Editorials and Features
Article by: MrCHUPON
Editorial: An Adults Only Tale [Written 2007-06-21]
Then one day, a game called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from developer Rockstar and publisher Take Two fell into Essy's lap. The content was similar to its older brothers, Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Violence, thugs, gunplay, mayhem. Surely a "mature" game if Essy ever saw one. Like your typical Rated-R film, this Grand Theft Auto game wasn't necessarily appropriate for young bloods to play without caution or parental guidance. Yet, it was critically acclaimed a work of solid videogame design and quality gameplay. The subject matter was harsh, but one of sound mind could handle it without a problem.
The "M" rating got affixed to San Andreas' box, courtesy of - who else? - Essy, and the world continued to turn. Until "the hax0rs." With a software modification, fans of the PC version of the game were able to activate a hidden sex minigame that showed the game's protagonist, CJ, fornicating with a lover. Both avatars had their clothes on, but the minigame was complete with exposure to the happy mating dance that nature channel veterans are so fond of.
Oh the horror, oh the indecency! At the very least, the God of War videogame kept the hot and heavy visuals of its sex minigame - which was a secret but easily-accessible part of the overall game - OFF the screen. Sure, female characters all over the game - including the ones in the humpty dumpty dance - bared their breasts in the open for all to see. But it was polite enough to keep the activity hidden!
Shamed was San Andreas, for not long after the PC modification came to light, more "hax0rs" managed to unlock this very same content on the Playstation 2 version of this game. CJ's amateur adult film was available for 40 million people to see! Fame and fortune were his! So much attention for a clothed non-sex scene - CJ must have been an Oscar-worthy actor.
But instead of the fame and fortune CJ got, Essy received infamy and misfortune. Essy wasn't doing its job! Essy didn't catch this malicious content. Essy was clearly shirking its responsibilities. How on earth could it have not seen the hidden, disabled content that was only accessible through code-altering means? And now, San Andreas had to be re-rated to the abominable "Adults Only" rating until San Andreas could be fixed.
Things were about to get worse when The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - also from Take Two under the "2K Games" label - produced similar results. More PC "hax0rs" found a way to introduce horrible, horrible nudity into its game. Just as with San Andreas, Essy took the heat for not understanding how to account for user-made content. With dragons breathing fire down Essy's back every moment of every waking hour, catching flak from just about everyone, Essy was in a rut.
Like a child being spanked for doing something "wrong," Essy had to proceed with caution. Should it mis-handle another situation, it would be just one more strike against it. The public would have no more of its irresponsibility, its ineptitude to do its daily job carefully, its complete lack of thought for the children - the future of our world.
Not long ago, Take Two surfaced again with another Rockstar-developed project: Manhunt 2. A game featuring gruesome kills and an apparent sadistic streak, sequel to a game that basically boiled down to a murderer fighting for his life on camera as a psycho was filming a snuff picture (which was Rated M for Mature by the way), Manhunt 2 was dangerous territory. Essy had truly learned from its past mistakes this time. No longer would the children suffer, and no longer would the pundits throw flaming daggers at its back. No, Essy would do its job RIGHT this time!
Essy would issue Manhunt 2 - out of the gate - with an Adults Only rating, a rating that effectively rendered Manhunt 2 un-publishable by the only platforms that it could appear on.
Essy was just watching its back, see? Essy's critics, in their infinite wisdom, succeeded in making sure that the Olympic-sized pool of videogames was safe for everyone to swim in. Essy's critics, you see, are the heroes of this story. They shone the guiding light for Essy to follow - the path of righteousness. Because of these critics' - these politicians, these lobbyists - because of their efforts and their constant pressuring, Essy was able to do its job.
Because imagine the horror of the parents of the world having to do Essy's job for it.
[Note: Obviously this "tale" doesn't cover all the bases, nor does it discuss in-depth the problems surrounding the whole Manhunt 2 fiasco. You can contribute to the discussion by hitting up our mailbag where your thoughts will be read on our podcast. Be the first to chime in.]
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