When Team America: World Police was released into theatres, it was released with a scene removed from the movie so that it wouldn’t get the dreaded kiss of death, the NC-17 rating. It was a sex scene. A sex scene done with puppets.
That seen made its way to the internet (duh). It was pretty tame and not worthy of an R rating, let alone NC-17.
From this point on, let’s talk hypothetical. Imagine if a bootlegger managed to get a copy of the movie with the scene still intact. The bootlegger burns it to disc, makes some fancy Engrish packaging, and sells it at some streetside stall. Some puritan with a stick up his/her ass buys it and raises a stink. The ratings boards hear about this bad, evil, corrupting scene and decide to revise their rating of the movie to NC-17. Nevermind the fact that every theatre goer will not see this scene unless they actively seek it out.
There are some faults in this analogy, but this is basically what is happening to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It has just been given a late AO (Adults Only) rating. After millions and millions of copies have been sold.
The main error in the above analogy is that with GTA, the content is right there in that disc that you might already have. In that disc that was sold to mature adults (but played, very much so, by immature children — but that’s another argument). However, that content is not accessible to your average (and above-average) gamer. It’s just bits and bytes on a disc. To get to it, you have to willingly circumvent — hack, if you will — the game’s internal structure. You can either hack the PC version, or use an Action Replay to “unlock” it on a console version.
What percentage of all GTA owners, especially console-version owners, have the means to do this? What percentage of gamers, in general, even have an Action Replay on hand? This is why this story annoys me — the amount of attention it is getting is completely disproportionate.
Outrage for a scene that most people won’t ever see. A scene that involves some polygonal people dry humping each other, in a game about gang warfare and crime and violence and murder. To quote myself from another place:
I worry about your country when all Democrats can find to get holy about is a bit of inaccesible dry humping in a video game.
All this for a glorified puppet sex scene.
One debate could be about why such legacy code wasn’t properly removed from the game in the first place (lazy developer, higher priorities with looming deadlines, etc), but even that won’t hide the fact that a little scene like this shouldn’t be causing such a stink.
Just wait until one of those douchebags hears (second hand, of course, and months late) about the little scene in God of War.