There has been a big buzz on the internet and in the video game world recently, much of it surrounding Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, and the unofficial mods available for the game from the internet. The Grand Theft Auto series has taken a lot of heat from lawyers, politicians, and select members of the gaming community. A couple of years back the heat was only for the extreme violence within the game, but more recently the game developer and publisher has come under heavy fire in reference to unlockable sexual content on the Xbox, PS2, and PC versions of the game.
It's no secret that every game in the Grand Theft Auto series is filled with violence, but it is also no secret that these are the very type of games that do well on the sales charts. Ask any gamer if they are familiar with the series, and almost all of them will tell you they are, and in fact they have more than likely played it or own at least one of the games in the series.
Murder Simulators in Video Games?
The term murder simulator has recently come into play as lawyers try to place blame on video games and developers for the actions of a few select people that are clearly, already, not in their right mind. CBS News ran a story where they basically pointed the finger at the game, saying that the game in affect, had trained 18 year old Devin Moore to murder people. Citing a specific area in the game where you stand on top of a bridge and take fire at police and pedestrians. Our Xbox Guide has more on this here.
Now let's be honest with each other, are there not millions of people that play this game and others like it that don't go out and kill people? Of course there are, I am one of them. So to make the claim that it is the game's fault that this individual went out and murdered people, is really just searching for someone to point the finger at. Moreover, if video games can train to kill, what about the television, or movies, which normally depict much more graphic content and label it for younger audiences.
Is it possibly the fact that video game sales have now out-ranked box office sales for the past few years? Well, if it is not the sole reason, it's certainly a part of it. The larger an industry becomes financially the bigger a target they become civilly. The games that are being questioned are already rated for Mature audiences by the ESRB (Electronic Software Ratings Board), and in most states are not allowed to be sold to anyone under the age of 17. If there is someone out there that is 17 and has not seen a murder in a movie or on television, they have lived a very sheltered life; in which case, I doubt their parents would allow them to play a Mature rated game.
Sex Simulators and the GTA Hot Coffee Mod Scandal
More recently, it has become widely known that there was sexual mini games within Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, namely what is now referred to as the Hot Coffee Mod. For informational purposes, the Hot Coffee Mod gained it's name due to the way the mini games are encountered. In an unmodified version of the game, after a successful date, your girlfriend will ask you in for coffee, but you don't see anything happen and have no control over the game. With the Hot Coffee Mod active, you see what was once blocked, and have control over what is going on.