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8/10/2005
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"Grand Theft Auto" Maker Patches Against Unsanctioned Sex

What some users have called the world's "least-downloaded patch ever" was released Tuesday by Rockstar Games, maker of the under-fire "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" video game.

What some users have called the world's "least-downloaded patch ever" was released Tuesday by Rockstar Games, maker of the under-fire "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" video game.

The patch, which is for the Windows version of the popular game, "prevents and removes the 'Hot Coffee' modification," said Rockstar in a statement on its Web site.

Grand Theft Auto stirred up a firestorm of criticism in July when the so-called "Hot Coffee" modification, or "mod," was published by an independent programmer and widely distributed on the Internet. The mod unlocked graphic sex scenes present in the game, but disabled by Rockstar. In reaction, the video game industry's rating board changed the game's rating from "Mature 17+" (M) to "Adults Only 18+" (AO). Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and other legislators also got in on the act, calling for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation of Rockstar.

In releasing the patch for the PC edition, Rockstar also said "The 'Hot Coffee' scenes were not intended to be part of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas experience."

In late July, however, Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive Software, admitted that the sex scenes were built into the retail version of the game. (Earlier, the spin had been that the added scenes came solely from the mod.)

"The editing and finalization of any game is a complicated task and it's not uncommon for unused and unfinished content to remain on the disc," a Take-Two spokesman said at the time.

Take-Two also then promised a patch to block the mod.

Tuesday, it delivered. "If your copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PC has been altered by the unauthorized 'Hot Coffee' download circulating on the Internet, or if you wish to prevent your version from being so altered, download and install the patch for your version of the game," said Rockstar on its site.

Some game owners were, at best, bemused. Several commented on the BetaNews Web site, including one identified as "jpmccord" who wrote "Let me be the first to laugh under my breath at this and suggest that it might be the least-downloaded USEFUL patch ever."

The patch can be downloaded from Rockstar's support site.

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