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Comic for: May 4th, 2006
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Gaming News: "Mario on 'Shrooms"
Posted: Thursday May 4th, 2006 by

Yesterday (5/3), the ESRB changed the T rating on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to M for Mature due to "more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as the presence of a locked-out art file or 'skin' that, if accessed through a third-party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters." Until such time as Bathesda re-releases Oblivion without the "topless skin" the ESRB will be adding "nudity" to content descriptor of the game.
Source: GameSpot [ more info ]

Just like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was smacked for the now infamous "Hot Coffee" mod, Oblivion is paying for a file left in the source code that was not reported in it's "ratings submission". "Hot Coffee" was ONLY available by [ disassembling and then combining, recompiling, and altering the games source code ]. And the Oblivion topless mod is only available via 3rd party game mods. Though the files shouldn't have been left in the release version of both games, I think it's ridiculous for the ESRB to hold Bethesda, 2K Games, and Take-Two responsible for the actions of 3rd party modders. Should Bathesda be held responsible if someone mods the textures and meshes on their own as well? It would take me all of 10 minutes to mod the body texture files to appear naked.

I'm starting to get the feeling that the ESRB is buckling under the pressure of larger entities to apply more rigid standards to games.

And in my searching, I found several games rated T for "drug use". I want to know why the human anatomy is so evil that it gets rated as worse than drug use? And "Hot Coffee" for all the hype, was two clothed figures simulating sex acts. There was no nudity. And again it was ONLY available to those modding thier systems.

In my opinion... the ESRB is being overly tight-assed. And this is coming from someone that supports the ESRB rating system.

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