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New ESRB Legislation in the Works

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the why-don't-they-just-stop-playing-those-awful-things dept.

56

Gamasutra is reporting on new Senate legislation intended to place additional requirements on the ESRB. Backed by R-Kansas Sam Brownback, the 'Truth in Video Game Rating Act' aims to mandate specific amounts of time with each title, and places the organization under the auspices of the Government Accountability Office. From the article: "Were the Truth in Video Game Rating Act to pass, it would require the ESRB to have access to the full content of and hands-on time with the games it was to rate, rather than simply relying on the video demonstrations submitted by developers and publishers as it currently. The hands-on system might be more akin to the UK's BBFC ratings board's approach, which requires a team of testers to spend at least a day playing through a game."

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Suitable quote from GTA Vice City: (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217167)

"Rated R; for retarded"

nice (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217205)

having a stronger examination on the games rated is a good idea IMO. The ratings can help the purchasers not only decide what games they want (or in the case of parents, what they want their kdis to have), and the more accurate the ratings are, the mor reliable the decisions can be.

Not to mention I'd love to have the job of one of those testers...

"What do you do?"
"I sit around and play video games all day."

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217253)

I'm sorry. What problem were you trying to solve, again, and why does the government need to be involved?

I don't know if you're from the US, but there is this thing called the First Amendment that begins, "Congress shall make no law..."

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217407)

...respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Re:nice (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217649)

And further down the road it says "abridging the freedom of speech"

There's nothing unconstitutional about a rating system, as much as we hate to hear it. The voice of the game companies is not being stifled in any way through the legislature. They can still make whatever game they want, they're not being prohibited from making it by any law passed by Congress.

True, they end up getting stifled by the economic powers-that-be, but if you're going to be mad at anyone, it's really not Congress, but the Wal-Marts, the Best Buys, the EB Games that, by policy, won't sell stuff in the AO category.

But that's the benefit of a free market: companies have the right to decide what to and what not to sell.

Re:nice (3, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217719)


Third party rating systems mandated by law violate due process. That's already been held in the case of movies.

Re:nice (1)

Doug-W (165055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218619)

Not quite correct.

The voice of the game companies that are willing to pay for the ESRB to pay testers to play their games is not being stifled in any way through legislature.

Now all the ESRB needs to do is say that raitings will cost $1,000,000 per title. Still think Congress isn't restricting the freedom of speech? How about due to congressional pressure they refuse to look at Ultra-Combine-Masscre XVII. Are their freedom of speech being restricted yet?

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16218853)

That's ridiculous. Of course it's a free speech issue.

Legally enforced content-rating systems are those where Congress, by passing a law, wants to force people to label their speech in a certain way. Congress thinks your discussion topic is offensive? You'd better add Congress's speech, condemning your own speech. By law, you are required to attack your own speech.

That's not the worst of it. Congress decides what is offensive, and to what degree. Congress decides exactly what you must say. There is no objective criterion.

Fundamentally, it is a free speech issue when the government forces you to speak in a certain way. With laws like these, government can force you to criticize your own speech, by self-labelling it as "bad." This is blatantly unconstitutional.

Re:nice (1)

sm4kxd (683513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16219939)

Take a look at the existing rating system. It rates based on content. In no way does it encourage censorship or (de/pro)mote any game. Yes, some games fall into the AO category, but as another poster said, the fault with selling AO games falls upon the retailers, not the ESRB.

If your game has you chainsawing nun's heads off, you can bet your ass people will protest your game, at least on some level because they think your game is 'bad'. You will not, however, see a label on the cover of the game saying that 'America says this game is bad'. You will just see a label that the game contains 'intense violence, blood and gore' and that is a fact, as chainsawing nun's heads off tends to be very violent, and bloody.

The system is based off facts. 'Good' or 'Bad' is an opinion.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16220033)

"The system is based off facts."

No, it isn't based off facts. It's based off hysteria, prudishness, and inability to distinguish reality from fiction. It's not a "fact" that something is offensive. It might be a fact that it's offensive to you, personally, but that's subjective.

If your rating system is defined to quantify the number of pixel-seconds of simulated human blood that appear on the screen, then it is factual. These rating systems don't do this. They are not factual. Even if you were to make them factual, the minute you step from those facts to defining a certain fact as "offensive" or "adult-only" you've lost your objectivity.

Re:nice (1)

sm4kxd (683513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16220351)

You have to accept some standard level of understand in order for any rating system to take hold. A rating system based on the pure measurable facts such as you list would be so incredibly complicated that no one would be able to understand it when they needed it.

Did I cut that nuns head off with a chainsaw and blood spurted? Yes. That is extreme violence. Is that offensive? Depends who you are.

Violence is not snynonymous with offensive, any confusion there is not the fault of the system.

If I really need to measure how far the blood flies and how many times the head bounces on the ground for someone to understand how violent, then they have lost their sense of reality. Just in the same sense as I can call the sky blue, and you don't throw your hands up and ask me "well what hue of blue is it?", I should be able to say 'that's violent' and you get the gist of it.

As far as the Adults Only rating is concerned, that should be thrown out and Mature should be the top dog. Especially when a game like Manhunt can get away with being 'M'.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16222193)

The purpose, and implementation, of these rating systems is to define material whose sale is to be regulated. It is to be regulated because you find it "too violent." Yet, you are unwilling to quantify exactly what constitutes being "too violent." Why is that? You say it is obvious, yet you want these vague rules that let the government define whatever it likes as "dangerous information."

Then you take this vague "I know it when I see it" definition, and you wish to control those whose speech matches it. This is a perfect example of an unconstitutional infringement on the right to free speech. (Of course, that has never stopped Congress in the past.)

"Violence is not snynonymous with offensive, any confusion there is not the fault of the system."

No, it is certainly the fault of the system. These rating systems are explicitly designed to limit the availability of material that people like you find offensive, for whatever reason. It's often claimed it's because the material is "harmful to minors," yet there is absolutely no evidence of this and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

When you enact such systems on your own, it's fine. Stupid and puritanical, but it's your life. When you enact laws to enforce it, you've stepped over the line. What it boils down to is you being offended, and deciding to get the government to help you silence that which you find offensive.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16224935)

The definition you are asking for is absurd. No one can define 'too violent' any more than they can they can define a song being 'too loud'. You're right, people are different. I can go to a bar and sit directly in front of the speakers and be fine, yet my girlfriend needs to plug her ears. I can beat a hooker with a baseball bat in GTA yet she is disgusted. The whole point of the rating system is for her to know that the game contains things that she won't like. The initial point that smakxd made and you are continually missing is that the ESRB does not restrict any form or aspect of a game from coming to market--nor in the article does it mention anywhere that the government intends to make that the case. You are still allowed to put out whatever you want to put out. However, people have a generic understanding of 'what is socially acceptable' and what is not. That is a whole other argument, but that is where the likes of Best Buy, Walmart, EB Games, etc (you know, the ones you should be nailing to your cross, the ones who actually restrict sales) come in. I have a real problem with Walmart filtering what they sell, because in a lot of places, Walmart is all they have. I'm right there with you with the freedom of speech, but what you are going on about is an assumption of what this bill could maybe possibly lead to. Any idea of a game being made and some how not allowed to be sold by the government is entirely speculation on your part. Pull your tin foil hat off and actually read what TFA says.

You've completely missed the point of TFA. It merely states that there will be laws in effect that intend to make the ESRB more robust and reliable. You may disagree with that, or the way they are going about doing it, but everything you're talking about is completely pulled out of thin air. There is nothing in there anywhere about restricting the sales of anything to anyone. Go outside.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16233539)

"The definition you are asking for is absurd."

No, the laws you're supporting are absurd. I asked for a definition that would make them non-absurd, but you can't provide one because their very basis is in arbitrary censorship of things some people find offensive. This is where the absurdity arises.

"The initial point that smakxd made and you are continually missing is that the ESRB does not restrict any form or aspect of a game from coming to market--nor in the article does it mention anywhere that the government intends to make that the case."

I understand that's the point you and he/she wish to make, but it's false. The point I'm making is that having government enforcement of ratings (besides pure facts, already governed by fraud law) is equivalent to government regulation of the content itself. It requires speech to be altered specifically to facilitate third-party censorship. It requires you to label your own speech in a government-defined manner based not on any factual danger posed by the speech, but based on the arbitrary judgment of people like you (whose flawed reason is far more dangerous than any possible video game content).

Re:nice (1)

freakmn (712872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218487)

Perhaps they should have stopped there. If ever a quote taken out of context, that's gotta be it.

Re:nice (4, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217593)

All I see here is voter bait. From the ESRB site:

"Additionally, ESRB's in-house game experts randomly play the final games to verify that all the information provided during the rating process was accurate and complete."

So they already test the games, just not all of them. Kind of like taxes; does the IRS audit all US tax returns? No, they have to let the majority go by with a skin deep look and use random fine-tooth comb audits to try and keep everyone honest. Could they audit all the tax returns? Yes, but it would be very time consuming and costly. If the ESRB had to take an in-depth approach, they'd have to find some way to cover these costs. Whether they get that from the game developers or the government, it'll cost gamers in the end.


I think it's ok to trust the game developers to be honest. Past instances where the rating has failed have been delt with appropriatly and I think this bill is unnecessary buracracy.



btw, here's [esrb.org] where you signup for employment. Its only 1-4 times a month.

And more to the point (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217931)

A rating on a game should be a guideline only. As a parent it is your duty to check the game out yourself and see if it's ok for your kid. The rating will give you an idea of the ballpark it's in and why it's there (they specify what the game contains that earned it a rating) but only you know your kids and what is ok and not ok for them to see.

And let's please not forget the stupidity that caused all this: GTA: SA. The game features graphic violence of all kinds, you can kill people with weapons, your fists, running them over, etc. In fact you are required to and rewarded for it. You can have sex in the game, just drive up to a prostitute when damaged, she'll get in your car and you can do your business. You can even kill her and take your money back afterwards (or simply become a pimp and she'll pay you). All that is in the main, M-rated version of the game. What got everyone worked up was you could mod the game to allow access to a removed mini game where you could bang your girlfriend. She is naked, though not in any sort of high detail.

That's what people got worked up over. All the rest of that was ok for their kids, but god forbid they see a 10-polygon TLO (tit like object)! We clearly need stronger ratings control.

The ESRB does a good job rating games as it is, it's just retards getting all worked up over nothing. They scream about how inappropriate GTA: SA is but it's clear they never bothered to read the rating that's there in the first place. I highly doubt there's many people who'd think all the shit that's in the game is ok, but not the one removed mini-game you have to mod it to activate. They were mostly just pissed that they'd been a bad parent and bought their kids a game they shouldn't have.

Re:And more to the point (1)

PCTRS80 (1007061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16234619)

Im Sorry but this is just another pice of broken legislation to make a small group of people that do not want to take the time to be REAL PARENTS thay rather let their children be raised by TV, Video Bames and the School System.

"A day with a game" what is a day to them, 9 hours or 24 hours of play time what is a day?

The bigger point it unless thay hire gamers to play them, There is no way thay are going to get any hidden-content out in that time... Or in game like Elder Scroll: Oblivian it takes better then a week to get to the point you can make everyone naked with a spell...

And then if you hire Gamers, How are you going to get an accurate rating for PARENTS to use. As a gamer alot of stuff dosent bother me but i have worked with people that have their wife look at Magzines to see if there is any "offensive adds" in them (E.G: Swimpsuit / Underware Adds)

I would rather see something like "The Real Parent Act" that make parent do their job and drop inflicting useless laws that take up Taxpayer time and Money.

Pointless (4, Insightful)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217229)

The courts will uphold the right of the ESRB to give an opinion on any game they choose to, without having to jump through government mandated hoops. This is their right under the first amendment. The courts will uphold the right of game publishers to display the ESRB's opinions on their games if they choose to. This is their right under the first amendment.

Any attempt to interfere with these rights will be struck down. This is a waste of time and money.

Re:Pointless (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16223891)

If the ESRB ignores the Government's "suggestion", then you'll see another push to implement a Government-controlled rating board.

Or you'll start to see ESRB members hauled off to jail for kiddie porn or drug use. Their replacements will play along nicely. [/conspiracy_theory]

I'll be self-rating. (1, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217287)

After all, a small, independant game has a better shot at online distribution anyway. The only reason most games are rated is to get them into stores (or not), but if it's available as a download, there's no reason for it.

Now to actually make a game in the first place...

To make a game... (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217871)

Here's a head start!

http://www.planetalia.com/cursos/Java-Invaders/JAV A-INVADERS-00.tutorial [planetalia.com]

Covers enough of the basics that you could definitely whip up a game.

Re:To make a game... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218709)

Oh, that's not the problem. The problem is I'm over-engineering it.

Instructions for self-rating (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#16294449)

Once you have made your game, you can determine and apply a TIGRS rating [tigrs.org] .

Longer Reviews... Good or pointless? (3, Interesting)

nsmike (920396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217389)

At this point, the ESRB, as well as the video games industry in general, are both aware of what could happen should another ratings scandal take place. No one would be foolish enough to hide the violence from the ESRB to obtain a disingenuous rating. Plus, requiring longer periods of review for the ratings board, I think, is a good thing, but also, somewhat pointless. If you play 10 hours or 24 hours, it's not likely that a violent game is going to be all happy and peachy at the beginning, and then suddenly halfway through reveal tremendous amounts of gory violence.

This is a knee-jerk reaction to a non-existant problem. Longer reviews of both GTA: SA and Oblivion would not have revealed either situation in normal gameplay. Both were exploited by third parties after the fact. Their ratings would not have changed. Admittedly, it was foolish for Rockstar not to remove the hot coffee features completely, and for Bethesda to leave that topless texture on the disc, but unless the ESRB starts employing hackers and programmers to digg through the game's content as a whole aside from playing it, these things will continue to go unnoticed until found by third parties should they ever occur again.

Legislating this is a stab at "Save the Children" for an election boost. The Do-Nothing congress of the 21st century will probably fail at doing anything here as well.

Re:Longer Reviews... Good or pointless? (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217523)

Admittedly, it was foolish for ... Bethesda to leave that topless texture on the disc
As I understand, the topless texture was for male charactors, modders just decided to put it on female charactors. If that is correct, then I don't believe it was Bethesda's fault at all.

Re:Longer Reviews... Good or pointless? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217535)

Yeah, it seems like the only way this would work would be some horrible legislation requring game makers to make their games impossible to mod (encrypted somehow?) without some sort of key from the ESRB, and the ESRB only gives out the key after rating the mod. Obviously mod authors aren't going to go through normal channels most of the time, so you need to force them to have their stuff rated.

Or you could just pass a law banning all third party mods entirely. It's basically the same thing as above. Neither solution gets to the heart of the matter though: mods you download from the internet will obviously nullify the ESRB rating. If you care about that rating, then don't download mods. I mean seriously. It's completely retarded to force game companies to become internet police, tracking down anybody who might make something that could change their ESRB rating.

I wonder how the ESRB would react if someone built a program that could search through the datafiles to any game, locate texture data, and replace it with a texture of naked boobs? Would every game have to be AO?

Re:Longer Reviews... Good or pointless? (1)

Grimrod (901886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218357)

You're wrong. Oblivion was re-rated for the content that was freely available in the game. Disembowled corpses hanging by their feet. Murder as a game mechanic. DOOM-like imagery any time you enter Oblivion itself.

The nude texture found on the discs was only a tiny part of the re-rating. The actual content of the game was the real catalyst for the M.

I don't see the problem with this. (1)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217401)

Most parents largely do ignore ESRB ratings as it is now, and complain when the games they buy for their kids contain what the box says. Perhaps making the ESRB do more than watch a video and apply a label will drive them to be more than a sticker that publishers can point to saying "THE RATING WAS ON THE BOX!!!". If the MPAA can have their rating system known by parents, then so can the ESRB.

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (2, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217581)

Parents know about the movie ratings because they go and watch movies as well. Most (not all) parents to not play video games, or stoped playing video games by the time the ESRB was really around.

I doubt that when the movie system was first started up that there was a large push/campaign/whatever to make sure parents understood what the raitings were about. They just learned aobut them as they went to movies. Combine that with the fact that the movie industry caters to a much larger selection of the population and you can see why movie rateings are known, and the ESRB ones are not.

oh, and as a fun little note, it is alot harder to get an M rated game then to get into an R rated movie (this is speaking from personal experiance.)

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217697)

Have you been to a movie theater lately? Parents don't care about ratings and most theaters don't either.

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218203)

The MPAA ratings board is even more opaque than the ESRB. The members of the board are not publically identified, and the board will not give specific reasons behind their ratings, only generalities. Also, their appeals process involves a board made up entirely of major studio and major distributor insiders.

In addition, the MPAA suffers from the same problem the ESRB seems to have by rating sexual content (even if it's only implied) far more harshly than violent content.

To say the ESRB has shortcomings and then invoke the MPAA's ratings board as an example of the right way to do things is silly. Check out This Film is Not Yet Rated [imdb.com] for more details on how the MPAA Ratings Board (doesn't) work.

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16220643)

the board will not give specific reasons behind their ratings, only generalities.

That's crazy talk. Movies are always rated with little blurbs like "Strong Thematic Elements." I'm sorry, but it's just not possible to get anymore specific than that without giving out the actual script. Generalities!?! Whatever man.

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16225297)

In addition, the MPAA suffers from the same problem the ESRB seems to have by rating sexual content (even if it's only implied) far more harshly than violent content.

Homosexuality is rated far more harshly than heterosexuality. Female orgasms are rated far more harshly than male orgasms.

LK

Re:I don't see the problem with this. (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16225263)

should i be paying taxes to pay for games to be rated? that's ludicrous. the problem is that the federal government is trying to deal with something that it should not be dealing with.

nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217479)

From what I understand the ESRP gathers people almost at random to test games. Non-gamers, who make up a good portion of each board, would be unable to cope with being forced to play the games for a long period of time, so more non-gamers would turn down the chance to rate a game. Because of that you get more gamers participating, so the rating would be off, usually towards the kiddie side of things.

Public PC, no spell checking.

TheVede (0, Offtopic)

jasonmicron (807603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218173)

Just let TheVede rate them all. At least the PC games any way. Coconut monkey would be pleased.

This will hurt gaming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16218221)

Not only will this have absolutely no effect on ratings, it will make ESRB ratings much more expensive, putting innovative indie developers at an even greater disadvantage. Thanks, assholes.

TIGRS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#16294795)

Not only will this have absolutely no effect on ratings, it will make ESRB ratings much more expensive, putting innovative indie developers at an even greater disadvantage.

Screw ESRB. What's wrong with TIGRS [tigrs.org] ?

Impossible to enforce. (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218347)

I'd love to see them even attempt this at games that support modding. Look towards MMORPGs for an excellent example of the mainstay "content may change over time" to see that this ideal is clearly unenforceable. Further, the ESRB uses generic parents, not superparents, capable of thwarting games their more gamingly-adept children can't surmount.

Difficulty, "easter eggs" and games such as the MMO genre offer make this a sure-fire loss.

Not Realistic (2, Interesting)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218363)

The problem with this is that it assumes all games have competely defined experiences right out of the box. This can't account for online gaming, sandbox titles using the GTA/Oblivion approach or third party mods. The mod thing is particularly troubling because it means developers have to design their games around the possibility it could eventually be modded, forcing them to sacrifice otherwise useful and innovative features. (One example is clothing... it would have to be "welded" to all character models, requiring developers to include multiple versions of the same character, just to change the outfit.) Another troubling issue, is that such legislation would require the ESRB to be aware of any and all possible exploitable parts of a game (including weird ones, like unintended mid-game disc swaps used to open holes). Also, does this mean the ESRB would be require to hire dozens of skilled hackers to pound on a game from every possible angle, in order to determine where alterations *might* be inserted into a game?

This could prove to be such a costly measure, that a civilian run ESRB could eventually become impossible to maintain. If you think this is bad, I can only guess as to what a federally run version of the ESRB would be like.

Re:Not Realistic (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16223465)

Your concept that there is something the developers can or will do to stop modders is what comes of as "not realistic" to me.

Lieberman lost Gore my vote. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16218367)

The deciding issue between Gore vs Bush in the first election for me was that Lieberman was for strong video game ratings/censorship in the name of it's for the children. Or let's ban all those somewhat violent games because it leads folks to think Republican thoughts of upgrading the military or bigger boom toys.

There just wasn't enough negatives between the 2 to force me to pick one or the other. They were both "middle of the road" for their respective parties at the the time. The only thing worse though is for "Christians" to censor games "for the childern." Kids may get violent thoughts or see sexually related pics in games if our group doesn't censor their entire industry.

Damn, I hate censors of all parties. Let the kids see the violence, sex, hate, and langauage. Let them see humanity at it's worst. Nah, cause then all the kids would really critically think about what limits the government wants on the liberties of the average citizen and that's not what either party wants.

Re:Lieberman lost Gore my vote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16220147)

You can't blame the Religious Right for Lieberman's stance on game censorship. At least, not the conventional Religious Christian Right. You may recall Lieberman is well-known for being Jewish ...

Re:Lieberman lost Gore my vote. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16220989)

You can't blame the Religious Right for Lieberman's stance on game censorship. At least, not the conventional Religious Christian Right. You may recall Lieberman is well-known for being Jewish ...

Um, that doesn't make any sense. I voted against Gore mainly cause the issue wasn't even on Bush's radar. Though Lieberman was making it a big part of the morals issue that he wanted to bring into the white house. Every time that I researched Lieberman he seemed just as "religious right" except Jewish instead of Christian and Democrat instead of Republican. That made him scarier to me because Democrats are on the lookout for Republic Religious folks, but would overlook one of their own doing the same thing. What's bad it that now the Christain Religious Right has gotten into it because of nudity. Grrr. It's almost to the point where I'd like Clinton back. Nah, I've got a better idea. Paris Hilton for President! That says it all right there.

(Of course, I think that Harrison Ford should run for President. I think Harrison Ford would win it just because the average citizen has seen him in movies playing the President. All he would have to do is be a very middle man and he'd get elected.)

If you don't vote Libertarian, you ASKED FOR THIS! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16218551)

All this is going to do is allow the government to take more money from the businesses at gunpoint. If they're going after the violent video games, why not go after all games except for the Ungame as they could have a negative effect on children. Just another example of government abuse of power.

_________________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

Re:If you don't vote Libertarian, you ASKED FOR TH (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16219105)

Ah, false dichotomy. Where would we be without you?

Re:If you don't vote Libertarian, you ASKED FOR TH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16244527)

What a way to debate the points, oh wait you were just trolling for the Republicrats and Democans. This demonstrates you want an intrusive, activist government to take our rights and money at gunpoint. As such you have no room to complain, you ASKED FOR THIS!!!
__________________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

Re:If you don't vote Libertarian, you ASKED FOR TH (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16258923)

Probably giving you too much credit, but I'll operate under the extremely generous assumption that you're trying to be serious and not just trolling to make Libertarians look bad.

What a way to debate the points...
What points? You made a broad assertion and failed to support it.

, oh wait you were just trolling for the Republicrats and Democans.
Pointing out a logical fallacy != trolling.

This demonstrates you want an intrusive, activist government to take our rights and money at gunpoint. As such you have no room to complain, you ASKED FOR THIS!!!
Check the sig, kiddo. My post history too, while you're at it. I've never voted Democrat or Republican. In fact I usually do vote Libertarian. That doesn't mean I won't call bullshit when it happens to come from one.

Sounds like a job opportunity! (1)

CTD (615278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16220803)

If they are going to spend a full day playing each game -- they are going to need more testers. Which means more jobs for the American video gamer! ;P

Imagine the office drama at a job like that.
"She always gets the good games to rate -- I hear she's playing with the bosses joystick!"

The Lowest Code Owns (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16222007)

So it isn't feasible to analyze the executable binary to find all the content included on the disk, but how about analyzing how the binary is executed and what data is actually accessed, mapping out the data determining what got executed, what didn't, and what data was accessed? Then go to the game maker and ask what is in the areas that weren't accessed or executed and how to trigger their execution. Instead of analyzing the code, you analyze what the code does and track disk accesses to memory storage and associating subsequent memory access back to the disk.

Shouldn't that give them a way to ensure full disclosure of content? They should be able to demand all console makers provide to them a runtime (and real time) analysis platform that will gather this data; if they don't, no games for that platform will get rated by the ESRB and thus no games for that platform will be carried at Walmart and other must-be-rated stores.

In fact, developers should have access to such analysis machines as well so as to better audit their own code and assist the ESRB.

The idea stems from a truism about system security, which (according to Google) apparently I'm the first to coin as a phrase: "The lowest code owns."

Re:The Lowest Code Owns (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16223239)

You're joking, right?

Re:The Lowest Code Owns (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16223769)

This actually makes a lot of sense: game developers know what is on the disc, what media has been compressed, etc etc etc. Why not require a table of contents of all the models and such on the disc be given to the ESRB? It isn't quite as easy and practical at the beginning of the cycle when the media isn't being filled as often, but when you get into handhelds and later in the cycle, the developers have to be economical with space usage, and therefore should have a really good idea of what's on the disc and where, right? And if they don't, you'd think it would only benefit the companies by forcing them into a situation where they can be more economical.

Imagine if, a couple months before the ESRB deadline they're starting to put their disc/cartridge inventory list together and they notice that they've got unused duplicate textures filling up 5% of the disc...now they can remove those and fill that space with bikini alternate costumes or something.

It's an extra restriction on developers, for sure, but it would qualm all of the claims of hidden pr0n on little Jimmy's games and lead to better space usage by developers...

Re:The Lowest Code Owns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16233723)

Hmm...there might be a reason you're the first to coin the phrase "The lowest code owns."

That's because it doesn't make any sense.

Re:The Lowest Code Owns (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16236335)

Would you rather I spell it "0wnz0rs"?

GAO (1)

WedgeTalon (823522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16223415)

Since I haven't seen anyone else mention it yet, I just thought I'd point out that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) exists to ensure the GOVERNMENT'S accountability, not some public group like the ESRB. Methinks some senator hasn't been paying attention in class.

From the GAO's site [gao.gov] (emphasis mine):

Under recently passed legislation, we have changed our name from the General Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an agency that works for Congress and the American people. Congress asks GAO to study the programs and expenditures of the federal government. GAO, commonly called the investigative arm of Congress or the congressional watchdog, is independent and nonpartisan. It studies how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. GAO advises Congress and the heads of executive agencies (such as Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Department of Defense, DOD, and Health and Human Services, HHS) about ways to make government more effective and responsive. GAO evaluates federal programs, audits federal expenditures, and issues legal opinions. When GAO reports its findings to Congress, it recommends actions. Its work leads to laws and acts that improve government operations, and save billions of dollars.
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