Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
On Running Feuds
Hot Coffee, Cold Shower
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 15, 2005   |   Episode 69 (Show Archive)  


Now I ask you, how often do you have sex with your clothes on?
Unless you've been spending too much time trying to get CJ out of Los Santos, chances are you've heard about the Hot Coffee controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. With Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) demanding a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation and the media talking about it on a daily basis, things aren't looking good for whomever was responsible for "hiding" what might be considered porn in the best selling game of 2004. But do these politicians and newsmakers have a point? Or are they talking about something they have no real information on.

For those who aren't familiar, Hot Coffee is the name of a Grand Theft Auto mod that allows you to access "interactive" sex mini-games scattered throughout the sprawling world of San Andreas. Critics of the game allege that Rockstar North left these offensive segments in the game, which in turn led to hackers to uncover them and share it with the world. I'm not here to figure out who's telling the truth or who's responsible, instead I feel like San Andreas needs a close friend to help defend it. And since nobody else is stepping up to the plate, maybe it's time to highlight a few facts these politico's are missing.

Let's face it, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is one of the most controversial games of this generation. It allows you to do just about anything your mind can think of, from running red lights all the way up to killing on-duty police officers. The stories are ripe with plenty of thugs, all kinds of offensive slang, and all kinds of other things most parents would find morally offensive. But this is what gamers expect from Grand Theft Auto, it's one of the reasons it managed to sell over ten million units in such a short amount of time.

GTA's violence is okay just as long as CJ doesn't get lucky with any of the women!
Knowing how far Rockstar is willing to take this series, why should anybody be surprised that they (allegedly) were going to include a sex game? After all, CJ is the type of guy who will lie, steal, and kill ... why wouldn't he be the type to have a little sex on the side? Between the various girls he courts through his adventures you would think that at least one of them would give it up to the guy. Right?

Yet politicians like Hillary Clinton have decided that CJ getting a little action is just too much for them to handle. They've called for an investigation into the incident and the desire for federal game regulations. Yet it's clear that most of these political activists have never played the game nor seen the clips of the Hot Coffee mod in action. If they had played the game they would know that out of all the things CJ does on his quest, having sex with various women is probably the least offensive.

For one thing, it's hard to actually tell whether or not CJ is really having sex with these women. Sure they are going through the motions, but how many people do you see having intimate relations with their pants on (okay, besides Forrest Gump)? Even at the highest resolution it's nearly impossible to tell which body parts are which, and there are certainly no shots of his penis. If this were a porno, as these politicians have called it, then it would be the first G-Rated porno.

Let's face it, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is not the most attractive game on the market. The characters are made up of crude polygons and don't animate anything like how you

I can only hope that Hillary Clinton doesn't decide to run for the Presidency in 2008!
would expect them to in real life. Even the best looking aspects of the game feel horribly out of date when you compare them to the graphics of Halo 2 or God of War. Yet even with ugly graphics and rudimentary animation, politicians like Hillary Clinton seem to think that this is the same as watching a hardcore XXX porno.

For the sake of argument, let's assume these sex scenes were left in the game. Let's figure that after you've spent your time shooting down rival gang members, throwing Molotov cocktails at cops, and killing prostitutes, you really want some hot coffee ... and some female attention. So what's the big deal?

If you're a fan of Hollywood movies you should already know that R-Rated movies often have gratuitous sex scenes and nudity aplenty. Heck, the prospect of seeing bare breasts and attractive actors have pretend-sex is enough to get many teenagers to pay $10 to see your movie in the first place. When it comes to the arts there has been a long history of sexual content, most of which is not considered pornographic. Be it music, poetry, or even paintings, sex and art go hand in hand, and video games are no exception. Sex is a part of life ... and certainly not something that is left only to adults.

So what are these politicians afraid of? They seem to be concerned that teenagers younger than 17 will get their hands on the game, figure out how to hack their way into these off-limit sections, and see something they've never seen before. But to anybody who's used the internet lately (and since you're reading this online, I can only assume you're one of them) you already know that it's not too hard to see something even more offensive than polygonal breasts. Heck, even searching for squeaky-clean Disney stars like Hilary Duff will turn up more than a few pictures of group sex and fellatio. So why doesn't the government federally regulate movies and the internet?

And why stop there? Let's go even further. Let's assume some 15-year old (who wasn't supposed to be playing the game in the first place) does see this content ... what's that going to lead to? Do you think he's going to be more likely to want to have sex thanks to seeing his idol CJ do it in a video game? Not likely. Teenage boys are among the horniest sect of our population, they certainly don't need a video game to give them any ideas. And I certainly don't want to meet the boy who is turned on by these ugly polygonal women.

Of course, none of this should be surprising to anybody who remembers the Janet Jackson Superbowl debacle back in 2004. After an uninspired performance with *Nsyncer Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson's top, um, malfunctioned for about a second. For a full second everybody watching the Superbowl on TV managed to catch a glimpse of Michael Jackson's sisters sagging middle-aged breast. Yet even though it was only one second long (and extremely blurry), the media and politicians alike jumped on it like it was the first boob they had ever seen. For months they talked about raising the fines and investigating how it happened.

Fans of God of War already know it has a bonus sex game too ... too bad Kratos has grown tired of sex!
When it comes to sexuality Americans simply don't know how to act. Considering the population growth of this country it's obvious that people aren't squeamish about performing the acts, but seeing it on TV or in a video game is apparently too much for most patriotic Americans to handle. Yet when it comes to the non-stop violence we see on the news and in our entertainment the same groups barely bat an eye. For whatever reason (certainly one I have never been able to fully understand), violence is okay while any hint of sexuality is beyond reprehensible. While few would argue that sex is a natural and enjoyable way to pass the time, it seems like to suggest it be in a video game or TV show is too much for people to handle. They throw up their hands and yell, "what about the kids?"

A better question might be, what about the parents? With its ultra-violence and mature rating why would any parent let their child play this game in the first place? This is a game that is made by adults for adults to play. It deals with mature subject matter and is rated accordingly. To suggest that because there is a sex scene in the game it must be pornographic, means that everything from the Sopranos to Eyes Wide Shut must be considered the same way. Yet anybody who has actually seen these San Andreas excerpts know that you can be more stimulated by a PG-Rated movie than this supposedly Hot Coffee.

The PG-Rated Ice Princess is more stimulating than anything I've seen in San Andreas (not sure what that says about me)!
But even if you do buy into the pornography angle, you can't deny that it is not actually part of the game itself. To access these areas you actually have to hack the program, which is definitely not the right way to use Rockstar's product. The game itself does not feature anything like what was described by Senator Clinton, the game that Rockstar released features no graphic sex scenes in it. If you want to access these bits you literally have to change the code ... which is certainly not what Rockstar had in mind.

The critics contest that Rockstar was not forthcoming about what was in the game when they presented it to the ESRB for rating. Yet since these mini-games are not actually part of the story (and cannot be accessed without hacking the software), Rockstar did nothing wrong by not showing them to the rating board. It's not the responsibility of the game maker when people hack their program and decide to play the game in a way that was not intended.

In the coming weeks and months much will be made about this Hot Coffee and who is to blame, but before we all go crazy and point the fingers we should take a step back and accept that what wasn't in the game isn't nearly as offensive as what was. If you're offended by ugly polygonal women and not the non-stop violence towards cops and anybody else that stands in the way, then maybe it's time for you to figure out a few things about yourself. There is nothing in this game that is any more offensive than what you could see in your run of the mill R-Rated film, a fact that these politicians should learn now before they get voted out of office.


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