Another item snagged during my recent visit to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. The ESRB was one of the first initiatives of the ESA (then known as the Interactive Digital Software Association).
It’s a soft foam cube that you can squeeze to relieve tension. It looks a lot like a die (as in, the singular of “dice”). We joked that ESRB board members hang it from their rear view mirror. Or better yet, roll it to determine the rating of a game when they’re in a rush.
In all seriousness, the ESRB doesn’t get the credit it’s due. If you look up the history of media censorship and controversy, you’ll realize that in some ways the videogame industry got off easy. It’s true. We don’t have the Comics Code Authority cutting the balls off any even slightly edgy piece of entertainment. Or a network watchdog saying that you can’t use the word “pregnant.”
Now, if we could just get Arnold Schwarzenegger off our backs…