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ESRB, Oblivion...let the debate rage!


Izuno

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http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=12604

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has just sent word that the rating assigned to Bethesda's and 2K Games' The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has been changed from T (Teen 13+) to M (Mature 17+). "The content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or 'skin' that, if accessed through a third party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters," said the ESRB in a release.

"In line with its mission to inform consumers about the age-suitability and content of computer and video games, this ESRB Parent Advisory has been issued to ensure that parents who have purchased this game are immediately notified of the rating change," the release continued. "Parents should also know that a patch for the PC version of the game that disables access to the file with the topless skin will be made available shortly. It will be posted in the near future at http://www.elderscrolls.com/. If parents have questions or concerns about the change in rating, they should contact their retailer."

"Parents across the country depend on ESRB ratings every day to make sensible choices about the games they bring home for their families," said ESRB president Patricia Vance. "Rating changes are extraordinarily rare, but if ever one does occur, ESRB recognizes that parents must be made aware of the change as quickly as possible so they are certain to have the most current and accurate information."

The locked out content is not accessible in the Xbox 360 version; however, the PC version will carry an additional content descriptor for Nudity until it can be re-mastered and released with the topless skin removed. It was, of course, a third-party modification that eventually led to the whole "Hot Coffee" scandal in GTA: San Andreas because it unlocked a mini sex game. Unlike this "skin" mod, though, the "Hot Coffee" mod didn't alter the game; it merely unlocked hidden content.

The ESRB further warned, "It is increasingly important for parents to realize that PC games can be altered through the use of downloadable programs created by other players called 'mods' (short for modification), which are broadly available on the Internet and can change the content of a game. Since players create them, it is impossible for ESRB or any rating service to consider them in assigning a rating. However, some mods can alter a game in ways that may not be appropriate for younger players and may be inconsistent with the ESRB rating, so parents should be aware of their existence and, as always, do their best to monitor their child's gameplay."

YOU! DISCUSS!

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I read somewhere that a patch had to include a change to the horse's skin so its arsehole wouldn't show....I don' t have the game so I don't know if it's true, but nothing would surprise me anymore.... After all it's possible to have a topless Lara Croft in the last TR as well (and perfectly modelled as well with tits and all, not just a texture)

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Parents across the country depend on ESRB ratings every day to make sensible choices about the games they bring home for their families

no. In most cases they buy whatever their bratty little bastards nag them to buy, and then get all pissed when they find out its "bad". I'm not saying all, I'm saying most.

And horses have assholes. If a kid can go to a petting zoo and look at a pony's asshole, why can't he play a videogame and look at a pony's asshole? (in theory, although I'm sure there are some kids out there with pony asshole fetishes [cough]mino[/cough]) :D

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And horses have assholes. If a kid can go to a petting zoo and look at a pony's asshole, why can't he play a videogame and look at a pony's asshole? (in theory, although I'm sure there are some kids out there with pony asshole fetishes [cough]mino[/cough]) :D

Because ratings are so outdated they're not even funny. There's this part of me that always takes over in these debates, and it's the "any attempt against any form of art is punishable". So I don't exactly blame the ratings system only, I also blame the editors for pushing the devs to get rid of this or that just to get a better rating.

I find things like this arsehole or the alleged 4*4 tits texture of GTA Hot Coffee mod extremely stupid.

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The gore level in the game, whether in severed heads on pikes, blood spatters, dangling corpses, etc. is definitely into M territory; how it got by in the first place was a mystery to me.

Everyone plays by the same rules; if we're going to point clueless parents at the ESRB as their golden guideline to know what is recommended for kids of their age, then they need to make sure games don't slip through their own ratings criteria, and publishers need to show a wide enough slice of the game to accurately represent what's there.

The whole re-ratings thing is annoying, plus the focus on nudity over violence, but let's face it - by the standards of every other game I own, I bought an M-rated title.

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