If you’re a gamer, you already know all about the whole Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas “Hot Coffee”/hidden sex flap. It’s lame. I’ve seen the video. It’s less than sexy, sort of humorous but, to some very small degree, does actually add some element of enhancement to the game. But, no, it’s not for kids. Then again, I’d think the “Mature Audiences Only” rating would give that away right up front. I mean, it’s supposed to only be sold to kids 17 and older which, if I’m not mistaken, is the same age limitation for seeing R-rated movies which contain just about as much sex as the modified GTA. Oh, and let’s not forget, the only way you can even see any sex in the game is if you install a separate piece of it, known as a “Mod”, in order to unlock it. So it’s not like someone can accidentally stumble upon it – you have to actually actively change the physical code of the program to make it work.
What really, really kills me, though, is the grandmother who is suing gamemaker Rock Star because of the hidden, locked sex stuff. She bought the game – remember, rated M for Mature – 17+ only – for her 14-year-old grandson. If you’ve never played Grand Theft Auto, here’s the synopsis of just about every title in the franchise: You start out as a low-level hood who must steal cars, kill enemies, bang hookers, deal in drugs and, basically, contribute to the general rotting of cvilization in order to work your way to the top. I’m serious when I say it’s a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s anything but pure, clean family fun. I mean, the whole basis of the game is to steal cars and kill people. There’s a hell of a lot of violence in this game. I currently only own the first in the recent spate of them – GTA: Liberty City. I’ve never gotten past the first island because I’ve enjoyed wandering around stealing cars and killing and mugging random people way too much. It’s a fantastic way to get out some aggression without actually doing harm. The weapon you start out with is a baseball bat, which you then use to beat your enemies (or just random pedestrians) into a bloody pulp.
So, is this an appropriate gift for a 14-year-old? Hell no! It’s not an appropriate gift for a 30-year-old! (though I’d happily accept a copy of San Andreas) So how could this grandmother, who clearly had to have grabbed the retail box, featuring a scantily-clad buxom hooker on the cover, possibly think this was innocent? And, in that same regard, why is she so outraged about the sex? What about the violence? Does she not want her grandson to reproduce?
I heartily disagree with the re-rating of the game, and I’m all about Steven Johnson’s open letter to Hillary regarding the witch hunt she started over it. But this is indicative of a far greater problem in our society, one which we seem to have struggled a lot with recently. Namely, why are scenes of sexual behavior – even just plain nudity or a flash of a female nipple – treated like like societal cancer when graphic, gruesome scenes of violence, a la CSI, are given a complete pass? Why is procreation bad and destruction ok? It’s just puritanical insanity which is about as old as America itself (public executions were great entertainment in the 1600s, but show so much as an ankle and it’s your head in the noose). You’d think we’d have progressed further as a nation.You’d be wrong.