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The 64% Violent Pacman

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hah dept.

435

DreamWinkle writes "During the recent Senate hearings on video game violence, one expert claimed that the ESRB underrated violent games. They went on to say that Pacman was 64% violent. To some, this means you shouldn't play Pacman; to others, it highlights what's wrong with Senate hearings. Whether a game is violent or not depends on how you classify violence, and the ESRB has the job of doing just that. They're not regulated by the government, they let the game makers recommend their own ratings, and don't play every game they rate. Is the ESRB to be trusted?"

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435 comments

42 (5, Funny)

davevt5 (30696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793922)

Saying Packman is "64% violet" is like saying the meaning of life is "42 [techtarget.com] ".

Re:42 (4, Insightful)

crystalattice (179900) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793995)

I'm curious how they came to such an accurate "violence rating" of 64%? Do they have a list that they check off as they play? If it was a TV show, how would they classify it? TV13, TV7, TV7-FV(Fantasy Violence)?

I think the whole ratings system needs an overhaul, and it needs to stay out of Congress. They can't even describe the Internet correctly or decide on a definition of "pornography"; how can they decide how violent something is?

This is why I don't play Pacman (4, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794179)

I only play games with a violence rating of 65% or higher.

Anyway, congress should really just let video games be, and let the ESRB and parents do their jobs.

Re:42 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794251)

I wonder if it's a coincidence that most of the Slashdot slaves/subscribers that I've seen can't spell, and if they can, have nothing of consequence to say?

I see you (4, Funny)

kyouteki (835576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793925)

I'll say Pac-Man's violent. Have you ever seen what he does to those poor ghosts? Eats 'em and leaves nothing but the eyes. Gruesome stuff, man.

Re:I see you (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793963)

Japan was apparently ahead of Stephen King by a good 20 years.

Pacman == Patrick Danville? Brilliant, I tell ya!

Re:I see you (-1, Offtopic)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794168)

Somebody mod this guy down for spoiling the Dark Tower.

Re:I see you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794380)

And mod you down for spoiling it too, the name meant nothing to me untill you linked it with the dark tower which I have yet to read. Had you not mentioned it, I would never have paid any attention to it and would have probably read the Dark Tower without remembering it. But now if I do read it, I will clearly remember the spoiler.

Re:I see you (5, Funny)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793990)

Pac-Man is not violent. If anything, the game promotes drug usage. Popping pills in dark rooms with techno music? Come on now.

Re:I see you (5, Funny)

creepynut (933825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794074)

If Pac Man "music" sounds like techno, you're either not playing the original arcade version, or you've already popped too many pills :)

Re:I see you (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794112)

yeah, now that i think about it, the woo-woo-woo sounds weren't really techno music.. Forgive me mate, the 80's were funny times.

Re:I see you (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794178)

The way I've heard it is "Running around dark rooms, eating pills, listening to electronic music." Nobody can say it isn't electronic music.

This Just In... (5, Funny)

nsmike (920396) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793950)

"...US Government declares eating violent."

Re:This Just In... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794009)

"Look at this jungle. Look at those vines, the way they twine around the trees, swallowing everything. Nature's cruel, Staros."

-the thin red line, what a great movie

Re:This Just In... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794381)

When you think of it, politics are a lot more violent than videogames. Thus, sense politicians want to restrict games due to what they could cause, the politicians should all be locked up.

64%? (2, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793951)

Where the hell did that number come from?

Re:64%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794135)

They made it up, of course. Don't you know that 67% of statistics are made up?

Re:64%? (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794170)

It comes from in a bad edcation, particularly one lacking in how to handle data.

You can't take a (admittedly fuzzy) interval measurement, convert it into and ordinal measurement, and tally them up over a data set to create a rational measurement.

By that method, you'd decide that a three stooges is far worse than a snuff film.

Re:64%? (5, Funny)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794235)

basically the game consists of pac
slaughtering ghosts, dots, and bigger dots.
Ghosts are also hunting pac when he isn't
hunting them.

30% of the screen isn't available to the characters
because of the way the maze is designed. This leaves 70%
as the max violence percentage.

However, in the post 9-11 world, pac killing ghosts has been
reclassified as doing Gods work, and is seen as promoting
freedom and democracy while killing evildoers.

Integrating over time, we can see that only 64% of the game is
actually violent, and 6% of the time pac is doing gods work.

I've seen... (4, Insightful)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793953)

...G rated movies that are more violent than pacman...what was this guy smoking? This definetly highlights what's wrong with the Senate.

Re:I've seen... (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794422)

I've noticed that actually most movies and cartoons made especially for kids are more violent thanthe ones made for teens and adults. Take Tom&Jerry for example - it makes fun of extremely violent things (I'm being serious).

int or long? (4, Funny)

Doches (761288) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793955)

If they're using int for that number, I suspect that games like GTA come in with a rather nice ranking, somewhere around -17%...

Re:int or long? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794385)

Maybe we can overflow this int to cause a buffer overrun later on down the line ... inject some (new) arbitrary senators

So what happened...? (4, Funny)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793983)

What happened to the other 44%? Is that just the start and hi-score screens?

Re:So what happened...? (5, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794019)

34%... That tens column is frustrating though, I'll give you that much

Re:So what happened...? (4, Funny)

yourOneManArmy (986080) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794482)

34%... That tens column is frustrating though, I'll give you that much So is the one's column it seems. It's okay, Pacman would have appreciated the boost to 66% anyways; he's always looking for more violence -- power pellets and ghosts don't always supply enough for the enraged yellow demon.

Re:So what happened...? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794128)

Pacman is a GREAT game!! It gives 108%!

Math is worse (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794377)

Math is much more than 64% violent. The victims are everywhere.

I can't tell you how much more. The ends don't justify the means and it would be unconscionable.

Re:So what happened...? (2, Funny)

knewter (62953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794427)

I'm sure others have mentioned this already (didn't read child comments to your post), but can I just say that your mathematical open-mindedness is laudable? Thank God we've gotten past the point in human history where people think in terms of 'right answers' and 'wrong answers.' If you want 64 + 44 = 100, hell, who am I to make fun of you? LONG LIVE RELATIVISM!

Re:So what happened...? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794567)

Thanks for the laugh... unless that wasn't sarcastic. Then I must call you, sir or madam, an ass. I've corrected myself. And I'm going to stick pins under my fingernails later for retribution. Good day!

All in good, non-violent, fun.

Anyone have more information? (5, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15793998)

Obviously, the context-free statement that Pac-Man is "64% violent" is pretty silly. I doubt you can really measure a game's violence that way. "Percent" implies certain mathematical properties, like Pac-Man is exactly twice as violent as a 32% violent game, or that each individual thing that contributes a given number of percentage points is equally violent, and perhaps most entertainingly, that it is impossible for a game to be more than slightly over 50% more violent than Pac-Man. (Bet you didn't know that Grand Theft Auto is only ~50% more violent than Pac-Man!)

Numbers should not be assigned to fundamentally non-numeric entities, that way lies a number of cognitive and rhetorical traps.

But I am curious, does anyone have more information on where that number may have come from precisely, however flawed it may be? Ideally, some form of "violence checklist", where you check off various attributes of the game and add up the "score".

I'm sure it will allow us to all-the-more effectively collectively mock the number, but hey, who knows, maybe the list will have some redeeming value.

Re:Anyone have more information? (5, Interesting)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794210)

I managed to dig up a little from a site by the creators of the study [harvard.edu] . Here's the juicy bit:

One author (Kevin Haninger) reviewed and coded all of the recorded game play, noting the starting and ending times of each incident of violence toward other characters, the type of weapons used for violence, whether the violent incident resulted in injury or death, and the number of character deaths attributable to the violent incident. The JAMA article contains a table that lists each video game we played, as well as the genre, console, release year, ESRB-assigned content descriptors, and our measures of violence.

So it seems that the number refers to the percentage of time that the game is violent. Now, how is violence defined such that Pacman gets such a brutal rating?

We defined violence as acts in which the aggressor causes or attempts to cause physical injury or death to another character. We did not include damage to objects, accidental actions that unintentionally harmed another character, the effects of natural disasters, or the presence of dangerous obstacles that could not be attributed to the actions of a particular character. We also did not count as violence any intentional acts of physical force that represented normal play in a sports game (e.g., tacking in football or checking in hockey), because the intention of the player is technically to stop the other player without causing injury. We did count excessive physical contact in sports games, such as punching or otherwise attacking another player (e.g., after the football play was over).

If Pacman's ghosts were replaced by rolling boulders, it would have nearly no violence. Discuss.

Re:Anyone have more information? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794270)

So it seems that the number refers to the percentage of time that the game is violent. Now, how is violence defined such that Pacman gets such a brutal rating?

If Pacman's ghosts were replaced by rolling boulders, it would have nearly no violence. Discuss.


Also if the player didn't suck and end up dying 64% of the time while playing...

Obviously, if Pac-Man never died, and never ate a ghost, there would have been no violence toward other characters or injury or death. They even said We did not include damage to objects so snarfing power pellets and fruit wasn't considered.

Re:Anyone have more information? (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794384)

I suspect that the act of chasing Pacman with the intention of destroying him was considered violent. ("...causes or attempts to cause...") The non-violent time must be when Pacman has a power pellet but isn't trying to kill ghosts, or when the ghosts are nowhere near Pacman. Heck, maybe they paused the game to go to the bathroom. It's such a ridiculous measure of violence.

Re:Anyone have more information? (4, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794313)

Ghosts are, by definition, already dead.

Can you really commit violence against them?

Moreover, it's not immediately obvious that Pac-Man is alive either. (Discuss. :) )

Re:Anyone have more information? (5, Funny)

Xibby (232218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794571)

Maybe Pac-Man isn't really harming the ghosts. He's not eating the Ghosts, they live on. He's eating their clothing. The so called ghosts simply return home and don another sheet when Pac-Man catches them.

Maybe Pac-Man is really just a creature that enjoys the taste of clothing worn by a dark skinned creature. Eating the clothing seems to be enjoyable to Pac-Man, but receiving a whip crack to the ass from the mystical material transports Pac-Man back to his starting position.

How do we know the Ghosts don't enjoy chasing Pac-Man! They get to smack him on the rear if they catch him, but if he catches them they have to go home naked. It could all be in fun and jest, and us dolts of the human race have misinterpreted the entire ritual!

Re:Anyone have more information? (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794455)

I think that they wanted to say either that:
1) 64% people who played Pacman thought it was violent
2) people used a 5-star scale to rate the violence, then the scores were converted to percent, then the average percent was 64%

Uncessary (3, Insightful)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794008)

Rating systems are completely unecessary attempts to circumvent the 1st amendment. The idea that the government (or even industry) is responsible for keeping kids away from "adult" material is laughable. Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers, be that parents at home, teacher's at school, whoever is watching over the children at any given time. The legal guardians are responsible for gradually teaching the kids what's what.

When they are old enough not to be cared for they are old enough (and should have been taught enough) to decide what to watch and play for themselves. Movies theatres and retail stores are not needed in the process.

Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (1, Insightful)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794071)

Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers...

Nice. Well, as the "caretaker" of two children I find rating systems like the ESRB essential. Exactly how do you expect me to keep adult material from children if I can't determine which material is "adult"?

Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (1)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794118)

Do it just like the rest of us decide which games to buy:

Do your homework and read some reviews.

Perhaps there's a void to be filled by creating a childrens game review site?

LoL. (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794160)

Yeah. That will work. Because Gamespot always quantifies games by whether or not they contain foul language, or nudity, or way to much blood for a 7 year old, or anything else.

Or you could read all the reviews and note that the ESRB rated the game "T" for language.

Re:LoL. (1)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794283)

Like I said:

"Perhaps there's a void to be filled by creating a childrens game review site?"

If you can't find one, then why not take some initiative to see that happen rather than complain about what others do or don't do?

Sure ESRB can be a guideline, but that's all it should be.

But then, I'd prefer to have government stay the hell out of ratings entirely and have common sense and consumer pressure rule the day.

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (1)

MrBulwark (862510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794332)

Perhaps there's a void to be filled by creating a childrens game review site?
If only there were such a site that reviewed the games and sorted them by content, then gave them a rating. That would be great! But then, what happens if grandma, with no internet access, wants to buy little Jimmy a game? Hmm, maybe that site can put their ratings right on the box. Brilliant! Um, I think you just reinvented the wheel.

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794244)

Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

Did you expect good parenting to be easy and convenient?

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794388)

The problem isn't with a ratings system, it's with an enforced ratings system. The government (and arguably, the retailers) shouldn't get involved.

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794435)

No we don't expect you to play through a game, but being remotely informed on the topic is a good idea. Is it really so difficult to slap the games name in Google and look at the reviews, trailers and screenshots? We live in an era with free research in effect, make use of it and spend five minutes checking the game out.

While it may not cover every little cut scene and detail it will cover 90% of the content or at least give you a good idea of the context. Plus some times something which challenges YOUR view is good for your kids, it lets them see that mummy and daddy arn't always right and to think for themselvs a bit.

While it may not be popular with the Slashdot crowd who seem to want 100% freedom for everyone but kids who need to be handcuffed to the parents constantly, you have to remember to challenge your kids and their ideas/opinions/ideals at times. It lets them develope ways to deal with it and become a real person rather than a mini version of you built to follow instead of lead.

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (5, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794480)

Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

Good lord no! I fully expect you to do as little as possible and yet maintain your expectation that your children will not be exposed to things you don't care for.

Re:Nice attempt at not connecting the dots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794501)

You don't have to buy it, just do a little research. Then, when your kids are playing the game, watch every now and then to see if its something you find acceptable for your kids consumption. If some tits or ass come up, or some violent images you don't like, then take the game away from your kids and (now this is the important part) explain to them why you're not letting them play it.

Do you expect me to purchase a game and play it through before I give it to my children?

No, we just expect some more interaction between you and your kids than just a cursory look at a game, a quick decision to buy or not buy, then dump it on them and hope for the best.

Re:Uncessary (2, Funny)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794176)

Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers

You mean, sort of like a..... big brother?
 

Re:Uncessary (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794217)

I'd say ratings boards are a necessary evil. Parents don't have the time to learn about everything their kids might be interested in; but on the other hand, they need to understand ratings are subjective and take the time to, perhaps, read the back of the box if it's an M or AO.

And as far as circumventing the 1st amendment, it's not *restricting* speech in any way. Companies are still free to make games however they want and include whatever they want. Whether or not game stores decide whether or not to carry them, that's a business decision and isn't included under the 1st or 14th. While I'd admit that's pretty pathetic of them, that's their choice.

I guess in a perfect world we wouldn't need it, but I'm fine with the idea of guidelines. What I'm not fine with is that people seem to be relying entirely on the rating system as a babysitter rather than using that to open a dialogue with their spawn. It'd be a beautiful day if, when a kid asks for an 'M' rated game, that the parent doesn't say "No. It's inappropriate," but instead "This rating seems high, what is it about this game that you want it for?"

Re:Uncessary (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794265)

"This rating seems high, what is it about this game that you want it for?"

"The fucking hookers, ma. Duh."

Re:Uncessary (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794531)

Ok, I've thought about it and here's what I mean. Rating systems, if they are good and even if they required by law, are great. It's absolutely awesome for parents who are really concerned to be able to change a channel or pick a different game easily. But those rating systems can't be so simplistic and based on age, they need to be based on content so that stupid parents and stupid companies can be *a little* saved from their own stupidity. Also, under no circumstances, should companies or the government be charged with enforcing things for parents. A movie theatre or video game store should not, by law, refuse to sell my kid something for me. If they have a stupid corporate policy I can simply shop at a competitor who cares a little more about the idea behind our country.

They key is that parents, not the government, should be responsible for what their kids watch and play. The Courts have determined that protecting children from reality is more important than broadcaster's 1st amendment rights. You can't say "piss" on the radio during the day because little Susie might hear it. That's ludicrious. Little Susie has heard shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits already - probably from her parents - and if she hasn't she won't know what they mean anyway! I'm not saying she should be listening to a show full of those words, quite the opposite. But her parents should be monitoring that, not the government!

It's none of the government's godamn business which movies, tv shows, video games, or radio shows I let me kids listen to.

Re:Uncessary (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794347)

Ratings, when done by the industry (like the ESRB) are not limits on freedom of speech, they are a tool for people who buy games. Consumers as a whole decided they wanted some form of ratings on games, and the industry provided it, like in any good capitalistic system. They're no substitute for comprehensive reviews, but they're a nice quick indication of what type of game something is.

Re:Uncessary (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794353)

Only one group of people is responsible for that: the children's caretakers, be that parents at home, teacher's at school, whoever is watching over the children at any given time. The legal guardians are responsible for gradually teaching the kids what's what.
And yet you'll find that decency standards have been enforced throughout history (including here in the 1st-amendment-protected USA). I'm not completely disagreeing with you -- it's just that communities have always enforced decency standards of some sort. Whether it's as simple as asking a diner (or inn) patron not to swear around kids, or as complex as passing a law against spitting in the street, it's commonplace and not new to the TV/Media age. People in communities often depend on others in the community to not expose their children to the undesirable (this is why we have laws against indecent exposure).

That said, parents need to take responsibility for what their kids are exposed to as well. You know, like not taking your 8-year-old into a topless biker bar, you may not want to let them play GTA:SA. Of course, if the sign outside says Chuck-E-Cheese, you would be understandably upset if inside it turned out to be the aforementioned topless biker bar.

My point is this: Yes, parents are responsible for what their children are exposed to, and to teach their children to make good decisions. However, if you're going to voluntarily rate your games to assist parents, then you should at least be truthful, and do the job to the best of your ability. It's what a member of a community expects of other members of the community. Otherwise, the rating isn't worth the plastic it's printed on.

Let's rank sports, too... (5, Funny)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794015)

Baseball -- People whack the heck out of an innocent little ball with a large wooden club.
Football -- People kick the heck out of an innocent ball.
American Football -- Two teams blitz, bomb, and violently tackle each other.
Hockey -- Nuff said.
Basketball -- People bounce an innocent ball repeatedly against a hard floor.
Pong Pong -- People whack a very small ball back and forth.
Golf -- People whack a very small ball, often wounding it and/or sending it into water/sand.

They all sound unacceptable violent to me...

Re:Let's rank sports, too... (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794064)

But none of those sports have ghosts! Why can't someone think of the ghosts? You don't want innocent ghosts being eaten, do you? Then who will be left to scare the children?

Re:Let's rank sports, too... (4, Funny)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794148)

"They all sound unacceptable violent to me..."

Naah, the violence ranks from 40% to 95%. The acceptable level of violence, as everyone knows, in the US is 101%.

The acceptable level of nipples, on the other hand, is 0%.

Re:Let's rank sports, too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794485)

Eh? 101%? You're just not trying, are you?

110% or NOTHING! That's our motto. Didn't anyone learn you that in school?

We all gotta come together and give our best 110 percent or nothing'll ever get done!

ESRB = Good? Sometimes. (3, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794020)

You know hot coffee wasn't really so bad. Granted, it shouldn't have been in the game, but it was a pretty convoluted hack to get to it, and it wasn't really as big a step to take from a game about murdering hookers after you slept with them.
But back to topic. The ESRB rates games erratically, its hard to quantify dynamic content simply based on what behaviors and actions you perform in a game. Some game companies will submit many 'versions' to the ESRB just to get one thats rated at what they want it to be. The system is screwed up, but somehow manages to self regulate well 99% of the time.
The main reason for this is because game companies realize that certain markets want violent games, and certain ones don't. You could try to get GTA3 rated as 'early adolecent', and heck, it might work, but why would you? Theres no profit in it, theres no motivation, there is no bucket of cold hard cash at the end of that tunnel.

Show Me! (2, Funny)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794024)

I really want to know the procedure used to put a number to Pacman's "violence." Mario is probably up in the 80% region.

He jumps on creatures to kill them.
Kicks most likely endangered turtles
Throws fire at living creatures
In Mario 64, he punches and kicks poor, innocent animals and bombs
- Incites random attacks on royalty.
- Kill moles and attempts to block their homes.
- Chases and attacks monkies.

Re:Show Me! (4, Informative)

Guuge (719028) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794419)

You joke, but they're dead serious. Of the 65 games studied, Super Mario Brothers ranked #5 in the death rate. It earned a whopping 4.8 deaths per minute! This "Mario" guy must be some kind of mass murderer. Read it & weep. [harvard.edu]

Ahh, nostalgia.... (5, Insightful)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794025)

When I was in grammar school, I can remember the teachers complaining about violent videogames. "Space Invaders is just about killing things," they'd say, "And in Pac-Man you are eating them up."

I'm not kidding around here, I believe I was in 6th grade. Another thing I remember about 6th grade was live white mice being fed to the class snake for the edification of our young minds.

So, Pac-Man eating Ghosts==Evil and Wrong

Real Snake eating Real Mice==Edumacational.

Re:Ahh, nostalgia.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794076)

*WARNING* OFF-TOPIC

Speaking of live mice being fed to snakes, my snake would not eat the mouse I threw in there this past weekend, and the mouse ended up committing suicide in the snake's water bowl.

Remaing 36% percent... (5, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794075)

The remaining 36% percent has been determined to consist of:
15.08% squeely beeps
18.00% necrophagy
27.71% drugs
24.02% gender ambiguity
10.62% spin-offs
  4.08% blue period
  0.57% unknown... scratch that... tar

What's Wrong with the ESRB, Not the Senate (1)

zaliph (939896) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794110)

Actually, the term Senate appears exactly once in this article. It doesn't seem to highlight anything about Senate hearings, but about what the ESRB actually does. Which is to say not much. Which is exactly what I "trust" them to do.

64% violent, perhaps... (2, Interesting)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794142)

But I'm 90% sure that 75% of statistics are made up on the spot...mostly...

MPAA (2, Informative)

furnk (935156) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794198)

This is the exact same thing as the MPAA. I prefer industry ratings to government ratings, but the secrecy and lack of accountability of some of these organizations makes me nervous. Go watch "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" [wikipedia.org]

They don't play every game they rate? (3, Informative)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794234)

they don't play every game they rate? !??

My understanding is that they don't play any game they rate.

Have things changed? Their description seems a little off. I'll highlight what they seem to get wrong in the quote from the article below.

Instead of having members of the ESRB sit down and play the games in order to decide a rating, developers must submit a written report of everything the game includes. They must also compile a video that is representative of the content a gamer will find in the game when they purchase it at the store. Additionally, the game is played by a number of people who are unaffiliated to the game industry, and who then recommend the game's rating. All three elements, as well as others, are taken into consideration when the rating is assigned.

For the first highlight, it's a little misleading, "representative of the content a gamer will find" makes it sound like a representitive cross-section of the content. So, for a game like Animal Crossing you would expect hours of gathering fruit and catching fish. But actually the footage is of selected acts and elements (there is a list) and of those acts or elements carried out the the greatest degree present anywhere in the game. So, for Animal Crossing you would have footage of the character getting bitten by Tarantulas and Scorpions, showing the greatest degree of violence in the game.

They make a point of saying that they don't care about the context of the event, because a parent glancing over at the screen won't care either.

This system is why Rockstar is liable in the eyes of the ESRB for not disclosing the content on the disc - they shipped those animation paths, models,et al. They provided footage that was supposed to show the greatest degree of sexuality on the disc and it was probably just kissing and a bouncing car. It doesn't matter that it required a hack to access because the ESRB doesn't care how the shipped content is played, they just care about the content.

For the second point, "the game is played by a number of people who are unaffiliated to the game industry" -- maybe I just don't remember the process correctly and maybe it's changed, but I don't think that you ever send the ESRB actual code. After all, a lot of games recieve their ratings before they're complete.

and if they can't, so what? (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794250)

It should be pointed out that whether or not the ESRB can be trusted (which should be up to each of us to decide, and there's nothing wrong with providing facts which could help individuals decide precisely this) is unrelated to what we should do about it. In particular, showing that the ESRB is not trustworthy in the eyes of some should not lead anyone to declare that the only solution is government regulation. If you don't trust their opinion of games, find someone you do trust. If you can't find someone, be that someone and find a way to make money at it (or do it out of charity, if that's your thing.) ESRB is effectively a rating/review organization, a lot like game-review magazines. They get their logo, and their opinion, printed on most games ... but other similar organizations could do the same if they tried. If ESRB falls out of favor, game companies will no longer seek their opinion, and will no longer print it on their boxes. ESRB will no longer have funding, will go out of business, and will get replaced with someone people trust and whose logo and rating game companies will seek out -- just as with any other marketplace service provider. This all makes sense, it's all fine. If we want regulation, fine, but it should be a decision unrelated to the trust we, on average, place in the current most-obvious service provider.

Poor Duke... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794254)

It's a sad day that the King of American Macho Violence, Duke Nukem, is cast from this throne to be replaced by a pill-popping, ghost-seeing Japanese pizza missing a quarter-slice. Only if Duke Nukem Forever was released would things turn around for our beloved hero.

If video games really influence our behavior... (2, Funny)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794259)

...Then Pacman is a particuarly horrbile game and I'm quite conent with it being targeted like this. Pacman encourages lots of destructive behavior, such as:

Running around in a dark room with a blacklight taking pills and mumbling "waka waka"

Taking a couple of larger, different pills, so powerful that you begin to eat people alive, yet inexplicably spit the eyes back out

Celebrating the deaths of those around you by listening to electronic music, presumably still under the effects of the pills.

It's pretty clear that Pacman could lead this entire country, nay the entire world, to extensive drug use, poor taste in music, and cannibalism unless we legislate against it.

Ratings are a Guide (4, Insightful)

Xibby (232218) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794293)

It is impossible to create a mathematical model to quantify any creative work. What may work for one movie won't work for another. What will work for a coffee blend won't work for a painting. What will work for an abstract painting won't work for a impressionist painting.

A rating isn't anything based in fact or science. Any rating, including those for movies, games, 4 starts, 5 stars, etc. isn't based in math and science, they are based on opinion and criteria deemed important for the medium.

The MPAA and ESRB are just a bunch of critics who happen to use an established set of criteria to establish a somewhat consistent system of judging the content.

As with any critic, you have to be in an educated consumer. Not everyone agrees with Ebert and Roper, but Ebert and Roper have a track record that you can depend on which allows you to make decisions based on their opinions. The same can be said for the MPAA and ESRB. Content is reviewed and critiqued based on the board's criteria for material appropriate to age group X, Y, and Z.

Grand Theft Auto is rated E - For Everyone (2, Funny)

voxel (70407) | more than 7 years ago | (#15794368)

At least thats how most game stores see it when they make a sale, especially when a 9 year old boy comes up with three twenty dollar bills.

riiight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794430)

Bah, if Pacman really effected us, by now we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, eating pills, & listening to repetitive electronic music.

64% violent, unless you're the 4-way joystick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15794458)

They _would_ say that it is 100% violent but they won't come out of hiding until the caffeinated kid with the huge arms leaves the cabinet.
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