The Ten Naughtiest Games
Concerned groups point to the worst offenders.
http://[img]http://pez.ign.com/adver....jpg[/img] November 23, 2004 - Five groups convened yesterday to announce the "10 worst violent videogames," hoping to warn parents about products likely to tempt their children this holiday season. The groups also called for retailers to cease sales of such games to minors, and urged the game industry to develop an improved content rating system.
The implicated titles were DOOM 3, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Gunslinger Girls 2, Half Life 2, Halo 2, Hitman: Blood Money, Manhunt, Mortal Combat: Deception, Postal 2, and Shadow Heart. The list ranges from some of the biggest hits of the year to some of the more obscure titles released. Interestingly, Blood Money is not expected to be released until next year.
The groups consisted of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (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, and NYC Council Member Eric Gioia.
Also under fire was what the groups saw as poor enforcement of existing game ratings and sales restrictions.
"Some retailers are allowing children and teenagers to purchase the most violent, the most graphic, and the most sexually explicit video games ever created, notwithstanding ratings and warnings on the packaging," commented Council Member Eric Gioia. "An investigation I conducted last year showed a minor could walk into almost any store selling video games in New York City and purchase them without difficulty.
While the message was strong, Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), a game retailer group, has already issued a response, claiming that the groups' criticisms of industry self-regulation come too early:
"It is our belief that it is premature to judge the effectiveness of new and not yet fully-implemented industry self-regulation due to the timing of the research in question," comments IEMA president Hal Halpin. "Questioning the retailer's commitment to programs which are just being rolled-out is fruitless in that they haven't been given a fair opportunity to implement these policies."
The IEMA also points out that most purchases made so far this season have been by parents, and that changes to strengthen ratings enforcement are intended to be fully in place by this December.-- David Adams