Lair creator takes on the ratings board…

…and says some things that needed saying. Julian Eggebrecht, president of Factor 5, is my new hero. Apparently, Factor 5’s Lair has been undergoing a ridiculous process of revisions in order to receive a Teen rating from the ESRB, and that means that in-game content is getting censored. Eggebrecht is getting fed up with it.

At his keynote speech on the first day of the Games Convention Developer’s Conference in Germany, he spent much of the time talking about the ESRB rating process, and the unfair restrictions it ends up placing on expression within games:

I would be happy if in games we could talk about homosexuality, but we’re not even at the point where we can admit that humans have heterosexual relationships, and that is a real problem – and it tends to show that games are not being seen, even by our own ratings boards, as an artform.

Of course, echoes of the last big gaming controversies resound throughout. Manhunt 2 and the Hot Coffee scandals figure big in this debate as examples of exactly what is wrong with the games industry. When a certain rating becomes a deathknell, making it so most retailers won’t carry a game, a ratings board begins to leverage incredible degrees of control over content. In order to please the ratings board and get a rating that will allow larger retailers to carry their game, a game developer must begin to alter and censor their content according to whatever the ratings board deems appropriate. That could be anything, depending on whatever random set of beliefs that ratings board happens to hold, whether they be fanatical cultists or strict, guilt-loving Christians.

At any rate, Eggebrecht makes a lot of good points, especially for those of us who are sick of the censorship and scorn heaped on the games industry all in the name of the children that video games are supposedly preying on. You can read more at Eurogamer.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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