Wow. That IS big.

The long haul from humble beginnings to mega-media controversy. It’s something I never thought I’d see when I joined up as an editor here at the GTA Network, yet here it is – big bold headlines around the world blasting Rockstar Games and GTA over a rather minor fan-made modification. However, all is not sour here in the world of Grand Theft Auto fandom.

Today, the New York Times published their report covering the drama surrounding the Hot Coffee mod, and even though it’s a few days behind the initial reports, it’s nevertheless a great read – quite possibly the most fair and balanced one I’ve read thus far from the press.

In taking on the Grand Theft Auto series, Mr. Yee was going after a well-known target. “This particular game has been known to include extremely heinous acts of violence,” his statement said, “and now it has been uncovered that the game also includes explicit sexual scenes that are inappropriate for our children.”

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is not intended for younger children. It is rated M, or mature, for players 17 years and older. The national electronics store chains sell M-rated games, but tend to avoid adult-only titles.

While I usually offer some sort of quip or rundown of the articles I report on, I think in this case you should just go ahead and read it yourself. Unlike some of the other reports that have been surfacing around the net lately, the one published by the New York Times gives us a nice look at both sides of the proverbial fence, without catering too much to either side.

Whether the publishers will be held responsible if they wrote, and then hid, the sexually graphic scenes is not clear. The sexually explicit scenes do not appear with a few keystrokes, as happens with software “Easter eggs” – typically names, messages or games hidden in programs. The graphic episodes in Grand Theft Auto cannot be rendered unless a user downloads the Hot Coffee code or a similar program.

Finally, someone acknowledging the fact that you have to make a conscious effort to download the modification (and then install it) to even access the minigame! Not to mention that you then have to go into the game and spend time heading to the appropriate area to be able to play the minigame. Heck, it’s easier for a ten year old to mistakingly browse onto the (other, not-so-political) White House website.

Thanks on behalf of myself to Steve Lohr for reminding the rest of the world of the basics; Grand Theft Auto isn’t for kids, Rockstar wasn’t responsible for the modification, and the content isn’t available in any non-modified version of the game. I’m sure that the rest of the community feels the same way.

Related Links:
New York Times
NY Times Article (You need to be registered to view it.)