GTA: San Andreas toasts success

The best-selling Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has swept the board at a major games awards ceremony in London. The crime spree title scooped five of the 19 prizes on offer at the Golden Joystick Awards, taking the Ultimate Game of the Year honour.

Nintendo was named as the games publisher of the year, while Sony celebrated after winning an innovation prize for its PlayStation Portable. The awards are voted for by the readers of computer and games magazines.

GTA: San Andreas hit the shops a year ago and quickly became the best-selling game of 2004. It hit the headlines in July of this year after secret sex scenes were found in the game. The scenes were unlocked by a fan who created software called Hot Coffee. Installing the program allowed people to play an explicit “mini game”.

As a result, the US Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) changed the rating to Adults Only.

The change meant, however, that many shops were forced to stop stocking it as they have a policy of not selling adult-rated content.

In the UK, the game was already rated as an 18 title.

The controversy seems to have done little to dampen the popularity of the title, which picked up five Golden Joystick awards.

As well as being named Ultimate Game of Year, it won for best PlayStation 2 game, best soundtrack and best hero and villain for its main characters

“Having achieved such popularity with gamers and spawning a whole slew of imitators, it’s no surprise to see GTA: San Andreas pick up such an impressive haul of awards,” said, James Ashton-Tyler of the magazine publishing group, Future.

A version of the game for Sony’s PSP, called Liberty City Stories, is expected to be a big hit over Christmas.

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