The British Board of Film Classification, which until recently also rated video games in the UK, said it found a recipe for the manufacture of the drug crystal meth hidden in the hit game "Grand Theft Auto IV," according to the UK's Times Online.
In testimony made to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons last year, BBFC director David Cook said it discovered the alleged crystal meth recipe within seven or eight hours of "GTA IV" gameplay.
BBFC member Pete Johnson said, "Eight hours of our gameplay is equivalent to significantly more than eight hours by the average gamer, not just because we employ expert gamers but also because we get the publisher to provide cheat codes so that we can go through various parts of the game much quicker."
Rockstar Games reportedly told the BBFC that the recipe was inaccurate and would not allow anyone to make crystal meth, and the game was allowed to be sold in the UK.
News of the BBFC's discovery comes as the responsibility for rating games in the UK was transferred from the BBFC to the Pan-European Game Information system , or PEGI. Mike Rawlinson, head of UK game industry organization the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, praised the switch, saying "The Government has made absolutely the right decision for child safety. By choosing PEGI as the single classification system in the UK, British children will now get the best possible protection when playing videogames either on a console or on the internet."
Gaming blog Kotaku said the BBFC's alleged discovery was "proof that in a world as big as Grand Theft Auto IV's you can play it for months and never see all the game has to offer." And blogger Paul Tassi challenged readers to find the crystal meth recipe in the game . "I played 'Grand Theft Auto IV' for dozens of hours, as did all my friends and everyone else on the Internet," he wrote. "Yet I have never, ever heard about this. I would maybe expect this from 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars,' which actually has a drug dealing minigame, but 'GTA IV'? I thought the biggest secret there was the beating heart inside the Statue of Liberty."
By ANTHONY BARTKEWICZ
June 24, 2009