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Don't Cry Over Spilled "Coffee"

Darth Drabek

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As shown in BC's thread, people are still riled up over the "Hot Coffee" fiasco, although it's old news to the gaming community. When Sens. Joe and Hillary proposed federal legislation a month or two ago, the paper I work at decided to take notice. Jumping at the chance to get paid for writing about video games, I volunteered to write a column. This column, in fact.


I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but remember I wrote it for a general audience - people who don't know that Death Race (1976) was the first violent video game, can't list a rough chronological history of the console RPG and have never heard of Duke Nukem. Still, chime in if you want to argue points or discuss anything. Without further ado...


Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee



When I was 13 years old, I tried every trick in the book to get my parents to buy me Mortal Kombat 2.


It was the game every teenage boy wanted to play that year. As a fighting game with more than 30 ways to brutally murder your opponent, it truly took video game violence to a new level.

However, the game earned the dreaded MA-17 rating, which was quite rare at the time. I never read the ESRB's report on the game, but I'm guessing they thought causing a slow, painful death by ripping someone's arms off warranted the restrictive rating.


So as a red-blooded American teenager, of course I wanted to see what the game had to offer. I yearned to memorize the intricate button combinations needed to perform a decapitation via a

well-placed roundhouse kick.


Alas, my bloodlust was denied. My parents had read up on this sort of thing, you see, and made the decision that I would not be playing anything rated for 17-year-olds, especially something with the bad reputation of the Mortal Kombat series.


Lately, the trendy thing to do is bash the extremely successful Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game for the inclusion of a hidden minigame featuring simulated sexual intercourse. Since its discovery, the "Hot Coffee" mod has spurred legislative action in five states, as well as a federal bill that would slam heavy fines on retailers caught selling Mature-rated games to underage gamers.


Sen. Hillary Clinton is spearheading the effort to stop inappropriate games from reaching the twitching thumbs of the nation's youth.


"We should all be deeply disturbed that a game, which now permits the simulation of lewd sexual acts in an interactive format with highly realistic graphics, has fallen into the hands of young people across the country," Clinton said in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, asking for an investigation into the game.


Fining the retailers will help, but it fails to address the real problem. Kids aren't buying these games: Parents are doing it for them.


An 85-year-old New York woman filed a class action lawsuit against Rockstar Games after she bought the game for her 14-year old grandson. She said the company is guilty of deception and false advertising, and retailers across the U.S. pulled the game from their shelves because the pixellated sex scenes in "Hot Coffee" were deemed inappropriate for young gamers.


Guess what, even without the animated bedroom Olympics, Grand Theft Auto is inappropriate for young gamers. That's why it's rated Mature, for ages 17-older.

A little history, for your benefit:


The Grand Theft Auto series began in 1997, but was revitalized in 2001 when Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto 3, a free-roaming game in which a nameless protagonist steals cars, demolishes buildings and engages in assassination missions to climb the ranks of the New York City mob.


Its sequels, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, expanded on the gameplay and storylines of GTA 3, introducing gang warfare and more complex missions. The games were universally acclaimed by reviewers due to their gripping storylines, brilliantly designed missions and fantastic dialogue from professional actors like Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds and James Woods. However, some of these missions require the player to do things that would land them in jail for a very long time in the real world.


So why is it that parents have no problem buying Junior a game that allows him to run down pedestrians with a dump truck or go on a shooting spree at the local mall, but they will call the lawyers the minute the game hints at two adults having consensual sex? I am not advocating, umm, "relationship simulators;" I just think we need to get our priorities straight.


Rockstar has released GTA: San Andreas without the unlockable "Hot Coffee" mod, so if the sexual content was your only reservation to buying the game, you're in the clear now. But I'd like to caution parents to read the ratings on the games their kids play -- they're there for a reason. And if you consider your 15-year-old mature enough to realize that bludgeoning pedestrians and shooting police officers is not OK in real life, go ahead and buy the game.


As long as the person playing the game is able to differentiate between a fantasy environment and real life, video games are just good fun, and nothing to spill your coffee over.

baby, take off your beret

everyone's a critic and most people are DJs

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Fine writing, Mr. Drabek. I think Nartwak is just a meanie.


However, I would like to nitpick one small point.


"...nothing over which to spill your coffee."


:Eldar's ribbing Darth Drabek with a laugh and a grin icon:

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What I dont understand is whats so dangerous about nudity and things in entertainment? Supposedly playing violent games will make you want to kill people, ok fine. That wrong but anyay. And following this brilliant line of reasoning, playing games with sex in them will make you want to... uhm.. have sex? And we couldnt have people having sex now, could we? :huh:"

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.


Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.


"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Good article, Drabek. You have a very good point.

Нека Силата винаги бъде с теб!


I reject your reality, and substitute it with my own.


Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.

John Lenon


This thread is a big "hey, f*** you!" to the humanity's intelligence.


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Thanks for all the feedback everybody! And believe me Eldar, when I ended that sentence with a preposition in the name of "casual writing," I died a little. The correct way was just, just too clumsy for a column! Ahh, but it still pained me.


For the record, I still remember some of the fatalities. D,D,F,F LP was an easy one for Johnny Cage to rip off his opponent's torso. Scorpion's "Toasty" was a classic, too. D,D,U,U and one of the punch buttons, but that was tricky because you had to hold block while doing it.


Ah, and there was that super tricky Shang Tsung fatality, where you had to hold the Low Kick button for like 30 seconds, which meant you had to hold it for most of the second round of fighting too!


I guess that proves when something is forbidden, that just makes it more alluring.

baby, take off your beret

everyone's a critic and most people are DJs

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Fine writing, Mr. Drabek.  I think Nartwak is just a meanie.


However, I would like to nitpick one small point.


"...nothing over which to spill your coffee."


:Eldar's ribbing Darth Drabek with a laugh and a grin icon:

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

Winston Churchill ;)




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