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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Satisfying News

We can all sleep sounder at night, as Game Politics reports that the Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB) could soon be legally obliged to avoid:

"- Rating games on only partial content: Unlike the present system, the ESRB would be forced to play games in their entirety"

"- Gross mischaracterization of content: Although not specifically named, the ESRB would be barred from "grossly mischaracterizing" (as defined by the FTC) game content"

I wonder, why is it that these kind of procedures were not undertaken sooner? Why is it that a government agency tasked to allocate a rating with the purpose of educating the public into the content of a particular game should be allowed to judge a game based only on playing only a fraction of it? Surely 'gross mischaracterisation' is testamount to blatent falsety in the statements the ESRB are currently able to legally get away with. It is a sad state of affairs when the computer gaming industry is not even granted the right to a truthful assessment of the content it produces.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely rating a game based on a fragment is the same as rating it on its entirety? And why do you assume the gaming industry is suffering exclusively when it comes to ratings? If a film, for example, contains one scene of violence as opposed to several it will still be subject to the same scrutiny.

DuBBle said...

You raise an interesting point in regards to the standards a film is expected to meet, but I have to disagree on several accounts. Firstly on your comment "Surely rating a game based on a fragment is the same as rating it on its entirety" - To play through a significant first portion of Aliens Vs. Predator 2 as marine an observer could not be blamed for assuming the entire game was a claustropobic shock fest based on fear tactics derived from audio and visual cues.. when actually the game contained quite a significant portion of gore and violence, something the ESRB would define as 'mature content'. Giants : Citisen Kabuto gained it's higher age rating because of a naked girl texture (removed in the US version of the game) which a player was unlikely to experience until around half way through the game.
I disagree with you in your supposition that I assume that only the games industry suffers from this kind of indignation. Your point is valid that a film can be judged based on one scene but not that I consider the games industry to be suffering exclusively. This is a games blog, and as such my failure to mention the film industry was for simplicity's sake, not for lack of consideration.
One matter upon which I believe the games industry suffers in exclusivity arises from your comments. Although a film may be judged based on upon one of it's scenes, a films rating board would be expected to watch the film in its entirety before passing judgement. At present, a games rating board would not be expected to complete a game before forming and externalising their opinions, although I hope that this will soon come to change.

Thankyou very much for your comment - my first ever! I always appreciate having a discussion with someone with clear opinions on these matters such as yourself.