Halo 2 and San Andreas top watchdog group's "most violent" games list

ESRB ratings and lax enforcement of ratings by retailers to minors blasted by band of parent, church, and women's groups.

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A five-member coalition representing a number of parent, church, and women's organizations, plus a New York City council member, issued what it calls a "10 Worst Violent Video Games" list today.

The list is designed to help convey the consortium's plea to the game industry and retailers to better manage game ratings and the sale of products it feels have "blood-soaked and anti-social" content.

Led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the group consists of the ICCR, the National Council of Women's Organizations, Mothers Against Violence in America, Center for Advancement of Public Policy, Justice, and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ. New York City council member Eric Gioia also joined the group in today's statement.

The group's demands are straightforward: It requests that the industry more accurately label games and that retailers separate adult-only content so it cannot be purchased by minors.

"We call on the marketers and sellers of video games to: publish standards for marketing video games that encourage or reward players for performing acts of violence and brutality, and that depict images demeaning to women and minorities," their statement reads. The groups also ask publishers to "place M-rated games in a location separate from other games in stores; post signage describing the video games ratings systems; and evaluate and report on their enforcement and compliance programs of policies to prevent minors from purchasing violent video games."

The games the group singled out as the year's "Worst Violent Video Games" (at bottom of the page) are all rated "M" for Mature by the ESRB and are not supposed to be sold to children under 17. Besides containing Postal 2 and Manhunt, which both came out in 2003, the list also misspelled and misidentified a number of games, including "Gunslinger Girls 2"--presumably the import Gunslinger Girl Vol. 3--and Hitman: Blood Money, which won't be out until spring of 2005. The list also contained Shadow Hearts, which was released in 2001. Presuming the group meant Hitman: Contracts and Shadow Hearts: Covenant, respectively, the rest of the coalition's list consisted of: Doom 3, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, and Mortal Kombat: Deception (which the group spelled as "Mortal Combat").

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