It Takes a Village (and the FTC)

News that freelance programmers uncovered hidden explicit sexual content in the latest Grand Theft Auto game has finally reached Senator Hillary Clinton, and what is a senator in her position to do but make a federal case out of it:

In a letter she is sending Thursday to the Federal Trade Commission, Mrs. Clinton expressed concern over reports that anyone who used a free code downloaded over the Internet could unlock sexually graphic images hidden inside the game, called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Full NYT story here, including a priceless observation about whether or not Mrs. Clinton's posturing could have anything to do with Democrats' hopes of breaking into the family-values vote.

Gamespot, going a bit more in-depth than the Times, notes that Senator Clinton has

joined with Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Rick Santorum (R-PA) to cosponsor legislation seeking $90 million over five years for research into how viewing different types of media (television, video games, and the Internet in particular) affects children's development.

It's always good to see partisan differences put aside for the sake of the children. And who knows: today, kids might only be able to download explicit content into their video games, but given a few years and a couple of leaps in technology, they might even be able to find hardcore pornography on the Internet.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Yeah, we covered this in the V-chip thread. The general consensus was that the people behind it are the (stage whisper) J-O-O-S.

  • Gene Berkman||

    The game is called "Grand Theft Auto" and includes violence as well as crimes against property. And Hillary (and the conservatives) are worried about sex? Isn't there something wrong with these priorities?

  • ||

    I hear that media expert (Mann, I think) that Tomlinson of CBP hired is available.
    $90 Million could classify a lot of people as pro-administration or against.
    As someone who would love Hillary to be our next President (95% because of how apoplectic it would make the Fox news crowd) this is extremely painful to endure. [Hillary is not in a top 5 list of people who actually have a chance, but she is ahead of all Republicans I can think of).

  • ||

    Gene, you silly guy! How can there be such a thing as a crime against property? Aren't we all supposed to share?

    Oh, and for those who may have read my tirade from yesterday about how I am the only one who gets to be paternalistic towards my kids, I decided against buying GTA for my 10-year-old, but I am going to let him drink all the soft drinks he wants today. Try and stop me!

  • ||

    More specifically, the game includes the ability to have sex with a hooker and then stomp her to death and take her money.

    So...as long as you don't see any extremely blocky and stylized naughty bits, Hillary is OK with killing and robbing the body of a prostitute. But the second a badly-textured booty appears, well, that's gotta stop.

  • ||

    Gene--
    In all seriousness, maybe it's because sex is the only one that makes the politicians in question indulge in thoughts they find shameful. You know, the whole "doth protest too much" thing.

  • ||

    Once again, at least politicians are now harping on modern games as opposed to complaining about the original Doom and games like Night Trap.

    And, of course, I don't see Hillary praising Rockstar for removing this from their game before release.

  • ||

    Sandy, Gene, is there some news source I'm unaware of in that keeps running "I think GTA is a great game!" quotes from Sen. Clinton?

  • Baylen||

    Link to video capture of the game here: http://www.tothepeople.com/2005/07/all-mod-cons-gta-edition.html.

  • ||

    Kind of makes me want to yank them out of their car, stomp them to death and go get a hooker.

    Jesus what's wrong with me?

    Where would I get an idea like that.

  • ||

    joe, I don't see anybody claiming Hillary loves the game, it's that GTA has been getting beat up by convervative pols for a while now, but she only decides to speak up and involve the federal government (and join Santorum!) once sex enters the picture?

  • ||

    Even though it sounds like the code is on the
    CD/DVD, it doesn't sound like it's an Easter Egg - Easter Eggs are hidden, but designed to
    be accessible if you know the secret. In this case, it sounds like the content wasn't
    ever designed to be accessed, so it seems hard to blame Rockstar games for this one.

  • ||

    News that freelance programmers uncovered hidden explicit sexual content in the latest Grand Theft Auto game has finally reached Senator Hillary Clinton

    $10 says it was Bill that told her when he paused GTA:SA long enough to take a leak and grab a sandwich.

  • ||

    Ironically, despite what the all the Moral Chest Beaters would have you believe, it's the most boring "sex scene" you've ever seen. The magic dry hump with the unzipped zipper was more humorous than anything.

    "Gamespot, going a bit more in-depth than the Times, notes that Senator Clinton has joined with Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Rick Santorum (R-PA) to cosponsor legislation seeking $90 million over five years for research into how viewing different types of media (television, video games, and the Internet in particular) affects children's development."

    Gee, solons, that's an original idea. I'm sure with the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of anthropologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and social workers who've graduated from HUNDREDS of colleges and UNIVERSITIES over the past FEW DECADES that

    NO ONE --- ABSOLUTELY NO ONE --- COULD **EVER** have thought of CONDUCTING or RESEARCHING the EFFECTS of TV ON CHILDREN. AB--SO--LUTE--LY NO ONE!!

    and therefore, we need to spend some more money to find out!!

  • ||

    In this case, it sounds like the content wasn't
    ever designed to be accessed, so it seems hard to blame Rockstar games for this one.


    As I said, I don't see Hillary praising Rockstar for this. They decided to remove this from the game before release, probably to avoid any more bullshit. Hillary thinks that this material goes too far? Well, so did Rockstar.

  • ||

    Hillary is not in a top 5 list of people who actually have a chance

    The betting market seems to disagree. She is the runaway fravorite right now for the Dem. nomination and the Dems are slightly favored to win the general election right now.

  • ||

    BAI:

    My aunt didn't want to believe that her child had serious neurological problems. She herself had Tourette's, and wanted to believe that everything wrong with her child was because of Tourette's.

    So she went to the doctor, who told her it wasn't Tourette's. She got angry, and went to a different doctor, who also told her it wasn't Tourette's.

    6 doctors later, she found one who would tell her all the kid's problems were a result of Tourette's. So now that's her doctor. The one who told her the thing she wanted to hear.

    Also, on the 'kids might find hardcore porn on the internet' -- Porn is a 'hard target'. Pornographers have fought against speech restrictions for decades and decades. They're ready to fight at any time on First Amendment grounds. Unappealing, to say the least.

    Game companies are 'soft targets'. They don't have the experience fighting against speech restrictions. They also have a natural handicap in that the elderly wrinklebags who make and enforce laws believe that video games are 'for children', and therefore any violent or sexual videogame is 'porn for children'.

    The comic book industry's capitulation in the face of threats of government action has taught lawmakers that entertainment industries commonly perceived by Americans as 'for children' are easy to intimidate and coerce.

    It's not that they wouldn't also like to kill hardcore internet porn; it's that gaming is such an easy target.

  • ||

    Lieberman...Brownback...Santorum...Hillary...

    I'M SURROUNDED BY ASSHOLES!

  • ||

    Hillary's senior political advisor: "Ok with this run in 08 we are going to need to appeal to over protective parents, christian voters, and family values types."

    Smart Staffer: "We need a scapegoat. Nothing that actually involves changing any sort of policy but makes a few media headlines. Sort of like what Bush did with the whole gay marriage thing."

    Other Staffer:"Well I play video games. They make an awfully good target for worried parents, family values, and christian types. But its kind of been done to death already."

    Senior advisor: "Any other ideas"

    No one makes a sound

    Senior staffer: "Alright we'll need a plan and some useless legislation. Maybe a $90 million study that will take a long time and tell us what we already know."

    And thats how you win in Politics not by doing the right thing but by looking like you care...

  • ||

    Gee, solons, that's an original idea. I'm sure with the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of anthropologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and social workers who've graduated from HUNDREDS of colleges and UNIVERSITIES over the past FEW DECADES that...

    Yeah but they all need to do something to occupy their time as pseudo-scientists. Its an easy assignment to since the results are already there. I lack the credentials but for a million bucks I'll whip up a report on why watching violent video games is bad for kids...

  • ||

    Ok, first of all the 'hot coffee' mod that brought all of this up is a modification to the games code by third party programmers that completely changes the 'skins' on the girl friends in the game. This mod is ONLY for the PC (computer) version of the game. No kid is going to be doing this on his playstation or xbox.

    Second, you have to go find the executable for this mod and run it on your machine. No kid 'stumbles' on this content during gameplay. He/she has to want to unlock this, go download and then run the patch. Its alot harder then the media and Mrs. Clinton wants everyone to think it is.

    Finally, fucking A, the box says right on the outside, mature content, sex, violence and drug use. Any parent who tells me they didnt know what was in the game is either illiterate, stupid, or both.

    Fuck the nanny staters.... leave my GTA alone.

  • ||

    Seriously, none of you think it won't be President McCain in 4 years?

  • ||

    Seriously, none of you think it won't be President McCain in 4 years?

    God let's hope not, but no, I don't think so. I doubt he'll be able to get the GOP nomination.

    Anyway, my hope is for Hillary '08!

  • ||

    "Yeah but they all need to do something to occupy their time as pseudo-scientists ... "

    Well, gee, SOMEBODY hates behavioral science (LOL)

    "Its an easy assignment to since the results are already there."

    The very point(and pointlessness) of my sarcasm ...

  • ||

    All Hillary's nomination will do is give us President Frist.

    I keep thinking the Democrats really want to win elections, and they keep proving me wrong.

    Kids aren't going to see anything in GTA that they can't already see by doing a Google search. Pols don't seem to understand that technology has changed so fast, in the real world kids are already beyond "being protected." The cat's out of the bag, nothing to be done about it now. You can take the human out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the human.

  • ||

    My best bet for 2008...

    Republican ticket: John McCain & Condoleeza Rice
    Democrat ticket: Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama

    Result: The Republicans take it because the mere thought of Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office is enough to get conservatives out to the polls in record numbers. Also, liberals can't sling mud at a Vietnam POW and an African-American woman.

  • ||

    Russ R,

    The Democrats can't sling mud at a Vietnam vet and an African-American woman? Don't be silly! Of course they can, as can the Republicans. The two statist parties trade blows over battles that, for the most part, have been fought over and over again. Kind of like restarting a vide game over adn over again and playing the same levels over and over again (see how I tied all of this back ito video games?). They'll do it because not doing so would lose them power, and that seems to be all that they care about.

  • ||

    Its not Hilary's fault...Its the sick sad world of far right theocrats she lives in poisoning her and making her think these pious thoughts.

  • ||

    All Hillary's nomination will do is give us President Frist.

    Are you kidding me? Hillary would mop the floor with Frist. Did you see his convention speach? That guy is NOT getting elected president, ever. I'll gladly take bets on that :-)

  • ||

    Ahhh preview preview preview... that's 'speech' by the way...

  • ||

    Seriously, none of you think it won't be President McCain in 4 years?

    No telling. I was certainly inclined to vote for Hillary over him if it came to that, but now, ehn.

  • Tim Higgins||

    I am as annoyed with this nannyism as anyone else here, but let me posit the following. If I were Rockstar, and I wanted to sell more games, and I knew that having sex in the game would help me sell more games, but I also knew it would bring on a s***storm from bloviating Senators and government agencies, I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd put sex in the game, disable it, and make sure someone outside the company figured out how to enable it. Then I'd put an end-user agreement on the game that said something like "hey, if you use this besides the way we meant for you to use it, it's not our fault." I assume these games still come with that sort of stuff - I haven't bought a computer/video game in a long time.

  • ||

    Are you kidding me? Hillary would mop the floor with Frist.



    Last summer's polls had Kerry mopping the floor with Bush. I have nothing personal against Hillary's ambitions, but I've seen this Dem thing go south too many times already. In any of the key states, there's just to much going on for it to happen.

    That guy is NOT getting elected president, ever.



    That was sort of my point. Under normal circumstances, no way. But the whipped up animosity will be too great. There will be endless blathering about blow jobs and moral values. Last summer, smart money was on a vietnam vet. oops.

    Frist shouldn't be president. But I fear that, thanks to Hillary, he will be. Why can't they pick someone that everyone likes, like Tom Vilsack ?

  • Lazlo||

    Rockstar doesn't need a maneuver that convoluted to sell any Grand Theft Auto title. And in the context of the game as a whole, the weak-ass scenes opened up by the Hot Coffee mod barely twitch the needle.

  • Timothy||

    I played violent games throughout most of my late childhood and teen years, and I'm perfectly fine aside from the overwhelming urge to kill.

  • b-psycho||

    Imagine how mad they'd be if someone modded the game to have an S&M orgy between characters that looked a lot like Hillary, Santorum, Lieberman, etc...

    Any takers?

  • Nostradamus Marquis||

    I especially like the creative use of Hillary's book title in your title. It reminds me of a post I came across about an alleged exchange between Santorum (author of It Takes A Family) and Clinton in which Hillary asserted the family's place within the village meant that her book "supervened" on Santorum's, as it were... Odd that they have joined forces here on such a pointless, media-attention-seeking bit of posturing. I guess we know what politicians think the electorate cares about, and judging from recent elections, they may be sadly right on target.

  • ||

    Uh, yeah, I want to see Lieberman's naked ass getting spanked. That's a great idea, psycho.

  • b-psycho||

    Joe, who says your character would have to allow it to continue? I was talking more along the lines of walking in on that mess and turning it into a bloodbath.

    Maybe you just have a different sense of humor than most here. I'd be too busy blasting to be disgusted.

  • ||

    I want to see Lieberman's naked ass getting spanked.

    And I wanna see Brownback get, ah, brownbacked...

  • ||

    Last summer, smart money was on a vietnam vet. oops.

    Not really. Bush had a anywhere from a comfortable lead to a small lead in all the betting markets pretty much the entire summer.

  • ||

    But that said, kmw, I do understand your point, and that is certainly a possibility with another candidtate, but not with Frist. I just don't see Hillary's negatives being enough to overshadow Frist's once people see him.

  • ||

    I was thinking Rudy G. would beat McCain for Repub. nomination. I see no mention of Rudy. Has he said he is definitely not running in 2008?

  • ||

    Where can you go to bet on who will be president. Not at Goldenpalace.com, they suck you can't even bet on boxing there.

    I'd like to bet on political candidates, it would make the election more interesting.

  • Tim Higgins||

    kwais,

    tradesports.com. It isn't traditional gambling - it's more like a futures market. You buy and sell contracts that pay 100 to the holder if a certain event takes place.

  • ||

    It'll be Jeb vs. Hillary, and Hillary will win by about 2% of the popular vote, with a margin of roughly 30 electoral votes. You heard it hear first.

  • ||

    Aside from Hillary, who else do the Democrats have in the stable? I can't think of a single politician on the left who might stand a chance in a Presidential popularity contest. Pelosi? Kennedy? Lieberman? Edmonds?

    I think that the DNC should bet the farm on Jon Stewart.

  • ||

    Nothing to contribute that hasn't already been said.

    So instead I'll post a link to a rather lengthy (but interesting) article detailing the history of controversial video games.

    When Two Tribes Go to War: A History of Video Game Controversy

  • ||

    In this game you can kill cops - non in a bang, your dead, hehe sort of way, but in a vindictive full scale war with civillian casualties rampage, using all manner of weapons from miniguns and grenades to tanks and fighter planes. Its escapism - and damn good fun. I can remove the head from a cop with an AK47 at 400 meters.....

    As this is the case, Why, oh why, are they worried about pixellated nudity? Perhaps the entire American political system should stop focusing on "family values" or whether or not a man can love another man enough to get a peice of paper to prove it, and perhaps focus on something important like Climate Change or reform of International trade - or perhaps even reducing the patent costs on retroviral drugs? Things that will make an actual chage to people's lives, rather than look good on FOX news.

    Rule #1 in creating a compliant electorate revolves around persuading them that a referent object, or something they hold dear is under threat. do this and anyone will do as you say. "family values" politics is nothing but crass and shallow manipulation. This bitter assault on a little scottish computer games company is a small peice of the daily barrage of crap designed to keep you all nice, compliant and fearful for the life of your little, fat retarded children.

    sleep well :)

  • ||

    Swede-

    Kind of like restarting a vide game over adn over again and playing the same levels over and over again (see how I tied all of this back ito video games?). They'll do it because not doing so would lose them power, and that seems to be all that they care about.

    Think this is a bad example. What if it is a particularly well done, difficult, and action packed level that you put on the highest difficulty level? One that is very enjoyable to play. What's the difference between that and playing golf on the same golf course over and over again? Doesn't sound like it has anything to do with "power", except maybe your personal obsession with power. Like some kind of sadomasochistic urge to hurt and torture someone you have a self-manufactured, pathological dislike of anonymously and from a distance. Perhaps a gamer like that isn't the one with "power" issues - maybe its the ones that want to impose their will and inflict pain and suffering on others.

  • ||

    I have a news flash for these people who run our lives: entertainment is evolving every bit as rapidly as technology. They go hand in hand.

    So to effectively stop the spread of sex and violence in the media, you will need to destroy all the computers, shoot down the satellites, knock down the cell towers, etc.. Nothing less.

    Good luck, fucknuts.

  • ||

    Oh, and let me give a big thumbs up for GTA-SA. The graphics aren't mind-blowing at all, but the size of the world is. You can literally spend 70 plus hours and still not explore the whole thing. The main quest consumes plenty of time, and there are a ton of side projects to choose from, too.

    Not only does this game have plenty of hype (no such thing as bad press), it's a high quality product. I hope they sell the fuck out of it.

  • ||

    The Democrats can't sling mud at a Vietnam vet and an African-American woman?

    You gotta be kidding me, right? How could you have missed vicious, racist, hate-filled smears of Condoleeza, most of them surfacing when she was up for Secretary of State?

  • ||

    None of this will make any difference to President Rice or VIP Bolton.

  • ||

    "today, kids might only be able to download explicit content into their video games, but given a few years and a couple of leaps in technology, they might even be able to find hardcore pornography on the Internet."

    It won't take a couple years, or any leaps in technology - all you need is an e-mail address and porn ads will be sent to you, weather you want them or not.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement