New comics Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!
Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-02-28 05:16:10
In response to presidential hopeful Senator Brownback's "Truth in Video Game Rating Act", the Entertainment Software Rating Board is now hiring full time video game players. Now, we're not talking about video game play testers/quality assurance who force themselves through half baked games to quash bugs; these individuals will be playing release quality final products. Add these individuals' payrolls to the burgeoning cost and time delays of producing video games.
The current method of rating video games involves the developer handing over clips of the most "intense" gameplay (violence or sexuality). The raters watch these clips and render their final judgment. It works fine, as long as the developers are forthright and competent. I assume the current political crackdown is a result of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' not thoroughly excised "Hot Coffee" segments. (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about.)
"Truth" is a lofty title for a piece of legislation, and it's a naive concept. Playing a video game thoroughly isn't like watching a movie. Like Dave brought up in today's strip, this will delay the release of games a significant amount. How do you "finish" an MMO? Is a single individual responsible for rating a game, or will there be an entire board of people for playing each and every game? Even still, an army of game raters would never have found GTA's "Hot Coffee" segments.
If politicians are going to poke their nose into private industry, it'd be nice to have at least one that knows how that industry and its products work.