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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stop Buying Video Games, Lady 

You all may remember four years ago when I had some serious internal struggle about whether or not to buy Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. You may also have heard about the "Hot Coffee mod" in that game, which allows hackers to unlock explicit sexual content (which the game does not otherwise feature). Perhaps you know about the class-action lawsuit which has been filed against Rockstar Games – for allegedly defrauding the public by not making the existence of hackable content known.

In a New York Times article about the lawsuit (and why it's not attracted more outraged plaintiffs), one mother explained how she and her innocent child had been hideously deceived by Rockstar:
While adults who bought the game for children said they were upset over the sex scenes that they did not know about (and had not seen), interviews conducted by lawyers showed the adults also did not know basic characteristics of the game.

For example, Brenda Stanhouse, who bought the game for her son, 15 years old at the time, said in a deposition that she did not know that a player in the game could "stomp to death innocent pedestrians."

She also did not know that the game included prostitutes, that players could kill policemen or that "a player in the game can kill innocent pedestrians and steal money from them."

"I'm aware that there is killing in the game," Ms. Stanhouse said in the deposition. "I wasn't aware of the stealing."

Ms. Stanhouse was asked whether she would knowingly buy for her son a game that allowed him to kill police officers.

“Well, I think he does have games with violence,” Ms. Stanhouse said, adding that she would “possibly” buy such a game — though not one that contained sex scenes like those in San Andreas.
"Timmy, what is this disgusting sex doing in your policeman-murdering video game? I never would have suspected such a thing from a game with such a wholesome-looking cover! You're not stealing in that game, are you?" "No, mom, just killing people." "Whew!"

"Orcs Gone Wild" comes from The Tech Guide's article about this affair, which is pretty good reading.
ANY game can be modded. Think about this. Would the ESRB change the rating of a pokemon battle game if there were a nude patch/mod for the pokemasters? Assume you see a view of the pokemon battling with the pokemasters in the background just outside the ring. A parent seeing a nude lady instructing her man-bear-pig to tackle the pikashlong is sure to freak out and complain - but this is in no way different from the child downloading pornography. It would require the player to download and install the patch, changing the game.
I think that post deserves some kind of award for coinage of the term "pikashlong".


And now for something completely different – a cat playing the piano. (You don't wanna know the YouTube videos I considered posting. Just be thankful that good taste won out in the end.)

Today I'm listening to: Braintax!