Research into the US games industry has concluded that ratings are still not being taken seriously enough.
The National Institute on Media and the Family carried out the report, issuing different sectors with school-style grades for their performance.
"While the medium and its audience continue to grow, efforts to protect children from the now undeniable potential harms of excessively violent video games have not kept pace with industry growth," the report states, without really explaining why the potential harms of excessively violent video games are now undeniable.
One of its arguments is that family life is disrupted because around 30 per cent of children argue with their parents about how much time they spend on, and when they play, games. Brilliant logic.
"Right now, families and retailers have put too much faith in the current ratings system; the ESRB has put too much trust in the gaming industry; and some in the gaming industry have not done enough to monitor themselves."
As mentioned, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) is the body that stamps ratings on games to advise US consumers of the content within. However, unlike our British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), it is a voluntary organisation you choose to submit your product to, and is not backed up by the law.
It is also apparently not adhered to and enforced by enough retailers, lots of parents do not understand it, and its antiquated system regards blurred or censored content - cough like the re-submitted Manhunt 2 code cough - as good enough for the consumer table.
The ESRB was given a C+ for its ratings and a B- for educating people about it. Must do better. See me after the lesson.
Elsewhere parents were given a C for their involvement, suggesting they need to spend more time playing games to understand them and stop taking their children's advice on what to buy, and retailers were given a C- for selling games to minors and employing spotty teenagers. This lead to an overall grade for the gaming industry of C. Otherwise known as a pass.
Still, for those of you worried you may buy the wrong thing for your child this Christmas it has put together a list of M-rated or Mature games to avoid.
- Assassin's Creed (for its murder, possibly) M
- Call to Duty 4 (for its war murder, possibly)M
- Cliver Barker's Jericho (for spooky murder, possibly) M
- Conan (for murder and breasts, possibly) M
- The Darkness (for murder and swearing, possibly) M
- Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (for murder and swearing, possibly) M
- Manhunt 2 (for all sorts of reasons, possibly) M
- Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (it is OK to shoot zombies, possibly) M
- Stranglehold (for its guns and watermelons, possibly) M
- TimeShift (for its guns, possibly) M