Originally created 07/01/03

Video games get updated parental-rating system



LOS ANGELES -- Four new categories designed to specify different types of violence have been added to video game ratings.

Effective immediately, "cartoon violence" will be defined as when "a character is unharmed after the action has been inflicted." "Fantasy violence" is when the actions involve "characters in situations easily distinguishable from real life."

An "intense violence" label will be applied to "graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict" that may involve "blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death."

A fourth designator, "sexual violence," is defined as "depictions of rape or other violent sexual acts."

Starting Sept. 15, content warning labels will be more prominently displayed on the front label of video game titles.

Last year, 63 percent of games rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board received an E (for everyone) classification, 27 percent were T (for teenagers), 8 percent were M (for mature audiences only) and 2 percent came in EC (for early childhood).

The new guidelines were announced Thursday by the rating board.

On the Net:

http://www.esrb.org/