Worthplaying (via Evil Avatar) has an article up claiming that Grand Theft Auto San Andreas should have received an AO rating (the death knell for any video game’s financial success) because hidden, explicit, scenes have come to light. (On a side note, I thought that was a hoax? Or at best, a complex hack on the PC version. Whatever). Anyway, this legislator seems to think the video game industry and the ESRB are in kahoots. I’ll just let the quotes speak for themselves:
“Whether it is JFK: Reloaded, Manhunt, 25 to Life, or now Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the video game industry continues to demonstrate a sense of arrogance towards public opinion and a lack of responsibility in protecting our children,” said Speaker pro Tem Yee.
“The ESRB and the video game industry cannot police themselves and this is yet another example of why we need legislation to limit these types of games to children,” said Speaker pro Tem Yee.
I’m currently renting GTA:SA. This is my first foray into the Grand Theft World. Sheesh, this game is violent. But that’s not my point.
First off, I can’t believe the nerve of these “representatives”. Give us some credit, Mr. Yee. We’re grown adults that know right from wrong. We’re not little kids that need Mommy Government to tell us how to make right decisions. “Lack of responsibility protecting our children”? Sorry, Mr. Speaker Yee, the video game industry is not responsible for the protection of my children. I am. After five minutes of GTA:SA it was abundantly clear that this game was not intended for children. Parents should familiarize themselves with the entertainment their kids partake of. If I would have walked in on my kid playing this game, it would have immediately been removed from the Xbox and returned to the store, no questions asked. It’s violent, vulgar, and lacks any redeeming quality. It certainly would not be in my kids’ hands. I, along with my wife, are responsible for the protection of my children. I would never let my kids play an GTA-esque game until they were at least fifteen or sixteen years old. I don’t care how much whining they did about how “their friends all play it” and I don’t “get it”. I don’t think young kids are ready for this kind of imagery. If my kids want to play a game I think is questionable, I’ll make them play it with me. If they’re comfortable with that, then we can make an informed decision together. But I will never buy my kids games like this until their old enough to distinguish video game violence from the real thing.
So thanks, Speaker Yee, but no thanks. You don’t have to bring the heat down on the video game industry on behalf of us parents. We’re quite capable of taking care of our kids and we’ll be the deciding what is good for the kids and what isn’t. Maybe you can go pass some laws reducing taxes or something.
We also feel confident that the investigation will uphold the original rating of the game, as the work of the mod community is beyond the scope of either publishers or the ESRB.
If this “extra” content was included on the original disc, they’ve got no leg to stand on.
Normally the comments at Slashdot are usually so fraught with bickering and flaming that they’re not worth the time, but the thread going there is actually civil. Worth a read. The overriding theme I pick up is that Americans love their violence but get squeamish with their sex. I personally feel that violence and sex don’t occupy the same level of “content”, i.e. sex > violence on the “be careful meter”. Kids are much more influenced by the former. It elicits more of an emotional response than violence does.
One good point was made here with this comment. If Rockstar knowingly hid content from the rating board, they did parents a disservice. Everyone is calling on parents to monitor their children’s entertainment (which is exactly my point) but they are making decisions on mis-information. Regardless, five minutes of the game will convince any parent this game should not be in the hands of young teens.