ESRB announcement -- All pubs must do internal audit!

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. A restriction system where just about every tier is open to anyone who wants to see it is a fantastic idea, and not at all a shallow attempt to avoid turning away as many people who might pay for tickets as possible. Again, not an Us Vs. Them thing. Our BBFC can be complete dicks as well (two examples: Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles and replacing shuriken for darts in Shadow Warrior because it doesn’t hurt to get hit in the face with a dart, and they’re much harder to find than ninja death stars)

I was about to post a picture of boobs to illustrate the difference between the US and England, but the Entity would have removed it. That right there is why the US is so much worse in that department.

Nah, my favourite (game related) was in Wal-Mart a few years ago. They were selling copies of Blood, in a special version…featuring no blood.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. A restriction system where just about every tier is open to anyone who wants to see it is a fantastic idea, and not at all a shallow attempt to avoid turning away as many people who might pay for tickets as possible.[/quote]
Actually…yes, it is. Or at least, it’s the best compromise we’ve come up with.

Fortunately, most efforts by US legislators to restrict free speech in various media, including videogames, have been struck down by the courts as a violation of the First Amendment. Unfortunately, that’s still a cudgel in the government’s arsenal which it can and does threaten to whip out and use against the industry. The FCC already has the power to regulate our airwaves; I doubt very much that the games industry wants the gov’t to have that kind of power over them, too.

Whatever you may think of the motives of politicians who choose to attack sex & violence in pop culture, it clearly has to be taken seriously - hence the use of ratings boards in movies, music, and videogames as a compromise. Give the consumer a reasonable amount of information about the content of a game and let them decide if it is suitable for themselves or their children. You don’t compromise anyone’s free speech while still providing parents with info on the games their kids play. It puts the onus for effective parenting where it belongs - on the parents.

But ratings are only effective if the information they provide is accurate. Fiascos like the Hot Coffee mod undermine the ESRB’s credibility and hence its effectiveness as an industry self-regulating measure. It doesn’t matter that the ESRB didn’t know about the sex minigame in GTA:SA or the end-user has to consciously unlock it; all the hysterical parents’ groups are going to hear is that little Janey and Johnny can access a virtual sex scene in a game whose rating made no mention of its existence. [Guess beating hookers to death is now passe - how jaded we’ve become!]

Look at it this way: the FCC has the right to fine TV and radio stations for indecency - and has done so on numerous occasions, most notoriously for Nipplegate. Do you think EA wants them to have the power to arbitrarily fine them? Oh hell no! The ESRB ratings, like the MPAA ratings before them, are a self-serving construction of the industry, often used as a marketing tool as much as anything else. But when applied appropriately and consistently, they serve their intended purpose - to inform consumers.

Why can’t they have a similar disclaimer for their ratings which exist for online games? You know, the one that says “Game experience may change during online play.” Why not have one that says “Game experience may change when modifications are applied”?