March 10th, 2006

ESRB Vows to Support Grass-Roots Efforts to Educate Public

As reported by Gamers, a recent op-ed penned by industry insider Jayson Hill seems to have caught the attention of the ESRB. Hill's piece called for the video game industry to focus efforts on educating the public about game ratings as a centerpiece to combating the current wave of legislative assaults on the industry.

In response, ESRB president Patricia Vance told Gamers she is "extremely encouraged by the prospect of those in the industry pitching in and helping to educate consumers in their communities, especially parents, about the ESRB ratings and why they are so important."

Ms. Vance encouraged anyone interested to visit the ESRB website to find out more. They seem very enthusiastic about supporting any grassroots efforts to spread so-called "ratings awareness", including providing handouts.


Sacre Bleu! French Honor Game Designers with Knighthood

While certain governments - cough USA, England cough - seem to do little but scapegoat videogames, the French have decided to honour three interactive artisans with what the British gaming press are deeming a "knighthood."

The Order Of Arts And Letters decorates those the French government believes to have "contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world." This year's recipients include video game luminaries Frederick Raynal, responsible for the Alone In The Dark series, Michel Ancel, designer of Rayman as well as the recent video game adaptation of King Kong, and Nintendo genius Shigeru Miyamoto.

The three - the first interactive artisans to be honored in this way - will receive their awards on Monday. While they can't call themselves "Sir," as they could with a British Knighthood, they do get a nice shiny medal which will be presented by culture minister Renard Donnedieu de Vabres.

This is not the first time in recent months that the French government have shown they appreciate the artistic merits of video games. GamePolitics has previously reported on a beautiful French postage stamp set commemorating ten popular video game series.

-Reporting from the U.K., Mark Kelly, GP International Correspondent

JUSTICE FILES: More on the Counter-Strike Pedophile

Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on the arrest of a 52-year-old Canadian man charged with violating probation for a past kiddie porn conviction. George "Spike" Finley, an admin of top gaming clan The Green Berets, was arrested when it came to light that he was soliciting young boys he had recruited for the team.

Today, GGL has an must-read investigative piece on the "Spike" case. Author Mahmood Ali searches for answers as to how Finley, by all accounts a terrible player, achieved a high-level position with The Green Berets evan as rumors swirled about his character. Should his warped objectives have come to light long before they did? And are there other "Spikes" lurking out the in the online gaming community?

GP: Definitely worth a read. And yes, there are almost certainly others. Pedophiles tend to go where they think they might find victims. Does that make online gaming bad? Of course not. Does that mean players, parents and clan leaders need to be more vigilant? Definitely.