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Censorship Entertainment Games

Game Content Ratings Not Always To Be Trusted? 80

Posted by simoniker
from the assaulting-our-sensibilities dept.
Thanks to Reuters for its article discussing video games rated 'T' for teens containing 'explicit' content that's not noted on the game box. According to Harvard-based researchers checking on the voluntary ESRB ratings for videogames: "Although most of the games' content matched their ratings, [the survey] found that 48 percent of games contained some content that was not noted on the game box." The piece goes on to note specific examples: "For instance, 12 of the 81 games showed the use of substances such as tobacco and alcohol, while only 1 game had received that type of content descriptor from the ESRB. And while the researchers reported sexual content in 22 games, only 16 had received a sexual content descriptor" - the survey abstract at the American Medical Association's site has further information on the researchers' results.
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Game Content Ratings Not Always To Be Trusted?

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  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:06AM (#8314534) Homepage Journal
    Over on Fark there is a debate going on about parental discipline vs. child abuse. The running theme is that parents who are consistent and firm with their children turn out well-adjusted kids whereas parents who are inconsistent and abusive turn out some really fucked up gems.

    It seems to me that a parent who would take the time and effort to fall in the first category would also be the kind of parent who spent 5 seconds looking at the video game and deciding whether the kid should be allowed to play it or not.

    OTOH, parents who do not put that time and effort in to raising their kids would be the type to just shell out 40 dollars to shut the kid up for a week.

    It's no wonder that kids who play these violent and sexually explicit games turn into the freaks they are. It isn't the games, it's the parents.
    • by Cychwyn (225527) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:21AM (#8314571)
      Not sure five seconds of a game will tell you anything about how "safe" it is for your child. The article has a point in that if the rules for a rating were consistent, you could make a ball-park guess whether to buy/rent it. And then, of course, check in on your offspring at regular intervals to make sure that it still seems to be agreeing with your ideas of "suitable".
      OT:ish - My Dad used to play the PC (and later console) games *with* us, part of both parents ideas that bringing us up was a joint venture and one best done by parents and not TV, teachers nor other outsiders. I'm very glad they were that oldfashioned.
      • by chia_monkey (593501) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:34AM (#8314618) Journal
        You're absolutely correct. Five seconds of a game won't tell you how safe a game is for your child. Unfortunately, that's about all the time a majority of the partents these days really want to put into their children's lives. If it's not five seconds of a video game, it's five seconds to scan the TV Guide or a movie collection.

        The point is, even if a game is rated, you still need to check it out as a parent. Maybe the content is worse than the rating says. Maybe it's nothing and is something your family is fine with. How will you know if you don't even bother to check it out though. And even more importatnly, by checking it out you actually show that you have an interest in what your child is doing which speaks volumes compared to "just checking to make sure the rating is good"
        • Re:What's the point? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sckeener (137243)
          It's sad.

          We live in an age where tech is reducing the time it takes us to do tasks.

          In other ages people had no time because life was harder. Now we have no time because we want to put ourselves before our kids.

          And before anyone mods me down, you don't have to work 12 hour days any more. Developed countries have labor laws.

          Spend time with your kids.

          My sister-in-law doesn't. She acts like a peer with her child instead of the parent. During Christmas it was discovered that my niece stole her mother's
          • During Christmas it was discovered that my niece stole her mother's s3x toys to play with them.

            But, SSX 3 is just a snowboarding game for the Nintendo! I can't believe it's that unsuitable, unless there's some sort of "leisure suit larry -- doin' the ski lodge" mini-game in there I don't know about.

            But, if you meant "sex toys," then I'd have to agree -- using your moms sex toys is just plain gross. Someone should take the poor kid shopping to buy her own damned toys, so she doesn't have to risk an infe
          • It's sad. We live in an age where tech is reducing the time it takes us to do tasks. In other ages people had no time because life was harder. Now we have no time because we want to put ourselves before our kids. And before anyone mods me down, you don't have to work 12 hour days any more. Developed countries have labor laws. Spend time with your kids.

            You're wrong about people not having as much free time in the past. In agarian societies there isn't much to do in winter and while crops are growing

            • To add to your point, I believe most modern studies suggest 'standard' hunter-gatherer societies would require a member to spend about four hours a day, tops, to gather enough food. And oftentimes this food would also be enough to support others that couldn't do as useful work - like the very young or the hunters (who were responsible for considerably less food calorie-wise, generally).
          • >My niece can tell me all the wonders of GTA3 and Vice City.

            You want to see a cute kid, look at my fiance's nephew... he's 5 years old, and the other day he was in the car with me when we drove past two police officers who had somoene pulled over on the side of the road. He said, "We should put a bomb in between those cop cars!" Where does a five-year-old get that sort of idea?? Did I mention that his parents use a PS2 as his babysitter (even when they're around and could actually be interacting wit
      • I agree. No my parents do not actually play "with" us, but they do keep a close eye on what we play. If parents really cared about what their kids played/read/watched and all those good things ya think they would show it by participating in those activitys with them!
    • >It isn't the games, it's the parents.

      Spot on. I had a similar thought when I was playing RainbowSix3 the other day. It was clear that a few of the players were not even 13 (The game is rated M for 17 and above). All the players there are usually very expressive and the game is violent (It is a great game). The first thing I thought was why are the parents allowing them to play this.

      The other day in Blockbuster, a younger brother wanted to rent a very violent game. These are the exact words, I kid you
      • Yeah, the solution to ANY problem is to put more jack booted thugs on it.
      • by Divide By Zero (70303) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:59PM (#8316855)
        If there is a remote possibility that a school shootout was triggered in part by a violent game, lets avoid it.

        Try substituting for "game" the phrase "TV show", "movie", "evening news story", or "behavior learned from a parent".

        Why, oh why, do people seem to single out gaming as the only violent influence on a child? You think a 12 year old has never seen gore until he plays GTA3? Watching the Detroit TV news in the morning, I see more violence than I do most of the evening playing video games. I'm guaranteed at least a murder a night on Law & Order on TNT, and a extra one on the new episode on NBC, not to mention SVU and Criminal Intent. Just recently, a kid killed his... cousin? sister? by emulating professional wrestling - shall we legislate that too?

        At a certain point, a child needs a regulating influence in their life to point at the TV or game or movie and say "This is fiction. This is not real life, and this is not acceptable behavior", and then point at the news and say "This is what happens in real life when people die - families are shattered and people go to prison." My dad was always there, and his favorite line was "You know this isn't how the world works, right?" and so I don't go around killing people. For a guy in desktop support, that's a noteworthy accomplishment.

        The burden shouldn't be on the pimply teenager selling the movie ticket or renting the video game - he's probably on the kid's side anyhow. We can't expect Corporate America to raise our kids, and if we do, we deserve everything we get and more. Letting a company decide what's appropriate for one's child, be it ABC, HBO, Blockbuster, the MPAA, the ESRB or anyone else, is shirking one's duty as a parent The burden needs to be on the parent to get involved with the child and what he's doing. Hang out when your kid is playing games. Ask him to explain what's going on. Watch TV with him, even for a couple minutes, just to know. Then decide whether or not you approve, and raise your child accordingly.
        • Why, oh why, do people seem to single out gaming as the only violent influence on a child? You think a 12 year old has never seen gore until he plays GTA3? Watching the Detroit TV news in the morning, I see more violence than I do most of the evening playing video games. I'm guaranteed at least a murder a night on Law & Order on TNT, and a extra one on the new episode on NBC, not to mention SVU and Criminal Intent. Just recently, a kid killed his... cousin? sister? by emulating professional wrestling -
          • My point is parents know about what is shown in various TV shows, but there is not as much awareness about the content of the games.

            I'm a single (widowed) parent of ten-year-old twins. I have trouble with figuring out what's in games, just as I do with other forms of media. Ratings services are inherently flawed, and I can tell you from experience that they're flawed in different ways, depending on what industry group's making the choices.

            Movies are particularly ridiculous. The MPAA seems to live on a c

      • Mandatory ID check before M rated games sell

        Most stores do mandate an ID check. And the government can't enforce a private company, such as the ESRB, so they would have to make their own ratings system or come up with vague discriptions such as "violence against police". Would you like to be the video game clerk who sold a "violent against police" game to a 16 year old and then got fined more then your month's wages? Didn't think so.

        If parent is buying, give an information booklet or atleast tell t
  • newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phloydphreak (691922) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:25AM (#8314585) Journal
    <A HREF=www.esb.org>ESRB ratings> are intended to get parents to pay attention to their kids lives. They are placed to get parents to notice that videogames are a part of childrens lives, the same as television.

    ""The absence of a content descriptor did not mean the absence of content that might concern parents," she[study author Kimberly Thompson] said."

    If parents talked to their children about the things that they are doing, viz. active members in their lives, they will know that the child is playing videosgames with such content in it. Think. (are you ready) Think some more. When as a child, you played duke nukem, did the you discuss your gaming with your parents? I did. I told them all about how hillarious the game was. The hillarity is one that can be experienced only through the game, but in my explination of it, they understood that the beercans strewn around stripclubs where one is killing stripping aliens was funny. They were not offended in any way with the content of the game, only with my choice to play it instead of doing homework late at night.

    The warnings on videogames are not meant for parents to keep children confined by having them not purchase such games, but to brace parents for the content of the game when the child discusses it with them.

    I think Ms. Thompson understands this aspect of the gaming experience, perhaps in a familial if not personal way.

    "She[study author Kimberly Thompson] added that she hopes these study results serve as a "wake up call" for parents, telling them they need to be aware of what their kids are being exposed to, both in video games and elsewhere."

    This study is meant to shine light on parent's lack of involvement in children's lives, not asking for more strict ratings. Lets face it, if anyone makes blanket judgements on ratings, they are being ignorant of the product's value.

    -i wish i were a teapot. That way if when im boiling you could pour me out.-
    • Re:newsflash (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anaxagor (211917)
      The warnings on videogames are not meant for parents to keep children confined by having them not purchase such games

      At least in this country that's not true, our Office of Film and Literature Classification intends the warnings to be used proactively by parents:

      From OFLC: [oflc.gov.au]

      "Consumer advice helps you decide what you and your family view and play. If you do not like your children to hear swear words then check for consumer advice that refers to coarse language. Perhaps you do not like your children to wat
    • The report is saying that the descriptors are applied inconsistantly. So the side debates about what the ratings should be for or about, or whether it's appropriate, or whether parents spend enough time with their kids are all beside the point.

      What's missing to make this an interesting item is a list of the variations, as they see them, so we can see how outrageous the problem is. Or isn't.

      From what I know of the ESRB's procedures, they require each publisher to submit a tape of all content, and that ta
  • by Ender Ryan (79406) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:06AM (#8314739) Journal
    This is total horsedung. Isn't it being extremely nitpicky to complain that a game rated "T" contains the use of tobacco or alcohol? And what passes as "sexual content" with these obsessively sheltering freaks?

    And violence in "E" rated games? Are we talking "Mario"-esque violence, or something that really deserves mention?

    Bah, give me a break!

    • I was stepping out of the room when the Today show started covering this story this morning. They showed a clip of what appeared to be a Final Fantasy type game. The "outrageous" teaser they gave us before cutting to commercial was a cut scene of a woman's face as she's taking a shower, the view shifts up to the shower head as the shower is turned off, then (it what might be a differant cut scene spliced for TV) we see her in a tank top and panties. It wasn't over the top, but it was definately a shout out
      • not to mention the kinds of things that any 12 year old can find in a Marvel or DC Comic book - even under the Comic Code.

        People complaining about alcohol and/or tobacco use in a 'teen' rated video game are demonstrating how incredibly clueless they are about society.

        Teen smoking and drinking rates may be down - but kids are experimenting even younger nowadays. Your teen is going to be going to school with kids who have, or do, smoke and drink. Not to mention the number of adults they will witness drink
      • Actually, I saw that scene as well. The in-show segment they showed, was a full body shot in the shower, with a naked woman facing away. The woman's behind was blurred, which suggests that in the actual game one would be able to see her rump clearly.

        Is this something that's going to corrupt a 14 year old? who knows. but there's no reason not to put a label "brief nudity" on the game to at least let the parent know about it.

        ultimately, if you are going to have ratings, at least apply them correctly, ot
      • So.... it's OK to show it on public TV for all to see, but it's a moral outrage to put it in a game clearly labelled "Teen?"

        Somebody mentioned they blurred part of it, but the phrase "double standard" seems to be echoing into the distance...
  • by darkmayo (251580) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:07AM (#8314742)
    I never figured out why we have a separating rating system for games when there is a perfectly good rating system for the movie industry that could be used.(I assume its some legal hullabaloo)

    Anyways alot of Parents don't really know what the video game rating system entails, and because of not really knowing they will let there kid play whatever the hell they want, instead of making an informed decision that maybe that game where you play inmates that dig at each other with rusty hooks might not be suitable.

    Now with the Movie rating system most people know what the hell the ratings are , or at least have a general idea. Your not going to let your 13 year old go to the R film (Heck most theatres won't even let your kid in) but the M rating on that game, your not quite sure about.

    So what to do.. either raise awareness on what the ratings actually are and entail and make sure that the games get rated correctly (personally I am surprised that Manhunt only got mature) or scrap the system and rebuild from the ground up.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The problem is that the movie rating system is based on entirely different axioms than the game one.

      PG-13 indicates that, if a child is under thirteen, the parent should see the movie first, or see it with the child. Video games don't work that way... you can't just sit there playing Zelda: OOT with your kid for 50 hours. Your kid has more leisure time than you do.

      So, continuing with OOT, you turn it on... you play the first hour... it seems really tame. Some scary spiders. So what?

      Kid plays up to the

    • and me without my mod points.

      the MPAA rating system is well known, well tested, and people already have a fairly good idea where their personal values diverge from the ratings.

      There's no reason to rate games differently, when the content being rated is the same across media. hell, you could rate a comic book with the MPAA system if you felt like it. Why does the gaming industry feel the need to screw around with that?

      Rebuilding the system would only be beneficial if they cut to the chase an outlined ex
      • Rebuilding the system would only be beneficial if they cut to the chase an outlined exactly what types of objectionable content were involved.

        They do [esrb.com]
      • There's still a lot of interpretation issues.

        Why is it "nudity" to see five seconds of female boob, but if Commander Testosterone runs the whole game in nothing but a loincloth and an ammo sash, it isn't.
        Is it "criminal themes" if you show someone breaking a political prisioner out of jail?
    • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:36AM (#8314917) Homepage
      A problem with the ratings is that they map it all to a single number; recommended form age X.

      And still, the rating-system is not (and cannot be!) neutral at all, not all parents will agree (or even come close to agree!) on what their kids should be shielded for. In particular, to most scandinawians the US guideleines are ridicolously strict on nudity and/or language, while being similarily soft on violence.

      It's hard to believe this has to do with the well-being of children, more likely it reflects the puritanity of the reviewers or the parents.

      No kid will ever be scared, hurt or otherwise damaged by seeing a naked female breast. Indeed most kids do so from age ~2 minutes. Noone is going to wake up in the nigth, having nigthmares, because they've seen a penis.

      It always seemed ridiculous to me that in these rating-systems, showing 2 seconds of naked skin seems on par with decapitating people, blood gushing all over the place.

      Thus, I'd never trust the rating-systems anyway, and would vastly prefer spending the required time myself to make up my own damn opinion. What's so wrong about spending time with your child anyway ?

    • The problem isn't necessarily the rating system, but how it is applied. They were interviewing the lead author of the study on the Today show this morning (which I briefly caught).

      The problem, at least from what I picked up, is that the game developers do not submit the game for a rating. Rather they submit portions (clips of cutscenes, demos of gameplay) that aren't always representative of actual in game content.

      As I recall, they reviewed 81 games rated T. About half were appropriately labeled (all t
    • When we were discussin this issue on a forum, one guy said that he had been unable to rent Clerks one day before his birthday, and that nothing had changed over night. My friend posited that in fact, in the one day, he had gained legal responsibility for his actions.
      I thought this very interesting, since I very much support the idea of parents actually getting involved in their child's lives, and not sheltering them unduly by refusing to let them near anything with a rating above U, or whatever the US equiv
    • As you suspect, the reason that videogames do not use G, PG and the like is because the MPAA won't let them. Marvel comics started using G PG and whatnot a couple years ago and has stopped becasue the MPAA threatened to sue.
    • There's a very good, and extremely clever, reason.

      The MPAA owns the trademarks on PG, G, R, etc. To maintain those trademarks, they are legally obligated to *enforce* them, that is, take legal action against any other company that would use the same trademarks.

      Why does the MPAA maintain these trademarks? Because otherwise, there would be nothing, legally, to stop a movie like Scary Movie from putting a huge "rated G" on the movie posted without *any* endorsement from the MPAA. If they try, the MPAA cou
      • The MPAA owns the trademarks on PG, G, R, etc. To maintain those trademarks, they are legally obligated to *enforce* them, that is, take legal action against any other company that would use the same trademarks.

        No. They could allow the other company to use the trademark with permission. Taking legal action against them is just being a tool.

    • The MPAA holds trademarks on their ratings, and has no interest in allowing competitors to to use them. It's the same reason that the MPAA ratings aren't used for television ratings.

      You may be interested to know a little more about how these ratings came to be. I remember a bit of it.

      Video games were under flak because of crap like Mortal Kombat and Time Killers, which used excessive violence as a selling point. Other stuff like the Sega CD Night Trap got a lot of criticism too. Joe Lieberman was heading
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:16AM (#8314794)
    Parents dont come with a Parental Skill Rating attached to their foreheads... :-/
  • by fuzzybunny (112938) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:32AM (#8314895) Homepage Journal
    My lord, tobacco _AND_ alcohol? Sexual activity in a game? Holy cow! I really would not have bought my latest copy of Super Slayer Commando XXIII if the label on it hadn't assured me that it was much much cleaner than Super Slayer Commando XXII!!!

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you. Computer games containing graphic violence? Why seeing that guy I blew away in Quake Death Rampage Umpteen makes me so angry I want to go out and wipe out my office! I'm just glad I was not exposed to such abominations as an impressionable child--who knows, I might have turned out as a psychopathic axe murderer, or even, god forbid, a..a...MUSIC DOWNLOADER!

    This revelation makes me never, ever ever want to touch another one of these products of satan again for as long as I live. And especially if I ever have children, good grief, think of what might happen if my little boy or girl were to see such morally reprehensible content while I am away working 12 hour days?!? Why, I think I might have to limit them to watching professional football, or Wile E. Coyote having wholesome anvils dropped on him on TV!

    Phew, I've vented my spleen against those evil peddlers of smut and gore. Now back to watching Janet Jackson's nipple and some CNN shots of dead bodies on my wholesome, wholesome television.
  • Anyone?

    Why is that game rated "M"?
    • Actually, the game was originally slated to receive a T rating, but when the ESRB caught wind of the game's opening FMV (which features a nude woman diving off a waterfall, and her visible backside as she dives) it was given an M shortly before release. This is interesting as Dead or Alive 3, which in Christie's ending showed a much more visible rear shot, only received a T rating.
    • Just a wild guess, but I think the M to DOAXBV was a "cover your ass" situation.

      The ESRB didn't want to be caught with it's pants down and have an easter egg slip by them with someone's pants being down. And then the shitstorm would begin over why didn't they catch that?

      And actually the M rating probably only helped DOAXBV's sales as their people to this day who still believe some type of Nudality code exists in the game.
  • standards (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Are there even any regulations or standards that say what kind of games get what rating? Starcraft came out with a Teen rating, but when it's expansion pack Brood War came out, it was stamped Mature, even though nothing major was changed from Starcraft.
  • by robbway (200983) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:17AM (#8315194) Journal
    The truth behind the ratings is they are rarely used correctly. The developers shoot for a particular rating, then get the board to agree or disagree. Just like the movies.

    Some games are mismarked, like Tony Hawk 3. It says "E" for everyone, but fails to mention the blood and swearing. I personally would still let anyone play it, since the context of the blood and swearing is appropriate. Some would disagree. Like a previous few comments, you have to play with or watch your kids play games if you want to know what they're playing.

    But, since the ratings are goals, and not ends, you'll have kiddie games elevated to teen with gratuitous bodily functions, blood effects, and such. You'll have teen games elevated to Mature with bouncy boobs and over-the-top violence--despite these things being very purile, but fun! By elevating the ratings, the games are more enticing to the target audience because it's taboo, and you may pull in a couple people in the "as rated" audience who think it's for their age, not their kids.

    Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Teen (PG-13) is the desired audience for almost all games. You don't want an "M" unless you feel you'll sell a lot of them on the first day. The first Mortal Kombat is a great example how to ruin a game by dumbing down the violence for a broader audience.

    So in the end, the games that are rated properly seem like the ones that are mismatched with the ratings! Just like the movies.
    • by fireduck (197000) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:59AM (#8315550)
      The truth behind the ratings is they are rarely used correctly. The developers shoot for a particular rating, then get the board to agree or disagree. Just like the movies.

      The problem is, unlike the movies, the ratings board does not review the entire game. They review clips of the game that the developers submit. as the study points out, only about half the time are the ratings (descriptors) accurate. What this suggests is that some developers are deliberately misleading the review board and submitting clips that aren't fully representative of the game.

      While I'm strongly in the "games really aren't that bad" camp, a flawed ratings system that is wrong half the time, just sets the industry up for criticism, government oversight and ultimately censorship; the exact reasons the ESRB was created to put off in the first place.
      • Two perfect examples of the fact that developers withhold some information about games is Xenogears and Dead or Alive 3. Xenogears (rated T) contained scenes of implied sexual content, as well as an almost unnoticable scene of pixelated nudity. Dead or Alive 3, in Christie's ending, very plainly showed her nude backside in the shower. Both games, according to the ESRB's rating system, should have been rated M. However, both were rated T because someone involved in creating the videos for the ESRB to clas
    • Some games are mismarked, like Tony Hawk 3. It says "E" for everyone, but fails to mention the blood and swearing. I personally would still let anyone play it, since the context of the blood and swearing is appropriate.

      Tony Hawk 3 (at least the PS2/GC/xbox versions) is rated T for Teen. If I were a parent, the blood wouldn't bother me, but some of the song lyrics might.

      Parents might object more to "defy authority" goals in the THPS games like "grind 5 police cars", "destroy 5 no skating signs", "grind d
      • I got my games mixed up as you pointed out! The game that pushes the EVERYONE envelope is SSX (PS2, GCN). Great game, but has (contextually accurate) cursing and bloodless violence. Again, not really a bother to me personally, but some may not be so understanding.

        It's probably because of the other reply. I doubt they have the soundtrack and maybe not even all the sounds at time of rating. Then for the sequels, they probably just said "more of the same, ratings-wise." Who knows. It makes me wonder if
  • by tjmsquared (702422) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:30AM (#8315288)
    What we really need is a consistent rating system for all forms of entertainment. Movies, television, video games and music should use the same system to avoid confusion about exactly what a rating means in one system verses another. I'm not sure how to go about doing that since these industries are all independent, and I'm reluctant to get the Government involved in a ratings system, but I think it would be the best solution for kids and parents.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If the in-game characters are not clearly using tobacco or alcohol (e.g. they are smoking something or drinking out of a bottle, but the vice is just implied, not explicit) I don't see why it's a problem.

    They could be smoking clove cigarettes and drinking no-alcohol beer for all these nannies know.
  • by Sick Boy (5293) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:42AM (#8315979) Homepage
    It's almost as if the game rating system, and even the people that label games aren't perfect! What next? We'll have to raise our own children? We'll have to actually spend time with them? We'll have to play the game before them, or along with them, explaining anything that might damage their fragile little minds (like, say, ANYTHING that plays on the 6 o'clock news)?

    This travesty of justice should not be allowed to perpetuate. I paid good money for my one eyed babysitter, damn it!
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:56AM (#8316123)
    I am surprised no historians have dug up Roman Empire artifacts saying their violence came from playing too much video games.

    The rating system is completely lame. My local news has more violence, sex and tobacco use.
  • how do they define (Score:3, Insightful)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:21PM (#8316372)
    How do they define these things? If even a background character smokes, is that counted as tobacco use? It's just a realistic background, nothing more.
  • Dear Anal Police,

    Find something better to do with your time.

    Sitting around, saying "OMG they missed that character smoking and that sexual innuendo WTF WTF WTF?" is not a productive use of time or resources.

    It's people like you that enable psycho overprotective parents. You're far more damaging than the video game cigarette.

    Sincerely,
    Sane Society
  • Could someone explain what the AMA has to do with video games?

    Shouldn't they be off practicing medicine?
  • See, the problem with trying to evaluate/rate all of the content in a game is that, in the average game, there's too much, and it would take far too long to come up with a completely accurate rating. Unlike, with say, movies, every gameplay experience can be different, depending on the actions of the player, and not only is playing the whole game through once generally time consuming, but playing it through multiple times with an eye for every single easter egg, cheat code, and any other possible variable w
  • Wipeout is mature? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArmorFiend (151674) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:19PM (#8317712) Homepage Journal
    Yeah.
    Um, "Wipeout" for original playstation was rated "Mature". I just don't think kids should have to look at cars going around an oval track. It could warp their fragile little minds.

    (Ok, there technically were weapons, but they only slowed, they didn't kill).

    Oh, and the color pallette was grey and edgy. Definately don't want your kids to see that.
  • When a game is named after a felony, you have the gist of the content.
  • I really wish that one of these days, a reporter from a mainstream news outlet would actually do their own reporting on the topic of game ratings instead of deferring to some parental group that tries its best to distort the facts. If an unbiased observer took a serious look at the ESRB ratings, they would realize that the inaccuracy goes both ways.

    The ratings aren't just applied loosely, which infers that certain game publishers might be getting favors from the ESRB or that the ESRB just has a vested inte
    • I dunno. I think the shadow monster things in Ico are kind of scary, and the whole "child-in-jeopardy" theme might be a bit disturbing to call it "all ages." I might be more inclined to let my kid play something that seemed more playful, like a sports game, even if it contained some profanity, a little blood, or cheerleaders.

      I definitely agree with your overall point, though.

  • OK, I'll admit it. I'm a hypocritical parent who carefully screens what my kids watch, read, and play. I'm a hypocrite because, when I was growing up, my parents did none of these things and I turned out (IMO) just fine. I guess the difference is that my parents were just ignorant of what I was reading, watching, and playing, but I'm not, since I tend to watch, read, and play much of the same things as my kids. I feel like I'm actively pimping smut to my kids if I don't control their media access to som
  • ...is a horrible game, and you should never play it.

    But my point is, it was aimed at children, the characters you could choose from were children, all of its content was child-friendly - the most violent things that ever happened were shooting fake targets and throwing wooden crates at a shark - and the game got a 'T' rating.

    So it's not a one-way street.
  • Gee, I can't rely 100% on the label? No sh*#!

    As the predictable debate of parent-responsability vs. I-want-laws-and-regulations-to-think-for-me-and-my -family rages on, I'm glad that I still love playing games today as much as I did 23 years ago!

    Even though the games my son is playing now are safe "kiddie titles", I'm still involved since it's something we can have fun with togeather. This participation establishes me, the parent, as a part of this kind of entertainment. Obviously, this approach would

  • I don't have kids, but I've always thought the simplest solution is to not let your kids have TVs and computers in their rooms. Keep the TVs and computers in the family room or something like that. When I was a kid I was afraid of viewing anything too objectionable to my parents since you never knew when they were going to walk through the room. That and our 8086 couldn't display photo-realistic graphics anyway.
  • The idea of (even parental) censorship is not without value, but I think that it's overvalued.

    The rationales for parental censorship that I can see go something like this (w/ my responses):

    Issue: If I expose my child to this scary content, he/she is not old enough to have mental constructs or required knowledge in place to prevent him/her from being overwhelmed with irrational fear.

    Response: I don't think I can agree. The mental constructs issue is, I think, not a convincing argument. The way people se

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