5 Incredibly Controversial Moments From Grand Theft Auto Games

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The Grand Theft Auto series is no stranger to controversy. Actually, some could say, they look for it. Rockstar seem to be well aware that you can bring in more heads with controversy than praise, though the company seems to thrive on both, and knows just how to use that to its advantage.

From the get-go, even before the series took off and took to three dimensions, they were getting shit for some of the freedom they granted their players. This was an open world unlike any anyone had ever seen. Was it a driving game? Yes. Was it a shooting game? Yes. Was it a crime game? Yes. It was all those things, and seemed to somehow do all of them well. But that is also the element that scared some people.

Would this game and the world is created breed psychos? I still believe the most rational of people will tell you the opposite. We will tell you that Grand Theft Auto granted us a world where we could finally RELEASE our inner psychopath with no drawbacks, and that helped feed and quiet the little psycho that lives inside us all. But what is it that everyone talks about when it comes to a GTA game? They tend to focus on the stuff that scares people. Hookers, drugs, and so on. Small, minuscule aspects of the game that the press make giant for the sake of a story.

The irony here is that people really didn’t start talking about this game until Grand Theft Auto III, and what were they talking about? Well, as much as all the gamers were talking about just how amazing and fully-realized this world felt, the press seemed really hung up on one thing, and it is that one thing that begins this list…

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Killing Hookers

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Am I the only person who plays a GTA game and doesn’t kill hookers?

If you believe mainstream press, then yes. Yes I am. The thing is, and I think people were losing sight of this initially, you can kill anyone in GTA games. I believe the killing of hookers was focused on in early GTA games by the press because of just outlandish it was, but there were MANY games before that where you could do far worse things to people. Pissing on people in the Postal games is just one example. But the press was all over this aspects of GTA III when it first dropped, so much so that if you didn’t know much about gaming, you would think murdering street walkers was an essential step to the actual gameplay, which it was not.

The murdering of hookers in a Grand Theft Auto game is pretty much contingent on how any one person chose to play it. I, personally, HATE the police presence in GTA games, and tend to observe as many laws as I can to make sure I don’t need to shake them. I truly believe if someone did a survey about the gamers who kill hookers in GTA games, you would find they are often people who kill pretty much everyone they encounter in that game, which is not a reflection on them at all. It is just how people play. If you think about it, you can do the EXACT same thing in Fallout 3 and Skyrim, but not one word in the press about that, huh? F**k you, Jack Thompson. May you choke on a bag filled with a thousand virtual dicks.

Instead, they make it sound like GTA games are about “killing hookers” and, I quote “murder simulations,” and trust me, from someone who has killed seven hookers in real life, that is JUST not the case. You know how you know?

No erection when you do it in the game, but man, in real life, killing a hooker is a pants-splitter.

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The Statue of Happiness

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This one is not so much swirled in controversy, but perhaps, on some level, should have been. It seems Rockstar got away with this one, unscathed, which is rare for the prestigious company. This entry is great too because I didn’t even realize it was a “thing” until recently. The long story short is, Hillary Clinton LED the investigation into the “Hot Coffee” scandal from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. For those who don’t know what the “Hot Coffee” scandal is, go forward one page, as it is the next entry on the list, and maybe GTA‘s most controversial moment ever.

Basically, GTA would not have gotten all the negative press it did if it were not for Clinton going after them so intensely when rumors about it first circulated. Of course, this is Rockstar we are talking about. The guys who do satire better than anyone else right now, so you know they weren’t just going to let this go.

So when they needed a face for GTA IV‘s version of the Statue of Liberty, they used (unofficially) Hillary Clinton’s face, beaming with a massive, awkward smile. When I first saw it in the game, I thought it was her, but just kind of let it go. Now that there is some distance between us and the game, it is pretty easy to see why they used her face, and why it works on so many levels. Also, let it be known, that the statue has a beating heart. I personally think it would have been a nice touch if the heart was black and rotted, but alas, no such luck.

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Hot Coffee

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Ah, the mod that almost sunk the GTA series. First of all, before Grand Theft Auto V, many considered San Andreas to be the best in the series. From its portrayal of “hood” life, which was huge at the time, to its many new features (working out, getting girlfriends) the game just seemed to fire off on so many cylinders, and so many of them hit right on the head. But one thing the developers did that almost drove the nail into their coffin was including a sex mini-game that you could play if your dates went well enough.

As you know, in San Andreas, you could take girls on dates, and if those dates went well, they would invite you in for “coffee.” For those of us older than twelve, we knew what that really mean, but it seems the programmers had initially included you going into the house and railing the girl, and even though they took it out of the final code for the game, some genius from the mod community found it buried in there, and opened it up.

As if the sex scene itself wasn’t enough to rile up some conservatives, the kicker was, you could use buttons to change positions, and that was enough to send the world into an absolute frenzy. Suddenly, the game that was known in the press as the hooker killing simulation, had suddenly become the “sex simulation,” and parents all over the world didn’t know enough to know that the sex game was not actually in the final game, and the gamers had to go out of their way to download a mod to open it up (and it was super awkward and not fun or remotely sexy), but the world was still going absolutely insane over it.

So insane, in fact, that Rockstar had to recall the game, even though the sex scene wasn’t in the actual game. Let me explain this to you again, really slowly. Even though the scene wasn’t in the game, they were forced to take the thing out anyway. That is like your girlfriend slapping you because she THINKS you are THINKING about, MAYBE, one day, having sex with someone else. It is insane, and psychotic, and honestly, even if the recall was an absolute bitch and cost them a ton of money, it brought them more press than any commercial or ad in EGM ever could have, and that is the moment when Rockstar was like:

Controversy, huh? Yeah, we got this.


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The Phone

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This is the first entry on the list that was sort of silently decided by the gamer. The controversy surrounding the phone in Grand Theft Auto IV was that it was SO grating and SO annoying, that it kept over 70% of the gamers who bought the game from finishing it. I am not kidding, Xbox Live started accumulating some of the achievements on XBLA, to see what games people were finishing the most, and guess what? Only 30 % of gamers who purchased GTA IV finished it.  I am not kidding. So, what went wrong?

The freaking phone, that’s what.

Suddenly, gone from GTA was the feeling that you were some cool part of the crime underworld, replaced by the feeling that you were everyone’s bitch. Honestly, I loved my cousin in that game, but the dude called me more times than even my psycho girlfriends. He just always wanted to play darts or bowl, and it hovered over anyone who played the game’s head. The worst part was, if you blew them off, they would call you out, or cut you off, or treat you like shit, and suddenly, GTA games went from being fun games, to being relationship simulators. It also didn’t help that all the mini-games they wanted you to do sucked ass.

Darts? Sucked ass.

Bowling? Sucked ass.

At least in GTA V, the mini-games are fun but they are also f**king OPTIONAL, and the phone actually makes sense. Hell, taking selfies in GTA V is an art form. Nice to see they addressed the one gripe that most of us gamers really had with the series.

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Cock Shot

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Okay, this one did not bring in much controversy, only because not enough people played the GTA IV DLC to actually experience this moment, but trust me, it was shocking. For me, honestly, I don’t think there was a single moment in the GTA series that I found as shocking as the moment in The Lost and The Damned DLC when you see full cock and balls.

I know that may sound juvenile, but think about all the games that deal with male nudity. They often (as in, always) pixelate the man’s junk. Cock and balls are ugly, so I always assume this is being done out of respect for the gamer, but the reality is, I think most companies do it to cover their own asses (some high quality double meaning, there), but by The Lost and the Damned, GTA was like: Screw controversy, yo, and they just f**cking whipped that shit out.

The best part is, they set you up to convince you that you WON’T see cock and balls in the  “Politics” mission of Lost and the Damned, by keeping the naked man’s bits just out of frame. But then they pull the shocker and he stands up, and there is it. No black bar. No pixels. Just polygonal cock and balls. The more I thought it about it afterwards, though, the more I commend Rockstar for that move. In many ways, that was the most “rock star” thing any game company could do. We have all seen polygonal tits before. Woman have been stripped and dehumanized for games long enough. It seemed only fitting that the ballisest game company in all of gaming would finally just say “f*ck it” and show us their balls, and that is just what they did.

Man, I don’t even know how to segue out of that….


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  • Kenneth Serenyi

    Is depicting the act of pissing on people in a game really “far worse” than depicting the murder of women? I’m not really offended by those games but that’s kind of a strange statement to make or imply.

    I would think that after the movie “Watchmen”, people were desensitized to a ‘cock shot’ on screen ;)

    • MrMidstream

      The reporter here is an idiot and a horrible writer.

    • J.Go

      Its a video game! This is why women Rockstar cant make a woman lead character, Its just a game. Anyone can be killed in a GTA game. Why is it a big deal when a woman is killed?

      • Kenneth Serenyi

        Sure, that’s the whole point of this article. My comment is on the content of the article, not on the content of the games.

    • Gregor

      I do believe he just tried to scratch the surface of what you were able to in Postal, not comparing pissing on people with killing hookers.

      • Czech

        Yeah, he didnt mention some of the worse aspects of Postal. For example, shoving the barrel of a gun up a cat’s ass and using it as a silencer. It’s a sick game.

  • Cody Taylor

    To be honest I didn’t mind the phone and steady flow of calls in IV as much as I did the driving. Every vehicle was so slow and clunky, not only compared to other games with driving featured but to reality as well (ironic since they were going for realism on that end and failed) that it grated on my nerves to the point of me actually returning the game. Thankfully GTA V fixed that.

  • Tim Green

    haha why is everyone always hating on the writers and complaining. stop taking shit so literal.. fuck sake.

    • Tom Pakwin

      What in God’s name are you talking about?!!! Stop being such a fucking waste of humanity!

  • Remy Carreiro

    I piss on women before I murder them, so I am the wrong person to ask….

  • grenadeh

    Those achievement aggregations don’t determine if people actually finished the game. Unless they are basing it on whether people got the last achievement, and I HIGHLY doubt it was the phones fault. More likely it’s the fact that GTA4 completely sucked dick compared to San Andreas.

  • Tats

    The phone in GTA IV actually made the game tolerable because of the whole “Restart Mission” feature if you failed it. Nothing is worse than having to drive half the map back to the start of a mission to restart it when a prompt on the phone can streamline the process for me.

  • MrKo

    hot coffee wasnt made by the developers…

  • Melanie Lange

    Gotta love americans and their stupidity: Killing hundreds and thousands of people: Perfectly fine. Deal Drugs: Perfectly fine. Ignore each law: Perfectly fine (But then again, we’re talking about a country that was founded on genocide and slavery, so….) Have and show Sex: “OMG!!! How can they show this dirty stuff? It makes us prudists cry”. Sometimes i wonder how it’s possible that 150 million people are so retarded and prude (and believe in god, the most absurd thing on top of anything else)
    But then again, the world would lose a lot of fun and laughter if those idiots didn’t exist.

  • Brandon Roberts

    yeah so killing cops hookers and countless pedestrians for no good reason thats ok but having sex with your girlfreind thats going too far really?

  • MAXIMUS

    In GTA V you can see Trevor’s cock.