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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Grand Theft Auto: Wall Street and Washington

We are deeply concerned that the publicity surrounding these unauthorized modifications has caused the game to be misrepresented to the public and has detracted from the creative merits of this award winning product.
Paul Eibeler, Take-Two's President and Chief Executive Officer following the conclusion of an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) investigation into the latest installment of its signature product, Grand Auto Theft: San Andreas.

Of all the ironies in the world, Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose husband taught children the world over what oral sex is, is partly responsible for calling on the Federal Trade Commission last week to investigate the video game, Grand Auto Theft: San Andreas.

Today, the ESRB changed the rating from "Mature 17+" (M) to "Adults Only 18+" (AO) after a sexually suggestive scene that had been created by the game's developer, Rockstar Games, (which is owned by Take-Two Interactive), was uncovered by modders – fans who make modifications to enhance the game.

Although Rodney Walker, a spokesman for Rockstar Games, claims that the original sexually suggestive scene was indeed created by the company, and that "hot coffee mod," an unauthorized third party modification that alters the retail version of the game “unlocked” it, he ridiculously compared the situation to an artist painting over a canvas, accusing “hackers” of creating a program that “scratches the canvas to reveal an earlier draft of the game.”

In what is more likely a legal nudge, nudge, wink , wink, Rockstar also warned that they were considering legal action against any company (not individual) that help game players change the content. In the past, gaming companies have encouraged modders for perpetuating the relevance of their titles.

After a thorough investigation, we have concluded that sexually explicit material exists in a fully rendered, unmodified form on the final discs of all three platform versions of the game (i.e., PC CD-ROM, Xbox and PS2).

Thus spake Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB. What’s more incredible than anything else is that Hillary Clinton, Paul Eibeler and Patricia Vance, find a scene depicting nudity offensive, yet the unadulterated violence, bloodlust and mayhem that constitutes the rest of the game is deemed okay for sale to kids.

Wal Mart and Target are among retailers who yesterday said they would no longer carry the current version of the game, while Rockstar clamored to damage control by promising a release of a version that included no sex, just tons and tons of violence, which neither retailer, it seems, minds peddling to our kids.

The financial repercussions are not to be sniffed at either, according to the New York Times.

The company said it expected net sales of $1.26 billion to $1.31 billion for the year, down from an earlier forecast of $1.3 billion to $1.35 billion. The company said it expected earnings of $1.05 to $1.12 a share, down from an earlier forecast of $1.40 to $1.47 a share.

The decision to change the game's rating came after the close of the market. But in after-hours trading, shares of Take-Two Interactive tumbled more than 6 percent.

Thank you Hillary, Patricia Vance and Paul Eibeler. America will rest safer tonight knowing that morons like you are claiming to protect our children. The lessons in political expediency, greed and hypocrisy will prove most valuable.


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