be seen and was likely cut by the developers when they had second thoughts. However, the code is still on the disc, and that has critics bashing the company for being irresponsible and ESRB for not being strict enough.
Actually, the critics are getting their names in the spotlight because they have nothing better to do. The sequence in question is admittedly explicit, yet the critics have apparently forgotten that the game also involves shooting cops and hookers. That doesn’t seem to matter now, and since those complaints fell on deaf ears, they’re going to point to a sex scene that a small number of people are going to go through the trouble to find.
This has nothing to do with “the children.” The game is rated appropriately. The AO rating, one above the game’s given M, is rarely used (and never on a console game). Does GTA deserve it? Possibly. Would it make a difference to the millions of people who own this version and will buy the next? Not at all. The ratings gap between M and AO is one year. Supposedly, a 17-year old can handle the gore and violence; only an 18-year old can handle the sex.
It’s a ridiculous argument to say games like this are targeted towards children. Putting this game on CNN every day and having politicians rip it apart once a week make a kid want this. If your child is playing ANY version of this game and you didn’t know about it, you deserve to have child protective services start an investigation in your home. If you have discussed the difference between reality and fantasy with your child and feel he is adequately prepared to play, thank you. You’re raising a well-mannered child and (gasp!) are talking to him.
Besides, is this sex scene some huge deal? No, it’s not. Certain people want you to believe it is. If you know where to look, you can find a video of the sequence. It’s widely available already. It’s so ridiculous and stupid to say this is the point where video games draw the line. Nothing there is worse than an R rated film. Genitalia aren’t even visible.
For once, people need to stop believing what the 5 o’clock news tells them. If your 8-year old child has GTA: SA and manages to download a mod to see a brief sex scene, that’s your fault, not Rockstar’s. If you feel that your child is old enough to understand GTA: SA, this doesn’t make a difference.