Video Game Ratings - Flawed?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Nov 3, 2013.

?

Do you find that game ratings are necessary in this day and age?

  1. Yes

    64.9%
  2. No

    35.1%
  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    We all know about the video game rating system. In America it is the ESRB system, and in Europe you get the PEGI system. The ratings go from a childhood age to the deep adult only content, and it is very interesting to see how the ratings companies grade games. Having just completed Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, a game that received an ESRB rating of Mature, it leaves me puzzled as to why the game received such a harsh rating in the first place. What I would like to explore at this point in time is whether the system itself is flawed or the whether the system itself is no longer needed. How inaccurate is the system, and does it help anyone nowadays?​
    I went through and played Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies for the Nintendo 3DS earlier this week, and left a review about the matter, as linked above. The game received a Mature rating, which cited blood, violence, and suggestive themes as some of the major reasons. This game could have easily been dropped to a Teen rating, but why the mature rating? The rating is so blown out of proportion that it seems almost comical. Blood and violence are central to most of the games in the Ace Attorney franchise. Could it be due to the inflated opinions on media violence that plague the United States as of late? Why do these ratings even exist anymore, when the rules are not really followed anymore (at least, where I live, I never see the ratings rules enforced), and why could they be so inconsistent at times? These ratings are very inconsistent nowadays. Comparing Ace Attorney to a game like Ninja Gaiden is like comparing an adult movie to a Disney one. There are also the stray instances where games are underrated, and far more violent than what the rating described.​
    We are in an age where everything that we do is competitive. Everyone wants to earn that extra dollar. This ESRB system is so flawed where I am from. I could go to a gaming store for a popular release, and I could find a gaggle of kids that look no older than ten years old, and they would all troop up to the register, and ask for a copy of the latest and most popular shooting game. The employee at the register does not even do his job and warn the children, or ask for an adult. He just sells the game to them; the kids get the game, and the store their money. It is so inconsistent. Gaming has changed a lot since I started playing them, and think about it. The ESRB is a group of people who decide what you should or should not be seeing. You would get hordes of parents who just blindly follow these rules and limit the overall gaming experience that their children would get to play. Are such limitations necessary?​
    [​IMG]
    Does the material children should be able to see feel worthy of being censored out?
    That isn't to say that the entire system is absolutely worthless. I understand that the system is there for a reason. The rating system could very well be looked at as a very broad and loose guideline as to what the game could possibly feature. Maybe I think this due to the fact that I am an adult, myself, and do not have to worry. This could definitely be a possibility that I am willing to account for. What I wanted to get at is that the rating system should not be the only factor that is accounted for in screening games. Gaming is a complex world now. But for the parents nowadays, who seem to cry bloody murder at the smallest thing, it leads to extreme reactions. You can look no further at the plight that is SwapNote on the Nintendo 3DS, which was shut down indefinitely the other day due to abuse of the system. There it goes again, someone is controlling what someone can be viewing. There were so many other solutions that could have been employed, but the path chosen was the most extreme.​
    In a broad sweep, is it not fair to allow select individuals to think that they have the best interests for children and for gamers alike? Let's ask a question. If you are under eighteen years old, and you see a website that asks you to put in your birthday, do you turn around and run when you are confronted with that? Do you or your parents employ parental controls on consoles to restrict gaming? That is what I am talking about when I say that these ratings really do not matter to people as much anymore. Do people still follow these ratings to a religious extent? Sure, there can be people out there still. But should we as gamers be in agreement that the rating system in general is just inconsistent and flawed? Do you guys agree that the system can change? Do you guys think that there are limitations as to where the lines of ratings are drawn? Chime off below! ​
     
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  2. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    The system has changed. We're not running on ESRB ratings anymore; we're running on 8.5/9/9.5 ratings from game magazines. Is it any wonder that a 10 year old can go into a game store and buy a Mature rated game? Shit, I know I'm a minority, but that is so fucking stupid. And parents clamor for legislation to curb the violence that their kids experience, a job the ESRB was clearly designed for.
     
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  3. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    That's a fair point, but those 8.5-9.5 scores themselves are fundamentally flawed, so to speak, as we are very well aware of. ;) I find it ridiculous that people cry for more legislation, but when the legislation technically exists no one does anything about it.
     
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  4. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    Rating system is more or less, a reference guide for parents. It does not mean absolute categorization. People should use it as a reference, but not sole reason to determine.

    In response to Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, you have to admit the tone and plot of this game are much darker than previous titles. Animations in this game is probably what got the game a M rating.
     
  5. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Oh, it's definitely a lot darker. The crimes were a tad more brutal, and the tone was "lacking in cheeriness" that I've seen in earlier titles. As for the rating system, it's very interesting how I see parents follow that guide to the letter. :/
     
  6. BlackWizzard17

    BlackWizzard17 Don't worry Captin we'll buff out those scratches.

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    I find this to some point useful.
    There where some cases where bullying, or death from from kids to another has been blamed for playing violent video games.
    See what they don't understand is that there is a rating on the box so its not the people who make the games fault its the parents of the children s fault.

    of course because of this there are many things that are being controlled on what we watch or play, such as the swapnote example. What people do on there is what they do because its what they bought, a system with all those rights. Of course ignorant stuff like that is stupid but they set them self's up the minute they added drawings instead of typing and made it worse and called it child appropriate.
    I totally agree with what your saying though and it makes sense that there is some sort of flaw in the system.
     
  7. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Blaming on violent video games alone is just silly, though. :/ There's so much complexity into that issue due to a multitude of factors. And yeah, Swapnote was just trouble waiting to happen.
     
  8. stanleyopar2000

    stanleyopar2000 The Official GBATEMP Thread Killer. No Mercy.

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    I hear 8 year old sounding little shitheads on GTA V Online and Call of Duty. I'm pretty sure parents told ESRB to go fuck themselves a long time ago
     
  9. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    LOL That's one of the reasons I will never set foot on those games, in an online environment.
     
  10. TheBlueSky

    TheBlueSky Advanced Member

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    Not all parents overlook the rating system on the video games. For some people it helps them decide whether a game is suitable for their children. Most of us browsing these forums have deep knowledge of video games; parents are not like that, nor they have the required time to individually research the games. A rating system basically just helps them at a glance and whether they should purchase a game or not.
     
  11. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Which I made a mention of in the article. ;)
     
  12. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    Short answer: yes, but it does do some good.

    Long answer: the ESRB is a flawed system. Some games are given more adult ratings than they deserve (like the Ace Attorney example, although I'm currently on the fourth game in the series, so I can't say for sure), and then there are games that are given less adult ratings than they deserve (shooters, hack and slash, etc.). If I understand correctly, the only ratings that require an adult's permission or an age of 17+ are M and (the almost extinct) Ao. Should little kids be allowed to play Teen games that involve shooting people in the head, blood, murder, rape, etc.? I don't think so, but it's not my choice. It should be the parents' choice, and no one else's.

    Some parents are very strict when it comes to their games and some don't pay attention/care. I can personally vouch for the latter. Back when I was around 7 or 8 years old, I went to the local Gamestop, saw Final Fantasy 7, and bought it. Did my parents stop me? No. Did the clerk stop me? No. Am I now a sociopath? Yes, but Final Fantasy 7 isn't why. Like you said, kids can just walk into a game store, buy CoD 29, and learn to be an asshole through XBox Live.

    Every modern TV has parental controls and I'm pretty sure every current gen console does as well. If parents are aware of what their children are doing (and they should be), then they can easily prevent their kids from playing games they they deem to be too inappropriate for their age (or cultural values). I would argue that the ESRB ratings are useful in this regard. Do we need the ESRB? No. But I believe some sort of ratings is necessary. That T or M label is useful when parents are looking to see if their child should play a certain game (even though the game's title and box art work wonders here as well). It's also hurting game development where some developers take out scenes in the game that would be great, but would increase their rating and effectively cut their sales.
     
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  13. mr allen

    mr allen Advanced Member

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    I always felt that the ESRB was necessary to have but not necessary to follow. We have to remember that different parents have a different belief in whats right and wrong for kids to play. It's really good for a guideline as it does tell parents what to expect. I do agree that they can be really inconsistent but that's a very subjective view.

    My younger brother just turned 18 and he wasn't allowed to buy a rated M game because they claimed his id was fake nor would they let my aunt or grandma buy it because "they were buying for him", yet where you live 10 year olds can buy rated M games freely by themselves, I find that sightly funny.
     
  14. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

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    Where do you live? That sounds like a very conservative place. "Buying for him" should be allowed. It's a video game, not alcohol. Also, M = 17+, so he should have been able to buy those games for a year now.
     
  15. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile...ctive-as-85-of-parents-understand-the-system/

    http://www.1up.com/news/ftc-finds-game-ratings-more-strictly-enforced-than-movies-music

    The ESRB ratings, on the whole, are helpful and well enforced. I think that any problems with the ESRB are really just problems inherent to any ratings system where a few people try to objectively judge something's content.

    (On something of a tangent here, but if ratings interest you at all, you might want to check out this documentary. It's a great watch, and should still be on Netflix.)
     
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  16. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Oh, wow, I'll look into that. :) Thanks!
     
  17. king_leo

    king_leo Real Hero

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    I think they're great, but parents seem to ignore it. I'm speaking online community wise, kids shouldn't be on there. I've been playing lots of killing floor lately and I always seem to join matches with 12 year olds playing it like it's call of duty while being out of control vulgar. It's all about maturity though.
     
  18. mr allen

    mr allen Advanced Member

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    I feel like this was just Walmart being really anal as there is a Gamestop about 2 blocks away and another supercenter across the street from the Gamestop that would have gladly sold it to him.
     
  19. Ericthegreat

    Ericthegreat Not New Member

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    Only thing that really needs a warning I says would be strong sexual themes and nudity. But I was grown up on violent games/movies/ect. So I guess I really dont understand why parents freak out over violence, if your child kills people because he saw it in a game, I say that's a lie and he just felt he should kill ppl.
     
  20. Transdude1996

    Transdude1996 GBAtemp Regular

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    The whole entire idea of a rating system isn't flawed, how they rate is becoming flawed.

    If you go back and watch, say, Disney's animated version of Alice In Wonderland, you'll some obvious smoking in it and if you look at the rating for it, it is rated G. If the movie was released in this day and age, it would be rated PG or, if they were really heavily rated it, PG-13.

    Just saying, but ratings are starting to become more of an agenda, like many other things (e.g. that Zelda topic from a while back showed a good example of the article writer pushing their agenda)