U.S Senators Call for ESRB Review

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U.S Senators Call for ESRB Review

Post  ConorBuckley on Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:51 am

November 20, 2007 - Four U.S. senators, including presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, are calling for a review of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board's policies, citing controversy over Manhunt 2 and the increased interactivity of the Nintendo Wii controller.

According to a report on Video Business Magazine's web site (via GamePolitics.com), Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) signed a letter calling for the review and sent it to ESRB president Patricia Vance.

"As you know, in June 2007, the British Board of Film Classification refused to rate Rockstar's Manhunt 2 videogame stating that it contains 'unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone," the letter said, VBM reported. "In October 2007, the BBFC again refused to rate a revised Manhunt 2 stating that 'the impact of the revisions on the bleakness and callousness of tone is clearly insufficient.'"

The senators then take the ESRB to task for bumping Manhunt 2 down from an "Adults Only" to a "Mature" rating after developer Rockstar agreed to alter some objectionable content.
Parts of that content were later revealed to still be present in some retail versions of the game, found by hackers to be accessible on PSP and PS2. After an investigation, the ESRB found that no rules were broken by Rockstar or the ESRB and that neither party was responsible for content illegally accessed in games.

The letter apparently also raises questions about the Wiimote, which the senators note "permits children to act out each of the many graphic torture scenes and murders" in the game and asks that ESRB think about the controller's unique characteristics when
rating games in the future. "Mature"-rated games are restricted to gamers age 17 and older.

By ConorBuckley

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