NEWS - Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More On The San Andreas Scandal

Rockstar, Media Group on San Andreas Scandal The "brew"-haha over the so-called "hot coffee" modification to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas continues, with a media watchdog group now issuing a warning to parents about the game -- and developer Rockstar finally commenting on the allegedly unlockable pornographic content. The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) issued a warning to parents this week, concerned that the "hot coffee" mod was already being mentioned on "popular teen websites." The organization, following a similar statement from California Assemblyman Leland Yee last week, claims that the ESRB failed to rate San Andreas appropriately. "It should be clear to everyone by now that video games do influence young people," said NIMF founder Dr. David Walsh. "While San Andreas is already full of violent behavior and sexual themes, the pornographic sex scenes push it over the edge. The ratings board has launched an investigation to determine if it was mislead into issuing a ’Mature’ rating instead of the ’Adults Only’ rating. There may even be legal ramifications since most states have laws restricting the sale of sexually explicit material to those eighteen and older." The Institute, led by Dr. David Walsh, seeks to "help families and educators to maximize the benefits and minimize the harm of mass media on children through research, education and advocacy." The organization is known for its annual "video game report card" on game content. Patrick Wildenborg, a 36-year-old living in the Netherlands, recently told the Associated Press he was responsible for the "hot coffee" mod, which -- either through simply unlocking content, or altering the game itself -- allows San Andreas players to participate in explicit sexual scenes. While Wildenbourg claims his mod only reveals what Rockstar had hidden in the game, Rockstar Games is now officially denying that it included the scenes in San Andreas, whether hidden or not. "So far we have learned that the "hot coffee" modification is the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes in the official version of the game," reads Rockstar’s official statement. "In violation of the software user agreement, hackers created the ’hot coffee’ modification by disassembling and then combining, recompiling and altering the game’s source code. Since the ’hot coffee’ scenes cannot be created without intentional and significant technical modifications and reverse engineering of the game’s source code, we are currently investigating ways that we can increase the security protection of the source code and prevent the game from being altered by the ’hot coffee’ modification." Rockstar says it is currently cooperating with the ESRB in investigating the source of the "hot coffee" content, and is confident that a "Mature" rating is appropriate for San Andreas. Games rated "Mature" are intended for players age 17 and older.


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