It's a marriage of the ESRB and certain politicians we never thought we'd see. But this world is a crazy place, as the Entertainment Software Rating Board has officially joined forces with HIllary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in a cooperative effort to spread the word regarding the video game's rating system. Last year, those same two senators created the Family Entertainment Protection Act, a modest slice of federal legislation that hopes to limit minors' access to "objectionable" games based on their ESRB rating.
This new ESRB/Clinton/Liberman connection is launching a nationwide advertising campaign that includes the typical public service announcements. However, neither senator appears on camera in these TV spots; instead, Best Buy president Brian Dunn and GameStop president Steve Morgan are on hand to educate us. They will reinforce their support of the ESRB and confirm company policies designed to stop the sale of "M"-rated games to minors who don't have parental permission.
But while they're not on our screens, Clinton and Lieberman have offered the following official statements:
"We all share in the responsibility of making sure our children play age-appropriate video games," said Clinton, "and I'm pleased that the ESRB and retailers are working together to educate parents about the video game ratings and make sure they are enforced."
"I have long said that the ESRB ratings are the most comprehensive in the media industry," stated Lieberman. "There are many age-appropriate games that are clever and entertaining. Parents should understand and use the ratings to help them decide which video games to buy for their families."
For quite some time now, both politicians have leveled vocal – and often intense – criticism at the game industry. Lieberman pushed hard for that rating system back in the early '90s and has remained very much against violent video games. Clinton called for an FTC inquiry into the Grand Theft Auto Hot Coffee scandal, and earlier this year, both senators requested studies involving the effect of electronic media use on children.
And while some gamers viewed such actions as antagonistic, we certainly don't have a problem with this latest effort.