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Rockstar: San Andreas Sex Scandal Was "A Tough Time"

This falls under the, "Oh yeah, remember that?!" category.

Grand Theft Auto is now one of the biggest franchises in video game history. And during its peak, after three consecutive critically acclaimed and ridiculously well-selling titles released, developer Rockstar Games came under fire.

And why? Because back in 2005, some savvy gamers found a sex mini-game in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was to become known as the "Hot Coffee" scandal. And in a recent Guardian interview, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser spoke about the profound effect that situation had on his company. He said it was "draining and upsetting" and that it was a "tough time." However, he also added that despite the outcry, "the massive social decay" the incident was supposed to have caused didn't actually happen. 'wink wink'.

Houser also said the game was unfairly attacked simply because it was a video game and not another form of entertainment:

"If all of this stuff had been put into a book or a movie, people wouldn't have blinked an eye. And there are far bigger issues to worry about in society than this."

You may forget just how big of a deal this was: The FTC got involved, Hilary Clinton addressed it and in the end, the whole fiasco probably cost publisher Take-Two Interactive in excess of $50 million. Bottom line? Don't let the uneducated alarmists get a hold of something with which they can make headlines. They want attention, nothing more.

Related Game(s): Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Tags: grand theft auto san andreas, gta san andreas, grand theft auto hot coffee, rockstar

11/20/2012 10:13:32 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (18 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 11:17:54 AM
Reply

I guess you have to put it out there like God of War did, you get in trouble only if you hide it.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 11:28:08 AM

They justified it being in there as well. I remember reading an interview in PSM way back when it released. The said it was used as a necessary building block for his character building. There were about 2 paragraphs detailing what that one scene told us about Kratos' character.

SO yeah, I think you're right.

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PHOENIXZERO
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 5:03:46 PM

The "trouble" came from it not being disclosed to the ESRB because it wasn't disclosed due it not supposed to be accessed. It lead to the ESRB changing their submission rules.

Still it was ridiculous as the console version was a broken mini-game with two clothed characters going through the motions without anything actually be seen.

That said, Rockstar should have known better given how big the mod community (that they went and threw under the bus) for GTA games is that it would be found. Someone must have forgot or they wanted it to be found only for it to blow up in company's "faces".

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bebestorm
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 11:24:55 AM
Reply

I remember ppl freaked out about a game they shouldn't of bought their kids in the first because of age. Few of my nongaming friends went out and bought a xbox or ps2 to see what the big deal was..

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 11:38:45 AM
Reply

I got lucky enough to have both, the regular & the "Hot Coffee" versions in my PS2 collection.

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Snorge
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 12:01:26 PM
Reply

Same here, got that Hot coffee in my collection as well!

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 12:10:29 PM

Don't you have to use a cheat disc to activate the content anyway? I thought the content was on the disc but locked.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 12:58:38 PM

Yeah me too, Ultima. Was there a console "Hot Coffee" retail version?! On the PC you had to apply a patch to unlock it.

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slugga_status
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 1:05:59 PM

You could only play it via hacking. The content was already on the disc but you had to hack it to play it..

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 3:56:34 PM

yah, I remember buying a cheat disc just for the Hot Coffee mini game, it was a waste of time and money, got stuck in a visible box going back outside out of my girlfriends house after the mini game.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 11/20/2012 3:57:18 PM

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PHOENIXZERO
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 4:54:53 PM

Either had to use a "cheat disc" or save hack (which was simple to do) and even still it was ridiculous as it was only two characters fully clothed, dry humping and do so poorly on the PS2. Maybe 1% of people who owned the game would have accessed it if the media didn't blow it out of proportion and even still it took more work to access than what most would've bothered with. Of course that didn't stop the media from using the PC version that was further modded to push their agenda.

Regardless of the fall out (especially with the ESRB) Hot Coffee was one of those biggest over blown video game stories ever.

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 1:45:48 PM
Reply

It was a tough time, yet they went through all the trouble to put it in there and then keep it under wraps.

I love people who cry about a self inflicted gunshot wound.

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PHOENIXZERO
Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 4:57:46 PM

It was an unfinished mini-game that they deemed shitty so they locked it away instead of removing it outright because programmers are generally lazy and take short cuts whenever possible and it's much easier to do that then remove something that could potentially break any number of things which would then need a lot of time to be fixed.

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richfiles
Friday, November 23, 2012 @ 3:20:49 AM

Actually, removing the calls to code is often a more reliable means to remove content than actually removing the content. Removing the call stops it from executing, without altering code, which CAN sometimes break other things. It actually IS a very effective means of removing content.

Sadly, Rockstar was forced to take responsibility for the actions of hackers who undid their ACTIVE EFFORT to disable the content. I have ALWAYS felt the ESRB handled it unfairly.

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Knightzane
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 @ 1:54:32 PM
Reply

I remember, i also remember finding a 'dil' in the police officers bathroom. Ah good times..

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___________
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 @ 3:25:59 AM
Reply

i guess you kinda have to expect it though, i mean why do developers put it in the game in the first place?
they know that its going to get them in hot water, so why not just say eh remove it its not worth the hassle and sh*t will cop for it.
why does it have to be there?
its like the recent few games that have been edited because of religious issues.
they know that the content is going to upset people, so why put it in there?
just seems like they want to cause a controversy, score some attention for their game.
lame!

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zard
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 @ 12:57:47 PM
Reply

And then there was full frontal male nudity in iv and no one cried about that. All us gamestop employees get to inform parents of this and see their faces. Not to many to do that with yet but Saints Row is another that gets some good shocked faces. I like when M rated games actually take advantage of their rating and use it to its fullest

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Id00urmomma
Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 12:44:10 PM
Reply

ESRB was created by outcries from Tipper Gore, main reason i hate the Gores, that and Al Gore ownes part of an Oil Company and a large investment in the carbon credit stock exchange... But the ESRB should be illegal, companies shouldn't use the labeling and no parent should ever by children games that they don't know what it is... That said Rockstar should be allowed to have sex in games, without any form of bad press, just look at all the crappy television that basically exploits the female body to sell their items, while a game gets flack from the same companies selling sex as drama... we live in a backwards world where right is wrong and what is shouldn't be and what we think is a crime...

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