ESRB to NIMF: Flunk You!

Ratings board gives an "F" to National Institute on Media and the Family's criticisms from last week.

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Last week the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) was lambasted by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) in the parent watchdog group's annual game industry report card. NIMF gave the industry a "D-plus," citing increases in sex and violence in games. The NIMF labeled the ESRB system as "beyond repair" and called for an "Independent Universal Ratings System."

At the time, the ESRB issued a response blasting the NIMF's methodology in conducting its examination of the industry and defending itself from the group's criticisms. Apparently not content to leave it at that, the ESRB responded to the report again today.

"In recent years, the report card concept has become increasingly arbitrary, simple-minded, and silly, more of a headline-grabbing tool than a parent-helping tool, and NIMF's 2005 report card continues that disappointing tradition," said ESRB president Patricia Vance in a release giving the NIMF report card an "F" for "inaccuracies, incomplete and misleading statements, omission of material facts, and flawed research."

"For years, ESRB respected the work of NIMF," Vance continued, "recognizing it as a serious-minded watchdog group sincerely interested in helping parents make smart media decisions, and for this reason we have previously sought to engage them in a cooperative and productive dialogue. But this year NIMF made clear that its real agenda is to undermine parent trust in the ESRB. We will not allow NIMF to mislead parents about the accuracy and effectiveness of ESRB ratings. Accordingly, and reluctantly, we have little choice but to publicly challenge NIMF's numerous inaccurate and misleading claims."

For the litany of complaints the board has with the NIMF's report card, check out the full release on the company's Web site.

Discussion

140 comments
Bobfol
Bobfol

I'm a Christian, and yet I approve of these games. Violent video games don't make me want to go on a rampage in real life in fact it's quite the opposite. I get home from work and remember what a dick my boss is, so I go play gta4 and forget about all my problems. But, people in NIMF and people who do studies linking video game violence to real world violence don't understand this because have probably never played a violent video game in their life. There will always be people in this world who snap and go berserk. There will also be people who can't control themselves or their kids. Thankfully these people are in the lower percentile. The reason we don't believe my statistic is because of groups like NIMF and news stations love to talk about these crazies over and over. But wait, you say that video games cause people to become aggressive? Well, remember that time you lost a game (not video game) or a bet. I bet you were exploding with happiness because that's human nature. We are an aggressive kind. (It's not the video game part that makes people angry, it's the loosing that we don't like)

dim2192
dim2192

FIANLLY, its about time the ESRB is bashed

MasterManiac772
MasterManiac772

If anything, the ESRB is over-sensitive: Grand Theft Auto 3 was no more "naughty" than your run-of-the-mill PG-13 movie. Heck, the only reason San Andreas deserved its M rating was because it was TRYING to ape the American film industry. And, oh yeah, the characters used the "f" word. Because, as we all know, evil, evil people use the "f" word. It's good to see the state this country's in, now isn't it?

D3j1k0
D3j1k0

Last week the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) was lambasted by the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) in the parent watchdog group's annual game industry report card. The NIMF labeled the ESRB system as "beyond repair" and called for an "Independent Universal Ratings System." ok, this is stupid, the ESRB is ment to give ratings to games to help parents make wise choices in what they buy for their kids. the ESRB is NOT ment to decrease sex or violence in games, if it was it would have been flunked back when the genesis and SNES where still being made

Miltonelite
Miltonelite

oooooo faced. Seriously though, mooj21 makes a very good point. NIMF is indeed hypocritical if they are attempting to use the bible as a reason for attacking the content of video games.

mooj21
mooj21

MrHanson6: I believe in God. I am a Christian. I love violence. I think it is an exciting and visceral experience...onscreen - films and games - or in literature. I think where you (and those who think as you do) begin to lose your footing is when you decry all violence as being nonsensical and pointless, saying it merely serves as an outlet for the depravity of modern society. I would like, then, to direct your attention to a verse in the Bible that has always stuck in my mind, ever since I read it as a child: "With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out." -Acts 1:18 Now, everyone who knows the story of the crucifixion knows that Judas went and hanged himself out of guilt. So why include this at all? It serves no purpose other than to put in the mind of the reader an unnecessarily grotesque image of a decomposing corpse bursting open and rotting further in the desert sun. It is my opinion, therefore, that the book of Acts should not be read by children under the age of 17. In fact, the Bible should be off-limits in its entirety: within it is the depiction of rape, murder, incest, adultery, theft, lying, brutal capital punishment of women, and virtually every kind of depravity known to man. Or...does it serve a purpose? Does any of it prove a point? This is where you and the NIMF halt your investigation, when it comes to media and literature. You see the violence - we all do (Do you think us blind? Born without a moral compass of any sort?). And then you recoil, and your kneejerk response is to eradicate it instead of trying to understand it, the result of which would be removing its so-called "power" over young minds instead of elevating it to a place it need not be. Humans are an innately violent species. It's bred into us, and has always been. Our history, our literature, our entertainment is full of it. Why are you so dead-set against this facet of it? If the depiction of violence is wrong, how do you justify war? Self-defense (as much of the violence in games takes place out of self-preservation)? This has gotten too long...but if you read this far, know this: no one, no true Christian, no political pundit, no talking head is impressed by you throwing around the name of God and the cultural ideal of "family values" simply because violence in media makes you uncomfortable.

soniqstylz
soniqstylz

They got served. I can't believe I just typed that.

jtorry
jtorry

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Miltonelite
Miltonelite

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Miltonelite
Miltonelite

It's pretty obvious that NIMF doesn't have a clue what they are talking about. The ESRB does a great job of informing people of the content of games. They have no control over what is in a game or who sells it to whom. Maye the ESRB would have gotten a better grade from NIMF if they sent millions of amred soldiers to every retailer in america and killed anyone who tried to sell a game to a minor and any minor who tried to buy a game (DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS COURSE OF ACTION. IF YOU THINK I AM THEN YOU ARE STUPID AND IT'S NOT MY FAULT YOU GOT YOURSELF IN TROUBLE.) That way the country would be safe for families again, and if they did it in the name of God, it would be ok (please note sarcasm). Falling short of that, I think it's impossible for the ESRB to please NIMF. Fortunately NIMF is a useless organization with zero authority. BTW there was an interesting article on livescience that WAS scientific and shows that violent video games are NOT to blame for violent behavior: http://livescience.com/technology/051204_video_violence.html

yutgoyun_basic
yutgoyun_basic

Haha, that's funny but seriously, that's pretty unprofessional, and doesn't help the ESRB's case.

gameexaminer
gameexaminer

Who cares about NIMF? NIMF should attack movies instead.

TheFurryChicken
TheFurryChicken

I have to say that the NIMF poked a stick at the wrong bulldog this time. And yes, it is on!

someguy99
someguy99

Just to clarify things for you NIMF, ESRB is giving you an "F" for F*** off

SqueekyPants
SqueekyPants

Clearly, the problem here is uninformed officials, kind of like when Best Buy wouldn't sell me Final Fantasy X because I wasn't 17. Sure, people should be able to put regulations on the availability of certain products based on content, but it should also be required that the people making those regulations know what they're talking about. Anyone who has played Final Fantasy X will know that there is absolutely nothing inapropriate about it, yet there I was, age 16, and I couldn't buy the freaking game. That's what needs to be kept from happening.

diablo89
diablo89

for gods sake people, its the parents fault for letting this stuff into their "underage" children's hands. The ESRB is just their to let everyone know how violent or sexual a game is, and thats pretty much where there responsibility ends. Perhaps all these pist off soccer moms should quit blaming other people for their shortcomings at raising their children....

henkvn
henkvn

......I will sleep safe tonight. Now if we could only get these guys working on US foreign policy and terrorism. We would all be snug as a bug in a rug.

FourSwordsx4
FourSwordsx4

DOWN WITH THE NIMF! Who really gives a damn about their opinions? They're all a bunch of narrow minded religious zealots.

Three_Banditos
Three_Banditos

Isn't this like blaming the MPAA for slasher flicks and porn? Love the ESRB's response. There's an odd bit of self-superiority in there, which is to be expected in Internet arguments, but it's largely effective.

v_di_g
v_di_g

Oh no! More groups trying to censor stuff because it is not wholesome for the family. Let me say this: stop trying to censor what we, the customers, pay for! Although I am a fully grown adult, the ESRB rates the games fairly, and truly do indicate what any one game may contain. Period. From the look of things in this article, the NIMF group is bashing the ESRB for something it does not, nor need to do. NIMF should not blame the ESRB for the increase in mature themed games. If anything, that gripe should be with the developers. No, NIMF should not do anything to the developers. In terms of public radio, I understand why some watchdogs would want to censor, since it is open to all for free, as long as you have a radio. Hence, the advertisements, and Howard Stern going to a pay to listen satellite radio show. However, they begin to cross the line if they even dare to try to censor what we pay for. Could you imagine the radio censors trying to censor XM Satellite? XM would merely reply "We don't $%*$% care! They get what they pay for, and they want Howard Stern." This brings us back to NIMF. They are beginning to cross the line as they lambast the ESRB for not censoring what we pay for, and for the many mature games that fall into younger hands. For the most part, stores do voluntarily enforce the ESRB ratings. Which brings up this thought: the only ones doing a disservice to impressionable minds are the NIMF and the parents of those kids who buy mature games for their impressionable minds. If the parents think their kids are mature enough, they will buy for their kids. Even then, though, the only ones who need to show more discretion are the parents. End of story. PS. Read the ESRB full response. Their reasonings are quite fair. No student gets a d- for being 80% accurate. That's an A. A teacher that flunks a student like that would be given complete hell. Even government officials that gripe about the industry laud the ESRB. I pray that NIMF N E V E R ever gets to censor the industry.

Col_Kilgore
Col_Kilgore

MrHanson6 seems to be the part of the whole thing I do not like. He criticizes anyone who doesn't believe or do exactly what he does. (MrHanson, I do not believe in god. Does that make me wrong?) What MrHanson6 doesn't realize due to his shortsightedness is that this can effect ANY KIND OF GAME. And it can hurt those of us that are old enough to decide what game or content is appropriate for us and/or our loved ones. It's not about being pro-family at all, it's about being for choice. Maybe MrHanson6 is an employee of Media Watch or some division of NIMF.

insane956dv
insane956dv

when things could not possibly get any more stupid, here is tha answer

MrHanson6
MrHanson6

Oh look at all the kiddies complaining about NIMF. The problem is that there are too many stupid parents out there (like the ones posting on this forum) raising kids embracing a culture of violence. As for the kid who said "Hope the ESRB kicks them in the nuts", you made me realize how the culture is embracing violence and is becoming more hostile to those who are pro-family or have a belief in god.

Matth13
Matth13

yeah, stick it to da man!!!

sk7731
sk7731

This weekend on Pay Per View! Triple threat match: ESRB/The Rock/Ryu Hayabusa vs. NIMF/Hillary Clinton/Jack Thompson. Two teams go in, one comes out. Obnoxiously huge ESRB ratings will fly, blood will be spilled. "Ratings Clash"......only on Pay Per View! Seriously, though, it's great that the ESRB is defending itself and THEY are doing their job. NIMF, get off their backs.

NRIAgent
NRIAgent

an F... "I know you are but what am I?" this is so sad... and so funny hehe...

Cartman86
Cartman86

Another interesting thing is that the NIMF people gave Halo 2 an 18+ and Doom 3 a 17+. Now anyone who knows games knows that Doom 3 is far more violent than Halo 2. But really this isn't the point of this post. My point is that this proves that even these gods of people at the NIMF can even screw up. Though is it really screwing up? Who's job is it really to say what is too violent etc. ONE age difference... same with GTA and the ESRB... oh well!

Cartman86
Cartman86

http://www.esrb.com/downloads/nimf_fail.pdf Good read right there. ESRB points out all the things that the general public and this research people seem to forget. These people just 16 months ago stated that the ESRB was doing great. Now they say that none of the reforms are working... Well for one what reforms are those? Making it so games cant have locked out content like the hot cofee thing? Well 1. That happened 5 months or so ago. The ESRB needs a little time 2. It is impracticle like it says in that link to try and find out in a 100 hour game all the content. They just need to trust the developers in the end. And if a locked out crude sexual scene gets in to an M rated game only with the ability to hack it to see it. Well then oh well.

killjoi
killjoi

The way NIMF sees it, if they force ESRB to rate Mature 17+ games as Adult Only instead, such a rating will decrease the profit potential of a particular game. Movies rated R tend to make substantially less than films rated PG or PG-13. By decreasing the market value of a concept (sex and violence in games), companies will be less inclined to take a financial risk in producing them and thus stick to ideas that are more profitable (and in NIMF's view, more appropriate for younger audiences). This is what NIMF seeks to do. This is their agenda.

Hellisunreal
Hellisunreal

I SALUTE u Paganstar, the world needs more parents like u, who understand & take care of their kids rather then blaming others for their "bad parenting"

Paganstar
Paganstar

As a parent and a gamer I decide what is appropriate for my kids to see and play. I do not need nor do I want some conservative christian watchdog group or the federal government (often the two are the same thing) telling me what is or is not appropriate. You can damn well bet that I as a gamer that I am more involved with and aware of the games my kids play and do a better job of protecting them than these lazy let-someone-else-clean-up-my-mess parents who have no idea what their kids are doing but are screaming at the top of their lungs that it needs to be fixed. It is them that should be fixed, preferably before they have any (or anymore) kids.

PanzerFaust30
PanzerFaust30

This is exactly what the ESRB needs to do. Stand up to the NIMF and show that they will not be bullied by them. Too much these days, people back down to these fascists whose sole purpose is to impose their views on the rest of us with strong arm tactics. This country is founded on free speach, no matter what form it takes or what is said, and I'm tired of watching my rights be infringed upon because parents are too lazy to take an interest in what their children are doing.

wheezal
wheezal

An "F" is so arbitrary...can't we move to a better scale? like "Hellz Yeah! or Effin No!" ? that way everyone can play :)

hercfan1
hercfan1

The report card is stupid. We only need one group rating games. We dont need some parent group who hates games spreading their idiocy

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

I'm happy to see the ESRB growing some balls and firing back. Not many are at this point , but I'd like to see more people fighting silly organizations and politicians on behalf of gamers and the gaming industry.

Werewolf16
Werewolf16

An grade for a report card...I give this fight an "S" for stupid

DrDoom007
DrDoom007

So, in other words, "NIMF: ESRB, you suck at your work, here you got a D", "ESRB: NIMF, you suck worst, you got an F", hilarious

killjoi
killjoi

The ESRB is only a ratings system, and like the game reviews here at GS they're meant to advise you on purchasing decisions. NIMF is an ignorant organization, they're not so much concerned about accurate ratings as they're probably more interested in censoring sex and violence from gaming altogether.

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

You know, this fight started all because of a game called GTA : San Andreas. I thought the 17+ rating for the game was accurate by the ESRB, nobody under that age should play the game. ESRB never would've had to change it's ratings if parents were more responsible, if senators kept their noses out of the gaming business and if Jack Thompson stuck to law instead of politics.

hoolinathe
hoolinathe

hopefully the government wont take over the raing sytem. im not saying the gov is bad im just sayin that they will illegalize M rated gemes being sold to someone thats like 12.

spaniel420
spaniel420

AHA!!! That's simply hilarious. I hope that ESRB keeps it up. If not for the funny news reports. I love a sexy catfight. I want Patricia Vance and HIllary Rodham in A STEEL CAGE!!

sprawwl
sprawwl

Funny - a while ago, I went to buy Halo (okay, so it was a WHILE ago). I was 15 at the time. The cashier at Best Buy wouldn't let me buy it. So I turned to my dad, who was there buying the Matrix or something like that, handed him the game, handed him the money, he bought the game for me, then handed it to me as we walked away. That was, technically speaking, a legal transaction. Now, my dad is a full-fledged gamer. Age of Empires. Everquest 2. And yes, he plays Halo (2) also.

thekey
thekey

The ESRB sucks butt! I mean me as a parent is going to decide what my children play and not play in my house. This is a stupid fight. Its up to me the parent to find out what material is in certain games and decide what is appropriate and not for my kidds not the ESRB.

Ledrian
Ledrian

Damn, It's about time that ESRB has done something to defend itself from organizations like NIMF who really do give games inaccurate ratings and provide misleading info.