As some of you may know, Rockstar Games has once again found itself the target of scrutiny from media and family groups.
This time around, it's due to a sexually-explicit mini-game that's hidden in the company's latest best-seller, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Dubbed the "Hot Coffee mini-game" by some, the content was thought to be hidden away on the game disc and inaccessable to players. However, last month, a clever hacker was able to gain access to the mini-game on the PC version of the game and view its contents. The hacker then posted information on how to unlock the content to public message forums.
We at PSX Extreme chose not to report this news last month, because at that time the news only pertained to the PC version of the game, and was only an issue for those able to implement the mod. Now we've learned that the content is accessible in the PS2 version of the game, and so has every other media outlet… and the proverbial isht has hit the fan.
We're not going to post images of the scenes in question here, but suffice to say, the content is VERY steamy. One scene shows an unclothed woman performing an oral sex act on C.J., the game's main character. A later scene shows C.J., with his clothes on, engaging in sexual intercourse with the woman (still unclothed) from a variety of different camera angles and positions.
When news of the "Hot Coffee" mod for PC first broke, a few media outlets reported on it, enough to get the attention of family lobby groups… to the point that the National Institute on Media and the Family issued a warning to parents and asked Rockstar to address the issue.
Dr. David Walsh, Founder of the N.I.M.F. had this to say–"We are calling upon Rockstar Games to come clean with the ESRB, the nation's retailers, and especially America's parents," he said. "What is your involvement in the production and distribution of pornographic content in your game? What do you know about the 'Hot Coffee' scenes, and what are you doing to inform the public?"
Soon after, the ESRB issued a statement announcing that they would investigate the matter.
In response, representatives for Rockstar issued a statement suggesting that the hackers had created the content in the mod, saying that "In violation of the software user agreement, hackers created the 'hot coffee' modification by combining, reconstituting, and altering the game's source code. Since the 'hot coffee' scenes cannot be created without intentional and significant technical modifications to 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."
With that statement, it looked as if the fervor was about to die down. After all, between the ESRB's investigation and Rockstar's assertion that the content was ONLY accessible in the PC version of the game and ONLY after major modification, it would be unreasonable to call for a recall or re-rating of the game if there was no way to view the content by normal everyday means.
Or so we thought, until around 1PM on Wednesday, July 14th, when information was posted by another hacker revealing that the "Hot Coffee" mini-game content could be accessed on the PlayStation 2 version of the game–using a readily available off-the-shelf Action Replay MAX peripheral.
So now it seems that anyone with a PC or PS2, and a little file know-how or an Action Replay MAX, can access the X-rated content on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas disc.
Obviously, that ease of access flies in the face of Rockstar's initial statement on the matter.
Senator Hillary Clinton must think so too, because it was revealed late Wednesday that she will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon to call on the Federal Trade Commission to launch an inquiry into Rockstar Games and the San Andreas "Hot Coffee" mod.
A statement distributed by the Senator's office this afternoon sets the scene, stating that "Following recent reports revealing that the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has graphic pornographic content which may be unlocked by following instructions on the Internet," a recent statement distributed by the Senator's office says, "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will hold a press conference to discuss legislative solutions to keep inappropriate video game content out of the hands of young people."
Clinton, an outspoken critic of violence in the media, will be flanked by an all-star cast of pro-family leaders, including David Walsh, president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family; Mary Bissell, fellow at the New America Foundation; and Kiersten Stewart, director of public policy for the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
That's the situation as it stands. We'll keep you updated on further developments.