How the GTA Hot Coffee scandal changed age ratings forever

Here's a thing.

From 'felatio is implied' to removing 'future blouses', the majority of headlines you'll read about the ESRB on Eurogamer are in reference to the incredible synopses it has published to justify video game age ratings over the years.

However, from time to time, this non-profit organisation is caught up in much bigger discussions about the impact games are actually having on society. If you look back to the early 90s and the formation of the ESRB, you'll see in the US especially, age ratings can be an incredibly political topic.

The board's biggest controversy, though, would come about a decade later with the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Join me in this week's episode of Here's A Thing as we investigate how the game's hidden content cost its publisher tens of millions of dollars - and the long term impact this had on how video games are now rated.

As I mention in the video itself, Simon Parkin's piece 'Who Spilled Hot Coffee?', is absolutely worth reading if you're interested in finding out what was going on behind-the-scenes at Rockstar in the build up to this case.

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About the author

Chris Bratt

Chris Bratt


Chris is the host of People Make Games, a crowdfunded YouTube channel that tells cool stories about video games and how they're made.


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