Censors Want To Go After Videogames

Earlier this week, four United States Senators did not think that a new game, Manhunt 2, was not sufficiently rated high enough and may even be bought by the children. Those four Senators decided to write the Entertainment Software Rating Board, private agency set up by the video game makers to self-regulate their products.

The demands of the Senators are:

The senators would like to see more transparency from the ESRB: “What information is provided back to developers after receiving a rating? Why is information regarding rating changes or reasons for decisions unavailable, except for content descriptors, to the public?” reads the letter.

The letter also cites the leak of the AO-rated version by a Sony employee and subsequent unlocking of some of the AO-content on the PSP version, as well as the “realistic motions” used to kill characters in the game on the Nintendo Wii, as evidence that the ESRB should reevaluate its rating process. “[W]e ask your consideration of whether it is time to review the robustness, reliability, and repeatability of your rating process, particularly for this genre of ‘ultra-violent’ video games and the advances in game controllers,” concludes the letter.

I’m not sure how dense the Senators are, but usually the content description is usually enough to determine if a game is suitable or not suitable for children. Even people who go for Pokemon GBA and NDS roms know enough about the content involved to know if it is fine for their children or not. You wouldn’t let a child play games rated for teenagers and above? Like League of Legends, for instance, many older teens and adults enjoy Unranked Smurfs on the game but that doesn’t mean its suitable for children because of cartoon violence.

If a game’s description says that there’s violence with blood splattering all over and if a parent doesn’t want their child exposed to that right now, the parent probably won’t buy that particular game. Instead, children can hop online onto free gaming sites like Construct (which will save the parents a lot of money) and play games that aren’t so violent, while parents can read the article they wrote for reassurance that these games can be trusted. Games like Minecraft have even been shown to have a positive social effect on children with autism, and can be enhanced thanks to minecraft server hosting, giving gamers even more worlds to explore and socialize on their terms. However, our wonderful Senators believe we are morons who need to be taken care of by the government. Also, although the letter did threaten the ESRB with government takeover implicitly but the letter itself is a statement that these Senators think that video game content is enough of an issue that they’re more than willing to take it over from the ESRB if they do not meet the prudish standards of our Senators.

Just which four Senators think this is such an important issue:

Signed by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

Of course “protecting” the children is not the issue for these four, it’s power and control over what you can and can’t see and play on your computer.

Finally, today is “Black Friday” so when you’re shopping, piss off a Senator today.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.