ESRB investigate San Andreas sexual minigame

So by your definition, Manhunt which was much more realistic in its violence and offered a lot more ways of “neutralizing” your victims, deserves an AO rating and an ESRB outcry?

There were a lot of people pissed that Manhunt didn’t get an AO rating, but even then, Manhunt’s violence doesn’t reach the level of involvement that he mentioned.

Anyone who plays this minigame had to go digging for it by modding the game. It’s not something that is meant to pop up if you put in the right code or perform the right in-game action. I don’t see how there’s even an issue here. It’s like accusing Rockstar of shipping an unfinished product because you can cheat device your way into an empty section of Liberty City. There is no issue here, IMO, the ESRB is just flexing its so-called muscles so they can later say they were properly taken aback by the revelation. I’ll be shocked if there’s more to this than an attempt at plausible deniability.

That’s like saying that an easter egg on a DVD shouldn’t fall under the jurisdiction of whatever. If the content is on the disc, I don’t think it matters if you see it by playing for 500 hours or by changing some values in a text file. Either way it’s still in there.

I don’t think the issue is whether you needed a 3rd party tool or not, but it’s whether the code was in there and just had to be unlocked, or if it had to be introduced by a modder writing all the code for the minigame.

It’s not like an easter egg at all. There was no way to discover it unless you used a third party tool. Even if the code was there, I don’t find Rockstar at fault at all.

Tranquility, I’m not sure if you’re talking to me, because if you are, you’re so clearly missing my point that I’m not sure I want to call attention to the knee jerking up and crunching into your face.

First of all, I didn’t offer a “definition”, whatever you mean by that - I explained the difference between the detail of the GTA:SA sex minigame (which I’ve played) and the acts of violence in that game. One is extremely detailed (which is NOT the same as “player choices”), the other is relatively abstract.

Secondly, I specifically distanced myself from stating any opinion as to whether the ESRB was “right” or “wrong”. For what it’s worth, though - I think they are wrong in pursuing an action based upon commented-out code. I think they are right, though, that the GTA:SA sex mini-game is clearly pornographic, and that violates their own internal ratings policy.

To be honest - I could care less what your precious games are rated. It’s the sort of hopless geek squabbling that’s irrelevant to me. I’m inclined to think children should be able to buy whatever they want, with the only limiting factor being what a parent is willing for their kid to have access to and what a merchant feels comfortable selling to a minor. But if you can’t see a difference between the minutiae of GTA:SA’s sex mini-game and the abstraction of capping a guy in GTA, it’s like you haven’t played one or the other.

My point was that GTA:SA already HAS sex and violence in it, so that’s not what has the ESRB in a tizzy. What has them in a tizzy is that killing guys in GTA is pretty hands-off, where as the sex mini-game makes you do everything manually except press UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN-LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-RIGHT-A-B-A-B-START to cum in the girl’s ass at the end. Replace CJ’s dick in that mini-game with a butcher knife and I think the ESRB would still be voicing the same objection.

Oh no, children might see boobies?! Little girls even, might see boobies!?! Obviously this is an issue of national security! Our precious little girls are at risk of seeing boobies (while beating up hookers and killer rival gang members and complete strangers).

It’s not an “easter egg,” it’s junk code that people have pulled out of the game and looked at. If you want to see it, you have to go get it. If the game could suddenly switch to porn mode, that would be something, but the only way to be exposed to this minigame is to actively find it using outside tools. You can turn The Sims into porn, too, and that’s only rated T. Just like they say on the intro screens to the multiplayer games, “Game experience may change during online play.” In the case of GTA:SA, it certainly does, if you want it to.

On one hand you can argue that Rockstar should have removed it, but on the other, removing a sizable chunk of code can cause problems. Who knows if they had the time to debug the whole thing if they removed the minigame entirely? Plus, nobody ever found it on the PS2 version, so maybe they underestimated the industriousness of the (extremely lonely) PC gaming community. I think it’s a non-issue, and this “investigation” is just the ESRB flashing its tailfeathers to deter Congressional predators.

RE: My precious games - I don’t like Manhunt. The only fault I found with your argument was that you said that the investigation by the ESRB was because the San Andreas minigame was a “minutely detailed gameplay mechanism”. Well, the killing in Manhunt was a very detailed gameplay mechanism - you can shove glass into people’s eyes, choke them with plastic bags, cut their throats or their bellies, snap their necks. Yet there was no similar outcry by the ESRB.

I didn’t miss the point of your argument, I just didn’t disagree with the rest of it.

I thought it was “doggy style” not anal.

Edited to appease Rywill’s tender sensiblities.

I like how you put that in quotes, like doing it doggy style is some totally foreign colloquialism to you.

And who says “ass sex”?

I agree with you that this is obviously not the same as an Easter egg. On the other hand, I still think it’s fair to hold Rockstar responsible. This isn’t a mod that someone else made, like nude Sims skins. This is code that Rockstar itself wrote, duplicated, and sold. Let’s assume–although I have no way of knowing whether this is true–that they genuinely didn’t intend for anyone to find it. It still seems like it’s (a) their fault and (b) reasonable for the ESRB to want to reevaluate the game based on it. I mean, they’re the ones making the game. It’s incumbent on them to know what they’re releasing, isn’t it?

On one hand you can argue that Rockstar should have removed it, but on the other, removing a sizable chunk of code can cause problems. Who knows if they had the time to debug the whole thing if they removed the minigame entirely? Plus, nobody ever found it on the PS2 version, so maybe they underestimated the industriousness of the (extremely lonely) PC gaming community.

I dunno, that sounds like excuses. If you decide that part of your game needs to come out because it’s too hardcore, you make sure it’s out. You don’t take a half-assed shot at it and then go “Well, whatever, I’m out of time, let’s ship it.” Or at least, if you DO do it that way, you’re taking the risk that someone will get it working and you’ll be in trouble.

If a game DVD has a BLAH.DAT in some directory that’s nothing but a renamed RAR containing an avi of Paris Hilton blowing a dude, does it matter that you have to actively work to find and view it? I think it doesn’t. It’s still in there and you can get to it if you know how. Just because you have to download WinRAR to decrypt it wouldn’t exempt the game company from responsibility.


After it was revealed for the PC version and it once again takes a third party tool (that a tiny percent of GTA: SA owners have).

Anyway, Rockstar denied that it included the code at all:

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey
It’s so overblown

It’s all over and done

New information says that the modder only unlocked code already in the game. This contradicts Rockstar’s official statement.

Looks more and more likely that San Andreas will be given a new AO rating. Rockstar would probably reprint edited discs, though.

I don’t really think that was new information for anybody that thought about it for 5-10 seconds. I think we have to assume that Rockstar figured they would either

 a) get away with it cleanly or 
 b) stir up an enormous controversy and potentially have to make some sort of retraction.  

They were probably hoping for b.