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The ESRB Gets An 'F' 641

Posted by Zonk
from the bad-day-for-games dept.
GamePolitics reports on a failing grade given to the ESRB by the National Institute on Media and the Family. The report card did not look good for the ratings board, which almost immediately fired back at the organization. From that article: "The reality is that publishers understand that retailers largely choose not to stock AO-rated games, and so in the interests of producing marketable games, publishers will oftentimes revise and resubmit a game that was initially assigned an AO by raters in an effort to produce an M-rated game. When this happens, the process starts again from the beginning, and each new version of a game is reviewed independently. The call to issue more AO ratings has little to do with rating accuracy, and more to do with NIMF's real agenda, which is to destroy the commercial viability of games it deems objectionable. Unlike NIMF, ESRB's job is to be a neutral rater, not a censor."
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The ESRB Gets An 'F'

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  • Sheesh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:14PM (#14149935) Homepage Journal
    NIMF: You suck!
    ESRB: You suck more!
    NIMF: Your mother wears army boots!
    ESRB: Your sister swims after troop ships!

    Does any adult really give a flying fig? Oh wait, the Slashdot demographic is... never mind.
    • Does any adult really give a flying fig? Oh wait, the Slashdot demographic is... never mind.

      Dunno about adults, but apparently you cared enough to read the summary (and possibly the articles too), and comment on it, taking a cheap potshot at Slashdot readers while you did.

      Little Pot, meet Kid Kettle :).

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:17PM (#14149961) Homepage Journal
    ...who spend their time on this garbage. I am a Christian myself. I know the NIMF isn't an openly religiously motivated group, but I see how churches support them.

    [open rant]
    These ratings are no replacement for parenting. Instead of wasting time complaining, work a few more hours a week and donate the money to your church marketing fund.

    Stop trying to make non-Christians become like you by using the force of government or nanny groups. Instead, work within your group of Christians to help keep those kids moral and loved and ethical. Christian kids are the worst because their parents are blind to reality.

    I hate my label as I'd never tell a non-Christian to stop swearing or stop drinking or stop screwing around or stop watching porn. I'd never use government or a nanny group to further a Christian agenda.

    My job as the Bible mandates is to enforce responsibility in my brothers and sisters in Christ, and be a model for non-believers. I can not control a non-believer and using Caesar to do so is wrong.

    Your job as a parent is to be involved 100% in your child's life. If you want a good Christian child, be a good Christian parent. Try to live sin free, and stop forcing your child to be perfect if you are not perfect yourself.

    • by LordKazan (558383) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:22PM (#14150021) Homepage Journal
      Why can't there be more Christians like you?

      me=athiest, and tired of having my rights trampled
      • by wiggles (30088) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:27PM (#14150077)
        There are, but we just don't make the news.
      • by Dareth (47614) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:32PM (#14150124)
        We are just not as vocal as the Ralph Reed variety.

        I am a Christian. I believe in God. I also read fantasy novels, play D&D, and even play some violent video games. I am also an adult.

        I do not press my views on other people, yet I do not hide what I believe when asked.

        I can't scare people into heaven, but I can tell them that I have a close relationship with God. Nor do I claim to know everything, or have a perfect understanding of God and religion.

        My beliefs are personal, between myself and God. I will let other people develop (or not) the same relationship. I just know it works for me.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:38PM (#14150173)
          I also read fantasy novels, play D&D, and even play some violent video games. I am also an adult.


          Clippy tells me there is a "sentence agreement problem" whatever that means...
        • by Krach42 (227798) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:53PM (#14150323) Homepage Journal
          Another good response is usually, "Hey dude, God saved my sorry ass... now what did you do that's so bad that God can't forgive you for it?"

          Living a lifestyle where people know that you're a Christian but that God saves even the most imperfect is sometimes the strongest witness you can give anyone.

          I once had a girl tell me, "You're Christian? But you cuss!" I'm just like, "Uh... yeah... what about being a Christian says that I'm perfect... my religious beliefs in fact tell me I'm not."
          • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:44PM (#14150886)
            I once had a girl tell me, "You're Christian? But you cuss!" I'm just like, "Uh... yeah... what about being a Christian says that I'm perfect... my religious beliefs in fact tell me I'm not."

            Bart: I think I'll go for the life of sin, followed by a presto-change-o deathbed repentance.
            Faith: Wow, that's a good angle. [contemplates for a second] But that's not God's angle. Why not spend your life helping people instead. Then you're also covered in case of sudden death.
            Bart: Full coverage? Hmmm.

            My angle is that if God is reasonable, he will understand why I cannot force myself to believe trumped-up bullshit. And if he's not reasonable, then we are all fucked.

            (Then there's the 99.3% chance that consciousness is just an illusion and there is nothing after we die and the 1.0-1e-37% chance that even if there is a supreme being, he is nothing like anything described in any particular religious canon.)
            • (Then there's the 99.3% chance that consciousness is just an illusion and there is nothing after we die and the 1.0-1e-37% chance that even if there is a supreme being, he is nothing like anything described in any particular religious canon.)

              Our brains control our perception of time (which is another way of saying that, ultimately, we control our perception of time). How do you know that the "afterlife" isn't the creation of the consciousness that is aware that its support system is shutting down? Would our
      • Why can't there be more Christians like you?

        There are, but most of us are adults with kids to raise, jobs to do, and (hopefully) fun lives to lead, just like anyone else. That means we generally don't have the time, energy, or commitment to raise a high, holy stink every time the world acts upon its free will, so we don't get a whole lot of media attention.

        As a Christian, there are more opportunities to make positive, constructive differences in my life and the lives of my friends, family, and local communi
    • Where is the moderation for "Holy Shit! I'm converted!"

      I agree with the poster above me. The Christian religion needs more Christians like you.

    • I hate my label as I'd never tell a non-Christian to stop swearing or stop drinking or stop screwing around or stop watching porn. I'd never use government or a nanny group to further a Christian agenda.

      Maybe Christians are tired of seeing the proliferation of these things throughout society, because they see them as harmful to people whether they are Christian or not.

      Maybe if more Christians took more of a stand and told people to stop swearing, drinking, screwing around or watching porn the society at lar
      • You know... there's a part of the bible that speaks about eating non-kosher food. Because, remember, for a long time Christians had to be Jews first.

        Then they started picking up Gentiles, and even Jewish Christians started picking up eating non-kosher foods.

        I believe the essense of it says that you may feel that it's fine for you to eat non-kosher foods, but when you're in the house of a family that has remained kosher that you should follow the kosher rules in order to not tempt them, because they feel th
        • "there's a part of the bible that speaks about eating non-kosher food"

          The part you are referring to can be found in the Old Testament in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 11. One of those infamous chapters that people try to use to prove the bible contains flaws... after all, what rabbit chews it's cud?

          1 And Jehovah proceeded to speak to Moses and Aaron, saying to them: 2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'This is the living creature that YOU may eat of all the beasts that are upon the earth: 3 Every
      • by LordKazan (558383) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:46PM (#14150262) Homepage Journal
        Maybe Christians are tired of seeing the proliferation of these things throughout society, because they see them as harmful to people whether they are Christian or not.

        Sucks to be them - what hey see as harmful and what IS harmful are two completely different things

        Maybe if more Christians took more of a stand and told people to stop swearing, drinking, screwing around or watching porn the society at large would be more courteous, have less drunk drivers, and broken marriages.

        Christianity, especially not fundamentalist christianity, is not the answer to this.

        First and foremost you have to prove swearing is harmful - a swear word is just a word, you choose to take offense. Now words can be used in a way that is intended to be harmful - but i can intend to insult you by calling you a "feces eating dog fornicator" without ever swearing.

        The very concept of "swear words" is anathemic to free thought

        No sexual relationships before marriage is equally unhealthy as too many - just unhealthy in different ways - and no sexual relationship with the person you are going to marry before you marry them can, and does, cause divorces

        Drunk driving is unlawful, against even relativistic morals, etc - you don't need religion to say drunk driving is bad- and religion doesn't ameloriate the rate of alcoholism.

        Broken marriages now.. that's something really ironic for a fundamentalist to preach about. It has been shown that the divorce rate among the most fundamentalist christians is TWICE that of the divorce rate among atheists and agnostics - and that the divorce rate between the two is pretty much linearaly related to the level of fundamentalism the couple is involved in. A nice example of this is Rush Limbaugh, or my fiancee's biological father is another good example of this.

        Sure, anybody can do whatever they want. That doesn't mean that their activities don't end up hurting other people directly or indirectly, Christian or not.

        Yep my looking at porn (alone and with my fiancee), farking my fiancee (and only two other girls ever before her), and swearing are really harming you!

        oh the humanity!

        PS: not all porn is tasteful, stuff that is really degrading to women is not only NOT HOT, but is pretty disgusting
      • Maybe I see certain strains of Christianity as harmful to society.

        Maybe I feel that their agenda is responsible for an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, due to their utter refusal to consider educating children about sex.

        Maybe I feel that their beliefs are responsible for failures in education which are causing the united states to lose its edge in the global information economy, due to their insistence that science has to conform to their religious dogma.

        Maybe I see their beliefs as the root cause
      • by pla (258480) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:55PM (#14150345) Journal
        Maybe if more Christians took more of a stand and told people to stop

        If more Christians "practiced what they preach", plain old market forces would instantly result in the nonavailability of these products.

        At least in the US, we have somewhere between a 78 and 90% Christian population (according to the last two census). If 90% of people refused to support content that included violence, sex, profanity, blasphemy, science, drugs, firearms, toilet paper, or whatever peeve-of-the-week you want to claim makes the baby Jesus cry, then such content would vanish overnight.

        "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"



        Maybe Christians are tired of seeing the proliferation of these things throughout society, because they see them as harmful to people whether they are Christian or not.

        If I want to "harm" myself by pretending to blast aliens with my demonic powers while scantily clad CG cheerleaders talk dirty to me, you don't have any say in that.

        Deal.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:39PM (#14150181) Journal
      Blah blah. Any solution that requires any personal responsibility is clearly going to fail, because the number of people who are willing to take any responsiblity for their actions is vanishingly small.

      If you have a child, and he gets into a bottle of your pills and kills himself, is it:

      A) The childs fault, for not knowing better
      B) Your fault, for being careless
      C) The pharmaceutical companies fault, for making the pill in the first place
      D) The pharmacys fault, for making the pill bottle openable
      E) A & B
      F) C & D

      The right answer is clearly 'B', but it seems like 'F' is the only popular option these days. It's got to be someone's fault, and obviously it couldn't be the parents fault, are you MAD?

      Makes me sick. Not to bring up the Bush Corolary of Godwin's Law, but take 9/11. 1 day to happen, 5 years of finger pointing to follow. Why? We can't just say, "Okay, we all screwed up, let's learn something and move on." No no no, we've got to find out exactly whose fault it was that we didn't see it coming, so we can, I don't know, set them on fire or something.

      It's getting hard to even blame the government for refusing to take responsibility. Jesus, look what we did to the tobacco companies! I missed the bit where they held people down and made them smoke, but it clearly happened at some point.

      We've gotta stop the finger pointing, and man up to some responsiblity. It's freaking absurd.
      • I think the number of people who "won't take responsibility for themselves" is actually very small. The thing is that in the case you describe above (kid killing himself with pills), nobody would decide to sue themselves or their dead child because obviously that's ridiculous. The person who blames himself in that situation will not make the news.

        Stop watching TV and reading the newspaper for a while and you will stop having such a warped perspective on reality. By warped, I mean the falacy of thinking that

      • A) The childs fault, for not knowing better
        B) Your fault, for being careless
        C) The pharmaceutical companies fault, for making the pill in the first place
        D) The pharmacys fault, for making the pill bottle openable
        E) A & B
        F) C & D

        The right answer is clearly 'B',


        No, the right answer is B & D, if in fact the pill was potentially harmful but not in a child proof bottle.

        Personal responsibility is great, as long as it doesn't involve absolving others of their responsibilities in the process. Perfect e
    • by bleckywelcky (518520) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:40PM (#14150200)
      Well, at least you put "hate" in quotations.

      I think what so many of these religion-backed groups are missing (in the case of Christianity) is that God does not want people to enforce their will on others in order to make them moral and ethical people. Instead, God wants people to talk to one another and share the benefits of a moral and ethical life - lead by example, not by leash. God does not want societal laws to mandate morality and ethics in people who do not want to adhere to them. God wants people to appreciate the results of those morals and ethics, and make their own decision to live that life.

      To take this point to the extreme, we don't have laws against murder because it is an immoral action, or because the founding fathers were religious and believed this one little religious law would fit fine in our laws ... We have laws against murder because our society could not properly operate without them. God would not want laws against murder, instead he would want everbody to appreciate everyone else enough that we would choose to discuss and resolve our problems instead of resorting to killing each other. Unfortunately, we have not yet achieved this altruistic state, so we do require such laws.

      The same goes for many other laws that have existed for a long time - they exist because society as we know it could not survive without them, not because the government has mandated morality and ethics. However, many people dont see this (such as NIMF), and they are wrongly trying to mandate morality and ethics through law.
    • My job as the Bible mandates is to enforce responsibility in my brothers and sisters in Christ, and be a model for non-believers. I can not control a non-believer and using Caesar to do so is wrong.

      I just want to thank you for starting this thread. In it's responses, I'm finding there are a lot more Christians just like me, and I'm adding them (and you) to my "friends" list.

      It's refreshing to see others in my faith who are not intent on converting the world by force. Jesus said to spread the good word, not
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:17PM (#14149963) Homepage Journal
    To get retailers to start carding everybody for games?

    Parents should have the right to determine for themselves whether or not a game is appropriate for their child rather than worrying that the little tyke is at the store buying an M-rated title behind their backs.

    • And then everyone wonders why states are trying to pass laws to make that happen... If the stores would just DO IT ON THEIR OWN, no one would be trying to force it on them.

      Movie theaters card kids for R-rated movies, why is this so hard?

    • It takes exorbitantly large fines and jail terms to stop bars and convenience stores from selling alcohol and cigarettes to children. You think that retailers are going to care about selling M-rated games to children when no penalties are in place if they do so? Sorry, no dice.

      If you are a parent, become more active in your child's life. If they want to buy games that are rated as too violent or suggestive or whatever for them, get involved. Tell them why this is the case. Make sure that they understan
    • I worked at Target last year during the holiday season, in the electronics section. We carded every M-rated game we sold, as standard policy. I carded grandmas. (Partly so that they knew the game they were buying was M-rated, in case they were just working off a shopping list given them by some 8 year old...)

      In many places this is policy. Where have you seen that it isn't?

      (Of course, not all of my co-workers would card everyone. They'd let you slide if you looked old enough. But everyone carded anyone
    • To get retailers to start carding everybody for games?

      Because it's not a retail store's responsibility to raise your kids. And such stores could face lawsuits, for either denying someone a purchase, or for accidentally selling a game to an underage kid. Once the retailer takes action on this, they are also responsible for any outcomes. If they don't do anything, they are not liable. And it costs money to enforce rules and check IDs.

      This is not like alcohol and tobacco, where there are actual laws that stor

    • rather than worrying that the little tyke is at the store buying an M-rated title behind their backs.

      What is the kid doing at the store without you, if you're so afraid of the video games he's playing? Why is he playing games at home that you haven't ever looked at?

      Try raising your own kids instead of getting the rest of us to do the job for you.

    • To get retailers to start carding everybody for games?

      Um, do the do that for DVDs ? If yes, then you have a point. If no, then you're asking to hold games to a higher standard, and I'm going to ask why.

    • There are too many ways around it. Carding isn't going to make up for parenting. If we assume a "no parenting" situation, where the parents neither check the games or watch you play them, you can

      1) Enlist a friend to buy it for you.
      2) Get it on EBay/Amazon/EBGames (if I paid my parents back, they would let me use their credit card)
      3) Illegal copies, either stolen physically or pirated off the Net (computer games)
      4) Lawn/Garage Sale or Pawn Shop, where employees wouldn't know to check IDs.
  • by wasexton (907707) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:18PM (#14149969)
    Just install one of those kiddie mosquito noise generators http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/3 0/0021211&tid=126&tid=14> around the couters that sell AO only games.
  • by gid13 (620803) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:19PM (#14149977)
    Is it just me, or does that name just SCREAM "fundamentalist, religious, biased prudes"?
  • Good in a way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slam smith (61863) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:20PM (#14149992) Homepage
    This is good in a way though, this battle is mostly being fought in the court of public opinion rather than being imposed by governmental fiat.


    • For now... Pending the outcome of the 2006 Congressional elections, and the 2008 Presidential election.

    • It's good now, but that won't stop it from hitting heavier legislation.

      The thing that makes video game regulation so different is that (unlike other polarizing issues such as abortion) the issue hasn't yet been classified as "Democratic" or "Republican" and is regarded as "relatively harmless" (unlike, say, abortion which has much heavier consequences and "real life" impact) and there is evidently a political "right side" (few politicians or people outside of gaming seem to have much interest in defending
  • Mediawise in general (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:23PM (#14150024) Journal
    I just gotta say, Mediawise's slogan ain't so bad:

    "There's only one way to really know what video games your kids are playing
    Be MediaWise®.
    Watch what your kids watch. "

    I don't understand... common sense?

    Also, Mediawise's parent organiztion is the one that took extra pains to distance themselves from Jack, for the tactics he uses.
  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:24PM (#14150038)
    It says the board of the "National Institute on Media and the Family" is: David Walsh, Ph.D.; Douglas Gentile, Ph.D.; (his wife) Erin Walsh; Nat Bennett; Brad Robideau; (his daughter) Monica Walsh, MA; Sarah Strickland, David McFadden.

    What are the odds?

  • by Parham (892904)
    Why do they just have to have generic rating. These companies should be obligated to print exactly what kind of material is in the game and let parents decide. I work in a video/game rental store, and I've seen mothers pick up M rated games for their 10 year old kids (I'm not joking) and I have to explain to them exactly why M doesn't just mean "blood". I have shocked more parents than I'd like to believe I have. An M game can have a hundred different things in it. I'd rather have a new system with mor
    • Fortunately my 9-year old son understands the ESRB rating system and can explain it to me when I'm buying him games.
    • I disagree. I think that kind of rating should be the purview of private industry. There is plenty of room for a ratings system that would rate things on the basis of their content, for example a "foul" word hit frequency log, number of scenes with [insert behavior here], et cetera. Plus, reviews written by a number of panel interviewers from specifically chosen walks of life, like "fundamentalist christian", "new-age feminist", "atheistic libertarian", et cetera. Each reviewer can have a bio so you can fin
  • by beeplet (735701) <beeplet@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:26PM (#14150061) Journal
    The call to issue more AO ratings has little to do with rating accuracy, and more to do with NIMF's real agenda, which is to destroy the commercial viability of games it deems objectionable.

    Sounds likely to me.

    While it seems to me that an objective rating system could be a useful tool to parents, I am wary that it is probably the first step in restricting the sale of "violent" games to minors.

    It just doesn't make sense to me to try to regulate the sale of video games. I am fine with legal age limits on movies, cigarettes and alcohol, which people often try to compare it to, but there are a few key differences:

    1.) Movies, cigarettes and alcohol are relatively cheap. The ten or twenty dollars a teenager might have can go a long way. But what teenager has the $300 for a game console plus $50 per game without getting the money from his parents, which I would interpret as implict approval of their use? (And if a kid does earn that kind of money on his own, he is probably already sufficiently independent of his parents to make it a moot point.)

    2.) Cigarettes and alcohol are relatively easy to consume on the sly, and short of never letting a kid out of the house, parents can't directly control what movies they see in theatres with friends. Games, on the other hand, pretty much require a setup that is going to be used at home, where presumably there is usually someone around to supervise. It's not like kids can sneak out after school and hang out in the woods playing GTA with their friends.

    Anyway, my point is that the "protect the family" groups fundamentally misrepresent the danger posed to kids by violent games. And it seems especially hypocritical to claim to be "protecting the family" by undermining a parent's authority to have the final say in what is acceptable for their children... The regulation of games serves no purpose except to create the perception that these games are bad and thereby push one people's set of values on another.
    • There are more kids walking around with $350 than you might think. There are kids driving cars like Audi's and BMWs to high school nowadays -- brand new ones, at that. Even a 16-year old with a part-time minimum wage job can scrape the money together in a month or two. The cost of a game console and some games is within reach.

      The real issue is parenting. With both parents working or distracted by other personal concerns, kids are left to regulate themselves. In single-parent homes, self-regulation may
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:26PM (#14150063)
    I know if I was a kid, the most coveted games for me would be rated "AO" or "M", just because I technically couldn't buy them. As a kid, even if my parents were religious freaks, I would have just gone down the street to my friend's house, whose parents choose to expose their kids to everything instead of locking them up in a bubble.

    I think the game manufacturers are probably quite happy with the ESRN simply because it adds an extra incentive to buy that title for kids who "can't". It's kind of like slapping those "explicit lyrics" stickers on CDs...doesn't do a thing.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@@@comcast...net> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:26PM (#14150066) Journal
    The reality is that publishers understand that retailers largely choose not to stock AO-rated games, and so in the interests of producing marketable games, publishers will oftentimes revise and resubmit a game that was initially assigned an AO by raters in an effort to produce an M-rated game. When this happens, the process starts again from the beginning, and each new version of a game is reviewed independently.

    you mean that *gasp* the video game industry does the EXACT same thing the movie industry has done for years?? I really wonder about the mentality of these censorship groups.

  • The National Institute on Media and the Family is not some kind of credible organization or industry group. The story really should have mentioned that they are a bunch of prudish Christian wingnuts. The same kind of people who would be linking Dungeons and Dragons to satanism 20 years ago.

    Why pay them any attention? It's just advertising for them. Better to ignore such people, rather than feeding the trolls.

    • Signs you have a weak argument...

      1. Dismiss opponent as insane... check!
      2. Attack opponent with strawman... check!
      3. Advocate censoring opponent... check!

      In other words, why defend your own position when it's much less work to silence the opposition?
  • I have no problems with replacing all the monsters in Doom 3 with that purple-loving freak named Barney. Pokemons will work just as well. That should changed the M rating into a T rating. :P
  • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:27PM (#14150080)
    Ratings Education: C+
    Retailers' Policies: B
    Retailers' Enforcement: D-
    Ratings Accuracy: F
    Arcade Survey: B-
    Industry's 10-year cumulative grade: D+

    To begin, most parents I know don't enforce video game ratings in the same manner they do movie ratings. Most of us grew up with games unrated and turned out fine. The fact that retailers don't heavily enforce the policies goes to show how many people think the game rating system is silly in the first place.

    As for the rating accuracy getting a failing grade, I whole heartedly agree that given the organization handing out these grades is politically motivated, they just want to push violet games out of the market by making as many as possible Adult Only. If this were a real issue, we'd have droves of pissed off parents with 16 year olds they thought were playing a different game. In reality, AO has the stigma of being equivalent to hard core porn. These games aren't the equivalent, and this really is more a political group crying they aren't getting their way. Uh oh, we've got a baby down. I repeat, baby down! Someone call the wah-bulance!!
    • The fallacy of your statement is that most of us grew up with game stores where nearly every game was made and marketed for kids. You haven't understood or followed the change in the industry because it was happening while you grew up.

      When you were a kid you could play nearly every game in the store. Imagine an eight year old now and nearly a third of the games they see, they can't play because they are not age appropriate.
  • I'm part of the generation that grew up playing video games, and we're cruisin through the 30's now. It's natural that we'd want to see more adult-themed games. The wild success of GTA absolutely guarantees they will be there in the future, no matter WHAT the "moral majority" says. Money talks.

    That said, call a spade a spade, kids can't buy porn either. But don't rate differently because it's a game, the same rules should apply to all media. As an adult, -I- pick what I want. Rate it how you want.
  • NIMF is just downright stupid. They are calling for more and more AO games, but similar material gets into R-rated movies (remember by the ratings that is 16 and older, M is 17+, AO is 18+) and you do not see them attacking the ratings issued out for them. Like most any organization, NIMF has an agenda and it just so happens their agenda is to "protect the children". While this might be valorous in the eyes of some, it is downright attrocious the odds to which they will go to meet their goals.

    Here is a
  • and when I say that I mean *extreme* right-wing wackos. They are the U.S. equivalent of the Taliban, except ( as far as we know ) they aren't heavily armed, just heavily funded.

    True, normal Christians are done a great disservice by these extremists who pretend to speak for them. We should all applaud the ESRB for calling them out on their socio-political agenda.

    Actually, I feel a little bad for lumping the NIMF in with a lot of right-wingers, many of whom are really *fiscal* conservatives but would prefer *

  • by Firethorn (177587) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:39PM (#14150191) Homepage Journal
    I don't really see anything the original post doesn't cover.

    A more or less neutral rater(ESRB), pretty much the gaming version of the MPAA, gives games ratings. Just like the 'NC-17' or the old X ratings, Movies intending to have a presence on the mass market theaters will work with the board to get a better rating. They'll edit the movie to get down to an R or PG-13. A PG-13 movie has a much wider viewing audience than a R, so there's pressures to make films even milder if it's a marginal R. And, just like the MPAA, there are going to be oddities on how they rate certain marginal films. The rating is being decided upon by a board of humans, on what can be called a piece of art. You can't necessarily make up a metric based on number of deaths, that'd sink movies like the titanic, war movies having battlegrounds. Neither can you measure by 'punches thrown'(what if it's a documentary about a boxer?), amount of curse words, etc. It's all relative.

    NIMF appears to be an organization of fear mongers, trying to control society through the cry of 'it's for the children!'.

    If they want more games to be assigned an 'AO' rating, well, then they should actually work on convincing stores to stock them. Otherwise you'll get a number of 'borderline' games, where, just like in films, they edit and tweak to get the lower rating so they can actually have a physical presence in stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target. Heck, even places like Gamestop and such don't stock AO games.

    I was allowed to rent and watch R rated movies, with my younger brother, from when I was 12. My parents had to submit a signed letter with the rental place for me to be able to, but they did it. Why? They felt that I was able to handle the difference between fiction and reality. Of course, ratings were tougher back then, to the point that today, people today would scratch their heads and go 'They gave THAT an R?'.

    If NIMF has it's way, it'd end up having to call for legal enforcement of the ratings systems, because adults would be ignoring them even more, like my parents did for the R ratings. Their only restriction was a verbal 'no horror films'. Of course, they usually watched with us.
  • by jwd-oh (513054) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:41PM (#14150208)
    I have just created a World Wide orgnziation called World-wide Institute on Media and People (WIMP for short). We give ESRB an "A+" Why? Just Because! and the NIMF, they get an "F" and a "U" from the WIMP.

  • It's killographic! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Peldor (639336)
    As stupid as this NIMF report is, the invention of the word "Killographic" is utterly brilliant. I'd put it right on the front of my box if I was a game designer.

    I'm not just a gamer, I'm a killographer!

  • Taliban? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yaa 101 (664725) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:00PM (#14150400) Journal
    It looks that more and more Taliban-esqe lobbygroups and associations are getting momentum in the US, all these groups do the same thing, that is trying to pull as many rights as can from under the people. All this with cheap excuses as if kids* are in danger.

    *Fill in any other group that you can hyjack for your political purposes.

    The Taliban moved exactly the same way in Afganistan, slowly poisening society followed by a sudden coup, they also used exactly the same arguments as these right wing socalled christian groups in the US.

    More and more I feel for the sane half of the US population.
  • Damn report cards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@ g m a i l . com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:03PM (#14150424)
    It always irks me when some NGO feels it's appropriate to issue a 'report card' on any other organization, and even more so when it gets any attention.

    The entire concept implies that that writer of the report card has superior knowledge about the issue at hand, like a teacher, and is dispensing wisdom to those lesser informed 'students.'

    More often than not, the organization criticized has all the experience there is to be had in that particular field, while the issuers of the 'report card' are just assholes with a questionable, ill-founded agenda.

    Moreover, the issuance of a report card is symbolic of a complete lack of humility, something I think most people could use more of. They don't consider themselves adults having a disagreement, they consider themselves unquestionably superior to the ESRB. I'm not particularly religous, but the right amount of humility causes you to seriously reflect on yourself, your motivations and your knowledge before you take decisive action. It also allows you to take criticism constructively instead of ignoring it or lashing out defensively.
  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:38PM (#14150813)
    Can we get them banned?

    They're using false logic in saying there should always be a certain percentage of games rated AO. That means no matter how bland and boring the games are, there's still some rated AO. Then games are forced to be blander and blander.
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:46PM (#14150912)
    I haven't seen any single game go BEYOND what your typical R rated film does. Look how gory and disturbing The Devil's Rejects was (that is a good thing, btw)! That received an R.

    Besides, M and AO aren't that different. M is 17+ and AO is *gasp* 18+. One year doesn't make a bit of difference.

    Every game has a movie equivalent. So what game you wanna pick on? GTA? Then let's go after Goodfellas, Casino, or The Godfather.

    You don't like Doom or Quake? Let's go after Aliens.

    So in reality, the rating system is just fine. The problem here is that we put people in charge who think it's perfectly acceptable to push their bullshit moral agenda onto everyone else. Another problem is that those in charge are naive and ignorant, and dismiss video games as something "only children play".

    If there's really that big of a problem with mature games falling into the hands of younger players, perhaps people should use their head and point the fingers at the parents. When they get the complaint about the game (otherwise, why do they care?), the person filing the complaint should ask the parents, "Where were you and what were you doing to let this happen? Sounds like a family communication issue."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @06:15PM (#14151218)
    My boy is 5 years old.

    Here is a list of the things I don't want him exposed to,

    1) TV news, especially local news. Seriously, watch the news tonight, count how many random murders, rapings, child abductions and deadly car accidents they describe in gruesome detail. I counted 13 reports of people dying on a local Tuesday night news report. Talk about scarring the SHIT out of children. Show a picture of a cute little blond haired blue eyed girl and then show a picture of this grisly looking bald drunk that kidnapped and rapped her home while her mother watched. Show the mom on the news crying. You want to fuck up your kids, let them watch the nightly news. The news glorifies and lingers on REAL horror and violence. Not appropriate for children or adults. Should be rated XXXX.

    2) Really scary movies, I would never let him watch the excorcist because I don't need him waking me up at 3:00 in the morning telling me he hears a scratching sound on his wall, because that would scare the hell out of me. Movies that scare the shit out of young children should be rated XXX.

    3) McDonalds, Must be 18 or older to enter. I can't count the number of parents who shove that processed food stuff in front of little children because their to lazy to make them something healthy to eat. Your kid weighs 300 pounds in 3rd grade and seeing a set of tits is his problem. Fat kids should be allowed to see porn, it might be enough motivation for them to lose weight once they realize they are never going to get laid being that fat.

    4) pop and candy, my little boys best friends, both 4, eat a shitload of candy. Their parents are always giving us shit because we won't give our kid candy or pop, with the exception of cake at birthday parties. Both those 4 year olds have had multiple cavities. Once again, multiple times they have been to the dentist to get teeth drilled. We took our son in a few weeks ago for the first time. The dentist says it was quite rare to see a kid his age with such perfect teeth. If all that candy and shit is rotting our kids teeth out, what the hell is it doing to their insides, but why focus on that when we can focus on complete bullshit like kids shooting a virtual gun.

    5) Dumb kids, everybody has met stupid adults, well guess what, those stupid adults were once stupid kids. Those people didn't become stupid when they grew up, they have always been stupid. I know their are some kids stupid enough to believe that video games are real. Ain't shit you can do to help these kids. They are STUPID. It wouldn't matter if it was a video or movie, some jackasses will mimic anything they see. My solution, create bullshit rating systems... oh wait, a better idea, teach my kid to pick out stupid kids and learn to avoid their presense at all cost, just like the rest of us do with stupid adults. I don't walk up and start a conversion with a drunk walking down the street with shit stains on his ass. Same thing goes for my kid, if he sees a kid sitting in the corner of his classroom eating his own snot, I tell my kid he should stay the fuck away from that kid because he will one day be that shit-stained drunk.

    Here is a list of things I could care less if he sees,

    1) GTA or any violent video game, he knows its no more real than pretending to have a gun in his hand and his friend having a pretend arrow. GTA, is just cowboys and indians 2000 version. My choices are, sitting down and playing these terrible games with my kid and explaining their all just make believe and showing him how offended I am at some parts of the game which helps him understand what is and isn't acceptable in real life, or letting him end up playing it anyway at some other kids house with his only influence being the other kid, the same kid who's parents would allow him to have a game like GTA and have his friend come over to play it without first asking the other parent if this is ok.

    2) Nudity, seriously,
  • I will be happy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Some_Llama (763766) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @06:54PM (#14151673) Homepage Journal
    When everything I can buy or watch is not censored because "some" people are offended by them. I am an adult and I should not be treated like a child because other people don't agree or don't like some things... Unfortunately this probably means I will have to move out of the US.

    Now i'm off to go play some Far Cry multiplayer with my 9 and 10 year old (seeing who can do the best ramp jumps in the drivable boats) woot!

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