Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Game Rating

I am looking for the restrictions on games, other entertainment products and the connection between these ratings and the freedom of speach and expression. One reference is a long and seemingly nice wikipedia entry, with many useful hints and links. I have also referenced the Super Columbine Massacre RPG and the Slamdance film festival. Other thoughts of where I should look?


Unknown said...

There is also the hot coffee mod-Grand Theft Auto controversy.

Lisbeth Klastrup said...

Hi Torill,
at the Nordic Game Conference, PEGI was very actively advertising their new PEGI online ratings - now extending their rating system to online games:

- Lisbeth

Torill said...

Thanks both, hot-coffee mod is an interesting example. And Lisbeth, I have to check that out! Thank you.

Linn Søvig said...

Yeah - the Hot Coffee episode is a great. I learned most of what I know about ratingssystems and games just by following the events there. F.ex. that Australia doesn't have 18+ and therefore banned Grand Theft Auto and that the US has a very market driven system because the have 17 and 18+. The 17 age limit is allowed to be sold in large retailers like Wallmart a.s.o. while 18+ is not. But that's pretty much the limitation, apperantly they're not obligated to stop 12 year olds from buying 17+ games, which I've later found out is pretty much the same here in Norway.
But I'd stop with the Hot Coffee there - Rockstar pretty much kept the ESRB (which has a fascinating vocabulary for rating games) out of the loop which they deserve to be critisized for.
Of course there's what inspired my thesis - what I refer to as The Ludlow affair . Peter Ludlow wrote about a The Sims Online brothel with teenagers accepting real money for cybersex on his independent website - and a few days later was banned from the game. But...I always felt the actual case was blown a bit too much out of proportion and I found it hard to find hard facts about what really happened. It certainly caused a lot of good debate on virtuality, games and freedom of speech.
And then there's Bully! I'm sure I've read somewhere that the only thing really censored about the game was two males kissing - but I can't find it now. This case was interesting - because it wasn't so much the violence that worried people - it was psychological and moral. I've recently got it at home - and I'm really looking forward to playing it (I'm a Rockstar fan).

Oh there's so much more. I'll have to get back to it.

Dennis G. Jerz said...

Have you looked into Jack Thompson's "Modest Proposal"? He dared a video game company to create a game in which a father, distraught over the fact that his son falls under the spell of violent video games, goes on a rampage and kills video game designers.

Then there's the (not very intersting) VA Tech massacre game

And the (very racist and juvenile) "Cho"ose Your Own Adventure.

Linn Søvig said...

This might be of some interest to you: Xfire's "The Debate Over Video Game Censorship"