Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

ESRB Hiring Pro Content Reviewers 32

Posted by Zonk
from the that-would-get-old-fast dept.
In April of this year, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board will move to using full-time reviewers to determine ratings for game content. With rumblings of 'play the whole game' legislation in the halls of Congress, the organization is pre-empting the problem by having full-time raters. The ESRB's Patricia Vance commented on the project: 'Having full-time raters will allow for each one to have greater experience actually reviewing content and recommending ratings ... this would provide each rater with a greater sense of historical parity for ratings, not to mention helping them to be more attuned to pertinent content and how it should be considered from a ratings standpoint. The full-time raters would also be responsible for play-testing final versions of the game, time permitting, which would allow for ESRB to play-test a greater number of games than it currently does.'
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ESRB Hiring Pro Content Reviewers

Comments Filter:
  • In April of this year, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board will move to using full-time reviewers to determine ratings for game content.

    Yeah, I heard they're hiring them directly from the Russian Glavlit.
  • Good friggin luck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sciros (986030) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:42PM (#18114342) Journal
    Well perhaps their full-time testers will get an MMO pretty soon here, and maybe one of those 90+ hour RPGs to boot. That should keep them busy while other games continue getting however little playtime they do.

    Then again, supposing 85 hours into a game that was rated Teen there is some nude ninja combat (M-rated), does the ESRB get in any trouble for that? If not, then they can just decide on some "max time played" for a game (say, 20 hours, i.e. ~4 days' worth of a full-time employee's "clean playing time") and that will be fine.
    • Re:Good friggin luck (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:47PM (#18114416) Homepage Journal

      Then again, supposing 85 hours into a game that was rated Teen there is some nude ninja combat (M-rated), does the ESRB get in any trouble for that?
      No, but the game publisher gets in trouble for defrauding ESRB. The ratings contract states that with each game, the publisher shall provide a video of the strongest sexual, violent, and drug-related content on the disc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by amuro98 (461673)
        After Hot Coffee, I'm assuming that "game play" must include easter eggs.

        However, I can remember in one of the SimCity games, if you typed in a profanity 3 times, suddenly the game would start building churches everywhere as a punishment.

        Now then, does this mean SimCity suddenly gets hit with a "T" rating instead of "E"?

        What about other sandbox games, like The Sims? Sure, you could be nice and build a nice house for your Sims. or you could be cruel, and lock them in a room with no food or bathroom just to
        • However, I can remember in one of the SimCity games, if you typed in a profanity 3 times, suddenly the game would start building churches everywhere as a punishment. Now then, does this mean SimCity suddenly gets hit with a "T" rating instead of "E"?

          This would probably fall under the same principles as online play. Have you seen "ESRB Notice: Game Experience May Change During Online Play"? I don't know about your other examples; those may deal with parts of the ESRB contract that have not been revealed to the public.

          • Yes, I've seen that disclaimer. It just makes me wonder how you can rate a game that relies on input from a human being?

            After all, you could take any game and come up with an example of something that's probably not suited for "children", even though it's probably children that are doing it.
        • by jackbird (721605)
          After all, I'm sure if you made a movie about a sadistic villian torturing his victims to death, it certainly wouldn't be rated "G"...

          I beg to differ [imdb.com].

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Then again, supposing 85 hours into a game that was rated Teen there is some nude ninja combat (M-rated)

      Do you mean like a naked cartwheeling Raiden [g4tv.com] in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty [wikipedia.org]?
    • by BarneyL (578636)

      Well perhaps their full-time testers will get an MMO pretty soon here, and maybe one of those 90+ hour RPGs to boot. That should keep them busy while other games continue getting however little playtime they do.
      So the tester works a 40 hour week, that's three weeks to run through even the biggest of games.
      Hardly a huge task and I doubt three weeks pay is that much of an expense.
  • Playing games AND getting paid for it!
    • But would they make look for even little hidden thing along with time limits and being forced to stat over when a patch comes out. And if you miss something you can get fired for it.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Playing games AND getting paid for it!

      Keep in mind that you won't necessarily be playing good games, and may have to play through World War II games over and over again just to make sure there's no AO-rated sex in your M-rated violence.

      Oh the pain to have to play Barbie Horse Adventures: Wild Horse Rescue [wikipedia.org] all the way through just to make sure she never gets too wild and adventurous with the horse.
  • I wonder how one gets an interview for that position.
  • hopefully this will help avoid not things like the hot coffee re-rating but the far worse Oblivion re-rating. That game should never had gotten a T rating. It is a good example of how the existing rating method is incredibly flawed and just serves as more ammunition.
    • by Jaqenn (996058)
      That game should never had gotten a T rating.

      What about oblivion demanded an M rating? I thought the consensus was that it ended up with a different rating as a smoke-screen by the ESRB, not as a legitimate mistake. Did I miss something?
      • by minus_273 (174041)
        from wikipedia
        "The ESRB chose to re-rate the game due to the discovery of nude textures included within the game's files, which were accessible within Oblivion through a third-party modification and due to more blood and gore than was revealed to ESRB."

        see the second reason? that would have been caught by an actual player but instead they relied on a video and did more damage to the ESRB in the process.
  • Wouldn't it be easier to force companies to review their own games under contract, and if they lie, fine them? You could fine them proportionally so they don't lie to sell enough copies to pay for the fine and more.
  • This position is full-time and located in New York City.

    Prospective candidates should have:

    * Experience with children

    * Interest in and familiarity with video games

    * Strong communications skills (verbal, written)

    Parents and those with video game playing abilities are preferred, though these are not requirements. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Training will be provided.

    Now all thats left is for me to move to New York.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I don't think a cross-section of New Yorkers is anywhere close to a decent cross-section of Americans. If they really want appropriate ratings, they should have offices:

      1) In New York
      2) On the west coast somewhere ( Seattle, Portland, or LA would be fine.) West-coasters don't think like New Yorkers at all.
      3) In the mid-west
      4) In the south.

      That said, I'd love to work for the ESRB, but who the hell wants to live in New York? They need to come to Seattle.
      • by Babbster (107076)
        I doubt that it's a question of "how they think" but a question of objective criteria the ESRB is looking for, based on their established standards. For example, in order to determine the amount of profanity, it's a pretty matter of establishing the words and phrases of most concern and then listening/looking for them. If the person playing the game has a question (like "Is ass-munch a problem?") then they ask it.

        Admittedly, setting the standards is subjective, but once they're set then the job of the pe
        • by Blakey Rat (99501)
          Well, that's true. As long as the group setting the standards represents a cross-section, I guess it doesn't matter where the physical office is located.

          I've had a job playing games; it's not very fun. I'd like to work with the ESRB because I want to see them succeed. I think everyone (here on Slashdot) agrees that industry self-regulation is about 50 times better than government regulation, and every time the ESRB screws up, like with Oblivion, they're opening the door for the government to step in and tak
  • Another Idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:05PM (#18114736)
    When I was younger (back in about 1995 or so) my brother used to have friends who made some money on the side doing "market research" for movies. Essentially there were a couple dozen people in my city who would be mailed pre-released movies every week and would be expected to watch them and give feedback in order for places like blockbuster/rodgers video to know how many movies to order; they weren't expected to return the movies but (being that they were pre-release) they were not allowed to throw away the movies for awhile. This worked out great for me because it meant that I was able to borrow movies rather than rent them and the only drawback was the occasional "If you bought this movie contact the FBI" message (or whatever it was) scrolling across the screen.

    I'm sure the ESRB could probably find thousands of trustworthy (sorry most slashdotters) people who would be happy to recieve free games and systems in exchange for a content review.
    • by B_tace (802354)
      Yeah, your friends copies end up being shipped to China or some other 3rd world country and duplicated a million times and sold for $1/disc before the movie is even released.

      I was quite surprised when someone brought me one of these from an overseas trip.

      On a related note to the main topic, do they have health insurance covering carpel tunnel?
  • In the article it says the reviewers will act like police, trying to find infractions in the game's ESRB rating. If there is an infraction, a... one meellion dollar fine will be attached and the ratings will change. I can see this program actually working out: less from playing, and more from reading review sites for extreme bits in a game.
  • Playing through the entire game sounds very arduous for anyone. Wouldn't it be easier for ESRB to consult with the designers and director to know the game's details beforehand? A thorough coverage can be done through a small Q&A.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Wouldn't it be easier for ESRB to consult with the designers and director to know the game's details beforehand? A thorough coverage can be done through a small Q&A.

      Trust in the developer was the first casualty of Hot Coffee, which Rockstar tried to pass off as a third-party mod. Not content that was burnt into every PC and console pressing of the game.

      Think of the shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho. Would you understand it's full impact on an audience if all you had to go on was a script and a story

      • The problem is, Hot Coffee wouldn't have been discovered even if the ESRB did play the entire game. Rockstar are the ones who fucked up, and the ESRB couldn't have done anything to prevent the Hot Coffee controversy short of hacking the game, something that goes way beyond the call of duty. The ESRB rates far more games every year than the MPAA rates movies. Personally, I think the current system the ESRB uses, which is basically what the GP describes, is perfectly fine. I'm not sure it's a realistic option
        • by Firefly1 (251590)

          The problem is, Hot Coffee wouldn't have been discovered even if the ESRB did play the entire game. Rockstar are the ones who fucked up, and the ESRB couldn't have done anything to prevent the Hot Coffee controversy short of hacking the game, something that goes way beyond the call of duty.

          Okay, so they 'fucked up' and didn't eliminate the code instead of simply orphaning it. If one take the game and plays it 'clean' - that is, with zero patches, mods, what-have-you - there is no way to invoke said code,

  • After seeing "This Film is Not Yet Rated" about the secret society of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and their professional "raters" of movies, I had to comment how superior the ESRB was because it use everyday folk on a rotation. Making this someones job, is just going to skew the content, and we'll be stuck with more and more weak crap because the review board won't let anything edgy through.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

Working...