Did you know that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board issued its first video game ratings twenty years ago Tuesday? On September 16th, 1994, the ESRB’s first set of ratings included such games as Doom (for Sega 32X), Pitfall (for SNES) and Sonic Triple Trouble (for Sega Game Gear).
Over the last twenty years, the ESRB has rated tens of thousands of games, tweaked the ratings system a couple of times (they replaced Kids to Adults with Everyone and later added an E10+ category), changed the look of the ratings a couple of times and recently introduced content warnings for “interactive elements” of games.
For a look back at the history of the ESRB, they’ve released a handy infographic looking at 20 years of the ESRB and game ratings.
The Australian Classification Board’s game ratings have become something of a running joke in the gaming news media but the country is taking steps to simplify the ratings process for developers. The Australian Federal Government is currently going through the process of legislating into law changes to the ratings approach by the Classification Board.
It’s just one of those things that we gamers have come to expect. Any time that video games are even tangentially related to a violent crime, the mainstream media will jump on that as a reason for the commission of that crime, regardless of the numerous studies that show no causative relationship between video game violence and real violence.
The latest case of the persecution of video games and gamers comes from Louisiana where an 8-year-old boy shot his grandmother in the head. The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Department have strongly implied that the boy playing Grand Theft Auto IV led to the shooting.