A pair of senators are incensed over pornographic content "hidden" in the popular videogame "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and are demanding action from either the government or the game's maker.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Hollywood Reporter) -- A pair of senators are incensed over pornographic content "hidden" in the popular videogame "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and are demanding action from either the government or the game's maker.
The content can be unlocked by using the "Hot Coffee" code modification widely available on the Internet. By installing the modification, gamers can have their drivers find different girlfriends in the game who will have a "cup of hot coffee" -- a euphemism for sex -- with them.
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., have expressed concern with "Hot Coffee" as Clinton announced that she will introduce legislation to help keep inappropriate videogames out of the hands of children and asked the Federal Trade Commission to determine the source of pornographic and violent content appearing on the "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" videogame.
Lieberman asked Sam Houser, president of Rockstar Games Inc., the game's maker, to submit the game to independent analysts to determine if the content was put in by its designers or is the work of hackers, as the company contends.
Rockstar spokesman Rodney Walker said the "Hot Coffee" modification was the work of people in the "modder community" -- the group of intense gamers who often add content to modify games.
Walker said the company was confident that it had done nothing wrong and would be exonerated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which is investigating the incident.
Clinton's action could have more consequences. Her legislative proposal would institute a financial penalty for retailers who fail to enforce the video manufacturers' voluntary ratings system rules. It would prohibit the sale of violent and sexually explicit videogames to minors and put in place a $5,000 penalty for those who violate the law.
"The disturbing material in 'Grand Theft Auto' and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children, and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder," Clinton said.
In calling for the FTC to launch an investigation, Clinton urged the commission to determine whether an AO rating (adults only) is more appropriate than the current M rating (mature) for the videogame given this new sexually explicit content. She also requested that the FTC examine the adequacy of retailers' rating-enforcement policies.
Bo Andersen, president of the Video Software Dealers Assn., said Clinton's action went way too far.
"Sen. Clinton is a fine lawyer and undoubtedly knows that her proposal is unconstitutional," he said in a statement. "The senator's proposal is politically savvy but will do nothing to help parents make informed choices about the videogames their children play. In fact, by turning the voluntary videogame ratings system into a cudgel of government censorship, Sen. Clinton's proposal ironically would likely lead to the abandonment of the ratings system."