Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Game-modder rips into anti-modder US politicos
A game-modder has published a stirring broadside about the public outcry over the pornographic sequences that could be viewed in Grand Theft Auto: San Adreas using the Hot Coffee mod. From the title ("The Founding Fathers roll over in their graves as a new witch-hunt against the First Amendment is launched") on, it's a rip-snortin' read:

The primary difference between the retail version of the game and that of the modded version is that the above content has simply been rearranged and intensified by the consumers. By using the logic that this content was illegally "hidden", one could just as easily claim that any R rated movie has covertly crossed the limits of decency because the end-user could very well pause their DVD player on a scene containing nudity, thus exceeding the length of such scenes by which the MPAA decides whether a film is to be classified as R or NC-17. The same could be said of even a PG-13 rated movie which contains brief nudity.

Perhaps what is most absurd about the accusations against both Rockstar Games and the gaming industry, is that those making the allegations seem to have no idea how the technology they're condemning works. Had they done even a moment's worth of research, they would discover that the online mod community for GTA:SA (and many other PC games) is not only capable of recycling various fragments of game code and art to create new scenes for the game, but we do it all the time. If Senator Hillary Clinton, Leeland Yee, Dr. David Walsh, et al, were to give even a cursory glance at the websites which published the Hot Coffee mod, they would see that it is but one of thousands of modifications made by users which create new game play scenarios using the existing assets. Given the very nature of the interactive digital medium, an industrious "modder" could within minutes create things far "worse" than Hot Coffee if they so desired simply by swapping a few items and lines of code about. Then, on top of just shifting around pre-existing assets, it is also quite easy and common for players to create entirely new content from scratch."

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