ESRB investigate San Andreas sexual minigame

It’s the American way.

“Son, watch me put this here horse down. Don’t close your eyes now. It’s gruesome, but you gotta grow up sometime.”

blows horses head to bits with a shotgun

“Now you’re a … what the Hell? Are those boobies over there on that naked woman? QUICK COVER YOUR EYES SON! Woe is me, my little boy has been corrupted by the wiles of the opposite sex! Profanity! Blasphemy!”

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.[/quote]

Not that I don’t think you have plausible possiblities, but the official comment from the modder is, in fact, new information.

I agree that the official comment from the modder is new, but I don’t think it imparted any new information. Consider the link posted above that explains that the code was found in the PS2 version also. Consider the fact that this is the description of the mod on every download site I have seen: “With this mod you will be able to unlock the uncensored interactive sex-games with your girlfriends”.

Fileplanet takes it a few steps further: “Rockstar build[sic] all this stuff in the game, but decided to disable it in their final release for unknown reasons. And now this mod enables these sex-games again, so now you can enjoy the full experience.”

You’re right, though – the official quote from the modder is new.

Exactly what minutiae would have to be included in capping a guy to make it the same level of realism, Crypt? It’s not like there’s a whole lot more to shooting a gun than loading, pointing, and pulling a trigger. The fact that the sex minigame is more involved doesn’t really figure in; in real life sex is more complicated than shooting a gun too. If your argument hinges on the fact that the violence is abstracted simply because there are less actions required to perpetrate violence, well, I hate to tell you, but that’s pretty much the same level of abstraction as the sex minigame. No, you don’t have to disassemble your gun, makes sure it’s well oiled, and reload your clips bullet by bullet, but neither do you have to make small talk, compliment the girl’s hair, and tell her that, no, those jeans don’t make her look fat.

It really does come down to the fact that our society (that’s ours, not necessarily yours) just can’t cope with the idea of sex being displayed anywhere near as graphically as violence.

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.

I sincerely doubt it. If you flip it around, and CJ just ran into the house, you hit up/down/left/right for oral/anal/missionary/reverse cowgirl, and you finished off with the requisite face shot regardless, the action would be just as abstracted as the killing, and the ESRB and everyone else in the world would be up in arms, just the same.

Lost of discussion about it here also:

The discussion isn’t the content of the game, but more about or they should have told the ESRB those scenes were in the game.

To me it seems like Rockstar/Take2 should have told the ESRB what was in the game. As I understand it, a company tells what their game is, show pictures of their worst scenes (even if they’re hidden/Easter eggs or what so on) and then gets a rating? Right? So with those scenes they should have gotten an Adults Only rating but got an Mature rating.

If so, isn’t this the same thing as when a film company puts in a scene that would bump it to the next age rating, after they had it rated? Say the Lord of the Rings did something like that… everybody would be on their tail and rightly so if you ask me!

If it is like this, I see it as a heavy violation and makes the ESRB worthless as a way to see what content a game has. (If the ESRB knew of this its even worse)

If Rockstar/Take2 did it like this I say give them a fine so heavy that it takes away every bit of profit they make of the extra publicity and then some!

This is true. Hidden but accessible.

Probably true.

It’s not the same at all. Everyone would see the addition to the movie. Rockstar did, in fact, remove the sex minigame for 99.99% of people. If the files were not modified, it would be impossible for anyone to see it. Rockstar did, in fact, show ESRB all the content in the game accessible to the player. This is especially true for the PS2 and Xbox versions.

Even if the code was there (which it seems like it was), I don’t think they’re guilty at all. It still requires a third party tool. It doesn’t particularly matter how much effort the modders had to put into it.

Okay Liz. You’ve now used the term “third party tool” three times in this thread. Youuuuuu’rrrrrrrreeee…OUT!


Based on the information so far, it seems that Rockstar put the content in the distribution. It is physically on the media even though it isn’t directly accessible. It takes a mod to unlock it, but it’s there.

Alert! Now entering dangerous analogy waters…

So if the latest Harry Potter book shipped with Hermione nudes in the binding that required you to use a razor blade to slit the binding to get at it, would that mean the book is still suitable for kids?




I have some (rather extensive) experience with the ESRB from the publishing side. Here’s my take:

  • the sex mini-game content was produced and planned for release. I believe this to be true because it’s consistent with some of the other gameplay elements of GTA:SA, and it continues with R*'s MO of pushing the envelope.

  • upon submission to the ESRB, the content was deemed unacceptable. Now, you may or may not know this, but the ESRB doesn’t actually play any games. They only take videotape submissions (and if you don’t submit a videotape, they charge you $250 to make one!). Raters view the submissions, which should contain examples of the most extreme content in the game, and provide a rating based on this voluntary, publisher-submitted content. My guess is that the ESRB told R* to cut the mini-game or be subject to an AO rating.

  • it appears as if quite a bit of content was cut from the final release, but dribs and drabs of code were left behind. People have dug around in the code and found references to gameplay elements that didn’t make it into the final game: Rampages, Assassinations, Drug Buying/Selling etc.

  • The ESRB knows about unlockable content, but has been unable to do anything in the past. For example, look at Sacred. In Europe, the game shipped with blood and a 12+ rating. In North America, to get a T rating, the game had the blood disabled. However, it was simply a matter of unlocking the blood through a “patch.” While the ESRB’s official statement is that such unlockable content is still rateable, they have done nothing in the past when publishers tried to sneak one by, except maybe send a threatening warning letter.

So, I think R* disabled the “Hot Coffee” mini-game, but left the code dormant intentially. They knew someone would find it and unlock it… or quite possibly someone leaked the key for unlocking the content to the modding community (wouldn’t put that past them). They gambled on a couple points: a) the publicity would be huge, and there’s certainly no such thing as bad PR and b) the ESRB would maintain the status quo, stick their collective heads in the sand and not do anything about it. Worst case scenario, they would have to go back into the code and do a better job of cleaning out the Hot Coffee remanants and rerelease a new run of discs. It was basically a no-lose situation for them.

Any statements from R* about this being “reverse engineering” are simply spin.

That doesn’t make any sense. For starters, if Rockstar had the sex minigame in place when it first showed SA to the ESRB, why would the company now be denying that it had coded it? That’d be pretty dumb, if there was videotaped evidence to the contrary.

Also, I don’t really buy the “let’s leave it there and hope someone unlocks it” argument. For starters, Rockstar didn’t need to court any controversy; it’s not like the company was afraid SA wasn’t going to sell. I think Rockstar chose to to tone down SA from VC voluntarily in a lot of ways, hence no rampage missions, more racial diversity in light of the Haitian controversy from VC, no more ice cream/drug sales, not as much gruesomeness in killings (heads don’t fly off and the necks spurt blood, as in VC), etc. The sex stuff was just part of the overall trimming.

Anyhow, the amount of controversy this is raising in the US is just crazy. Being able to shoot passers-by and cops in the head with a variety of high-powered weaponry is cool, but cheesy simulated sex isn’t? America, fuck yeah!

Yes they do. M4 or AK 47 headshot will do this in SA. The PC version does anyway.

The only people who know about the videotaped evidence (if there really is any!) would be the R* Product Manager and the ESRB. Neither party is coming out looking very good right now. It would behoove them both to play up the “we didn’t do it” angle publicly, while negotiating a backroom solution that makes 'em both look good in the end.

Alternatively, perhaps this content was never submitted to the ESRB. Perhaps R* realized it was too extreme prior to their rating submission. Perhaps the plan all along was to snow the ESRB and make this a sooper-sekrit easter-egg thingy. The only people who really know work at R*, and they ain’t talkin’.

I dunno… I did a mission the other day that equipped me with a shotgun, and I recall blowing off heads from redneck cops. Lots of blood there. Plus… have you taken the Combine for a spin? :shock: :lol:

They may have toned down the potential racial controversy, but sex/drugs/violence is just as prevalent in this rendition as in any previous GTA game, IMO.

Totally agree with you on this one, Brett. It’s the eternal US moral conundrum.

Yes they do. M4 or AK 47 headshot will do this in SA. The PC version does anyway.[/quote]

Does on the PS2 as well. So does the sniper rifle. AND you can also take a shotgun, shoot somebody through the front windshield of their car and watch them slump to the ground. Not that I spent hours perfecting that particular technique, or anything.

God of War has a sex minigame.

Who cares that it requires a third-party tool? It’s their content, which they came up with and coded. It’s not a mod or someone creating a new skin for a model or whatever. It’s Rockstar’s own content, which they knew was in the game (albeit disabled) and which they sold, while falsely maintaining that it was suitable for teenagers. By your logic, they could fill half the DVD with hardcore pornography as long as it takes Windows Media Player to access it. Give me a break. The issue is what content they are shipping, and whether they told the ESRB about all the content, or didn’t. We can agree or disagree about whether the rating system makes sense–FWIW, I agree 100% that the “Violence OK, Sex Super-Bad” standard is stupid–but that’s the rule they agreed to.

That’s true how is that not AO? (I’ve never played)


Random stoned guy in San Andreas: I smoke because it gives me knowledge!

Your using hyperbole. There is a distinct difference in playing an unedited disc in Windows Media Player and modifying the code. The code was modified. It doesn’t matter to what extent it was modified. Because the code was modified, the tool that does it is a “mod.”

Well, the content they are shipping doesn’t have an accessible sex minigame. So why would they mention it?

Anyhow, the amount of controversy this is raising in the US is just crazy. Being able to shoot passers-by and cops in the head with a variety of high-powered weaponry is cool, but cheesy simulated sex isn’t? America, fuck yeah!

It’s not crazy at all.

Would you rather be playing Custer’s Revenge '05?