Friday, June 9, 2006

GTA is the new crack for kids

A few days ago I talked about the problem of porn. There isn't much we can do about the girlie mags hidden by teenagers in park bushes and stumbled upon by 11 year old boys (which is how I got my introduction to the genre by the way), but if there is one fixture in the 11 year old's boy's life now, it is video games.

I could talk about games like beach volleyball, that are pretty obviously produced so that guys can pant over the jiggling pixels of the players. However, there is one really obvious case-in-point which pulls back the screen on exactly what the entertainment industry, and by extension, the video game industry is up to.

Sure, they make all kinds of PC noise like "oh, we would NEVER market sex to kids... that is just wrong" but then along comes a game like... oh... say Grand Theft Auto. In its original incarnation, it was a game teaching and glorifying car thievery, and associated crimes such as cop killing, reckless driving and vehicular homicide. Sure, that's pretty bad, and lots of caring parents told their kids no, they can't play it. But lots more (I think specifically of single parents, or families with both parents outside the home most often) either didn't care what their kids were playing, or cared by were overruled by the lack of control they have over their kids and caved to "keep them happy" and assuage the guilt they felt for not being "able" to spend more time with them. (I'll rant on people who choose their career over their children later.) GTA became GTA 2, an even bigger seller, and finally they launched GTA: San Andreas I believe about a year ago.

The latest kerfuffle that has arisen is that the way these games are made now, the manufacturers all include "cheat codes" and "hidden extras" kind of like easter eggs in DVDs. They allow people to play the game more easily, or show extra minigames and such. In some cases, "mods" need to be made by changing the code of the game to reveal the extra. These are "discovered" by hackers and released to the public (though I kind of doubt that hackers discover them... I think more likely they are simply leaked by the company itself to generate interest - why else would they be programmed into the original game then left defunct like an appendix?)

In San Andreas, a minigame was "discovered" that took the main character into a sexual scenario, where he "does it" with his girlfriend. The extra is a minigame, interactively making the character have sex and using a meter to get his GF to orgasm. Obviously this involves explicit images, sounds and so on.

The game creators at first denied this was part of the game - they claimed the person who released the "mod" made all the code himself. Astute journalists (wish these guys were working on Canadian politics) thought to go ask the guy who released the mod. Oh, but he says no, he just unlocked the code - it was there all along - and proved it.

So now, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is being pulled from store shelves across the country, as it is being officially assigned an Adults Only rating. Its manufacturers are saying they will be releasing a new version of the game without the questionable code shortly, returning it to a Mature rating. But my question is, why was it there in the first place? What were they trying to do? They claim they are marketing this game to the 16-25 year old, but I'll tell ya, most of the people playing this game are not 16-25. They are 10-15. And they are boys.

Kind of makes all those old myths about Disney slipping nude pictures into animated films not so far fetched now doesn't it?

Aw, heck. I don't know what I am railing about. Another couple years, they will be using this mod in schools as a sex-ed lab. I mean, you can only learn so much from putting a condom on a banana can't you?

UPDATE: Seems the MSM decided to talk about this too... in the context of commercials. I note in 3 pages of article, there is ZERO mention of what can be done to reverse this trend... it's like it is almost... inevitable... even as they freely admit that the trend is leading to approval of pedophilia and statutory rape.