Should the ESRB Re-Rate Older Games?
Debate Rounds (3)
-The ESRB rating system was devised in 1994 after consulting a wide range of child development and academic experts, analyzing other rating systems and conducting nationwide research with parents. ESRB found that what parents really want from a rating system is both age-based categories and, equally if not more importantly, concise and impartial information regarding content. Parents felt strongly that a rating system should inform and suggest, not prohibit, and should reflect the product overall rather than quantifying every instance of potentially objectionable content.
-Today game consumers play games on a variety of platforms and devices, and parental concerns go well beyond content to include other elements like user interactions or the sharing of a user's location and personal information. In fact, parents today tend to place equal importance on upfront guidance about interactive elements as they do the actual content in a game.
-With this philosophy in mind, the ESRB administers a three-part system that includes Rating Categories, Content Descriptors and Interactive Elements.
-The result is a rating system that is widely adopted by game platforms and publishers, supported by retailers, and which is consistently described by parents and opinion leaders as the best entertainment rating system in the US.
WHY THIS MATTERS?
- ESRB has never changed it's game review policy therefore shouldn't have to update its past-ratings.
HALF LIFE 
A. Blood & gore: When you hit or shoot an enemy, blood spurts/splatters moderately on floors and walls. If you throw a grenade, enemies explode in bloody chunks as what remains of their blood-stained skeleton falls to the floor (if you look close, you can even see what's left of one eye in the socket). The humans shed dark red blood, but Headcrabs (explained lower) shed a mixture of green/red blood, with the green blood being more gooey in consistency. Also, there is static, pre-existing (undetailed) blood stained on floors and walls. There are also many dead, bloodied human and enemy bodies scattered throughout. There is no option to turn blood off.
There's an enemy alien, the Headcrab; in their default form they resemble a headless plucked chicken, with a huge mouth where a stomach would be. They latch onto their (mostly human) victims' heads, take over their still living bodies, and essentially turn them into zombies; once transformed, their bodies are split open from neck to waist, showing their internal organs and rib cage, as they scream with agonizingly deep, raspy, but squealing voices, as they slowly drag and lumber toward you, striking with their limbs. Another type hangs on the ceiling and resembles a huge mutated mouth, with large sharp jaws and teeth. It has a long, thin tongue that hangs from its mouth to the floor. When prey steps under it, it reels it in with its tongue, swallows it whole, with very bloody results. If you shoot and kill this enemy, it will turn inside out and regurgitate what it's eaten (including bones). Another prominent type resembles a mutated bulldog with no head; it'll attack with sonic pulses, and knock you back with pure force. The last type resembles a one-eyed mutant in humanoid form; it'll shoot energy beams from its palms.
An example of what you'll be seeing: As you escape a facility's ruins, you see its staff is also in ruin. There's a scientist giving CPR to a security guard. When you pass them a panel explodes, making the dead body in the area do the same, resulting in bloody chunks flying, and what's left of the blood-stained skeleton falling to the floor. Not so long after you enter an area, a laser goes rogue; it reaches the path of a dead body, cutting it in half, with the bloody remains of the skeleton scattering the floor. When you reach an elevator, as it free-falls and you see two scientists fall to their death, The scene listed above occur throughout, as you see security guards, scientists and soldiers falling prey to the aliens. The aliens feed on bodies (no detailed), pull them through grates, etc. So, is it somewhat graphic and intense? Yes. Is it realistic? No.
B. Violence: The story starts out with the main character's first day on the job at a top secret science facility. They are experimenting with portals to other dimensions, and you're going to help. When you enter the test chamber and place the sample in the portal, it opens a dimension to a hostile alien world, unleashing them into the facility, and bringing it to ruin. Now to get rid of them...
The majority of the game has you evading the enemy, so it always gives you a sense of urgency. The atmosphere is immersive, with no cutscenes in between, furthering your attachment to the world and its violent situations. Your character will be killing dozens of enemies with a variety of weapons, including a crowbar, pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher, grenades, etc. The violence is constant and intense, but because the game is outdated in almost every way, the violent situations are down-played a bit. You will be fighting the aliens and enemy human soldiers throughout. The soldiers are in full body armor and have a gas-mask covering their entire face. Because of this, they speak with a voice like that of a ham radio, and attack with submachine rifles and grenades. And in two brief sections, there are what appear to be robot ninja's in female form. They're extremely fast and wear a form-fitting black spandex jump suit. They attack with stealth pistols, and because of their speed, are pretty hard to hit.
C. Mild language (ESRB actually missed this in the official rating, but it would likely have no impact.)
Mild language: (The ESRB didn't mention this in the rating, although it is mild) There are four uses of h**l, two uses of sh*t and God, and one use of d*mn and a**.
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