As I previously said during the video game crisis du jour of 2005, "Hot Coffee Mod: Nation Held Hostage", the whole ESRB system is a joke in the first place. Now I'm starting to wonder if they even know how to operate a computer.
Oblivion Game Rating Changed to 'Mature'
The latest best-selling game by Bethesda Softworks LLC will be relabeled with a new rating that prohibits sales to children under age 17. The game -- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -- will now carry a "mature" rating, equivalent to an "R" rating for movies.First off, anyone who has played any of the Elder Scrolls series knows that these titles have a lot more in common with The Lord of the Rings than Grand Theft Auto. Sweeping, sprawling fantasy epics that include violence, true, as pretty much every epic does, but nothing gratuitous-no torture, no graphic wounds. Sex? Very very little, and nearly all of what little there is is suggested. None of it is graphic, and certainly nothing done with prurient intent. These games are ones that I would certainly have no problem allowing a teenager to play. The idea that these deserve shelf space next to titles like "Grand Theft Auto" or "Manhunt" is ridiculous.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board, a trade organization that reviews video game content, announced yesterday that it had discovered "more detailed and intense depictions of blood and gore" than it saw in its pre-release review.
The board also objected to a software modification that was circulating among gamers on the Internet that allowed players to create topless versions of female characters in the game.
The second charge is even worse. Bethesda Softworks is being punished for what other people are doing with their product. Does this mean if someone pulled a Tyler Durden and added a frame of pornography to a Disney movie we could sue Disney? Does that make sense? This isn't just a move which shows the people at the ESRB don't understand video gaming, it's a signal that don't even understand the nature of the product they're supposed to be rating.