Ladies and gentlemen allow us to introduce House Bill H.R.287, or as most of us will come to know it, the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act.
The three pronged assault on the gaming industry hopes to accomplish three major goals if passed. First the bill would make illegal the act of selling or renting video games that have not been evaluated by the ESRB, secondly the bill would legally prohibit the sale of Adults Only/Mature games to anyone under the age of 18/17, and finally the bill would institute a fine for breaking step one or two of the bill.
The fine is not to be in excess of $5,000, but five grand is still five grand. We think that games should have ESRB rating labels. Go nuts. It's a great thing to let parents, kids, and adults know what they're getting into. Ultimately this is an issue of personal responsibility on the part of parents. Don't want your kids playing a first-person gore fest? Then do your research.
Any and all games released for consoles must have an ESRB rating. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony won't release a game unless it's got that sticker on it. What we do take umbrage with is that $5,000 fine. Where does personal responsibility enter into the equation? The language of the bill is a more reasoned approach to this conversation than some of the other proposals, but this seems like something that probably won't get very far considering that video games are protected under the First Amendment. You can read the body of bill H.R. 287 for yourself and let us know what you think.