The Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Yes, they rate games and make it easier for parents to pick which game is appropriate. I'm sort of grateful for that. I know not every parent is a gamer. But, parents can be lazy and blindly trust those rating. Then they turn around and blame the game. Or they ignore the ratings and then complain about little Billy being exposed to Grand Theft Auto at the tender age of six. Duh. That's not the ESRB's fault, but over the years I have found some of their ratings off. Usually, they err on the side of caution. For games that I think the ESRB has rated wrong go here.
But I'm not done. My biggest bone of contention isn't lazy parents who don't pay attention to their child's gaming habits. It's the AO rating. If you're not a gamer, you probably never heard of it. Why? It stands for Adult Only. Since 1994, only 20+ games have gotten that rating. It's the kiss of death. Retail stores don't carry them. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo won't allow AO games on their systems. It pisses me off, frankly. Content is cut from games so they can be rated M. To me, that's censorship. Unfortunately, video games are still seen as toys. Beyond any other form of entertainment, they are judged harshly and scrutinized more. Parents, lawmakers, and other naysayers need to realize games grew up and so did the people playing them. There's a rating system, it's not perfect, but it's there. And maybe one day an adult gamer can actually enjoy a good game with an AO rating. Since I like ranting about this, I've covered sex and nudity in video games on this blog last year.