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  • ESRB

    Binky 9 years ago
    From squidi.net, Three Hundred Mechanics:
    June 25th, 2007 - ESRB

    The ESRB has been SERIOUSLY pissing me off recently. I thought the MPAA was horrible, but those guys are pornographers based on the standards ESRB uses to rate videogames.

    First of all, there's that whole deal with Manhunt 2. Since no retailers will carry an Ao (Adults Only) rated game, and no game console manufacturers will allow Ao games on their systems, the ESRB has de facto censorship control over many games. They rate Manhunt 2 as Ao and it CAN NOT be released. That's too much power for any organization to have, period. And why have an Ao rating if it is the definition that retailers use to no carry a game. I thought the purpose of ratings was a guideline for consumers to accurate select games that are appropriate for them, not to deliver a black mark of censorship on any product the ESRB wishes.

    The fact that the ESRB is run by ESA (Entertainment Software Association, which is like a union of top shelf publishers who look after their own interests) makes the ESRB biased against smaller developers. The Godfather might get an M rating because it is by EA, while some small game from a company that can barely afford an ESRB rating in the first place might get an Ao for the same content. That's how the MPAA works with movies, and I see no reason why this won't be the case for the ESRB. But that hasn't really been a problem just yet. I'm just pointing out that as the ESRB becomes more tight assed, the people who are going to be hurt the most are the small independent developers.

    I mentioned tight assed, right? How about control freaks too? The newest bunch of bullshit coming out of left field is that now the ESRB wants control over ratings AND distribution of internet trailers! Even the MPAA doesn't go that far. They want to rate trailers (which will cost money to the publishers, of course) and any trailer for a game rated Mature or Adults Only must be behind an "age gate" (those things where they ask your birthday).

    Okay, what's wrong with that? First, age gates are stupid and they don't work. They require extra implementation on behalf of the trailer host, not the trailer provider, and usually invoke cookies to work (since I use a conservative cookie policy, these things always screw me over). And all it takes is making up a birthday, which any kid will figure out immediately. Heck, when I bother to do it, I just say I was born in 1969, just because I can.

    The second problem is that they said that trailers for M or Ao games must be behind age gates. Not that the trailers are M or Ao, but that the games are. That's like saying you have to be 18 to see a trailer for an R-rated movie. Forget for a moment that they are trying to police the internet, and the consequences of not living up to their retarded conditions could be devestating to small publishers, how about the simple fact that they are controlling trailers based on what they are advertising, and not the content in the trailer itself? Isn't that just... well, I want to say retarded, but that word seems to give them too much credit.

    Also in that little posting is the note that the trailers for the game Dark Sector were so offensive that the ESRB wouldn't even let them be posted behind age gates. That's right. They don't just have the ability to control which games get released, but also which TRAILERS do! The trailers are still available from gametrailers.com. I wonder if they took offense to the trailer where they hit various vegetables with hammers to get that perfect head splitting sound effect?

    Their goal of cleansing the videogame world of every nasty thought for the sake of our children is an admirable goal, but children aren't the only people who play videogames. Having the ability to outright ban videogames and even videogame trailers is just too much power, and the conservative context of the upcoming presidential election (in which videogame violence will no doubt play a part), we'll be seeing more and more control enforced at the whims of the ESRB. I have a major problem with that, and not just because I wanted to play Manhunt 2.

    Every time a new medium comes out - EVERY TIME A NEW MEDIUM COMES OUT - there is a witch hunt against it. Radio had it, television had it, movies had it, books, rock and roll, dungeons and dragons, and now videogames. In most of these cases, the witch hunt destroys a few careers and then moves on. In the more major mediums, out right censorship takes place. With the radio and broadcast television, the FCC is psychotic - but both have private alternatives like Serius Radio or HBO. With the movies, the MPAA is psychotic, but when the movies get released to DVD these days, it's the unrated director's cut.

    But what alternatives do videogames have? An ESRB rating is not only required by many large retailers (who, I should point out, have no problem selling the unrated director's cut of Hostel), but going unrated essentially guarantees that you can't sell your game at all. States are trying to pass laws which put M-rated (not even Ao-rated) games in back rooms that you need an id to get into, putting it on the same level as porn. The ESRB is now rating trailers. To make matters even worse, they seem to have the power to revoke ratings at any time. Obviously, there's the Hot Coffee thing with GTA:SA, but they also rerated Oblivion based on the fact that hackers could remove female tops, and the boobs had NIPPLES! But they didn't just rerate the PC version of Oblivion. The rerated the Xbox 360 version, which you couldn't access nipples on. In both cases, the rerating costed the publishers millions as they had to recall and relabel all the games. If absolute control over distribution of products isn't enough, how about the ability to arbitrarily rerate games and put the bill of doing so on the publisher?

    The ESRB was originally promoted as a healthy, happier version of the MPAA. But the truth is far worse. They are as corrupt as the MPAA ever was, but with far more power and control than the MPAA has had since the days of the Hayes Code. Videogames are on precipice of artistic integrity. Before them is a deep canyon, but beyond that, the ability share meaning and value. Beyond that endless chasm is a ledge where videogames will find their value. The ESRB isn't helping videogames reach that ledge. They are widening the canyon, moving that ledge ever further out of sight.

    I am not defending violent games. I just happen to think that there can be found value in any idea, even violence. Violence can send messages. Satirical messages, as used in Robocop. Realistic messages, demonstrated by things like Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. Intense messages, like Hostel or Straw Dogs. Comical messages, like Monty Python. Violence is not just one thing. It's a whole bunch of things - a whole bunch of meanings. No, they aren't all equal, but they all have value to a person adult enough to see it. You can't just put a ban on all sex and violence because not all sex and violence is dirty. It's not all unclean. You can't paint with such broad strokes like that. And if videogames are going to become more than what they are today, they need to be able to figure out what violence means to that medium as well. Videogames can have satirical violence, realistic, intense, and comical violence too. And until we learn as a society why those things ARE indeed valuable, then we shouldn't stand in the fucking way while we try to figure it out.

    That's what this is all about. Somebody thinks something bad is going to happen. But it hasn't happened yet. It probably won't. And rather than having the balls to let our freedoms defend themselves, they force us to defend our freedoms before we are allowed to have them. I say, we release Manhunt 2, and then when the sky doesn't fall, people will either have to move on or shut the hell up. The world doesn't need something like the ESRB. The world needs the games the ESRB is censoring.

    Wow.
    #
    E_net4 9 years ago
    Resumed version:
    I complain about the ESRBs.

    Seriously, I'm not on the mood to read ALL of it.
    However, that comment can be interesting.
    #
    Idiota 9 years ago
    That's bloody brilliant. Make sure you read all of it, PLEASE.
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    Anonymous1157 9 years ago
    If you're reading this response, but you didn't finish reading the post, SCROLL BACK UP AND FINISH READING THE POST.

    Like, seriously. Wow.
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    Zombie 9 years ago
    "E_net4" said:
    Resumed version:
    I complain about the ESRBs.

    Seriously, I'm not on the mood to read ALL of it.
    However, that comment can be interesting.

    Lazy people like you are why I don't frequent the forums anymore. That isn't a lot. Pick up a book once in a while and you'd realize that.
    #
    Amarth 9 years ago
    Well, that was a slight bit over the top. I haven't seen the ESRB do a lot of wrong things. They give ratings which seem fairly just to me.

    Mind you, having laws that say it is illegal to sell games to certain age groups or let them play those games, that is stupid. But having an organization that rates games *as guidelines*, fine for me.

    It's the whole "parents don't have time to raise their kids anymore, so they let the state handle it" thing again. "Think of the children!" - look around you and you see it everywhere.
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    Marevix 9 years ago
    It's bad enough that the government refuses to obey the constitution, now corporations? They might as well just override the document and give a "whatever the powerful want" guideline, because it's slowly becoming that in practicality.
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    Anarion 9 years ago
    I don't see anything wrong with ratings. People have a right to know what they can expect to encounter in a game so they (or their parents) can decide if it's appropriate. Outright banning a game like that I don't agree with. I think we have a right to make up our own minds about what is and isn't acceptable in a game. By banning these games we are having this freedom to make up our own minds taken away. How many more freedoms must we sacrifice due to the over-protectiveness of our governments and society in general?
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    Barebones 9 years ago
    The ESA is pathetic, they once tried to put into motion a law that would install chips on all computers controlling what programs and hardware could be installed on the computer. Since we all know who the ESA are composed of, it won't take long to figure out that they will not allow poor independent developers simply because they don't have money to pay for it.
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    Amarth 9 years ago
    "Barebones" said:
    The ESA is pathetic, they once tried to put into motion a law that would install chips on all computers controlling what programs and hardware could be installed on the computer.
    That project, my dear, is being pushed through, although I don't know whether the ESA is behind it (I suspect it's a whole multitude of companies). It's called trusted computing and it is something to worry about, mostly because no one knows about it.
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    Pete 9 years ago
    "Amarth" said:
    "Barebones" said:
    The ESA is pathetic, they once tried to put into motion a law that would install chips on all computers controlling what programs and hardware could be installed on the computer.
    That project, my dear, is being pushed through, although I don't know whether the ESA is behind it (I suspect it's a whole multitude of companies). It's called trusted computing and it is something to worry about, mostly because no one knows about it.
    If that ever happens, my computer at that time will be my last computer ever.
    #
    Barebones 9 years ago
    "Pete" said:
    "Amarth" said:
    "Barebones" said:
    The ESA is pathetic, they once tried to put into motion a law that would install chips on all computers controlling what programs and hardware could be installed on the computer.
    That project, my dear, is being pushed through, although I don't know whether the ESA is behind it (I suspect it's a whole multitude of companies). It's called trusted computing and it is something to worry about, mostly because no one knows about it.
    If that ever happens, my computer at that time will be my last computer ever.

    You're in luck.
    According to the International Data Corporation, by 2010 essentially all portable PCs and the vast majority of desktops will include a TPM chip.
    #
    Idiota 9 years ago
    that's just... eeeeew, gross. My computer vomits at the very thought of it...
    #
    Anonymous1157 9 years ago
    Good thing I'm happy with this compy (although an even better GFX would be nice).
    #
    Grim Reaper 9 years ago
    Now, for a checklist...

    Learn how to build a computer from the ground up (i.e. what parts perform which functions, etc.)
    Learn how to build a CPU from the ground up (like above, only on a smaller scale (I hope))
    Build the Ultimate Emulator of all time (would be able to emulate any sort of computer and gaming console ever built up to this day)
    Test system with various games and software
    If unsuccessful, go back to step 1
    Enjoy the Ultimate Emulator
    ...
    Profit!
    #
    E_net4 9 years ago
    "Grim Reaper" said:
    Profit!
    Muhuhuhahahahahahah!

    I delete my words, now.
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    Murska 9 years ago
    "Pete" said:
    "Amarth" said:
    "Barebones" said:
    The ESA is pathetic, they once tried to put into motion a law that would install chips on all computers controlling what programs and hardware could be installed on the computer.
    That project, my dear, is being pushed through, although I don't know whether the ESA is behind it (I suspect it's a whole multitude of companies). It's called trusted computing and it is something to worry about, mostly because no one knows about it.
    If that ever happens, my computer at that time will be my last computer ever.

    Oh sheesh, I'll have to buy a new one FAST. This one is so broken...
    #
    Idiota 9 years ago
    I do wonder... it most likely means that piracy will get removed from the living world because they'll not allow torrenting software on the computer. And if that happens, I can no longer watch anime either. Yaaay. Why don't we just put a chip in our heads that controls our every action while we're at it?
    #
    E_net4 9 years ago
    A chip in our brain? It'd be great!
    Imagine a chip for forcing our body to perform exercises, think, or even avoid addictions (smoke, drugs, pr0n )
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    NeoGangster 9 years ago
    "E_net4" said:
    A chip in our brain? It'd be great!
    Imagine a chip for forcing our body to perform exercises, think, or even avoid addictions (smoke, drugs, pr0n )
    yeah imagine a chip which stops you from thinking and controls you like a robot... that would be soooo great -_-
    #
    Murska 9 years ago
    Or a chip in our head, letting us live in a virtual reality while machines control earth and sustain themself with energy from our bodies. How awesome.
    #
    Quanrian 9 years ago
    As it stands the only true AO console, is in fact a computer. So it is still likely Manhunt 2 will be released (but maybe just for PC), in fact they kind of have to do something with it or face losing a ton of money on development time. It does annoy me, as an adult, that ANYONE can tell me what I can and cannot buy, that 'is' cencorship in its purest form. Now I will admit I wasn't even going to buy it, because I got more than enough from the first. However I work in retail and I see an empty slot where Manhunt 2 is supposed to be and it irks me to no small degree, because it is done and should be there.
    #
    E_net4 9 years ago
    yeah imagine a chip which stops you from thinking and controls you like a robot... that would be soooo great -_-
    I didn't mean THAT power of control.
    #
    MageKing17 9 years ago
    ...You know, I knew certain things were going to hell in a handbasket, but I hadn't quite realized how far along things had gotten.

    "Wikipedia" said:
    Some, such as Richard Stallman, have claim Trusted Computing is a misnomer and claim that the phrase treacherous computing more appropriate.
    Can't argue with that.

    Whitelisting simply does not work. You can blacklist all you want, because if something new comes along that performs a necessary function, it is instantly allowed access ("assume good faith"). If it is later determined to be harmful (by design or accident (those happen too, you know, "never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained through stupidity")), it can be blacklisted... but a whitelist is just inherently a bad idea, when it comes to software.
    #
    ahrenjb 9 years ago
    Oh! Why don't we all get barcode tattoo's as well so they can scan us and know where we have been, what we have bought, and give them the ability to limit what we can do with ourselves.


    Lets go down to the barcode center and get one. They can put it right on my ass erm, foot.
    #
    Grim Reaper 9 years ago
    "MageKing17" said:
    Whitelisting simply does not work. You can blacklist all you want, because if something new comes along that performs a necessary function, it is instantly allowed access ("assume good faith"). If it is later determined to be harmful (by design or accident (those happen too, you know, "never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained through stupidity")), it can be blacklisted... but a whitelist is just inherently a bad idea, when it comes to software.
    One exception to that rule: NoScript.

    It's a Firefox add-on which blocks all sorts of scripting from a website unless you allow them to run yourself. Saves you from all the potentially hazardous scripts n' stuff you might otherwise execute (perhaps even without knowing).
    #
    Anonymous1157 9 years ago
    Nonono. I think he meant actual software you purchase (Retail, online, or otherwise) that ends up being bad. We're not talking about scripts on the internet that you can whitelist. He said that whitelisting RATED GAMES is a bad idea. Which it is.
    #
    Madgamer 9 years ago
    Wow, this is a blow to gamers and the small companies alike.

    This country's government will fail, as seeing that ESRB has too much power right now. Infact, it seems that Republic governments just gets more powerful and powerful as time goes by until it becomes a dictatorship. I could see that happening starting with ESRB right now.

    Yeah, they don't allow monopolization, but seeing as how ESRB is actually 'monopolizing' the game industry, I say we crack it down with a lawsuit.

    Or I can alternatively snipe Jack Thompson, and let's all hope he's the head of the ESRB productions.

    Yeah right, as if that's going to work >.>



    Trusted Computing? Oh god... now it's sounding even worse than ESRB. my dad told me he'll buy me a new computer as soon as I get to college but seeing how that's 3 years from now...

    Bah, I'll tell him to buy me one right now before things get worse.

    By the way, I formatted this box 2 times in a single week and had to plug/unplug, install drives, all those crap. It was hectic.

    Anyways, yeah, screw the way government works. These lazy-ass people are just bandwagoning votes without reason. I believe it was the bitch Hilary at New York that said that kids or minors (yes, minors) can not BUY an M-rated game AT ALL. The people just trusting the leading idiot will prolly go for her even though the new law will be idiotic.

    I might move back to Korea if things get worse. By that time let's all hope Kim Jong II (CATS, or whatever that guys name was) nukes a certain part of America where most of these idiots dies.

    *Sigh*, now all I need is a new computer by the end of 2008.
    #
    MageKing17 9 years ago
    "Grim Reaper" said:
    "MageKing17" said:
    Whitelisting simply does not work. You can blacklist all you want, because if something new comes along that performs a necessary function, it is instantly allowed access ("assume good faith"). If it is later determined to be harmful (by design or accident (those happen too, you know, "never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained through stupidity")), it can be blacklisted... but a whitelist is just inherently a bad idea, when it comes to software.
    One exception to that rule: NoScript.

    It's a Firefox add-on which blocks all sorts of scripting from a website unless you allow them to run yourself. Saves you from all the potentially hazardous scripts n' stuff you might otherwise execute (perhaps even without knowing).
    I should've been clearer.

    Whitelisting can work in certain situations. However, in deciding what software on your computer can access certain files, whitelisting does not work. For example, say you've got a program that makes editing, say, data files for some kind of project very easy. That program then, for example, gets a patch that breaks it, and for whatever reason, you can't go back to the old version. Now let's suppose that editing program was the only program whitelisted to edit not only those data files, but to edit the list of programs able to edit those files! Contrived? Not really. Murphy's law, after all.

    However, whitelisting, say, what programs are able to access the internet (like quite a few firewalls do), can and does work, because it's virtually impossible for the list itself to become totally inaccessible, and you can disable whether or not the list has any affect at all. As I understand it, neither are assured under this Trusted Computing crap.
    #
    Amarth 9 years ago
    Or, in short: it's MY computer, so let ME decides what happens with it.
    #
    MageKing17 9 years ago
    "Amarth" said:
    Or, in short: it's MY computer, so let ME decides what happens with it.
    That's a very succinct summary.

    /me applauds
    #
    Grim Reaper 9 years ago
    "MageKing17" said:
    "Amarth" said:
    Or, in short: it's MY computer, so let ME decides what happens with it.
    That's a very succinct summary.

    /me applauds
    QFT (fer both posts)
    #
    Barebones 9 years ago
    This isn't a dictatorship, its an aristocracy, or rather a corpo-nation where non-political bodies define the laws. Again, there's some rather large bullcrap when it comes to supporting political campaigns, it should be all tax-funded as politics concerning the people should have nothing to do with corporate bodies. Plus, our government figurehead is a complete disgrace, the cabinet is full of mouth-less schemers who only exist primarily as satire, and no offense but I hate all political parties in general, including democrats, because all politicians are the same, they all lie about what they are doing, and the corporate bodies know that while they talk with said politicians about the people behind their backs.

    The wave of anti-trust starting in 2001 is covered with irony because the United States populace have never known truth itself.
    #
    Bien45 9 years ago
    "Idiota" said:
    That's bloody brilliant. Make sure you read all of it, PLEASE.
    I agree.
    #
    Barebones 9 years ago
    Oh crap, now I remember why I made that post.

    Internet Radio was also disappearing from America on that same day.
    #
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