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Hot Coffee is the name of a mod to the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The mod makes code that was hidden and inaccessible in the game available to the player. This "code" is for a sex minigame that was cut, but not deleted from the disc. For the PS2 versions, a cheat code device like Action Replay is used instead of the patch. When the mod was released and spread through the internet, it became the source of criticism and outrage directed at Rockstar, the ESRB, the ESA and GTA:SA itself. Because of this mod, the game was raised to an AO rating.
The contents of the mod are the main character, Carl "CJ" Johnson, and his girlfriend in an interactive sex mini-game. The players use the left analog stick to keep an excitement meter up.
There are various issues regarding the controversy surrounding "Hot Coffee". These issues are at the core of the debate between both sides, and within the game community.
Is it user created?
Originally, Rockstar denied that the mini-game even existed, but that it was the creation of people who hacked the PC game. Eventually, Rockstar backed out of this statement and issued another statement, not exactly confirming or denying that it was on the disc. This issue was settled when sources such as GameSpot used Action Replay codes to unlock the mini-game on the PS2, proving that it does exist on the disk, without the patch.
Is there nudity?
Some users who ran the patch on their PC game may have found that the mini-game featured extensive nudity. However, as evidenced by the PS2 sex minigame, the nudity in some patches is purely the creation of the makers of the Hot Coffee mod, not Rockstar. The unmodded minigame features two clothed characters. Therefore, claims by critics that the game is pornographic and deserves an Adults Only rating are arguable.
Should it be Adults Only?
There are many who think the violence in the game alone condones an AO rating. Either way, games like God of War, which features an off-camera sex minigame but bare nudity, and The Guy Game, which is just a bunch of minigames that unlock porn, both escaped with a Mature rating.
Additionally, the M rating is meant to parallel with the R rating of the MPAA, and many R-rated movies feature much worse than violence and clothed people simulating sex. There are those that refute this argument by saying that because video games are an interactive medium, that they should have stricter criteria for ratings, or have censorship imposed more than in movies/TV/music.
Effects of the Mod
The Mod has been used by many critics to crack down on the games industry and the ESRB. Also, most major game retailers such as Wal-Mart, GameStop, and EBGames have removed the title from their shelves, due to their policy of not stocking AO games. Because of this Take-Two is expecting to lose about $50 Million in sales.