Hot Coffee, the ESRB, and Government Video Game Regulation - Mature vs Adults Only
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The primary difference between the Mature and Adults Only ratings is the amount or level of sexual content. To a certain extent, this is understandable. If in a game, a female character makes a pass on a male character, most would agree that it would not fall under the auspices of Ďadult contentí. On the other hand, a full strip tease would, and one has to be an Ďadultí (age varies on jurisdiction) to enter a strip bar. However, in a world where lawyers are filing class action suits against game publishers because a particular game Ďinfluencedí a child into using guns, something doesnít add up.
Looking at the M and AO ratings almost seems to imply that when a person turns 18, they magically became able to handle sex in a video game. On the other hand, it also seems like the M rating gives game publishers a target: trying to see how much they can get into a game before it gets nailed with the AO kiss of death.
Letís face it. Games are more violent than they were a few years ago. Sure, older games didnít have the graphics capability that we have today, but nobody can deny that itís a lot more prevalent in todayís games. Thereís also been an increase in the amount of incidents where a violent act was blamed on a game without an increase in the amount of games that were relabeled as AO. With the exception of the Leisure Suit Larry line, the DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball type games and maybe one or two others, there has not been the same increase in the amount of sex.
Keep in mind that DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball is rated M, and includes nudity. All of the Leisure Suit Larry games except Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored are rated M. Games do not get any more sexual than these.
Folks, the M rating is a contradiction if we put our efforts in removing guns from schools but let kids play Grand Theft Auto. And at the same time we shove condoms into washrooms in the same schools to prevent unprotected sex and teen pregnancies but say that kids canít handle the Hot Coffee mod. Somewhere along the line we have to be consistent. Effectively banning a game because it is possible to modify it to do something it is not supposed to is not at all consistent.
At best, itís a double standard, and the violence standard keeps changing.
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