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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Bad Movies  |  OT: My fight with Jack Thompson « previous next »
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Author Topic: OT: My fight with Jack Thompson  (Read 12098 times)
Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2005, 06:43:11 AM »

I'm at work most of my day so I usually check the tech blogs quite often - Gizmodo, Kotaku, Joystiq, Engadget - etc.  Last night, while home, I didn't check any of the feeds so I was quite surprised when I came into work this morning.

It seems that Jack has won.  The ESRB slapped Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with an AO (Adults Only) rating yesterday.  Apparently GameStop, EB Games, WalMart and such were pulling the titles off the shelves until a new version would be released.

This time the controversy wasn't about violence, it was about sexual content.  In the PC and PS2 (and I'm sure XBOX) versions, you can unlock a sex act in the game.  The mini-game isn't very graphic at all, and is no worse than what you would see in a Rated R film.

The scene has to be unlocked with some type of mod.  In the PC version, you have to download a small file that will unlock it for you.  In the PS2 version, you need Action Replay in order to unlock it.

I am sickened by this decision.  The game should not be rated AO in any way.  The games original rating of M was just fine.  Here's the explanation of a rated M game:

MATURE
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.


Here's AO:

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.



As I mentioned, from what I've seen of the sex "mini-game", there is no nudity.  I can't honestly believe that the ESRB has changed their rating.  Is this a sign of things to come?

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"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

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AndyC
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« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2005, 11:17:44 AM »

Looking at the two definitions, there doesn't seem to be that much difference, except for a year, and the mature rating's rather vague wording (which kind of renders it pointless). Maybe there is some implied difference that one is loaded with sex, violence and coarse language, while the other just has a lot of it.

I don't really have a problem with that decision. It should be restricted to adults. As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as something that 'might' only be suitable for adults. If it's too strong to say it's all right for kids under 17, then it's only suitable for adults, and only adults should have it. No grey area. I wouldn't support banning it outright, but I completely agree with setting limits on who can purchase it. Not that it would actually prevent kids from getting their hands on it, of course.

I don't understand the thinking that anything other than wide-open access is some kind of an attack on people's rights. There is a difference between censorship and deciding whether something is appropriate for sale to minors.

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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2005, 11:58:59 AM »

AndyC,

Understood.  But, it seems the attack is aimed directly at this game.  There are numeorous other games out there with even worse material, the new Lesuire Suit Larry for example, that have much more graphic content but are rated M.  

Hell, even The Guy Game has full video of women taking of their tops and such.  Think of an interactive Girls Gone Wild video and you would have the right idea.

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"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
odinn7
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« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2005, 12:47:35 PM »

"Hell, even The Guy Game has full video of women taking of their tops and such. Think of an interactive Girls Gone Wild video and you would have the right idea."

Sign me up.

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AndyC
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« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2005, 12:51:54 PM »

Well, I suppose it's easier to get action on one game than on a bunch, and they have to decide where the effort is best spent. In this case, I think it's a game with violence as well as sex (even if it did wind up being about sex, the violence is probably still the issue), a game that is widely promoted, very popular and more likely to be widely played by kids.

I can't imagine people like Jack Thompson liking Leisure Suit Larry, but I can see why it wouldn't be a priority.

And even doing this to one game can bring change throughout the industry. What manufacturer would want to risk having their own game pulled off store shelves from coast to coast? I'm sure somebody put a lot of thought into this.

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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2005, 12:54:25 PM »

Well, the ESRB has kind of screwed itself over with the ruling.  AO is hardly ever used when rating a game, and companies shy away from creating games that would get such a rating.

But now, when one of the biggest game series of all time gets an AO rating, I wouldn't be surprised to see other companies following through with more extreme content.  I believe that AO might become a major rating in the next few years.

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"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
AndyC
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« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2005, 03:54:19 PM »

If movies have been any indication, I would expect more game manufacturers to tone their content down, in order to be accessible to the largest possible audience. You don't see that many NC-17 movies around and I have a feeling AO is not going to be any different. This is probably only going to make game manufacturers a little more conscious of where the line is drawn. Of course, if it works like movies, they will continue to try and push that line a little further with every opportunity.

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Jim H
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« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2005, 01:21:24 AM »

They already do tone down their content.  Mature games are relatively uncommon for the same reason many movies get cut cut down to PG-13 (think the Chronicles of Riddick, or many of the PG-13 horror movies of late, like Cursed) - they can reach a much wider audience.  

The difference in what you can show between PG-13 and R can be blurred by some choice editing and cropping (having a dozen people get stabbed to death is ok, as long as you crop out most of the actual penetration and there isn't much blood).  It's a stupid trend, as you get movies which feel like R and probably shouldn't be viewed by younger kids, but feel watered down to more mature people.  A compromise which leaves everyone except for the producers unhappy, who make a lot more money from a wider audience.  Then they release it uncut on DVD and make extra money on people who now want to see it "uncut".  

Games do similar tactics, only it is even easier.  You can kill a billion people in games with swords and guns,  in agonizing looking ways, as long as their bodies stay whole and don't fall apart.  Blek
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odinn7
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« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2005, 07:17:46 AM »

I really enjoy Soldier Of Fortune and this is quite a wickedly bloody game. Shooting the bad guys in the head will pop it with splatter all over. A leg or arm shot with the shotgun will usually remove the limb with splatter. Throat shots have the bad guy grabbing his neck while blood comes out...I could go on. Suffice it to say, it's loaded with extreme violence. I think it's got a M rating.

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AndyC
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« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2005, 07:30:58 AM »

Jim H wrote:
> stupid trend, as you get movies which feel like R and probably
> shouldn't be viewed by younger kids, but feel watered down to
> more mature people.

Yep, that's a fair description of many of the movies out there. I miss the days when there were movies that were suitable for families and movies for adults only. Sure, there were some in-between movies, but now the whole thing is one big grey area. Hell, even some of the movies marketed directly to kids have some questionable content, no doubt to broaden their appeal.

Doesn't help that so many parents today don't seem to excercise a whole lot of judgement in what they let their kids watch. The last thing they need is movies that are loaded with sex and violence, but all creatively kept off screen. That's assuming they're even trying.

I think that's why I've gotten a little softer on issues like this than I used to be. Seen too many kids watching things they really shouldn't have been watching, and playing games they shouldn't have been playing.

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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2005, 08:58:31 AM »

Odinn,

Yep, an M rating and if I'm not mistaken it got banned as pornography in Canada.

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"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

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Derf
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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2005, 09:29:19 AM »

I just heard a radio announcement today that many major retailers (Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc.) were going to pull their copies of GTA:SA off the shelves in light of the now AO rating (or simply because of the controversial scenes). At any rate, that would limit the number of suppliers for the game, and, in my opinion, mean that game manufacturers would be more likely to tone down their content in order to keep their games on these retailers' shelves.

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Mr_Vindictive
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By Sword. By Pick. By Axe. Bye Bye.


« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2005, 09:46:36 AM »

Well, it has already been taken off the shelves.  WalMart.com does not carry it neither do various other online retailers such as Target, EBgames, etc.

The stores are also empty of the games.  The local Blockbuster has stopped renting it and even has a sign for the employees saying not to take it as a trade in.

Rockstar has also halted production until the content can be blocked and they will be sending out AO stickers to the retailers.

As of this morning, M rated copies of the game are running close to 100.00 on Ebay.

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A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
ulthar
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« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2005, 09:49:09 AM »

Derf wrote:

> I just heard a radio announcement today that many major
> retailers (Target, Walmart, Best Buy, etc.) were going to pull
> their copies of GTA:SA off the shelves in light of the now AO
> rating (or simply because of the controversial scenes). At any
> rate, that would limit the number of suppliers for the game,
> and, in my opinion, mean that game manufacturers would be more
> likely to tone down their content in order to keep their games
> on these retailers' shelves.
>

What surprises me is that the RATING on a game influences when these stores decide to carry something, not the actual content of the game.  It's the same game today that it was three weeks ago.  Like AndyC pointed out above, there is not a whole of practical difference between M and AO, so this whole thing seems like "symbolism over substance" to me.

If Target, Walmart, et al were intellectually honest, they would either (a) have pulled the game right after the content issue arose publicly (or even better, researched their own products before stocking them) or (b) keep it on the shelf now since if it was good enough to sell last week, it is good enough this week.

Weenies.

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ulthar
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« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2005, 09:55:35 AM »

Skaboi wrote:

> Well, the ESRB has kind of screwed itself over with the ruling.
>  AO is hardly ever used when rating a game, and companies shy
> away from creating games that would get such a rating.
>
> But now, when one of the biggest game series of all time gets
> an AO rating, I wouldn't be surprised to see other companies
> following through with more extreme content.  I believe that AO
> might become a major rating in the next few years.
>

My prediction is that the game makers will quickly adapt to "multiple ratings."  Technologically, it should be relatively easy to produce games with different levels of violence and different levels of graphical detail.  Game code is sufficiently complex (and generally proprietary) the producers can hide all kinds of stuff in the "base product," or at least embed hooks to potential third party or aftermarket mods.  So long as the 'version' with the M (or lesser) sticker meets that criterion at time of sale, the "system is working."

With that, cracks and mods on the Internet will abound.  To paraphrase Malcolm in Jurassic Park, "fun will find a way."

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Bodie:      I've been giving myself shock treatments.
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--Real Genius
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