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Old 08-29-2007, 03:20 PM   #1
GunnyMo
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Yes, ESRB, what are you hiding?

With the recent reclassification of Manhunt 2 from AO down to M, the ESRB has come under fire for, so far, refusing to reveal just what was done to the game to generate the lower rating. California State Senator Leeland Yee is leading the drive for answers.

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What are they trying to hide? Unsurprisingly, the culture of secrecy continues at the ESRB.

Even individuals within the video game industry are now calling into question their rating system. Parents simply can not trust an entity that is unwilling to disclose or give any meaningful rationale at how they come to their decisions.

The ESRB refuses to use the AO rating for violence despite the descriptor calling for such a rating when there are “graphic depictions of violence.” If Manhunt doesn’t qualify, what would?
I have to say that Senator Yee does bring up some very good points. What is the ESRB hiding? Do they not realize that the sudden lower rating and their media blackout on the reasoning throws incredible doubts towards their validity as a ratings board?

It should also be noted that in recent comments, Senator Lee has shown his position as not anti-video game at all.

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Senator Yee would agree with Ian Bogost that the consoles should allow play of AO rated games. The parental controls are necessary however. Dr. Yee has always said that the industry has a right to make extremely violent games and to sell them to adults.
While I still see no validity in making it a crime to sell M or above rated games to kids, it is refreshing to see a politician state very plainly his pro-game views.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:28 PM   #2
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You know, the whole rating of extremely violent and risque video game process would go a lot smoother if the stores would consent to selling AO rated games. As it is now, developers tend to skirt the lines between M and AO games because they know there is an audience for those type of games and want to be able to produce games for them. As seen with Manhunt 2, rating a game AO is a death sentence because there is no place to buy an AO rated game.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by King Drewsky View Post
You know, the whole rating of extremely violent and risque video game process would go a lot smoother if the stores would consent to selling AO rated games. As it is now, developers tend to skirt the lines between M and AO games because they know there is an audience for those type of games and want to be able to produce games for them. As seen with Manhunt 2, rating a game AO is a death sentence because there is no place to buy an AO rated game.
I agree it's up to the retailers to make it more acceptable to have AO games on the market by the willingness to sell them.

On the other hand if retailers would just flip ESRB the bird and come up with their own system I would be a lot more satisfied.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:34 PM   #4
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Actually, it's the console manufacturers that need to make the initial approval. Both Sony and Nintendo have said "No" to AO games.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:35 PM   #5
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Films are edited and re-submitted to the MPAA for lower ratings all the time. The MPAA does not disclose their reasons. Why should the ESRB?

The implication is that the ESRB cannot be trusted. How do we know they cannot be trusted? Because they will not give us the information we want. Why do we want this information? Because they cannot be trusted.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:41 PM   #6
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Do they not realize that the sudden lower rating and their media blackout on the reasoning throws incredible doubts towards their validity as a ratings board?
Damn good point.

I'm sure there's a great reason for the change...a great, SUBJECTIVE reason. That would be why, I'm reasonably sure, the ESRB is afraid to disclose the pertinent details.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theCurse View Post
Films are edited and re-submitted to the MPAA for lower ratings all the time. The MPAA does not disclose their reasons. Why should the ESRB?

The implication is that the ESRB cannot be trusted. How do we know they cannot be trusted? Because they will not give us the information we want. Why do we want this information? Because they cannot be trusted.
They both should. How can you judge the validity of the ratings if you have no way of knowing what their criteria are? If they're anything remotely like the MPAA they definitely can not be trusted. It seems like they are trying to be exactly like the MPAA.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:42 PM   #8
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Why doesn't Rockstar just say what they had to cut?
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:44 PM   #9
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I'm with Lee, both on the Manhunt issue (WTF did they do to lower the rating... it is a game about murdering people in cold blood), and on adult games. Hell, I know the 360 at the very least comes with the ability to block games of certain ratings, so what is the logic behind not allowing AO games on the console at all?
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:47 PM   #10
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The ESRB makes arbitrary decisions, frequently influenced by the freshness of the low-carb diet lemon cookies and the attention to detail the Starbucks employee takes when they order a moco-fracca hafla cream halfa soya maltese frappa chino.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:56 PM   #11
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Holy god. A Senator that makes sense in regards to video game decisions? I'll be damned.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:56 PM   #12
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Shouldn't it be up to the developer to decide whether to show what was cut? Did anyone bother to ask them what the ESRB didn't want in the game?
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:59 PM   #13
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Shouldn't it be up to the developer to decide whether to show what was cut? Did anyone bother to ask them what the ESRB didn't want in the game?
It should be the ESRB telling you what was cut. Aren't you just a little curious to know if they left all the violence intact but toned down the porn theatre/bondage club level?
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:03 PM   #14
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I have to say that Senator Yee does bring up some very good points. What is the ESRB hiding? Do they not realize that the sudden lower rating and their media blackout on the reasoning throws incredible doubts towards their validity as a ratings board?
I don't follow this line of thinking at all. Why should the ESRB's decision be nitpicked apart? The game was changed, now it's got an M rating, which is equivilent to the MPAA's 'R'.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:06 PM   #15
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I don't follow this line of thinking at all. Why should the ESRB's decision be nitpicked apart? The game was changed, now it's got an M rating, which is equivilent to the MPAA's 'R'.
Are they censoring sex, or violence? What exactly are their standards? Are they communicated properly to the developers? The MPAA just overhauled their system for exactly these reasons.

http://www.showbuzz.cbsnews.com/stor...n2381078.shtml
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:07 PM   #16
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I have to say that Senator Yee does bring up some very good points. What is the ESRB hiding? Do they not realize that the sudden lower rating and their media blackout on the reasoning throws incredible doubts towards their validity as a ratings board?[/I]

It wasn't sudden. The ESRB gave the AO rating, Rockstar goes back and edits the game then the ESRB rates it again. The ESRB has always stated that when you submit content it is kept confidential. They are not hiding anything they are following a policy that has been in place since its conception.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:09 PM   #17
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Knowing that the ESRB probably hires testers like EA hires testers (Think minimum wage, 80 hours a week), could this AO rating originally have been given prematurely?

I know ESRB allows challenges to their ruling, could it be Rockstar just sat down with the ESRB and did some comparisons of all their issues with issues from other M rated games? Then the ESRB realizing they may have jumped the gun issuing the AO rating just switched the rating to Mature and they really don't have a "good" excuse other than like, "Well we thought for sure the game was really bad, but upon more careful examination we've come to realize that it's not that bad and switched the rating."

Yeah, I understand what it says if the ESRB is forced to present it's findings, but if Rockstar really did fix the game to be more in line with an M rating it seems it shouldn't be too difficult to do.

Might get the politicians to back off a little, at least for a few days.

-A.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:22 PM   #18
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Sounds like the MPAA. Everyone should watch Not Yet Rated.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:23 PM   #19
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It should be the ESRB telling you what was cut. Aren't you just a little curious to know if they left all the violence intact but toned down the porn theatre/bondage club level?
I'm not in the least bit curious. Why should the ESRB be the ones to release that kind of information? If the content in question involves important plot points, do you really think the devs want the ESRB releasing that kind of info?
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:24 PM   #20
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