Senators on Hand as NIMF Report Card Zings Game Biz for "Ominous Backslide"

December 4, 2007 -

Dr. David Walsh (left) of the National Institute on Media & the Family issued his 12th Annual Video Game Report Card this morning. In doing so he criticized the video game industry for "an ominous backslide on multiple fronts."

Flanked by a pair of U.S. Senators (Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) as well as  Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Walsh awarded an overall grade of C to the game business. The report card explains:
 

Assessing the performance of the gaming industry this year is a difficult task... Console manufacturers, for the most part, seem to understand the importance of making games safe for kids. Microsoft included a timer feature that allows parents to limit their children’s video game playing time, a praiseworthy innovation...

Some software makers made great games that pushed the edge of the envelope in creativity and storytelling. Others, once again, dredged the well of poor taste, with titles like Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 and Eidos Interactive’s Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.

Some game makers also found creative new ways to market adult games on kids, a disgustingly familiar practice over the years. Too few game makers disclose when illegal versions of their games are stolen from their facilities and leaked on the Internet.


Some explanation of "creative new ways to market adult games on [to?] kids" is needed. That's quite an accusatory statement. What games? What companies? What strategies?

The same applies to the statement about leaked games. Is NIMF referring to the notorious Manhunt 2 leak? If so, that was disclosed immediately - by the people who leaked it. In fact, on those rare occasions when a game is leaked, it's always big news in the online game community. Explain, please, NIMF...

National retailers, who did so well on last year's Report Card, got slammed this time around. Big box stores slipped from an "A" to a "D". Meanwhile, game specialty stores moved in the opposite direction, jumping from last year's "F" to a respectable "B". Rental stores, however, flunked. Such dramatic jumps - in either direction - seem a bit odd.

The general category of "Retailer Policies" earned a C+:
 

We were surprised by this year’s surveys... that showed one out of three retailers does not educate its employees on the ESRB ratings. That’s a significant drop from last year. Even more shocking was that only 30 percent of local retailers provided families with information on the game rating system.


The ESRB also received a C+ but, as expected, NIMF did not let the Manhunt 2 controversy pass unnoticed:
 

The Manhunt 2 rating debacle shows that the ESRB needs to change its procedures to close a gaping loophole that some game publishers are all too eager to slip though. The ESRB rating should be based on all of a game’s content and code, locked or unlocked, blurred or unblurred. A game’s rating will be meaningless unless serious steps are taken to prevent games from being unlocked.


NIMF also took the opportunity to renew its call for a universal media content rating system. The Halo-in-church controversy came in for a mention as well:
 

Libraries, schools, churches and other pubic institutions should follow the game’s rating and only allow games appropriate for the age of the youth. By promoting M-rated games, they are undercutting the ESRB’s rating system and undermining parental credibility and authority.


Also included are the results of a lengthy Harris poll on the role of video games in the lives of children. Read the full Report Card here (26-page pdf)...

Comments

I wish someone would go ahead and publish: Nude Intergalatic Lesbian Conquest: Destroy All Innocent Life on Earth with Chainsaws. For the sole sake of shoving the idea down the throats of these industry critics that VIDEO GAMES, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ARE NOT FOR YOUR SNOT FACED AND OVERPROTECTED CHILDREN.

@ConstantNeophyte:

Replace the parenthesis below with greater than/less than symbols:

(a href="http://gamepolitics.com")Click Here(/a)

That's how.

@ Xlorep DarkHelm

A bit late (had to do some work at work; go figure), but thank you.

[...] Report Cards: Serious Business December 4, 2007 by Delta From: http://gamepolitics.com/2007/12/04/senators-on-hand-as-nimf-report-card-... and: http://gamepolitics.com/2007/12/04/esrb-video-game-report-card-flawed-co... The National Institute on Media and the Family released their annual “Video Game Report Card” which grades the industry and retailers on their overall performance of policing itself against marketing games to children. ThGet More Game Cheats…Tags: pc games pc game cheats video game trailors game news games [...]

The ratings on TV is a joke......if TV14 can not handle lite cussing and the F word sued as a expletive then why is it even used,its a fcking pointless ratings system.

"Too few game makers disclose when illegal versions of their games are stolen from their facilities and leaked on the Internet."

Oh sure, go ahead and blame the modding community! If you ask me, this whole "report card" B.S. is just that!
 
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Poll

Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Andrew EisenIf you missed the HuffPost segment I guested on, the replay is now embedded in the story.11/21/2014 - 6:05pm
Wonderkarphttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2__4yZCcAA9Ytp.jpg these look amazing. Peach is the only one I'm tempted to open cause her packaging is bent. get another nonbent one....man. toycollector me and gamecollector me is fighting11/21/2014 - 5:51pm
WonderkarpJust finalized my Smash Bros free Sound Track Order. Also got 4 amiibos and they look fantastic. I'm afraid to open them. they look spectacular!11/21/2014 - 5:45pm
james_fudgeCan we all agree that Andrew cleans up nicely and can go on any program?11/21/2014 - 5:01pm
Wonderkarpthank you for that line, Andrew. alot of great films fail the bechdel test. Gravity fails it and it has a female lead.11/21/2014 - 4:48pm
Andrew EisenAw, thanks James! Well, now I have to drive back to work!11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
Andrew EisenDidn't have a chance to say this on the HuffPost segment but while the Bechdel test is useful as a broad examination of gender representation in media, it's not at all appropriate as a judgement of quality.11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
james_fudgeAndrew you killed it!11/21/2014 - 4:44pm
WonderkarpMadeline Bergman. second female, they never speak of men, just a computer program. it passes the test11/21/2014 - 4:34pm
E. Zachary KnightDoes Other M have more than one woman in it?11/21/2014 - 4:31pm
Wonderkarpyet Metroid Other M, a game where people cried sexist due to the commanding officers restricting Samus, passes the test....11/21/2014 - 4:21pm
Wonderkarpwait...they are using the bechdel test to determine which games are sexist?.....how does that work with a game like Super Mario Bros when there is no Dialogue? test itself is BS. Alien doesn't pass it11/21/2014 - 4:20pm
james_fudgeAndrew Eisen on Ice! Please join in at 4:23 pm et and support our bestie! http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/sweden-sexism-video-game/546d41cffe344486d400023711/21/2014 - 4:05pm
Matthew Wilsonthose are the same people that said google should pay to list news sites in their news reader, and than accused google of blackmail when google said no and delisted them.11/21/2014 - 4:03pm
Wonderkarpwait....europe can dismantle a company not founded in europe?11/21/2014 - 3:54pm
NeenekoHrm, that does raise interesting questions about anti-trust laws and transnational corporations.11/21/2014 - 3:54pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/11/europes-parliament-poised-to-call-for-a-break-up-of-google/ what is with Europe? good think they dont have the power to do it. worse comes to worse google can block any European country that tries.11/21/2014 - 3:49pm
Andrew EisenFun Fact: Back when it was new, I was linked to that docket by three separate people in the same day. It was submitted as proof of their claim. In all three cases, the docket didn't even address what they were talking about. Did any of them read it?11/21/2014 - 3:00pm
Wonderkarpits not a piece. its just a press docket. its like a wiki11/21/2014 - 2:52pm
NeenekoAnd for not being about feminism, the piece spends a lot of focus talking about it....11/21/2014 - 2:44pm
 

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