Edit: Oooppps >..< Just noticed I had the curl going up instead of down. Little too late to do anything about it now, but I'm going to go get creative with a needle and some thread.
Grand Theft Auto.. gah.
For those of you who don't read gaming news on a regular basis....
Read this. It's pretty major, in the long run
Rockstar games included a "Hot Coffee" sex minigame in the coding of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The minigame was disabled, and you can't normally activate it in the game. However, if you use cheat codes, you can "hack" into it, and play it. Apparently, you can use an Action Replay to activate it, or whatever.
Anyway... assuming that minigame was not in the game, GTA:SA received a "Mature" rating from the ESRB. Once it became widely known that the game was on the disk (even disabled) the ESRB chose to re-rate it "Adults Only." This has caused many chains such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Gamestop to choose to take it off the shelves, as they do not stock AO games. Hilary Clinton is pissed, and trying to turn this into a new platform for herself. Hey Hilary, partied with Tipper lately? And it gets worse. Instead of Rockstar owning up to the mistake and being responsible about it, they're claiming that someone hacked into their game, and that the sex minigame was never there. (It was originally found on the PC version, by someone who was poking around in the code) They claim that the M rating was appropriate because there was no minigame, and someone was playing with their code. However, it's been discovered that the code for the minigame is actually ON THE DISK, and can be accessed with an Action Replay on any of the systems the game appears on :P Now that's just stupid. It's like saying you arn't responsible for a flame war on some stupid BBS somewhere because your little brother hacked into your account and posted under your name.
Anyway.. the ESRB is standing strong on the issue, saying they don't care what the hell you put on your game. You're going to get rated for the content that's on the game you submit. Hacked or not. I completely agree with that. The reason the whole thing has been such a big deal, though, is the fact that the game came out in OCTOBER, and it's just now being re-rated due to the contend found with cheat codes.
But yeah... the ensuing shitstorm is rocking the gaming industry right now. Because it's well.. stupid. And a few politicians noticed it. And made it a big deal. Gee, thanks.
The topic was brought up recently on a community I watch, and this basically summs up my feelings on the issue:
I support the fact that the ESRB re-rated the game. I think that they are trying really hard, specifically with GTA:SA to pay attention strictly to content, and not the circus that surrounds the game. However.. because of the re-rating, people are going to look back and be a lot more critical of the ratings given to past games.
The whole "This thing wasn't in our game, it was a hack," argument, IMO, is complete bullshit. I would have expected them to hand out a few programmer's names and sack them for publicity instead of passing off such a silly lie, but whatever. It's nice that a company is willing to cover an employee's back like that. (Unlike Gamestop.. phhh.. hahahaha) It's like people saying they saw sex& penises& whatnot in various Disney movies.
I pretty much agree with the stock pull, though. It seems pretty cut and dried to me. The game had content that should have labeled it AO. It was labeled M because Rockstar was fucking around. Since those stores sell M games, GTA:SA was sold. Now that it's been properly re-rated, stores, in turn, are pulling it because it does not meet their criteria for game sales. I don't really see the big problem about the pull. Like you, though, I wonder what kinds of bills are going to come up because of this, though. IMO, the ESRB does a good job. They mention things on even T rated games that I'm not sure I would have noticed. (Like alcohol references in an RPG, etc). Even if it's one peice of dialogue, it's listed on the back, and it does a good job of telling the parent exactly what is in the game. Unfortunately, the fact that Clinton and people like her are trying to keep the stupid people safe from themselves will end up hurting the industry in the long run, if only for the fact that the vast majority of the population has become too lazy to think.
Isn't that sad? People in this country have become so complacent that they would allow governments to censor their entertainment so that they don't have to think about the content. They just have to accept that it's under the government's special guidelines, and sit back and enjoy what's being fed to them. I really respect the ESRB, because it shows the gaming industry's efforts to regulate themselves. They don't censor the content. They just tell you exactly what's in the thing you're buying, and let you decide for yourself. If you look around on Gamespot.com some more, there's an interview with one of the ESRB people. She says that after they have passed a rating for a submitted game, gaming companies sometimes decide to edit the content of the game themselves to fit under a certain rating. And I think that's just fine, too. The companies that actually make the game are deciding what the finished product is like. They arn't being forced to cut anything. They could release it with a more severe rating if they wanted, but they chose to re-submit later. Part of this, admittedly, is due to the large corporations like Wal-Mart, that refuse to stock that product, but that doesn't stop games from being made with more adult content.
In any case.. it really pisses me off to think that the re-rating is being turned into such a big deal because parents don't pay attention to what their kids are playing. Or, in some cases, refuse to take charge of their responsibility to raise a child. I can't even tell you how many times I've warned parents of the content and rating in games like Grand Theft Auto and God of War, only to hear them say things like "Well, he plays it at his daddy's house, so I guess it's ok." or "I don't really like the content, but he really wants it."
If you don't like what's in it, take the game away. Burn it. Don't waste your money on somthing you think is a bad influence in your child's life. You have that kid's ass until he/she is 18. Take the opportunity to give them some fucking morals.
I don't think I'm cut out for motherhood.. but god fucking damn it. I could have slapped some of these people.