Today everything has ratings. It’s not just one particular entertainment choice, it’s movies, music, video games and even food chains. But in the entertainment industry where did it start? Lets go way back to 1930’s, the dawn of movies in some aspects. So come with me back in time. HOLD ON!!!! *Chace grabs you and pulls you into a time machine*
Good you made it here. This guy above is Cardinal George William Mundelein, which is the reason that you have ratings. I know, your like hold on a minute. Your telling me that some Catholic Cardinal from Chicago is the reason for my video game ratings. Well yes and no, but maybe. He is accountable for starting to roll the wheel in the direction. So in 1930, he made what was called The Code. So right now your asking yourself, what in the hell does some Cardinals code have anything to do with my video game ratings. Hold on! I assure you we will get their.
This is Will H. Hays , he happened to read what was called “The Code” that the George wrote. And also Hays was the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America at the time. Now we are getting that eye brow to rise. Once Hays had found the code, he created what was called the Hay’s Code. Or what would be publicly called “The Production Code“. Now if you think that ratings are strict now, get a load of these. The Production Code followed three simple rules, with many what they liked to call “particular applications”
THE PRODUCTION CODE
1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.
Now these are little bit strict, but nothing compared to the “particular applications”. Which was no nudity or even dance for that matter, no ridicule of religion, no use of any drugs at all and liquor was included in this category as well, no excessive kissing believe it or not was one, no homosexuality of any kind, no murder scenes, sanctity of marriage must be upheld at all times, and the list goes on. You get the picture! 🙂
Now eventually the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, would be changed to the Motion Picture Association of America. Then in 1960 a series of changes in reference to The Production Code would shape what we call the aged based rating system. Oh yeah baby, in 1968 we would set a new standard to use.
- Rated G: General Audiences – Suggested for General Audiences (All Ages Admitted)
- Rated M: Mature Audiences – Suggested for Mature Audiences (Parental Discretion Advised)
- Rated R: Restricted – Persons Under 16 Not Admitted Unless Accompanied by Parent or Adult Guardian
- Rated X: Adults Only – Persons Under 18 Will Not Be Admitted
Some of these do look familiar, the G , R and X ratings are still in use today. What is kinda ironic is that the first aged rating system has the M rating in it as well, with the same description for mature audiences. This would one of the first ESRB ratings in 1994. Now the MPAA didn’t have all the kinks worked out on the rating systems. So counting the original being The Code. It would be re-visioned 6 times. Snuff films in the early 1970’s would also pertain the heavily to censorship and reedits. The Clockwork Orange would be known for it’s constant hyper tense violence followed by hysterical laughing, which would receive the X rating in 1971 before being reedited to obtain the R rating. Take my hand again and we will jump to 1994.
Yeah you know these guys or ladies or whatever the ESRB attributes like to be called. In 1994 Senators would lead the push that video game violence was corrupting our minds and creating violent offenders at a young age. Oh you mean Jack Thompson, no I don’t mean the activist that was against Grand Theft Auto and was disbarred by Florida because of his constant badgering of filing claims against everything. I am talking about Joe Lieberman. Look below, no that is above, below!
This is Joe Liberman, and he is the one who would first lead the charge against violent video games. Before Call of Duty, before Dead Space, before FEAR, before Condemned, before Grand Theft Auto. We had Leisure Suite Larry that would set this country on a spiral in 1987. But no rating would be given to it at the time. This didn’t not mean that video games were not in the cross hairs of being the next victims to having ratings put on them. Music had been targeted in 1985, and first music to have an official explicit rating was Prince’s Purple Rain. At the time it was considered that using a rating that had the explicit title, would halt the buying of that album. Of course in reality it would acquire the cult status image and actually have the reverse effect. Parents upset over these chain of events, would harness their anger towards video games. Which would now become the next apple pie to stick your finger in the middle of, ruining the delicious pie like that American Pie movie. So what game would gain Joe’s attention, that would set them on congressional hearings to dismantle the violent video game epidemic?
Mortal Kombat killer thrilla manilla death to vanilla killer killer.
We all know how hyper tense the violence in Mortal Kombat is considered the worst violent video game of all time, like ever! *Chace does sarcasm and hopes people notice* This was considered the game that would destroy the sanity of the youth and turn them into violent children, which was an actual belief. The reason it got so much criticism at the time, was of course because of its was popularity. Other games such as Doom would also receive the M rating, but as a PC game which was less popular market. So the heat was directed at Kombat. Well there you have it. That is why we have a rating system. Please leave some comments, views or opinions. Also the last poll that I could find, said that 97% of kids played violent video games in 2008. Which it isn’t hard to have a hypothesis that it has increased, since I am sure you have never heard a kid on your M rated game. *Chace tries sarcasm one last time*