Video Game Decency Act Resurfaces
Well, it's back again. You knew it would be.
With the new generation comes the resurrection of the "Video Game Decency Act," now being filed by Senator Brownback (R-Kansas) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan). According to GamePolitics, this act is very similar to the one Upton proposed last year, but that one died when the new Congress came to power early in 2007.
The Act seeks to punish video game companies using the full power of the Federal Trade Commission to get lower ratings by failing to disclose offensive content to the ESRB. In other words, Upton and Co. don't want to see publishers getting away with a "T" rating when the game should, by all rights, be rated "M." Brownback wants all the games to be played in their entirety before issuing a rating, and Upton wants to keep companies from hiding potentially explicit material from the ESRB.
If this turns into federal law, it's going to force the ESRB to make some changes in their business practices. They're already getting parents to chip in with their own ideas concerning game ratings, and are starting to hire full-time raters, but if every game had to be played in its entirety... Are they kidding? We can't assume Brownback realizes a game like Final Fantasy XII would take at least 50 hours to complete, and it would be a waste of time, as any real gamer would tell you there isn't a thing in there that would warrant an "M" rating. As for companies "hiding" offensive content, it's not a bad idea. We just wonder how often it has happened in the past, considering we have yet to find many games that aren't aptly rated.
But whatever. The politicians have to have jobs, too, you know.
3/20/2007 Ben Dutka