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ESRB Under Fire For Giving 'GTA: San Andreas' Only An 'M' Rating

by Rainier on July 7, 2005 @ 2:05 a.m. PDT

Assembly Speaker Leland Yee today blasted the ESRB for failing to appropriately rate Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Recently it was reported that GTA:SA includes hidden animations which allow players to watch graphic scenes featuring oral sex, nudity, and simulated intercourse, which Rockstar denies. Despite these graphic scenes, GTA:SA only received a "Mature" rating instead of the ESRB's most restrictive rating "Adults Only." Most retailers will not carry games with an AO rating.

"Once again, ESRB has failed our parents," said Speaker pro Tem Yee. "This particular game has been known to include extremely heinous acts of violence, and now it has been uncovered that the game also includes explicit sexual scenes that are inappropriate for our children. I have urged the ESRB on numerous occasions to rate this game AO based on its blatantly graphic nature."

"Whether it is JFK: Reloaded, Manhunt, 25 to Life, or now Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the video game industry continues to demonstrate a sense of arrogance towards public opinion and a lack of responsibility in protecting our children," said Speaker pro Tem Yee.

While ESRB claims to be a non-biased ratings board that gives parents a valuable tool in deciding appropriateness of games for their children, they are funded by the makers of video games who have a financial interest in making sure their games are not rated AO.

"Clearly the ESRB has a conflict of interest in rating these games," said Speaker pro Tem Yee. "Plain and simple, parents cannot trust the ESRB to rate games appropriately or the industry to look out for our children's best interests."

Speaker pro Tem Yee's AB 450, legislation to limit children's access to ultra-violent video games, has been stalled on the Assembly floor, although he continues to work with various stakeholders on the bill.

"The ESRB and the video game industry cannot police themselves and this is yet another example of why we need legislation to limit these types of games to children," said Speaker pro Tem Yee.

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