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More thoughts on GTA sex scandals
Bar Harbor
Had an interesting discussion last week with Henry Jenkins, on the subject of adult videogame content in general, and GTA: San Andreas in particular. Henry is generally strongly anti-censorship, but worries that Rockstar is deliberately pushing people's boundaries in a way that benefits no one.

With that in mind, the experience I had with last weekend's GTA:SA playing had a notable bit in it. This installment introduces (among many other new game mechanics) the concept of 'girlfriends' for your character. These are almost entirely optional 'missions', where you take a girl out on a date and try and show her a fun time. [If you've downloaded the infamous "Hot Coffee" mod, that flips the "censored" bit in the code, such dates can even conclude with a simulated sex mini-game.] As I say, most of these are optional. But there is exactly one girlfriend who *isn't* optional...

Your character is planning a big casino heist. In order to get access to the employees-only areas of the casino, you need to get a keycard from one of the female croupiers. So you follow her when she leaves the casino after work. On her way home, she stops off in a sex shop, and you have to follow her in. The sex shop is full of satirical porno movie boxes and toys. The sex store employees are all incredibly busty women, wearing corsets that reveal their breasts, albeit they have very small black pasties over the nipples. The croupier buys a corset for herself, then calls up her "master" on the phone, and makes a date with him, looking forward to seeing his outfit. At this point, you are instructed to buy a "gimp suit" for your character (a full-body leather suit and mask, similar to that seen in Pulp Fiction). So you follow the croupier the rest of the way home, then lurk outside her house waiting for 'master' to show up (he's easily recognizable as the guy carrying a large double-ended dildo). You kill him (stealing the dildo if you want), then go in and have a 'date' with the croupier. Her bedroom, by the way, is full of dildos, straps, chains, whips, torches -- even a leather suspension swing. She now becomes your 'girlfriend' (apparently not caring that you killed her old boyfriend), and you have to raise your relationship rating with her high enough for her to give you her keycard. This can be done with traditional dates (dinner, dancing, etc.), but is much quicker if you show up at her door wearing the gimp suit, and have a round of (offscreen, but quite clearly implied) kinky sex.

Now this whole sequence I just described is *without* any mods. It's in the game as shipped, and even on the critical path to complete the plot (about 75% of the way along). I'm all in favor of alternative sexuality myself, but this sort of thing is just asking for conservative reactionaries to come down on it. I'm actually surprised that *this* sequence didn't make the news, after the Hot Coffee incident if not before.

In other GTA-playing news: mandatory flight missions still suck rocks. But eventually, they give you a James-Bond-ian jetpack, and that makes everything worth while :-)

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Could I send this to a couple of people?

Yah sure. Anything without a "lock" on it, you have to assume will get out into the world...

True, but it's polite to ask, and I wouldn't want to piss you off too much.

How shall I attribute you? "Alexx Kay, who is a -job description- at a software game company"? Or what?

I'm a Game Designer. When I feel the need of clout, I say "Senior Game Designer".

Senior Grand Wizard Potentate Game Designer, it is, then!

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