Skip to main content

American gran sues Take-Two

17+ GTA suitable for her 14 year-old grandson. 18+ apparently not.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Games journalists are running out of witless punnery to help frame stories about the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" scandal, it emerged today.

"I've tried just about every variation imaginable on burnt tongues, frothing, taking people for mugs, dark stains and the like and I just don't know where else I can go with it," an anonymous source told this website. "Why couldn't the joke have been something to do with a night-cap? You could refill that endlessly... Refill! REFILL!" he yelled as he reached for his laptop and ran off adjusting the first two lines of his news copy.

Journalists are thought to have been caught short of puns this week by the news that an elderly American woman has filed a lawsuit against publisher Take-Two, following her discovery that the game she bought for her 14 year-old grandson was deemed suitable for people over the age of 18, not 17.

Florence Cohen, 85, claims to have been damaged by the discovery of a sexual mini-game hidden in San Andreas, accessible through modification of the PC version or using a third-party utility like Datel's Action Replay device on PS2, which led the ESRB to reclassify the game "AO" instead of "MA", and is seeking in excess of $5 million on behalf of herself and consumers nationwide.

Cohen is seeking class-action status for buyers of the game, accusing Take-Two of committing or engaging in Consumer Deception, False Advertising, Common Law Fraud and Unjust Enrichment citing various civil statutes.

"They should really make sure this doesn't happen again," her lawyer, Laurence D. Paskowitz told the Associated Press. "The least this company can do is offer refunds."

The British Board of Film Classification, whose legally-enforceable 18 certificate remains in place on all copies of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in the United Kingdom, has added nothing to its original statement on the subject of the American controversy. A fortnight ago, a spokesperson told this website: "Even if we had been aware of it, we would not have had a problem. From our point of view the hidden material does not contravene the 18 rating and so the rating stands."

Apparently TV ads were still running in the US on Comedy Central and MTV this week with the words "Rated AO for 'Adults Only'" replacing previous notes about the "M for Mature" rating. US website GameSpot has since reported that Rockstar claims the ads were the result of a pre-existing media purchase with broadcaster Viacom and have now been suspended.

Meanwhile, fans of the game reacted to the latest Hot Coffee development with exasperation. Popular gaming blog Kotaku railed against Florence Cohen's childrearing skills, demanding that more attention be paid to the fact that she had considered a 17+ rated game suitable for her 14 year-old grandson in the first place. "What I really think is that someone needs to knock on Cohen's front door and ask her at what point did our nation's ability to parent get replaced by a subcommittee and frivolous lawsuits?" the blog demanded.

Read this next