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News Archives - July 2005

: Banned Theft Auto

July 31 2005

Warning:
Contains nipples.

In October last year, the latest in the Grand Theft Auto series, San Andreas was released on PlayStation2 to become one of the console's biggest and fastest-selling titles. The exact same game was released on PC and Xbox platforms mid-June this year, were also well received by gamers around the world. Earlier this month, a fan of the game found some unused content in the PC game's data files and upon investigating further, found that he could enable certain minigames that were previously locked and inaccessible.

The modification was titled "Hot Coffee", referencing the sections of the game where your character's girlfriend(s) would invite you to her house after a successful date for some "coffee" - the normal game would simply imply what resulted, but the mod unlocks a series of sex minigames, often incomplete (with characters being fully clothed, etc...).

This prompted the American Entertainment Software Ratings Board to re-look at the content of the game, and the rating was bumped to AO, Adults Only, but remains on sale.

Several days ago, Australian's Office Of Film & Literature Classification Board followed suit and revised their own rating of the game, revoking the MA15+ classification it once held. The game is now considered unclassified (ie. banned) in Australia because they feel the content enabled by the mod could not be accommodated under the MA15+ rating.

Although I agree with their decision to halt the sale of the game in Australia (the devs didn't fully disclose the content to the OFLC), the incident has upset me for various reasons...:

  • Bloody media outlets.
    Like other times where videogames are put into the public eye, the sensationalist media outlets are always quick to exaggerate simply to get attention and to create outrage among the generally ill-informed public.
     
    The main gameplay mechanic of GTA:SA is not to have sex. The sex minigames are not part of the normal game and are not unlocked by simple cheat-codes; you need to wilfully find, download, install and activate a 3rd-party hack to access the hidden content.
     
    The unlocked content is also not as explicit or realistic as most media reports suggest. Many people may get more titillation from downloading a hack to remove the mosaics from The Sims 2 (a G8+ game, *gasp*) so they can watch their virtual avatars live their lives and do their housework while being completely naked.
  • No R18+ rating for interactive entertainment.
    If the developer were to disclose the (intentionally included) hidden content to the OFLC in the first place, the rating would've been increased from MA15+ to R18+. Under the current system though, this would have exactly the same result as what's happened now - the game could still not be sold.
     
    Despite the OFLC's claims of the world's first "unified" game/film ratings system, R18+ games are banned whereas R18+ films are not. Hardly consistent.
     
  • In it for the money.
    If I were more awake at the time, I probably should've bought up all 20-odd copies of GTA:SA (literally) within my reach. Holding a handy position in the distribution channel sometimes has its benefits, like bulk-buying an item before its imminent ban, then heading off to eBay to sell them for a neat little profit. Maybe next time. :)

: A Demanding Audience

July 21 2005

For the regular Pants readers (yeah, all two of you...), if you recall back to March this year the words "Clipsal galleries" and the phrase "next few weeks" may sound familiar to you.

A measly four months later (!) I make good on my promise and have finally uploaded a bunch of photos of this year's Clipsal 500 racing event. Right on schedule, too... *cough*

Although I'll stop short of apologising for it, you'll notice that there seems to a large number of non-vehicular photos in the gallery, more to the point you'll find plenty of half-naked women much like the umbrella-wielding lady to the right...

There are really two main reasons for this (three if you think I'm some kind of pervert), which I'll try to explain briefly:

Firstly there's the spectator dilemma. Anytime the V8s were on the track I would be up in my designated seat in the pit straight stands because the general admission areas would be packed. While staying in the stands is great (TV screens, seeing all the action in the pits etc.), photography-wise there's not much variety in terms of angles, action etc...

Second is photographer dilemma. The Clipsal 500 is all about the V8s, but whenever they weren't on the track I would be walking around the circuit taking shots of anything interesting. Crowds, the scenery, abstract stuff, tons of stuff... It was fun.

Conveniently enough, literally right behind the stands I was in was a catwalk/runway setup, where at set intervals everyday there would be some sort of fashion show. Before going to Clipsal 500 this year I knew that family & colleagues were 'strongly suggesting' I get lots of shots of the catwalk models. Plus I knew that Google was directing plenty of people to my website because last year's gallery featured photos from a similar bikini parade. I knew what my audience wanted. :)

To have a look at some 130+ photos from this year's Clipsal 500, click here to visit the gallery. Also available for download in the gallery are a few full-resolution samples if people want to check out what sort of camera I'm working with. Although I'm sorry to have taken so long to post these pictures up, I'm quite pleased with how everything turned out with my camera's first big stress-test. Bring on 2006!

: "It's time for..."

July 2 2005

Hypothetical Question (with loosely-relevant accompanying picture) Of The Week:

Have you ever considered throwing yourself into a lane of high-speed traffic simply to attract someone's attention? And to clarify, I'm definitely not talking about attempting suicide, really just a sort of "Hey look, I'm over here...!" sort of thing.

Well I most certainly haven't strongly considered it at any one time, but in hindsight it might've accomplished a lifelong dream of mine a few days ago... Ahh well, there's always next time.

There's more where that came from...: Return to the News Archives index.