A National Institute on the Media and the Family media watchdog group denounced the maker of the increasingly popular video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" issued both for PS2 and the PC on Friday after learning that graphic sex scenes can appear in the game with the help of a freely available Internet download. The game's plot was already seen as rather controversial to many: its main character seeks bloody vengeance on crime-filled streets, firing automatic weapons and picking up women along the way. However, the Grand Theft Auto series of crime games have proved phenomenally popular over the years. They are credited with kick-starting the driving-and-shooting genre of gaming, later continued by the Mafia and True Crime PC games. After downloading and installing a so-called "Hot Coffee" modification to the game - one of many "mods" available on Web sites maintained by videogame enthusiasts - a new world opens up in which the girlfriends appear nude and engage in explicit sex acts, according the mod's author. The new content fills in what publisher Rockstar Games left to the imagination in the rated M (Mature) version sold in stores. Sexual content of this kind generally earns videogames an AO (Adults Only) rating, which very few retailers are willing to sell.
The downloadable mod was put together by Dutch GTA fan Patrick Wildenborg and is said to unlock mini-games in the recently-released PC version of San Andreas that lets players make game characters have sex. Wildenborg told The Associated Press Friday that his code merely unlocks content that is already included in the code of each off-the-shelf game, the latest edition of the top-selling "Grand Theft Auto" series. "If Rockstar Games denies that, then they're lying and I will be able to prove that", he says. "My mod does not introduce anything to the game. All the content that is shown was already present on the DVD." Rockstar spokesman Rodney Walker, meanwhile, refused to say whether or not the New York-based publisher incorporated the sex scenes into the original release. Meanwhile, Senator Hillary Clinton has stepped into the controversy over sex scenes in the game and wants the US Federal Trade Commission to find out who put the explicit material in the game. Senator Clinton also wants to find out if game stores are doing enough to stop minors getting hold of the game. "There is no doubting the fact that the widespread availability of sexually explicit and graphically violent video games makes the challenge of parenting much harder," said the senator in her missive to the FTC. At the moment, The Office of Film and Literature Classification is planning a thrusting examination into claims that the game's content reportedly becomes sexually explicit if players download and install a mod. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, if the claims were true, then the game would be banned. However, if it is full of pornographic sex scenes then it should not only be banned, but all copies should be burnt and if possible jumped on. The controversy has prompted an investigation by the US Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), which also wants to examine the sex scenes closely.