Is something wrong with the ESRB?

1UP has an interesting and balanced piece on the current debate over the ESRB (the organization that assigns ratings to video games). As you’re probably aware, the rather spectacular “Hot Coffee” incident, which involved the discovery of inappropriate (and inaccessible without a special hack) hidden content in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, kicked off an all-new wave of criticism aimed at the ESRB and the game industry. (Way to go, GTA developers.)

Personally, I tend to side with the ESRB on these issues–much of the rhetoric coming from critics betrays a certain level of ignorance about how game content and rating systems work–but I’m certainly open to earnest suggestions for making the current rating system more useful and effective. And I would wholeheartedly support efforts to instill a greater sense of social responsibility in the game industry. Preferably without government intervention, but we’ll see what happens…

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